The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

EXCERPT: ‘And we ask your abundant blessing, Lord, on these, the outcast dead. . . ‘

There is a murmured response from the group gathered on the bank below the castle walls. But Ruth Galloway, standing at the back, says nothing. She is wearing the expression of polite neutrality she assumes whenever God is mentioned. This mask has stood her in good stead over the years and she sees no reason to drop it now. But she approves of the Prayers for the Outcast Dead. This brief ecumenical service is held every year for the unknown dead of Norwich: the bodies thrown into unmarked graves, the paupers, the plague victims, forgotten, unmourned, except by this motley collection of archeologists, historians, and sundry hangers on.

‘Lord, you told us that not a sparrow falls without our Father in Heaven knowing. We know that these people were known to you, and loved by you. . .’

The Vicar has a reedy, hesitant voice that gets lost before it reaches Ruth. Now she can only hear Ted, one of the field archeologists, giving the responses in a booming baritone.

‘We will remember them.’

She doesn’t know if Ted has any religious beliefs. All she knows is that he was brought up in Bolton and may or may not be Irish. If he’s Irish, he’s probably a Catholic, like DCI Harry Nelson who, however hard he denies it, has a residual belief in heaven, hell, and all points in between. Thinking of Nelson makes Ruth uncomfortable. She moves away, further up the hill, and one of the people gathered around the vicar, a tall woman in a red jacket, turns and smiles at her. Janet Meadows, local historian and expert on the unnamed dead. Ruth first encountered Janet over a year ago when examining the bones of a medieval bishop believed to have miraculous powers. It was Cathbad who put Ruth in touch with Janet and, even now, Ruth can’t believe that her Druid friend won’t suddenly appear in the shadow of the castle, purple cloak fluttering, sixth sense on red alert. But Cathbad is miles away and magical powers have their limitations, as she knows only too well.

Words float towards Ruth, borne on the light summer breeze.

‘Remember. . . lost. . . gone before. . . Heavenly Father. . . grace. . . forgiveness.’

So many words, thinks Ruth – as she has thought many times before – to say so little. The dead are dead and no words, however resonant, can bring them back.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of what might be a notorious Victorian child murdress and a baby snatcher known as “The Childminder” threatens modern-day Norfolk in the latest irresistible mystery from Elly Griffiths.

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series.
Every year a ceremony is held in Norwich for the bodies in the paupers’ graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year’s proceedings. Her recent dig at Norwich Castle turned up the body of the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children. Now Ruth is the reluctant star of the TV series Women Who Kill, working alongside the program’s alluring history expert, Professor Frank Barker.

DCI Harry Nelson is immersed in the case of three children found dead in their home. He is sure that the mother is responsible. Then another child is abducted and a kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility. Are there two murderers afoot, or is the Childminder behind all the deaths? The team must race to find out-and the stakes couldn’t be any higher when another child goes missing.

MY THOUGHTS: I loved The Outcast Dead, sixth book in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. Because I have been reading the series out of order and so have read many of the later books before this one, I already knew the outcome. But instead of diminishing my pleasure, I think it was actually enhanced. I was able to concentrate more on the characters, their relationships, their foibles. I loved the way their beliefs are challenged, and the different ways that they all dealt with this.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the mystery, because I did, immensely. For although I knew the outcome, I didn’t know the who, the how, or the why. And I really had no idea until all was revealed. There is not just one mystery, but several, several centuries apart. So while DCI Harry Nelson is busy working the cases of the dead children, and the abductions, Ruth is involved in solving a centuries old mystery.

Classic Elly Griffiths. And worth every one of the 💖💖💖💖💖 I have awarded it.

