Thursday, 31 July 2014

Handy Andy

New day, new prompt. Today, The Daily Post questions my love of handmade items, when nearly everything is available to buy ready made why do we bother buying handmade stuff? Because handmade equals heart.
My favourite little shop in Oswestry is Booka, because it's unique, different and because it sells gorgeous handmade cakes. Yes, it may be a little rough around the edges but it tastes delicious and comes with service with a smile.
I love giving handmade gifts too. I'm not sure if taking photographs counts (because it does involve button pressing), but for my friend's birthday I gave her one of my popular Scrabble Art pieces. Scrabble Art is where I put together a person's name and their qualities or family members and take a picture. I suppose I am still making the gift as I sit there with my Scrabble box counting letters and hunting to find the elusive Q. I also gave her a box of home-made brownies.
My step-dad bakes the most wonderful bread and my Mum spends hours in the garden growing our own fruit and vegetables. We also have our own chickens so have a steady supply of eggs. Although not all of these are handmade, they all have a sense of doing something for our ourselves rather than buying ready made.
Following this tradition I also really enjoy writing my hand. Although I love having this blog and keeping it up to date, when I first have a spark of creative energy I get out a pen (or even a pencil) and some paper and feel the words flowing through my fingertips.
What I'd really like to do is have a go at making my own clothes. I have a bucket list and on that is 'to make my own dress'. To be able to take a basic design and a fabric I like and make something that I can wear and enjoy would be brilliant.
Handmade and home-made is definitely for the win and I would always pick it over something inscribed with 'Made in China'.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Rain In Spain

