Book Reviews

My Book Reviews for March 2022

My Book Reviews for March 2022

Here are my book reviews for March 2022 – two enjoyable thrillers, a YA crime story and some of this month’s new releases.

 

Daria’s Daughter by Linda Huber

Gentle, warm and heart-wrenching – not words that usually describe a thriller, but they are fitting attributes for this well-paced and tense story.

On the face of it, the premise sounds familiar: a young child goes missing and the mother is distraught. But what if the mother doesn’t know the child is missing, the child doesn’t know she’s been kidnapped and the kidnapper doesn’t realise what she’s done? This original story tackles all these ‘what ifs’ with aplomb.

The writing is accomplished and each of the four viewpoint characters has a unique voice. The star turn is Margie, the confused elderly cat lady who has taken the child. Also well drawn is dazed Evie, whose four-year-old reasoning makes the best of her new circumstances. And as realisation of what’s happened dawns late in the story from the viewpoint of Daria, the mother, I felt every beat of her pounding heart.  The glue holding the story together is Liane, harassed single mum who interacts with all the major players, unaware of how they are connected.

An enjoyable read. I will seek out others by this author.

 

All Her Fault by Andrea Mara

Every mum’s worst nightmare. Marissa goes to pick up four-year-old Milo from a playdate but the woman answering the door has never heard of Milo. She’s not the mum who set up the play date.

Despite lots of twists and turns, I guessed straightaway who knew more than they were letting on.  But that’s because I read way too many books rather than any failing in the plotting.

Marissa is a likeable character and she forms friendships of necessity with Jenny, the real mother who didn’t send the playdate text, and Esther, the woman at the wrong house.

The writing is smooth and the viewpoint characters of Marissa and Jenny are well drawn. The school-gate coven of other mothers added a deliciously nasty touch. I really enjoyed this. I think anyone who enjoyed Laura Marshall’s Friend Request or Lesley Kara’s The Rumour would enjoy it too.

 

Promise Me by Victoria Gemmell

This is a well-written YA crime story with well-drawn characters.

When Darcy’s parents split, she manipulates them into letting her have a fresh start, too, at a new school. But she’s chosen the school for ulterior motives. She is obsessed with a two-year-old murder that involved pupils from the school. Convinced of the innocence of the boy convicted of the crime, she sets about inveigling her way into his friendship circle for a spot of sleuthing. By the mid point, I had my suspicions which ultimately proved right, but I very much enjoyed the read to the end, and shall seek out the author’s previous title, Follow Me. I wish I still worked in schools so I could buy this for school libraries. It is ideal for mystery readers aged thirteen and over.

New Releases

Thanks to the authors, publishers and NetGalley I have had the opportunity to read some titles before publication in exchange for independent reviews. These are the titles publishing in March that I have had the privilege to read:

A Matter of Time by Claire Askew

A tense story featuring likeable and believable series character DI Helen Birch. Ideal for fans of Michael Wood’s Time is Running Out, Rosamund Lupton’s Three Hours or Charity Norman’s The Secrets of Strangers.

The Marsh House by Zoe Somerville

Ideal for fans of novels with a historical setting, in this case 1930s and 1960s.

A few days before Christmas 1962, Malorie moves into a remote house in Norfolk, known as the Marsh House. As she searches the attic for Christmas decorations, hoping to make the place look festive for her young daughter, she comes across some exercise books – the memoir of Rosemary who writes about her time as an impressionable young girl living at the Marsh House in the early thirties.

As snow falls at the start of the Big Freeze, Malorie reads the pages and learns not only about Rosemary but also some life lessons for herself.

The Interview by Gill Perdue

Set in Ireland, the story follows the relationship between Jenny, a traumatised 14-year-old girl, and Laura, the victim support officer sent to interview her. As the interviews progress, Laura learns as much about herself as she does about Jenny. Good for readers looking for a different approach to the police procedural genre.

The Paris Apt by Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley’s thrillers are becoming a sub-genre all of their own: a group of nasty characters thrown together in a cut-off location where one of them will meet a sticky end but the reader doesn’t know who or why.

This third outing provides sufficient variation to keep the interest of readers of the previous two. This time we know which character has disappeared, and the setting – a vividly described Paris apartment block – is less closed than the previous settings of a snowed-in Highland lodge and a remote island resort. This time we also have one likeable character and sleuth. She is the sister of the missing man who only came to Paris to get away from a hairy situation at home, a decision she very soon regrets. Within 24 hours of her arrival she senses every occupant of the building her brother lives in is hiding something. Ideal for fans of the very slow build-up (and for those seeking a comprehensive crash course in French swear words….)

Sundial by Catriona Ward

The story takes toxic relationships to a different level. Ideal for fans of hardcore literary horror. With thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an early copy in exchange for an independent review.

I hope you enjoyed my reviews for March 2022. I look forward to sharing some great reads next month.

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.

Comments (2)

  1. Linda Huber 31st March 2022 at 8:47 am

    Thank you so much – I’m glad you enjoyed Daria’s Daughter. Thanks for some additions to my tbr list, too!

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