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths is the pen name of Domenica de Rosa (born 17 August 1963, in London), a British crime novelist. She has written two series as Griffiths to date, one featuring Ruth Galloway, the other featuring Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens and Max Mephisto. She has also recently published her first standalone novel, The Stranger Diaries.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths, beautifully narrated by Clare Corbett, and published by Quercus, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1260153601

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Five Star Friday – The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Then take a look at my Five Star Friday pick. It may be old. It may be new. But it is a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth came to mind today for a couple of reasons. I was looking through the books I have coming up to read and review, and noticed that Sally has a new book out next month, The Mother-in-Law, which made me think of The Things We Keep and of how much I loved it. The second reason is that it is almost the anniversary of the passing of a good friend of mine who was afflicted by this terrible disease. We shared not only our name, but a love of laughter, wine and gardening, often all at the same time! Sandra, I miss you, and this post is for you.

The Things We Keep

EXCERPT: Fifteen months ago. . .

No one trusts anything I say. If I point out, for example, that the toast is burning or that it’s time for the six o’clock news, people marvel. How about that? It is time for the six o’clock news. Well done, Anna. Maybe if I were eighty-eight instead of thirty-eight I wouldn’t care. Then again, maybe I would. As a new resident of Rosalind House, an assisted living facility for senior citizens, I’m having a new appreciation for the hardships of the elderly.

‘Anna, this is Bert,’ someone says as a man slopes by on his walker. I’ve been introduced to half a dozen people who look more or less like Bert: old, ashen, hunched over. We’re on wicker lawn chairs in the streaming sunshine, and I know Jack brought me out here to make us both feel better. Yes, you’re checking into an old folks home, but look, it has a garden!’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: With honesty and true understanding, Sally Hepworth pens this poignant story of one of today’s nightmares: early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there’s just one other resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.

MY THOUGHTS: I have to say – I Loved this book.

Sally Hepworth has done a wonderful job of humanising Alzheimer’s patients and the elderly in general. I have read and enjoyed other books about people with Alzheimer’s, most noticeably Still Alice by Lisa Genova, which was extremely informative about Alzheimer’s, but I learnt a more humanitarian lesson from The Things We Keep.

Anna Forster is only 38 years old and has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. She has elected to be placed in a care facility following an accident which could have claimed the life of her favourite nephew Ethan. There is one other resident of a similar age in Rosalind House, Luke, who suffers from a different variation of dementia. Anna has gone there to die, she doesn’t expect to fall in love with ‘young guy’ (Luke, Luke, Luke – if she says his name three times she night just remember it). As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

Sally Hepworth’s writing is beautiful, lyrical, never soppy, never sentimental. She shows great perception, great empathy, great understanding.

‘ If I don’t remember, will I have been here at all? ……Maybe it doesn’t matter what you remember. Maybe if someone else remembers and speaks your name, you were here.’

‘I might not remember this, but I’m glad I got to live it.’

Her characters are complex human beings. They have problems of their own; their own back stories, their own triumphs and tragedies. Hepworth reminds us that elderly people have lived and loved, that they deserve our time, our respect, our affection.

The Things We Keep is a keeper for me. It is on a very short list of ‘Never delete this book from my Kindle’.

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives (2015), The Things We Keep (2016) and The Mother’s Promise (2017), and The Family Next Door (Feb 2018). Sally’s books have been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s novels as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”.

Sally’s novels are available worldwide in English and have been translated into 15 languages.

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Pan MacMillan Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1455296642

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

EXCERPT: Upstairs, Jakey stirred as the front door shut on his father’s anger. He was neither asleep nor awake, but somewhere in between. The halfway world of awareness and dreams.

A shadow man with sharp teeth and long skinny arms who looked just like the Bogeyman on the cover of Daddy’s book was leaning over him, but Jakey gave a muffled scream, kicking out with his legs, and he disappeared in the dusty black hole beneath the bed, or inside the toy cupboard. Jakey wasn’t sure.

All Jakey knew for certain was that the man meant to hurt him. Just like that little girl he’d heard them talking about on the television. And that dark things like dark places.

He pulled his Spider-Man duvet up to his nose, and tried to reach out with his sore arm. His fingertips brushed the hard plastic of his torch and knocked it on the floor. The door was open when his daddy said goodnight, but now it was shut. Jakey didn’t like it when the door was shut.

Ol’ Tommy Rawhead’s here. Ol’ Bloody Bones. 

