Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Science fiction, Thrillers

Book Review: The Remember Experiment (By Joanne Elder)

Big thanks to Voracious Readers Only for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Remember Experiment brought together two things that I find interesting – the concept of reincarnation and serial killer thrillers. So obviously I went in with quite a few expectations. Did the books meet those expectations? Read on to know!

Genre: 

Thriller, Sci-fi

Length: 

335 pages

Blurb:

Jake Monroe is a PhD. student working with nanobots. He becomes instrumental in the first experimental treatment on an Alzheimer’s patient. But the results of the treatment are barely in when Jake finds himself being injected by experimental nanobots. Slightly different than the ones used on his patient, the nanobots have an unexpected reaction – Jake begins to have horrifying memories of being murdered in a past life. As he attempts to find out who could have injected him with the experimental tech, his memories continue to grow… until he remembers that the person he used to be, was a serial killer. Framed for theft of nanotech worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, facing terrible effects of the unexpected procedure, and with his past and present clashing together, Jake begins to question reality, and his sanity. Will he find answers to the unending list of questions plaguing him? Or will the strange impulses taking over him, changing him, finally win and turn him into something – or someone – capable of horrific things?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

7 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10 for most of the characters; 5 out of 10 for one specific character whose arc was more convenient than convincing

Primary Element:

6 out of 10 for its thrill and sci-fi

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series:

Maybe. Although this is currently a standalone and the book does not end on a cliffhanger, it definitely ends with potential for a series.

Highlighted Takeaway:

An interesting and not-too-often-done concept coupled with the much-loved serial killer thriller theme makes for an intriguing premise that is well explored.

What I Liked:

Some of the scenes, especially those that referred to Jake’s nightmares and memories, were done really well – pulling you right in. The story itself is interesting, and the premise is intriguing.

What I Didn’t Like:

The story, although not too long at 335 pages, definitely seemed a lot longer. There were times where it seemed like it just wouldn’t get to the point. The blurb on Voracious Readers Only and Goodreads also point to an aspect of the story that is made to seem a lot more central than it actually is. That set inaccurate expectations from the story, which was possibly why I felt like it moved slow. Also, a couple of the characters were terribly unlikable, and they weren’t actually meant to be unlikable. That is where I felt the characterization wasn’t as good as in other places.

Who Should Read It:

If you enjoy psychological thrillers or thrillers where the main character tries to make sense of not just what’s happening to them, but also what they’re experiencing (emotionally, physically, mentally), you’ll probably enjoy The Remember Experiment. It’s more about that than the actual serial killer theme.

Who Should Avoid:

If you are firmly against the idea of reincarnation, then I would strongly recommend avoiding The Remember Experiment. It definitely assumes the existence of the concept (although, to be very honest, its implementation has been very different than everything I’ve read on the topic).

Read It For:

The odd mix of reincarnation, sci-fi, and a serial killer theme, which manages to make an interesting tale.

If you’re an avid reader and enjoy reviewing books on Goodreads, Amazon, or other portals, check out Voracious Readers Only. And drop a comment below if you’d like to share anything about the site that’s bringing readers and authors together or Joanne Elder’s The Remember Experiment.

And as always, thank you for stopping by The Book Review Station and reading this review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Horror, Thrillers

Book Review: The House of Twelve (By Sean Davies)

I received a free copy of this book from Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review.

Genre:

Thriller, Horror

Length: 

146 pages

Blurb:

Twelve strangers wake up in a house with no memory of how they got there, nor of who they are. A set of rules awaits them. One, they will not be able to escape no matter how much they try. Two, there is limited food and water and no more will be provided. Three, the eerie music that plays non-stop will stop for one hour between 11 PM and midnight every night, and one person must die within that period. If no one dies, at midnight, they all will. Four, only one person can die and only when the music stops – whether by accident, suicide, or murder. If anyone dies when the music is playing or more than one person dies when the music stops, they all die. Five, there is one way, and only one way out – redemption.

