Thirteen – Steve Cavanagh

36217425  5 Stars

This is one of the few books that deserves a hype. So many mediocre books are hailed by book bloggers and I’ve fallen for so many. Aggressive advertising and blog tours hype up so many books that actually do not deserve it. „Thirteen“ is one of those rare but really good thrillers that are hard to find. It is a clever and intricate plot with unusual protagonists. I have just seen that it is already the 4th book in a series. But it works wonderfully as a stand-alone. At the very least, it is curious to find more books about the unusual lawyer Eddie Flynn.

The book is very suspenseful but rather slow. For me it was not necessarily a Pageturner from the beginning. But the tension keeps building up and is full of surprises. „Thirteen“ is an extremely clever and well-written court thriller that I can only warmly recommend

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Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart

33843362  3,5 Stars

Like many other readers, I am a fan of „We Were Liars“. I rarely read YA books. Most of the writing style is too simple and the youth problems are too far away for me. But E. Lockhart convinced me in both books and was able to captivate me. Even though „Genuin Fraud“ does not match up to her other book.

 

In the beginning it was a bit difficult for me. I am always a bit confused when a book just throws me into its story without any explaining. I was aware that the story is told backwards. This is an interesting gimmick, but as a reader you have to be prepared to see events and people emerge that we can not classify. Jule is vacationing in a hotel in Mexico. There she meets a woman in the gym. But very soon she becomes suspicious, feels persecuted and flees the hotel. You can tell immediately that Jules is different. How she assesses and behaves the whole situation is very unusual. Especially for an 18 year old girl.

 

In flashbacks, we learn how Jules came to Mexico. Before that she is still in London, New York, Martha’s Vineyard. You should not know so much about the content, although sometimes I would have wished I knew more. As I said, at the beginning I found it difficult to get into the story and to remember that I’m reading something that happened before the previous chapter. But the more you learn, the better the whole thing becomes and you get to know Jules better and how she ticks. And so it gets more interesting but also more abysmal.

 

For me not all questions were clarified. The book is relatively short and an easy and quick read. The characters are a little bit sketchy, even Jules. But it grew on me from chapter to chapter. I give 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

 

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

The Puppet Master – Abigail Osborne

36504830  1 Star

Well, this book did not work out for me. It was just horrible.

So many raving reviews here and I just can’t understand why that is so and even less the praising of the writing. The first 3rd was an OK-read although it felt a bit like chick-lit (which I don’t like). But after the cliffhanger things went south. There was no actuall action between the characters, hardly any dialog. The author just told us what happend, how everybody was feeling. It was all just re-narration. And it was all so predicatable once you realise who is the puppet master. He is an abdominable character, no question. But all around it did not work. There was a lot of repetative and the characters keep coming up with the same thoughts again and again. It was so frustrating and boring.

I just flipped through the last half of the book. It was very predictable and the end was very meldodramatic. One of the worst books I’ve read in the last months.

Skin Deep – Liz Nugent

33255561  4 Stars

Liz Nugent has a special talent for creating unusual and unsympathetic characters. This is my third book from her and I really liked the other two. When I saw that there was a new book from her, I knew that I had to read it.

In this book a narcissistic psychopath is again the main character. We meet Delia when, as a mature woman, she suddenly has a dead person in her apartment. She reacts in the most unusual way to the fact that she has committed a murder and as a reader we realize that something is not quite right with Delia.

Then the book jumps back to the beginning and we see how Delia grew up. As I said, Delia is a psychopath. There is no doubt after a few pages. From an early age she loves to get attention. At the same time, she is attracted more by negative attention than by praise. She is strikingly beautiful. Basically, that’s not important to her, she’s not vain, but beeing so beautiful, you draw attention and admiration. Delia instinctively knows about her inner defects, but she knows how to hide them. She is quite, peculiar and unfathomable. This makes her an enigmatic phenomenon that fascinates most people, especially men. But her desire to play people against each other and to manipulate them to her liking sooner or later poisoned every relationship. She casually ruins the lives of all who enter her live.