It'll be a beautiful day, she had said. You won't need an umbrella, or a coat. So when I felt the first drops of rain on the back of my neck I cursed my mother for her tireless optimism.
But this was just a shower, nothing more, it would pass in a few minutes. We were in Spain, not Wales! But the rain only became heavier, soaking through my thin shirt.
It was no longer an option to stay outside, so without even looking up I pushed open the door nearest to me.
A brass bell above the door sounded loudly. The door swung shut behind me and all noise vanished. It was like the shop had been enveloped in cotton wool.
When my eyes adjusted to the dim fluorescent lighting I realised I was in some kind of antique shop. A thick layer of dust coated every artefact on the shelves. The bell hadn't brought anybody to the cluttered desk so I thought I'd just take a look around while I waited for the rain to pass.
The shop didn't appear to specialise in anything. There was a mishmash of clocks, wooden boxes, vases, statues. The whole right wall was covered in books of different shapes, sizes and conditions, while the left displayed some beautiful paintings and artwork.
I could feel the raindrops drip down my back and into my underwear. In this heat, at least I would dry quickly.
I walked down a narrow aisle until I reached the end where there was an enormous chest. Even me, at six foot could have curled up in there and closed the lid. It was full of junk mainly, bits of twisted metal that no longer resembled anything. But something caught my eye, something brass.
I gripped the handle tightly and pulled. With a great wrench it was released and I realised what I had in my hand was a lamp. It was covered in inscriptions and fine detail in a language I didn't recognise. It certainly wasn't Spanish. It immediately reminded me of Aladdin, a magic lamp. Maybe I would discover a genie and get to make three wishes I thought with childish glee. I even gave it a cursory rub before laughing at myself and dropping it back into the chest.
I made my way back to the window and peered out through the grime. It was still pouring down. Do I brave the weather or hang about a bit longer? I didn't get to make my decision, as the owner of the shop emerged through a plan wooden door behind the counter.
"Buen dia," he said, wish an open smile.
The man must have been in his seventies. He had no hair on his head but a white moustache and wore round spectacles on a bulbous nose. He dressed fairly plainly in a white shirt and waistcoat and the skin on his arms seem to hang off him.
"Hola," I said, hesitantly.
Thankfully, he picked up on my lack of language skills. "I see you are not from these parts."
What gave it away, my pale skin and fair hair? Or the camera swinging from my neck?
"No, I'm on holiday with my family," I said, moving towards the counter.
"Then welcome my dear," he said, clasping my hand.
As he took my hand I felt a jolt of electricity. It was like a burst of static from his hand to mine. Considering his wrists and fingers were gnarled with arthritis he had a surprisingly strong grip.
"Something seems to be troubling you," he said. I tried to remove my hand but he would not let me. After only a moment I stopped worrying about that, I felt myself relax. It felt like I had known this old man for years.
"Money. This holiday is practically free because of our relatives but my Mum and I barely have two cents to rub together," I said, like pouring my heart out to him was perfectly natural.
"Anything else?"
"My Dad is sick. It's terminal and I don't know what I'm going to do when he's gone." I blinked back tears from my eyes and tried to keep it together.
"What else is there?" he said, soothingly, using his thumb to stroke the back of my hand.
"I think my little brother is taking drugs, and I'm scared for him."
That last statement came out in a 'whoosh'. I'd never shared that with anybody, not even my mother.
The old man let go of my hand and all of a sudden all the noise came rushing back, car horns in the street, the sound of rain on the roof, the ticking of the clocks. I felt light headed and thirsty all at once.
"Are you alright my dear?" asked the shop owner, concern in his eyes.
"I just think I need to sit down," I said, plonking myself in a conveniently placed wooden throne.
"You take as long as you need," he said, "I'll get you something to drink." He tottered off back through the wooden door.
He must have been gone for about fifteen minutes when I gave up waiting. The rain had stopped and I felt generally healthier than I had before. I decided to wait no longer and continue on back to the villa.
When I let myself in through the front door my mother rushed at me, almost knocking me over.
"You'll never believe it!" she cried. Her face was wet with tears but there was a broad grin on her lips.
"What?" I asked, searching for some kind of clue.
"The doctors called. Your father's scan is clear. It's gone, all the cancer is gone." We spent about ten minutes jumping up and down and hugging in delight.
"There's another thing, your brother came to me today. He's been taking drugs but he feels awful about it and wants to get some help so we need to support him. Okay?"
"Of course, of course," I said, feeling slightly peculiar about what was going on.
"Now come inside," she said, whisking me in to enjoy a glass of lemonade.
Two of my 'wishes' had been granted. No, it couldn't be. This was just coincidence nothing more. Genies do not exist and they do not live at the back of antique shops in Spain.
The evening came upon us and I was flicking through the channels trying to find something that wasn't a Spanish soap opera and I happened upon the Euromillions. Something made me pause and something told me to look in my bag. It took me all of two seconds to discover the scrunched up Euromillions ticket that I had never bought and I watched in horror and delight as each number that came up was printed on my piece of paper. This couldn't be happening this wasn't possible. Cue more jumping up and down with my Mum.
The next day I decided to go back to the little antique shop to tell him all that had happened. But as I got closer I discovered it wasn't there. In it's place was a tired old Laundromat. I pressed my nose up against the glass to see if I had made a mistake, but the shape of the room was similar. Some of the clutter had found it's way there too. At the back I could just make out an old man sitting behind a counter, grasping another girl's hand as he had mine. I wished I could talk to her, share my experiences but part of me knew that was not an option. Make them count, I thought. Make them count.

(This was brought to you by a Daily Prompt. For the details, click here.)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Dream Team