And so begins the harrowing tale of twelve people pitted against each other in their fight for survival… survival at any cost.

Overall Rating:

4 out of 10

Plot:

7 out of 10

Characterization:

2 out of 10

Primary Element:

6 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

4 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes, this is Book #1 in the Houses of Penance series, followed by The House of Thirteen.

Highlighted Takeaway:

An interesting concept, and a tale that does not shy away from showing the worst that people can offer.

What I Liked:

The House of Twelve is full of action – the story moves along fast, and can be read in a single sitting (or a couple).

What I Didn’t Like:

In its speed though, the book forgoes on character development, to the extent that you don’t find yourself caring too much or rooting for any character at all.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys fast-paced thrillers and may not care too much about depth of character will find this an easy read.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like gore or violence, I would strongly recommend avoiding The House of Twelve. There is no dearth of either.

Read It For:

A quick vacation or weekend read if you’re a fan of thrillers.

Although I found Sean Davies’ The House of Twelve interesting, the lack of depth adversely impacted the reading experience for me. I wouldn’t actively purchase his books, at least of the Houses of Penance series, and it may be a while before I try any of his other books.

Share your comments on similarly themed books or other Sean Davies recommendations below. And as always, thank you for stopping by and reading this review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Science fiction, Thrillers

Book Review: The One (By John Marrs)

I had John Marrs’ The One on my to-be-read pile for a while. I didn’t actually know about its screen-adaptation until just before I started reading it. I haven’t watched the Netflix series but have read the excerpt, and it’s quite different from the book.

That being said, the book was very intriguing (and it definitely sounds more intriguing than the show). Read on to know more about what worked and what didn’t in The One.

Genre: 

Sci-fi, Thriller

Length: 

412 pages

Blurb:

Match Your DNA is a multi-million dollar company, built on matchmaking backed by science. With just one swab, the matchmaking website can find your perfect match – the one you’re genetically meant for. When the company announced that they’d discovered the gene that was responsible for pairing you with your soulmate, it led to millions of sign ups. In the decade since its launch, the concepts of romance, dating, and love have changed, and DNA test results led to hundreds of relationships ending as people chose to instead be with their genetic soulmates. Now five people have got the notification that they’ve been ‘Matched’. They are on the verge of meeting their true loves. But people have secrets. And some secrets can threaten anyone’s ‘happily ever after’… even soulmates’.

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

9 out of 10

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its suspense/thrill, and 6 out of 10 for its sci-fi angle (which needs to be taken as just ‘given’)

Writing Style:

9 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

More emotional than you’d expect, The One is an insightful page-turner that will make you stop and think about relationships, loneliness, and what we’re gaining – and losing – in a world where technology is becoming the norm for everything.

What I Liked:

In spite of having to follow the stories of five characters and their partners, John Marrs manages to make readers root for some, love some, and hate some – keeping you very invested in the book. Plus, each story touches upon the larger and smaller complexities of life in today’s world, leaving you with some interesting observations and realizations.

What I Didn’t Like:

It does take a bit of time to get a hang of all the characters, because there are so many of them and the stories run in parallel, going from one character to the next. I did find myself going back a few times to check each character’s introductory chapter as they appeared only for a second or third time. But this issue does resolve itself, and soon.

Who Should Read It:

The One isn’t exactly a mystery, nor is it exactly sci-fi, although it does have elements of both. If you enjoy either of those genres, or even thrillers, you will probably enjoy The One.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like books with too many characters or parallel storylines, you should probably avoid this one.

Read It For:

The characters and the (slightly) existential questions and thoughts that John Marrs’ The One leaves you with long after you’ve turned the last page.

Want to share your thoughts on The One or its Netflix adaptation? Drop us a line in the comments below. And as always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Thrillers

Book Review: The Whisper Man (By Alex North)

The Whisper Man by Alex North had been on my TBR pile for a while. It seemed like the perfect thriller – a small town with a dark past, a broken but loving family taking a chance on a new beginning, and a new case that brings both together.