Delia is a repulsive character. But I also pittied her. She is incapable of deeper feelings towards others. She lacks empathy and a real need to be close to others. Therefor she misses out so much in her life. Sometimes she asks herself what is wrong with her and if what she feels is really not normal. At the same time, she is very naive, very passive. She often reminded me of Lydia, the lead character from „Lying in Wait“ by the author. Just like Lydia, Delia is looking for someone to take care of her. Although Delia has to learn to get along and pretend to be normal. But her life is always empty.

Despite all the repulsive qualities, Delia has been a fascinating character to me. The book is entertaining and easy to read. I just did not expect to hear all of her life story. The murder that happens on the first page appears again not until the very end. My only criticism of the book is that it usually only tells. There is little active action and relatively few dialogues. The story is told, except for a few insertions of other characters, by Delia’s eyes. And it really „tells“. Later in the book, a few letters become important. They are long and also have a purely narrative character. The few short chapters that show the view of other characters from outside on Delia, are only a little enlightening and usually a bit repetitive.

„Skin Deep“ is a dark character study of a very disturbed person. We dive deep into the mindset of a psychopath and her view of the world. Delia leaves chaos and pain where she goes and stands. It is truly unbelievable how much damage she has done in the lives of so many people. This is deeply fascinating and disturbing. And sad. There is much tragedy in this book .

In any case, Liz Nugent has established herself as a favorite author of mine with her three books.

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

Dunkelschwester – Michelle Adams

35126312  3 Sterne

Irini ist Anfang 30 und lebt mit ihrem Freund Antonio in London. Sie wurde als Kind zu Verwandten gegeben, da ihre Eltern sie aus Gründen, die sie nicht kennt, weggaben. Ihre ältere Schwester Elle aber durfte bei den Eltern bleiben. Irini fühlte sich nie wohl und geborgen bei den Verwandten. Zu ihren Eltern hat sie keinen Kontakt mehr, aber immer mal wieder zu ihrer Schwester. Elle tauchte immer wieder in Irinis Leben auf und immer passierte etwas, so dass ihre Verwandten mehr als einmal mit ihr wegzogen. Aber Elle ist hartnäckig und findet Irini immer wieder. Deswegen wundert sie sich auch nur geringfügig, als nach 6 Jahren Ruhe Elle offenbar mal wieder irgendwie an ihre neue Rufnummer gekommen ist und sich meldet. Doch diesmal hat es einen anderen Grund. Ihre Mutter ist gestorben. Und obwohl Irini keinerlei Bindung an sie hat und kaum Erinnerungen, ist es doch das zarte Band, das sie mit Elle verbindet, das sie dazu bringt, nach Schottland zur Beerdigung zu fahren.

 

Das Buch hat von Beginn an eine sehr düstere Stimmung. Irini ist ein schwieriger Charakter. Sie ist sehr sprunghaft in ihren Launen. Von einem Moment zum anderen schlägt ihre Stimmung um. Elle ist in ihrer Kindheit ihrer geheime Heldin gewesen. Keiner durfte wissen, wenn sie sich heimlich trafen. Denn Elle bedeutet Ärger. Sie hat eine sehr eigenwillige Art, mit Menschen umzugehen, die ihr nicht passen. So „hilft“ sie Irini z.B. mit Mitschülern, die sie mobben, auf sehr bizarre Art. Elle ist manipulativ, sprunghaft und boshaft, aber sie kann auch die Liebenswürdigkeit in Person sein. Irini treibt immer noch die Frage um, warum sie weggeben wurde, warum ihre Eltern sie nicht wollten. Das nutzt Elle aus.

 

Ich hatte etwas Schwierigkeiten, in das Buch hineinzufinden. Irini war mir nicht sehr sympathisch, obwohl ich ihre Unsicherheit verstehen konnte. Das Gefühl, von den Eltern nicht geliebt und deswegen weggegeben worden zu sein, hat sie nachhaltig geprägt. Aber es gab andere Dinge, die ich weniger verstand. Elle ist offensichtlich schwer gestört und Irini hat mehr als einmal schlimme Dinge mit ihr erlebt. Sie weiß, wozu sie fähig ist. Trotzdem lässt sie sich von ihr um den Finger wickeln. Sie kennt sie und weiß dass sie sie manipuliert und belügt. Und trotzdem rennt sie sehenden Auges in Elle‘s Fallen. Das Geheimnis, das diese Familie verbirgt, ist bestürzend, aber genau deswegen frage ich mich, warum die Eltern so handelten wie sie es taten und warum Irini so stiefkindlich aufwachsen musste. Das ist alles sehr merkwürdig und hat mich nicht so wirklich überzeugt.

