- Non Fiction
Reviews by Sara Eames
A good read
YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY. BUT WHAT CAN'T YOU SEE? Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years - they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in .... Now, there's something chilling in the air. Who secretly hates everyone? Who is tortured by their past? Who is capable of murder?
Slow start - but worth sticking with
This book takes a while to get going - in fact, I almost gave up after the first couple of chapters, but I stuck with it and I am glad I did. The 2nd half of the book is much better than the 1st. The 1st storyline in this book concerns a group of people who work in in office. The story opens with their office manager being sacked and a new one coming in her place. The new manager, Rachel Masters, plays office politics with each member of the team and they begin to turn on each other. One of my initial problems was that I didn't really like many of the office characters - they were all annoying in their own way - and, to begin with, I didn't really care what happened to them. As the story progressed, and the pace picked up, I began to warm to them and to hate Rachel Masters almost as much as they did. The 2nd storyline, and in my mind the stronger one, concerns a Dr recounting her experiences with a child who had been severly abused. It was obvious that the two storylines were going to merge, and I thought I could see how (and thought I knew the direction the book was taking) but I was wrong. The solution to both stories came as a surprise - and I didn't see the twist coming at all. On the whole, this is a good thriller - I have given it 4 stars as the beginning was too slow for my liking. I would recommend it to people who enjoy a slow-burning thriller with a twist at the end.
36-year-old Judith Dillon hasn't found her place in society. She struggles to make and maintain relationships, especially with women. In Carlisle in September 2009, Judith becomes attracted to Joanna. She follows her, finds out about her family and infiltrates her life. By Christmas they are close enough for Joanna to insist that Judith spends Christmas Day with them. However, all does not go as planned as Joanna's mother drinks too much and asks Judith awkward questions about her past. That is the start of Judith's past life catching up with her. Judith stood and watched the scene. It appeared to her that the world has suddenly become silent, a sort of calm before a storm or a picture frozen in time. She turned and walked back to her car where she sat for a few moments struggling to comprehend what she had just witnessed, then she switched on the engine. As she approached the exit from the station car park, she had to wait to allow the ambulance and two police cars through. In another twist, Judith resents Maureen, her supervisor in the cash office of a large supermarket, and is determined to set her up by making it look as though she is stealing money. She quietly takes opportunities to sabotage Maureen's work - even going as far as to seduce one of the managers, believing this will strengthen her power base at the store. She has, however, overlooked something which leads to her being found out...Suspensive and gripping, Judith Wants to be Your Friend will appeal to those looking for an intriguing story with thrilling undertones.
Could have been so much more...
I had been looking forward to reading this book - it had been on my TBR shelf for sometime. From the blurb, I was expecting a psychological thriller about a character who was deeply disturbed - someone like Barbara in Notes on a Scandal - but it didn't turn out like that. Ok, Judith was clingy and could be construed as a mild stalker, but I felt that Chloe's reaction was way over the top. If any character was damaged, it was Chloe not Judith. The secondary plots, the ones involving Maureen and Joanna started ok, but didn't really go anywhere. Yes, what Judith did to Maureen was wrong, and her reasons for doing it were weak, but at least she confesses at the end. Joanna's story has no ending, it just stops when the book does. Actually, the book doesn't really end, it just stops. On a positive note, the characters are well-written and the plot moves at a steady pace. It was easy to keep track of the two timelines as Chloe's story was written in the third person (although it was still mainly about Judith) and Judith's later story was written in the 1st person, so I could keep track of events. There is one major discrepancy in the prologue that I couldn't explain, but, on the whole, this was an ok book. It just wasn't the book I thought I was going to read.
Jane Austen Book Club
I am sorry to say that I found The Jane Austen Book Club rather a disappointment. It seemed to promise much (opening line - "Each of us has a private Austen) but then failed to deliver. I could not really warm to the characters in the book and, as the book progressed, Austen's work was sidelined more and more. The epilogue seemed rushed and served little purpose beyond tying up any remaining loose ends. Sorry, but this book was not for me.
When a retired detective finds two bodies in his backyard, he is forced to come out of retirement to solve the murders.
A fantastic murder mystery
Two Bodies in the Backyard is the 11th book in the Cy Dekker and Lou Murdock cosy mysteries by Steve Demaree. I am an unashamed fan of this series - and others written by the same author - and this is one of the best so far. It contains a lot of humour in the opening chapters and then settles down into a series murder mystery. As always with Demaree's books, you get a good plot with well-written characters. The plot moves at a good pace and there is enough of a story to keep you interested. I look forward to the next one in this series - keep up the good work, Steve ;)
Twelve people arrive at a remote inn to spend the weekend. After dark, the doors and windows are locked, the lights go out, and someone starts murdering the guests. Is the murderer one of the twelve or someone else? Each guest must decide whether he or she should form a bond with any of the other guests, none of whom appear to be a murderer. Those guests, chosen specifically by the murderer, include a doctor, a judge, a private detective, a kindergarten teacher, a firefighter, a mystery author, a librarian, a taxidermist, a real estate agent, an insurance agent, a funeral director, and a computer programmer. Is the murderer one of them, the butler, or the owner, who is blind and confined to a wheelchair? Or did someone else find a way to sneak into the inn?
