The Killings At Kingfisher Hill Review: Poirot Returns With Another Captivating Case

When I heard that acclaimed thriller writer Sophie Hannah was releasing another novel brining Agatha Christie’s legendary detective Hercule Poirot back to life, I was extremely excited. I’d enjoyed her previous forays into Golden Age crime fiction and brining back Christie’s iconic Belgium sleuth, so I was eager to see what she had in store for us this time around.

Poirot is an incredible character, and Hannah does him justice in her series of novels. She brings back the flair and ingenuity, while also showcasing the humility. Her books don’t just turn him into a caricature, like some film and TV portrayals. Instead, they showcase all of his talents in a way that the Queen Of Crime herself would be proud of.

This latest outing of Hannah’s reimagined Poirot, has him travelling on a Kingfisher Company coach to a private estate outside of London. He travels with the sidekick of Hannah’s creation, Inspector Catchpool, who’s a bit like a policeman version of Christie’s own character Captain Hastings. They’re going to visit Kingfisher Hill, a prestigious estate that houses deadly secrets.

Richard Devenport, whose family owns Little Key, a majestic house in the heart of the estate, has asked Poirot to visit his home to covertly survey his family and find out who killed his brother Frank. Richard’s fiancé, Helen Acton, has confessed to the crime, but Richard is convinced of her innocence. In his letter to Poirot he stipulates that he and Catchpool must pretend that they know nothing of the killing; instead, they are to imply that they want to learn more about a board game that Richard’s father and his business partner have created, called Peepers.

From the moment that the coach sets off, things get morbid, as they’re wont to do in a Golden Age style crime novel. A hysterical woman boards the coach, and almost automatically kicks up a fuss saying that if she doesn’t switch seats, then she’ll be murdered. Poirot changes seats with her, and is promptly faced with a confession of murder.

All of this occurs before the pair of protagonists even arrives at their destination. Once they get there, things quickly take a turn for the even stranger, with their deception becoming discovered. They are quickly called out and their identities are revealed. The woman who made her bizarre murder confession reveals them to be detectives, rather than the board game loving businessmen that they were pretending to be. She then offers up another confession, which throws the entire case into jeopardy.

Later, as the pair starts their work on this extraordinary case, a body is discovered at Little Key, raising even more questions for them to find the answers to. While investigating, they’re faced with strange confessions, unusual coincidences and much more. With no idea who to trust and where to turn, the detective and his policeman sidekick set out to uncover the truth about this utterly absurd series of events, and the equally unusual ones that follow later in the novel.

Hannah’s previous Poirot novels show her penchant for perplexing plots, and The Killings At Kingfisher Hill carries on her legacy of taking Christie’s original flair for the extravagant and taking it one step further. The novel is a perfect combination of outlandish and believable.

Every chapter leads to more questions, but Hannah is skilled at keeping the reader interested and providing them with information in a way that doesn’t feel stilted. As a result, readers are kept intrigued throughout the novel despite the various plot twists and strange occurrences. There’s something new to learn about in each chapter and with every encounter that Poirot and Catchpool have, so that the reader is kept constantly guessing and unsure of what’s coming next.

In her characterisation, Hannah is spot-on, creating believable yet fascinating characters. Both her suspects and her secondary characters are two-dimensional, believable individuals who interest the reader and keep the suspense ramped up throughout the novel. The author demonstrates a profound understanding of human nature that Christie herself would have been proud of.

After all, the Queen of Crime was renowned for her sharp dialogue and incredible characterisation. In Sophie Hannah, she has an ideal modern-day counterpart to continue her legacy and bring Hercule Poirot, Christie’s most famous detective character, to a new generation of readers.

At the end of the day, that’s what reimagining a beloved character is all about; making them accessible to new readers. Hannah has achieved this goal and much more with her amazing Poirot novels, and The Killings At Kingfisher Hill is another spectacular example that is worth reading, whether you’re already a fan of Christie’s pernickety detective or he’s a completely new revelation to you.

