50 Books Challenge – September book review update

Karl Vadaszffy – The Missing

I loved this book, staying up til 1am to finish the final pages; it’s not often that I have to finish one that urgently to forego sleep!

In the nature of a race against time, the plot centres on John and his whirlwind romance with Jennie.  All’s going well with him planning to propose after 3 weeks, on a day trip.  They stop at a service station, he goes inside leaving her in the car, then returns to find she’s gone.  Not only that, but there’s no answer on her phone, the police say there’s no sign that she exists, she doesn’t work at the place she told him about, and there’s a chinese couple living in the house he’s picked her up from several times.

The whole book entails the struggle he has getting anyone to believe she even existed, and trying to find her with the backdrop (and flashbacks for the reader) of a man stalking and killing young women.

Enter one damaged female detective who doesn’t trust men and it’s a can’t put down novel with questions at every corner.

Reading the plot and also throughout the book, it feels like a US detective novel, but is set in the UK; not much is made of this, but it’s great to read a book set in our country, rather than elsewhere as so many crime stories are

If you enjoy Linwood Barclay or Harlan Coben, this book could be worth checking out.

Maggie O’Farrell – Instructions for a Heatwave

I’ve never read any Maggie O’Farrell, although I have had a couple on my list to read in the past.  I picked his up as part of the Richard & Judy bookclub offers as I thought it looked interesting, plus is set in the 1976 heatwave which the was summer before I was born.

It feels like a fairly slow moving book, almost symbolising the heaviness of footsteps as the heat hangs heavy in the air.  As it tells the story of an Irish family, the laid back, relaxed stereotype of the Irish culture is also reflected.

I found the story interesting and puzzling, trying to unravel the cause of conflict between the 2 sisters, and how the matriarch has strived to keep the whole family together and in touch without much success.  It’s the intrigue in wondering where the father has walked out to that kept me wanting to read on.

I enjoyed the way the family secrets were left til some way through the book, as without that anticipation, I’d have given up reading…it’s well written, but I usually read much faster paced novels so it’s a bit of a shock to the system to pick up one that moves this slowly.  As you read, you almost feel like you’re living through the heatwave with them.

John Grisham – The Racketeer

I’ve not read any Grisham for a while but with this he was back on form.

I love the fast pace of this book, although there is a lot of setting up, and explanation of relationships, but I think that helps as the plot is about a ‘set up’ and breaking free.  I didn’t see the final relationship coming, but there’s a fun touch to seeing the corrupt being beaten at their own game.

I shall be waiting for the next book out as there’s a sequel to one of his early books, A Time to Kill, due out

Amy Silver – One Minute to Midnight

Sometimes chick lit books can blend from one into the other, but this was a bit different.  It explores the relationship between soul mates, couples and friendships, as well as angst, tragedy and heartache with the heroine struggling to make the right decisions.

I like the idea of the book revisiting new year eve events over time (hence the book’s title), and I wasn’t expecting the main event at all, until it got really close and then I realised just in time for the characters discovering it.

I did cry at points while reading this as there really are some heartbreaking points, even though you do sometimes think that Nicole needs to pull herself together and move on.

I think I’ll be looking out for some of Amy Silver’s other books in future.

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