The Innocent Wife – Amy Lloyd

32187685  2,5 Stars

Women fascinated by men who are imprisoned for murder is a very interesting topic. When I read the description of this book I knew I had to read it. It started promising. We get to know Samantha, who gets infatuated with Dennis Danson. He is in prison for 20 years now and a lot of people fight for his release. There is no real evidence that he was involved in killing those girls. It looks like the local police was on a vendetta against him. There is also a documentary about Dennis on its way. He is getting famous through social media. It helps that he is handsome and charming. Sam starts to write to him and surprisingly he writes back. Finally, after lots and lots of letters and falling in love just by writing to each other, Sam decides to take a sabbatical and get on the next plane to meet Dennis in person. And then everything goes very quick.

The book started promising. The writing style was a bit rushed and it read more like a report than a novel. But it was interesting though. But then it somehow got boring. For some reason after Dennis’ release from prison the couple stays in Dennis’ old hometown in his father’s house. Sam does not understand why neither but somehow never questions him or make any attempts to leave or persuade Dennis to leave with her. She feels threatened by his former girlfriend and somebody is creeping around the house in the night. She is incredible passive. She is a very weird character and I got the feeling there was something wrong with her.

The story drags from this point. It started so promising but then it was all about the oh-so fascinating Dennis and the question if he is guilty or not. But the main problem is Sam. She is so whiny, so pathetic and such a drama queen. I am baffled that Dennis did not kill her on his first day out of prison.

When I started reading that book I was interested in what it was that women attracts to criminals. I think I got a hint of what it is. But it stayed at the surface. The initial crimes were just background noise and got never really explained. And I must admit I did not like where the story headed towards the end. Sam is not a very likable character and this conclusion was totally in character. But somehow I felt not comfortable with it. I don’t like that the author put her exactly in that crazy corner that most of us think those women belong.

 

I liked the idea of the story but the flat characters ruined it. The start was very good, it is decently written but failed to keep this strong storytelling all the way to the end.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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The White Road – Sarah Lotz

51l297qngol-_sx326_bo1204203200_ 4 Stars

I absolute loved this one! It is creepy as hell and very atmospheric. I was hooked from page one. I would never ever climb into a closed cave and I would definitely never try to climb Mount Everest. But I love to read about it and it always baffles me what people are willing to suffer to do so.

I also liked the Simon who is a kind of shady character. But I liked that. I did not know about the Third Man Factor and I googled a lot about it. Very creepy.  The book dragged a bit after Simon returned from the mountain while we see his mental downfall. The end gave me goosebumps.

I enjoyed this book very much. I loved Sarah Lotz’ “The Three”. It was one of my reading highlights. “Day Four” was a bit disappointing but maybe just because “The Three” was so brilliant. There is always a supernatural effect in her books but I liked that this time she approached it in a different way and made it not so clear.

I can’t wait for her next book!

The Last Mrs Parrish – Liv Constantine

34043643  4 Stars

This was an easy and quick read and a real page-turner. I would not call it a psychological thriller. It is more a dark and twisted domestic drama and a romance gone wrong. There are a lot of psychological manipulations going on which made the read so entertaining.

 

I think I should not say too much about the story. I jumped into the book with not much of an idea of it and I that was good. At first I thought everything was going too smoothly for Amber and her aim to get between the married couple. But soon I sensed there was something else going on.

 

Envy, greed, betrayal, abuse, psychopaths – name it, you have it here in this book. It is a dark, twisted and disturbing story. I enjoyed reading it.

J.T. Ellison – Lie To Me

33258453  4,5 Stars

So this is indeed the closest thing to „Gone Girl“ I’ve read so far. Two twisted people fell in love and got married. They both tell us their side of the story. Ethan is first. Then, later Sutton tells us her side. But immediately you can sense that there is something else going on. Ethan sometimes hints at us that he is not telling everything. I must admit I somehow liked him. Then later, there is Sutton’s story. This reminded me very much of Gone Girl. But this book is different. It may have a similar kind of telling the story. But the story itself is different.