Hannah’s novels are standalone pieces, but you’ll want to read more after you’ve finished your first, whether it’s this one or you start at the beginning with The Monogram Murders. Whatever your preference, you’ll be hooked once you sink your teeth in Hannah’s novels, and will soon find yourself desperate to check out Christie’s original stories.  

The Interpreter From Java Review: A Post Colonial Masterpiece That’s Not To Be Missed

The opening sentence of The Interpreter From Java is a little over a page long, and outlines a list of horrific crimes committed by the narrator’s father, the titular interpreter, decades before.

Punctuated by commas, the sentence runs on and on, giving the reader overwhelming feelings of claustrophobia and revulsion, which quickly become a theme throughout the novel.

Written by Alfred Birney and translated into English from the original Dutch by David Doherty, The Interpreter From Java is an intriguing novel told in two halves. The first half is in-depth review of the Indonesian war for independence from Allied rule in the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an interpreter who worked with the marines, this half of the novel is intriguing and enlightening.

The other half of the novel is told from the perspective of the interpreter’s son, Alan, who writes his own story as well as interjecting into his father’s memoirs to remind him of his cruelty and mistreatment. Alan spent half his life scared witless of his father, and the other half in a children’s home facing institutional racism, sexual exploitation and more. The novel dips into each narrative, sometimes tracing large chunks of the memoirs and Alan’s life, other times flitting between the two, so the reader is captivated by the two stories at once, and the lines between the past and the present blur together.

Through this tale of family betrayal and abandonment, Birney highlights the merciless battles that plagued colonial Indonesia and its inhabitants. It also emphasises the identity issues that the children of colonial imperialists and local individuals face. Arto Nolan (he adds the d himself later), Alan’s father, is the illegitimate son of a European colonial businessman and his Chinese concubine living in Indonesia. He isn’t acknowledged by his father, yet he remains a fanatical supporter of the Dutch occupation, and eventually becomes an ‘interpreter’ for the Allied forces, acting as a cross between a local guide and a cold-blooded solider.

The section of the novel that Birney devotes Arto’s memoirs highlights the stark irony of a man who lambasts native soldiers for killing innocent people in the name of liberty, while at the same time committing equally heinous crimes in the pursuit of imperialist greed.

The author emphasises the complicated nature of the relationship that some of the region’s inhabitants had with their identities and how this impacted on colonial rule. He explains how Arto began his crusade against the Japanese invaders, then became a solider for the Allies out of his misguided belief that the Westerns were somehow more civilised, and that their violence served a higher purpose. In this regard, the author showcases the complicated politics of colonialism, and how it was branded to make those who were being invaded believe that they were actually being saved.

In the half of the novel dedicated to Alan’s depiction of life after the war, in which Arto has swapped guns and war for domestic abuse and spending his evenings typing away on an old Remington typewriter, Birney proves that these identity politics extend beyond colonialism. Alan and his brothers and sister are a partially Dutch, partially Chinese but many with darker skin and all with an incomplete understanding of their heritage. Alan describes them as ‘Indos’ at times, and at others as Dutch. He doesn’t understand his heritage, despite trips to meet his extended family on the other side of the world and his raking through his father’s memoirs in search of answers.

Every sentence of this remarkable novel is designed to grab the reader by the throat, shake them awake and keep them that way. The opening line is a continuous list, and the entire novel is an exploration of colonial crimes and the lasting harm that the various European empires caused to multiple generations. It’s not just Arto and those who lived through the occupations that were scarred; his children, and his grandchildren also suffer endure fractured identities and the mental weight that serious abuse has on children.

Overall, The Interpreter From Java is a long and arduous read, but it’s also informative, insightful and enlightening. If you’re looking to broaden your mind and learn more about the affects of Colonialism on the generations that came long after the world’s empires were demolished, then this is the book for you. It’s well worth reading for curious readers

Gathering Dark Review: An Unstoppable Thriller You’ll Devour In One Go

gathering dark

As I promised in my previous post, today I’m reviewing Candice Fox’s gripping new thriller Gathering Dark.

