Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cruise Reviews - Crime/Suspense x 3

Started Early, Took My Dog

Kate Atkinson is the author of this crime mystery published by Transworld, 2010.

It's about an ex-cop turned private investigator called Jackson Brodie who has been hired by a woman in New Zealand to trace her birth parents. His search takes him back to his home county where on one particular day he rescues a dog and also witnesses a peculiar exchange that takes place between Tracy Waterhouse, security chief of the Merrion Centre and another woman. This brief encounter will have fear and danger waiting for them at every turn.

Overall I absolutely loved it! Kate Atkinson, where have you been until now! 

I liked loved everything about this book. Beautiful writing and a cleverly constructed plot - the crime has it's beginnings back in the 1970's and the story moves between then and now. As do the thoughts of the three narrators and it's this internal dialogue that gives the story something special. Wonderful characters and very real people -  Jackson, Tracy and Tilly, an aging actress in the first stages of dementia.........each of them different but all dealing with the passage of time and the loneliness of aging it is at times very funny and at times very sad.  Add a four-year-old in a tattered pink fairy outfit and a cute dog called The Ambassador to the mix and it all adds up to one of the most entertaining books I've read this year.

I didn't like . N/A

I got this book from the library and chose it because I read a review by Jenners of one of Kate Atkinson's other books. I was surprised to find the library had several but they were all out except for this new one which was about to be put on the shelves. In hindsight I probably should have waited and read the series in order ........I'll miss the dog!
I would recommend this book to anyone. 
I rated it 4.5.

A Room Swept White

Sophie Hannah is the author of this Crime/Suspense novel published by Hodder & Stoughton, 2010.

It's about : TV producer Fliss Benson receives an anonymous card at work: sixteen numbers arranged in rows of four - numbers that mean nothing to her. On the same day, Fliss finds out she is going to be working on a documentary about miscarriages of justice involving cot-death mothers wrongly accused of murder. The documentary will focus on three women who have now been freed and the child protection zealot, Dr Judith Duffy, who did her best to send them to prison for life and is now under investigation for misconduct.

Overall I didn't think this was as good as other books I've read by this author so I was a little disappointed.

I liked the choice of subject around which the story is told and the many issues surrounding cot death, media reporting, professional witnesses and the personal stories of the mothers made for interesting reading. 

I didn't like: I almost gave up around halfway. I found the writing and the story heavy going ( the second half did pick up the pace) and at one point wondered why the author hadn't done something to give it a lift. It was only afterwards I realised she had attempted to with Fliss - I think her exploits are meant to provide comic relief but it didn't work for me. The girl was an irritating idiot and her boss, who she imagines herself in love with, is a moron. There were also a lot of loose ends left floating around which made for an unsatisfactory ending.

I got this book from the library and chose it because suspense/psychological thrillers are one of my favourite genres.
 I wouldn't recommend this book..........I don't recommend what I don't care for. 
I rated it 3.

The Missing

Jane Casey is the author of this psychological suspense thriller published by Ebury Press, 2010. 

It's about  - Two missing children sixteen years apart. When Sarah Finch was a little girl, her older brother went out to play and never came home. Not knowing what happened to Charlie ripped the family apart. Now a teacher, Sarah's back home, trapped with an alcoholic mother. Then twelve-year-old Jenny disappears and it's Sarah who discovers her pupil's body, abandoned in the woods. As Sarah becomes more involved in the enquiry, suspicions are aroused. But it's not just the police who are watching her.

Overall I found this quite a page turner and a very good debut effort.

I liked the writing style and the pace and there are plenty of twists and turns in the double plot to keep one guessing and wanting to know what happens next. I also liked the study of the affects of a tragedy on a family and the sad relationship between Sarah and her mother. I didn't find it hard to connect with Sarah and although she makes mistakes they are understandable and very human. It's a book that takes a look at some of the not so nice things that can happen in today's society ,particularly to children, which makes sad and disturbing reading.

I didn't like: I thought it was a bit too long and I thought the ending spoiled it. It was way too over the top and suddenly turned a very good story into an unbelievable and ridiculous melodrama.

I got this book from the library and chose it because it's a favourite genre. 
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good psychological/crime thriller. 
I rated it 3.5 ( would have been higher if not for the ending).

Thanks to Lynne from Lynne's Book Reviews for the Cruise Reviews format.


  1. I just borrowed the Atkinson from the library! I have really enjoyed the earlier books in the series!

  2. Hope you enjoy it too, Marg. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.

  3. I am a huge fan of Kate Atkinson! So glad to hear you liked her latest - I still haven't had a chance to read it but can't wait!

  4. It's time for me to add a new author to my favorite's list. Helloooo Kate Atkinson!
    Thanks for the introduction, Cat :)

    I need to go on a Reviews Cruise - badly. I've got a few I need to do, which is good because it means I'm doing lots of reading, but it's definitely time for a "cruise."

  5. I've heard such good things about Kate Atkinson and I love a good crime mystery so this one is definitely being added to my list.