book reviews , different studio guests each week. Join us every Thursday between 12 and 1pm on Radio Scilly 107.9fm or log on to

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Monday, 24 October 2016

Claire Douglas – Local Girl Missing

review by showhost oct 2016

Author of ‘The sisters’.  If you liked the Ice Cream Girls, I think you will like this one.  It has a similar theme – 2 girls who are school friends grow up in a small seaside town.  Both have secrets & tragedy that they know and  share about each other.

Franki & Sophie were childhood friends but Sophie disappeared one night and wasn’t seen again, she was presumed dead but no body was found.  Out of the blue one day Sophies brother rings Franki, who now has a successful career in London.

He needs Franki to come back to help him solve the mystery of his sisters murder, as now a body part has been found.

Franki befriends Sophie when her family come to the town.  Franki is from a wealthy family who run a local hotel.  Sophies family is just her mum and her brother and struggle to make ends meet.  Franki is idolised by her dad but envies the warmth that Sophie has from her family unit.

Franki attracts all the boys with her looks and buxom figure whereas Sophie is considered the ugly duckling.  Franki goes to boarding school at 16, Sophie goes to university but 3 years later they meet up again in their home town and Sophie has changed from the ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.  Franki becomes jealous.

Back to the present and someone is sending Franki letters threatening to expose her secret.  Sophie and Franki knew what happened when a boy was killed when they were 16 but did Sophie tell anyone before she died?  Franki begins to have sightings of her dead friend and hears a baby crying at night when there is only an old lady sharing the building.  Someone is playing with her mind.

A lot of the story was predictable, although a slight twist at the end.  It kept me reading but I’m not sure if I’d rush to read another of this author.

Tom Winship – The Opposite of Mercy

review by showhost oct 2016

VAL McDermid describes it as an intense, gripping, scary, thriller.

Hmm, I would say thriller yes.  if you like Tom Wood you will like this.

The story is set in England, present day.  Ex soldier Paul Curtis is approached by an old friend’s father who asks him to be an undercover bodyguard for his son, Chris. He wants Paul to discreetly organise a chance meeting which would renew their friendship.  The fathers involvement has to remain secret as the father and son are estranged.  In return Paul would be paid handsomely and housed in a nice pad in Camden.  Chris, lives in Camden with his Asian girlfriend Lara, who is also known to Paul as the three of them were childhood friends.  What Paul isn’t told is that Lara’s brother, Pasha Durrani is involved in organised crime who have links with a terrorist network in Pakistan.  Pasha has an arranged marriage organised for Lara, which she was unaware of, and he wants Chris out of her life.

Andy Mc call works for the London special branch, they have been following Pasha and bugged his house and car. They want him for drug dealing and property laundering, they know he is linked with the terrorist group.  They are unaware of Paul becoming involved but they are aware of the mounting anger happening between brother and sister, once Pasha has told Lara of his plans, and escalating violence.  Pasha needs the marriage to happen to get his property deal done, his life is at stake.

I had to re-read the first few pages to begin with as it wasn’t capturing my attention but once in I got going there were chapters which gripped.  But for me the ending spoilt it. Fight scenes don't read very well for me, especially over 50 pages of it at the end with lots of steps and a boat house which was at the top of a cliff..... How do you get a boat up there?  The writer should be setting the scene with words for you to imagine and a boat house, to me, conjures up a place nearly level with the sea so to suddenly have the villains and heroes running up and down cliff steps didn’t fit my image.  I think it deserves to be read if you like thrillers/action books based in UK.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

BA Paris - Behind Closed Doors

review by showhost

I really can’t make up my mind about this book.  Although it was a kind of psychological thriller it was really frustrating, I really wanted Grace to do something more & stop being so pathetic – take them down to the basement. I may be being really harsh but thought there was some other way of dealing with it.

Also the ending was a little weak bearing in mind the excellent forensic work that can be done would find hairs etc from Grace & her paintings.  Too many but & whys for the end.

Grace is in what appears to be a perfect marriage with Jack.  They seem to adore each other, Jack is a perfect husband – too perfect.  He never leaves her side, she never has coffee with her friends unless Jack is there.  She gives up her job and stays at home.  Getting the picture?  Yes a controlling abusive husband.

Grace also has a sister with mental problems, Millie.  Millie is in a home being paid for by Jack.  Millie is due to join Grace in their new home when she is 18.  Jack has prepared a room for Millie but not the kind of room she was hoping for.

