The Woman in the Window.

window

Anna Fox lives alone — a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies and spying on her neighbours. She has agoraphobia and hasn’t left the house for eleven months.

One day a new family moves in and Anna can see right into their home, the living room, kitchen and the son, Ethan’s bedroom. They seem to be the perfect family. But one day Anna sees something she shouldn’t and she finds her world breaking down, crumbling as she tries to convince others that what she saw was real.

She tries to figure out what is real and what imagined. Who is in danger – is she? Read this book to the end and be surprised at the two twists that are eventually laid bare to the reader.

A great read and one I couldn’t put down. A J Finn is an author new to me but this book will not be the last I shall read from her. As Stephen King says about this book “One of those rare books that really is unputdownable.”

 

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The Third Rule

Third rule

This book was hard to read, not because of the author’s writing, but because it shows how quickly power in the wrong hands, can become so badly used.

In this novel, we are introduced to a Britain, ruled by a government with omnipresent surveillance and a despot with great power in his hands. Who was it that said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

We are introduced to Eddie Collins a CSI, his estranged wife Jilly, his journalist, drinking buddy, Mick Lyndon, Ros Banford a workmate and friend of Eddie, a Secretary of Justice, and his son.

Around this group the author weaves his story.

Eddie and his wife are grieving the loss of their son who is killed by a careless driver and Eddie is sliding rapidly into alcoholism. Mick is helping Eddie along this road.

And at this time, new government policy is introduced – The Third Rule. This sets out clearly that offenders will be given a chance to reform and rehabilitate.  If, after they complete their sentence and are released, they re-offend then they will be given a longer prison sentence, and in the event that they then re-offend, the Third Rule comes into play and they will be put to death. Murderers will be put to death immediately.

When a colleague is shot to death Eddie finds himself the main suspect and is now marked with Rule Three status. We follow Eddie and Mick as they try to unravel the secrets surrounding the deaths, the murders and the machinations of the Secretary of Justice, the man who seemingly holds all the power.

I said it is hard to read, but I recommend this book to all who enjoy a complicated story with an almost hero, and many twists and turns.

I was given an advance copy of the book to read by the author and I choose to make this review and recommendation.

 

 

 

 

THE NECKLACE

The Necklace

I said I wanted to read a different kind of book, a different story and I came across this one.  It’s certainly different to those books I have been reading recently.  And it’s a true story.

Jonell, described as a woman of average means, espies a beautiful diamond necklace in the window of a high-class jewellery store. On a whim, she enters the store and asks to see the necklace. She tries it on and it is even more beautiful. She asks the price and gasps at the response – thirty-seven-thousand-dollars. Of course, she knows there is no way she can ever afford such a necklace.

Over the next three weeks she thinks about it often and then one day she finds it has been reduced to twenty-two thousand dollars. It’s still way beyond her means, but what if she shared the necklace with some other women? And so the idea was born.

The jewellery store advertised an auction and Jonell is fortunate to buy the necklace – after much negotiating with the store owner – for $15,000 and she manages to convince 12 other women to invest, including the wife of the store owner.

The story tells how each of the women handles the necklace. Each has it for four weeks, during their birthday month. The necklace is handed around, lent to other friends and quickly it and the thirteen women become known around the town.

It is a real feel-good story, all the more so because it is true.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and read until the early hours of the morning. I recommend it as a light-hearted break in the stories of murder and mayhem that many of us are reading.

 

Harbour Street

Harbor Street

I have recently started reading books by Ann Cleeves and having seen several episodes of Vera on television, I decided to see what titles were available at our local library. No room for any more books in my small apartment.

I settled on Harbour Street. In this book, Vera’s offsider Joe Ashworth is on the metro with his daughter, Jessica going home after a school concert.  It’s just before Christmas and the train is, of course, crowded with shoppers, people coming from office parties, and kids with nothing better to do,  going into town.

The train is stopped at a station and the train is cleared of passengers who are told there is a problem on the line; the problem is that an elderly woman has been stabbed while sitting in the train.

Vera and Joe are called on to investigate and we are introduced to Harbour Street where the murdered woman lived. As Vera and her team begin to investigate the life of the murdered woman and the residents in and around Harbour Street,  it becomes clear that nearly everyone connected to the case is hiding something.

There are many secrets in the past in this intriguing book and the murderer is not easy to identify; but as always Vera Stanhope, the quirky DI whose scruffy appearance (note her father’s hat which she wears almost all the time), her age (close to retirement) and her solitary personal life, shines through the book. And the twist at the end was completely unexpected.

Anne ‘s characters are well written and because I knew them from the television series they were absolutely believable. Her descriptions of the fictional town, Mardle and Harbour Street were so vivid that I could picture both very clearly as I was reading.

This is a book I strongly recommend. It is, of course, more detailed than a one or two-hour television episode can be, and I think it better for that.

Watch this space for others in this series and some in the Shetland Series by AnneCleeves

 

 

A Narrow Victory

 

Ex-DI Hilary Greene has just spent a week of her holiday cruising around the Gloucestershire canals on her narrowboat, with her new man, her boss. the dashing Steven Hilary is now a consultant, working on cold cases. Her next case concerns the murder of Society interior designer, Felix Oliphant, but she can find no reason for anyone to want Oliphant dead. He seems to be an all-round good guy, one of the few really decent human beings and one who appears to have been universally loved.