Christine Hughes as Hippolyta
Since late February The OD Project has been working on it's latest open-air Shakespeare production. After the success of Much Ado About Nothing in July 2013, we returned this year with more gusto than ever for a unique performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play of mischievous fairies, confused lovers and rude mechanicals.
Lead by Debbie Glenn, rehearsals started in early spring, a mixture of old faces and new. The play was cast but we were missing a Puck (a rather vital character) and Philostrate, an attendant to Duke Theseus.
Three auditioned for the playful Robin Goodfellow, veteran Tom Evans (aged 15), and newcomers Katy Bird and Shaun Higgins. The part was given to Mr Higgins, Tom taking the role of the bumbling Philostrate and Katy becoming lead fairy.
We were cast, rehearsals began with vim and vigour, there was lots of jumping, magic glowing fingers and giggles. Then two people had to drop out for unavoidable reasons, leaving places for Lysander, one of the four lovers and Bottom a rather vital mechanical who suffers from Titania's affections. It seemed that wherever we turned we were losing cast members, at no one's fault, but we needed to replace them and quick for the upcoming performances in July.
From lft to rght: Rhys Davies, Nick Chesters as Bottom, Larry
Collins as Peter Quince, Sander Van der Horst as Oberon,
April Ryder as Titania
Morgan Buswell and Nick Chesters stepped up to the roles respectively and rehearsals continued, helping our newcomers settle in as much as possible.
As the Stage Manager I got to work tea staining paper and gluing ribbon to make scrolls. I had meetings with Mark Evans, our brilliant set designer who made pillars turn into trees and Rosie my fellow Stage Manager who had somehow been put in charge of the costumes (and a mighty good job she did of it too!).
Rehearsals seem to go on forever. This year was a six month period, the year before was a staggering ten months. As always we seem to have all the time in the world, until suddenly it's on us and there is so much to do. Fairies need fairy lights, the marquee needs to be erected, costumes need to be altered. The list is never ending.
Tom Evans as Philostrate, Harry Ford as Flute, Rhys
Our first rehearsals as The Vaults (a fantastic pub in the heart of Oswestry with a beautiful performing space) always gives the cast a burst of energy. Being outside in the summer weather with everything coming together, costumes finally being completed, set pieces starting to arrive makes us realise how close we are to opening night.
We hired several costumes from the Royal Shakespeare Company and they were picked up on the Friday before the week of performance. Thankfully we received them early as several of them were in states of disrepair and despite us giving accurate measurements they didn't all fit properly. Out of all the costumes, only two needed no alteration or required the removal of a few ribs.
On Sunday a technical rehearsal at Chirk Castle (our first and only rehearsal) really put everything in perspective. It's a beautiful location, but it is huge. In comparison The Vaults is intimate.
Gabriella Edge as a fairy
Dress Rehearsal came and went with the only hitch being Puck misplacing his costume. As the character is bare chested a pair of trousers was all that was required and could be supplied. This time around Dress Rehearsal felt like opening night, so by the next morning I felt relaxed and ready to crack on with a show that I knew was going to be a hit.
Cast members started to arrive around six thirty. I'd been there for a few hours setting up and adding the finishing touches. Then came the news that no amateur dramatic company wants to hear. Someone was sick. Ian Collings played Starveling, a small role that he had really made his own. But looking like he belonged in The Simpsons he was sent home with orders to rest and our musical director Michael Jenkins stepped in. By Wednesday night he looked less yellow, more cream and rejoined the cast for two more successful performances at The Vaults. Each night our audience seemed to grow in size. Our Thursday audience definitely laughed the most and for the actors to hear the reaction it put a spring in their step.
Elly Clark as a fairy
Friday came with a change of location. So we packed up our pillars, trees, balloons and fairy bower and made our way to Chirk Castle. The heat was blistering and setting up a marquee in the midday sun was torture. At this stage we were unsure of numbers. Malcolm Lord, who was selling tickets to the cast had only sold four. I went home for a shower and a change of clothes and by the time I had returned to the wonderful Chirk Castle, the place was filling up. After a rousing speech from Debbie we put on a brilliant show, with no issues and an audience of more than a hundred. Roll on the last night!
All week, as an open-air production, we had been watching the weather forecast. A storm was coming. From friends on Facebook that still live in Sussex I had seen magnificent pictures of the sky filled with lightening. But that meant at some point it had to reach us.
During the day it had been raining on and off, but as the evening came round the sun came out and we all remained cautiously optimistic. We prepared for the worst with pac-a-macs and umbrellas at the ready, but hoped for the best. The first half of the performance went off without a hitch. The sky looked a bit darker but no sign of adverse weather yet. Then after the interval spots of rain began to appear, thunder rumbled and the sky lit up. I huddled under the tent, counting with the cast to work out how far away the storm was while the poor lovers were 'asleep' in the middle of the stage getting completely soaked. The worst thing was that with the pummelling rain I couldn't hear the cues for the actors or set changes. In the end I abandoned my script and the tent and went to stand by the hedge. Once I'd gotten over the fact that I was going to get soaked I just didn't care! But miraculously, despite the raging storm, the audience stayed. They were nearing two hundred and a few people sneaked off, but most stayed until the bitter end with us. As soon as the play came to an end, the rain eased up and stopped and the actors took great joy in adding in weather related lines.
So another successful year, working with a group of people that make everything so much fun, even in stressed and weather torn conditions. I can't wait until next year, when it all starts again. There are readings in September and October for the four plays under consideration as our next production.
If you wish to be a part in the OD Project, please don't hesitate to contact me.
'So, good night unto you all, / Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends.'

Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size!

Age is just a number.

