Anne Bonny Top 5 #TranslatedLit picks from the TBR pile #KeigoHigashino @AbacusBooks #TetsuyaHonda @TitanBooks #UnSuKim @4thEstateBooks #SørenSveistrup @MichaelJBooks #StinaJackson @CorvusBooks #Japan #Korea #Sweden #Copenhagen #Denmark

***My top 5 picks from my TBR pile, either translated literature or originally written in another language. In no particular order***

devotion of suspect x
The Devotion Of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.

When Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police tries to piece together the events of that day, he finds himself confronted by the most puzzling, mysterious circumstances he has ever investigated. Nothing quite makes sense, and it will take a genius to understand the genius behind this particular crime…

One of the biggest-selling Japanese thrillers ever, and the inspiration for a cult film, The Devotion of Suspect X is now being discovered across the world. Its blend of a page-turning story, evocative Tokyo setting and utterly surprising ending make it a must-read for anyone interested in international fiction.

the silent dead
The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda ~ Reiko Himekawa #1
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

When a mutilated body wrapped in a blue tarpaulin is found in a quiet neighbourhood, Lieutenant Reiko Himekawa and her squad are assigned the case. As the youngest female detective in the Homicide Division, Reiko has a lot to prove, but she has an undeniable ability to solve crimes. When she uncovers more murders with the same signature, she knows there is a serial killer at work. What is Strawberry Night, the dark web group that links all the victims? And how long will Reiko survive, now the killer knows her name?

the plotters
The Plotters by Un-Su Kim
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

Plotters are just pawns like us. A request comes in and they draw up the plans. There’s someone above them who tells them what to do. And above that person is another plotter telling them what to do. You think that if you go up there with a knife and stab the person at the very top, that’ll fix everything. But no-one’s there. It’s just an empty chair.

Reseng was raised by cantankerous Old Raccoon in the Library of Dogs. To anyone asking, it’s just an ordinary library. To anyone in the know, it’s a hub for Seoul’s organised crime, and a place where contract killings are plotted and planned. So it’s no surprise that Reseng has grown up to become one of the best hitmen in Seoul. He takes orders from the plotters, carries out his grim duties, and comforts himself afterwards with copious quantities of beer and his two cats, Desk and Lampshade.

But after he takes pity on a target and lets her die how she chooses, he finds his every move is being watched. Is he finally about to fall victim to his own game? And why does that new female librarian at the library act so strangely? Is he looking for his enemies in all the wrong places? Could he be at the centre of a plot bigger than anything he’s ever known?

the chestnut man
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
Translated by Caroline Waight
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

One blustery October morning in a quiet Copenhagen suburb, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead; the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. But the man who confessed to her murder is already behind bars and the case long since closed.

Soon afterwards, a second woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the killer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

the silver road
The Silver Road by Stina Jackson
Translated by Susan Beard
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was – a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.

As autumn’s darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle and Meja’s lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Blackbird season by @KateMoretti1 #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Thriller @TitanBooks ‘When does it ever end, if people continue to up the ante?’

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The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
My own copy
Synopsis:

Where did they come from? Why did they fall?

In a ​quie​t​ town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community. Beloved coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the​ ​reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a student, Lucia Hamm. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are ​having an affair, throwing the town into an uproar and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life. And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only have one suspect: Nate.

Nate​’​s coworker, Bridget Harris, is determined to prove his innocence. Bridget knows the key to Nate​’​s exoneration and the truth of Lucia​’​s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of ​t​h​e missing girl’s journal.

My Review:

‘Alecia forgot what that was like, to have friends who were just people’

The novel opens in May 2015, two weeks before the birds fall. The time line then moves around to give a greater understanding of the characters and further depth into the incidents before and after the birds fell. It is an intense novel, with emotive themes.
I became engrossed in the plot line, as I read further on.

Nate and Alecia Winters are the married couple at the centre of the scandal, with Nate accused of an affair with a student. But Alecia is not without her character depth either. She is an isolated and lonely mother to the couples 5yr old autistic son Gabe. As mother of an autistic son, I can assure you the isolation, loneliness and shunning are 100% REAL!

