Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Blackbird Season Blog tour

Today we welcome to the Blog Kate Moretti the author of The Blackbird season to discuss her Favourite Characters in Crime Novels, which has got me thinking about who my favourite characters are! The Black Bird Season is out NOW and you can check out our review below. Over to Kate

Favorite Characters in Crime Novels

Some of the best characters in fiction come from the crime genre. They are lawless. They are evil, or worse, well-intentioned but misguided. Whether they are chasing criminals through darkened streets or they are the criminals being chased, crime novels have given us some of the most well-loved, and loathed, characters.

1. The Detective: I know I should say Sherlock Holmes here, but I will go against the grain and say my favorite fictional PI is probably Philip Marlowe. This is a double insult, I’m writing this for a British blog! I could at least say Hercule Poirot! I’m sorry. I fell in love with Sam Spade in college and graduated to Philip Marlowe in my late 20s. I love the sharp narration, the quick, witty dialogue, some dames and some gams and I’m all in. I shouldn’t love it as much as I do, it’s ridiculously sexist to say things like “her face fell apart like a bride’s pie crust” and “I could see that thinking was always going to be a bother for her”. The best of the bard-boiled, whiskey-slugging, Camel-and-pipe smoking best.

2. The Serial Killer: Obviously the bar is set at Hannibal Lecter. However, he’s not my personal favorite. I have to go with Tom Ripley on this one. He’s innocuous looking. A bit nerdy. Enigmatic. Affable, almost. In fact, it’s impossible not to like him and as a reader, root for him. He’s almost always a tiny bit sorry after he kills someone. Not, mind you, because it’s morally wrong but because he really doesn’t enjoy murder and despises his own lack of control. He’s chilling and somehow, lovable. Even Lecter couldn’t do that.

3. The Ultra-feminist: Lisbeth Salandar. She’s confusing. She’s loves Bloomkvist and hates him. She’s bisexual. She despises superficiality but gets breast implants. She’s incredibly smart, but a giant pain in the ass. She listens to no one and defies stereotype and cliche. Every time you think you know her she does something diabolical like drugs and tattoos her rapist and steals several billion dollars from an international criminal. Two words: Bad. Ass.

4. The Unreliable Narrator: Amy Dunne. Ok, I know. How obvious! But she’s the girl that started the craze. The terrifyingly smart wife to Nick Dunne who (spoiler alert, to the one person who hasn’t read Gone Girl yet) stages her own kidnapping as a revenge plot and secretly sends her husband on a wild goose chase all in the name of anniversary love? Wow. How can you not love/hate/admire her?

5. The Cop: Who else? Harry Bosch. The vietnam vet who has been fired and rehired from the LAPD more times than you can count. He’s a rebel who says that Everybody counts, or nobody counts. He arguably revived the traditional police procedural. He’s been in love, had a daughter, made mistakes. He’s frustratingly stubborn and stoic. You sympathize with both his boss, his enemies, and all his exes. But he always, always, gets his guy even if he has to bend the law to do it.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour: 

The Blackbird Season Review:

Years ago I read the slap, which looked at how a singular act affected the lives of people in the aftermath. IN a similar way the strength of this book was looking through the perspective of multiple characters and how they see the world and the actions of people around them. This creates an intimate web, and one of confusion because you don't know what to believe and your ideas slowly slip and change as you flit between the characters and more information and opinion is relieved. 

People are generally fascinating and we're seeing it all round us at the moment and how one moment can change the way people see, and look at something and this was so raw here.Small town big effect. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone was friends with Nate and in one quick moment the tide turned and that breakdown is great drama to watch.

Then there was this fantastic element of the blackbirds falling from the sky. Its this strange and beautiful imagery and you don;t know how it all connect for so long, because for a while it is two very jarring story lines but a great parallel for what it represents.