Jumping straight into the action, the novel begins with the robbery of a cartel owned gas station by a frightened young woman with a gun. The woman working the night shift is Blair Harbour, known as ‘The Neighbor Killer’ after she shot her next-door neighbour more than 10 years ago.

She claimed he was hurting his girlfriend, but the girlfriend herself denied it and claimed the attack was unprovoked. After spending 10 years in prison, Blair is now out and determined to make a fresh start for herself and the young son she gave birth to as she began her sentence.

Her hopes of a normal life vanish when her former cellmate, a drug-taking thief, shows up unannounced and proclaims that the woman who held Blair up at knifepoint was her daughter, with whom she has a tempestuous relationship.

The girl is missing, and Blair is quickly drawn into the messy world of this young woman. Teaming up with another former jailbird, this one now a powerful gangster, and the policewoman who put her away, Blair tries to navigate LA’s sleazy underbelly to find the missing girl and bring her home.

This central plot links nicely with Fox’s myriad of sub-plots, including police corruption, a huge inheritance given to a police officer for a job well done, millions of dollars worth of missing money from a bank job gone wrong, and Blair’s fight for the truth about what happened to get sent to prison.

While most of the sub-plots are intriguing and help to drive the narrative forward, this last one is full of plot holes. The police case rested on flimsy evidence, which would suggest a serious lack of care from the officers involved, yet Fox still tries to push the idea that the cop now helping Blair, Jessica Sanchez, is some sort of epitome of professionalism and diligence.

That’s despite the fact that she led the case, yet didn’t even complete the bare minimum of checks before sending an innocent woman to prison for a decade. The case rested on an uneaten sandwich and a lack of a motive for the victim to attack his girlfriend, but the sandwich wasn’t DNA tested and the motive could’ve been found with even a routine background check on the victim and his girlfriend- as it eventually is when Sanchez starts applying herself.

Aside from this glaring plot hole, the novel is incredibly well written and intriguing. Once you get over the slight issue of this poor plotting, you can see that Fox has crafted an incredible cast of characters. Her dialogue is flawless and there’s a surprise around every corner, so the reader is constantly kept guessing.

All of the chapters are written in a series of different styles, including the form of letters between the missing girl and an incarcerated felon, as well as the from the viewpoint of Blair, written in the first person, and from the viewpoint of Jessica, written in the third. As such, there’s a clear distinction between each chapter and the reader is constantly on the edge of their seat.

The city of Los Angeles comes alive and becomes another character to add to the list of those who are working to achieve their own agenda. All of Fox’s characters are working towards their own ends, with Blair and the story of the missing girl caught up in the middle. Through the tangled web of stories the reader wades, getting more invested in the story by the chapter. By the end, you’re so immersed in the story that you might fail to realise, as I did, that you’ve been reading several hours past your bedtime.

From the ending, it’s clear that Fox is setting up for a sequel, or possibly even a series, based on the characters in Gathering Dark, and I for one am excited to see what’s in store for Blair, Jessica and the rest. It might not be perfect, but this is a contender for one of the best thrillers of 2020, so any follow up is bound to be good. If it’s even half as engaging and intriguing as this novel, then it’ll be a gripping read that I definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Tiger Wars Review: A Compelling Read For Fans Of Tiger King

tiger king

As long-time readers will be aware, I enjoyed watching Tiger King, the Netflix documentary series about Joe Exotic, the owner of a seedy roadside zoo in Oklahoma.

Joe’s zoo, his feud with animal rights campaigner Carole Baskin and his subsequent imprisonment for trying to hire a hit man to kill her, captured the imagination of the nation at the start of the lockdown.

While the documentary series was a hit, its ten episodes were insufficient to tell the whole sordid tale. I’ve already given you a list of books to read if you want to learn more about the animal trade, but now I’m reviewing a true crime book that delves far deeper than the show ever could.

Tiger Wars: Joe Exotic VS. The Big Cat Queen runs through all of the facets of the tale of roadside zoo owner Joe that the TV show explored, but using more detail and offering additional information.