‘Sometimes it seemed like it was Alecia and Gabe against the whole world’

The missing student at the centre of the accusations/claims Lucia, is a mysterious student experiencing great hardship and poverty. Lucia is a student in crisis, Did Nate help her? or take advantage of her situation?

We learn that the Winter’s family life is extremely complex. With Alecia shouldering the majority of the parental duties and Nate being responsible for financing the multiple therapies Gabe requires. It is easy to see this marriage being torn apart by the sheer stress of raising a special needs child, let alone the accusations of the local town.

‘Nate was the last person to see her’

Nate denies the allegations against him and insists there was no affair. But when he is suspended from his teaching position the gossip and speculation only intensifies.

‘There was a missing piece something that no one knew’

Is Nate the perpetrator? Or are the cops making him suspect #1?

The middle part of the novel is much slower paced.
But the novel in whole deals with some tough themes.
Themes of abuse, neglect and bullying.
When does it ever end, if people continue to up the ante? 4*

KM
Kate Moretti
Website
Twitter

***Review coming soon for, In  Her Bones***

Anne Bonny #BookReview Halcyon by @Rio_Youers 5* Genius #Halcyon #Horror @TitanBooks ‘It is that INTENSE!!!!! But it is AWESOME!’

cover
Halcyon by Rio Youers
My own copy
Synopsis:

Nightmarishly compelling and flawlessly told horror for fans of Paul Tremblay and Joe Hill.
Halcyon is the answer for all Americans who want to escape, but paradise isn’t what it seems. A beautiful self-sustaining community made up of people who want to live without fear, crime, or greed, Halcyon is run by Valerie Kemp, aka Mother Moon, benevolent and altruistic on the outside, but hiding an unimaginable darkness inside. She has dedicated her life to the pursuit of Glam Moon, a place of eternal beauty and healing. And she believes the pathway there can only be found at the end of pleasure.
On the heels of tragedy, Martin Lovegrove moves his family to Halcyon. A couple of months, he tells himself, to retreat from the chaos and grind. He soon begins to suspect there is something beneath Halcyon’s perfect veneer and sets out to discover the truth, however terrible it might be, behind the island and its mysterious founder.

My Review:

I became aware of Rio Youers via the social media posts of Christopher Golden. I then saw a blurb on Halcyon from one of my author faves Sarah Pinborough. So, I knew I HAD to have this novel. I knew it would be dark and it is well, well, well, with the remit of the horror genre. But crikey bobs was I ill prepared! There were moments of just having to put it down, simply because it is so intense.
I also found myself re-laying the whole plot to my husband (he is a non-reader, I know, it is gross! Lol). My husband was in complete agreement with me, that this would make an incredibly sinister horror movie.
There are moments where it briefly reminded me of the TV show the American Horror Story and also elements of the true crimes of Charlie Manson.
It is that INTENSE!!!!! But it is AWESOME!

The novel opens with 10yr old Edith Lovegrove and her sister Shirley (15yrs). We become aware Edith is experiencing extreme night terrors. Her parents are unsure if this is a phase or if there is something more sinister to this. I immediately suspected that she was gifted, but is this a talent for good or bad?

‘The man with no hands is crying’ – Edith

There is a backstory of Garrett Riley, who will become the infamous ‘Buffalo Bomber’. We learn of his dark and troubled past and what made him perceptible to the brainwashing of a cult with an ulterior agenda etc.
When Edith’s parents watch footage of the bombing on live TV. They witness a man with no hands crying.
It is then, that they come to believe Edith may harbour a gift for premonitions.

They contact various psychics and mediums and attempt to understand the world that Edith sees. But how do you navigate a world known for its charlatans and liars?
The Edith has visions of her mother’s death!!!!!!

Edith’s mother is the victim of a fatal school shooting massacre. It is then that Martin Lovegrove, the girls now widowed father starts to become disillusioned with life in modern day America. He starts seeking alternative ways of existing and he seeks peace. Time to grieve and to heal.

