The Breakdown

Title: The Breakdown

Author: B.A. Paris

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 336 pages | 3364 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publishing Date: June 20th, 2017
 
Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

During a storm, Cass makes a decision not to assist a woman whose car appears to have broke down in of a deserted road in the middle of the woods.
That decision will chase her for the rest of her life.
Also, why is she experiencing memory loss?
Can the two be connected?

Review:

I could tell based on ratings that this is one of those books that people either love or hate. Though I didn’t hate it, I could have done without reading it.

I had a lot of trouble with suspension of disbelief. I struggled to stay interested in the narrative when our main character has so serious memory issues that she just chooses to ignore because she is afraid. She goes through stuff, worries about her state of mind, vents to her husband, and that’s it. She is obviously distraught but neither her husband nor best friend seem to realise it or if they do they just downplay it and shrug it off. And she never turns to anyone else.

So for at least three quarters of the book we are presented with situation after situation where Cass can’t remember things right. And it’s not like there was much of an end goal in sight other than time to go back to work approaching, but even that isn’t mentioned much. So it all felt rather pointless.

It annoyed me because the writing was very engaging, other than the whining protagonist, and I was sure that by the time the book ended it would all make sense and wrap up nicely – which it did. But there was nothing during the large majority of the book to make me interested in what happened. It was just… stuff, you know?

I wonder how much longer the book would have gone on had our main character not stumbled upon the truth accidentally, or rather had it handed to her (literally). Also, it doesn’t make sense that Rachel would tell her about the row in the parking lot. Or that she didn’t mention it to the police when interviewed. With so much at stake it just doesn’t make sense that she would mention that. There’s just too much fitting it too perfectly and we are supposed to believe that it was Jane guiding the events?

So I am still struggling to figure out the point of everything up until that point, which felt rushed due to all the luck involved.

Also, for so long we are presented to this scared person who just gives in. And yet she has the mind to plot all that after she finds out. Even after confessing she was scared to death she wouldn’t make it through the night. It just doesn’t make sense!

As you can see, there isn’t much I can say about why I am not a fan of this book without writing spoilers so I will just say that The Breakdown has its qualities, for sure, particularly the writing, and it is quite different from what is out there. However, as far as the story and characters go I was just not content.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Mar 16th to Mar 19th, 2017
GR Review

Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1)

Title: Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1)

Author: Carol Wyer

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 412 pages | 5551 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Premise:

An 8 year-old-girl goes through a traumatic experience and no one protects her.
A 60 year-old millionaire shows up dead.
A woman is receiving veiled threats about keeping secrets and insinuations that her husband is cheating.
How do these three stories relate?

Review:

Little Girl Lost got me from the first line. That prologue had me gripping my Kindle.

Then we meet our DI, who is working for a private investigation company. I immediately liked her.

She was a results woman. She would catch this guy no matter how long it took to collect the evidence.

Yes, we are told that she is patient and persistent, but more importantly we are shown that through her actions.

There are a few things that I wasn’t sold on: The child voice did not seem that age. Some things didn’t make sense to me like Abigail not trusting that she saw something or heard certain things. I would have to be really messed up to think that, and she was lucid on a couple of occasions. And there were several other details like during the first phone call the perp was supposedly holding a baby and there were no noise at all to indicate that; also, it shouldn’t be that hard for the police to get ahold of the approximate location of a subject using their phone; and the death of Paul was related before Christina’s, which is not chronologically correct.

There were surprisingly little repetitions. Other than variations of Jackson not knowing Abigail’s secrets and that he was really good at solving puzzles, I don’t remember much.

There isn’t a lot I can tell you without giving away the story. Little Girl Lost is full of twists and turns that will set your head spinning and have you turning the pages as quickly as you can.
I had a clue of who was who but I was never 100% sure because the narrative is ambiguous like that, and I really love that, that I was able to put 2 and 2 together but that it wasn’t too obvious – and also that those things that I didn’t get by then didn’t feel under-explained afterwards, which happens to me frequently, endings getting rushed.

I would actually have been happy with the story finishing at like 80%. It felt like the book dragged on a bit after that, especially in the last 10 percent, although there were still plenty of revelations and tension.