A different style to his usual books
Having read all of the Cy Dekker mysteries, I decided to try a different one by the same author. I was glad I did. Murder in the Dark has less humour than the Dekker books - but there are still snatches of humour throughout - and the characters are darker than previous books, but this is still a good read. The plot is dramatic and moves at a steady pace. The characters are well-written and the novel, on the whole, is enjoyable. It is, however, a little slow in parts but I would still recommend it to fans of cosy mysteries.
Five years ago Amanda Pierce was excitedly preparing to marry her college sweetheart. She and Jeffrey had already battled through sickness and health, although their lives were certainly more richer than poorer as Amanda was set to inherit her father's successful garment company. Then Amanda disappeared the night of her bachelorette party. In present-day New York City, Laurie Moran realizes a missing bride is the perfect cold case for her 'Under Suspicion' television series to investigate. By recreating the night of the disappearance at the wedding's Florida resort with Amanda's friends and family, Laurie hopes to find the same success solving the cases featured in the series' first episodes. With Amanda's former fiance now married to a bridesmaid, and a jealous sister, playboy groomsmen, and rumors about the "beloved" bride herself, Laurie and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley quickly realize everyone has their own theory about why Amanda disappeared into thin air. One thing is certain, whoever was behind Amanda's vanishing plans to keep the truth hidden "til death do they part"...
Another good one from Mary Higgins Clark
All Dressed in White is the 2nd book in the Under Suspicion series from Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke. I don't know how much each writer contributed to the book, but, together, they make a winning team. The plot was excellent and the characters well-written. The book moved at a fast pace - almost at breakneck speed in parts - and it never really let up once it got going. I did mange to work out who was responsible before the end of the book, but that did not detract from my enjoyment at all. I thoroughly enjoy this series of books and hope that more are written. If you enjoy MHC books, then this is definately one for you.
When a retired detective encounters a stranger standing outside a restaurant when both of them are on vacation and the stranger finds out what he did before he retired, the detective jokingly tells the stranger that he will come and solve a murder for him if he goes home and finds a body on his front porch.
A funny cosy mystery
A Body on the Porch is the 10th book in the Cy Dekker cosy mystery series written by Steve Demaree. It is a well-written book with great characters, lots of humour (including a couple of laugh out loud moments) and a fun plot. It also contains a warning about making rash promises, that you may find you have to fulfil ;). I thoroughly enjoy these books and would heartily recommend them to fans of cosy mysteries.
A retired homicide detective is asked by a friend to look into the disappearance of a friend of a friend. About the same time, one person is kidnapped, and others have been murdered after going on a blind date. This whodunit combines humor and clues to the murderer's identity.
Another winner from Steve Demaree
I have to confess to being a huge Steve Demaree fan - if you've seen some of my previous reviews, you might already be aware of this. I have yet to read one of his books that I didn't enjoy - although some are better than others. Murder on a Blind Date is one of the better ones. Demaree returns to the humour of earlier books. The plot is enjoyable and the characters, as always, are well-written. This is a genuine cosy mystery - no sex, no violence and no profanity - so I can settle down and enjoy the story without concern. The relationships between various characters continue to develop and the story moves at a good pace. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a cosy mystery.
We all think we know who we are. What we're capable of. Roz is a single mother, a physiotherapist, a sister, a friend. She's also desperate. Her business has gone under, she's crippled by debt and she's just had to explain to her son why someone's taken all their furniture away. But now a stranger has made her an offer. For one night with her, he'll pay enough to bring her back from the edge. Roz has a choice to make.
A good story but...
I thought this book held promise - although the concept was somewhat far-fetched. The characters were well-written and the story, on the whole, kept up a good pace. However, there were a couple of issues. One, as mentioned previously, the initial concept was stretching the imagination and as it developed, I found myself thinking it was verging on the ridiculous. Roz admits herself that she is not gorgeous and yet she has men queuing up to pay her to spend the night with them. Two, there was too much time spent developing characters that faded out with no real point to the story, and too much detail about Roz's patients. Three, the ending was too neat and tied all the loose ends up too quickly. So, although I would read other books by this author, I will not be re-reading this one.