‘A better America’

This is how Martin is lured to the island of Halcyon. A hippie commune that promises peace in a tranquil location away from the constraints of a modern day and the relentless sufferings etc.
As much as I did feel this was a ‘sanctuary or suicide’ mission. I could completely empathise with Martin’s need for escape. After all, who of us doesn’t just want to often retreat from the world and live in a cabin in the woods etc.
*We might feel safer in doing so, if we don’t take Rio Youer’s novels lol

At Halcyon there is a matriarch type character, called Mother Moon. Shirley instantly bonds with her and despite her initial reluctance accepts their new way of life. Edith however, is not so easily convinced. Is this her gift? Or her angst/jealousy? This is a young girl with no mother, now feeling she is losing her older sister to the leader.

‘Education develops a woman. Always. Tribulation is different. It can unravel her, or give her armour’ – Mother Moon

The idea is for an introduction period of six weeks at Halcyon and if they want to leave at the end, they can with no problems whatsoever. Something Martin doesn’t see a huge issue with. He is persistently warned via his friend Jimmy, about the reputation of such ‘retreats’. Nevertheless, the family arrive and become settled.

What happens at Halcyon, stays at Halcyon.
I will not be telling anymore, of this story! Just know that it is gripping and horror-filled!
When Mother Moon’s backstory is finally revealed, my jaw was on the floor!!!!!!
WOW, JUST WOW!
5* Genius

RY
Rio Youers
Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Cabin At The End Of The World by @paulGtremblay 5* Genius #Horror #Thriller #NewRelease @TitanBooks ‘Buy it! You won’t regret it!’

cover 2 cover
The Cabin At The End Of The World by Paul Tremblay
Review copy
Synopsis:

The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake, with their closest neighbours more than two miles in either direction.

As Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young and friendly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologises and tells Wen, “None of what s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out, “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen.
But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

So begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are intertwined.

My Review:

I have read and enjoyed, A Head Full Of Ghosts and Disappearance At Devil’s Rock, both by this author. So, I feel qualified enough to say, this novel is AMAZING, and the author is a GENIUS! This novel is a great mix of psychological thriller and horror. It is insanely intense from the beginning to the end, and I am not sure that I even breathed during the last 10%.

The novel opens with a little girl named Wen, sitting on the porch of an isolated cabin. Her parents Eric and Andrew have rented the cabin as the perfect escape from the reality of a busy life. The cabin is set within a picturesque location. However, it is two miles from the nearest property and has no cell phone service!!!!!
Which as a devout fan of the horror movie genre, instantly freaked me out!!!!

The family is seeking a break from the hassle of social media, busy schedules and relentless parenting duties. They just want some quiet time, by the lake, as a family.
Only they aren’t completely on their own. . . . .

The family’s background is explored, and we learn all about Wen’s adoption and the roles each father plays in their daughter’s life. I loved the concept of a thoroughly modern family and the diversity it finely brings to the genre. I think the author has done a fantastic job of creating the personalities of the individual family members.
They soon feel, like people you know.

As Wen sits on the porch collecting grasshoppers, innocently daydreaming her day away. A smiling man appears and wants to talk. Wen knows all about ‘strangers’ but his warm smile instantly disarms the little girl and she figures, it can’t hurt.

“Hi there . . . My name is Leonard”

Wen is an intelligent and determined little girl, she casually passes the time of day with the unusual man. Then the conversation suddenly changes, and others appear.
When the other people in the group arrive, Wen senses danger and she retreats to inside the cabin to warn her fathers.

The group consists of Leonard, Sabrina, Adriane and Redmond. They assemble on the porch and refuse to leave until they are heard. They warn the family of the impending ‘end of the world’ and tell them they have some tough decisions to make.

What does it all mean?
Who are the group?
Where did they come from?

Andrew and Eric begin the typical responses, they warn the people to leave, attempt to call for help and Andrew even claims to have a gun. But the group persists that they need to prevent the coming apocalypse, a sacrifice must be made!!!

The terror of the situation keeps you hooked to the page. I was desperately trying to fathom the motivation behind the group and guess what they had planned next for the young family.

Imagine having to bargain with insanity, for your life.

The sanctuary of the cabin quickly becomes a place of death and madness as the events unfold. Are the prophecies real? Or are the group just religious fanatics?
A fantastic novel, that I do not wish to spoil by sharing too many details.
Buy it! You won’t regret it! 5* Genius

tremblaypic
Paul Tremblay
Twitter
Website
My Q&A with the author

 

Q&A with @paulGtremblay #Author of #AHeadFullOfGhosts #DisappearanceAtDevilsRock #TheLittleSleep @TitanBooks

Delighted to feature this fantastic author on my blog and give readers an insight into A Head Full Of Ghosts, Disappearance At Devil’s Rock and The Little sleep.

