Tagged: crime fiction

Penance

I’ve just finished a book called Penance by Kanae Minato and I need to tell everyone about it.

A colleague first alerted me to Penance a few weeks ago. I didn’t think I’d heard of Kanae Minato before, to was only after googling I realised that she had written the novel Confessions, which was adapted into the most darkly upsetting films ever.

My spawn woke me up at 5AM the other morning for no reason, unable to go back to sleep I started reading Penance. By 7AM I was over half way through.

In a tiny Japanese village with the cleanest air, a factory is built bringing in new residents to this little community. Five young girls are playing volleyball when a stranger approaches the group. Within hours one of the girls is dead and the fallout from discovering their friend’s body haunts the girls for the rest of their lives.

Penance is the sort of book I would have finished in one sitting (if I hadn’t have had to go to work and look after a small child). I did manage to read it in a day even though I was interrupted too many times to count. When I finished this book I was shocked, numb and chilled. When I went to sleep I couldn’t help but think that a twee little Japanese housewife wrote this novel.

Penance is a story that will really chill you. I want to read everything Kanae Minato has written, reading her gave me the same rush I had when I first read Ryu Murakami. She’s utterly fantastic, brutal and manages to tap in a special kind of female darkness. I need to read Confessions. Minato’s writing is sensational and there’s something quite brutal about a Japanese housewife sitting down and writing this book.

This is a must read for crime fiction fans and even more so for Japanese fiction fans.

Penance is published by Mulholland Books and translated by Philip Gabriel.

#wtfthatending

A couple of weeks ago a proof copy of a new novel by Sarah Pinborough arrived. I’d never read any of Pinborough’s work before but on the back cover of the book was a whole bunch of praise from Joe Hill, Sarah Lotz and Neil Gaiman so I couldn’t help but be interested. I went to put the proof in my bag, knowing it would sit on my ‘to-read’ pile for a good few weeks when a colleague had said “that looks interesting” so I gave it to her.

Two days later my colleague shoved Behind Her Eyes into my hands and said “I need you to read this! I need to talk to somebody about the ending. I can’t stop thinking about the ending of this book!”

That night I started reading Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough and by the time I reached chapter ten I could not put this book down.

Behind Her Eyes is set in present day and switches point of view from Louise, a single mother who smokes, drinks, has night terrors and is holding it all together for her seven year old son. Whilst at a bar she ends up drinking with David, a psychiatrist who admits that he’s married before things go too far. Ending their brief romantic encounter with nothing but a kiss they go their separate ways only to meet each other again at work the next day. (My first thought was “OMG this is going to be just like Grey’s Anatomy!”)

After avoiding each other at work, Louise literally runs into Adele, David’s pretty but suppressed and lonely wife. Trying to do the right thing Louise tries to hurry off but ends up feeling sorry for this kind, shy woman and befriends her over a cup of coffee.

From the start of their friendship Adele shows some some subtle obsessive behaviour, buying Louise a gym membership, getting her to quit smoking. She turns Louise into her project.

The novel is interjected with flashbacks of Adele’s past, the early years of her relationship with David and her only real friendship with a boy named Rob.

Pin borough does an amazing job of making the reader care about the characters and be interested in the relationships enough to put the characters on equal footing. It’s really hard to over sympathise with one particular character and by the second half of Behind Her Eyes it’s very unclear who the victim is.

In the last quarter of the novel it’s clear where the story is heading, Pinborough has placed all the pieces of the puzzle perfectly and I was ready for the pay off.

WRONG!!!!!!!

On the back of the book, underneath the praise and quotes, in bright orange text was #WTFTHATENDING and oh my goodness, never has a sentence been so true! I’ve never been so wrong about ending of a book before. I read it once and thought “no way”. I went back a few pages to re-read the end and out loud I exclaimed “WHAT THE FUCK?!”

This book completely knocked me sideways.

I worry that people will try to compare this to Gone Girl because of the toxic marriage in the main plot by Behind Her Eyes is so much better. The characters are real, down to earth and actually likeable. The writing is fast paced and there’s pages where the writing makes you feel like you’re on a knife edge. Behind Her Eyes is so much fun to read and you’ll be thinking about the ending for days!

Behind Her Eyes is out in January 2017 and it’s going to be huge! Pre-order a copy from your local bookshop ASAP and make sure you read it the moment it’s released… You really won’t want anyone spoiling the ending for you.

