The Moor – Sam Haysom

40023909  4 Stars
„The Moor“ is an entertaining and easy-to-read scary novel. Four 13-year-old boys and one adult, the father of one of the boys, go on a weekend hike in the moor. On the first night, the father tells a scary story that causes nightmares among the boys. But even in reality, things are going somehow wrong. The first night, one of the boys disappears. First, the others assume that he just hiked forward. But then another of the boys disappears.

The story is told on multiple time levels and multiple POV. Horror stories are always tricky. The resolution is often a problem. Here, the author does not make the mistake of expanding his story too much or of searching for plausible explanations. He tells a straightforward horror story without much adornment and explanations. The atmosphere is dark all the time. The horror is real and present. „The Moor“ is a precise and gripping horror story which makes you flying through the pages.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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The Other Woman – Sandie Jones

36212848   2 Stars

Emily meets the man of her dreams in a bar. Her romance is very serious very quickly. Everything would be fantastic if it were not Adam’s mother. Already from the first encounter Emily feels that Pammie does not like her. With all the tricks she tries to torpedo the relationship.

The summary sounds irresistible. Who is better suited as a villain than a mother in law who maliciously tries to alienate her son from his girlfriend. Unfortunately, I have no patience for whiny and submissive women. And Emily is such a person. Very quickly red flags appear everywhere and show very clearly that with the whole family, including Adam himself, something is wrong. But Emily thinks she is very smart and tough and thinks she can handle it. Unfortunately, she is in no way. She is naive and completely fixated on marrying this great man by her side.

There was a point in the book where I seriously considered stop reading. Emily became humble and obedient to me at some point. But instead I just flew over a few pages and read on. The book is written in a simple and fluent way so that it just flows by. In addition, Emily luckily came to a point where she then had too much of the whole messed-up family. My hopes got up. Unfortunately only for a short time.

Finally, I did not foresee the twist during my speed reading. But it was also so awkward and unlikely that I would have never imagined it. There could have been another possibility for this whole crude story. The twist was pretty much unbelievable.

Emily is really no example of emancipation and female strength. She is one of those characters for whom all the other characters in the book feel just worship, but as a reader I just think how fragile and whiny she is. Once again a very weak protagonist spoiled a book for me.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Something In The Water – Catherine Steadman

36388243  4 Stars

What a hell of a ride!

The book begins very unusual. The main character Erin digs a grave for the corpse of her husband. She describes very precisely how difficult it is in reality to dig a grave. How it happened that she has to make her dead husband disappear, we learn on the following pages.

 

Erin and Mark have been together for a few years. They’re happy. Mark has weathered the problems of the UK finance industry and Erin is making a name for himself as a documentary filmmaker. They decide to marry and make an opulent honeymoon. Unfortunately, Mark then loses his job by a stupid coincidence. So the wedding is more modest. But the honeymoon remains exclusive. Bora Bora. First class flight and a top hotel. Erin and Mark are happy.

 

On a diving trip they make a discovery. Due to adverse circumstances, a found bag ends up with them. They open it. And that changes everything.

 

You have to throw aside your common sense, your own morality and the logic to enjoy this book. So much goes wrong here and is so incredibly unlikely. But it’s a lot of fun. The book is a light-footed trip into the depths of man. Erin and Mark, a normal couple, become greedy random criminals in no time. The decline of the relationship is frightening but at the same time comprehensible. Of course, there are a lot of unbelievable accidents, e.g. through Erin’s accidental contact with a criminal. But the story is just a breathless action trip. There is a lot to criticise here but I see no reason why I should do so. The book is a lot of fun. You should just turn off you r head and enjoy the ride.

The Retreat – Mark Edwards

36156752  5 Stars

„The Retreat“ is an atmospheric mix of thriller and ghost story.

Lucas is a bit at a loss after the death of his girlfriend and his one hit wonder as a writer. He struggels with his next book and so he decides to spend some time in a writers retreat. It is run by a young widow, Julia. Her husband drowned two years ago trying to save their daughter. The daughter disappeared, a body was never found. Julia is sure she is still alive and out there somewhere. Lucas is soon fascinated by the story of the disappearance of the girl. Something is very odd about it. There was another girl who went missing 35 years ago. The whole village in rural Wales seems to believe in a mythical figure that demands children as an offering.

Lucas is an incredibly likeable figure. His curiosity is aroused by the strange things that suddenly happen in the house. He also takes an interest in Julia’s tragic fate and soon feels attracted to her.

The book impressed me with its gloomy atmosphere and its life-like figures. It’s suspenseful and a bit scary. I like Mark Edward’s books very much. This was my third of him and certainly not my last one.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Anything You Do Say – Gillian McAllister

34615820  2 Stars

*****Review contains spoilers*****

 

I really had a hard time reading this book. I was extremely annoyed by Joanna from the beginning. I was about stop reading. But then I was too curious how the book would go on. It finally reconciled me to the end. But I really did not like it.

Joanna is in a bar with a friend and an unpleasant stranger tries to flirt with her. On her way home she hears fast steps behind her. She suspects that it is the man from the bar, but does not turn around. She panics a bit and tries to call her husband Reuben. Unfortunately, the cell phone connection breaks off. When she thinks on a staircase that her pursuer wants to grab her, she takes the initiative and pushes him down. He falls down heavy, lying face down in a puddle. Joanna hesitates. Should she run away and just let him lie or should she call the police.

