Tag Archives: #thriller

Mercy by David Baldacci -a review

mercyMercy (Atlee Pine #4) by David Baldacci

Mercy is the gripping follow up to Long Road to MercyA Minute to Midnight and Daylight featuring Special Agent Atlee Pine from one of the world’s most favourite thriller writers, David Baldacci.

THE HUNT IS FINALLY OVER.

FBI agent Atlee Pine is at the end of her long journey to discover what happened to her twin sister, Mercy, who was abducted when the girls were just six years old – an incident which destroyed her family and left Atlee physically and mentally scarred.

She knew her sister and parents were out there somewhere. And she had to find them. Dead or alive.

Atlee and her assistant, Carol Blum, discover the truth. But the truth hurts. And hurt makes you tough. So how tough do you have to be to forgive?

As they uncover a shocking trail of lies, greed, fear and revenge, they must face one final challenge. A challenge more deadly and dangerous than they could ever have imagined.

Published 26 October 2021|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Fans all over the world have been waiting for this moment! The moment when Special Agent Atlee Pine finally finds out what happened to her twin sister, Mercy, when they were separated as children. Mercy is a thrilling conclusion to this mystery as well as a spellbinding story of women’s resilience and strength.

Pine and Blum travelled the country in tracing those involved with Mercy’s kidnapping. As always, things never go smoothly as there are many other external factor that come to play. Slowly, complexity and tension build up until the explosive ending that is typical of Baldacci’s novels. I really don’t know whether this is a final Atlee Pine novel because all 4 books have been about her and Mercy. That’s pretty much done now and that last scene in the book sounds like a farewell to me. Either way, I’m very happy with this finale.

Honestly, this is a tough review to write without spoilers! So please forgive me for being more vague than ever but just believe me when I say that this is an unmissable finale though if you haven’t been following the series, you very much need to read them starting from book 1, Long Road to Mercy.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox -a review

2 sisters detective agency2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox

The exciting new collaboration from James Patterson and Australia’s own Candice Fox, following the recent bestselling success, both here and internationally, of The Inn.

From the creator of the #1 bestselling WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB

Two sisters go into the family business they didn’t know they had – catching killers.

Attorney Rhonda Bird returns home to LA to bury her estranged father, and discovers that he left her two final surprises.

The first is a private detective agency.

The second is a teenage half-sister named Baby.

When Rhonda goes into her father’s old office to close down the business, she gets drawn into a case involving a young man who claims he was abducted.

The investigation takes Rhonda and Baby to dark and dangerous places. Soon they are caught in the crosshairs of an angry criminal cartel and an ex-assassin seeking revenge.

A thrilling new novel starring a captivating sister-detective duo.

Published 28 September 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s |  QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Truth to tell, I haven’t been reading much of James Patterson’s books as I just haven’t been interested in any of them BUT when it comes to Candice Fox, well, I’ve just GOT to. Her name is like a siren call to me, “Read Me!”. 2 Sisters Detective Agency has got the Patterson’s hallmark of short chapter bursts and Fox’s offbeat cast of characters which made the book to be a very entertaining page turner.

The book description is rather succinct and yet, the book is so much more. There were so many interesting characters and there were just so much packed into this 352 pager that I’m finding myself at a lost on how to describe it. The story wasn’t just told from Rhonda’s or Baby’s views but a number of others as well. With that consideration, I’m so surprised that I wasn’t troubled or confused with keeping up with who’s who.

I think I see Candice Fox’s fingers in Rhonda Bird’s characters where she can just mouth off straight-faced and gets away with it; reminds me a bit of Amanda Pharrell. Her mouthing off isn’t to the point of rudeness but just a very creative way to circumvent whatever situation she happens to be in. The fact that she’s super strong, confident, and generous was just icing on top. Baby, despite her young age, complements Rhonda and together, they are a delight to read.

While we move from chapter to chapter with different characters, it was very easy to follow the story. Even as it felt a little bit all over the place when I was in the middle of it, at the end, when everything falls into its proper place, I really felt that it was all one big circle and I think it was neatly done. The ending itself was rather hairy and… somewhat unfinished so I hope to see more of these sisters.