Q&A

I have read and enjoyed both; A Head Full Of Ghosts and Disappearance At Devils Rock. The Little Sleep is also on my book wish list. I was dying to ask the author some questions about his novels and as we say in the UK ‘pick his brains’!

#PickingPaulTremblaysBrains

Q) For the readers can you give a summary of yourself and you novels?

A) Me: I am 6’4, a hopeless New Englander, growing my hair out to a somewhat ludicrous (for me) length, and I hate pickles. My first novel was published in 2009 and my seventh (or six-and-a-half-th novel, as I Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly was co-written with Stephen Graham Jones) will be out in summer of 2018. I’m married with kids and dog. I still teach high school math by day. What else..I listen to loud music and am still a scardey cat.

Novels? I’ll summarize a smattering of them.

The Little Sleep: A narcoleptic detective in South Boston tries to figure out what the case is that has been dropped in his lap, never mind trying to solve it. Dark hilarity ensues.

A Head Full of Ghosts: A postmodern, sceptical/secular retelling of The Exorcist, with reality TV, and Stephen King said it scared the living hell out of him. If it’s good enough for Uncle Steve, then hey, isn’t it good enough for you? Please!

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock: Not Hardy Boy’s fan fiction. A young teen boy goes mysteriously missing from a state park. Dark, emotional weirdness ensues.

Q) A Head Full Of Ghosts, deals with a theme of mental health. I worked in adult mental health for 10yrs and for this reason, I am usually reluctant to read novels with such a theme. However, your accurate and very sensitive portrayals of mental health made for amazing reading. What was your research process? And how did you get the writing so accurate?

A) Thank you, that’s very kind. I have to admit to not doing a ton of research on the mental health side (other than having read articles here and there over the years), though I did focus on reading about how the Catholic church for centuries conflated symptoms of schizophrenia with proof of possession. I’ve been a high school teacher for a long time and perhaps my experience with teens helped to make Marjorie a believable and (I hope) empathic character. I really wanted people to feel for her even if they were frightened by what was happening around her.

Q) Disappearance At Devils Rock, is a difficult novel to slot into a specific genre. I remember thinking is this crime or horror etc. Not only that, the relationship that unravelled between Tommy and his mother Elizabeth made for heart-breaking reading. What was the inspiration behind this relationship? Did you fully intend to pull some heart strings of the readers?

A) With both A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, I wanted to write the weirdness and the ambiguous (is it really happening or not?) supernatural elements as realistically as possible, or (maybe more properly stated) ground the stories in realism. If the setting and trappings were real, then when things go a little bit off, it helps to further unsettle the reader. I definitely wanted to treat Tommy’s disappearance ring emotionally authentic, which meant focusing on some of the day-to-day minutia, dreariness, and impatience of a search for a missing teen. And I also wanted to make Elizabeth and Kate (mom and younger sister) the heart of that novel.

Q) In Disappearance At Devils rock, you have the theme of child abduction and the mothers desperation seeps from every page. Was this, as a parent yourself difficult to write? Did writing the emotional scenes leave you feeling drained?

A) In previous novels I gleefully took bits and pieces of friends and family (much to my wife’s chagrin, Merry and my daughter have quite a bit in common). With Devil’s Rock, I knew that I’d be writing about a parent’s worst nightmare and so I tried to distance myself somewhat. I made sure Tommy wasn’t my son. He was instead the kid down the street. Sorry, kid down the street…

This might sound weird but I look forward to writing the big emotional scenes (like the fight between Elizabeth and Kate). With all those fireworks and plot turns, I tend to get excited by the prospects and a bit more clinical about it. I found the quieter moments would sneak up on me and a line here or there that I wasn’t expecting would hit me. That said, I did get emotional during a couple scenes toward the end. I don’t want to spoil which ones. Look for the tear stains on the pages. They’re there if you look hard enough. UK editions only. Titan made me cry into ten boxes of books. They told me it was a standard thing over there.