But did it meet expectations, or did The Whisper Man fall short? Read on to know.

Genre: 

Thriller

Length: 

355 pages

Blurb:

After his wife’s sudden death, Tom Kennedy moves to the small town of Featherbank with the hope that it would give him and his son, Jake, a chance to fix their otherwise distant relationship. But Featherbank has a troubled history – it was the home and hunting ground of “The Whisper Man”, a name given to Frank Carter who lured young boys out of their homes by whispering at their window, before torturing and murdering them. Detective Pete Willis had caught Carter twenty years ago, ending his reign of terror after he’d claimed five victims. Now, twenty years later, another young boy has disappeared in similar circumstances, and young Detective Amanda Beck needs Pete’s help. Because “The Whisper Man” will only speak to the man who captured him and may finally talk about the suspicion that he had worked with an accomplice. But while Willis tries to overcome the emotional strain of his own personal past and that Carter’s visits place on him, while Beck tries to find the missing boy before it becomes too late, and while Tom attempts to settle into the new town, young Jake begins acting strangely. And soon… he begins to hear a whisper at his window.

Overall Rating:

10 out of 10

Plot:

9 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

10 out of 10

Writing Style:

9 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The perfect combination of thrill, mystery, and emotion, The Whisper Man will leave you thinking about its characters (and looking over your shoulder) long after you’ve turned the last page.

What I Liked:

The Whisper Man is scary. It creeps you out, gets under your skin, and leaves you feeling unsettled – which makes it a brilliant ‘thriller’. Then there’s the characterization – you don’t just read about people and their circumstances and reactions; you go right to their essence. What makes them flawed, what leaves them struggling, and where do they find their strength – Alex North does a great job of making his characters as real as possible. And that ease of association will leave you shocked, smiling, and tearing up at various points as the characters’ stories unfold.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was very little to dislike in The Whisper Man.

Who Should Read It:

If you love thrillers, especially the kind that leaves you slightly jumpy at every small unexplained noise, then you will love this book. It is so much more than just the mystery though and, somehow, all of it comes together.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like violent crime, I would recommend avoiding The Whisper Man. It isn’t too graphic or violent, but there are some shocking scenes that can be disturbing.

Read It For:

Although the creepy-factor was strong in this one, I would say that The Whisper Man should be read for its emotional impact. The intricacies, struggles, and joys of relationships – especially that between father and son – are beautifully shown and will stay with you for a long time.

I haven’t read any of Alex North’s other works, but I definitely plan to. After The Whisper Man, I can easily place him among the best thriller authors I’ve read, and I’m hoping that his finesse and craft is maintained in his other books. In the meanwhile though, I did read another book that had long been on my TBR pile. So coming up next – a review of The One by John Marrs.

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Quintessential ‘Skeletons in the Closet’: A Review of Broken Heart by Tim Weaver

Continuing with the David Raker series by Tim Weaver, we’re talking about Broken Heart this time. Read on to know if this book fails in comparison to its prequels or if Tim Weaver can keep the momentum going.

Genre: 

Mystery, Thriller

Length: 

451 pages

Blurb:

Security footage from one of the headlands overlooking the Devon coast shows a woman enter in the morning. Her car is found in the parking lot days later. The woman is not seen or recorded leaving from the only entrance and feasible path in and out of the area, and yet she’s never found again. Months later, David Raker is hired by her sister, who lives halfway across the world, to find out what happened to her, if she’s even alive, and where she may be. What led the woman, widowed from a reclusive film director, to disappear… and how exactly did she disappear? An already complicated case gets even more so as Raker digs deeper and decades-old secrets begin to emerge. Someone has kept these secrets hidden until now and, as David starts to discover, no cost seems too high to keep them buried. Raker finds himself caught in an intrinsic and dangerous web. And yet, that may not be the cause of Raker’s destruction. Because the demons and memories of his past are slowly catching up.