As soon as the name came into his mind, Jakey fought against the rise of panicked tears.

He’s in my bedroom. He’s come to take me away. And there’s no Daddy to scare him off.

He tried to shout for his mother, but something was stopping him, something was crammed in his mouth. He clawed at it with his right hand, but it was only his old stuffed rabbit, Mr Bunnikins.

Jakey squeezed his eyes tight, and counted to three, the way his father taught him to when the pain was too much.

Underneath the silence of the room, he could hear the rattle of Ol’ Tommy’s breath. Could he make it to the door? No, nooo. Those bony fingers would wrap around his ankles as soon as he got out of bed. What about the window? Too high in the sky. If only he could turn on the light. That would scare the Bogeyman away.

His eyelids fluttered, heavier now, the twin ropes of imagination and sleepiness binding Jakey to his bed. Ol’ Bloody Bones has stolen that little girl, and next he’s coming for me. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

MY THOUGHTS: Even though I knew how this book was going to end, the peril of having read the second book in the series first, my eyes sucked the words from the page, and I often found myself not breathing.

Fiona Cummins is a first rate storyteller. She conveys both childish pleasures and fears onto the page in such a way that you can feel them. The same with the pressures the parents face, the unravelling of their relationships, the sniping and back biting, the dark thoughts that creep unbidden into their minds. She conveys the frustration of the investigating officers so that it is palpable in the air around the reader. You can taste it. . . that, and the evil of the perpetrator.

This is an absolutely amazing debut novel, and Cummin’s second book, The Collector, is every bit as good. Highly recommended to lovers of the darker side of life.

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed Rattle by Fiona Cummins, published by Macmillan, from Waitomo District Library. A huge thank you to Julie for fast tracking the purchase of Rattle. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1821450319

Five Star Friday – A Fence Around the Cuckoo by Ruth Park

A Fence Around The Cuckoo by Ruth Park

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Then check out this week’s Five-star Friday recommendation . It may be old. It may be new. But it is a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

EXCERPT: My mother, I believe, had a small nervous breakdown. For weeks she stayed in bed, the best place to be in that fearsome cold. For it was fearsome, unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Some oddity of topography trapped frigid air in low lying areas, so that frost fell upon unthawed frost, and in secluded patches built up into muddy, earthstained banks. The water tank had a hand’s breadth of ice on its surface; in the mornings I had to break up this floe in order to get a bucketful of water.

But Tanekaha Valley had stars. Because of its depth, its tall, precipitous hills, the stars above it shone so close, so clear, that no one could doubt they were suns and planets. Breathtaking they were, and many a night I forgot to breathe, standing out there in the violent cold, gazing upwards, bemused by the fantastic millions of worlds that burned or flowered in space.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: This first volume of Ruth Park’s autobiography is an account of her isolated childhood in the rainforests of New Zealand, her convent education which encouraged her love of words and writing, and the bitter years of the Depression.She then entered the rough-and-tumble world of journalism and began a reluctant correspondence with a young Australian writer.

In 1942, Park moved to Sydney and married that writer, D’Arcy Niland. There she would write The Harp in the South, the first of her classic Australian novels. A Fence Around the Cuckoo is the story of one of Australia’s best storytellers and how she learnt her craft.

MY THOUGHTS: I have dallied over this book, strolled slowly through its pages, stopping here and there to indulge in my own memories of the same town some twenty-five years later, and comparing it to now, almost ninety years on from when Ruth lived here.

I have wandered down Nettie Street, wondering which of the old houses that still grace the street might have been where Ruth lived at one point, or if it has fallen/ burned down and been replaced by a newer one. I have searched fruitlessly for the large limestone rock.

The shops she mentions in the main street are all long gone, maybe not physically, but definitely their occupants and none of the names were familiar to me. I wish now that I had listened more closely to my grandparents as they talked about the town as it was when they first moved here in 1910. Ruth also made me remember the town as it was when I was a child, most of those shops long gone too, but a few of the families remaining in the area, but having moved on in terms of livelihoods and professions.

