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Book Review: The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah

I got to know about Sophie Hannah after someone mentioned that the new books that are coming in the name of Agatha Christie are written by her. And since I am a big time fan of Agatha (you can guess through the highest number of reviews of her books done in this blog and that too, highest by a huge huge margin – click here to see those book names).

Let me just tell you, Sophie has not written a who-dunnit but a why-dunnit in her book The Next to Die (or The Narrow Bed, same book but two names). And the side stories are ummm not good enough (euphemism for bad). The stories seemed to drag, the main plot line too and the conclusion was so far-fetched. Only the (smart and funny) way of writing book by Kim was the silver lining for me. Also, reading the book, I felt like people are really really crazy and can do anything for stupid reasons. Oh, am I being judgmental? Who knows, perhaps I am one of these people too!! *grin

This is not recommended for reading unless you are a huge Sophie Hannah fan. You ask me why I picked this book in particular, because this was the only book of Sophie available in my e-book library. So, what do you think? Should I pick up another book of hers or give her a skip altogether for some time?

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
The New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders and Woman with a Secret returns with a disturbing tale of psychological suspense and obsession that hits at the heart of some of our most precious relationships.

What if having a best friend could put you in the crosshairs of a killer?

A psychopath the police have dubbed “Billy Dead Mates” is targeting pairs of best friends, and killing them one by one. Before they die, each victim is given a small white book.

For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or figure out what the white books symbolize and why the killer leaves them behind. The police are on edge; the public in a panic. Then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward. What she reveals shocks the investigators and adds another troubling layer to an already complex case.

Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did last year. Was the stranger Billy, and is he targeting her—or is it something more nefarious? Kim has no friends and trusts no one, so how—and why—could Billy Dead Mates want to target her? If it’s not her, then who will be the next to die?

Sophie Hannah raises the stakes with each successive page in this haunting and twisting thriller that reaffirms her place as one of today’s most talented suspense writers.

About the author:
Sophie Hannah is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in forty-nine languages and fifty-one territories. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries. She has since published two more Poirot novels, Closed Casket and The Mystery of Three Quarters, both of which were instant Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.

In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.  She has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry – the fifth of which, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A Level and degree level across the UK. Most recently, she has published a self-help book called How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment – The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life.

Sophie has recently helped to create a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, for which she is the main teacher and Course Director. She is also the founder of the Dream Author coaching programme for writers. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.

Website: sophiehannah.com
Twitter: @sophiehannahCB1

Rating: 6/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: The Next to Die
Author: Sophie Hannah
Pages: 416
Publication Year: 2016
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Book Review: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

And that was when she had one single, awful realization. It’s not a doll. And against all her best intentions, she began to scream and couldn’t stop.

You start reading the book and come across the above line and immediately realize how chilly the story is going to be, if it is written well. Stillhouse Lake was recommended by my reading group when I told them I was only looking forward to reading psycho-thrillers. Yes, I am too much crazy, if you have not yet figured out that yourself by my choice of books I have read (oh, did you not know, I write reviews of all books I read).

And I am glad I picked it up – in addition to murders, the book just traced the right extent a mother is afraid for the safety of her kids and how far she will go and change herself, and is that not how motherly instinct is referred.

Scary, creepy
As the scenes unfold
Who is friend
Who is foe
No one knows
When someone close betrays
Who will you believe
Life is a struggle
And that’s why you should fight
Fight, fight and keep on fighting

Oops, I mentioned it like this is a motivational book. But nope, it is a murder mystery, a psycho-thriller, and a hard one at that. I am going to read the next part in this series now; what about you?

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

About the author:
Rachel Caine is a pen name of Roxanne Longstreet Conrad. As per her Goodreads profile, she is the slightly insane (and very tired) author of a bunch of books, including paranormal fiction, mystery, suspense, science fiction, romance, and young adult novels. Oh, and she also writes short stories. And essays. She has also published as: Roxanne Longstreet, Roxanne Conrad, Julie Fortune and Ian Hammell.

Website: rachelcaine.com
Twitter: @rachelcaine

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: Stillhouse Lake
Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 302
Publication Year: 2017

Book Review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

When one has read a debut book by an author and has set such high expectations from all her future books, one is very very much disappointed. I started my journey with Clare Mackintosh through her first book I Let You Go and what a book it was!! In the sense, it was so very awesome. Thrilling, in the exact right doses. Though I See You was also good, but it slightly paled coming from the same author. And with this book Let Me Lie, I think I will give Clare a break and explore new authors.

