All posts filed under: Book Reviews

Book Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley

DETAILS Title: The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie Author: Alan Bradley Publisher: Anchor Canada ISBN: 9780385665834 Genre: Suspense BACK COVER BLURB It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life. WHAT I THOUGHT The central focus of this novel is the character of Flavia de Luce, the 11 year-old phenom who narrates and carries the entire weight of this suspense-mystery novel. And she does …

Force of Nature, by Jane Harper

DETAILS Title: FORCE OF NATURE Author: Jane Harper Publisher: Flatiron Books ISBN: 9781250191663 Genre: Mystery | Suspense BACK COVER BLURB Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track. Only four come out on the other side. The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises. Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker, Alice Russell. Because Alice knew secrets, about the company she worked for and the people she worked with. The four returning women tell Falk a tale of fear, violence and fractured trust during their days in the remote Australian bushland. And as Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew. WHAT I THOUGHT Jane Harper has done it again. She has captured lightning in a bottle not once, but twice. With FORCE …

Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris

DETAILS Title: FINDING NOUF Author: Zoe Ferraris Publisher: Mariner ISBN: 9780547237787 Genre: Literary | Murder Mystery BACK COVER BLURB When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, along with a truck and her favourite camel, her prominent family calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a desert guide, to lead a search party. Ten days later, just as Nayir is about to give up in frustration, her body is discovered by anonymous desert travellers. But when the coroner’s office determines that Nouf died not of dehydration but from drowning, and her family seems suspiciously uninterested in getting at the truth, Nayir takes it upon himself to find out what really happened to her. He quickly realizes that if he wants to gain access to the hidden world of women, he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroner’s office. Their partnership challenges Nayir, bringing him face to face with his desire for female companionship and the limitations imposed by his beliefs. WHAT I THOUGHT This novel is something of a misrepresentation. It might be titled …

The Chalk Pit, by Elly Griffiths

DETAILS Title: THE CHALK PIT (DNF) Author: Elly Griffiths Publisher: Mariner ISBN: 9781328915351 Genre: Crime Fiction BACK COVER BLURB Far below Norwich is a maze of old mining tunnels. When Ruth Galloway is called to examine a set of human remains in one of them, she notices the bones are almost translucent, a sign they were boiled soon after death. Once more, she’s at the helm of a murder investigation. Meanwhile, DCI Nelson is looking for a homeless woman who he hears has gone “underground.” Could she have disappeared into the labyrinth? And if so, is she connected to the body Ruth found? As Ruth and Nelson investigate the tunnels, they hear rumours of secret societies, cannibalism, and ritual killings. And when a dead body is found with a map of what seems to be the full maze, they realize their hunt for the killer has only just begun-and that more bodies may be underfoot. WHAT I THOUGHT I made it to Chapter 8 and then, stopped. I just couldn’t be bothered to go on. …

The Locksmith’s Daughter, by Karen Brooks

DETAILS Title: THE LOCKSMITH’S DAUGHTER Author: Karen Brooks Publisher: William Morrow ISBN: 9780062686572 Genre: Historical Fiction BACK COVER BLURB Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London’s master locksmith. For her there is no lock too elaborate, no secret too well kept. Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster and protector of Queen Elizabeth—the last of the Tudor monarchs—and her realm, is quick to realise Mallory’s talent and draws her into his world of intrigue, danger and deception. With her by his side, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery; no plot secure. But Mallory’s loyalty wavers when she witnesses the execution of three Jesuit priests, a punishment that doesn’t fit their crime. When Mallory discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she has to make a choice – between her country and her heart. Mallory, however, carries her own dark secrets and is about to learn those being kept from her—secrets that could destroy those she loves. Once Sir Francis’s greatest asset, Mallory is fast becoming his …