This is one of the most common sayings of all time, and today's Daily Prompt asks what I believe when it comes to age. For the full details, click here.
I am twenty-two. When I think about that, nothing really comes to mind. You're supposed to become an adult at twenty-one but according to my family I'll never be one. Until I have children of my own I will always be the baby of the family. Older people look back in fondness at certain years but there isn't one year that sticks out for me. I didn't really enjoying being a teenager, and turning twenty-one wasn't particularly exciting. I've always felt older than I am. As the only child I grew up quickly to involved in conversations and I've always been given my fair share of responsibility. By the time I was a teenager I acted like an adult, now that I'm in my early twenties I feel like I'm nearer thirty.
During secondary school I was always the 'mum' of the group. I was responsible, careful, kept an eye on my friends. I didn't get drunk, I never wanted to, I always felt like I should look out for them.
Now I'm older and my main friendship group is mums in their thirties I'm the baby of the group. But I feel like they accept me for being a bit more mature, for not acting like twenty-two years. As one of them said 'she is wide beyond her ears', don't you love auto-correct!
But I still have friends my age, that I get on perfectly well with. Having said that, my two closest friends are quite grown up. One has a full time job, rising career, independent with a brain for business. The other just graduated from university in London and plans to start working there in September. Neither of them go out clubbing every weekend and come home plastered.
I also have friends younger than me, in their late teenage years. I love spending time with them, they keep me up to date (because I'm so hip and cool!) and we have a great time together, even if they don't always get cultural references.
My oldest friend is in their eighties. And by friend I don't mean acquaintance, I mean someone that I genuinely care about and talk to about my problems and vice versa. So in terms of friends, age is meaningless. My eighty year old friend might not get my Harry Potter joke, but my repertoire stretches far and wide I'm sure I can find something that we have in common.
As for dating, I was once told by a colleague that a member of her family had been disowned because she chose to date someone nine years older than her. Frankly, I was appalled! (About the disowning, not the age gap.) I find myself attracted to people almost double my age, and I believe I have the maturity to be in a relationship with someone of that age. I've also considered dating younger (as long as it's legal!) because it really doesn't matter as long as you have a connection. If it was me in her situation my partner would be thirty-one. That seems like the perfect age to me, mature enough to deal with responsibilities and not be down the pub every night, but still young enough to start a family with.
As for my age it's still something I'm not sure about. I don't look my age, and when people discover that I'm 'only twenty-two', they say I'm a baby. Whenever I worry about what I'm going to do with my life they say 'don't worry, you have plenty of time', even though it really doesn't feel that way. I've worked out that by the time I'm a qualified teacher I will be twenty-six. When I say it like that it doesn't seem old, but four years ago I was eighteen, and that seems like a lifetime ago. So I'm attempting to ignore my age, and not compare myself to what other twenty-two year-olds have achieved. But I still celebrate as much as I can with my loved ones every April. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Book Review: The Gates by John Connolly

The Gates (Samuel Johnson, #1)The Gates by John Connolly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I picked up this book I didn't realise it was aimed at children/young adults. The blurb had me hooked. Meet Samuel Johnson and his dog Boswell. Nothing much happens in Samuel's life, that is until his neighbour Mrs Abernathy opens the gates to hell.
A lot of other reviews compared author John Connolly to Douglas Adams but I found myself comparing him to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The comedy and wit injected into the plot reminded me very much of Good Omens.
Samuel Johnson is a lovely central character. Being an eleven year old boy I didn't really identify with him that much but I imagine a young boy would like him. John Connolly also deals with modern day family problems, such as Sam's Dad leaving and how that affects his life.
The demons that feature in the novel aren't your normal demons. In fact, they're funny and not altogether very bright.
The action is described very well and humour is injected at every point, making it an enjoyable read.
I've read some of John Connolly work in the past and didn't enjoy it very much. But this I thoroughly enjoyed and will be recommending it to a ten year old who I'm sure will enjoy it just as much as I did.

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

In The Summertime, When The Weather Is Fine...

