Despite reading a number of books, since I wrote my last book review, I have only 3 books to talk about on my blog this time. I think the more I read the less indulgent I am with authors or the more discerning I am as a reader or I’ve just had a run of books that didn’t appeal. I hope very much it is the latter and more gripping books come my way soon.
First up is Stalking Sapphire by Mia Thompson Which is serial killer thriller crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer for this that must have a genre.
Despite the illusion Sapphire Dubois presents to the rest of the world, she is not just your stereotypical 22-year old Beverly Hills heiress; she hunts serial killers. While her fellow heirs spend their nights with trending celebs and drugs at the hottest club, Sapphire secretly spends hers luring, capturing, and anonymously handing over So-Cal’s most wanted killers to the police — just your average Tuesday night.
What Sapphire doesn’t know is that one of her adversaries is watching her every move, aware of both her true identity and her unconventional hobby. Needless to say, he doesn’t approve. Used to being the one who redefines the definition of predator and prey, Sapphire’s world abruptly shatters when a gruesome ‘gift’ arrives for her at the Beverly Hills Country Club. With her involuntary crush, handsome Detective Aston Ridder, close on her tail, Sapphire now has to rethink her routine strategy and figure out how to capture a killer who already knows she’s coming.
Although this book had a strong female protagonist I found her lacking in some ways and the story predictable which isn’t great for a thriller. I was bored of the characters just over half way through the book and I found the book corny rather than endearing as was probably intended.
I didn’t find the serial thriller aspect of the book very enthralling even though I am a big fan of that genre. This was an ok read but there was nothing spectacular about this run of the mill thriller.
Next I read Promise You Won’t Tell by John Locke You cannot possibly know anything about anything in Indie publishing without having heard of John Locke who is the first self-published author to hit #1 on Amazon/Kindle, the first self-published author to hit Kindle Million Sales Club and sold 1,100,000 eBooks in 5 months by word of mouth, yadda, yadda.
However, Promise You a Won’t Tell was far from what I expected.
“I think something might have happened to me Saturday night. Something bad.”
Private Investigator Dani Ripper’s client list is nuttier than the Looney Tunes conga line, but she diligently solves one crazy case after another, waiting for a game-changer.
Enter Riley Freeman, 17-year-old honor student.
Saturday afternoon Riley quietly placed a little strawberry sticker on her private area and pretended it was a tattoo. She didn’t tell anyone about it. That night she went to a slumber party that featured drinking and boys. Riley fell asleep, woke up the next day with no reason to think anything happened…
…Until Monday, at school, when a classmate called her Strawberry.
Coincidence or crime? Dani agrees to investigate. And the roller coaster ride begins.
I enjoyed this quirky thriller, but was a bit disappointed with the superficial characterisations in it. However, it was only a little predictable and very entertaining. Not exactly the most eloquent of legal thrillers, if it can be termed such without any courtroom time, but it has it’s moments.
I’m always a little suspicious of men writing strong female characters and although I found Dani Ripper likeable enough, I did think she read more like a man in places. Still she was entertaining and I didn’t mind the staccato narrative either. I’m not sure Dani appealed enough for me to read another in her series, but never say never…
And finally for now, Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield Based on how much I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale I had high hopes for this book but not immensely high as I can be objective in that way.
Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who “could go to the good or the bad.” And indeed, although William Bellman’s life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black”…
This book was well written but lacked sparkle in terms of the subject matter being very lacklustre. The book is about the significance of rooks in folklore and mythology married to the impact of the main character killing a rook when he was a child. If that doesn’t sound uninspiring enough the character goes on to be very successful at running a cloth mill, about which we learn quite a bit (even this is more interesting than the stuff about rooks) and then opening a shop that deals with everything required for mourning. Death is a macabre subject but a good one to write about as many a tale about death has sold well but somehow this book refused fizz even on this subject matter.
As much as I enjoy reading Diane Setterfield I think she was ill-advised to follow The Thirteenth Tale with such dull subject material.