The pace and tone of the book was set by the very first sentence, “She was a killer”, and I was hooked. Tension gripped me and it just kept on going til the very last chapter. The short chapters probably didn’t help because I keep thinking, “just one more [very short] chapter…”, and suddenly, one hour had past and I really had to run for the ladies’… So yes, this is a fantastic read! Do yourself a favour, read this before lockdown ends because you don’t really want “life” to interrupt your reading.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

The Long Game by Simon Rowell -a review

the long gameThe Long Game by Simon Rowell

A summer of relentless heat. A local surfer named Ray Carlson is found dead in a house not far from Portsea back beach. There’s a kitchen knife deep in his chest, and blood everywhere.

Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer is scarcely back from extended leave, and still wrestling with her demons, but she is assigned the case—alongside her new service dog, Harry, whose instincts help her in unexpected ways.

There’s an obvious suspect for the murder, and Zoe makes an arrest. But it’s all too neat, and none of Zoe’s colleagues believes her theory that the whole thing is a stitch-up.

Except now someone is trying to hunt Zoe down.

Superbly plotted, and vividly set in the beachside suburbs and hilly retreats around Melbourne, The Long Game is a mystery about a tough and clever investigator who won’t give up.

Published 3 August 2021|  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

The Long Game is a solid police procedural featuring a much likeable detective protagonist and her clever service dog, Harry. On Detective Zoe Mayer’s first day back to work, she caught a homicide case which appear to be an open and shut case but a tip and her instinct led her to believe that there is much more to this case than what’s obvious. This, in turn, made her unpopular with her colleagues and a target.

Many crime novels these days feature protagonists who are broken and most have either broken or in fracturing domestic situations. While Zoe has her own issues to work through, I liked that her own personal life isn’t. It isn’t perfect but then no one’s is. She’s got Harry to assist her in her daily struggles but she appears to be doing all the right things and is recovering well. She’s a terrifically strong character, intelligent and determined, and confident. And lovable Harry – everyone loves him and being a dog lover myself, I loved having him actively participate in this novel.

The mystery behind Zoe’s PTSD was just as intriguing as the murder mystery she was investigating. As Zoe goes investigating the murder, readers also get glimpses of the incident that led to her PTSD. I must say that twists & conclusions to both mysteries are very satisfying.

I am not at all sure whether this is meant to be a stand alone or a series. At the end of the book, I did think this feels like a first book in a series but yet, it’s possible that it’s a stand alone but with author/publisher leaving enough of a vague notion for a possibility for a series, if sales are good. I do hope that there will be more books as I have really enjoyed this time spent in company with Zoe & Harry.

My thanks to Text Publishing for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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A Different Dawn by Isabella Maldonado -a review

a different dawnA Different Dawn (Nina Guerrera #2) by Isabella Maldonado

For nearly thirty years a serial killer has been hiding in plain sight. So has the key to an FBI agent’s dark past.

A family is murdered as they sleep. FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera and her new team are tasked with determining whether there is any link between this attack and another triple homicide from four years earlier and more than two thousand miles away. In the process, they’ll discover a serial killer so cunning that his grisly trail of death spanning nearly three decades has gone undetected. Each crime scene reminds Nina of the ghostly Latin folktale of La Llorona, which terrified her when she was an abandoned and vulnerable child. Now it’s back to haunt her.

Nina has known evil, but these macabre reenactments are as disturbing as they are baffling. Now she must uncover the meaning behind the rituals as the evidence leads her in an unexpected direction—far closer to home than anyone could have imagined. As the team narrows in on a suspect, the present collides with Nina’s past in a twist of fate that forces her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Published 10 August 2021|  Publisher: Thomas & Mercer  |  RRP: AUD$27.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

The Cipher (Nina Guerrera #1) was an Amazon Prime First Reads offer and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I love Free books (who doesn’t!) but when it comes to free ebook offer, I have my doubts… Nina was such a strong protagonist and the story a thrilling page turner that when I saw this second book available on NetGalley, I jumped on the chance.