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

7 out of 10 for its mystery, 9 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

9 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book #7 in the David Raker series. It can, to some extent, be read as a standalone. But the development of David’s character is best read in order, starting at at least Book #4 – Never Coming Back.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Tim Weaver is the master of ‘skeletons in the closet’ tales – and his talent in bringing these to life is undeniably evident in Broken Heart.

What I Liked:

The creepy factor – the narrative in many parts of Broken Heart leaves you feeling unsettled, and with the feeling that someone is around you but just out of sight, providing the perfect ‘thrill’. Another aspect that’s really enjoyable is the depth of information (narrated entertainingly) about the movie industry and its evolution (from technical and cultural aspects). Both these elements manage to pull you in and keep you turning the pages.

What I Didn’t Like:

I did feel like the book could have been a few pages shorter, that some chapters were lengthened without cause. But it didn’t really take too much away from the momentum of the story.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who loves thrillers and mysteries will enjoy Broken Heart, and the entire David Raker series.

Who Should Avoid:

There are a few graphic parts that do make your stomach turn. So if you’re easily put off by violence, I’d recommend avoiding this one.

Read It For:

Unsurprisingly, David Raker. Without giving too much away, I will say that his character development is becoming interesting and even unexpected. But it leaves you wanting to know that much more about what happens next!

Love the David Raker series? Or have recommendations for similar works? Drop a comment below. And as always, thanks for stopping by and reading my book review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Emotional, Insightful, and a Page-turner: A Review of Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay sounded like the perfect book that brought together mystery, thriller, and true-crime documentaries (especially around wrongful convictions). It took me around four days to read the book – which is quite long at 368 pages – because it definitely manages to hold the reader’s interest (and I had a long weekend!). So what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s unputdownable about it? Read on to know.

Genre: 

Mystery, Thriller

Length: 

368 pages

Blurb:

Seven years ago, Matt Pine’s elder brother, Danny, had been convicted of the murder of his teenaged girlfriend. Danny swore innocence. His parents and younger sister stood by him and so did the rest of the country as they followed the case – portrayed as one of wrongful conviction – in a viral true-crime documentary. Matt didn’t know what to believe because he saw something the night that made him suspect his brother’s guilt. Now a student at NYU, Matt is trying to pick up the pieces of the life left in the aftermath of the documentary that villainized the town, forced his family out of the city, and drove a wedge between him and his father who had centered his life around proving Danny’s innocence. Until he wakes up after a night of partying to learn that most of his family – his parents, younger sister, and kid brother – were dead, killed in an accidental gas leak when taking a rare holiday in Mexico. Numb and shocked, Matt is forced to face the past as he attempts to bring his family’s bodies back home and give them a proper funeral. But as suspicions surrounding his family’s death arise, the past and present crash… and Matt is left fighting for his own life and facing hidden fears. When the truth behind his family’s deaths, his brother’s conviction, and behind what he saw that night finally surfaces, will Matt, Danny, and the Pine family receive their redemption… or will it destroy them and their memories forever?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

9 out of 10 for its mystery, 6 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

No. (Could be in the future given that one of the main characters has a lot of potential to become a leading protagonist in their own series.)

Highlighted Takeaway:

Successfully maintains the mystery, keeps the pages turning, and keeps the reader guessing.

What I Liked:

If you’ve read enough mysteries and thrillers, you learn to pick up on the subtle clues. But Every Last Fear doesn’t let that happen. It takes a while before you figure out the primary mystery, and the many other smaller ones unfolding alongside. The main characters really shine in all their glory and all their darkness – their flawed but hopeful outlook making them seem very human and very relatable. There also exists an idealistic outlook – the author normalizes choices, expression, and actions that are otherwise only part of ongoing social issue debates. Seeing these matters as a ‘given’ was just… really nice!

