Grey

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Grey
by E. L. James

In Christian’s own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.
CHRISTIAN GREY exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty – until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him – past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.
Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

Controversial Post Alert!!!

I admit I am a Fifty Shades Of Grey fan. I feel I should really be in therapy confessing to this. Why do I feel like that? Perhaps because no book that I can think of in the history of publishing has caused so much vitriol to be spouted. To some of these people, being a fan of FSOG is almost akin to being a fan of Hitler and is not to be borne.

To me FSOG is a very intense love story which I found myself caught up in and enjoyed to the last page. There is no argument from me that the prose is not up there with, say, Anne Tyler; but it’s never claimed to be.

Not every book has to be War And Peace. Sometimes you just want to relax and not have to think too hard. You don’t get abuse and ridicule when you put on the TV to watch Eastenders or Coronation St, so why do some people feel it’s so much worse to indulge in a comfort book?

I have seen on various social media sites people being harangued for their love of these books. The best (or worst) comments are the ones that argue about the abuse of women, subjugation, etc, and then freely admit that they have not and have no intention of reading the books!

If you have read them and they weren’t for you then get your review out there. Give it one star and say what you thought. Perfectly acceptable. But stop telling others what they should think and read and trying to get others to submit to your will: think about that for a minute.

Rant over.

The new book in the series is told from Christian’s point of view. It is the story from the first book retold. A lot of people seem to be having a problem with that, expecting a new story. I got what I expected the same story told from a different perspective.

Is it worth it? You need to be a hardened fan to get anything out of it. It is interesting to see the other side, Christian’s thoughts and feelings. It shows how emotionally stunted he is and how much his troubled childhood still affects him even though on the surface he is a powerful and in-control businessman.

As an aside, I believe there were difficulties between the author and the director of the film and I got the feeling that E.L.James was having a little dig at the film makers during the scene about the contract talks.
“For a moment I wonder if I should have held this meeting at my office, then dismiss the thought as ridiculous.”
Anyone that has watched the film will know that is exactly where they held the meeting.

This book is ok. If you really want Christian’s perspective then you should enjoy it. If it doesn’t matter to you then leave well alone.
***

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The Lie

the lie

The Lie
by C. L. Taylor

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

Jane Hughes has a nice life working in an animal sanctuary and enjoying a fledgling relationship with a local teacher. Everything appears to be going well. But all is not as it seems; Jane is really Emma and her life was turned upside down five years ago after a trip to Nepal with three friends turned into an ugly experience. Now the past is catching up with the present and Jane is receiving messages from beyond the grave.

The story is told in two timelines, the present day and five years previously. It’s brilliantly done. The suspense is built up with a drip feed of information in both timelines and brought together to collide in a stunning finale.

The brilliance of this story is that it is just so plausible. Attractive charismatic male able to prise open the cracks already appearing in the relationships of four girlfriends. Taylor delves into female relationships; the petty jealousies, competitiveness, mistrust, and we watch in horror as they crash and burn.

The characters are brilliant, each demanding different emotions as they move and change through the story.

This is such a dark suspenseful tale with some gruesome violence. It is utterly gripping with echoes of The Beach by Alex Garland and anyone who has travelled the backpack route may find themselves thinking; ‘there but for the grace of God…’

If you like psychological thrillers then I cannot recommend this one highly enough.
****1/2

Many thanks to the publishers Avon for sending me a copy via Netgalley.

When The Clocks Stopped

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When The Clocks Stopped
by M. L. Eaton

In the summer of 1976, in the English village of Rype-on Marsh, lawyer Hazel Dawkins is anticipating some tranquil time off before the birth of her first child. When she agrees to what she thinks will be some routine work, she finds herself drawn into troubling events in the lives of her clients—and in the past. The distant past. Mysteriously, she encounters Annie, a woman whose romantic and tempestuous life took place more than two centuries ago when Romney Marsh was a violent place, dominated by gangs of smugglers. As her destiny intertwines with Annie’s in the shifting time-scape of the past and present, Hazel confronts a terrifying challenge that parallels history—and could even change it. If she survives.

Hazel is pregnant and looking forward to being a stay-at-home mum, but is talked into helping out persuasive bank manager Mr Stone as a Will solicitor. Some of her clients need more help than just a will and Hazel finds herself drawn into a mystery that is centuries old.

The narrative moves back and forth between the 1970s and two centuries earlier, where we encounter Annie and her desperate struggles against smugglers that were rife in Romney Marsh at that time.

There is a good story told here and at times it is well written. The historical chapters are very well researched and interesting. but I do feel that there are two problems; the first is an editing one. There are huge swathes of text that are surplus to requirements. A prime example is chapter 12, where we are treated to Hazel stressing because she keeps on making a mistake on a will, then the typewriter keeps creasing the paper – for the whole chapter. It needs cutting. Then there is Mr & Mrs White, Hazel’s first clients: extraneous characters.

The other problem is telling; to such an extent at one point that it totally gave the game away with one character. I have no idea why the author did it but the book would have been much better served with a little subtlety.

Having said that, the story is engaging and the two different timelines work well with each other. I liked the characters of Hazel and her husband Bruce and their easy humour with each other.
***

Many thanks to the author for sending me a copy.

A Killing Moon

a kiiling moon

A Killing Moon
by Steven Dunne

For the young woman kidnapped on her way home from the pub, the nightmare is about to begin…

Weeks after Caitlin Kinnear goes missing, the police are unable to break her case. Worse they are not even certain harm has come to her. But determined to pursue all leads, DI Damen Brook and his team begin to trawl through the murky world of cheap migrant labour. Convinced that the answers lie hidden within its depths, Brook soon begins to realise Caitlin is in terrible danger.

When the body of another young girl turns up it becomes clear that Caitlin’s abduction might not be an isolated incident and the race is on to save her. But with time running out, can Brook put the pieces together and find Caitlin before it’s too late?

Caitlin Kinnear goes missing after a night out with friends. The problem is nobody knows she is missing for a good while. When D.I. Damen Brook starts looking into the case at the behest of his colleague D.S. John Noble he begins to see similarities with other missing women. We follow Caitlin’s story alongside Brook and Noble’s investigations and the two collide in the most dramatic of endings.

This is a dark, gritty tale set in Derby’s murky underworld. But there is so much more going on here than just a possible kidnapping, this book has depth, layers, twists, suspense and more. At its heart there are themes of morals and loyalties; many of the characters are stuck in a moral maze but the rights and wrongs depend entirely on your own beliefs. How far you take those beliefs is one of the questions posed by this book.

The characters include three duos all of which have great loyalty to each other. D.I. Brook and D.S. Noble are colleagues, Brook is the one with the experience of cold cases and a man of great intelligence, he uses his experience to help Noble, but the loyalty isn’t all one way; Brook has his issues and Noble helps him out in social situations. The two sets of brothers, Grzegorz & max and Jake & Nick, both have bonds between them that are more than merely fraternal.

All the characters are so well-drawn, this is my first D.I. Noble novel but I feel like I have known him for years. He stole my heart with his loathing of Americanisms: him and me both. There are other great characters as well, Angie, who unwittingly plays a starring role and Superintendent Charlton who is a great foil for Brook’s dry humour and sarcasm.

This is a fantastic read, it starts off at a pace and is relentless throughout. If you like your thrillers dark and deep you’ll love this. I have no idea how this author is not more widely known, on this showing he is right up there with Jo Nesbo and Stuart MacBride.
*****

Many thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for sending me a copy.