Posts Tagged ‘Book Reviews’

I have just finished reading “Watch Me Disappear” by Jill Dawson.

“Watch Me Disappear” by Jill Dawson (via Goodreads)

The blurb reads:

“A ten-year-old girl vanishes without trace from a Fenland village, her body never found. Thirty years on, she comes sharply back to life in the mind’s eye of her childhood friend, Tina Humber, who has done her best to put the past behind her. But now, as Tina returns home for a family wedding, she replays her memories in search of what happened, fearing that deep down she has always known who killed Mandy Baker.

In this subtle, moodily atmospheric novel, Jill Dawson explores the line between innocent and perverted desire, and that volatile stage when young girls become away of their attractions, but do not grasp the dangers.”

It’s a really creepy novel, with descriptions of some disturbing events. At times, one can’t be sure what is real and what is Tina’s fantasy.

She seems to have a lot of “funny turns” where she lapses into a state of mind where she is bombarded by memories from her childhood. Leaving her young daughter and husband in her new home in America, she visits her old childhood home village when her brother gets married and being home triggers her memories of her missing friend, Mandy.

Her dad seems to be the main source of her unhappy childhood, with rumours and his strange behaviour, especially as he seems to have a thing for young girls. We see how she was his favourite child, but there are many disturbing comments which he makes in her flashbacks, which make you realise that she could have easily been abused by him. She never acknowledges whether or not something happened.

Tina as a young girl was intrigued by desires and sex and we read about her experiences, and how boys and men like girls, but she isn’t as intrigued by men as they are by her.

The novel deals with a lot of important issues, but never really gets interesting. I found it disturbing and uncomfortable at times, but mainly it’s just a jumbled mess of the present and the past blurring together. The narrator seems to be in a foggy state: nothing seems that clear. It’s easy enough to read but the story doesn’t go anywhere and I was a bit bored by the end. I give it 5/10 because it deals with an important phase in a girl’s development into an adult, but it doesn’t really go anywhere.

I have just finished reading “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

“Wool” by Hugh Howey (via Goodreads)

The blurb reads:

“In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo.

Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations.

But some people choose not to conform.

These are the people who dare to hope and dream.

These are the dangerous ones.

Jules is one of these people.

She may well be the last.”

I picked this book up in Waterstones as it was on a display table by itself, and I was intrigued by the clearly dystopian ideas in the novel, a theme which I have been interested in for years.

I wouldn’t say it is as good as “The Hunger Games” but it is of sufficient interest as a dystopian novel to warrant some attention.

It takes a while to get started in my opinion, even though it dives right into life inside this huge silo, and doesn’t get exciting until people start dying.

It’s interesting how relationships are forged in the silo, with so many rules and restrictions on how they live their lives. The connections between people are vital in aspects of life and death in this novel.

I was disturbed by the way people are punished in this novel, and how easy it is for everything to go wrong quickly.

Juliette is an interesting character: initially an unknown from the bottom of the silo, her promotion brings up to the top of the silo where she starts to learn just how easy it is for things to go wrong and fights for her life and her sanity. When her future in the silo seems lost, she quickly discovers how much people care about her and how their help enables her to survive the very worst thing in their controlled world.

It is a really good novel, although not the best dystopian novel I’ve read. It’s always fascinating to read about different scenarios in a future where things have gone badly wrong. This ranks around a 7/10 because it is an interesting concept what with being underground and has good characters, but it ends too suddenly and too easily for me. I felt short-changed by the ending, but I wasn’t particularly enamoured of the novel as it seems to be missing something, a little je ne sais quoi.¬†It’s full of ideas to think about, but it doesn’t feel as intense, desperate and gripping like other dystopian novels I’ve read. I would like to read the other books in the series, and I hope they will have more in them to hook me.

I have just finished reading “Waiting For Wednesday” by Nicci French.

“Waiting For Wednesday” by Nicci French (via Goodreads)

I have read several of Nicci French’s novels and enjoyed the mysteries behind murders. This was a impulsive purchase because I wanted something new to read and I knew this would be good. I didn’t realise that it was the third book in a series, but it stands alone fairly well as it explains what happened to the protagonist previously as you go through the book. It also makes you want to read the previous books!

The blurb reads:

I had power over him, and that made me feel strong and tender at the same time.

Just a chance remark made by a potential client, but to psychotherapist Frieda Klein it sets off alarm bells. Haunted by their significance, she is driven to find out more, and her search draws her into a dark world of missing young women inhabited by a predator so careful, so subtle that the police aren’t yet aware of his crimes. With each step Frieda gets closer to a silent killer whose determination to stay hidden is matched only by her desperate need to find him. An stay alive…”

Occasionally, I like to read murder mystery books, and this turned out to be another complex and interesting novel. I’m not sure it’s as good as others by Nicci French but it’s still good quality. I suspect that being introduced to Frieda Klein part way through the series isn’t the best situation as there are a few things that are confusing if you haven’t read the previous books.

Frieda is an interesting character with a clever mind who picks up on things which seem odd, and her basis for her search for a missing girl and an elusive killer is a small remark made by a patient. Her hunt to get to the bottom of this mysterious sentiment causes her to get involved with another murder, the main story in this novel: a mother and wife is murdered, and secrets start to emerge and people’s lives start to unravel as the police and Frieda start to investigate.

There is a lot of confusion in this book because it flits from the police carrying out their investigation, Frieda dealing with her recovery from nearly dying and her relationships with her friends, family, lover and work colleagues, to the mystery of the missing girl. It is also follows a journalist trying to seek the real murderer of a girl and find other missing girls, so he can prove that the man convicted of the murder was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is very determined to find out what happened to the girls. There are so many little hints and twists in this novel which make you change your mind constantly as to who was the murderer, but it takes a particular mind to piece together all the subtle clues.

Frieda is a strange character, who seems to have issues with herself: she recently nearly died so she’s trying to deal with the aftermath of that; she treats her friends oddly, pushing them away when she clearly needs their help to sort herself out; she is discredited as a therapist when she is tricked by people out to get her and instead of just getting on with things, this is where she hears the remark that triggers her therapist instinct and leads her down a trail to find a murderer; and she has a distant lover in New York who writes to her throughout the novel but she doesn’t make an effort to communicate much with him when she clearly needs to.

I give this book 7/10 because it is well thought out with all the little hints which get thrown into the plot, and the characters are suitably complex and full of secrets. Most of it is Frieda trying to work through her own issues while solving mysteries and deal with others’ issues so it gets a little confusing but it works in the end.