Lie With Me, Andy Lanyon

Lie With Me, Andy Lanyon

Lie With Me

Lie With Me is a violent, twisty, absorbing contrast of humdrum and extraordinary that covers all the ground between true love, manipulation, and murder.

Alex is a successful psychiatrist, practising in Melbourne. He isn’t enthralled with his job or his marriage, but they don’t make him violently unhappy. Like a number of people, he’s accepted that his hopes and dreams must come second to paying bills and the mortgage, and he accepts that by the lights of society, he’s fortunate – he’s had to make no sacrifices that make his day-to-day unbearable. However, when a new patient comes into his practice, Alex little expects that his entire life will be irrevocably changed.

Lie With Me is a very well-written story. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up, but the technical side is completely and refreshing solid, and I read the book in one sitting. At some points, the story struck me as stretching the bounds of credulity, and possibly the side story of the female student’s disappearance could have benefited from some advance breadcrumbing (if that’s a word), but as a whole the story made for an engrossing read. Alex’s repression of his desires, both intellectual and physical, to conform, is a theme bound to strike a chord with a wide audience. While the consequences of change for him are extreme, well, we don’t pick up books to read about an average experience in the life of the average Joe next door (all right, I concede there are people who read auto-biographies, but I count that self-inflicted). All in all, I found this a very readable story.

Not Forgiven, Neven Carr

Not Forgiven, Neven Carr

Not Forgiven

Not Forgiven, the riveting sequel to Forgotten, follows Claudia Cabriati’s efforts to discover what lies behind the traumatic break in her memories and uncover the truth.

With the enigmatic Saul at her side, Claudia is chasing down the last of the loose ends that came out of the case they just solved—and all of them are leading back to Araneya mansion where Claudia spent her childhood. However, neither of them in their darkest moments imagined the picture that those threads might form…

Neven Carr’s thrilling follow-up novel in the Araneya Mystery series brings back the all-star cast from Forgotten and follows the inevitable tightening of the bond between Claudia and Saul. Showcasing one of the author’s trademark twisty plots, Not Forgiven explores the psychology and impact of institutionalized violence, PTSD, and human perception, staged in the dramatic scenery of Australia and leading to the grand reveal of several cold-case murders, as well as shedding a bit more light on Saul’s murky past. The pacing manages to combine suspense with explosive action to create an environment for the reader that few other books I’ve read can equal. I’d recommend this book to readers of mystery, action, or romance—this book combines all of them and does it well.

Into the Dark, J A Schneider

Into the Dark, J A Schneider

Into the Dark

Into the Dark is a chilling ride through the implosion of a marriage and the exposure of a years-old murder. Annie Lamb is a new mother and an Art History professor, on the verge of burnout juggling a career, her child, and her marriage. Psychologically delicate, Annie is anxious to avoid creating friction in her life, even if the demands of avoiding it add to the stress that’s threatening to eat her alive. Her husband and stepson are resolutely mute on the tragic death of Ben Lamb’s previous wife; too traumatic ever to be discussed. However, as Ben’s behaviour veers increasingly into the erratic, Annie has to choose between losing her fragile peace…or losing herself.

As ever, news of a J. A. Schneider release triggered a Pavlovian grab for my tablet, and as ever, the read didn’t disappoint. I continue to be impressed by the author’s story-telling ability; I’m not keen on fragile, vulnerable types, and I’m generally a tough room with mysteries, but J. A. Schneider’s mysteries are delightfully dark, twisty, and original, and by page two I’m usually lost to the world. The psychological disintegration in this story starts out subtle, couched in the kind of marriage that anyone might experience, and escalates rapidly into a very real danger that pulls every fact and action into question. The snowball progression paints a shocking, page-turning image of how quickly normal can shred beyond recognition. This is an expertly-written thriller, well worth the read.

Rituals of the Dead, Jennifer S. Alderson

Rituals of the Dead, Jennifer S. Alderson

Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery (Adventures of Zelda Richardson Book 3)

Rituals of the Dead is a tense mystery thriller that combines the sedate world of Dutch museums with a decades-old murder on the far side of the world. Zelda Richardson is an American expatriate, working as an intern to support her Master’s thesis in Amsterdam, when her research starts dragging up details that don’t quite mesh with the official version of events. Her off-books work almost costs her her internship, and that’s only the beginning of the trouble. Can Zelda figure out how the facts tie together before the consequences catch up with her?

Author Jennifer S. Alderson has a unique gift for taking a setting that should be incredibly tranquil, and smoothly weaving in the oddities that make her case until the calm of the academic atmosphere is well and truly overturned. Zelda isn’t a hardboiled and capable detective; in fact, she’s the opposite; timid and willing to allow people to treat her badly in case standing up for herself causes her to lose her position, but driven by curiosity to investigate the threads that don’t quite tie in. The world-building in this series is also outstanding, built on detail but without beating the reader over the head with a litany of research. Fans of mystery and crime will definitely enjoy this book.

Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthullu, James G. Boswell

Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthullu, James G. Boswell

Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthulhu

When a series of gruesome murders among London’s upper crust stymies Scotland Yard, Inspector Lestrade reaches out to Dr. Watson and Mr. Holmes for help. Between the brutality of the stab wounds to each victim and the inevitable presence of a hidden symbol near each body, it’s up to Sherlock Holmes to prove a mundane connection between the murders where everyone else is pursuing a supernatural option…including his faithful partner, Dr. Watson.

Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthullu was an enjoyable homage to the great consulting detective, with all the conflicting theories, and daring disguises a reader might expect. I found the final rationale for the murders was very plausible, although Holmes’s capture and imprisonment location slightly less so. It was clear that author James G. Boswell had done significant amounts of research into the period to support the plot; I did find that Watson marvelling at scenes of Victorian London pulled me a little out of the character, as these scenes would have been commonplace for him. This tendency also somewhat impacted the pacing in the beginning of the read. Happily, it largely disappeared after the early scenes of the book, and aside from that, the technical side of the writing was very clean, which I always appreciate.

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