Book Reviews

My Book Reviews for October 2022

My Book Reviews for October 2022

My book reviews for October 2022 comprise another first-rate horror story by Sarah Lotz, another gripping police procedural by Michael Wood and a selection of NetGalley goodies.

Day Four by Sarah Lotz

I’ve never fancied a cruise and after reading Day Four I’ll struggle even to board a cross-channel ferry. As is usual with Sarah Lotz, much of the horror is in the mundane rather than the paranormal. Before disaster strikes the Beautiful Dreamer sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, the author gives us over-demanding and gluttonous passengers, a prowling sexual predator and a rampaging norovirus. Then when the ship experiences total system failure on the fourth day of the cruise, she adds the breakdown of the sewage drainage system to the chaos. Before long decks are awash with bags of faeces and vomit, and anarchy among the already truculent passengers isn’t far behind.

The story is told from several viewpoints:

  • the sceptical personal assistant to a fraudulent clairvoyant
  • a blogger out to expose said clairvoyant with a tiny nod to the events of Lotz’s previous book The Three
  • a cabin cleaner who’s in a personal fix but finding ways to survive
  • an elderly British guest whose reason for taking the cruise is perhaps not the usual
  • the murdering rapist
  • a security guard (and former police officer) on the trail of the murderer
  • a beleaguered ship’s doctor with a secret that could get him struck off

But let’s not forget the paranormal. Maybe that clairvoyant isn’t such a fake after all and when her spirit guides take on human form and haunt various passengers and crew, the creep factor notches up another gear.

This would make a great TV series.

I have also read, enjoyed and reviewed other titles by Sarah Lotz: The Three and The White Road.

 

The rest of my reviews for October 2022 are for titles I had the privilege of reading in advance of publication in exchange for independent reviews. With thanks to the authors, publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity.

 

Silent Victim by Michael Wood

For those familiar with the DCI Matilda Darke series, this will be an expectedly dark and graphic police procedural. Those who are making Silent Witness their first foray into the series may need to be warned it’s not for the faint hearted. For example, chapter 1 describes a kidnapped, fourteen-year-old, who’s just been raped, having her throat cut.

The story follows Matilda and her team on the trail of serial rapist and killer. The thrill of the series is in seeing how many of the police team will survive intact as the real serial killer is author Michael Wood who plays fast and loose with the lives of his police characters. Many writers would tie up a traumatic story like Silent Witness in the warm and lovely bow of an ‘order restored’ epilogue, but not this chap. Two team members haven’t even got their coats off from this case before trouble strikes, ready for the next book to hit the ground running. This is a crime writer well into his stride with a clear vision for the series, and publisher who rightly lets him get on with it.

My review of The Lost Children, the previous title in the series is here.

 

The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett

A group of female historians go into the woods to investigate a local legend. A group of seventeenth-century soldiers go into the woods to shelter from battle. Very few of either group will emerge again. Ideal for fans of ghostly tales across two timelines.

 

How to Kill Men and Get Away With It by Katy Brent

Ideal for readers who like graphic serial killer stories written in the style of chick lit. Dark humour. Unusual.

 

Here is a snapshot of some of the titles I posted reviews for last year on NetGalley:

The Waiter by Ajay Chowdhury

Two countries. Two cultures. Two murder mysteries. One sleuth. Ajay Chowdhury has created a unique lead character in his disgraced Kolkata detective turned London waiter, Kamil. Potential here for a series. Ideal for crime fans looking for something a little different.

 

Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver

Anyone who is a fan of Tim Weaver’s David Raker series will enjoy this. Although it is the author’s first standalone, it is written in his distinctive style – a lengthy mystery, an unusual setting and plenty of action.

 

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Elin, a British detective on extended leave, goes to Switzerland for her brother’s wedding. When an avalanche cuts off the hotel, Elin finds herself investigating a gruesome murder that involves a prop linked to the hotel’s former use as a clinic. Sinister and inventive.

 

The Subsequent Wife by Priscilla Masters

From the prolific and excellent writer of the Joanna Piercy, Martha Gunn and Clare Roget series comes a standalone thriller. The story builds in the second half to a creepy and satisfying conclusion.

 

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke

Another well-written book from this dependable author. Ideal for readers who like a touch of fantasy with their gothic horror.

 

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

I loved Home Before Dark so I was pleased to try the author’s next book. It’s a thriller that’s perfect for fans of suspense movies or true crime podcasts. An interesting premise that will do well.

 

She Never Left by CM Harris

Ideal for fans of genre-crossing psychological thrillers that include unexpected humour. Beautifully written prologue.

 

Lightseekers by Femi Kayode

Femi Kayode brings a fresh voice to crime fiction with this murder mystery set in Nigeria and featuring a unique sleuth. Ideal for crime fans who like to try something a little different.

 

So those are my book reviews for October 2022. It was my birthday this month and my daughter bought me a very generous book voucher so I’m looking forward to sharing reviews of the books I purchase and read in the next few months.

 

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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