What I Didn’t Like:

The story is told from the point of view of multiple characters and over past and present periods, which takes some getting used to. There are also quite a few references to Linkin Park and other pop culture, which was good, but at times came across as a little forced. These issues are easy enough to get over though, and a few chapters in, you can get easily find yourself engrossed.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who likes mysteries and thrillers will enjoy Every Last Fear. You’ll also really enjoy it if you like true-crime shows, especially The Staircase or The Innocent Man.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like violence at all, I would recommend avoiding this one. It’s not got a lot of it, but the amount it has is hard-hitting.

Read It For:

A fast-paced, well-layered mystery that definitely manages to surprise.

One of the things that Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay touches upon is the effect of a true-crime documentary on the persons that the documentary covers. The documentaries that are famous on Netflix and other platforms don’t always show the after-effects of their airing on the people concerned, and this take on the matter, although fictional, was definitely interesting. I found the highlighted issues about the justice system easy to believe and accept as fact because of the many true-crime documentaries that have brought to light similar matters. These are problems that need to change, and it’s interesting to see more work – fictional and non-fictional – being dedicated to their awareness.

Love true-crime documentaries or thrillers? Share your thoughts on your favorites in the comments below. And as always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review. Coming up next… a review of either The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman or Broken Heart by Tim Weaver.

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Not at all what you’d expect: A Review of What Remains by Tim Weaver

One of the main, parallel story arcs in Weaver’s books (and in David Raker’s life) is finally brought to the forefront in What Remains. Which is why I couldn’t help but pick it up, making it the only time I read a third book by the same author consecutively. And it did not disappoint!

Genre:

Thriller, Crime fiction

Length: 

592 pages

Blurb:

Missing persons investigator, David Raker, had barely had time to come to terms with the shocking events of his previous case – one that hit too close to home – when he gets a call from Colm Healy. Once a decorated cop, Healy’s career and life came crashing down around him when he ran into an unsolvable case – a single mother and two young girls murdered brutally in their own home. Angry, bitter, and forced to bear even more loss along the way, Healy never recovered. Raker is the only thing akin to a friend for him, even if he only speaks to him a few times a year. When Raker receives a call from Healy, he meets him because of the fragile yet strangely strong bond they share – one born of the fact that they had saved each other’s lives in the past. But nothing prepares him for the request that Healy makes – to help him find the man who murdered the family and solve the case that haunts him to this day. Raker accepts because he wants to bring home the lost soul that Healy has turned into. But nothing goes as expected. And as Raker persists, he discovers that Healy and he aren’t very different after all. Which brings him face to face with another realization – in walking the path that Healy had in search of seemingly unattainable answers, he may not have long before he gets lost too.

Overall Rating:

9 out of 10

Plot:

10 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

10 out of 10 for Tim Weaver’s ability to keep you turning the pages as fast as you can, even three books in.

Part of a Series: 

Yes, this is Book #6 in the David Raker series. While it can, to a great extent be read as a standalone, you would run the risk of losing the suspense and mystery of the previous books. But, if you’re not interested in reading the entire series, Book #4 – Never Coming Back – is a good place to start too.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Colm Healy’s story. Heart-breaking, crazy, and heart-warming at the same time, Healy’s story as told in the past and present, overshadows even that of leading man, David Raker.

What I Liked:

Different timelines have been presented in the story in parallel and, unlike what happens in most such cases, the result is not choppy or confusing; instead, it manages to weave a really good tale that becomes even more layered.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was little to dislike in What Remains. Tim Weaver’s books get better as they go. Surprisingly, he continues to give plot twists that will have the desired effect on most readers, regardless of how many of his books they’ve read in the near or distant past.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys crime fiction and thrillers, especially those who would like to follow the story of one character over many books.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who does not enjoy stories where the main characters are jaded and, often, not ethical.

Read It For:

Colm Healy’s story. Although a David Raker book, What Remains is more about Healy – the man he was, the man he became, and the case that utterly destroyed him. The focus on his character and story is both satisfying and emotional, and exceeds all expectations.