A Different Dawn is just as thrilling and page turning as the first book. As Nina and her team needs to learn to work together as a team, they travelled to Phoenix where a possible serial killer began and has just recently, committed an atrocious act against a young family. As the team raced against time and danger to catch this unsub, he himself worked behind the scene to throw them off their game.

Nina faced her terribly violent past in The Cipher and you’d think the poor girl may have had enough but this Girl Warrior is uncovering more of her mysterious past in this latest instalment of the series. Even as much as I loved the ending to this book, I was scoffing at how both mysteries conveniently centred on Nina’s past… What’s left for the next book? Maybe now we can move on…? We’ll see.

Last night, I started reading thinking that I’ll just read for an hour and have an early night but I just couldn’t put this down. While I struggled against my unbelief that yet again, Nina stumbled into something from her past, I also wanted to find out what it is! So I chalked up another late night reading but a very satisfactory one.

My thanks to Thomas & Mercer for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Catch Us The Foxes by Nicola West -a review

catch us the foxesCatch Us The Foxes by Nicola West

Some secrets you try to hide. Others you don’t dare let out …

Twin Peaks meets The Dry in a deliciously dark and twisted tale that unravels a small Australian country town

Ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape the suffocating confines of her small home town. While begrudgingly covering the annual show for the local newspaper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of her best friend – the town’s reigning showgirl, Lily Williams.

Seven strange symbols have been ruthlessly carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her grisly find to the town’s police chief, he makes her promise not to tell anyone about the symbols. Lo obliges, though it’s not like she has much of a choice – after all, he is also her father.

When Lily’s murder makes headlines around the country and the town is invaded by the media, Lo seizes the opportunity to track down the killer and make a name for herself by breaking the biggest story of her life.

What Lo uncovers is that her sleepy home town has been harbouring a deadly secret, one so shocking that it will captivate the entire nation.

Lo’s story will change the course of her life forever, but in a way she could never have dreamed of.

Published 7 July 2021|  Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

I don’t often get NetGalley’s pre-approval emails and when I do, I don’t usually find those books that interesting and so was my first thought about this novel. I’m very much a cover girl so I have to say that cover really didn’t interest me and I can’t really remember why I decided to take up this offer anyway. In any case, good job, past me, because I would’ve really missed out! I thoroughly enjoyed Catch Us The Foxes.

The novel opens with a prologue where protagonist, Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson, is about to speak about a book she wrote. A book about what happened in the past. A book that we all gets to read because this is the main meat of Catch Us The Foxes. It is a book within a book. The Showgirl’s Secret is the title of Lo’s book where she told the story of her friend’s suspicious death and the ordeal she went through as she determinedly tried her best to discover the truth.

But what is the truth? Does she even truly know her friend? or her town? What secrets are such small sunny beach tourist town like Kiama could keep in their hearts? A town where she has lived her whole life. Lo must uncover layers of lies and decide who she can trust.

Within the first few minutes, I knew that this was a novel I would really liked. I found Lo easily likeable even if her character sounds a little unstable at times but then again, that is the way Lo portrayed herself in her book so, without too much spoiler, you do have to wonder what her character truly is like.

The setting, Kiama, being only a couple of hours’ drive away, really made me want to just nip down there for a day but… lockdown 😦 However, if you visit author’s insta, you can see some of the views there. I have been previously so it was a tad difficult to imagine such a dark foreboding secret at such a beautiful spot.

Catch Us The Foxes is a thrilling suspense where tension is taut from the very beginning right to the very last word. It was creepy. It was tense. It was one hell of a ride. I was caught by twist upon twist right up to the end of the epilogue where only the readers, us, know what is ‘true’. I’d highly recommend this to all thriller fans.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Review: The Chase by Candice Fox

The Chase by Candice Fox

The new novel by New York Times #1 bestselling author Candice Fox is an electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller set in the Nevada desert.

Candice Fox has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘one of Australia’s finest new gen crime writers’ and her latest novel is another thrilling ride, as a mass prison breakout lets loose 650 of the country’s most dangerous prisoners.

‘Are you listening, Warden?’

‘What do you want?’

‘I want you to let them out.’

‘Which inmates are we talking about?’

‘All of them.

When more than 600 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out from Pronghorn Correctional Facility into the Nevada Desert, the biggest manhunt in US history begins.