Ethan’s POV has the advantage that we learn through him what is going on. Sutton is missing. But why? What happened? Did she just leave, fleeing their marriage? Or did something happen to her? Sutton’s story is a bit flat. Her part lacked the tension and it was almost a bit boring. I will not give away too much of the story because I think it is better not to know too much about it. It is a very twisted story. At the end there are twists galore.

I had very soon an idea what was going on. It turns out I was right. But there is a lot more going on. As I said, there are many twists and developments. The story is very clever and complex. It lacks just a bit of tension. It is more of a slow burner. It would have been a great read if it would have been more gripping. But so it is “just” a twisted and clever plotted book which is highly entertaining.

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

In A Cottage In A Wood

34605390  4 Stars

I absolutely loved this one! I fell for it immediately. I was intrigued by the blurb but also wondered how this situation on the bridge was working. You just meet a woman who wants to commit suicide and she hands you over her cottage? But it did, actually.

So, one night after partying and an unpleasant one night stand Neve wanders the streets of London to find her way home. Home means her sister’s house, because Neve crashed there after she splits up from her boyfriend. She has a lousy job which she doesn’t like and which earns her not enough money to get her own place to live. So she is not in the mood to talk to a young woman she sees standing on Waterloo Bridge just in a dress in the freezing night. But somehow she does and so she witnesses her jumping into the Thames. Weeks later she learns from a lawyer that the dead woman gave her her cottage in Cornwall. And as it is, with a job she is going to lose, her sister and brother-in-law bugged by her and no place to live she decides to have a look at that cottage.

The cottage indeed is not what she expected. It is not very nice to look at, filthy and a bit creepy. So Neve finds herself stranded in this cottage in the woods and somehow the creepy atmosphere is getting her.

The book has its flaws. It is all a bit unrealistic and Neve is sometimes a pain in the a**. She is so chaotic and unfocussed. She acts without thinking things through. Everybody would consider that arriving in a cottage in rural Cornwall late in the evening without being able to drive a car would be not a good idea. But not Neve. She just jumps in. All the time.

The book is not a fast paced one. But it is an easy read and the pages just flow. It is a bit creepy but not in a supernatural way. There is definitive something going on and I would have freaked out much earlier and take the next train back to London. Strange things happen and because Neve is so chaotic she always things that maybe it was her own fault. There are a few things I would have done, like f.e. change the door locks. But I really liked the book. I enjoyed reading it. I figured out who was behind all this spooky things quite early but the author had still a surprise for me at the end. The writing is very pleasant and I think that was the main reason I enjoyed that book so much. There are some weird things happening in the story but the author managed it to sell it to me with her nice and convincing writing.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review

M. L. Rio – Das verborgene Spiel

34752890  4 Sterne

German book – German review

 

 

Als großer Fan von Donna Tarts „Die Geheime Geschichte“ musste ich dieses Buch natürlich lesen.

 

Eine Gruppe von 7 jungen Leuten ist auf einer Kunst-Universität im 4. und letzten Jahr. Ihre Schauspielabteilung ist auf Shakespeare spezialisiert. Es werden nur seine Stücke gespielt. Die Schüler leben und atmen Shakespeare. In jeder Unterhaltung fließen Zitate ein. Ganze Unterhaltungen können sie mit Zitaten aus seinen Stücken führen.

 

Das Buch beginnt damit, dass einer von ihnen, Oliver, aus dem Gefängnis entlassen wird. Er hat 10 Jahre gesessen für ein noch ungenanntes Verbrechen, das er vielleicht aber nicht begangen hat. Das jedenfalls glaubt der damals ermittelnde Polizist, der ihn immer noch besucht. Jetzt, wo Oliver endlich entlassen wird und er selber den Polizeidienst an den Nagel gehangen hat, will er endlich die Wahrheit wissen. Und Oliver ist endlich bereit, sie ihm zu erzählen.

