I was given the much feted novel The House Between The Tides by Sarah Maine as a Christmas Gift. I had heard many good things about the book so I was interested to read it.
The story is about a country house and its estate on a remote island in North West Scotland and the familes associated with it. The novel crosses a period of one hundred years and I found that it jumped backards and forwards a great deal.
The house on the remote Hebridean Island is inherited by Hetty Devereaux after the death of her grandmother. Hetty is the last of her line, having now no living relatives. She is unsure just what to do with her inheritance but
she is considering restoring the building and creating a modern resort. However, everything is halted when the human remains of an unknown person are discovered under an extension.
The novel is a debut mystery novel and some of the descriptions of the sea and of historic island life are vivid and atmospheric.
The House Between the Tides sets itself as a mystery of lies, secrets, passion and betrayal, but I found the story a bit pedestrian and predictable. The time changes and changes of points of view, sometimes within the same paragraph, were also confusing. There were also many characters with very similar names. This made it difficult to tell one from another.
The broad story held my interest but I found this novel disappointing, particularly in light of the amount of praise it has received.
Sarah Maine was born in England and emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of ten. A small northern Ontario community was home for the next two years before the family moved south, and Sarah went to high school in Toronto. She returned to England to study archaeology, stayed on to do research and work, married there and has two sons.
Books were always important. She grew up on a diet of Arthur Ransome and Robert Louis Stevenson but also the classics, Jane Austen and the Brontés and, of course, Daphne du Maurier – but now enjoys a wide range of contemporary fiction.
She has publlished three books – The House between Tides, Beyond the Wild River and Women of the Dunes and is currently working on her fourth, set partly in New Zealand.
The last time I chose a book by Chris Carter, my local library was having a clear out and I chose to read An Evil Mind. It is reviewed on this site – https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/10/11/an-evil-mind-by-chris-carter/ So it was with I Am Death. The library was selling old stock at vastly reduced prices and I purchased the book.
I am not sure anyone could say they ‘enjoyed’ books by Chris Carter. Certainly the level of violence described in I Am Death was way above what I would normally read and I am not sure that I needed such detailed and repeated descriptions. However, his main protagonist, Robert Hunter is intruiging and the relationship he has with his partner, Carlos, is most gratifying, so I did persevere.
I Am Death tells the story of a psychopath whose serial killings each differ from one another because he is so damamged, he just enjoys the suffering of his victims. Hunter, like the author himself is an adept psychologist and it is interesting when Hunter is asked for psychological insight by his co-workers as the author himself will have been when he was working in that field.
I did guess the end, but will not spoil the story here for others. It is a fast paced, clever story that has the reader willing the police to solve the mystery. If you enjoy an exciting crime thriller, this book is worth your time.
The Author in his own words
I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.
I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.
A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.
I am part of the Love Books Group Tour for the exciting new novel by BRM Stewart. I am really looking forward to reading this, especially since the author has shared an enticing extract here.
It’s been a year since Rima Khalaf died in a fall from the Black Rock, deemed to be a tragic accident by the police.
But her grieving parents are dissatisfied with the police investigation, so DS Amanda Pitt is sent north from Glasgow to the small town of Clachdubh to re-examine the case.
Despite the suspicions of the distraught parents, all the circumstances seem to confirm Rima’s death was indeed a tragic accident until another woman is also found dead in the town.
Frustrated by the lack of any real evidence, DS Pitt pushes the limits of legality in her quest for the truth.
She’d packed and checked out of the Clachdubh Hotel, and driven to the Rock with the vague idea that she had to see the scene of the death of Rima Khalaf. She had an hour or so before going back to the school to meet Rima’s housemate Mary – also a teacher there, but who hadn’t been available the day before.
There was a small car park, and then a path than zigzagged up the hill. Calling it ‘The Rock’ made it sound more impressive than it really was, thought Amanda. It was less than two hundred feet or so high, and an easy climb. It was almost all grass here, and mounds of dog dirt were evident all the way up – some on the path, and some wrapped in poop bags and then left for posterity.
