Rachel Sargeant

Reviews of My Summer Reading – Book Fun in the Sun

Reviews of My Summer Reading – Book Fun in the Sun.

I’ve been making the most of the sunshine and sneaking out to the garden with a few good books. Here are Reviews of My Summer Reading so far.

Murder in the Fens by Clare Chase

Fourth and possibly final instalment (for now anyway…) in the Tara Thorpe detective series set in and around Cambridge.

When bright and campaigning student Julie Cooper is found dead in what appears to be a crime of passion, we’re launched into a well-plotted murder mystery involving students and tutors at a Cambridge University college.

I’ve said final “for now” because I hope there’ll be more stories featuring feisty detective constable Tara, her troubled boss DI Blake and the rest of the team – Max, Megan and Jez. Not to mention Tara’s guardian angel, private investigator Kemp and her arch enemy, disgraced ex-cop Patrick Wilkins.

The four mysteries are best read in sequence to appreciate fully the story arc for Tara and the gang. Read my review of the third story here.

When Your Eyes Close by Tanya Farrelly

When Nick visits a hypnotist for help to curb his drinking, the therapy stirs up violent memories that he cannot explain. The story explores his quest for answers with the support of his girlfriend, Michelle. Nick discovers he has a shocking connection to a stranger, Caitlin, who has her own unpleasant memories and problems.

An unusual thriller, set in Dublin, with rounded, likeable viewpoint characters. It was great to have a male lead portrayed with depth rather than as a psychopathic fruitcake.

I recommend this novel if you like well-plotted suspense stories without too much on-page violence, but want a change from the usual storylines. An entertaining read.

The Devil’s Chair by Priscilla Masters

Priscilla Masters is a prolific crime writer with three series to her name plus standalones. I’ve read several and she’s become one of my go-to writers for a decent mystery. This novel combines a modern police investigation with hints of myth and folklore in the rugged, rural setting of South Shropshire. The Devil’s Chair of the title is the uppermost outcrop on the Stiperstones ridge. Legend has it that the devil himself put it there. (Having lived nearby for five years I can testify to its mysterious atmosphere.)

When drunk driver Tracy Walsh crashes her car into the valley below and all trace is lost of her little girl Daisy who’d been in the car with her, locals speculate that an evil, supernatural force has spirited the child away.

Coroner Martha, Detective Inspector Alex and the rest of the police team must sort fact from fantasy to find the child alive.

Unusual case, three-dimensional characters, spectacular scenery.

10 Minutes 30 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

A woman murdered in Istanbul in 1990 has 10 minutes and 38 seconds to look back on her life before her brain shuts down.
She recalls her childhood in rural Turkey and how the religious zeal, cruelty and mental illness of various close family members affected her and eventually led to her leaving home.

Against a backdrop of historic world events, particularly in Turkey, we witness the milestones in Leila’s life. We meet the five true friends that Leila made in her life and hear their painful stories.

Reminiscent of A Thousand Splendid Suns and The House of the Spirits – although not as harrowing as the former and without the magic realism of the latter – we see the resilience and determination of Leila and her friends despite the limitations that being socially outcast has put on them.

So those are the reviews of my summer reading so far. I’m off to my local open-air pool now for a read (and a swim!) so more reviews to follow soon.

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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