Highly recommended, a gem amongst others of the genre. I will definitely be looking out for this author in the future.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Feb 12th to Feb 14th, 2017
GR Review

Blink

Title: Blink

Author: K.L. Slater

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 295 pages | 4058 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Premise:

Three years ago, Toni’s daughter Evie’s disappeared without a trace.
It takes lying in a bed fully aware without being able to move to bring some insight into what happened all that time ago.

Review:

I struggled with suspension of belief on this one. I just did not get how someone could be fully conscious and no doctors realise it. Surely there are brain exams that were performed where the brain activity would be noticeable? Also, she needs a machine to breathe for her but somehow she is able to identify scents and she has her eyes open (who has their eyes open in a vegetative state??) and is able to focus on details such as a doctor’s open pores but no change occurs in her eyes?

It took me a while to warm up to it but once I did, about halfway in or so, I flipped the pages as quickly as I could. I enjoyed how the narrative was presented, with different voices – even little Evie’s – and mysterious character(s). The suspense built up.

Then at the beginning of the last fifth of the story we get the much advertised shocking plot twist (I truly dislike seeing that by the way, it was even in my ARC book title).
It is shocking indeed but I for one did not find it believable at all. There was nothing in that character’s past or later explained that would justify that she would view Evie as her own. Actually, pretty much the only background we get is that she had money issues.

Only when I got to the end did I notice I had read a previous novel by the same author and had felt pretty much the same. The books are so emotionally and psychologically charged that the characters’ actions need to be properly backed up and I just don’t feel it happens. It’s almost as if the book is done for shock purpose, all explanations for what had happened felt that way, as well as extremely rushed, and I have to say I don’t really appreciate that.

Still, Blink was very exciting at some points so even though I was not entirely sold I am rating it up.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 31st to Feb 3rd, 2017
GR Review

Never Out of Sight

Title: Never Out of Sight

Author: Louise Stone

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 320 pages | 3579 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

 

Premise:

Freya’s daughter is missing. And now she is torn between telling the truth about where she was and keeping her secret, which would devastate her life as well as those around her. It couldn’t possibly be relevant to Zoe’s disappearance… Right?

Review:

Never Out of Sight gripped me because I felt that this could happen to anyone.

Freya is a woman approaching 50 who is searching for the woman she once was. When she finds a way to do just that, she does not realise how much that affects her life and those in it.
Now her daughter is missing.

As the narrative advances, we watch Freya unravel as she realises she doesn’t really know her own daughter. I was torn between feeling sorry for her and judging her for being so focused on herself and all the self-wallowing, until I reached that conclusion that it really could happen to everyone. If you don’t pay attention, life just goes by, and those who you take for granted may not be there one day and then it is too late to say you love them.

Therefore, this was thought-provoking and heartbreaking. I did feel however that the book got a bit repetitive. Things kept being said over and over as if it was the first time, like when Freya talks about her own parents not showing her love, for instance. When that happened I felt the book dragged on a bit and became uninterested.

It was still very exciting for the most part, though, and even if I had somewhat anticipated what had happened and a couple of things felt off-character, there were still plenty of surprises towards the chilling end. This was a thrilling read and I recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 28th to Jan 29th, 2017
GR Review

The Fire Child

Title: The Fire Child

Author: S.K. Tremayne

Genres: Mystery | Psychological Thriller | Thriller

Length: 400 pages | 4007 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

 

Premise:

Rachel moves in to her secluded new home, after having recently married 10 year older David Krethen.
Her stepson acts weirdly and there seem to be too many secrets that no one is willing to talk about.
Is she safe?
What really happened to David’s first wife?

Review:

The Fire Child left me with a bittersweet feeling, much like the author’s previous novel, The Ice Twins. Even the setting was similar.

First of all, when a book requires too much suspension of disbelief I just cannot seem to enjoy it much, no matter how well it is written. Rachel put me off from the beginning. I did not get why she married David so soon, especially since she described herself as an independent feminist. Sure, she can feel attracted to the guy but marry him and give everything up in the span of a few months? Or one month, I think I read somewhere.

She just felt jaded. Like in this quote:
“See you for dinner. You’re a great sitter.”
He kisses me softly before striding away, around the house, heading for his car, calling out for Jamie. Like we are already a family. Safe and happy.

He described her basically as his kid’s babysitter and she says she feels part of the family? I don’t get it.