But, at the top, the view was good. She could look back over the town to the remaining high-rises of Glasgow in the distance, and in all other directions to the mountains, some still with scatterings of snow in shady corners. She looked round, wishing she knew the names of those mountains, and then stepped to the edge.
The north side of the Rock was steep, and had apparently been made more so by the need to widen the road down below. There was no barrier, only a line of warning signs. Amanda looked over the edge. The grassy slope fell away, steeper and steeper, and then there was the drop to the edge of the road. Plastic mesh coated the side of the rock face.
Amanda could see how you might slide and then simply fall. But surely you would be aware of it right at the start. You’d catch hold of one of the many rocky outcrops and stop yourself, then pull yourself back up.
OK, late at night if you were drunk, you wouldn’t manage to retrieve the situation. Or if you were old or had poor balance.
Or if you’d been given a good, hard shove in the first place.
Amanda looked down. A van appeared on the road and drove past at speed. Amanda frowned. And waited for the next vehicle – a blue car, also going fast.
She found a small stone, waited till the next car appeared in view, and lobbed the stone underhand away down the grass. It bumped and jumped, and fell off the edge. Amanda didn’t see it reach the roadway – and tensed in case in smashed into the car, but nothing seemed to happen. She reckoned it hit the road pretty much at the same time as the car reached the spot.
Give or take, a body would probably do the same. So, bad luck that Rima Khalaf had fallen at just the right time to land on the roadway as a car was about to be at that spot? Or had the person giving the shove known that would happen?
She shook the thought away. She wasn’t here to investigate the death, she reminded herself. There were gaps in the investigation, but nothing material.
‘Careful,’ said a man’s voice behind her.
Amanda turned: he was an older man with a Jack Russell on a lead – one of the few breeds of dog she recognised.
‘A couple of young lassies have fallen over the edge here. Careful.’
Remember to follow the rest of the tour for more insight into this fascinating new book, The Deaths on the Black Rock.
Buy Link https://amzn.to/2Rp13NL
I had never read any books by Jojo Moyes, until Me before You became our book of the month for our book group.
Me Before You tells the story of a successful young attorney, Will Traynor, who is seriously injured in an accident as a result of which he becomes wheel chair bound and quadriplegic.
He has become very bitter and rude. He never goes out and has attempted suicide. His parents are at their wits’ end. So they enploy a new carer, Louisa Clark, whom they hope will cheer him up, although she has no experience of caring.
Louisa has just lost her job at a local cafe. She had worked there for years: but the owner decided to close the cafe and move abroad. Louisa has been with her boyfriend Patrick for years too. She has not experienced much at all outside her home town.
Louisa has quite a different attitude to life from Will and bursts into his world in a riot of colour. Their conflicting attitudes change each other permanently.
I had not really expected to enjoy this book: but I did. Although the ending was very predictable, the route it took to get there transfixed me. Me Before You was a terrific book group read.
Jojo Moyes is a British novelist. She studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.
Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004. She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.
It had been a long time since I had read a novel by Peter James, not for any particular reason, just because I was reading so many other good books. So I treated myself to Need You Dead.
This is the 13th book in the Roy Grace books, this is a series that is so well paced and consistently of a very high standard. However, although the police procedures are unfailingly correct, I found that the level of procedural detail intruded into the story. Nevertheless, it is a good read.
Need You Dead revolves around the end of the life of Lorna Belling and her untimely death.
When her body is found in a bath in Brighton and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. There are a number of possible scenarios but the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.
I enjoyed the story, in Need You Dead, if not the detailed procedure, and will make sure it is not so long before I read another book by Peter James again.
Peter James is a UK No. 1 bestselling author, best known for writing crime and thriller novels, and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. With a total of 13 Sunday Times No. 1s under his belt, he has achieved global book sales of over 19 million copies to date, and has been translated into 37 languages.
Synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners, Peter has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career – which also included stints writing for TV and producing films. He has won over 40 awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for which he was an Executive Producer. Many of Peter’s novels have been adapted for film, TV and stage.