The book takes you through many of Joe’s insane exploits, including his multiple marriages, his forays into politics, his shady business dealings, his exploitation of his staff, the abuse he doled out to his animals and more. Writer Al Cimino puts together a compelling dossier that shows how manipulative and fiendish Joe is, as well as how stupid and arrogant he was before he was eventually caught trying to hire a hit man to kill his rival.

Cimino is more sympathetic towards Carole Baskin, the animal activist and sanctuary owner that Joe tried to have murdered than the TV series. In the show, she comes across as equally as insane and shady as Joe, but the book gives a more balanced view of her strange life and the fact that much of Joe’s anger and hate wasn’t based in facts.

As Tiger Wars shows, Joe lives in a world of fantasy, with many of his tall tales either unsubstantiated or completely contested by others who were actually there. The author tries to put across an impartial tone, but it is clear that he disbelieves much of what Joe says.

He is also passionate about more than just Joe and the insane world that he lives in; the writer is also concerned about the animals he had in his care. It’s clear that America has a long way to go to change the way that big cats and other wild creatures are treated and cared for, and the book puts the flaws in the system in stark relief.

This true crime book takes a close look at Joe’s trial, which wasn’t covered in the TV show. Readers get a taste of how crazy Joe is, and how disgusting his behaviour really was. It also gives a glimpse into an area that the show didn’t let us see, which is fascinating. The book’s courtroom chapters are deeply engrossing and highlight the seedy side of exotic animal ownership in America.

One criticism I have of the book is that it doesn’t go much beyond the narrative that the show used. Joe’s eccentric life included many chapters, but the book chooses to shed more light on tales that fans of the show already know about. It would have been nice for the author to explore some unchartered territory and bring readers a unique insight into Joe’s madness.

However, the book is incredibly well researched, so the reader is presented with the full picture, as opposed to the edited version that the show gave us. Also, because the author has explored all of the available sources of information, including court documents and newspaper records, the reader can see the full extent of Joe’s illegal and immoral activities. It does have to be said, that the book sometimes doesn’t give the reader the exact source of the quotes it uses, so it can be hard for the reader to understand exactly how the information was obtained.

Something that makes me laugh about the book is that it is unevenly censored. In some parts, the author refuses to quote Joe because he uses expletives, or he simply uses the word expletive to cover a rude word. Then the next chapter, the book uses the words ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’ without a care in the world. Alongside some typos and minor grammatical errors, this issue makes Tiger Wars feel rushed, like the author hurried to get it out in time to capitalise on the Tiger King fad before it passed.

When all is said and done, I enjoyed reading Tiger Wars and delving deeper into the murky world of Joe Exotic. The book also gave me more insight into the serious lack of legislation in America around the ownership of exotic animals, and how this issue can cause major problems for the animals themselves. In that respect, despite its flaws, the book outperforms the TV show, which focused exclusively on Joe and turned him and his questionable zoo into a freak show. The book is informative, as well as entertaining, making it the perfect read for fans of the show and animal lovers alike.

Transference Review: A Gory Mystery Not To Be Missed

transference

In the sequel to Untethered, John Bowie, who I had a great interview with previously, transforms the city of Manchester into a brutal extra character to add the list of strange, perverted and generally intriguing individuals.

The second novel to feature John Black, Transference [Love + Hate In Rain City], and picks up with the character living in witness protection in Bristol. After having offended gangland bosses in his hometown and helped to send many, including some big names, to prison, he’s now hiding out and keeping his head down.

He’s not long for the southern city or the quiet life, however, as Black is desperate to leave and return to his old stomping ground, Manchester. He had been driven out by Mr Big following an incident his club, where Black worked as a bouncer, and which led to arrests and unrest.

Following the news that the notorious gangster is soon to be released from jail, Black, a PI and writer, contrives a fairly implausible way to get himself a new case. He rings a bingo hall, and then asks for all of the people who’ve just ticked off the number 27 to be bought to the phone.

Then, he asks about a vague case, until he finds a suitable mark whose son, a student living away from home, recently died in mysterious circumstances. Black takes on the case, and then leaves Bristol on a trip back to his past, where he works on the death of the boy, as well as the perilous task of confronting his own demons.

