Thursday, 30 April 2015

Book Review: Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston (Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck #5)

Murder on the Brighton Express (Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck, #5)Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My Mum recommended the Railway Detective books to me. They were a bit different and set in the 1800s. I quite enjoy historical novels, especially with a murder mystery twist.
Murder on the Brighton Express begins from the point of view of the driver of the fated Brighton Express just before it crashes with a goods locomotive. From this we follow DI Colbeck and DS Leeming as they solve what appears to be just a tragic accident.
To begin with I really enjoyed reading about long ago Brighton. Edward Marston spent a great deal of time describing the train station and the pavilion and it was easy to imagine what it would have been like.
The main problem I have with this book is that everything seems a bit one dimensional. The characters didn't really leap off of the page and the story itself was a bit flat. It took me a long time to read for the length of the actual book and I wasn't exactly gripped.
On the other hand there were sparks. I enjoyed reading about Rev. Ezra Follis and his going on, as well as Dick Chiffney and his girlfriend Josie Murlow. Those sections seemed to come to life much more than any of the police force. Maybe if I'd started with book one I would feel more for the characters, but all in all they were rather forgetful.
I'm afraid Edward Marston isn't on my wish list and I won't be reading anything of his any time soon. Maybe I'll revisit him in the future.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Book Review: The Body On The Beach by Simon Brett (Fethering #1)

The Body on the Beach (Fethering, #1)The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes it's nice to just kick back and relax with a cup of tea and a nice little murder mystery set in a little village based in my home county and enjoy the ride. For the most part, this is one of those books. It's set in Fethering, not far from Brighton (where I was born), so it was nice to be able to picture the country side. Simon Brett did a great job of setting the scene and describing the area. He did a great job of describing the eccentric range of characters that live in Fethering (many of which I'm sure are based on real life people) and the mystery itself was full of twists and turns (although sadly I managed to work out the ending before I got there).
The main problem that I had with this book is the main character, Carole. Jude is lovely, funny and very down-to-earth and I know that Carole is a kind of opposite to Jude but she was mostly just annoying. As a firm fan of M.C. Beaton and her Agatha Raisin series I know it's possible to create a character in their mid fifties who is a bit 'different' shall we say. But Carole was not even likeable. She went on and on about 'the Fethering way' and was so concerned about how people saw her and what was the socially acceptable thing to do that she became thoroughly irritating. If Jude's narration hadn't taken over at the time that it did I might have stopped reading. However, with Jude, Carole become a lot more relatable. That problem of meeting a new friend and wanting to know everything about them but not appear nosey. I suffer with that problem on a daily basis! And by the end of the book she was far more mellowed out. I suppose I find it hard to believe that Carole was only in her mid-fifties. My Mum is 53 this year, she does not have grey hair, dresses with style and is not so old fashioned in her views and opinions. God forbid anyone should not see her going into a pub! And I believe you'll have to search very hard for a woman of Carole's age who is anything like her. If you add another twenty years maybe you'll be in luck.
So overall a quaint little read and I think I will read more in the future hoping that Carole grows on me.

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Book Review: The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The RulesThe Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having worked in a care home for three years just the idea of this book tickled me. I wasn't initially aware that it was set in Sweden, not that it really matters this book could be set anywhere.
The story follows Martha and her friends Brains, Rake, Anna-Greta and Christina. The group are singers and have been living in misery for a while. Their once beloved retirement home is becoming more and more stingy. They're only allowed two cups of coffee a day, no pastries and certainly no Christmas decorations. Martha reckons that they'll be better off in prison, the chance to better themselves and actual freedom to go outside. So with a song in their heart and crime in their minds they go to the most expensive hotel in Stockholm with plans to start their new career.
What follows is danger, excitement and lots of giggles. All of the characters are distinctive and likeable and once the action gets going the book really speeds along.
The first half is a bit 'ploddy' for lack of a better word but once they steal the paintings everything kicks off and events just seem to unravel. Before you know it you're racing to the conclusion.
The only thing I struggled with was what they would actually be capable of doing at their age. From my experiences, people of that age would struggle to walk 100 yards let alone steal and commit crime. Although I am aware that some people have a better quality of life in different countries and this was set in a retirement home not a care home. Nevertheless I look forward to reading more by Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I devoured this book. That is the only word I can think of to describe it. When I finished Gone Girl a while back I knew I had to read more by Gillian Flynn I picked up the first book of hers I could find in a book shop and was eager to get into it as soon as possible.
It's fair to say that Gillian Flynn has a dark streak. If you thought Amy Dunne was messed up, wait until you meet Camille Preaker. She has different emotional issues to Amy but she's still not quite a reliable narrator.
Sharp Objects has an eclectic mix of characters and not very many of them likeable. When Camille is sent back to her home town to investigate the disappearance of local girl, following the murder of one the previous year, she is thrown back into her dysfunctional family.
Camille's mother Adora is an abomination. I've not read many characters that I hate with some venom but she goes to the top of the list. The way she treats her daughter and people in general is disgraceful. Her wet fish of a husband isn't much better. Camille's younger sister, almost twenty years her junior is everything that is horrible about the teens of today.
But Camille herself is far from flawless. She's generally sympathetic and likeable to a degree. With a mother like Adora it's a miracle that she's even a decent human being. Camille's boss Curry is the only person that seems a hundred percent stable.
Once she returns home to Wind Gap, events unravel revealing the mystery behind the lost girls that keep the reader engaged and enthralled. Nothing is ever as clear as it seems and just when you think you've got a handle on what's going on and who's done it the rug is pulled from under you yet again.
Although not exactly a happy read, it was definitely exciting, full of twists and turns and I can't wait to read more of Gillian Flynn.

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