On her return to work, Hilary finds there are two new recruits to the cold case squad. One a dot-com millionaire who claims to want to give back to society, and the other a young woman who gives no reason for wanting to be in the police. These two characters add a clever mix to the plot.

The ending is s a little abrupt, but as usual with Faith Martin,  the murderer comes as a surprise; I certainly didn’t expect this story to end as it did.

The characters are well developed and believable, the plot is well thought out and I recommend this book along with all the others in the series.

The Other Mrs Walker

Mrs Walker

I hadn’t read any reviews of this book, but the blurb made it look interesting. Unfortunately,  that blurb really didn’t lead me to a book I found worth reading.

The premise was good but both the execution of it and the narrative were fragmented, not helped by the constant jumping back and forward in time. I was particularly annoyed by the repetition of motifs, words and phrases that made me want to put my editing skills to work. I got fed up reading about orange peels and particularly the stolen red coat. How often was it necessary to bring these things to the reader’s attention?

I am glad that I hadn’t paid money to read this book, instead, I got it from our local library. I honestly could not recommend it to anyone.

PS – Something good to say – yes, I loved the green dress on the cover.

Thanks to my friend Chris in Kitchener, Ontario for pointing out the mistake in the title. Of course, it should be The Other Mrs Walker.

Vow of Silence

Vow of Silence

 

This was a book that once I started reading, I could not put down.  Having read the first book in the series I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this, the next one.

Once again, we are with Jill Shannon in her new home in Phoenix. Now Jill has met up with the charismatic Conner Manning, the only son of former Arizona Governor, Pierce Manning.

All is going well for Jill.  She has a small daughter born after the murder of her former husband, policeman, Alex Shannon, with whom she lived in Seattle.  Now she has reinvented herself and is planning marriage to Conner when links to her very secret past begin to creep into her present.

She is plagued/hunted/chased by a Phoenix Police Detective, David Shaw, who is convinced that Jill is somehow linked to the recent murder of reporter Joe Gaines.  According to CTV footage, Jill was the last person to speak to Joe and the next morning he was found dead in his hotel room.

We are introduced to Kat married to Luis who is somehow involved with the Mafia and because of this she and her daughter Ana are at risk.

So, another story told with a great plot, well developed and believable characters and all the attention to detail we have come to expect from Chris Patchell.

I strongly recommend this book to those who appreciate a well-told, well-conceived story.

Note – I was given a copy of the book to read by the author, and I choose to write this review.

 

 

The Nature of the Beast

 

Nature of the Beast

We are introduced to young Laurent Lepage who annoys the villagers of Three Pines with his daily cry of wolf. Walking trees, aliens invading, dinosaurs and other unlikely things mean nobody believes him when he tells of a huge gun in the woods. But people begin to wonder when the young boy is missing and when he eventually is found, dead what is considered at first to be an accident is quickly determined by Gamache to be a murder. Armand Gamache must face the possibility that, in not believing the boy, he himself played a terrible part in what happened to him.

The search for the boy leads them deep into the forest, his favourite play area and the trail from his murder leads to suspicion of each other among the villagers,  long-held secrets, an old crime, an old betrayal and more.

What is discovered there comes as no surprise to a couple of villagers although they have kept their secret for so long they think it is safe. But it all comes to light following the search by Gamache and his team for the murderer.  Can the peace of the village ever be restored completely?

 

Read this book to find out.

 

 

 

 

The Settler

The Settler

This book centres around Sarah, a young Zionist who lives quietly and peaceably with her family in the Gaza Strip.  That is until the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, reneges on his earlier promise and sends in security forces to expel the 8,000 plus Jews from their homes.  The forces then proceed to raze all the buildings leaving devastation behind.

Sarah and her family, all 5 of them, are rehoused temporarily in 2 rooms in a down market hotel.   The overcrowding, lack of privacy and sense of being in the wrong place causes Sarah to leave for Tel Avi.  Here she catches up with her cousin Dael, a musician and longtime supporter of Sarah.  Here we watch and wonder as Sarah transforms from an inexperienced, religious young woman into a nightclub superstar and the lover of Ziv, the mesmerising owner of the nightclub Atlantis.

The characters are all well written and believable.  We feel for Sarah (now called Sachar) as she makes her unsteady progress from being a loved and protected daughter in a Zionist family to the reigning Queen of Atlantis.  We move with her as she rejects all she has learned before and as she learns to dress, walk, smoke and speak in this new world in which she finds herself and then onwards to the place where she can become herself; a powerful woman in her own right.

This is an amazing story and although it is depicted as fiction I am left feeling that so much of it is based on fact.  We know all good fiction includes a certain amount of fact.

If I have any complaints it is the use of so many words unknown to those of us not of the Jewish faith.  Perhaps Orit could have translated a few more of the words for us.

Note -I was given this book to read by the author and in return, I choose to write this review.

Lost Girls

Lost

 

I have read other books by this author but this one disappointed. I could not begin to empathize with the main character. She appears to be completely self-centered and caring for no one else. Perhaps she didn’t have a good childhood in the family mansion but she does nothing to help herself. I quickly lost interest in Maudie and her story. I found the story confusing and none of the characters seemed real. I finished the book knowing no more about the story than I had at the beginning.

This book was and still is offered free on Amazon.  I think if I had paid for it I would have been upset.

Sorry Celina Grace, it’s a one-star read for me.