 

Oliver ist also unser Erzähler. Aber er erzählt nicht alles, jedenfalls nicht sofort und nur nach seinem eigenen Tempo. Die 7 Schüler verkörpern das klassische Ensemble. Es gibt den Held, den Bösewicht, die Verführerin, die Naive, den Mitläufer. Wie in den Stücken von Shakespeare nimmt langsam ein Drama seinen Lauf. Plötzlich liegt jemand tot im See.

 

Das Buch ist clever konstruiert. Nicht nur nimmt Shakespeares Werk einen großen Platz ein. Auch sind einige Dialoge angelegt wie ein Theaterstück. Die Story selbst entwickelt sich nach einem klassischen Drama. Jemand kommt zu Tode. Die Schuld, die danach an allen frisst, führt zu weiteren Komplikationen und noch mehr Leid. Die Story hält die Balance zwischen einem shakespeareschen Drama und einem modernen Stück. Die Charaktere haben alle Tiefe. Sie konkurrieren miteinander um Rollen und um Aufmerksamkeit .Sie sind prätentiös und anstrengend und neigen zum Drama. Eine Reihe von Meinungsverschiedenheiten, Eifersüchteleien und Missverständnissen, oft von Alkohol angefeuert, führt nach und nach zu einer düsteren Entwicklung der Gruppe. Es ist eine düstere Geschichte um Freundschaft, Liebe und Eifersucht. In ihrer Schule führen sie ein Inseldasein und leben in ihrer eigenen Welt. Die Linie zwischen den Figuren, die sie auf der Bühne darstellen und ihrem realen Dasein verschwimmt und führt letztendlich zu diesem tragischen Tod.

 

Das Buch erinnert ein wenig an Donna Tarts Buch. Es hat aber nicht dessen Komplexität und vor allem nicht die stilistische Größe des Vorbildes. Es ist doch deutlich schlichter und einfacher angelegt als „Die Geheime Geschichte“. Trotzdem habe ich es sehr gerne gelesen. Ich mag einfach Bücher, die in diesen kleinen, elitären und exklusiven Unizirkeln spielen. Dazu gibt es hier noch jede Menge Shakespeare-Zitate und Anspielungen auf seine Stücke. Das hat mir sehr gefallen. Es ist ein leichteres Buch als das von Tart. Es liest sich locker weg und bietet kurzweilige Unterhaltung. Man sollte vielleicht Shakespeares Stücken nicht ganz abgeneigt sein, wenn man dieses Buch liest. Mir hat es gefallen.

 

Das Buch wurde mir vom Penguin Verlag zur Verfügung gestellt und ich möchte mich hiermit herzlich dafür bedanken.

House. Tree. Person – Catriona McPherson

34506389  3,5 Stars

„House. Tree. Person“ is a dark psychological thriller. It is a bit of a slow burner and I would have wished for a little bit more tension.

The title was the thing that got me first. I never heard of that term but when you read the book you will understand. The story is told from Ali’s POV. I had some difficulties finding into the book. Ali obviously had some kind of trauma but we learn about what happened 10 years ago later in the book. But Ali and her husband Marco are referring to it all the time. Sometimes I had the feeling I missed something. And it was the reason I could not bond with her. She often reacted irrational and hysterical and I could not understand why.

The story is suspicious from the beginning. After a long time of struggeling to get along with jobs they suddenly are both lucky. Marco gets inventive on Ali’s CV and she get a job in the local psychiatric facility. All about that seems strange, even her ridiculous generous wage. She is not trained to work with troubled people but somehow nobody cares. All about this situation is weird. Beside that there is a lot going on in Ali’s family life as well.

The book is a mixed bag for me. I liked the plot, the mysterious things going on in this facility. Although it all was a bit chaotic. But it really was a slow burner and I had some problem with the main character Ali. I am also not sure if I liked the writing style. And the end was too rushed. Nevertheless it was a quick and entertaining read.

I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review