Saturday, May 30, 2015

Blogging for Books- What you Left Behind

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes is an intriguing whodunit that fans of British police procedurals are going to LOVE. Unexpected twists and turns, a large suspect pool and lack of a clear motive make it virtually impossible to guess the perpetrator’s identity. Although it is the second installment of the DCI Lorraine Fisher series, the novel can be read as a standalone.

Detective Chief Inspector Lorraine Fisher’s vacation is anything but relaxing when she finds herself embroiled in a perplexing mystery while visiting her sister Jo. Immediately upon arrival, she learns distressing news about Jo’s marriage but most shocking are the changes in her nephew Freddie. He is withdrawn, moody and refuses to accompany the rest of the family on excursions. It is soon clear that something is deeply troubling him, but he refuses to reveal what that something is. Jo is deeply concerned about her son because eighteen months earlier, a cluster of teen suicides rocked their small village and the recent death of a homeless youth, Dean Watts, was also ruled a suicide. Her fears are compounded when another young man takes his own life and Jo grows increasingly alarmed about Freddie’s state of mind.

Although Lorraine is also worried about Freddie, she is enjoying her visit with Jo until she receives a disturbing picture that leads her to look a little deeper in Dean’s death. While she is at the local police station, the death of another young man is reported and she goes with the lead detective, DCI Burnley, to the crime scene. She quickly sees evidence that foul play might be involved and knowing that Burnley is known to cut corners, she cannot resist investigating on her own. Lorraine’s husband Adam joins her and just as they are beginning to sort through the clues, Freddie vanishes and they are pulled in two different directions as they continue trying to make sense of the prior deaths while at the same time searching for Freddie.

Freddie’s story arc is as fascinating as it is frustrating. For reasons that are never quite clear, he absolutely refuses to discuss what is causing his extreme distress and he continues to spiral deeper into hopelessness and despair. Things become even more complicated for Freddie when he tries to help a friend and he unwittingly puts himself in danger.

While the pacing of What You Left Behind is a little slow, it is an overall compelling novel. The storyline is quite suspenseful and Samantha Hayes’ clever plot twists and red herrings keep readers guessing how this terrific mystery will end. A jaw dropping revelation ties up all of the loose ends and brings the mystery to a stunning conclusion. It is an excellent addition to the DCI Lorraine Fisher series that old and new fans do not want to miss.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blogging for Books- The Secrets of Life and Death

From Goodreads: 
In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret--She's Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won't rest until they've taken the magic that keeps her alive.... 
In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...
As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying. 

I thought the concept was rather ingenious. The concept that someone could be kept alive through magical means, but nearly always be at the point of death in their "new" life. The concept that their blood could heal others is an interesting slant.All that being said, I found it slow going. I wished the story would have had a faster pace. I think it got bogged down in excessive history. I am a fan of historical fiction with a twist, but it just felt like I was trudging through the story. At once point, I hoped it would end.While it took a long time to get to the end, it also felt like there wasn't enough explanation on either of the endings. The "ending" with Kelley and Dee felt deliberately mysterious, which would have been fine if it had been more explained in the Jack and Sadie ending, which also felt deliberately mysterious. I don't like that in endings. I want to time to fully know what all went down. I want explanations on some of the weird, obtuse moments. I realize that it's my personal preference.The bottom line is, this book was okay. If you are interested in John Dee or the Bathory legends, this would be a great novel for you. If you like reading about the Inquisition, you will be very surprised at its role in the novel. In general, I may recommend this book to the right friend. Overall, I think a good story, with promising originality, got bogged down by all the moving parts of history that the author felt she must include.

I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books.

Template by