What Remains is an incredibly satisfying read that finally concludes the case that turned Colm Healy’s life and character into one that became unrecognizable to all those who knew him before it transpired. And it redefines even Raker’s understanding of who Healy really is, as he delves into who Healy was in a time before he’d known him. It’s a must-read if you’ve been following David Raker and Colm Healy’s stories, and a good series to consider if you haven’t.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review.

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

A thriller that checks all the points: A Review of The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane

A big thanks to NetGalley for a copy of The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane. A thriller with the perfect setting – old, abandoned mental institution, frozen river, the harsh winter months – The Bone Jar was an interesting read that is reminiscent of the works of two authors whose works I’ve loved – Tim Weaver and Tony Parsons. Read on for more deets!

Genre:

Crime Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

328 pages

Blurb:

Blackwater Asylum, located on the banks of the Thames, has been shut for years. A popular destination for urban explorers, the old asylum is known for its rumored psychological experiments and other horrors, as well as its continued haunting. When an old woman is found dead in one of the asylum rooms, it is up to Detective Lew Kirby to find out why someone murdered a fragile, elderly woman and took the trouble of staging her body at the asylum. With the help of urban explorer, Connie Darke, who has a personal connection to the site, Kirby goes looking for answers, only to find another body in the river. Kirby is faced with more questions than answers as he attempts to build the connection between both deaths, receives information from an old patient whose sanity is still questionable, and finds his personal life falling apart around him. Will Kirby find the answers he’s looking for before someone else dies?

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

9 out of 10 for its mystery; 7 out of 10 for its thrill factor

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is the first book in the Detective Lew Kirby series.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The setting. S.W. Kane, according to her bio, is fascinated with “urban exploration and crime set in cold places”. She brings both these elements together really well, creating a setting that pulls you right in. Her descriptive narrative adds a whole new level to every scene and every event that takes place.

What I Liked:

I found the characterization really strong – S.W. Kane has created well-woven, complicated people that stand their own with every action and sentence. This is especially true for Detective Lew Kirby who is shown to be a quintessential good guy at his core, but with enough shades of gray to make him seem real and relatable.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was really not much to dislike in the book.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys a good thriller or mystery. If you liked Simon Beckett’s Written in Bone (check out its review here), Tim Weaver’s The Dead Tracks (read its review here), and/or Tony Parson’s The Slaughter Man (yep, I reviewed that too and you can read that here), you’ll like S.W. Kane’s The Bone Jar.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who does not enjoy thrillers, especially those that tend to have a bit of a macabre setting and outlook.

Read It For:

The pace, and its ability to pull you in from the first page and not let you go until you’re done. For me, this was the start of another series that I’d definitely like to follow.

Got some thoughts on The Bone Jar? Share them in the comments below, along with recommendations and suggestions of books that you think are a must-read.

Not a fan of mystery? How about some new sci-fi? Or a classic? Or a legal thriller? Here are some recommendations:

  • Sci-fi – Obscura by Joe Hart (find its review here)
  • Classic – 20000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (find its review here)
  • Legal thriller (with a healthy touch of social awareness) – A Time to Kill by John Grisham (find its review here)

Happy Reading!

And, as always, thanks for stopping by The Book Review Station.

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Average Read – Great End: A Review of Rain Will Come by Thomas Holgate

Shout out to NetGalley for an ARC of Rain Will Come by Thomas Holgate. Reading and reviewing it took longer than expected, but here we are (finally)!

Genre:

Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

302 pages

Blurb:

Paul Czarcik is a veteran of the Illinois Bureau of Judicial Enforcement. He has no shortage of vices, is a loner, and is the Bureau’s best detective. When a seemingly open and shut case of double murder doesn’t sit right with him, he digs deeper… and finds an obscure connection to the gruesome murder of a Texas judge. Before long, Czarcik’s hunch brings him up against a killer who is nothing like any murderer he’s met before… and who is not yet done. When the killer challenges Czarcik, the detective accepts. And sets forth on a game of cat-and-mouse that mocks him at every step and threatens to turn the case into the first one Czarcik can’t win.