Her description of her aunts ‘exquisite, giggly, capricious creatures with good hearts, terrible tempers, and a soap opera approach to life in the form of fights, larks and laughter rather than anything tragic or melancholy’ brought to mind two aunts of my own, both now deceased, with whom I loved to spend school holidays revelling in the lack of rules in their homes; loving the spontaneity, the frivolity, and the glee with which they approached life.

There are a few photos in the book. I am sure that Ruth would be pleased to know that St Joseph’s Convent School still stands, albeit with a few modern additions, as does the convent house and the church, both still identical to Ruth’s photos.

Thank you, Ruth, for opening my eyes to things that I never knew about my home town. I look at it now with new eyes.

THE AUTHOR: Ruth Park was a New Zealand-born author, who spent most of her life in Australia. She was born in Auckland, and her family later moved to Te Kuiti further south in the North Island of New Zealand, where they lived in isolated areas.

During the Great Depression her working class father worked on bush roads, as a driver, on relief work, as a sawmill hand, and finally shifted back to Auckland as council worker living in a state house. After Catholic primary school Ruth won a partial scholarship to secondary school, but this was broken by periods of being unable to afford to attend. For a time she stayed with relatives on a Coromandel farming estate where she was treated like a serf by the wealthy landowner until she told the rich woman what she really thought of her.

Ruth claimed that she was involved in the Queen Street riots with her father. Later she worked at the Auckland Star before shifting to Australia in 1942. There she married the Australian writer D’Arcy Niland.

Her first novel was The Harp in the South (1948) – a story of Irish slum life in Sydney, which was translated into 10 languages. (Some critics called it a cruel fantasy because as far as they were concerned there were no slums in Sydney.) But Ruth and D’Arcy did live in Sydney slums at Surry Hills. She followed that up with Poor Man’s Orange (1949). She also wrote Missus (1985) and other novels, as well as a long-running Australian children’s radio show and scripts for film and TV. She created The Muddle-Headed Wombat series of children’s books. Her autobiographies are A Fence Around the Cuckoo (1992) and Fishing in the Styx (1993). She also wrote a novel based in New Zealand, One-a-pecker, Two-a-pecker (1957), about gold mining in Otago (later renamed The Frost and The Fire).

Park received awards in Australia and internationally.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of A Fence Around The Cuckoo by Ruth Park, a paperback copy published by Penguin.

If I remember correctly, I rescued this from consignment to the rubbish dump by turning up late to a garage sale. It is a little battered and stained, but very treasured, never to be entrusted to the removal truck when we move house, which we do regularly.

This was my second reading, which I enjoyed even more than my first. I will be reading this again.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2720700142

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom by Beth Miller

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom by Beth  Miller

EXCERPT: What happened next, Leah used to ask.

It’s a good question.

It was adorable, how fascinated she was by our love story when she was little. She still is fascinated in a sense, if last night was anything to go by. Maybe horrified is a more accurate description. Anyway, I don’t want to think about last night. I don’t want to think about Leah’s face as she stood in the doorway, the black eyeliner she favours making her seem even less childlike, looking at me with that cool, clear way she has. I prefer to think about Leah when she was little, and I could do no wrong as far as she was concerned. Not now, when she is fourteen, and angry, and has been missing for five hours.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Meet Eliza Bloom: She likes to live life by the rules: long, blue skirt on Thursdays, dinner with mother on Fridays and if someone tells you a Valentine should be anonymous, give your new husband a blank card. Nothing is out of place in her ordered life…

But last night her teenage daughter found something in a hidden shoebox that no-one was supposed to see and started asking questions. Questions that might just change everything in Eliza’s carefully constructed world.

Join Eliza as she shows you how to run away with the love of your life (quite fast actually, as your family are coming after you), how to make your grandfather happy (this might involve a little bit of lying), how to let someone you love go (actually, this never gets easier) and how (now, this is a bad idea) to keep secrets from your new husband.

The only way to truly live is to learn how to open your heart.

MY THOUGHTS: I. Loved. This. Book.