Another day of writer's block and another daily prompt brought to you buy The Daily Post. Click here for the details of today's prompt.
Music plays such an important part of my life. I rarely listen to silence, I like something in the background, whether it's Mumford and Sons, classic rock, 70's disco or swing. I've even taken to listening to classical music recently when I'm working so not to get distracted and start singing along.
There are certain songs that remind me of different people and different events. Barry White instantly reminds me of my Dad. The first time I heard him sing in the car it was to one of his songs. Equally, anything cheesy and disco brings back recollections of dodgy Dad dancing at a family event.
The whole Grease soundtrack reminds me of my childhood, re-enacting the scenes and the songs with friends was one of my favourite past times. Westlife's Flying Without Wings also brings back fond memories of performing with my fellow ten-year-olds.
My Mum introduced me to Bruce Springsteen, eighties rock and The Eagles. Many a time we've sat playing cards head banging and singing along to Whitesnake and REO Speedwagon.
In my later teenage years I have distinct memories of my whole year group singing along to Don't Stop Believin', which thanks to Glee has been one of the biggest hits of my generation. On the last day of term Use Somebody was also belted out by 200 eighteen-year-olds. However, the fact that I just had to look up the name of the song, shows what a lasting impact it made.
As for the song of this summer that I'll remember when I'm forty-two, well really I'm stumped. Pharell Williams' catchy pop tune Happy seems to be constantly playing in every advert, used for every sport celebration and on the radio every five times. It's got to the stage where I'm actually getting sick of it. The only other 'recent' song is Let It Go from Disney's Frozen. That seems to be following me around despite the film being released before Christmas.
If you look through my Spotify playlist everything on there will have been released years ago, or it'll be from a musical, or it'll have no words at all, or it'll be an acoustic version of a well known song.
If I had to narrow it down to just one song I would plump for The Coffee Song by Not Completely Blonde, a local band that made my perfect summer's day. A couple of weeks back I took my choir kids on a backstage tour of The Theatre Severn. The day was rounded off by the lovely members of Not Completely Blonde doing an acoustic set for us and a party. The day that initially I hadn't been looking forward to was just brilliant, I couldn't have asked for anything better. And now, as I'm typing this, the chorus of The Coffee Song is working it's way into my brain. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Book Review: The Altar of Bones by Philip Carter

Altar of Bones. Philip CarterAltar of Bones. Philip Carter by Philip Carter
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lately I've been tearing through books like they're going out of fashion. This book was promised to be an adventure thriller, full of Russian spies, conspiracies and family history.
There are several prologues setting up the story, which I won't dwell on too much. They're interesting and insightful and they tie nicely into the story later on down the line. The two stories we should focus on are those of Ry O'Malley and Zoe Dmitroff who are brought together unwittingly in search of the altar of bones.
Zoe is a strong, likeable heroine, unless it comes to confined spaces and Ry is charismatic and handsome exactly what you'd expect from an action thriller like this one. Although it annoyed me that he was called Ry and not referred to by his full name.
Another reviewer said that this reads like a film script and I have to agree. There is cliché after cliché, and so many gun fights I found myself skimming the action to get onto the next part of the actual plot.
I enjoyed the historical references and the section that involved Ry's step-dad and Marilyn Monroe. In fact, that could have been a story all of it's own. This book was hefty and I think that was an issue, cut out some car chases and make this book two, or even book three. There was so much scope and it had been crammed all into one novel.
I gave this book two stars, because although I enjoyed it and found myself addicted to turning it's pages, I also was glad when it was over. I found it quite predictive and like many thriller books I've read before.
The only thing that wound me up, was that while Zoe was on the run, the first (and possibly last) chance she got to eat and she ordered a salad. That's an insane woman, right there.

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Full Disclosure

I feel that my creative writing has come to a stand still lately so I thought I'd have a go at a Daily Prompt. See here for the full details of today's.
So someone gives you a device which allows you to hear other people's thoughts. You can hear everything they are thinking, good and bad. The catch? It can never be turned off.
A few years back I would said 'hell yeah, hand me that chip!' I would have enjoyed listening in, discovering secrets, being my general nosey self. I love people watching, I love observing their body language, seeing people interact. Getting inside their brain would have been the icing on the cake! 
However, now, I'm more aware of privacy, more aware of not wanting to share every bit of information with the outside world. With the increase of social media, it seems like everybody posts pictures of every meal they eat, every time their mood shifts they change their status on Facebook, they have a new idea and Twitter is updated. In this day and age, is a mind reading chip even required when our lives are plastered all over the internet for everyone to see?
I have taken care to only show parts of my life and my world that I want others to see. I'm quite proud of my photography skills so images appear quite frequently. I'm quite happy to post my opinions on books, TV programmes and movies and I like to promote local events that I'm involved in. But my relationship status is hidden. I don't post very frequently at all about what I'm doing. I like to keep an air of mystery.
I also think being able to hear the thoughts of others would be claustrophobic. Imagine going out to a public event, somewhere where there is a lot of people. You would literally be bombarded. 
Also, I think friendships and relationships are protected by not knowing every thought and niggle. I love my friends and family to bits, they mean the world to me. But they are not perfect people, nobody is. Some days, I may be irritated by them, or not agree with something and I'm sure the same applies for them. But do I want to hear 'her bum looks big in that'? Or 'I wish she'd stop moaning'! No, definitely not. I have confidence issues as it is! 
So my mad scientist friend, you can keep your chip, I have learnt that the best thing to do is keep my nose out of other people's business!