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

6 out of 10

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its thrill (how will this end??!)

Writing Style:

6 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Maybe, maybe not. As of now, not.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The end – did not see that coming.

What I Liked:

Although the story is pretty linear and as such doesn’t allow for too many twists, the author – Thomas Holgate – manages to get a few in, all of which are fun and relatively unexpected.

What I Didn’t Like:

The characterization was too clichéd. Every character was the textbook version of what it should be, without enough shades of gray (think typical anti-hero with a heart of gold).

Also, there were these random words that pivoted from the general, casual flow of the language. They really pull you out of the story, unfortunately, and I definitely could have done without the abruptness.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys relatively gory thrillers. This has a real ‘how is he going to hurt this one?’ vibe going. Definitely a plus for those who don’t mind some (and occasionally, a lot) bloodshed.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who can’t stand too much violence. Rain Will Come is not for the faint-hearted.

Read It For:

The anti-hero with a heart of gold. Yes, really! It may be clichéd but, for the most part, it works. Would have helped to have Czarcik be just a bit more… empathetic, though.

Rain Will Come releases on 1 April 2020 by Thomas & Mercer. It’s the debut novel of Thomas Holgate who has, as per his NetGalley bio, written television movies, series, and feature films, along with nonfiction books and magazine pieces under a pseudonym.

While the book has its drawbacks, I would definitely read more of Thomas Holgate’s work, especially for its dark themes and theoretically justifiable violence. If you like that kind of stuff, I’d recommend picking up Rain Will Come.

As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my review. 🙂

– Rishika

 

Posted in All Book Reviews

Nicely twisted: Review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient (by Alex Michaelides) had been on my TBR pile for a while, and when I saw that it was in contention for Goodreads’ Choice Awards 2019 – Mystery and Thriller + Debut – I brought it up to the top and delved right in.

Does it meet the hype and expectations? Keep reading to find out.

Alex Michaelides The Silent Patient
Source: Goodreads

Genre: 

Mystery, Thriller

Length: 

323 pages

Blurb:

Alicia Berenson was a famous painter, happily married to Gabriel Berenson, an equally famous fashion photographer. Until the day that she shot her husband five times in the face. Since that fateful day, six years ago, Alicia hasn’t spoken a word. The silence turns the crime into a sensational mystery, and Alicia becomes one of the most intriguing cases for criminal psychotherapists around the country. Theo Faber believes he can be the one that gets her to speak up, to reveal what happened that night, and to save her. But soon he finds that the case begins to reveal his own demons, long since buried. Theo may or may not save Alicia; but can he save himself?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

9 out of 10 for its mystery; 6 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The major plot twists. You’d expect twists from a mystery/thriller, but you do not see these coming in the least.

What I Liked:

The book begins similar to Tell Me A Secret by Samantha Hayes (review here). It also has a bit of the, “I know I’m a psychotherapist but…” justification that Hayes’ book had in abundance. I had really disliked Tell Me A Secret and that justification. But, The Silent Patient does not use those words as a justification. Neither does it go down the self-pity path you’d expect from the first few pages. It actually walks that fine line between justification and self-awareness really well, and that aspect contributes to the story rather than giving an excuse for it. As it turns out, done well, that kind of first-person and self-aware narrative can add great perspective to a story, as it does for The Silent Patient.

What I Didn’t Like:

Nothing that would actively dissuade you from reading the book.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who doesn’t enjoy books based on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

Read It For:

An interesting mystery with an unexpected plot twist. The Silent Patient is a good read that moves fast and has some really intriguing angles; it’s just not a read that I would classify as, “Oh my God, this is the best thing ever written!” If you enjoy mystery and thrillers, though, go for it. And I have to mention here that, at no point, does it seem like a debut novel. I would definitely read more works by Alex Michaelides.

Got something to add about The Silent Patient? Drop a comment below. And, as always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my review! 🙂

– Rishika