Book Reviews

My Book Reviews for January 2022.

My Book Reviews for January 2022.

Here are my reviews for January 2022 – a spooky thriller, some Kindness short stories and a bumper crop of new releases.

Don’t Look Back by Ben Cheetham

A does-what-it-says-on-the-tin creepy thriller. Following a family tragedy, Adam, Ella and their 11-year-old son Henry are desperate for a change of scene. When they hear about a competition to live rent free in a cliffside mansion in Cornwall, they jump at the chance. Even the dubious selection process and draconian rules for the successful tenant are not enough to put them off and, when they win, they quit their London home without a second thought. There follows a tale of creaking floorboards, secret passages, ghostly apparitions, damaged belongings and noises in the night as the family gradually comes to realise the house offer was too good to be true. But quitting the property may be easier said than done and the threat of homelessness is the least of their worries.

A quick, easy read. I will seek out more books by this author.

 

Everyday Kindness: a collection of uplifting tales to brighten your day

The Everyday Kindness anthology edited by L.J. Ross is out in the world and proving a hit with readers. All proceeds go to the homelessness and housing charity Shelter. The audio book is published next month. I’m thrilled and a little star-struck that my story is narrated by actor Raj Ghatak!

I bought the anthology on Kindle and the publisher sent me a hardback so I keep dipping in both formats for a good read. This week I’ve read:

Kindness is Magic by Chris McDonald – A bullied 8-year-old boy learns that kindness can be not only magic but reciprocated.

The Perfect Match – Caroline Mitchel’s story is from the viewpoint of a female riot squad officer in the metropolitan police. She observes the selfless and dangerous work of a volunteer street helper, Millie.

A Wave of Love – Barbara Copperthwaite tells a beautifully gentle story of kindness with a nod to lockdown.

Imagination Avenue – C.L. Taylor’s quirky story reminds us how we often outgrow the togetherness of childhood.

 

New Releases for January 2022

I had the privilege of reading early copies of forthcoming titles in exchange for independent reviews. I thank the authors, publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity. Here are summaries of what I said about them. Wishing them every success with their new releases.

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill by C.S. Robertson

Ideal for fans of the very slow burn that spirals off in an unexpected direction. Lots of descriptions of forensic clean-ups after undiscovered deaths. This will be a good read for anyone looking for an unusual mystery with an unusual sleuth. The same but very different.

The Maid by Nita Prose Molly is a 25-year-old maid at a boutique hotel who pays close attention to detail and takes things literarily. She and her pal the hotel washer-upper become embroiled in a murder investigation when she finds a wealthy guest dead in his room. At times it hints at the cosiness of The Thursday Murder Club, at other times at the cold simplicity of My Sister, the Serial Killer, but mostly it resides in Eleanor Oliphant territory. Ideal for readers who enjoy the pedantic, slow innocence of the narrator.

Wahala by Nikki May

Billed as Sex in the City meets My Sister the Serial Killer with the makings of a terrific TV series. I’d say the emphasis is on the former so is ideal for fans of sassy chic lit.

The Second Cut by Louise Welsh

Antique dealer, Rilke, gets a tip from his dodgy friend, JoJo. A day later, JoJo is found dead. When the police aren’t concerned, Rilke sets about sleuthing in some dark and grim places. I read The Cutting Room years ago but this second story featuring Rilke works as a standalone. Ideal for fans of the grittiest mysteries and dour humour.

The House Fire by Rosie Walker

Jamie is making a documentary about a series of unsolved arson attacks from the 1980s, unaware of the danger she is unleashing close to home. Ideal for readers looking for a different spin on the domestic noir with the suspenseful backdrop of a serial crime.

So those are my book reviews for January 2022. I’ve already started on some crackers for February and look forward to sharing my reviews next month.

Best Read of 2021

And it’s time to reveal my favourite book of 2021. It turned out to be the very first book I read last year: The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor. I wonder what my favourite this year will be. I’ve read some great ones already …

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. Her latest thriller, The Roommates, is a Closer Magazine "Must Read". Her other titles are The Good Teacher, The Perfect Neighbours and Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty. Rachel won Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been shortlisted in various competitions including the Bristol Short Story Prize. She was born in Lincolnshire and is a graduate of Aberystwyth University. She now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.

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