Thursday, January 29, 2015

Into the Darkest Corner | Elizabeth Haynes

I am cautious about recommending this excellent book, due to very graphic scenes of violence perpetrated against women. I managed to skip them, maybe you can too. The intensity of the story carries the reader along as the characters become more and more controlled by the main criminal.

It is set in the UK, describing the lives of an up and coming group of girlfriends who live hard, party hard and don't have too many cares. The main protagonist is Catherine who is one of the most popular in this crowd. We read her story in two time-frames, one is set in 2003-4 and the other in 2007-8. There is a huge disparity between these two portraits drawn of the same woman and tension mounts until Haynes reveals what transformed the outgoing party animal into a reclusive woman suffering from acute OCD (Obsessive Compulsive disorder).
It seems to revolve around Catherine's chance encounter with Lee, the good looking guy everyone falls in love with.

We are definitively drawn into the nightmare that is her life. The tension mounts and it was hard to put the book down and involved a couple of nights reading into the wee small hours!

I really liked the way this book is written and will seek out more of Haynes' other thrillers.

Defending Jacob | William Landay

This is a well written family/court drama. Andy Barber was an assistant district attorney in his small New England town. He has a successful life, a nice family, a nice home. Nothing much seems to be able to go wrong, it's the American dream. But one day a student in his son Jacob's class is found murdered and Jacob is accused of perpetrating the crime. How could this happen in a small suburban town to a middle-of-the-road all-american family?

The community and the family implode. Andy is no longer able to work, the police investigators who were his friends for years separate themselves from the family and things start to unravel. Andy has to investigate and figure out who murdered Ben Rifkin before his son is taken to trial.

The story follows Andy and his wife Laurie's nightmare as they try to defend their son as evidence mounds against him. I thought this novel brings to life, in a very intense way, the feelings parents have when challenged about what exactly do they know about their own children. It's scary and a bit realistic, knowing that you could be called to account for your children's antisocial behaviour and it's dire consequences.

Well worth reading. I will seek out more of Landay's books as he writes extremely well.

Waiting for Doggo | Mark B. Mills

What happens when relationships end, homes change..and you inherit the world's uglies dog? Not even a name can properly describe him, so he's called Doggo...

Dan is a middle of the road guy, in middle of the road life. His girlfriend finally gives up and moves out, leaving him Doggo. We are continually reminded of how ugly the dog is and how much of an unwanted responsibility he is for Dan.

Dan works in a small advertising agency with creative people trying to land big accounts. Due to Doggos foibles Dan has to take him to work and here the story begins in earnest. It's funny, clever and a good summer read. Well written and I can sense a sequel coming along.

In the same vein as The Rosie Project or The unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.