Grace needs to do something before this time, she can’t have Millie put in that sort of danger.  But she is foiled by Jack everytime she tries to shout for help.  He has told people she is mentally unstable and sent her parents to New Zealand.

I don’t get why he chose her anyway? It was all too simple and contrite – nowhere near as good as Claire Mackintosh (or even Girl on a Train). 

Sabine Durrant - Lie With Me

review by showhost  oct 2016

I couldn’t decide which category to put this book in so I looked up the meaning of some genres:

Suspense Thrillers are characterized and defined by the moods they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety. Successful examples of thrillers are the films of Alfred Hitchcock. NO def not suspense or excitement

Psychological Thriller is a thriller story which emphasizes the abnormal psychological states of its characters.  Psychological thrillers often incorporate elements of and overlap with mystery, drama, action, and horror. FORGET THE ACTION AND HORROR

ANOTHER DEFINITION: a suspenseful movie or book emphasizing the psychology of its characters rather than the plot; this sub-genre of thriller movie or book. In a psychological thriller, the characters are exposed to danger on a mental level rather than a physical one.

So think Psychological genremystery, drama, characters are exposed to danger on a mental level rather than a physical one.

The main character is Paul and you won’t like him but then you aren’t supposed to.  He is self-centred, egotistical, sponging womaniser, with shallow feelings.  He is a failed author who thinks his next book is round the corner.  He sold one book when he was at uni, 20 odd years ago (not many copies though) and lived off the claim ever since.  He has bummed off his friends ever since.  In fact as the story begins he is living in a flat belonging to a friend who has gone travelling for a year plus.  He meets an old student friend Alex, quite by chance, in a bookstore.  They chat and Alex  invites him to dinner.  Paul goes because he will get a free meal and drink all night (even though he didn’t like Alex very much).

At the meal Paul is introduced to Alice, who’s husband died a year or two ago and Alex’s family.  Alice isn’t Pauls usual type and especially as she has 2 teenage children with normal teenage attitudes who Paul doesn’t like. But Alice flirts with him a little.

Paul gets in touch with her a week or so later and is invited to dinner with her.  Her house is decent enough and Paul imagines if he plays his cards right may get invited to come and stay.  She talks a lot about the final holiday she, Alex and family will make to a Greek island where they have had a leased holiday home for years. But things are changing as the land has been sold to developers.  Whilst out there they will carry on with their ‘help find Jasmine’ campaign.  Jasmine went missing when they were out there 10 years ago.  They often meet up with her parents on the anniversary of her disappearance.  In fact Paul was out there too about 10 years ago but he was too drunk to remember it.

Paul decides he would like to be invited as it would be a cheap holiday and may give him the chance to finally win Alice over with his charms. Paul has to look for cheap travel, due to his shortage of money, but can’t tell Alice as he feels he has to impress her and Alex’s family. So starts his improvisation of the truth and his demise.

It isn’t an action packed, roller coasting twisting plot.  More a slow simmer, which slowly bubbles as time goes on with some predictable paths.  The family, in the beginning, reminded me a little of the Durrells, once the plot went to Greece.  I would say if you liked Girl on the Train you would like this one, it’s got the same pace of plot with an undercurrent of tension and sense of growing unease.  I did find myself thinking ‘but would these events have all fell neatly into place in the real world’, was it too contrived?

I enjoyed the novel and have recommended it to others who I know like slowly unfolding books, not those who like fast paced thrillers.

Belinda Bauer The Shut Eye

review by showhost oct 2016

This is another psychological thriller genre book. It kept me reading and the idea was good.

Anna and her husband James live in a flat next to the garage where James works, with a couple of illegal immigrants and a tight fisted, unlikeable boss. 

Most mornings Anna could be seen cleaning the 5 footprints of her young son which are the last sign of him since his disappearance a few weeks ago. James had left the door open on his way to work and little Daniel had gone out and walked in the freshly poured cement of the garage next door where her husband works  .  Anna has gone into melt down and just spend her days polishing those foot prints.  Plus everything in her house is scrubbed clean of germs.  Gone is the loving, happy, carefree woman James married.

Abrasvie cop DI John marvel had been working on the case of a missing 12 yr old girl Edie and they had even paid for the help of a local psychic (even though he totally dissed the concept of being able to talk to the dead) but she still hasn't been found, just her bike.  The fact that he can’t solve the case haunts him.