 

Das Buch wird als Psychothriller beworben. Es ist aber mehr eine dunkle Familiengeschichte und die Beleuchtung einer toxischen Schwesternbeziehung. Für ein richtiges Familiendrama geht das Buch aber nicht genug in die Tiefe. Für einen Thriller ist es nicht rasant genug. Gerade in der ersten Hälfte geht es nur um die beiden Schwester  und was sie machen in den wenigen Tagen rund um die Beerdigung. Ich empfand sowohl Irini und ganz besonders Elle extrem anstrengend. Die beiden sind so sprunghaft und dauernd wechselten ihre Stimmungen. Wie man jemanden wie Elle frei rumlaufen lassen konnte, ist mir ein Rätsel. Auch das Verhalten des Vaters ließ mich nur den Kopf schütteln. Trotzdem hat das Buch einen gewissen Sog entfaltet. Ich wollte auf jeden Fall wissen, was denn nun das Geheimnis war.

 

„Dunkelschwester“ ist ein merkwürdiges Buch. Es ist ein sehr düsteres Drama mit unsympathischen Figuren, die ständig die falschen Entscheidungen treffen. Ich finde es schwierig, es zu bewerten. Ich mochte die Charaktere nicht und deswegen habe ich nicht mit ihnen mitempfinden können. Aber das Drama, das die Eltern durch ihre Entscheidungen ausgelöst habe hat mich doch berühren können. Sie dachten, die tun das richtige und wollten nur das Beste für ihre Kinder. Aber viel Schlimmeres hätten sie ihnen eigentlich nicht antun können.

Vielen Dank an Randomhouse, die mir die Gelegenheit gaben, dieses Buch zu lesen

The Good Samaritan – John Marrs

35451741  5 Stars

That was a chilling read. Laura is one of the best -or better say worst- characters I have seen in a book for quite a while. As the blurb says, Laura works for a telephone helpline. But she is obsessed with dead and has her own rules to play by. But then she comes across Ryan. His wife killed herself while pregnant. In his grieve he looks for answers and soon he finds out that his wife did call the helpline quite a lot.

Ryan finds out about Laura’s role in his wife’s suicide. He begins to watch her and works out a plan. Soon they are in engaged in some kind of duel. They are trying to bring each other down and ruin their life.

This book is not a very fast paced thriller. Most of the time it is more of a slow burner. First we meet Laura and her way of handling things. Then the story is told from Ryan’s point of view. They are playing a cat and mouse game and Ryan is getting into it deeper and deeper.

This book is a dark and disturbing read. And also very sad. You will meet the most despicable character and you are watching the downfall of a man first hand. The author explains very extensive. That’s what takes a bit the pace out of it. But you are rewarded with a well crafted and very intense and complex story.

I enjoyed “The One” from John Marrs a couple of month ago and I liked it very much. This book is very different but as unique and brilliantly done as “The One”. I admire his talent to create such unusual storylines. I highly recommend this book if you love a good psychological thriller.

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

Flowers For The Dead – Barabra Copperthwaite

26769832  4 Stars

„Flowers For The Dead“ gives us a serial killer of a different kind. Actually Adam is a serial killer. But he seems also to be a lost soul. Searching for love but unable to interact properly with people he woos the girls he falls in love with in a creepy way.

 

There are two story lines. The first one is in the present where Adam is searching for a new love which he can take care of.  The second timeline shows us Adam as a child. He has an abusive mother and he suffered a great deal during his childhood. And for me the question pops up: was he made the monster that he is by his mother or would he have turn out all the same if his childhood would have been a loving one? Then he also received love and understanding from his grandmother. She taught him to be gentle and respectful to women. So the question for me is if his mother broke him or was it always in him to kill people? I would not say I developed a soft spot for Adam although I pitied him sometimes. He is a sociopath but also has this longing to be loved and share a life with someone who understands him.

 

The author created a clever story and a sociopath to remember. But the story is a slow burner and it also takes all the time in the world to lay out Adam’s life. Only at the end the story picks up pace. That was my only problem with the book. It was a bit too slow and too long. But it is still a remarkable read.