February Book Reviews

Crime Thriller book reviews

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I know, I know, I am so late with this. But with all sorts of family things going on over the last few weeks its a miracle I managed to fit in reading let alone writing too.

I apologise in advance that the books this month are also all crime/thriller based. But I promise for March I have a couple of romance novels included on my reading list. Mostly because as much as I love the crime genre I felt like my mind needed a break from it…. This is in no way linked to a horrific dream I had where my family and I were in mortal peril. Honest. Absolutely nothing to do with that.

If you would like to see what I read last month the please check out my January Book Reviews post. And for next months list I have added the titles to the end of this post if you fancy having a read of any of them too.

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The Girl Before (J. P. Delany) 3*

It pained me to only give this book three stars. I really enjoyed it, I was hooked in, with the characters and the plot. It kept me guessing all the way through, and whilst I knew the person to truly be worried about wasn’t as obvious as it seemed, I got the final plot twist wrong. But there in lies my issue with it all. Maybe it is because I was so convinced I was right but I just couldn’t buy into the end story. It made sense but it was just a bit of a let down. An anticlimax. It felt like the easy story was told to get it published.

“I realize something. I haven’t had a single flashback or panic attack since I stepped inside the house. It’s so cut off from the outside world, so cocooned, I feel utterly safe. A line from my favorite movie floats into my head. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there.” 

But maybe I am too critical as I would recommend it as an easy read, one that takes you on a journey through suspicion and intrigue. I just feel it could have been so much more.

It is soon to be made into a feature length film directed by Ron Howard. I’ll be interested to see how it turns out.

Sweet Little Lies (Caz Freer) 4*

This book, for me, is a solid 4*. As we follow a murder investigation, through the streets of London, we are opened up to a deep, dark underworld of gangs and trafficking. The case intertwines with one of the Detectives family, but the extent of the involvement is distorted right until the end.

“Problem is, while the lie may be sweet as it falls from your lips, the feeling in your gut is always putridly sour. And almost always bang-on.”

The characters were well described and formed, the plot was established quickly with just the right amount of flashbacks to the detectives childhood. These were vital to keep you guessing all the way, but also to ensure you understood her own motivations to solve the case and to gain the truth about her father once and for all.

Parts of this plot will not be for everyone and it should be noted it contains fictional details of child trafficking. Consider yourself warned.

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In The Woods (Tana French) 2*

This book has really stuck with me and for all the wrong reasons. It has really angered me that I got so invested in all the characters to be completely let down by the lack of a completed plot. Not only that but having read the reviews of the second book in the series (and the synopsis of all the others hoping for some sort of closure) I have realised that what I thought about the main character of this book was likely false and there is no closure to date.

Going forward I am going to include spoilers for this book. So if you do want to read it and form your own opinions then skip past this bit.

“We think about mortality so little, these days, except to flail hysterically at it with trendy forms of exercise and high-fiber cereals and nicotine patches.” 

It starts with three children going into the woods one summers day but only one coming out. Or rather being found, back against a tree, shirt ripped and blood filled shoes. No memory of what happened and the other two children are never found. Fast forward fifteen years and he is a homicide detective and finds himself called back to the village where this all happened, to investigate a new child murder. Sounds good right? Well it was. Until the end. The murders seemed linked along most of the book until they, almost imperceptibly, become their own individual cases. And here in lies the issue because the old case of the woods was never solved. They are not linked and goodness only knows what happened. Apparently the author herself never worked out what was meant to have happened all those years ago so she just left it unsolved. I know this shouldn’t matter but it really annoyed me that after I made it to the end, of a very long book, there were so many loose ends left flapping in the wind. For a while I had my own theories but now I have had to let it go. Since there is no actual answer to be found amongst the words of the story I am simply wasting my time. Needless to say I won’t be heading back for any more from this series.

The Surgeon (Tess Gerritsen) 4*

This is the first in the Rizzoli and Isles series. I have not watched this yet so I knew my opinion wouldn’t be skewed by any TV dramatisation. As it goes Isles doesn’t actually appear in this first novel (I’m not entirely sure when she actually does). This book was one of the best ones I read this month. It took me on a journey through the streets of Boston and the twists and turns it took where compelling. I really didn’t want to put it down.

“Where we go depends on what we know, and what we know depends on where we go.” 

The reason I only afforded the story 4* was because I know this series follows Rizzoli as one of the main characters but in this first novel I felt like she was a side story, and not a very likeable one. Perhaps this is where Isles eventually comes in to keep the reader on side? I will soon find out as I intend to continue the series at some point. But for now, the only conclusion I can come to, and the reason I removed a star, was I didn’t like who will soon become the main focus. I wanted more from Rizzoli’s Partner as I actually quite enjoyed him and his method of working and I wanted less of Rizzoli’s chip on her shoulder. I love a strong female lead but not one who screams against her femininity and then uses it against colleagues as if to prove this is why she gets nowhere in life.

Next Month

So that concludes my reviews for this month. I actually only set myself the target of two books a month so the fact that I have been managing four is really encouraging. I’m hoping it continues, but if not I wont pressure myself.

Next month in the reviews I have One Day in December, An Anonymous Girl, The Other Mother and It Ends With Us (they are all linked so you can read along too if you would like).

February book reviews. Crime thrillers. In the woods, the surgeon, sweet little lies, the girl before.
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