Tag: expertreviews

We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard – reviewed by Liz Robinson

We were the salt of the seaWhat a beautifully written, captivating, and soulful read this is. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly transferred, begins to investigate the death of a women found in fishing nets out at sea. Catherine Day leaves Montreal for a remote fishing village, looking for answers about her birth mother. The Gaspe Peninsula sits centre stage in the story, remote, set apart, and yet intimately connected to the sea. I immediately fell headlong into the story, the seamless translation encourages the words to join together, creating a vividly stunning picture. Catherine tells her own tale, having such personal access allows a connection, yet she still feels hidden from view. Other peoples thoughts tumble freely over the pages, yet they belong, they anchor the story. I felt that the author Roxanne Bouchard has a profound connection to the sea, she loves it, respects it, yet the immense power simmers, occasionally rages in the background.

I quite simply adored We Were The Salt Of The Sea, refreshingly different, unpredictable, yet deeply rich and touching, it became a part of me.

Genres: Lit, crime, family drama, relationship tale.

We Were The Salt of the Sea will be published by Orenda Books on the 30 March 2018.

 

 

The Pharmacist’s Wife by Vanessa Tait – Reviewed by Liz Robinson

Pharma Wife

Oh my, this is a fascinating, darkly powerful novel with biting attitude, set in Victorian Edinburgh. In the laboratory above a newly opened pharmacy, a wonder-drug is created, as the pharmacist experiments, his wife of six months discovers a world she couldn’t have imagined. Kindness and love sit at the very heart of this novel, however light can be so easily doused, and a bleak and twisted shadow menaces the pages. This may be a blistering Victorian drama, yet the characters feel so very real, their thoughts and feelings could easily be exposed today. Vanessa Tait writes with a provocative, combative pen, my mind flinched, my heart ached, and yet hope existed within the very centre of my being. Raw, elemental and disturbing, The Pharmacist’s Wife is an entirely captivating and enthralling read – highly recommended.

The Pharmacist’s Wife will be published by Atlantic Books on the 5th April 2018.

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard – a review by Liz Robinson

Liars GirlAn absolutely cracking, and thrillingly creepy read.

Ten years after her first boyfriend Will confessed to five murders in Dublin and was imprisoned, Alison is still keeping the past at arms length. After several copycat killings, the Garda ask her to return home and speak to Will in prison, and Alison finds herself facing the past head on.

The first few intense pages set the tone, the words menaced and harassed my senses as they introduced an unidentified male. The chapters that follow are either headed Alison or Will, with the unidentified male occasionally making an appearance. Unsynchronised ‘then’ or ‘now’, keep you in the present or throw you into the past, and I was on high alert to the changes. Alison tells her own tale, allowing a deeper connection, I found myself uncertain and on edge, as more information from the past was released.

Catherine Ryan Howard fans the flames of tension, she strings a taut wire between the murders of then and now, until they start to collide and the ending hurtles towards you. The Liar’s Girl is so clever, so captivating, and fairly crackles with dramatic intensity, oh what a truly fabulous read this is.

The Liar’s Girl was published on the 1st of March by Corvus

 

Every Man a Menace by Patrick Hoffman – A review by Liz Robinson

Every man a menaceRiveting, raw and gritty, this is a story that rockets around like a ball in pinball wizard’s championship run. Focusing on some of the players in a drug smuggling ring, this tale crosses oceans, and proves how cheap life can be when greed takes over. Patrick Hoffman’s first novel was shortlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association Ian Fleming (best thriller) Award, this is his second novel, and another winner. There is a real earthy feel to the writing, I felt as though I was balancing on a serrated edge, viewing the action from an external position, yet also completely in the moment. I could see humanity in action with the characters, could almost see their thoughts taking place, and feel their emotions. As the end came closer, and the snare grew ever tighter, so the story came full circle. Every Man a Menace is a chilling, short and sharp, utterly engrossing read, and I loved it.

Every Man a Menace is published by Grove Press on the 2nd March 2018

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey – a review by Liz Robinson

Dark lakeTold over a period of three weeks, with forays into the past, this thrilling debut gathers tension into a knotted tangled ball, before hurling it sky high. Set in Australia, a teacher is found murdered in the town lake with roses scattered in the water above her. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock ignores connections to the past in order to pursue the case, yet years old secrets start to push forward and batter at her mind.

Sarah Bailey allows Gemma her own voice, she speaks with a simple intensity, her words have a gritty almost dispassionate feel, yet passion is clearly simmering in the background, edging ever closer to the forefront. Other characters are occasionally allowed voice, giving further insight into Gemma. As information is slowly revealed, and the policing team struggle to place all the pieces, I felt the links closing in.

The Dark Lake simmers with tension, infatuation, secrets, and lies, ensuring an absorbing, provocative read.

The Dark Lake is published by Atlantic Books on the 1st of March 2018.

Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block – A review by Liz Robinson

oliver lovingOh, what a truly beautiful read this is, though do prepare for your heart to ache, weep, and possibly even break. For the last ten years, Oliver Loving has been lying in a hospital bed, paralysed and non-communicative, is he trapped in his own mind, can a new test release him? Everyone wants answers, they also want to know what happened ten years ago, on the night of the school dance in Bliss, Texas… and what caused the tragedy that took place there. The story focusses on Oliver, his mother Eve, and brother Charlie, and how one event has trapped them, has maimed them all. Stefan Merrill Block writes so thoughtfully, an almost gentle lyrical quality caresses the pages, yet he encourages searching questions, for you to travel deeper, to look further.

This is an emotional read, the writing touched me, deep inside my heart, and a part of Oliver Loving will remain there. Almost otherworldly, yet raw and true and full of heart, Oliver Loving is profoundly moving, and captivating, I highly recommend stepping inside the pages, and becoming one with the story.

Oliver Loving is published by Atlantic Books on the 1st of March 2018