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Title: Behind Her EyesAuthor: Sarah PinboroughPublisher: HarperCollinsRelease Date: 26th January 2017Synopsis: Only two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.
It’s said that the only people who really know what goes on in a marriage are the couple themselves. But what if even they don’t know the truth?
David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?
Louise, David’s new secretary, is intrigued. But as Louise gets closer to each of them, instead of finding answers she uncovers more puzzling questions. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise could never have guessed how wrong things really are and just how far someone might go to hide it.

Review:  On its basis this isn't a book I would normally read. But the proof I found had sprayed edges and the #WTFthatending tagline made me think twice. I was also a fan of Sarah and all these things together mixed into a winning combination. And overall it was different. It felt different.

I felt a lot of emotions when reading this book and was actively being affected as I read venting on the bus, then taking to twitter, then going back and repeating my verbal outbursts all the way through right up to the end. I regularly judge my mother for talking to the TV and then i go and do something like this. There were fresh twists and turns, you just wanted to grab the popcorn sit back and watch it evolve. 

Normally in a book you root for one side and there's a juxtaposition between the characters, but here you got wrapped up in all three of them. It was this weird triangle that you couldn't help get stuck in. First you're team Louise, then team Adele, then team David! 

This book exists across multi facets and the within that multi perspectives that lead up to this dramatic ending. Then you ok its done...THEN you get smacked across the face on he last page and there is all this adrenaline that i had to sit and take a moment at the end.

As I said you get very drawn into these peoples lives, but what I loved was the extent to which they got involved in each other lives and the weird dependant friendship, nay obsession, that developed between Adele and Louise. Because we saw from both their perspectives and we got the whole story and having all the information gives you the thrill of knowledge when seeing a certain situation. But in true Sarah style this information isn't always what you think it is so you;re constantly playing a game of tennis trying to keep up and piece everything together. I felt this strange affinity to Louise, I was the Louise in this book and I don't know how I feel about that. Though maybe rather be Louise than Adele.

This book was addictive, I flew through it, i'm not going to say it was my cup of tea but it was definitely my whisky and coke. Who says there have to be barriers beyond genres. No me. Gimme more Sarah...Gimmie More

And if you ever get a chance to go and hear Sarah talk do it because she's great! 

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Book Review: Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Title: Good Me Bad Me
Author: Ali Land
Publisher: Penguin books
Release Date: 12th January 2017
Synopsis: Milly's mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother's trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all. nf

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother's daughter.

Review: This was a book I was bribed to read. They gave me chocolate and it was shiny and quite frankly who could say no to that! I should point out that I openly and willingly choose to read this book, in fact I was in some what of a reading slump (i must sound like a broken record saying this) and I bumped this up the list because I hadn't read this type of genre for a while and I felt that it would give me the kick i needed. I liked it so much I organised an event between Ali and Sarah Pinborough just so I could talk about their books.

We're given premise and situation from the beginning, and so this allows for a beautiful unravelling of the effects but in true style you don't know all you think you know. Keeping me on my toes! It's a dark tale, one that sends shivers down your spine from the get go. 

Annie was faced with the enigmatic problem. Is she good or is the evil hereditary. This is a self inflicted problem that society doesn't help but in many ways makes worse. Its a beautiful problem to have to struggle with ( that sounds weird) because it drove the narrative forward and allowed you to get into the struggle of Annie. It is a grim gritty situation that is very real in its actualisation, born of Ali's experience. You want to be on team Milly you want to hug her but you are also weary of her. She was a tough nut to crack.

There are a number of books that have have those creepy characters that stick with you. The ones you see when you close you eyes (OK that's a slight exaggeration but you get where I'm going with it), that are just nasty. Enter Annie's mother. They had this deep connection and the level of possession and control that existed made me uncomfortable. You wanted to be a shield between them. It was this dynamic that had me gripped.   

And in any book here has to be a voice of good, a voice of reason and you had hope that would be Mike. Why couldn't it be Mike. I wanted to like him but in the end, he drove himself into a hole he couldn't get out of! His beginning was his undoing, and I think that was the point. You weren't supposed to like him. 

Mission accomplished...I'm looking forward to reading more from Ali. 

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