The police set Black up with a job as a security guard turned admin guy at the block of flats from which the boy fell. The case has barely started, but quickly Black realises that the boy’s death was no accident or suicide, as the police are trying to claim to his distraught mother. He also started to notice connections between the case and his past, leading him on a self-destructive journey back into the heart of the murkiest parts of the city.

The writing is impressive, and at points it is incredibly poetic. Some paragraphs read like angst ridden punk rock lyrics, whilst others are beautifully atmospheric. The story turns incredibly dark and gory at times, and violence is peppered throughout, but somehow the author manages to make the gore interesting, not off-putting as it can be in the hands of lesser writers.

Characterisation is Bowie’s strong suit- the author creates a unique and intriguing cast of characters that keep you guessing. Some feel realistic, others like ethereal beings whose movements and thoughts can’t be predicted. All of them are intriguing and unique- from the former stripper turned literary agent to the gang lord ruling over Manchester and desperately trying to torment Black.

The book is mostly written in the first person, from protagonist Black’s perspective, and the character is what could be described as an unreliable narrator at times, particularly when he’s drunk. I’ve seen plenty of men give ‘the death stare’ before, and trust me, they’re not nearly as hard as they think they are. Most of the time, people get out of the way because they think you’re nuts, not tough.

Black’s narration pushes the novel forward, and it reads like a taught thriller full of twists, turns and the absurdity of real life. At times, Bowie takes things too far, and becomes too poetic; an early example is a list of barred patrons of a grimy pub, which Black reads off the wall as he searches for his own name. The list is far too detailed and lyrical to be realistic- most barred lists just have a photo, name and occasional notes telling bar staff to steer clear or call the management.

Aside from this, the novel is an engaging one. It’s the second in the Black Viking series, named after Black, the protagonist, and the Viking being that appears to him as a vision when his physical strength is waning and the going gets really tough. The Viking image is a bold and striking one, and the author uses it well to show Black’s mental instability and dogged determination.

All in all, I enjoyed Transference, and I’d be interested to read the next novel in the series. It’s not perfect, but there’s a lot to like about this gritty and grim thriller, and it keeps you enthralled until its bone-chilling ending. There’s clearly more to come, and I’d be interested to see what’s next for Black.

Emergency Powers Review: A Terrific, and Timely, Modern Spy Thriller

emergency pwers

As I mentioned in my previous post about why you should be reading crime fiction and thrillers this summer, today I’m reviewing the latest in the Imogen Trager novel Emergency Powers.

Author James McCrone writes an engaging and dynamic spy thriller in this latest in this incredible series.

From the very beginning, the reader is plunged into an intriguing conspiracy. Following on where the last novel left off, in the first chapter the new President, Diane Redmond dies in mysterious circumstances.

Her Vice President Bob Moore is installed as the new President following the death, and this sets in motion a diabolical plan, the full details of which are withheld from both the reader and Agent Trager.

The novel follows Trager as she tries to wrangle with her demotion from golden girl to the FBI’s problem child and uncover the truth behind the incredible events unfolding at Capitol Hill and further afield.

The action jumps between Trager’s work, which revolves around hiding her true purpose behind sham taskforces and sifting through data, the new President’s office, where everything is running far from smoothly, and several other intriguing sub-plots.

These include the investigation of Trager’s boyfriend Duncan and the taxi driver who was blamed for the car crash that almost killed them both and the desperate work of an on the run operative who’s now trying to turn into an informant, with the one disadvantage that he actually has very little useful information.

Trager’s personal life quickly catches up to her professional one, leaving the reader on edge as she navigates this challenging issue. The author handles it with skill and weaves tension throughout the narrative, so that the reader is constantly on the edge of their seat.

Throughout the novel, McCrone cleverly makes the mystery not what happened, but why. The reader understands that the Faithless Elector plot revolved around vote rigging and installing specific leaders in the White House, but we’re not told why and what end goal the conspirators are working towards. We know that a takeover is planned, but we’re always slightly unsure of where the action will lead us next, and it’s this that keeps the narrative moving.

