The Descent by Matt Brolly

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EXCERPT: From her spot on the dry grass of the churchyard, Amy glanced at Jay,trying not to make it look obvious. He was older than everyone else in the group and certainly more relaxed. There was an easiness to his long-limbed body; a sense of grace that belonged to a dancer. He sat on the other side of the fire, his arms wrapped around Claire. This in itself didn’t mean that Claire would be chosen tonight, but if last month’s events were anything to go by then she would be the one. The thought brought with it a mixture of jealousy and relief. Amy’s time would come, but sitting here overlooking the town with its glittering lights, the sea for once at full tide, she began to doubt herself.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In the quiet coastal town of Weston-super-Mare, a body is discovered at the foot of a cliff just months after a near-identical tragedy—and Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell can’t believe it could be a coincidence.

Next to the body, she discovers a note that echoes one found beside the first: Death is not the end. Louise is certain that behind these desperate acts someone is pulling the strings, but how many more will plunge to their demise before she can find out who—and why?

Struggling to stay focused under the strain of her troubled brother’s disappearance with his young daughter, Louise hits a much-needed breakthrough when a third tragedy points to the involvement of a charismatic cult leader. The suspect is within her sights, but he knows she’s on to him…

Short on proof and with the body count rising, can Louise intercept his deadly mission—or has she taken on an unbeatable foe?

MY THOUGHTS: The Descent by Matt Brolly is the second book in his Detective Louise Blackstock series. I have read the majority of Brolly’s books and loved his DI Michael Lambert series. Unfortunately I was not so impressed by The Crossing, the first in the Louise Blackstock series, and I am even less impressed with the Descent.

The story is told by Louise, struggling with both family issues and her career. I made the comment in my review of The Crossing that I didn’t find the characters well depicted. I felt no connection to any of them and Louise’s whining inner monologue on Finch and his past treatment of her quickly became wearing. In fact, she is pretty stereotypical of the current trend in female detectives… I see no reason to change one word of that comment in regards to The Descent.

Louise spends a lot of time engaging in ‘naval gazing’ and ‘if only I had/hadn’t….’ which quickly becomes tiresome in its repetitiveness. There’s no development of any of the supporting characters, and even the thread involving her family is repetitive. Now I am becoming repetitive. It must be catching!

Despite the claim on the cover, this is definitely not a thriller. I found it slow moving and lacking in suspense.
I expected more from Matt Brolly, and I won’t be reading any more of this particular series. Which doesn’t mean that I won’t be reading other books by this author.

🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️.6

THE AUTHOR: Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Descent by Matt Brolly for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The House Guest by Mark Edwards

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EXCERPT: Something had happened last night. Something I couldn’t remember. I held on to the breakfast bar and waited for it to hit me, in the way that embarrassing memories always do after a drunken night.

Nothing came. Just a chilling sense of disquiet.

I tried to peer back through the fog in my brain. I remembered sitting on the chair, the two women on the sofa. I remembered Eden telling us something. A story.

A spasm of nausea hit me and I doubled over, just managing to stop myself from throwing up.

Eden had told us something last night. A secret.

Something about a friend of hers . . . a girl who had died. Or disappeared? It was unclear. I remembered Eden getting upset. We had all hugged, hadn’t we? I had a vague recollection that my stomach had hurt.

And then nothing.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

MY THOUGHTS: The House Guest had so much potential…but somewhere along the line it fell flat for me. Mark Edwards usually does suspense so well…but this time, I didn’t feel it. But that ending? That ending made reading the whole book worthwhile. Damn! It is good, and I would give Edwards the full five stars for the ending alone . . . but only three stars for the remainder of the book, so a 3.75 rating overall.

Even the characters are like cardboard cutouts. I didn’t relate to any of them, felt nothing for them. We don’t really get to know them at all.

I wanted to feel the suspense, the thrill, but it eluded me. I think the label ‘psychological’ thriller, isn’t really accurate here. This is a little lightweight and superficial compared with Edward’s other writing. I was expecting something grittier, darker. Something I could get my teeth into. Or something that would get it’s teeth into me. I didn’t get it.

This was a quick, easy read.

***.5

THE AUTHOR: Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people.

He loves love hearing from readers and always responds.

Mark lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their three children, two cats and a golden retriever.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The House Guest by Mark Edwards for review. all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, pleas refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com