Tag Archives: thriller

Review: The Good Girl

the good girlThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback ARC courtesy of publisher

Some reviews have mentioned the similarity of this novel to Gone Girl. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly enjoyed Gone Girl (due to disliking characters and having guessed the ending mostly right) so I started reading The Good Girl with some trepidation. Thankfully, this novel is structured quite different and I found that, therefore, I enjoyed the story a lot more.

The start of this novel was a little uncertain as it is being told from a number of perspectives and at different points in time (before, during, and after abduction). I usually ignore chapter headers/titles but this time around, I have to pay attention to them to know exactly who’s speaking and at point in time. It made a very good difference as it saves a lot of confusion and after some time, you slip in & out of perspectives quite easily. In the end, it wasn’t at all a difficult read.

This story is NOT told from Mia Dennett’s perspective at all; the supposedly main protagonist of this novel. It is told from the people around her –people who care about / for her. This difference in perspectives from Gone Girl is what I found most enjoyable as I didn’t have to hear from anyone whom I found annoying. Whilst it’ll be interesting to see what’s going on in Mia’s head, this method definitely built the suspense and the mystery of the plot. It wasn’t until right at the very end, where Mia ‘spoke’ and hit the readers with a wrecking ball. It was a very satisfying ending.

Whether your love or hate Gone Girl, you’d find that you will enjoy The Good Girl. The suspense, the mystery, the characters, and the structure of the novel will drive you reading on ‘til the early hours.

Thanks, Harlequin Books Australia for copy of book

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Review: The Rule of Knowledge

rule ofThe Rule of Knowledge by Scott Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: I own paperback copy that purchased myself (and signed by author) 🙂

It was one of those days where you just happened to bump into the author at the bookshop… I purchased this book for no other reason than to support a local author. The book has caught my interest a few days prior somewhere online mainly due to the attractive cover and the promising adventure into ancient times. I must admit a partiality to biblical times, primarily due to my faith.

The story alternated in between the present time where Shaun Strickland, an academic nobody, was enticed away from home, and biblical time when Jesus lived, performed miracles, and was about to die. Usually with such alternating stories, I would feel the pull of interest towards one story than the other but not in this case; I didn’t feel the need to skip a chapter first to see what will happen with one storyline. The stories were woven in a way that the information were dropped in the time when we needed it.

In both stories, the main characters have their own mission on which the peace, the security, of the world depended upon. Whilst one was acutely aware of this fact, the other was driven by the thought of revenge. Both faced dangers, from known and unknown sources, which could come at them from any direction. The Rule of Knowledge is a thrilling, action-packed, fast-paced read; full of car chases, shooting guns, explosions, and even disguises.

I was pleasantly surprise with 2 factors: time travel and the favourable lean towards Christianity. I love my time travel stories and I had no idea this was one! If you like your time travel with a bit of a science-y background, this may appeal to you…

‘I understand what you are saying,’ he said. ‘I too do not always understand the way in which the Almighty works, but I know that the limitation is mine. It is I who do not understand in the same way a dog does not understand where or why its master goes away every day, needing to work to pay for the food he comes home to provide. Understanding changes. Knowledge changes, but men were killed for claiming so because the people did not understand. It is the understanding that changes, not the thing. I cannot answer that for you; it is no my place to. Each of us must come to our own conclusion.’

 

The boundaries of Shaun’s beliefs squeezed outwards under the pressure of the new information. Why was it so hard to, believe? Did he want there to be nothing beyond what he could understand? Did he want there to not be some sort of God? He examined himself and realised that he had shut himself off to even the possibility for one simple reason; it meant that he was wrong.

This book is in a way similar to Da Vinci Code in that it’s a conspiracy theory which involved a worldwide belief, Christianity. It is, I found, dissimilar (aside from the time travelling bit) in the attitude towards Christianity. I was very conscious, in reading Da Vinci Code, of all the kerfuffle it has induced in the world –and therefore noted the somewhat antagonistic view of Christianity where the Vatican was basically just evil. In The Rule of Knowledge, the Vatican has the truly faithful and the power hungry; whilst not perfect, it seems balanced. There were other factors as well which makes me wonder whether the author himself is a believer. The ultimate purpose of time travel here is definitely something we’ve all wondered about!

This book is highly recommended to those seeking a fast paced book with mysteries, pieces of history and bits of time travel thrown in. I, myself, am hoping for more of the kind from the author.

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Review: The Deliverance of Evil

deliveranceThe Deliverance of Evil by Roberto Costantini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Paperback copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia via The Reading Room

The curious thing, when you’re reading a translated work, is that you’re always wondering about the original work and how close the translated version is to the original language. Whether there are nuances missed or certain implication that’s inadvertently lost on you due to language / culture differences. Nevertheless, translating literature piece is not easy and my compliments to all translators out there who do not just translate the words but also succeed in bringing forward the atmosphere, the nuances, and the effect intended by the authors. This is coming from someone who is fluent in 2 languages.