From this initial situation, the author develops two differently running storylines. In one she runs away and covers up, that she was to blame for the accident. The man dies. In addition, it turns out that he was not the guy from the bar but a 17-year-old jogger. First, she is terrified that she will be caught. She becomes paranoid and does the stupidest things headless. Later, their feelings of guilt become overpowering.

In the other version, after a few minutes‘ hesitation, she calls the police. But those few minutes of waiting were already too much for her victim. The young man lies too long with his face in the puddle and got severe health damage. Joanna is arrested and put on trial. Oddly enough, the English judiciary treats her incredibly severely. Is that really the case in England? I think in Germany the case would be treated differently. Self-defence is not at issue here.
The big problem in this book is Joanna. She is just terrible. Alien and dreamy, she walks through her life. She trusts her husband that he’ll fix everything. She is an avoider. Unpleasant bills are hidden under her mattress. She is unreliable in her work; she walks through her life without a plan. She thinks herself stupid, she says to herself constantly. She does not have a good degree from the university. That must be the unmistakable sign that she is stupid. However, she always does stupid things. She never really thinks about anything. There are different types of intelligence. Joanna is intelligent and educated, but she is totally unable to manage her life. She is a very exhausting figure. At the beginning, the author let her babbles all the time. She imagines a life story for every person she sees. She reflects on how her lawyer applies her lipstick in the morning and why she chose that colour. I found that extremely exhausting. I simply flew over vast passages of Joanna’s thoughts.

I could go on grumbling about the book for ages. Of course in the first place about Joanna. She is a terrible person, neurotic and unable to make the simplest decision. She lies to everyone. She gets entangled in both stories in her lies. Her husband Reuben is a quiet guy, who only thaws properly with her alone. He likes how awkward Joanna is. He likes it when he’s right and Joanna is glad he makes all the decisions. I found both storylines a bit awkward and unbelievable. In the Conceal chapters, Joanna invents a dead girlfriend for her brother. This dead girlfriend then suddenly pops up in the other storyline. It really existed in the brother’s past without Joanna knowing about her. That legitimizes Joanna’s lie in hindsight. And is quite unlikely.

The developments of all figures run differently in both stories. Joanna’s decision affects everyone involved. Joanna’s girlfriend, for example ends up being a successful artist in one storyline, while in the other she gives up her bohemian life and takes on a „decent“ and “adult” job.

I found the idea for the book very appealing. However, it was a bit chaotic in the implementation. I’ve rarely seen a more exhausting character than Joanna. I have no problem with unsympathetic characters, but Joanna is annoying. I could not handle her exhausting stupidity. For the first quarter, I would have awarded only one star. Since the last half was much easier to read I give it 2 Stars. However, I will not read another book by the author in the future.

The Other Couple – Sarah J. Naughton

34673638  4 Stars

18 months ago I read „Tattletale“ and liked it very much. That’s why I was so happy when I saw that there was a new book from Sarah J. Naughton.

Again, we are spoiled as a reader with a complex story. The author writes very fluently and adds many details to her story. Some of the characters remain a bit superficial. I did not warm to Asha either. She is a very strong character and very lifelike with all her faults. I was only slightly disturbed by her paranoia and her constant thinking about sex. She is very self-absorbed. At the same time, these mistakes makes her very human. But I don’t have to like the main character to enjoy a book.

The story is interwoven and complex, but also somewhat unrealistic. Nevertheless I have read the book very quickly and enjoyed it. It stands out beneficially from many simple and straightforward written thrillers precisely because the stroy is so involved. It’s kind of different, not so mainstream. But above all, the author can write very well, so that you like to follow their slightly overdrawn story quite happy. I’m looking forward to her next book.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Sharon Bolton – The Craftsman

34884810  3 Stars

I have been a big fan of Sharon Bolton for years. I have read all her books. I devoured her last two books „Little Black Lies“ and especially „Daisy in Chains“. Therefore I was so shocked when I read „Dead Woman Walking“ and found myself extremly struggeling with it. That’s why I was really looking forward to her new book.

I’m a little bit torn here. Unfortunately, I found myselfe struggeling again. I did not expect the story to be that long in the past. I did not warm up to Florence, though she reminded me a lot of Lacy Flint. Interesting were the insights with which a female police officer had to fight in rural England in 1969. The actual crime story gets on very slowly. For a long time, it’s about tedious police work. For me there was a lack of tension most of the time. The story of the missing children in 1969 did not really catch me.

I liked the timeline in the present more. The atmosphere in the small English town is indeed a bit somber and scary. Sharon Bolton has added a slightly psychic touch to her plot this time.

Unfortunately, I have to say this time, too, that the story did not go really well for me. I never really got into the story as I did in her books earlier. I also found the characters all a bit shallow and I could not connect with anybody. Florence gets for example no real background. What about her family and why is she in this little English place? I liked the story better than in“ Dead Woman Walking“. The supernatural aspect was at least interesting and fit. Overall, it was a bit too lengthy for me. I must admid that I even was a bit bored in the middle. I don’t know if it’s me or what happend that I am suddenly not very happy with Sharon Bolton’s books anymore. This book sounded exactly like my cup of tea and in a way it was. But it lacked the pace and good characters.

I hate to write a bad review about a book of one of my favorite authors. But I will not pretend I liked it when actually I didn’t. But hopes dies at last so despite of that I am looking forward to her next book.

 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review