Books Reviewed in 100 Words or Less
Manners – Robert Newman
This novel is a little-known gem that deserves a wider audience. John Manners is a cop coming apart at the seams. While on patrol in uniform, he is found by colleagues beating the lifeless body of a convicted rapist he has just killed in a fight. Suspended, Manners takes it upon himself to patrol the streets alone, listening in to his police radio in order to solve a planned murder – not realising who the intended victim really is… I love this book – it’s thought-provoking, deliciously unsettling and has a real sense of menace.
A Simple Plan – Scott Smith
In a remote Ohio forest, three men stumble upon a downed airplane – and in it is a gym bag containing four million dollars. Their plan: keep quiet, keep the cash, and share it equally. But, humans being humans, their simple plan goes awry resulting in double- and triple crosses then murder. One of the best crime and mystery novels I’ve read in terms of pacing, plot and sheer page-turning, nail-biting thrills, and it depicts the fragility of relationships – siblings, spouses, friends, and how money can affect them – in a chilling way.
Tall Oaks – Chris Whitaker
A debut, and a blistering one at that. A three-year-old boy is snatched from his bed, in the small American town of Tall Oaks – what follows is a fantastic journey into the lives, lies and dark pasts of its inhabitants. Multiple characters, all convincingly written, and a suspenseful plot where nothing is quite as it seems. Think David Lynch or the Coen Brothers on top of their game but in book form and you’ve got Tall Oaks. Funny, moving and quite brilliant.
Full review, here
The Narrows – Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly’s enduring character Harry Bosch returns. Bosch, retired from the LAPD and freelancing as a private tec, takes on a job from the wife of a recently-deceased old friend which propels him into the heart of a multiple murder investigation. Doubling-up with troubled Fed agent Rachel Walling, Bosch has to face a foe both he and the FBI hoped would never resurface: The Poet. Assured as ever, ‘The Narrows’ is a compelling and occasionally disturbing read.
Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
Gillian ‘Gone Girl’ Flynn’s debut is a twisted, southern gothic tale of a town, protagonist and protagonist’s family that are beyond dysfunctional, and which left me feeling rather unwell. Which is a Very Good Thing. Dark, disturbing and with a raft of unpleasant characters, this marked Flynn out as a writer to watch – and rightly so. Terrific, claustrophobic and wholly compelling.