Anna, crazy lady as people call her, goes to the local church to listen to a psychic session, to ask if he could find Daniel.  The psychic tells Anna he can't help her.  At the hall she meets Sandra who is looking for her missing dog, and hands Anna one of the photos she's handing round of her dog. 

But when Anna gets home and she looks at the picture she starts to see and feel things.

DI Marvel is asked by his boss to help his wife find their missing dog, much to his disgust, but does on proviso he can open up the Edie case.

The narrative is also broken by Edie as we slowly find out what happened to her and where she is and her thoughts as she is kept prisoner.

It's an interesting concept and all the characters are well drawn (the parents of the missing children, the police, the psychic, the perp, the police). The only thing I was a little disappointed with was the ending, I found it a little confusing and left questions.

I would read another by this author.


Gordon John Thomson - Gotha

review written and read live on bookshow 13th Oct 2016 by Brian Lowen

Another great story from GJT that covers the two world wars.

The title refers to a large bomber built by the Germans in WW1 that was going to terrorise Londoners by bringing the first blitz to the great city. It could fly higher than the British fighters and carry several high explosive bombs.
We have to remember that this was back in the time when aircraft were still in their infancy and this biplane bomber could only fly at 75 mph but was still a great threat to the poorly defended people of England.  I had never heard of this aircraft so had to look it up but it did exist and did bomb London and other cities in the south east during the first world war.
Our hero though is Captain James Buckingham who is recuperating after being severely injured in the battle of Delville wood. The Minister of Munitions, Winston Churchill, hears of Buckingham’s expertise in aircraft design from his work before the war and brings him into his office to advise on this new threat and how England could be protected against it.
However, the story starts off in 1940, in the midst of the blitz in London when a young WAAF officer is trapped in a street near St Pauls as fire bombs rain down. She is rescued by a strange enigmatic man called Max who drags her into a cellar, but they become trapped in there by falling masonry.
The story then oscillates from war to war and we gradually learn of the strange connection between the two events.  Meanwhile, back in 1917, James Buckingham meets and falls in love with Daisy Skellern who is a beautiful music hall entertainer. When she is brutally murdered he is accused of her murder and has to hide away with the help of Daisy’s young dresser, Amy, until he can work out who was the murderer. He gets involved with a German spy ring operating in London and has some narrow escapes with his life, but Amy proves a great help to him in his search for justice.
During all that is going on in 1917 we keep going forward to see how our trapped pair are faring and this is when we gradually realise the connection between the two events, one in each war. GJT shows his great skill as a story teller as he gradually reveals the secrets of the two couples.
A great page turner this, full of interest and excitement, that keeps you enthralled the whole way through.

Robert Galbraith - Career of Evil

review written and read live on bookshow 13th Oct 2016 by Brian Lowen

This is the third novel by the creator of the Harry Potter books, J K Rowling, writing under her new pseudonym and it is another great story featuring the erasable Private Detective,

Cormoran Strike and his beautiful young sidekick, Robin Ellacott.

Strike has a certain reputation having already solved two high profile murders before the Police could, This means that he is not given much help from the police in his cases but his work load has increased as his reputation grew.

This is all about to change though when a mysterious parcel is delivered to Robin at their office. When Robin opens it she is horrified to find that it contains the severed leg of a young woman. Strike takes care of Robin while he phones the police. It is obvious to him that someone is trying to ruin him by attacking his Secretary cum Partner thereby dissuading clients from giving him work.

He realises that Robin is in danger and tries to stop her working but she is insistent in continuing as his partner, as she has now been called by Strike. Her staid Fiancé, Matthew, whom she is about to marry in a few weeks, has rows with her about the dangerous work she is involved in, and tries to persuade her, unsuccessfully, to change her job for a safer occupation.

And so Strike and Robin try to narrow down the suspects who might have sent the leg as the police do not seem to be making much progress. Robin makes a mistake in making an investigation that they have been warned against by the police who have instructed Strike to keep out of their investigation. Strike is so annoyed with Robin that he sacks her.

Like the previous two books in this series the tension builds up to a thrilling climax, just before Robin’s wedding, and we are wondering if she gets her job back or not.

I do hope there are more books in this series (available from the Library) as I really enjoy them and being involved in the changing relationship between Strike and Robin.