Book Reviews

My Book Reviews for March 2023

My Book Reviews for March 2023

My book reviews for March 2023 comprise a fast-paced rollicker, a literary thriller, a memoir, a mystery and a psychological thriller.

All of my book reviews for March 2023 are from NetGalley. With thanks to the authors, publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read early copies in exchange for independent reviews.

You Can Run by Trevor Wood

This was great fun – full of action and heart. I loved it.

An ill-disciplined team of mercenaries descends on a Northumbrian village. Their target is a reclusive graphic designer and his fifteen-year-old daughter. The mission is bungled, leading to the serious injury and capture of the father but the escape of the daughter. The mercenaries put the village into lockdown, barricading all roads in and out, cutting phone lines and jamming the internet. They tell the villagers that an escaped prisoner is on the run and they must stay indoors.

The girl, Ruby, is trapped and in danger, and it’s snowing. Where is Bruce Willis when you need him? Her unlikely supporters are other villagers: a misunderstood teenage boy, a dismissed ex-soldier-turned-poacher, a nosy old woman and an alcoholic, overweight garage mechanic. With the odds stacked against them, they must take on the mercenaries, find out who has commissioned them and why, and rescue Ruby’s father.

This has the feel of a Young Adult novel with its teenage protagonists and (hopefully) unlikely premise. But suspend your disbelief and go with the flow. It’s a real page-turner with glorious characters and exciting action scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a rollicking good read, and it reminded me how good Trevor Wood’s writing is. I now need to seek out the third part of his Man on the Street trilogy which I haven’t yet read but will do soon. (My review of the first book in the series is here.)

 

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent

Through the awkward, and at times uncomfortably comedic, Eleanor-Oliphant-esq voice of her protagonist, Liz Nugent explores the grim realities, traumas and outcomes of abduction and its aftermath. A thought-provoking approach to the captivity novel.

Black Girl from Pyongyang by Monica Macias

The memoirs of the daughter of the executed former president of Equatorial Guinea brought under the guardianship of his ally, Kim Il Sung in North Korea. A unique account of the narrator’s search for identity.

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Ideal for readers who like an unusual mystery with a chic-lit undertone and who are looking to have a giggle at Bartz’s send-up of the publishing world. A lively mix of frothy, dark and weird.

The Loch by Fran Dorricott

Having previously read and enjoyed After the Eclipse by this author, I was pleased to read The Loch. It is ideal for fans of claustrophobic psychological thrillers. All the ingredients are here: a group of friends away at a remote location when one disappears and the others doubt each other; unfriendly locals scarred by a past tragedy; and a second timeline involving the mysterious Rebecca.

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. Under the name Rae Sargeant, she writes the Gleveham Killers Suspense series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend. Her titles as Rachel Sargeant, with HarperCollins, are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

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