Adult Fiction, Crime, Debut, Family Drama, Liz Robinson Reviews

Sal by Mick Kitson – a guest review by Liz Robinson

There’s nothing quite like discovering a new author.  Here’s Liz’s review for this wonderful debut by Mick Kitson.

SALJust gorgeous… this is an emotional and quite, quite beautiful read. After a particularly traumatic time at home, 13 year old Sal and her younger sister Peppa escape into the wilds of Scotland. Sal has spent a long time preparing, the wilderness beckons them, can they survive on their own? Sal tells their story, the first chapter is so clever, I started to realise what had been happening, and then a few carefully chosen, yet almost casually thrown away words, sent a shockwave running through me. I could clearly hear Sal’s voice, she is so individual and distinctive, her words entered my mind and expanded, filling my heart. Mick Kitson encourages the Scottish countryside to sing with intensity, while you can hear Sal, you can see and feel the clean and natural space she and Peppa find themselves in. Kindness flows from unexpected places, and love is behind every word shared by Sal, even in the darkness. Simple, beautiful, provocative yet touching, this is an outstanding debut, and a read I will return to again and again. Highly recommended.

Synopsis:

This is a story of something like survival.

Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs and a first aid kit from Amazon using stolen credit cards. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos.

And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.

Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.

Sal was published by Canongate on the 1st of March 2018

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Adult Fiction, Crime, Liz Robinson Reviews, Relationship Stories, Suspense

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

 

Adult Fiction, Thriller

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