There were other details, of course, like the maid having lived there for 10 years and at 32 years old still not being able to speak an entire sentence of proper English, let alone have a chat with Rachel.
In order for events to unfold the way they did, our main character had to be isolated and this just felt like a cop-out. I meant, at the very least make her older so she would have more trouble learning a new language or something.

The Fire Child was an intense thriller at times, while at others it got repetitive and I felt that it dragged on. I have read plenty of dark books and have enjoyed probably the large majority of them, but this just felt bleak and desolate for pretty much the entire time. I was confused, annoyed (I could not take one more line of Jamie wanting his mother and then not wanting her anymore because he was scared and then wanting her again) and finished the book beyond disappointed at the wrap-up.

Sure, there is plenty food for thought but it just felt rushed and not believable at all.
I do think that many people will love this novel but the more I think about it the more I realise that there were indeed several isolated episodes where I kept flipping the pages as quickly as I could but, as a whole, the story just did not satisfy me.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 17th to Jan 21st, 2017
GR Review

An Intimate Obsession

Title: An Intimate Obsession

Author: Elizabeth McGregor

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 360 pages | 4519 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.75/5

Premise:

Eve’s neighbour Hugh Scott comes to her aid just when she needed, when she just could not take her cold, even cruel father who suffers from Alzheimer’s any longer. But Hugh makes her uncomfortable, for some reason she cannot place.
Eve does not know that Hugh Scott obsesses over her. Nor how far he will go to make her his. Especially when thoughtful and caring 19-year-old Jonathan Davies comes into the picture.

Review:

An Intimate Obsession is a very tense thriller.

I always had an issue with the characters – in particular, Eve struck me as too nonchalant or more naive than possible. I often wondered how she could take care of her father like that, considering how he acted while she was growing up. On the other hand, Jon did not sound 19 at all, especially in the beginning.

However, they are all very well developed, have multiple sides to them and evolve in a deep manner. The psychological charge is just so intense in this book. The highlight for me was definitely the interaction between Hugh and Bill. Both of them shocked and repulsed me, which completely gripped my attention.

From then point on though, I felt like the book dragged on quite a bit. The fact is the most fascinating part for me had passed. It was interesting seeing a character devolve so much in the last chapters but it paled in comparison to what I had felt reading that one scene.

An Intimate Obsession is better than any psychological thrillers I have read lately so I do recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Dec 20th to Dec 25th, 2016

GR Review

Safe With Me

Title: Safe With Me

Author: K.L. Slater

Genres: Mystery | Psychological Thriller

Length: 324 pages | 4829 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

Thirteen years ago after ruining her life, Anna sees the woman who caused it all.
She views it as a sign and starts plotting her revenge.
But what really happened back then? And is Anna able to tell the good guys from the bad guys?

Review:

Safe With Me started fairly surreptitiously. You can tell something is off with Anna and as the narrative evolves you get to see just how much. The more I read the more I though that if this was the victim, I did not want to meet the perpetrator.

Getting into the mind of Anna was quite disturbing and definitely the highlight of the novel. However, that by itself does not sustain a book and I did feel the pace lacking throughout most of it.

There are quite a few things going on, both in present day and in the past, 13 years prior to the narrative. Mostly we read Anna’s side, told in first person, but there are chapters referring to her neighbour Mrs Peat, Carla Bevin and an unknown person.

Things do wrap up in the end but I felt it took too long for them to click into place and that a lot of what happened before the climax did not really add much to the story, so I was actually bored at times.
On the other hand, things that were said to lead the reader a certain direction were not followed upon, so even though the main events are explained in the end other things felt rushed and I wished I had closure for them.

And then there were some episodes that did not make much sense, like a triage nurse wasting so much time with a patient and actually tending to their injury. I don’t know how it’s done in the UK but here they want the quick run through of the patient’s symptoms, assign them a colour correspondent to the urgency degree and off they go.

Also there was a crucial thing in my opinion, which was Anna saying Today is my thirty-third birthday and 13 years ago she was said to be 15, so the math does not add up.

Finally, if there’s one thing I dislike is that the title of the book does not connect to the story in a clear manner, which happens here.

Overall I would say this book is definitely unique on the psychological side but the pace threw me off, and the resolution took too long and felt rushed.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Nov 20th to Nov 24th, 2016

GR Review