Archive for the ‘Hodder & Stoughton’ Category

Review: Knife Edge – Fergus McNeill

Knife Edge by Fergus McNeill

Title: Knife Edge
Author: Fergus McNeill
Publication date: 1 September 2013
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-444-73966-4
Length: 406 pages
Genre: Mystery
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

He didn’t intend to let her get so close. But now that Kim’s become important to him, Robert Naysmith decides to tell his girlfriend his deadly secret. He wants her to recognise the power he holds.

He hopes he won’t have to kill her.

Detective Inspector Harland hasn’t forgotten the serial killer who got away from him. But with nothing to go on, he fears he will never bring him to justice. Until he is seconded to investigate the brutal murder of a woman in her Bristol home. A random attack, a murderer who has carefully covered his tracks . . . alarm bells start ringing.

Then Harland meets Kim. One last game of life and death is about to begin.

My thoughts

Fergus McNeill has been on my ‘top 10 favourite crime writers’ list ever since I read his debut, Eye Contact, last year. Needless to say the sequel, Knife Edge, was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I’m glad to say that McNeill didn’t disappoint. While Knife Edge seemed a bit slower paced than its predecessor, all in all I really enjoyed it.

The book pretty much starts where the previous one ended so it won’t make much (if any) sense if you haven’t read Eye Contact yet. Serial killer Robert Naysmith is on a holiday on a remote island and, seeking recognition, he is just about to tell his girlfriend his deadly secret. How do you go about confessing such a thing? How will Kim react? Will she try to get away or will she stay with him? These are the questions Knife Edge focuses on while it follows Kim’s journey after Naysmith’s revelation.

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Review: Under Your Skin – Sabine Durrant

Cover of Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant

Title: Under Your Skin
Author: Sabine Durrant
Publication date: April 11, 2013
Publisher: Mulholland Books (Hodder & Stoughton)
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781444762396
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

This morning, I found a body.
Soon the police will arrest me for murder.
And after that my life will fall apart.

Gaby Mortimer is the woman who has it all. But everything changes when she finds a body on the common near her home. Because the evidence keeps leading back to her. And the police seem sure she’s guilty…

Under Your Skin is an unpredictable, exquisitely twisty story, which proves that there are only three rules in life that mean anything: assume nothing, believe no one, check everything.

My thoughts

Sabine Durrant’s Under Your Skin is – for me, at least – one of those books that is quite hard to talk about without ruining the story and giving away too much, but I’ll try my best to find a balance.

Compared to most of the books in this genre the novel started off quite slowly and it took me some time to fully settle into the story and get used to the writing style but once I did, I could barely put it down. Contrary to what I was initially expecting, it’s not your usual police procedural book and nor it is one of those race-against-the-clock thrillers where there’s a new victim every few chapters and more blood than you bargained for. Under Your Skin starts with our main character, a London TV riporter called Gaby Mortimer, finding a dead woman’s body near her home while she’s out running one morning. The book then follows Gaby’s life and lets us take a glimpse of how this incident has affected her life and how, hard as she might, her life will never be the same. As the police are trying to collect evidence and figure out what might have happened on that fateful night, Gaby suddenly realises that every piece of evidence is leading back to her. And gradually every little thing in her life is starting to fall apart.

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Review: Eye Contact – Fergus McNeill

Cover of Eye Contact by Fergus McNeill

Title: Eye Contact
Author: Fergus McNeill
Publication date: September 13, 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-444-73961-9
Length: 345 pages
Genre: Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

If you look him in the eye, you’re dead.

From the outside, Robert Naysmith is a successful businessman, handsome and charming. But for years he’s been playing a deadly game. He doesn’t choose his victims. Each is selected at random – the first person to make eye contact after he begins ‘the game’ will not have long to live. Their fate is sealed.

When the body of a young woman is found on Severn Beach, Detective Inspector Harland is assigned the case. It’s only when he links it to an unsolved murder in Oxford that the police begin to guess at the awful scale of the crimes.

But how do you find a killer who strikes without motive?

My thoughts

Eye Contact, Fergus McNeill’s debut novel has been on my wishlist ever since I first saw it on the publisher’s website. What intrigued me about this story is the fact that there’s no motive behind these murders. It’s all just a game. And even before I started reading the book, I started wondering: how do you track down someone who has no reason to kill and whose victims have no connection to each other whatsoever? As a huge crime fan I’ve read many books from the same genre but never have I encountered one where the killer’s only motive is the adrenalin rush, that strive for power and I was quite curious to see what would happen next and how the events would unfold. I had really high hopes for this one and I’m glad to say that McNeill didn’t disappoint. McNeill’s writing, unique plot and his ability to describe what’s going on in both the killer’s and his hunter’s head are equally engaging from the very beginning and I found it very difficult to put this book down.

