Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Every Move You Make

Every Move You Make by Deborah Bee

Paperback, 512 pages

Published 20th August 2020 by Bonnier Books

abuse, adult-fiction, arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, crime-thriller-mystery, mental-health, read, read-in-2020, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

He'll be waiting . . .

Clare James turns up at a police station. She says she's been kept prisoner in her home - abused and tortured. Her every move watched, controlled, questioned.

Now she's escaped.

But when they police arrive at her house, everything is in order. Her story doesn't add up and her husband is missing.

Clare says she's the victim, but what if she's not? What if the stories she tells aren't her stories at all . . .

I think I've found my new favourite genre of book this year - the psychological thriller - and this book has definitely helped with confirming my suspicions! I really enjoyed this book from the beginning and continued to do so right until the very end. 

Every Move You Make tells the story of Clare who we're instantly introduced to as she stumbles into a police station after running for her life. Clare claims to have been domestically abused by her partner, Gareth and is placed in a women's refuge whilst an investigation into both the alleged abuse and Gareth's subsequent disappearance begins. This book is an exploration of the complexity of domestic violence and the true turmoil it causes - not only when the abuse is actively happening but also in the aftermath - particularly during the time when allegations are first made. 

Of course, this being a psychological thriller, as a reader you are always wondering if things are really as they seem, particularly regarding Clare's allegations and Bee does a fantastic job at making you wonder! I have to admit that I truly didn't know what to believe until actual the conclusion of the story. There are enough twists and revelations in the book to keep you on edge and to stay gripped. This really was a page turner and I just kept wanting to read more and more. The story and the hard-hitting subjects fascinated and intrigued me and I also wanted to know more about each character in the book, each distinctive and well formed.

There are several points of view explored in this book, not only Clare's, but also the views of Sally and DS Susan Clarke. In my opinion, Clare was the most effective narrator, perhaps due to being the most troubled - her narrative also included the internal voicing of Gareth, her tormentor, giving us flashbacks into her past and an insight into her deep psychological state which was utterly heartbreaking and difficult to read at points. 
I really enjoyed reading the chapters that focused on Sally, Clare's roommate at the women's refuge. We get to know a lot about Sally, her past and her troubles which also become an important focus in the story. I think Sally will resonate with a lot of female readers with her down-to-earth personality and her straight forward talking. The relationship that develops between Sally and Clare is beautiful to observe, showing a real kinship between two troubled ladies. 
DS Susan Clarke is the Detective Sergeant in charge of Clare's case and a long-time friend of Sally. I felt that her character had a very authentic and headstrong personality, but unfortunately I also found her quite stiff, unempathetic and unlikeable at many points. However, as aforementioned, these features of her personality gave her a feeling of being a 'real' person and actually strengthened her character. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book - I loved the fact that I had a perpetual feeling of unease and wonder about the real story and I just didn't want to put it down. I was impressed by the characters, their individual personalities and flaws. The story was of a good pace and I never felt bored - the only things I could criticise is how fast that the story was wrapped up at the end, though the fast pace did emphasise the tension and desperation of all involved, and I did find Gareth's character a little too OTT - I think his character could have been more believable as an 'average man'. Despite these two issues, this really was a fantastic book exploring the intense, damaging and harrowing subject of domestic violence alongside showing the true value of friendship and community. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

A Lie For A Lie Book Tour & Review

Welcome to my part in Julie Corbin's 2020 book tour for her new novel, A Lie For A Lie!
If you haven't already, I urge you to check out the previous stops, encourage you to follow the tour as it goes on and of course, pre-order this fantastic new story. 

Today, I'm going share my review of this book with you. 

Thank you to Myrto @ Hodder for the opportunity!

A Lie for a Lie by Julie Corbin
Paperback, 352 pages

To Be Published 15th October 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton

abuse, adult-fiction, arc-or-review, blog-tour, books-i-own, crime-thriller-mystery, death, mental-health, read, read-in-2020, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

We all tell lies, don't we? Most of the time, they're harmless. But every now and then, we lie without thinking about the consequences.

As a school nurse, Anna Pierce is a well-respected and trusted member of the community. So when she is accused of hitting a pupil, the reaction is one of shock and disbelief.

The pupil is Tori Carmichael - Anna's mentee and a troubled child known for bending the truth.

With her career and reputation on the line, Anna is determined to clear her name. But before she can, the worst happens: Tori is found dead.

Suspicion mounts against Anna, who says she didn't do it. 
But if she isn't the killer, there is someone out there who is ....

When I was offered to read A Lie For A Lie, I jumped at the chance. Despite being a bestselling author, I was yet to read a book by the acclaimed Julie Corbin and this was certainly a fantastic introduction. The premise of the story sounded very intriguing and neither the story nor the author let me down. 

A Lie For A Lie tells the story of Sister Anna Pierce, a seemingly perfect school nurse whose life is turned upside down when she is accused of hitting one of the children that she mentored - a troubled girl named Victoria ('Tori') Carmichael. Unfortunately, when things seem like they can't get any worse, Tori is found dead in her home. This book explores the time from when Anna is accused and all of the trials and tribulations that follow.

