Intriguing Mystery. Explosive Ending. This was my first book from Holten, and thus obviously I hadn’t read the prior three books in this series. And yet this book totally works. Yes, there are references to prior events, but they are explained enough to keep the current story going without overburdening the current story with prior details. If you’ve ever started in the middle of a military technothriller series ala Tom Clancy or Dale Brown – similar feel here.
Overall, the world is interesting in that you get a typical-yet-not detective and an entire cast of well developed characters all working together almost in an ensemble fashion that works so well in so many mediums. Holten shows herself adept at the technique of using the final sentences of a chapter to hook the reader into reading the next, and indeed uses the final chapter of the overall book to similar effect – the reader is left almost breathless in desperate need for the next book.
If you’re open to police procedurals at all, particularly those set in the UK, you’re going to enjoy this book. Even if you’re not, you should really give this book a chance – the characters are that strong. Very much recommended.
This review of Dead Secret by Noelle Holten was originally written on March 10, 2021.
Slow Burn Family Mystery With Explosive Twist. Let’s get a common criticism dealt with up front: No, this is NOT a Jane Doe novel. That dispensed with, this *IS* a great example of Stone’s ability to tell more than one type of story in more than one way. What we get here is a compelling slow burn family mystery involving killers, rapists, mistresses, and one confused kid. Told in dual timelines from the modern era and the 80s, we see mom and daughter explore their situations and come to startling revelations – though neither is quite prepared for the explosive revelation at the end of the tale. This picks up some of the creepier elements of Christopher Rice’s Blood Music while spinning an engrossing gothic – in the classic sense of the word, involving a foreboding building – mystery all its own. Very much recommended.
This review of The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone was originally written on October 25, 2020.
This week we’re looking at a strong British courtroom thriller that seems to set up a new series. This week we’re looking at Take It Back by Kia Abdullah.
Writer’s block still plagues me, but here’s the Goodreads/ BookBub review:
Nuanced Courtroom Thriller. This is an interesting one. One with a main protagonist that… has several rough edges, at least a couple of which come back to bite her. One with a strong commentary about the role of Muslims in British (and by slight extension, Western) society, at many different levels. One with a strong discussion of what it means to be the “other”… in so many different ways. And one with secrets almost literally to the last word. Tremendous book, and very much recommended.
Fun Tale Told In A Possibly Unique Way. In some ways, this was a typical light-ish, women’s fiction level mystery involving a dead husband, a separated wife, and the mistress who caused the separation. It ultimately becomes a feel-good tale of friendship and bonding between female neighbors with a bit of a dark undertone, which was very well executed – darker than the Hallmark Romance level romances Snow typically writes under this name, but nowhere *near* as dark (and *far* funnier) than the depths Snow plumbs as JM Winchester. But what truly makes this book so rare and possibly unique is the decision to tell the tale from the perspectives of both the wife… *and* the mistress. Excellently told story that will ultimately have you guessing until very nearly the last word. Very much recommended.
This review of Housewife Chronicles by Jennifer Snow was originally written on October 23, 2020.
Solid, Compelling, Yet Blatantly Biased In Favor Of Cops. Four years ago nearly to the day when I read this book on July 11, 2020, Dallas cops used a brick of C4 to murder a suspect in a college building, rather than arresting him and bringing him to trial. This book is a detailed telling of the events of that night, taken from multiple interviews and videos with many of the very people in question. It doesn’t really delve into race or policing generally so much as the thoughts and histories of those involved, and not one person involved comes out looking like so much as a good person. Even with the narrative blatantly biased to put them in as favorable a light as possible. A compelling read that very much puts the reader in the night in question and in the heads of the cops in question, and this fact alone is the reason it rates so high. A great primer on exactly what cops think of the rest of us in modern America, and thus very much recommended.
A final note: While I absolutely recommend reading this book, I recommend getting it from a library or waiting until it hits the used market because the cops in question stand to benefit financially from its sale. This is a novel recommendation from me, but warranted in this case as these people should *not* stand to make money from murdering someone.
This review of Standoff by Jamie Thompson was originally written on July 12, 2020.
Preston (of Preston and Child fame) writes an interesting piece, but one thing is sorely lacking:
Also, expanding this to look at *both* sides would be very beneficial, I think.
Good work, and a worthy read.
This review of Trial by Fury by Douglas Preston was originally published on April 21, 2013.