By withholding this information and skilfully teasing the reader, the author is able to create a riveting narrative and a novel that is very difficult to put down. I read it surprisingly quickly, because I simply couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

Despite the speed at which the plot progresses, and the tedious work that the characters have to involve themselves in to obtain the information they need, McCrone doesn’t just dump information on the reader. He uses his formidable writing skills to craft a novel that is by turns informative and engaging. You never feel like you’re reading a chapter full of explanation and dull facts, for these are skilfully weaved into the narrative. Equally, even when the characters are engaged in mundane tasks, such as sifting through seemingly endless records and files, the inherent danger in their work remains ever-present. It is this feeling of constant menace that pushes the novel forward towards its startling and, frankly, brilliant conclusion.

McCrone has timed the release of Emergency Powers to perfection; after all, America is currently in the grip of one of the most scandalous elections by, quite possibly, the most corrupt president in its history. It might be set in the future, but the novel remains incredibly relevant, particularly given the current situation.

With that in mind, the novel takes on a sobering air, as it serves to prove that even the most innocent of actions on the part of the US government can have sinister consequences.

In all, I’m a huge fan of Emergency Powers and think that the book is the perfect summer read for anyone that loves fast-paced thrillers. It beautifully combines the bureaucracy of a spy thriller with the tantalising chase that’s usually seen in detective novels.

Wildwood Review: The Perfect Pastoral Escape From The Harshness Of Reality

wildwood

Over the past few months, while I’ve been trapped in the house, I’ve been searching for escapism in the form of beautifully written books.

While the majority of the books I’ve been reading are mystery and crime fiction, I’ve also been searching for nature books that take me out of myself.

One book that I found buried under a pile of other books on my bookshelf, which I picked up months ago in a charity shop, was Wildwood. I chose it simply for the gorgeous front cover and the fact that it’s about trees.

I adore trees; they’re beautiful and majestic, and I feel like they’re under appreciated. They remind me of the power and symbolism in the natural world, so I was intrigued by the book and, as it was about 50p, I picked it up and threw it on my shelf.

With so many other books to read, and so much drama going on with the pandemic, I clean forgot about Wildwood until a few weeks ago, when I was searching for an easy, relaxing read to comfort me.

At first, I wasn’t sure about this book, but I’m glad that I carried on and read more of it, because this is a glorious read that will make you see nature, and trees in particular, in a whole new light. 

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees, is part tree book, part autobiography, and all love affair with the great outdoors. Roger Deakin takes his readers on a journey around the world, starting from his home in the Suffolk woods.

From there, we travel alongside him as he visits Spanish horse festivals, the wilds of the Australian outback and more. Deakin paints an intimate portrait of every new landscape that he visits, making you feel like you’re actually there with him.

Thanks to his knowledge of trees, wood and the way the material works, Deakin is able to paint an evocative picture and show the reader his passion for trees and the natural world.

When he’s talking to artists and sculptures that work with wood, Deakin makes an amazing case for handmade, artisan crafts over mass-produced junk, if you ever needed one.

Between the beauty of the natural world and the majesty of the trees in it, not to mention the delicious fruit that he eats, Deakin manages to transport the reader out of their lockdown blues and into a world full of sumptuous smells, tasty treats and atmospheric landscapes.

So, while I was moping around indoors and whiling away the days, Roger Deakin was able to take me out of myself and give me a sense of belonging in a natural world that I’ve either not been to in years or, in many cases, never even experienced.

As well as talking about trees and walking readers through some of the world’s most magnificent forests, Deakin also weaves in quotes from amazing poetry and cute illustrations, which create a visual representation of each of chapter.

All in all, this isn’t just a book- Wildwood is an escape from reality into a world of nature and wonder: it’s an innovative combination of autobiography, retrospective and much more. It is rich with the author’s passion for nature, so it’s the perfect read for anyone who wants to feel calm and informed.

No Signal Review: A Dystopia To Rival The World Outside

no signal

As the world struggles with its own dystopian reality, I thought now was as good a time as any to review a book set in an even more challenging and controlling world.