I didn’t want it to end. Ever.

I wanted to stay with Eliza, the Scarlet Woman of Hackney E5, as she muddled her way through life. She made me smile. And laugh. And shed a few tears. And Alex? (‘My name is Alex Symons and I’m an idiot. It’s been a few weeks since I was last a complete idiot.’) Lord, I love that man! I want a friend like Deborah. One who is not afraid to call it like she sees it, and who loves you no matter what. And Leah? The glue that holds the package together, the tsunami that tears it apart.

Six hours after I finished reading The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom, I am still not ready to say goodbye. I want to stay immersed in the world of this unconventional family. I am not ready, nor willing, to return to the ‘real world’.

More please, Beth Miller!

THE AUTHOR: Beth Miller’s first novel, When We Were Sisters, was recently published by Ebury Press. Her second novel, The Good Neighbour, will be published in September 2015, also by Ebury. She is currently writing her third novel, The Privacy Room, and is also working on a book about the world’s greatest radio show, called For The Love of The Archers. She is a columnist for The Chap magazine, and the rest of the time she runs courses about writing, works with fellow writers as their book coach, and drinks tea while staring vacantly into space. She has been a sex educator, alcohol counsellor, and inept audio-typist. She has a PhD in psychology, which has yet to come in handy.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you, thank you, thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom by Beth Miller for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2726960119

Five Star Friday – Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar screaming read me?

Then take a look at Five-star Friday recommendation. It may be old . It may be new. But it is a book that is special to me one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

EXCERPT: ‘You know who I have and you know who I want. Come alone or she dies. You know where I am. ‘

Enough people had died this week because of one person’s vendetta against her. She couldn’t risk one more person getting hurt.

And the person who had sent the text message was right.

She did know where (they) would be.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: ‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

MY THOUGHTS: Early on, as I was reading Dead Memories, I had the random thought that reading it was rather like being a rubik’s cube, with Angela Marsons twisting the reader this way and that. Then lo and behold. . . but I can’t tell you, because that would spoil it.

I don’t know how Marsons does it, but by the tenth book, I could understand (not like, but understand) if the series were to go slightly off the boil or become a little formulaic. But no, that definitely doesn’t happen. The pace is on, the suspense high.

In Dead Memories we revisit some previous cases and villains we have met before as the killer recreates traumatic events from Kim’s past. In order to catch the villian, Kim has to examine both her personal past and cases she has worked, because someone hates her enough to want to torture her, then kill her. The list of suspects is not short.

I don’t even try to guess the perpetrators in this series. I am perfectly happy just to go along for the ride.

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Dead Memories by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2682764795

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient

EXCERPT: As she stared at me, I became aware of what had been troubling me the whole session. It’s hard to put into words, but a Psychotherapist quickly becomes attuned to recognizing mental distress, from physical behavior and speech and a glint in the eyes – something haunted, afraid, mad. And that’s what bothered me: despite everything she had done, and endured, Alicia’s blue eyes remained as clear and cloudless as a summer’s day. She wasn’t mad. So what was she? What was the expression in her eyes?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive…

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

MY THOUGHTS: I had a grandfather who was very fond of saying ‘Believe nothing of what you hear, little of what you read, and only half of what you see.’ And it applies perfectly to this book, which I devoured in less than twenty-four hours.

And at the end, I sat like a stunned mullet thinking, ‘What the? That shouldn’t have worked.’ But it did. Beautifully.

The story is told mainly from Theo’s point of view, with occasional flashbacks from Alicia and excerpts from her diary.

I didn’t like the characters. None of them. Well, except for Ruth. I thought Alicia a nervous ninny, Theo pompous and self-righteous, and don’t even get me started on the supporting cast.

But I couldn’t put it down. And not once did I have any idea of the ending. Well done, Mr Michaelides.

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother, I studied English literature at Cambridge University and got my MA in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. I wrote the film The Devil You Know (2013) starring Rosamund Pike and co-wrote The Con is On (2018), starring Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey and Sofia Vergara. THE SILENT PATIENT is my first novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2609007373