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Mr Mercedes

The 3rd June saw the publication of Stephen King’s latest novel Mr Mercedes.  There has been so much hype about this book because it’s very different to the horror genre that King frequents. Mr Mercedes is a hard-boiled detective novel, but even within that there’s a twist.

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Mr Mercedes starts on a cold foggy morning, hundreds of people are queuing outside the City Centre auditorium. Augie Odenkirk joins the queue behind a young woman holding a baby, Augie’s established straight away as a genuinely good-guy but… well Augie isn’t in this book for very long as within the first few pages a Mercedes is ploughed into the queuing job-seekers.

It took me all of four days to stream through this novel. Unlike other crime thrillers we know who the killer is from the start. King’s novel switches between the perspective of retired detective William Hodges and the ‘Mercedes Killer’ Brady Hartsfield. Switching between these two characters makes the ‘cat-and-mouse’ sensation feel all that stronger.

About half-way through Mr Mercedes I figured that I knew how this book was going to play out. King spends the perfect amount of time writing Hodges in a way that don’t pity this old fat cop but you’re definitely on the side of this sharp ex-detective. When it comes to Brady we’re only given snippets of who he really is and how dark his past is.

This is a really edgy novel and there’s a fair few twists at the end of this novel that I certainly didn’t see coming. There’s a couple of paragraphs that relish in typical Stephen King gore and they make the novel even more thrilling.

I really enjoyed Mr Mercedes, it’s a refreshing take on the crime genre and the ending really pays off. It’s made me want to read more of the crime genre as this book was such a page-turner but above all I want to read more Stephen King!

In the meantime I intend to carry on with The Dark Tower series until I get my hands on what will be Stephen King’s next epic horror Revival, due out in November 2014.

Closer he creeps…

It’s only 4 weeks until Mr Mercedes is published!  After reading the first 33 pages I’m counting down the minutes until this brand new Stephen King novel is in my hands. Now I love a good crime thriller and Mr Mercedes is going to be such really gut-punching book.

The wonderful folks at Hodder & Stoughton sent me some awesome promotion material so I could scream and shout about Mr Mercedes and it’s so rare that publishers go out of their way to do this.

So with thanks to Hodder I got to spend a hour or so faffing around and having a blast putting in this Mr Mercesdes display. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy from your local book store!

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Mr Mercedes

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When I arrived at work there was a large thin envelope on my desk. My heart skipped a beat, I knew something exciting would be inside. At first I thought it was just a letter but out slipped a sample of Mr MERCEDES.

Stephen King fans get excited. Stop what you’re doing and run to your local book store and pre-order this book. Cruelly Hodder have only provided me with the first 33 pages.  This is nowhere near enough.

Now obviously I can’t really talk about what I’ve just read but oh my goodness, this is not like other Stephen King novel. This is different, this is strange and this is special.

**UPDATE**

Stephen King has released an exclusive trailer for Mr Mercedes! Here’s the link to his official website:

http://stephenking.com/promo/mr_mercedes/letter/720.html

Mr MERCEDES is published on 3rd June 2014 in hardback.

I don’t like this book very much

I’ve realised that I only review books that I like or have enjoyed so here’s a small piece on a book I’ve read recently that I really didn’t enjoy.

A few weeks ago I finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This book has been top of the book charts for a fair while and I came across a proof copy in the office at work. I figured I may as well give this book a chance, it’s probably quite good seeing as everyone’s buying it at the moment.

Gone Girl is a steadily paced thriller about Nick and Amy Dunne who’s seemingly perfect marriage leads to Amy’s sudden disappearance. The interesting thing about the structure of story is the nonlinear set up. When following Nick’s ordeal it’s in real time, when he’s dealing with the police and his hunt for his missing wife the writing is quiet good. At the start of the book every other chapter is a diary entry from Amy, showing how the couple came to meet and how their relationship and eventual marriage came to be.
Obviously there’s a twist that you can see coming a mile off but I won’t spoil it for you. For me this twist ruined the story. It made me dislike both of the main characters and I really didn’t care about what was going to happen to them. However I stuck with it, determined to finish this free book.
I found myself turning final page of the book and felt like I’d read such an underwhelming and wholly disappointing novel. I think the ending was a complete cop-out and I wished that I’d put the book down half way through.

Understand that this is simply my opinion and the author of this book, like any author has obviously worked really hard to write and get their work published so try the book for yourself, who knows you might love it!