Book Reviews

My Reviews for November 2022

My Reviews for November 2022

My book reviews for November 2022 comprise a debut mystery thriller, a crime short story collection featuring an established series character, an ‘upside-down’ Scottish police procedural, a tense family drama and an Outback mystery.

 

Auld Acquaintance by Sofia Slater

A does-what-it-says-on-the-tin suspense story modelled on And Then There Were None but brought up do date for the modern reader. After a lousy year, Millie is thrilled to get an email from her ex-colleague Nick inviting her to a New Year’s Eve party on a remote Scottish island. With nothing better to do and hoping for a spot of romance, she accepts his offer and takes the last ferry before the Hogmanay break to party island. But when she gets there, the ramshackle hotel looks less than festive, there’s no sign of Nick and the other guests don’t seem like the sort of people with whom she wants to see in the New Year. Sticking pretty close to the Agatha Christie format, the author cranks up the tension as the numbers drop. Through no fault of the writing, I guessed the denouement early on – I read way too many thrillers. But that didn’t matter; I liked feeling smug at the end. It was a quick, easy read that flowed well. I’d definitely read another book by this author.

With thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for an independent review.

 

The Shadow at the Door by Tim Weaver

Four separate stories loosely connected by missing persons investigator David Raker.

I’ve read quite a few of Tim Weaver’s David Raker mysteries (See my review of the most recent title, The Blackbird, here.) I think The Shadow at the Door might be my favourite for several reasons: because Raker’s friend Colm Healy, a former Metropolitan Police detective – and I series character I like – is chief sleuth in one of the stories; because the shorter form led to tight, pacy plotlines; and because I’m feeling rather smug at solving two of the four cases ahead of the investigators. I hope Tim Weaver does another book in this format again one day.

 

The Confession by Maureen Myant

DS Mark Nicholson investigates a serial killer in Glasgow. For a crime novel, so far, so normal. But this thriller starts where most end. The serial killer is dead and has left behind a detailed confession.

Open and shut, then. Short day at the office for Mark? Time to go home to his dull and irritating home life? Not exactly, because none of the victims on the killer’s suicide note exist. Yet…

When someone dies, the killer’s list becomes less of a confession and more of a prediction. In the race to unravel what’s happening, Mark embarks on a reckless course of action. And only when the mundane home life that he finds so stifling is threatened, does he begin to realise what he has to lose.

Maureen Myant takes an authentic Scottish police procedural and blends it with a dramatic domestic noir. Then she flips the mix upside-down and serves up an original, readable thriller that is ideal for fans of the genre who want something a little different.

With thanks to Hobeck Books for sending me an early copy to review.

 

The Un-Family by Linda Huber

If you like lots of family drama with your psychological thriller, have a look at The Un-Family by Linda Huber. Linda is an established, experienced writer who always manages to come up with a new angle on the psychological thriller. (Here’s my review of Daria’s Daughter.)

I had the honour of reading The Un-Family in advance of publication and I was pleased to provide a quote for the cover:

“When sibling rivalry turns toxic – ideal for fans of slow-burning family drama”

This is the full blurb:

For better, for worse

Wildlife vet Holly’s life seems blissful: husband Dylan is the man of her dreams, she has a rewarding career and a lovely home. And yet, a tiny niggle is growing daily. Dylan is becoming increasingly remote – but why? Holly is determined to mend the fissure in their relationship. But a shocking discovery changes everything…

Family ties

Then there’s Dylan’s family: his wayward twin Seth and their widowed mother Elaine, who is rather fond of a glass or two of sherry. Nothing in Elaine’s life is easy, bringing up teenage granddaughter Megan while the family grieves the loss of Megan’s mother.

Family lies

A tragic event rocks the foundations of the family, and Holly’s life starts to unravel. Dylan drifts ever further away. Megan is left uncertain and alone, while Seth falls deeper into himself.

The bonds that once bound the family together are breaking. Can they ever be repaired?

With thanks to Hobeck Books for sending me an early copy to review.

 

Outback by Patricia Wolfe

Ideal for fans of Outback stories such as those by Jane Harper, Chris Hammer or Shelley Burr, although the writing in this case is cosier and with more backstory detail. In contrast, the sections from the viewpoint of the killer were taut and tense. I liked the Berlin connection.

With thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for an independent review.

 

So those are my book reviews for November 2022. Next month I’ll be posting my favourite books of the year, and I’ve got lots to choose from.

 

The Perfect Festive Gift

Looking for Christmas present ideas? Look no further than Cooking The Books. It’s a delightful collection of crime short stories and recipes from the writers published by Hobeck Books. My son, Harry, and I have put together a recipe and a vignette featuring Steph, the detective inspector in my Gleveham Killers Suspense series, and her son Jake. All proceeds from the book go to the Trussell Trust, UK Food Bank Charity.

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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