Monday, 18 July 2011

Martina Cole – The Family

The Murphy family are the most successful and feared gangsters in Southend. Lead by Philip Murphy they run many successful businesses and criminal activities. Philip takes care of his family and expects complete loyalty from all of them. He is devoted to his wife Christine but she has started to see a side of him that scares her and she feels powerless to do anything about it.

This was the first Martina Cole book I have read. I liked the sound of it as it seemed a little different for your normal crime books. The book opens with a present day scene which is a bit of a cliff-hanger so throughout the whole book you are aware that something is going to happen which is being built up to but don’t know what. After the opening section we then jump back in time to when Christine and Philip met and the book then continues chronologically to get back to the scene at the start of the book and its outcome.

I enjoyed the story and thought it was well paced in the most part. The characters were well formed and I feel we got to know them sufficiently although none of them were likeable and I struggled to have any sympathy for Chrristine. The book kept me interested throughout though and I was eager to find out what happened.

One thing I will note is that anyone who is adverse to swearing would perhaps want to stay clear of this book as there was a lot of it. I don’t have a problem with it personally and I think it was justified as those types of criminals would use that type of language but I know that if my mother in law picked up this book she would hate it because of the language used!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Joe Hill – Horns

Ig Perrish had a good life, son of famous parents, privileged life and a girlfriend, Merrin that he loved. But one night Merrin was raped and murdered, Ig was the only suspect but never went to trial but the town still decided that he was guilty. One morning Ig wakes up with horns growing from his head, they seem to give him special powers so he decides to use them to find out who was responsible for the death of Merrin.

I loved Joe Hill’s first novel Heart Shaped Box and really enjoyed his short story collection, 21st Century Ghosts, so I was really looking forward to reading Horns. I have a signed hardback copy but like to keep my signed books in nice condition so waited for the paperback version and when it arrived it jumped to the top of my to read pile.

I was not too sure about the story at first but I was quickly drawn into it and was soon completely hooked. The plot was interesting and well paced. I liked the way that the book was split into different sections, the first dealing with the present, section two dealing with the past including how Ig and Merrin met and then sections three onwards back to the present but using flashbacks / visions to look at the past.

The greatest strength of the book for me was the characters, they were well written and felt real and they brought out a wide range of emotions. I wanted to know what was going to happen to them and had genuine concern for Ig, hoping that he would be able to sort out his troubled life and reading Merrin’s letter to him brought tears to my eyes.

I’m eagerly awaiting Joe Hill’s next novel. So much so that I may even give Locke & Key a try although graphic novels have never really appealed to me (I don’t think I really “get” them) but I guess it may be worth giving it a go.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Nicci French - Killing Me Softly

Alice has a nice life, a good circle of friends and a happy long term relationship until one day she meets a stranger in the street and starts a passionate affair with him. Alice quickly cuts off from her old life and becomes obsessed with Adam but their relationship starts to take a sinister turn as Alice delves into his past.

I choose this book for two reasons. Firstly as I have never read any Nicci French before but often see “For fans of Nicci French” on some of the other books that I have read and enjoyed and secondly as part of the Criminal Plots Reading Challenge. This one is for the category “Book made into a movie” as this book has been made into a film starring Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes. I have never seen the film and looking at some of the reviews for it won’t be in any particular hurry to watch it!

This book was a quick and easy read. You do need to suspend your disbelief to read it as many of Alice’s actions seem completely bizarre and unlikely but as long as you can put that aside then the book is easy to get into.

I liked the pacing and the writing style and the story was entertaining. The characters were interesting but generally not at all likeable. Most of the time I thought Alice needed a bit of a slap to knock some sense into her and Adam was a suspicious weirdo that everyone seemed to worship and pander too because he had saved some people on a mountain once.

So whilst the book was not without its faults it was still an entertaining and enjoyable read. I will probably read more Nicci French in future.