Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘stalking’

This is the first Ian McEwan novel that I have ever read – probably not the last, as I did enjoy it despite thinking for the first 25 or so pages that it was not my kind of thing.

Joe Rose is a successful writer, in a happy relationship with his partner Clarissa. However, their lives change when one day they witness a horrific accident involving a hot air balloon, in which Joe intervenes to try and help. Jed Parry, another man who also tries to help becomes obsessed with Joe and starts stalking him, hanging out outside Joe’s home and writing him letters, convinced that his love for Joe is mutual.

The fallout from the accident and Joe’s increasing concern about Jed’s behaviour has an impact on Joe and Clarissa’s relationship, as both she and the reader start to wonder whether Joe – who also narrates the novel – is suffering from paranoia.

This is the stuff of fast paced psychological thrillers, but in fact this book does not fall neatly into that category. The pace of the story is at times quite slow, and Joe’s narration is verbose and intellectual. As mentioned above, when I first started reading it I did think this might not be one I would enjoy, but I am glad I stuck with it, because I did find myself getting drawn in. I could sympathise with Joe, although I never really warmed to him. There were some surprises along the way, but not the sort of ‘gotcha’ surprises or twists that some thrillers deliver (which is in no way a criticism). Overall an interesting read and one I would recommend.

Read Full Post »

After reading Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel, ‘I Let You Go’, I was really looking forward to the this follow up. I had enjoyed the first book, thought it was well written with a super twist that, unusually, came halfway through. Unfortunately, I See You was nowhere near the calibre of it’s predecessor, and ultimately I was disappointed.

The story is narrated by mother of two Zoe Walker, another unknown narrator, and in the third person from the point of view of police officer Kelly Swift.

Zoe is horrified when she spots her own photo in an advert in the classified section of a free newspaper – there’s nothing there other than her picture, a phone number and a website address, but when she goes to the website she cannot gain entry. The next day the advert has a photo of a different woman, and she soon realises that there is a different woman shown each day. When she realises that crimes are being committed against some of the women in the pictures, Zoe starts to worry about her own safety. Who is printing these adverts and what kind of danger is she in?

Meanwhile PC Kelly Swift, still recovering from disciplinary action taken against her a few years before, becomes involved in the investigation into the advertisements and subsequent attacks on the women featured. It’s a race against time to discover who is behind the pictures and stop the crimes before more women are hurt.

Okay – so here’s the good part: the writing is well paced, and the characters are fairly well drawn (at least Zoe, her daughter Katie, and PC Swift are all easy to relate to). The idea behind the mystery is an intriguing one, and so far so good.

However…the final reveal, which I won’t give away here, almost made me throw the book against the wall in disgust. I can suspend my disbelief to an extent but this was ridiculous. Also, and I don’t think this is too spoilery, Zoe was not able to access the website because a password was required and she couldn’t figure it out. Fair enough – by her own admission, she was not particularly computer savvy. However, when the police are investigating and also cannot work out how to get in for some time, it didn’t make sense that the people who the advert was aimed at were miraculously able to figure out the password.

Anyway, it’s a quick read and undemanding if you don’t think too deeply about it. After the brilliance of I Let You Go, though, I can’t help feeling that this may have been rushed in order to capitalise on the success of that book. I’ve read worse for sure, but I’ve also read a LOT better.

Read Full Post »

6d03831e17d8c00593342705451434f414f4141

I’ve read novels by Emily Barr in the past and always enjoyed them. However, it had been a few years since I’d tried one, so when I picked The Sisterhood off my shelf (where it had been languishing for SEVEN years!) I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it – after all, tastes change and I know that mine have. My fear was unfounded however – after a slow start due to my own time constraints, I rattled through this book and found it hard to put down. Without giving too much away, the premise is as follows:

London: Liz Greene’s relationship has just fallen apart in a horrible and irrevocable manner. Depressed and lonely she has a one night stand and becomes pregnant.

Bordeaux: Helen Labenne and her brother Tom have just discovered that their mother had a child years before they were born. Bored with her privileged lifestyle, Helen decides to go to London to track down her sister Elizabeth Greene…

The book may start off in almost a chick-lit style, but it becomes apparent early on (and should already be apparent to anyone who has read Emily Barr before) that this is a much darker story, with sinister undertones and plenty of tension. It’s clear from the beginning that Helen has some issues, and an unconventional way of looking at things, but as she begins to insinuate herself more and more into Liz’s life, it gets twistier and creepier.

Unfortunately I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers, and spoilers can really ruin a book like this. However, I can say that the book is told from both Helen and Liz’s points of view – they take alternating chapters – and later, Helen’s mother Mary also narrates some ‘flashback’ chapters.

As the story builds to its climax, there are some huge twists – including one which I definitely saw coming, and one which I most definitely did not!

Overall, a very enjoyable read and one I would recommend to fans of psychological thrillers. My only niggling complaint is that the prologue does kind of give something away unnecessarily, but other than that I liked this book a lot.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

Read Full Post »