Despite the often 'heavy' subject matter of this book, I found this an easy read from the start - something which was very welcome. The writing is simple yet very well done - the descriptions of the setting, mainly a large boarding school in Scotland, gave me a great sense of where the characters were and a good sense of atmosphere without ever feeling over-explicatory. The characters were written equally as well, having multiple layers and depth and personality.

There are a lot of different emotions and relationships explored within the story and I think that this is one of the main places where the book excels. Relationships between teachers and students, husband and wife, parent and child, teenagers, siblings and even more are all explored with great care and consideration, none falling short. I really was impressed by the authenticity the relationships depicted. 

As aforementioned, there are a lot of 'heavy' subjects discussed in this book including but not restricted to abuse, family separation, bullying and self harm. I was particularly affected by reading about the family separation issues in this book, the explanation and exploration of the the subject seemed so heartfelt and, honestly, heart wrenching at times. It's a subject that is written about frequently, but I have to admit that I related to Corbin's depiction of it more than I have with any other piece of writing regarding it. I admire the author for writing about several difficult topics with great understanding.

A Lie for a Lie is an easy to follow story which becomings increasingly complex with twists and turns around every corner. I had lots of thoughts and ideas of what the real story was but I was left guessing right until the very end. It consists of simple but highly intriguing writing which is a pleasure to read and, if you're like me, will keep you up until the early hours of the morning, desperate to find out more! It is so refreshing to read a book where you're left wondering until the last page.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Killing for Company

Killing For Company by Brian Masters

Paperback, 368 pages

Published 17th September 2020 by Arrow
(First Published 1985) 

arc-or-review, adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, contemporary, currently-reading, death, historical, mythology, read-in-2020, realistic-fiction
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Dennis Nilsen, who died in May 2018, murdered at least 15 people before his arrest in 1983. This groundbreaking criminal study of his killings was written with Nilsen's full cooperation, resulting in a fascinating - and horrifying - portrait of the man who worshipped death.

On February 9th 1983 Dennis Nilsen was arrested at his Muswell Hill home, after human remains had been identified as the cause of blocked drains.

'Are we talking about one body or two,' a detective asked. Nilsen replied 'Fifteen or sixteen, since 1978. I'll tell you everything.'

Within days he had confessed to fifteen gruesome murders over a period of four years. His victims, all young homosexual men, had never been missed. Brian Masters, with Nilsen's full cooperation, has produced a unique study of a murderer's mind, essential reading for true crime aficionados.

After watching ITV's latest hit drama starring David Tennant, Des, I just knew that I had to get my hands on a copy of the book it was based on - Killing for Company. This impressive and important book is a thorough and superbly written case study of the late Dennis Nilsen, one of the most infamous serial killers and necrophiles of the UK. 

When I started reading Killing for Company, it didn't take me long to recognise that I was reading a very important and significant book. This is an evaluation of Nilsen by the author, Masters, a man with no formal experience of psychology but a clear talent for writing and analysis. This is the full story of Nilsen from childhood to conviction, featuring a compilation of thoughts from both Masters and the killer himself. For anyone who is interested in Dennis Nilsen and his history, this is the go-to book and it's understandable why - it feels as though Masters leaves no stone unturned - however disturbing it may be. 

Masters doesn't hold back with any details in this book and so Killing for Company contains several in-depth accounts of murder and necrophilia from Nilsen himself. Whilst being obviously horrific, it's also extremely rare, morbidly intriguing and important to hear from the killer as to what he was thinking and feeling during the most disturbing times of his life. However, the biggest significance of the book was Nilsen's post-murder writings, his inner contemplations which gave a glimpse into his mind and his thoughts. It was not the murders themselves that I found most interesting - it was Nilsen's mind, one which was clearly searching for the answer as to why he did what he chose to do and who he really was. Perhaps most disturbingly, there are clear moments in the book where Nilsen seems like a common man - someone you may know, someone you live beside or work with, he was someone who enjoyed music, someone who had a sense of humour, someone who cared for his pets. The juxtaposition between his repulsive acts and his fragments of 'normality' is effective and jarring. This book shows how loneliness, isolation

I felt that Masters did a sterling job of commenting on Nilsen's actions, never dramatising or glorifying him and trying to really understand his actions and behaviours. Impressively, I think Masters remained fair throughout the whole of the book and whilst he did mention his personal relationship with Nilsen and subtly voice some personal opinions, it always felt that he was looking at the whole situation in an unbiased manner, which I can only give him credit for. Whilst it's always dangerous for someone with no experience of psychiatry to perform psychoanalysis, Masters has truly impressed with his analysis and this has only been reaffirmed with the republishing, support, TV adaptation and the true success of this book - a truly thought provoking read with a heck of a lot to think about. I also found the inclusion of photographs and images, in particular, Nilsen's collection of 'Sad Sketches' to be very interesting and shocking.

When reading True Crime books, it goes unsaid that you're likely not in for an 'easy-read' and you certainly won't find that with this book, however you will more than likely find it to be an unexpected page turner which you will devour. Whilst I did notice some outdated terms, there were few and this book really has stood the test of time, being just as significant now as it was back in the 80's. For anybody who is looking to expand their knowledge about true crime or has even a fleeting interest in psychology, Des or his crimes, this is a must-read. This is certainly the best and most engaging true crime book that I've read so far.