The second in the iMe series, and the follow up to the incredible Proximity, is another thriller sci-fi masterpiece.

Author Jem Tugwell delivers a searing indictment on technology, control and surveillance as he brings back DI Clive Lussac, a disenfranchised policeman with very little to do now that technology has rendered his job essentially void.

Following the events of Proximity, not much has changed in Tugwell’s compelling setting. Everything and everyone is still tracked through iMe, although many are now campaigning for less state control and more personal freedom.

On the other side of the debate is a tyrannical church, which Clive is compelled to attend by his girlfriend and his doctor, as they both believe it will help him to curb his cravings and make positive changes to his lifestyle and mood.

At the same time, a sinister game is being plotted and played in Europe, with contestants playing to win a coveted place in the Forbidden Island augmented reality universe.

The game takes place in the UK, and when contestants travel here they are forced to wear iTourist bracelets, which track their every move and interaction, much like the iMes that citizens wear.

When these game contestants take drastic measures to take themselves off-grid, Clive finally has some proper work to occupy himself with. It becomes apparent pretty quickly, both to Clive and the players, that this is no ordinary game. Something sinister is happening here, and it’s up to Clive and his limited team to find out what and stop it before it wreaks havoc.

As he did in his first novel, Tugwell has displayed exceptional knowledge of technology, and the ability to explain it brilliantly. There are no wordy explanations or info dumps here; just a gripping thriller that draws you in and doesn’t let go until its jaw-dropping final chapters.

The plot races along thanks to the author’s storytelling prowess, with very few stops to describe the events or technologies involved. Every character, plot twist and setting seamlessly weaves its way into the story, making the book very hard to put down.

The result is a thrilling adventure that takes readers around the world and into the depths of human desperation. Unlike the first in the series, No Signal doesn’t focus on a murderer; this time, it’s about a network and the extreme lengths it will go to achieve its ambitious goals.

So, if, like me, you’re completely aghast by the state of the world right now, then transport yourself to a slightly worse one with the help of this incredible writer.

 

 

Three Perfect Liars Review: A Unique Thriller That Keeps You On The Edge Of Your Seat

three perfect liars

Following my previous review of Heidi Perks’ Now You See Her, which I loved, I was excited to check out her latest novel, Three Perfect Liars.

This innovative book tells the tale of three very different women and the series of events that culminates in a fire and a murder.

It begins with Laura, who is returning to work following her maternity leave to her job in an advertising agency and expecting her temporary replacement to be leaving. However, when the young woman not only remains at the company, but also retains Laura’s biggest account, she becomes suspicious of her motivation.

Switching between the perspectives of Laura, her young colleague/ rival Mia and Janie, the wife of company owner, the novel shows an overview of all of their opinions and ideas, and how their lives become intrinsically linked over the course of the story.

The story is told through a range of mediums, including interviews with staff at the advertising agency after the fire and flashbacks to the events that occurred in the lead-up to the tragic event.

A uniquely structured novel, Three Perfect Liars gives little away, and the reader doesn’t actually find out who has been murdered until it’s almost over. Instead of telling us what’s going on, Perks drives the narrative forward by slipping in small details, leaving the reader constantly clamouring for more.

Perks uses a variety of narrative structures in this book, including interviews, time jumps and intense dialogue. With these different styles of creative writing, the author is able to bring into play a variety of ideas and complications, including the role of women in society, the treatment of working mothers, and many more. They’re all introduced in a unique way, so that the reader doesn’t feel preached at, but rather that they are seeing these issues in action.

It’s this approach, combined with the tension that seeps through every chapter, which makes it so hard to put this novel down. Despite its immense heft, I still managed to finish it in less than two days, which is no mean feat when you have a full-time job, part-time blog and still want to have as much as a life as you can when you’re stuck in your home.

So, if you’re looking for an enticing, gripping thriller to get you through the lockdown, then Three Perfect Liars is an ideal choice for you. Although as mentioned above, you should be warned that you’ll get through it very quickly because you won’t be able to put it down!