But for John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence, five years after the murder of his wife and child.

He just needs to stay one step ahead of the teams of law enforcement officers he knows will be chasing down the escapees.

Death row supervisor turned fugitive-hunter Celine Osbourne is single-minded in her mission to catch Kradle. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading . . .

Published 30 March 2021 |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  |  QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

I’m going to be upfront and state that this is so totally going to be a very bias review. I have read all of Candice Fox’s books and loved every one of them. I especially love the quirky Aussie flavour her books are steeped in. And yet, even as this one is far away from our shore (Nevada desert) and did not include any Aussie characters ):): it did not detract from my enjoyment of this novel. 

The book description described of a prison break (not one, not two, but ALL of the inmates) and the subsequent hunts to put them all where they belong. It is such intriguing & thrilling concept (even if a little bit outlandish) and the story did not disappoint. The Chase was a compelling read with a well-sustained suspense to pull the reader to continue reading right through to the end.

There is a large number of casts in this novel and while at first I struggled with the names and remembering who they are, a couple of the characters are very memorable and after a few chapters, I found that the flow of switches between characters to be quite smooth and easily followed. Add to this, there were twists and turns peppered throughout each chapter that keep readers flipping pages.

I do believe that Fox specialised in crushed down but loveable and strong female characters but in this particular novel I also feel that she’s got the creepy psycho vibes down pat. It’s hair raising stuff! I guess visiting serial killer on death row paid out! I was amazed by how many baddies in this story and each with his own brand of monstrosity; they are all so brilliantly crafted. 

The Chase is a fast-paced, high-octane thriller that you can’t help but want for more. I’d highly recommend that you have set aside hours to read this because it’s not one you’d want to stop even for a minute.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Hades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back to back. Her subsequent novels – FallCrimson LakeRedemption Point and Gone by Midnight – were all shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was a huge bestseller in Australia and went straight to number one on the New York Times bestseller list in the US, and also to the top of the charts in the UK. Their later novels – Fifty FiftyLiar LiarHush Hush and The Inn – have all been massive bestsellers across the world.

Bankstown born and bred, Candice lives in Sydney.

Find Candice on:  

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Review: Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

The fate of the world is in the hands of a father and daughter in an epic novel of wonder and terror by Dean Koontz, the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

Since his wife, Michelle, left seven years ago, Jeffy Coltrane has worked to maintain a normal life for himself and his eleven-year-old daughter, Amity, in Southern California. It’s a quiet life, until a local eccentric known as Spooky Ed shows up on their doorstep.

Ed entrusts Jeffy with hiding a strange and dangerous object-something he calls “the key to everything” – and tells Jeffy that he must never use the device. But after a visit from a group of ominous men, Jeffy and Amity find themselves accidentally activating the key and discovering an extraordinary truth. The device allows them to jump between parallel planes at once familiar and bizarre, wondrous and terrifying. And Jeffy and Amity can’t help but wonder, could Michelle be just a click away?

Jeffy and Amity aren’t the only ones interested in the device. A man with a dark purpose is in pursuit, determined to use its grand potential for profound evil. Unless Amity and Jeffy can outwit him, the place they call home may never be safe again.

Published 29 October 2020 |  Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

My first ever Koontz’ and it did not disappoint!

But yes, I am familiar with this author’s name but horror isn’t a genre I read a lot of, tbh. However, this parallel world trope is something that I’m fascinated with so I really had no choice but to dive in.

The father-daughter relationship in this novel is truly the highlight for me. And that little bit of romance of looking for the missing wife/mother didn’t hurt at all; it’s so not at all a romantic novel but it’s subtly there (or maybe I just chose to read it as such ;p). The parallel worlds are quite fascinating but I find that I wanted more… it just wasn’t enough travels to other worlds and each travel so short that we barely got a glimpse of each.

At the end, I felt that this novel has a similar vibe to Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which I loved, but just a shorter briefer sort of version with better ending 😉 Maybe ‘better’ isn’t the correct description but I don’t want to spoil you for either books. I am now keen to explore more of Koontz works.

Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Dean Koontz is the author of more than a dozen New York Times No. 1 bestsellers. His books have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, and his work is published in 38 languages. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania and lives with his wife Gerda, and their dog Elsa, in southern California. Dean Koontz is the author of more than a dozen New York Times No. 1 bestsellers. His books have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, and his work is published in 38 languages. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania and lives with his wife Gerda, and their dog Elsa, in southern California.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  facebook  |  instagram

Review: Daylight by David Baldacci

Daylight (Atlee Pine #3) by David Baldacci

FBI Agent Atlee Pine’s search for her sister Mercy clashes with military investigator John Puller’s high-stakes case, leading them both deep into a global conspiracy — from which neither of them will escape unscathed.

For many long years, Atlee Pine was tormented by uncertainty after her twin sister, Mercy, was abducted at the age of six and never seen again. Now, just as Atlee is pressured to end her investigation into Mercy’s disappearance, she finally gets her most promising breakthrough yet: the identity of her sister’s kidnapper, Ito Vincenzo.

With time running out, Atlee and her assistant Carol Blum race to Vincenzo’s last known location in Trenton, New Jersey — and unknowingly stumble straight into John Puller’s case, blowing his arrest during a drug ring investigation involving a military installation.

Stunningly, Pine and Puller’s joint investigation uncovers a connection between Vincenzo’s family and a breathtaking scheme that strikes at the very heart of global democracy. Peeling back the layers of deceit, lies and cover-ups, Atlee finally discovers the truth about what happened to Mercy. And that truth will shock Pine to her very core.

Published 17 November 2020|  Publisher: Grand Central Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Can this series get any better than this?! Wow, never was I more enthralled in a book without a lick of romance in it. I don’t usually read romance as a genre but I prefer my books to have sprinkles of romance. I admit shamelessly that I kept looking for it and waiting in this book but it never happened and you know what, I’m not even disappointed! And that’s BIG.

After that bomb was dropped in book 2, I was ever more keenly to follow up on Atlee’s hunt for her twin sister, Mercy. I’m going to be fair and give you warning of a nuclear blast in this one. And the ending hurts… It’s not finished yet though. I think Baldacci has more pain in store for us 😰

Of course, such a thick book can’t just be about Mercy. Atlee inadvertently stumbled over a raid and an old friend while following up information on Mercy. And again, of course, there are much bigger things at play but this time, it’s all the way to the highest level of authorities. As their investigation is being stonewalled from above, it didn’t mean the field work stops because not only are people’s lives have been lost, the country is also at risk.

There seems to be quite of a bit of patriotism in this novel (a lot of comments of serving the country, etc) and there are also certain contemporary issues bought out in it. I feel the author’s love for his country and at the same time acknowledging some deep-rooted issues in it. And in all this, kept readers riveted to the unfolding plot of crime solving. Daylight is my favourite of Baldacci’s so far; highly recommend that fans get behind this series!

Thank you Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Review: Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin

Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin

A terrifying, twisting debut from TV news journalist Katherine Firkin. It’s time for a killer to leave his mark . . .

It’s winter in Melbourne and Detective Emmett Corban is starting to regret his promotion to head of the Missing Persons Unit, as the routine reports pile up on his desk.

So when Natale Gibson goes missing, he’s convinced this is the big case he’s been waiting for – the woman’s husband and parents insist the devoted mother would never abandon her children, and her personal accounts remain untouched.

But things aren’t all they seem. The close-knit Italian family is keeping secrets – none bigger than the one Natale has been hiding.

Just as the net seems to be tightening, the investigation is turned on its head. The body of a woman is found . . . then another.

What had seemed like a standard missing person’s case has turned into a frightening hunt for a serial killer, and time is running out.

But to really understand these shocking crimes, Emmett and his team will need to delve back through decades of neglect – back to a squalid inner-city flat, where a young boy is left huddling over his mother’s body . . .

Published 2 June 2020 |  Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Firstly, I am hoping that this is going to turn out to be a first in a series because it’s got some good premises and am keen to follow Detective Emmett Corban’s career and a more developed characters of his colleagues.

