Solomon Creed - Simon Toyne
First here's a rant... what is it with the new trend in book publishing to have to add a tag line to the title of the book. This book on Amazon is title "Solomon Creed: The only thriller you need to read this year". It's tacky, I feel exploited ... so ... stop it. I'll return to this theme later.
Actually this is a pretty good story. It is the first in a series to feature Solomon Creed - that is evident from all the blurb and I don't believe I'm laying any major spoilers out there. We're introduced to Mr Creed as he come to consciousness running hell for leather in the baking heat of a mid USA desert. He is running because there is some huge flipping explosion happening around him due to a plane crash. How did he survive, how does he know so much? We don't know, and neither does Solomon as he doesn't appear to have any memory of who he is, his past, his background etc. But he does know his stuff. He arrives at the local small town to save a man, that he can remember. However he is too late that man died in a road crash just before the plane crash (remind me NOT to move to this neighbourhood). Solomon then through his persistence in digging into the past and the present of the town uncovers corrupt officials, drug deals etc. and it all plays out.
Frankly a lot of the whole thing is totally unbelievable so if reality in your book plots is important to you ignore this. If though you like a bit of suspension of reality this is a good read. However I'm not totally sure I'm itching for the next book.
So a single thumbs up on the FITUBRS*
The Beauty of The End - Debbie Howells.
My daughter lent me this one. Now here is a totally believable tale. Set in Southern England in the modern day our hero is not what you'd expect. Noah is a washed up lawyer scratching a living writing some moderately successful detective novels. He frankly is a bit of a loser. He's called by his old best friend from school, Will, to say that the woman who has been his only love since the age of 15, April, has attempted suicide and also is suspected of a murder. He can't accept she is guilty and heads off to help. The evidence does seem compelling.
However through a series of flash backs in to his life and how it all now begins to become plain to him some of the things he'd chosen to ignore, blank out. Alongside this we meet Ella a teenager who is troubled by her family and her relationships in it. How is she part of this? That becomes clear and the exposé is gripping. Some of the reveals were a bit signposted for me but one or two toward the end were not. Well worth reading but it is a bit grim at times but has a bitter sweet ending I suppose.
Two thumbs up on the FITUBRS*
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware
Another of my daughter's hand ons. This is a classic style whodunnit thriller. Set on a small luxury cruise liner (to reduce to a manageable size the suspects) there's a touch of the Christie about it. Our heroin is convinced a murder has been carried out and a body dumped over board. She heard it happen, heard the splash, saw the blood, saw the victim earlier. However everyone says the victim wasn't there at all. No one is missing and there's simply no evidence. Drink, depression, anxiety are all used as weapons against out intrepid amateur sleuth as she battles to be believed.
This is a bit slow to get going, Honestly after about 30 - 40% of the way in I did nearly not bother but my daughter said it was worth it. It was in the end as the reveal of what had gone on when it came was a complete surprise which does make a change. Another clever technique by the author is to have chopped the book up into a few parts. Before each one you see some exchange by family/friends not on the boat about their concerns which really created some tension. Just a shame it took a while to get going.
One thumb up on the FITUBRS*
Meastra - L.S. Hilton
Or as correctly titled completely. Meastra - the most shocking thriller you'll read this year. Really? I'll return to this...
An thriller set in the art dealing world. That could have worked potentially, the dodgy dealing of fakes or at least paintings of dubious authenticity or the use of art work as a means for organised crime to wash or transfer money etc. That could be good but somewhere clearly the decision was taken to say to the author "It needs to be more 50 shades". So sadly there is introduced a sub plot involving debauched sex activity most of which is graphically detailed and frankly isn't necessary. Also the main character, Judith, is frankly bloody unlikeable. Well she was likeable as the ambitious art interested kid from the council estate in Liverpool who'd got her break and was in the inner circle in the art world. Her battling the sexism and the corruption would have been an acceptable story. But instead we have this character who uses sex to get what she wants who feels obliged to tell us every designer label she wears or carries at every opportunity and then turns to even lower forms of depravity to further her life. At the end of it rather than cheering her success on I wanted her exposed and punished for it all.
So the most shocking thriller you'll read this year? No. Well the most shocking thing is that it was printed in the version it was - cut the sex out for a start but I fear I possibly wasn't the target audience for this - any women who liked 50 shades but wanted a better plot line - well that is what this is. The second most shocking thing. LS Hilton was paid a seven figure advance for this and the following two in the trilogy and the film rights.... that is shocking and frankly sad.
One thumb down on the FITUBRS* - saved from two down by some of the art shenanigans being worth a thriller.
* Furtheron International Thumbs Up Book Review Scale -
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down,
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal,
one thumb up,
two thumbs up
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded