Pomare, J.P. (2018) Call me Evie. Hachette. Seventeen-year-old Kate (now called Evie) is hiding out with Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Is he keeping her safe or is there a more sinister motive? Something terrible has happened in Melbourne but Evie’s fractured memories are getting in the way. Pomare uses her confusion not disclose key elements of the plot which is frustrating for the reader. This book was launched with a lot of hype and although its gaslighting theme is clever I had extreme difficulty engaging with the characters or story. Rating: 8/10.
Hunter, Cara (2018) In the Dark. Penguin. This second DI Adam Fawley police procedural ticks all the thriller boxes. A woman and a child are found barely alive locked in a basement cellar. No one knows who they are and the elderly home owner denies any knowledge of their presence. The subsequent discovery of the body of a missing woman in the garden ups the ante for the Thames Valley Police. Complex and gripping. Rating: 8.5/10.
Obama, Michelle (2018) Becoming. Viking. Michelle Obama had an ‘idyllic’ childhood, raised in a working class neighbourhood on the South Side of Chicago. An urban black kid with aspirations and drive, taking her from Princeton and Harvard Law School, to a high-powered career in public service, until her carefully laid plans were upended when she met and married Barack Obama. Becoming is a history-making memoir of a twenty-first century First Lady. It is a carefully curated story of accomplishment, resilience, optimism, and grace, and of an extraordinary journey played out in the glittering limelight. A master-class in soft power. Rating: 8.5/10.
Hunter, Cara (2019) No Way Out. Penguin. DI Adam Fawley is on the case once more in his third police procedural outing. When a family succumb to a house fire the Thames Valley team must piece together evidence of arson. Was it a murder-suicide or is the killer still out there? Pacy and compelling. Rating: 8.5/10.
Whitehouse, Lucie (2019) Critical Incidents. 4th Estate. DI Robin Lyons has been dismissed from the Met for insubordination. Now she has no choice but to return home to Birmingham. In her parents’ home she shares a bunk bed with her daughter whilst navigating a fraught relationship with her mother. When her best friend dies violently she decides not to stand idly by but to launch her own investigation. As a fan of Lucie Whitehouse’s suspenseful thrillers I was less engaged with this crime procedural. I struggled to keep track of the many characters and, at times, the plot. Too many loose-ends for there not to be a sequel. Rating: 8/10.
Alterio, Maxine (2019) The Gulf Between. Penguin. When a stranger is involved in an accident in Queenstown, Julia rushes to his bedside. This unexpected event takes her back forty-five years to a time when she first met her husband in London, and later to a life with his family in post-Second World War Naples. In Naples Julia finds herself pitted against her ailing mother-in-law and sinister brother-in-law, putting her family in harms way. Menacing story of love, lies, family secrets and shame. Haunting. Rating: 8.5/10.