Let me tell you, this book is not bad in individuality. It is just that Clare only set such high expectations. Haha! It has many plot twists and turns, the way you would expect in Clare’s book. What, you say you have not read her? Have you read any one of Gillian Flynn’s books or Gone Girl by her, then you can imagine the kind of suspense the story is going to unfold. The story is narrated well for I was able to complete the book (do not ask me, how many books I have left uncomplete this year). So anyway read the book and tell me did you like the ending or was it too psycho for you the way Anna acted in the end? Shhh…no spoilers!!

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…

The stunning, twisty new psychological thriller from number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go and I See You.

About the author:
Clare Mackintosh is a Sunday Times bestselling author.

Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant, and now writes full time.

Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller for 12 weeks, and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It has sold more than a million copies worldwide. In July 2016, Clare received the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, and won the Cognac Prix du Polar for International Novel of the Year that autumn.

Clare’s second book, I See You, was published in the UK in July 2016, charting at number 1 in the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list. Clare’s books have been translated into more than 35 languages.

Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Website: claremackintosh.com
Twitter: @claremackint0sh

Rating: 7/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: Let Me Lie
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Pages: 400
Publication Year: 2018

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I will start the review with just one word – scary. Or will creepy be better?

It was just a chance (good?) that Zoe found her face staring from a newspaper. But tell me how would you have reacted if you saw your own face staring from newspaper in the column for sex workers and a contact number with the ever increasing paranoia that someone is following you all the time. As for the other females whose faces appear the other days, one is mugged, few others murdered and rest unknown. An urban female worst nightmare! If I had not been hard wired by now after reading so many psycho-thrillers back to back, I know for sure that I would have been having nightmares for days at a stretch and that too scared even after that whenever I would be traveling on my own. What a brilliant brilliant setup and story-line, though the ending could have been slight better!! The tempo the book builds is like, if you are a GoT (Game of Thrones) fan, exactly the same as the last episode S8E3 (season 8, episode 3). No no, do no leave my blog post right now, I am not giving away any spoilers, please do not worry on that front, but I cannot stop talking about it since I saw it last midnight (because my son slept pretty late yesterday and I am sleep deprived; hence, please ignore sentence formations and grammatical errors, if any, on this blog post or whatever I am writing now).

I am ending the review with the disclaimer that only the strong heart females should read it. Shh, someone is watching you even now, while you are reading this.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
It all starts during her commute home one night. Zoe Walker glances through her local paper and sees her own face staring back at her in a classified ad. With the grainy photo is a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

In the following days, she sees other women in the same ad, a different one every day, and nearly all of them show up in the newspapers as victims of increasingly violent crimes–including murder.

With the help of a determined cop, Zoe uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…And suddenly, the man on the train sitting across the car–the one smiling at Zoe–could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

About the author:
Clare Mackintosh is a Sunday Times bestselling author.

Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant, and now writes full time.

Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller for 12 weeks, and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It has sold more than a million copies worldwide. In July 2016, Clare received the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, and won the Cognac Prix du Polar for International Novel of the Year that autumn.

Clare’s second book, I See You, was published in the UK in July 2016, charting at number 1 in the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list. Clare’s books have been translated into more than 35 languages.

Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Website: claremackintosh.com
Twitter: @claremackint0sh

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Pages: 386
Publication Year: 2017

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Have you read a book and be blown away by it? Let me tell you this is one such book though I did not know it till I was half-way through it. I had not read the book blurb before and the cover pic of the book made me think that it is going to be kind of romantic, you know something on the lines of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Oh, how wrong I was! But glad too, for my favorite genre is murder mystery and thrillers. And as you must have noticed when I say I realized it was the awesome book mid-way, the book has major twists and turns. In fact, it can give Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a complex, but in a good way…

Being a new mom (I do not think this feeling will go away soon), the heart-rending accident that kicks off from the starting pages of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh left me too emotional. The mother leaves the hands of her 5 year old son once they reach their home turn where vehicle movement is at the bare minimum at that hour and a car comes and hits him hard. Gosh, I had nightmares that night. It took me a day more to start turning the pages. But all this is the first chapter. I am not throwing away any spoilers exactly like my other book reviews.

I will simply end this review saying that if you love psycho-thrillers, or murder mysteries, please go and pick up this book. It is a MUST READ. It is a great debut by the author.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

About the author:
Clare Mackintosh is a Sunday Times bestselling author.

Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant, and now writes full time.

Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller for 12 weeks, and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It has sold more than a million copies worldwide. In July 2016, Clare received the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, and won the Cognac Prix du Polar for International Novel of the Year that autumn.

Clare’s second book, I See You, was published in the UK in July 2016, charting at number 1 in the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list. Clare’s books have been translated into more than 35 languages.

Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Website: claremackintosh.com
Twitter: @claremackint0sh

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: I Let You Go
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Pages: 371
Publication Year: 2014

Book Review: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Book Review The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

It feels like a long long time since I have read a book this perfect and which associates science and mathematics in a fictional murder mystery. Have you heard about P=NP problem? Basically, it asks whether it’s more difficult to think of the solution to a problem yourself or to ascertain if someone else’s answer to the same problem is correct. This is a line picked from the book itself. And then later, A feeling rose inside him, making him queasy, as though an elaborate formula he’d thought was perfect was now giving false results because of an unpredictable variable. How would you react? No no, do not worry, no spoilers from my end. I just cannot help gushing over this book and thinking how I had missed reading this all these years for the book The Devotion of Suspect X was published in 2005.

Ending my review note with a point for you to ponder upon, how far would you go for someone you love but who does not give two cents about it? The corresponding line from the book – He held no aspirations of ever being anything to them.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.

When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.

About the author:
Keigo Higashino is one of the most popular and biggest selling fiction authors in Japan.

Born in Osaka, he started writing novels while still working as an engineer. He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize, which is awarded annually to the finest mystery work, in 1985 for the novel Hōkago at age 27. Subsequently, he quit his job and started a career as a writer in Tokyo.

In 1999, he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Inc award for the novel Himitsu (The Secret), which was translated into English by Kerim Yasar and published by Vertical under the title of Naoko in 2004. In 2006, he won the 134th Naoki Prize for Yōgisha X no Kenshin. His novels had been nominated five times before winning with this novel.

The Devotion of Suspect X was the second highest selling book in all of Japan— fiction or nonfiction—the year it was published, with over 800,000 copies sold. It won the prestigious Naoki Prize for Best Novel— the Japanese equivalent of the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize. Made into a motion picture in Japan, The Devotion of Suspect X spent 4 weeks at the top of the box office and was the third highest‐grossing film of the year.

Higashino’s novels have more movie and TV series adaptations than Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, and as many as Michael Crichton.

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: The Devotion of Suspect X
Author: Keigo Higashino
Pages: 298
Publication Year: 2005

Book Review: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Book Review The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Have you played a video game? What happens when your character dies? You start over, right? But what if not only starting over, you become another character of the same game? Quite interesting, no? This is how I felt while reading this book.

Though the person who had recommended this book mentioned it a light read, I did not find it so. It needs concentration in case you do not want to miss out on the mastery of author’s connecting dots between characters or you can simply mark passages in your Kindle book – the points you find relevant enough to cross reference. It will be especially intriguing for a reader who can remember the pages she read previously as a different character.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (UK edition) or The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (US edition) is a whodunnit of different kind. And being a whodunnit, I am not giving any spoilers away. In fact, I had not even read the book blurb till I completed the book, of which I am sure, most readers refer to book blurb at least, if not its reviews. And this made it even more interesting for me, for with the way characters were written and no one was what it seemed, I felt even Aiden Bishop was a fictional character in this mumbo-jumbo. I started reading the book and felt exactly like the main protagonist waking up and on his way to discovering what is happening around. Though I felt the last few pages of the ending could be better, all-in-all it was a good bumpy murder mystery ride, which I completed yesterday night at 3 am (do not tell this to my hubby).

Time is running out, you have only eight days to solve a murder. Can you? Before Aiden does?  Go go go, pick this book…

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
The Rules of Blackheath

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…
***
Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

About the author:
Stuart Turton lives in London with his amazing wife and daughter. He drinks lots of tea.

When Stuart left university, he went travelling for three months and stayed away for five years. Every time his parents asked when he’d be back, he told them next week, and meant it.

Having trained for no particular career, Stuart has dabbled in most of them. He stocked shelves in a Darwin bookshop, taught English in Shanghai, worked for a technology magazine in London, wrote travel articles in Dubai, and now he’s a freelance journalist. None of this was planned, he just kept getting lost on his way to other places.

Website: stuturton.wordpress.com
Twitter: @stu_turton

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Pages: 438
Publication Year: 2018
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