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Friday 31 August 2012

Recently Read- The Dead Summer, The Wire in the Blood and Broken Harbour.

The Dead Summer by Helen Moorhouse
"A thriller? Set in the Summer time you say? How ideal!" I thought. Hmm. Yeah, not so much. This is the story of a young woman, recently separated from her husband (after he cheated on her, the git) who moves to the countryside with her baby daughter for a fresh start. She finds an idyllic old cottage which they move into but it's only a matter of time before there's strange noises and odd happenings in the house. From there it kind of turns into one of those horror movies where you spend the hour and a half of the film using shouty capitals, going: "no, wait, why are you doing THAT? STOP investigating those sounds, just get your child and get in your car and never come FOOL!!" Etc. Like, the protagonist is an idiot. I'm aware there'd have been no story if she had just left as soon as things turned weird but I just find it hard to believe anyone is that stupid. In fairness, the book is reasonably well written (if a touch repetitive) and is an interesting read but I just couldn't get past the idiocy. You'll see what I mean if you read it. The author is Irish too, if that helps..

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid
I loved the tv series of this with Robson Green which ran for about 7 years, back in the day (I can say things like "back in the day" now I'm an old, married woman). It was based on a series of thriller/crime novels about clinical psychologist Tony Hill, who specialises in hunting the really awful offenders British society has to offer- serial killers, sex offenders etc. Basically he's the UK version of the BAU guys in Criminal Minds. For some reason I thought this was the first in the book series. It's not, it's the second. Doh. Anyway, the characters in this are really well written, the relationship between Dr Hill and D.C.I Carol Jordan (one of his colleagues) is quite unusual and slightly dysfunctional, kind of Mulder and Scully-esque. I couldn't put this book down so I've bought a few more from the series on the Kindle. Having said that, I'm not sure I'm ready to read another one just yet, they're very graphic and although the "detective story" element is really interesting, the violence perpetrated against the victims is expressed in detail, something I found a bit hard to stomach. Which is the reason I stopped reading Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson books years ago. So yeah, not sure about this one. If it's the type of thing you normally read then you'll really enjoy it. Otherwise, avoid! (also, this book is a fair few years old so you should get a good deal on it in a book shop, or indeed on the old Kindle).

Broken Harbour by Tana French

I love Irish author Tana French. This is her 4th novel based on the Dublin Murder Squad. Of all her books, her 3rd one was probably my favourite but the first two and indeed this one are all well worth a read. This one follows Detectives "Scorcher" Kennedy and his young protege Richie as they try and solve the murders of two children, their dad and the attempted murder of their mum, in their home in a ghost estate situated near the seaside in Dublin. The seaside village has very bad memories for Detective Kennedy, who struggles to cope with his past while simultaneously trying to solve this bizarre crime. Again, the characters are very well drawn in this and it taps into different facets of Irish society remarkably well. It's also a really atmospheric book- set in a post Celtic Tiger Ireland in Winter, it's a bit bleak and definitely quite dark. Unlike her first novel "In the Woods", this thankfully has a resolution- it's quite a long book so if it had an ambiguous ending I think I'd have been driven a bit demented. This one I can definitely recommend!

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