All The Rage by Cara Hunter

If you are wondering why I gave this book four stars instead of five I will endeavour to explain. Close to Home was the first and it was fab. As well as finding out the truth about what happened to Daisy, we also learnt about the police officers and detectives – Adam Fawley of course, Gislingham, Quinn, Everett and Somer plus a few others less ‘important’. In book 2 In The Dark, we had another crime to solve but also more intrigue amongst the officers and more reveals of their relationships and back stories. But it was Book 3 No Way Out that was the real crescendo – the best story yet plus more about the main protagonists. So Book 4 was always going to be doomed to fade in comparison. I’m not saying it wasn’t good – it was – but we learn very little more about Gislingham, Quinn, Everett and Somer and what we learn about Fawley is more about his wife. Also the plotline wasn’t quite as gripping for me. However, I am still looking forward to Book 5. One thing that was really impressive about the four books is that looking back they didn’t blend into one another as so many series often do.

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

This book was even more stunning than the last two. I devoured it in two sittings. It was so emotional what with the death of the first child and then wondering whether Matty would survive. Where were the parents? Some of the fire scenes were very upsetting (I have always hated the idea of people dying in a fire since I was a child – I suppose everyone does but it became a bit of a phobia so I don’t like to read about it). The backstory was a really good way of telling us what happened as there were things the police would never know. We even think that Matty might have been involved because of his jealousy of little Zachary (no spoilers but we realise that this is just bravado). At one stage I had to ask my son (he’s 33) if he had ever played Minecraft – I can’t believe kids play this stuff. Now I can’t wait to read the next novel in the series.

In The Dark by Cara Hunter

Another brilliant book from Cara Hunter. I started this book the night before last but then I had a day off work and I literally just sat at home and read to the end. So intricately put together and I love the way the detectives and PCs are growing in character. After a while you start to question everyone and everything. Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Is anyone telling the truth? Who really are the victims here? I can’t wait to read the next in the series No Way Out. In fact I’ve just purchased it for my Kindle.

Close To Home by Cara Hunter

This is the first time I’ve given five stars to a book in ages but Close To Home is worth every star. It was absolutely riveting. I read it with The Pigeonhole (many thanks to them and to my fellow Pigeons and Cara who was commenting along with us). I rarely give five stars to any detective novel but this was something else. On a couple of occasions I stayed up till midnight to get the following day’s stave – including the final part. The ending was unexpected but I can’t say more because that would give away spoilers. Poor Adam and Alex (their back story) and poor Leo is all I’m going to say. You never know who’s innocent and who’s guilty but Barry and Sharon are ghastly though I’m not sure Sharon deserves everything that’s coming to her. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

The Crown Agent by Stephen O’Rourke

Dr Mungo Lyon, an Edinburgh surgeon, is barred from practice following his (minor) involvement in the Burke and Hare case. However, when he is caught up in a strange adventure that takes him to Glasgow and Jamaica, his skill as a surgeon is not the only skill he will need. He will need to use his intelligence and keep his wits about him as he is chased, shot at, accused of murder and taken prisoner on a ship bound for the other side of the world. Never knowing who he can trust and who is a villain, Mungo finds himself trying to solve the case almost single-handed. There are many surprises along the way and even the possibility of a romance. Murder, smuggling and treason – they are all here in this rip-roaring tale of adventure and derring-do.

Many thanks to the Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

Snakes and Ladders by Victoria Selman

I really enjoyed reading this. A bit Silence of the Lambs meets Dan Brown and I particularly like the codes and clues aspect. Dr Sange is an interesting character as you don’t expect a serial killer to be so handsome and charismatic (unless it’s Keanu Reeves in The Watcher – though maybe not charismatic). I’m not sure Ziba would be my first choice of profiler -she’s a bit off the mark at times. Difficult to review this without giving anything away. Suffice to say I don’t totally agree that serial killers are made nor born. I think it’s a combination of nature and a lot of nurture. Plenty of people have terrible childhoods but they don’t turn into murderous psychopaths. A great read especially with the author and my fellow pigeons on The Pigeonhole – loved throwing ideas around. Looking forward to book #4.
Just one comment. Please either call him Jack or Wolfie not both! It’s so distracting.

The Only Child by Mi-ae Seo

Oh boy this could have been so good. The premise of the story is an excellent one and once I managed to understand what was going on (which took a while) it became really gripping. The story that is – because the writing (and I guess it gets lost in translation) is clunky and immature. From my experience of creative writing (I studied it for my OU degree) which is all about show not tell, someone needs a bit of tuition. It’s tell tell tell and so much repetition. There are only so many times you can ask someone if they want a glass of water (no-one seems to drink anything else which I am sure is very admirable from a health point of view but not very believable) or maybe the excessive heat is supposed to add to the tension. It doesn’t. And we get that the child is pale with large eyes and puppy fat cheeks but we don’t need to be told over and over. The main character Seonkyeong is supposed to be a criminal psychologist, but her understanding of her step-daughter, who is a cross between Carrie and Damien from the Omen, is pitiable and even her time with the serial killer shows little expertise. She is, as my later Father-in-law would have said, as dim as a TOC-H lamp, whatever that is. Her husband, a doctor, is also pretty dim and unlikable with it.

But in spite of its flaws I loved it. It certainly pays homage to other books of its genre like The Silence of the Lambs. It even references it. And it would make a great film. It just needs some careful editing, preferably with a sledgehammer.

Many thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. I did enjoy it!