Q) The Little Sleep, is firmly on my wish list due to is epic sounding synopsis. All your plots/ideas are very unique and edgy. What is your secret? Are you influenced by real life events? Do the ideas just drop into your head and you feel compelled to write the story?

A) Every story/book is different. A Head Full of Ghosts was an eureka moment and dropped into my lap almost fully formed when I wasn’t expecting it. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock was a slow and long dig through the dirt until I had the bones of the story in place, but even then, things kept changing.

The Little Sleep….I wrote a stereotypical PI scene with a woman coming into a big city PI’s office, but her case was bizarre. She claimed that someone stole her fingers and replaced them with someone else’s fingers. At first I wanted to play it straight, and make it a SF/Philip K. Dick kind of detective story, but it went nowhere and I put that scene away for almost a year. Then I happened to be reading about narcolepsy and that scene occurred to me and made sense, and it became the first chapter to The Little Sleep.

Q) What is your writing routine? A day in the life of author Paul Tremblay, as such…..

A) It varies and is quite seasonal as the school year’s ebbs and flows affect my output. But when I’m going good on a novel, I aim for 500 words a day. And I’ll edit the previous day (or previous week’s) words before moving on. And then I chip away. I generally write at night now, but I’ll also write in the morning at school, during free periods, or in the car if I’m waiting for one of my kids, or waiting for my son at a baseball clinic with projectiles whizzing by my head. I have no time for rituals and/or getting into the mood. That’s not to say that I don’t procrastinate and spend too much time online, because I do. But have laptop will travel, and the writing that has to get done, gets done somehow.

Otherwise, it’s family life and dog walks and reading (I read at least a book a week) and watching something scary hopefully, and buying another tee shirt I don’t need.

Q) What are your favourite novels of 2017, so far?

A) Victor LaValle’s THE CHANGELING, Dan Chaon’s ILL WILL, Cara Hoffman’s RUNNING. Favorite nonfic: Colin Dickey’s GHOSTLAND: AN AMERICAN HISTORY IN HAUNTED PLACES. Favorite collections: Mariana Enriquez’s THINGS WE LOST IN FIRE, Nadia Bulkin’s SHE SAID DESTROY. Favorite novella: Stephen Graham Jones’s MAPPING THE INTERIOR.

Q) Also favourite novels of all time?

A) Well I have many, but these three I’ve re-read the most: Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five, Shirley Jackson’s WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, and Mark Danielewski’s HOUSE OF LEAVES.

Q) Finally, what are you currently working on? Are we allowed any snippets of information about your next novel?

A) I just turned in (working title) THE FOUR to my editor and it’ll be out next summer. It’s my take on a ‘home invasion’ kind of story. So far the early response to it has been very good, so I’m excited.

*Huge thanks to the author Paul Tremblay for agreeing to be part of a Q&A on my blog! 🙂

Head full of ghosts cover
A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
Synopsis:

The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show.

disappearnace at devils rock cover
Disappearance At Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay
Synopsis:

Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her 13-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished in the woods of a local park. Riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night

the little sleep cover
The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay
Synopsis:

The wickedly entertaining debut featuring Mark Genevich, Narcoleptic Detective

Mark Genevich is a South Boston P.I. with a little problem: he’s narcoleptic, and he suffers from the most severe symptoms, including hypnogogic hallucinations. These waking dreams wreak havoc for a guy who depends on real-life clues to make his living.

Clients haven’t exactly been beating down the door when Mark meets Jennifer Times—daughter of the powerful local D.A. and a contestant on American Star—who walks into his office with an outlandish story about a man who stole her fingers. He awakes from his latest hallucination alone, but on his desk is a manila envelope containing risqué photos of Jennifer. Are the pictures real, and if so, is Mark hunting a blackmailer, or worse?

Wildly imaginative and with a pitch-perfect voice, Paul Tremblay’s The Little Sleep is the first in a new series that casts a fresh eye on the rigors of detective work, and introduces a character who has a lot to prove—if only he can stay awake long enough to do it.

PT
Paul Tremblay
Authors links:
Web site: https://thelittlesleep.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @paulGtremblay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/648612.Paul_Tremblay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Paul-Tremblay-44580519454/