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Review: Lifesaving for Beginners – Ciara Geraghty

Cover of Lifesaving for Beginners by Ciara Geraghty

Title: Lifesaving for Beginners
Author: Ciara Geraghty
Publication date: September 27, 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-78033-458-5
Length: 464 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

Kat Kavanagh is not in love. She has lots of friends, an ordinary job, and she never ever thinks about her past. This is Kat’s story. None of it is true.

Milo McIntyre loves his mam, the peanut-butter-and-banana muffins at the Funky Banana café, and the lifesaving class he does after school. He never thinks about his future, until the day it changes forever. This is Milo’s story. All of it is true.

And then there is the other story. The one with a twist of fate which somehow brings together a boy from Brighton and a woman in Dublin, and uncovers the truth once and for all. This is the story that’s just about to begin . . .

My thoughts

Ciara Geraghty’s books have been on my to-be-read list for quite a long time but I never actually got round to reading them. So when I received a copy of her fourth novel, Lifesaving for Beginners, I couldn’t wait to get started. But even though it sounded like something I would enjoy,  I had no idea what to expect. All I can say is: three pages in I was already hooked and I’m not exaggerating when I say I loved this book from start to finish.

At the risk of sounding terribly morbid, I love the fact that Lifesaving for Beginners starts in such a dramatic way. A few pages in, two women are involved in a car crash in Ireland: Beth, a mother of four from Brighton and Kat, a thirty-nine year old writer from Dublin. Beth dies instantly, while Kat walks away without a scratch. The book tells the story of their families whose lives will never be the same again. Then, just when they think they’re starting to figure out how to move on and deal with the past, something comes along and once again, changes everything, bringing the two families together. The fact that the book starts with such tragic events means that you just cannot help being drawn to the story from the very beginning.

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Review: In The Woods – Tana French

Cover of In The Woods by Tana French

Title: In The Woods
Author: Tana French
Publication date: 20 November, 2007
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-340-92476-1
Length: 596 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

You’re twelve years old. It’s the summer holiday. You’re playing in the woods with your two best friends. Something happens. Something terrible. And the other two are never seen again.

Twenty years on, Rob Ryan – the child who came back – is a detective in the Dublin police force. He’s changed his name. No one knows about his past. Even he has no memory of what happened that day. Then a little girl’s body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. For him and his DI partner, Cassie, every lead comes with its own sinister undercurrents. The victim’s apparently normal family is hiding layers of secrets. Rob’s own private enquiries are taking a toll on his mind. And every trail leads inexorably back… into the woods.

My thoughts

WOW. It’s not often a book leaves me completely and utterly speechless but In The Woods by Irish novelist Tana French has just done that. Before I start, I must say a massive thank you to Marian Keyes for the recommendation and for brining Tana French’s work to my attention, and to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of this book – it was a truly brilliant read. I’ve loved crime fiction for quite a long time and I’ve read a tremendous amount of mysteries in the past but Tana French’s writing is nothing like I’ve ever come across before.

At the risk of sounding sloppy and terribly cliché, reading In The Woods was like eating my favourite chocolate. You know, your favourite chocolate you always save for last, the one you eat with your eyes closed and at a snail’s pace in order to savour every moment. I felt the same way about this book. I was hooked on page 1 and didn’t want to put it down – but at the same time, I wanted to take my time and draw it out as long as I could, enjoying every minute of it. I didn’t want it to end.

Rob Ryan is a brilliant narrator and protagonist and one of my favourite things about this book was his friendship with his partner, Cassie Maddox. I loved the fact that Cassie wasn’t a “girly girl”. She’s been through a lot and being on the Murder squad mustn’t have been easy for her but still, she was one of the toughest characters. The two of them were constantly bickering but they’ve always had each other’s back and they’ve always been there for each other when it really mattered.

I have to say, however, that In The Woods is not warm, upbeat story. It’s dark, it’s full of secrets, it has quite a haunting atmosphere and it doesn’t have a happy ending. Even though Rob Ryan’s past plays an important part in the book, there are things that remain unsolved and his past is never fully revealed – and it might not work for everyone. To be honest, I was a tiny bit disappointed by this at first, just like many other people. Rob comes so close to remembering what happened that night in the woods but then, all of a sudden it’s taken away and we’re left in the dark again. But you know what? I loved it all the same. The novel’s atmosphere and French’s eloquent writing style makes up for it.

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