BOOKS I'VE REVIEWED
BLACKLANDS - BELINDA BAUERr
A top notch crime thriller, which I finally got round to reading recently. It's the tale of twelve year old Steven Lamb, who's Uncle was brutally murdered by a child killer Arnold Avery twenty years before. Living in the same house as his Uncle, Steven becomes interested in the murder and seeks to find out all he can about it. When he learns that his Uncle's body was never found, he decides to write to Avery in prison, cryptic notes so that Avery will tell him where the body is. 
When Avery escapes from prison, he searches for Steven, intent on making him his next victim. A very satisfying crime thriller slightly marred by its predictable end.

INTO THE DARKEST CORNER - ELIZABETH HAYNES
Catherine has been enjoying single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. But there is a dark side to him and his erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, she plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything...
A slick psychological thriller, that has two first person viewpoints from four years previously and also the present day. It builds up very nicely to an explosive climax. This books also explores OCD in the course of the story. Perhaps a little girly for males like myself, but it still comes highly recommended.


​THE DEAD TRACKS - TIM WEAVER
A serial killer more terrifying than you could ever imagine . . .Seventeen-year-old Megan Carver was an unlikely runaway. A straight-A student from a happy home, she studied hard and rarely got into trouble. Six months on, she's never been found.Missing persons investigator David Raker knows what it's like to grieve. He knows the shadowy world of the lost too. So, when he's hired by Megan's parents to find out what happened, he recognizes their pain - but knows that the darkest secrets can be buried deep.And Megan's secrets could cost him his life.Because as Raker investigates her disappearance, he realizes everything is a lie. People close to her are dead. Others are too terrified to talk. And soon the conspiracy of silence leads Raker towards a forest on the edge of the city  A place with a horrifying history - which was once the hunting ground for a brutal, twisted serial killer.A place known as the Dead Tracks. . .
A decent enough crime thriller that starts off well and has a great villian in Doctor Glass - and has enough twists and turns to keep readers interested, but in the end perhaps rather run of the mill and gave me the impression it had been done before


THE HELP - KATHRYN STOCKETT
Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver...
There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
A truly exceptional novel, with touches of Roots and To Kill a Mockingbird, and perhaps a modern classic in its own right. Told through the eyes of three main characters, Aibileen and Minny two black maids to white rich families and also Skeeter the daughter of a rich family who was brought up by one of the other black maids.Skeeter decides to write a book about the black maids, and enlists the help of Aibileen, Minny and many others. This is their story, and although they are hampered all the way by the white folks, it finally gets published and causes such a stir.Funny, sad, uplifting,and with a great bitch character Miss Hilly, this is a must read.  
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...

GONE GIRL - GILLIAN FLYNN
A perfect wife's disappearance plunges her husband into a nightmare as it rips open ugly secrets about his marriage and, just maybe, his culpability in her death... One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it. The final pages are chilling." --"Kirkus "(starred review) "[W]hat looks like a straightforward case of a husband killing his wife to free himself from a bad marriage morphs into something entirely different in Flynn's hands. As evidenced by her previous work (Sharp Objects, 2006, and Dark Places, 2009), she possesses a disturbing worldview, one considerably amped up by her twisted sense of humor. Both a compelling thriller and a searing portrait of marriage, this could well be Flynn's breakout novel. It contains so many twists and turns that the outcome is impossible to predict." --"Booklist "(starred review) "Flynn cements her place among that elite group of mystery/thriller writers who unfailingly deliver the goods...Once again Flynn has written an intelligent, gripping tour de force, mixing a riveting plot and psychological intrigue with a compelling prose style that unobtrusively yet forcefully carries the reader from page to page." --"Library Journal "(starred review) "Flynn masterfully lets this tale of a marriage gone toxically wrong gradually emerge through alternating accounts by Nick and Amy, both unreliable narrators in their own ways. The reader comes to discover their layers of deceit through a process similar to that at work in the imploding relationship. Compulsively readable, creepily unforgettable, this is a must read for any fan of bad girls and good writing." --"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) ""Gone Girl" is one of the best -and most frightening -portraits of psychopathy I've ever read. Nick and Amy manipulate each other -with savage, merciless and often darkly witty dexterity. This is a wonderful and terrifying book and I highly recommend it.

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS - M L STEDMAN
This is Stedman's debut novel and I honestly thought initially I was reading an established author, as the writing is well crafted, characters well drawn, plot interesting and the book draws you in front the start. We are transported to Australia, to Janus Rock where the Janus lighthouse stands, between the two oceans (hence the title). The lighthouse represents the last sight of Australia that Tom Sherbourne, one of the central characters, saw as he left to fight in World War 1. Tom survived the war physically unscathed by mentally traumatised. In the 1920s Tom is now lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock.

On his first visit to the lighthouse, he stops at the nearest port town and meets Isabel Graysmark. Their courtship is a protracted affair, with no communication other than letters every three months. The isolation of their love is very strong and depicted very well by the author. It was clear that Isabel and Tom were meant to be together and that they could fight anything that was brought against them. However, tragedy strikes them more than once, but despite everything the lighthouse and the rock it stands on brings them light, hope and a future. Isabel and Tom are both oceans that are drawn together by a light and driven apart by one. The reader is in on a secret with Isabel and Tom which is gradually revealed to others in the novel. As someone who had difficulty conceiving a child and experienced a traumatic labour, I could really empathise with Isabel's plight but could also understand the conflict that Tom feels and sympathise with the baby's biological family. Some parts had me unshamedly reaching for the tissues because these characters really get under your skin. The secret creates so many questions - Is right to carry on even when it is wrong?