Reading a crime / mystery novel, you’d always try to pick up all the clues and guess whodunit before it’s revealed. I tried it with this book as well and whilst I did get it near the ending, I kept questioning whether something’s amiss due to it being translated from another language; especially in regards to one particular clue which I cannot disclose. Setting this aside, however, I managed to enjoy the beauty of Italy and of life there.

“You’re a likeable idiot, Michele, but a dangerous one. Paola advised me to steer clear of you.”

Michele Balistreri, to begin with, was an aimless, self-centred, womaniser –basically, an idiot. He’s hiding from his past and yet, unable to move on. He was living for himself and for pleasure, nothing else truly matter until his attitude in solving a murder brought some inexcusable consequences. Fast forward 24 years into the future, this unsolved murder came back to haunt him but this time, he is an older man somewhat broken with damages wrought by time and lifetime of pleasure. This time, though, he is determined not to let evil stand.

I downed a bottle of whisky and found myself reflecting drunkenly on the fact that this wasn’t the usual childhood melodrama that the infant Mike had fed himself on. I was no longer the ‘Michelino’ who watched Westerns, the fearless cowboy who killed all the bad guys. I was a man of thirty-two who didn’t give a shit about anyone, not even himself. I knew the reason well enough – they were all very clear.

And now what the fuck was I looking for? Did I want to absolve myself? Did I want to avoid eternal remorse by finding evil? And what evil?

It changed little; fate was not in agreement with me anyway.

To begin with, the mystery sounds quite simple: a beautiful woman went missing and years later, more have gone missing. Things are never quite what they seem, however, as the nature of each characters are revealed, piece by piece. The crimes, the deceptions, the corruptions are woven in a complex layer and brought into a well fitted jigsaw puzzles. The Deliverance of Evil is a sterling piece of crime novel featuring a world where corruption reigns and evil abounds; where a broken man haunted by his past seeks to put things to right and yet he is only a man. Despite the dark world of crime and corruption, there was also innocence to be found and beauty and… love. I would highly recommend this book to mystery lovers.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia via The Reading Room for copy of book

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Review: Banish

banishBanish by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Source: Book courtesy of Harlequin Teen Australia

Just look at that cover – extremely eye-catching pink (have you seen my nails today?) with close-up of a gorgeous blond-blue-eyed chick. Yea, I am totally a sucker for pretty covers. I’ve not nailread any other of Nicola Marsh’s works though she seemed to be a prolific author; mostly adult romance novels which I rarely touch. This particular work in the YA / thriller / paranormal fits right within my comfort zone though so it was a snap decision to pick this up.

Alyssa came to New York to live with her aunt in order to escape from a painful past. However, just as she thinks that things are settling down, she’s moving on and is starting to dare to grasp happiness once again, the past came back to haunt her. It’s driving her crazy because she refused to believe in the supernatural… She believes someone’s got it bad for her and her logical head is pushing for a realistic answer. Is she going to get the result she wanted and will it be free of the supernatural?

[Alyssa describing herself] …beanpole strawberry blonde with blah-blue eyes, no curves and a nasty habit of picking at her cuticles

Alyssa was an easily likeable character though I really get the feeling that all her refusal to believe in the supernatural was a little too forced. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. However, she really is a mature character as is evident by her dating older guys. And Ronan! Well, I’ve to say that not only is he HOT, he sounds to be really mature for a 21 year old musician! It was lovely to read a relationship where both sides knew the need to communicate and tried hard at it – a refreshing change in a romance! And let’s not forget the sizzles!

His knuckles grazed my cheek in a strangely intimate gesture that had me wanting to leap into his arms and wrap my legs around him, like some corny scene out of a romantic movie…. He stared at my mouth for another few seconds before he shook his head slightly, as if trying to clear the fog. I know the feeling. Confused, befuddled and totally in lust.

The book opens with a Prologue that was quite thrilling then the book started the week previous to explore events leading up to the prologue. I don’t usually find this type of start annoying but this particular one, I actually did. The start was pretty explosive that I found it hard to settle to read the book. I kept getting distracted and was really impatient to get to that part so I can move onto the next exciting bit but it turns out to be the ending of the book and it was repeated word for word which was somewhat disappointing. I skimmed that couple of pages to read the closing of the book.

Despite the above slight disappointment and the predictability of the mystery (I figured it out midway), I still quite enjoyed the book. Primarily due to the turn of language and the suspense was still there though hubz dared to show up (to pick me up from the station) when I was 5 pages from the end! Arrgh! Banish is a good-easy-read with enough sweetness and suspense to spice it up. I’d recommend it if you’re after some sweet brain-fluff to while away a summer’s day. This is the perfect book to read out in the sunshine.

Thank you, HarlequinTeen Australia, for providing copy of book in exchange of honest review

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