I am one of those who does not look / read the book description just before I read the book. The fact that I’ve, earlier, chosen to read it should suffice, so I sort of dived in without knowing / remembering much. The first chapter sort of confused me a little as there are so many characters introduced already and I didn’t know if I could keep track of who’s who. A couple of chapters on, I got used to the structure of chapters and just flew through the book. Retrospectively, I read the book description and behold, I could have saved my earlier confusion if I read it first lol

As we jump quite quickly from one scene to another with different characters, I thought the author has done quite well in keeping my attention and not getting me confused at all. It was quite good being able to get near 360-degree view of the ‘case’ and it got me to wonder how each character was going to be implicated in the case, the next victim or the murderer or just a red herring. I kept changing my opinion from one chapter to another on who the murderer was! The only think I’m missing is backgrounds on the detectives as we don’t seem to hear very much of them & their past.

Sticks and Stones is a fast-paced thrilling crime novel that will get you to flick pages without noticing the time. A great riveting read to cuddle with this winter!

Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Katherine Firkin is a Melbourne journalist, currently with CBS New York.

She has over a decade of experience and has worked across every medium – print, online, television and radio.

Katherine began her career at the Herald Sun newspaper (News Corp), where she specialised in sports reporting (winning an AFL Media award in 2008), before moving to breaking news, including crime and court reporting. During this time, she covered some of Victoria’s most notorious criminal affairs, including the death and funeral of underworld figure Carl Williams.

She has also worked for Seven West Media (7 News, 7 Sport), 3AW Radio, the Nine Network’s Today show, and Network Ten, and has been a regular international correspondent for multiple global outlets.

Katherine has been writing fiction from a young age, and she studied literature and journalism at university. Her debut novel is inspired by the many criminal trials she has covered.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram

Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, included in Good Morning America’s 20 Books We’re Excited for in 2020 & named as one of Vogue’s Best Books to Read This Winter, Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of February 2020, and O Magazine’s 14 of the Best Books to Read This February!

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister Alison vanishes from the luxury resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X on the last night of her family’s vacation. Several days later Alison’s naked body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men, employees at the resort, are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. It’s national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved, but for Claire’s family there is only the sad return home to broken lives.

Years later, riding in a New York City taxicab, Claire recognizes the name on the cabbie’s licence, Clive Richardson – her driver is one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. The fateful encounter sets her on an obsessive pursuit of the truth, not only what happened on the night of Alison’s death, but the no less elusive question of exactly who was this sister she was barely old enough to know: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation. As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will uncover the truth, an unlikely intimacy develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by a tragedy.

Alexis Schaitkin’s Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that hurtles to a devastating end.

Published 25 February 2020 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (2 / 5 stars)

Absolutely loved the cover which would’ve been my primary reason to pick this book up, if not that it was sent to me by the publisher. I didn’t mind the blurb either but I’m not at all keen on psychological thriller. I love mysteries, crimes, thrillers, all of them but psychological thriller is one I’d usually avoid. Then again, the reason I usually avoid them (extramarital affairs etc) is absent here so I might as well give this one a go.

It opens oh so beautifully on a fictional Caribbean island beach where a family of 4 (including a teen daughter) have arrived for a holiday. The scene described was so lush, I fell in love with this spot. Maybe I just really need a holiday. However, other than this beautiful prose, I quickly ran out of patience with the novel.

The main perspective is Claire who was just 8 years old when her sister, Alison, disappeared and later found dead. She is now a young woman and an accidental meeting pushed her into a dark place from which we could not escape for some time. There were just too many parts with bits & pieces of others’ perspectives (those who were either at the island or is connected to Alison). I didn’t think it was that hard to follow the jump in time but at the end of the novel, I really had to question myself…

Saint X is slow; it is like long lazy waves breaking at the beach at which you could practically watch hypnotised all day. I don’t have all day though so it was hard to keep my focus. And I must say that I was rather disappointed with the ending. I felt that all my hard work to read through the novel did not pay off. However, there are those who truly enjoyed this novel too so maybe psychological thriller really is not my cup of tea.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alexis Schaitkin’s debut novel, Saint X, is forthcoming from Celadon Books on February 18th, 2020, with seven foreign language editions to follow. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Southwest Review, The Southern Review, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She received her MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website