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every now and then I browse through IMDB and look at the recently released trailers. Gone Girl was one of the first that popped up. Directed by David Fincher and staring Ben Affleck (who has spectacularly revived his career) I didn't hesitate to watch it. As soon as it was over I knew I HAD to read this book. A quick hunt through the Kindle Store and I purchased it for 99p.
When I saw the cover I realised I had picked it up in shops a few times, always intrigued but never going so far as to actually purchasing it.
As soon as I began reading I was hooked. The chapters alternate between Amy Elliot/Dunne's diary entries and narrative of Nick Dunne on the day that Amy disappears. The 'two sides to every story' idea intrigued me and I enjoyed reading each perspective. I've read books similar to this in that two or more narratives run alongside each other and normally I've preferred one over others but I looked forward to reading both of them.
Both Nick and Amy are immediately likeable, characters that you can relate to with flaws and feelings. They have believable family situations and the economy crash even plays a part in their story.
When Amy suddenly disappears, tonnes of questions are raised. The audience is kept in the dark for so long, but as a reader I couldn't wait to read the next chapter, find out what was going on, what had happened to Amy. Immediately, as her husband Nick is shrouded in suspicion and I found myself questioning his innocence as many of the characters do.
What elevates this novel from a run of the mill thriller to a full on character driven piece is Gillian Flynn. The touch of the treasure hunt, which Amy organises every anniversary, puts everything in a spin spreading clues far and wide, and is just a touch of genius.
As a single person I think I may take this book differently to someone who's married. Essentially this book is about marriage, and it analyses Nick and Amy's relationship at every turn.
It's so hard to review this book without giving anything away. I want to recommend it to everybody, so they have that same feeling of angst and excitement as the plot unravels and every piece is put into place. This book not only entertained me, it made me think, it made me look at people differently, and myself too. The only reason I gave it four stars is that it ended too quickly. I would have liked a prologue, or something that rounded the novel out, I found it too abrupt.
I would love to read more Gillian Flynn in the future and look forward to the film adaptation in October.

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Book Review: Miracle Cure by Harlan Coben

Miracle CureMiracle Cure by Harlan Coben
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I needed to read a book that I knew I would rip through in next to know time. My go to author for a quick read is Harlan Coben. I picked Miracle Cure as a book I known I hadn't read and settled down to be swept off into a world of mystery, suspense and conspiracy.
This novel features bright, beautiful Sara Lowell, an up and coming news reporter who is married to Michael Silverman a brilliant basketball player. As always with Coben's characters, if they're not childhood sweethearts they're almost perfect. They can't just be a regular journalist and basketball player they have to be the best, and they've all overcome adversity in some way to become these amazing people. Maybe the author wants us to aspire to be like them but I just feel that they're so unrealistic you can't relate to them. Although Michael Silverman's fame is key to the plot.
The story centres around an AIDS clinic working towards a cure for the virus. When several of it's patients suddenly get murdered after being cured, the police are brought into investigate.
Obviously this is a very simple and brief synopsis. There are several twists and turns, lots of intriguing characters and the fact that I read this book in 24 hours is testament to how easy it is to read and how much 'pull' it has to keep the reader invested page after page.
Coben doesn't dumb down his audience either. The science is explained well and thoroughly, but you only know what you need to know, he doesn't overload you with scientific material.
Overall, a great read, but I worked out who the culprit was before the end of the book, and I like to be surprised. However, this has given me a hunger to read and write, which was just what the doctor ordered.

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