December Picks

Heller, Miranda Cowley (2021) The Paper Palace. Penguin Random House.

On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the fresh water pond below ‘The Paper Palace’ – the decaying family compound in the back woods of Cape Cod where Elle has spent her 50 summers. This fictional memoir is in two narratives – the now, a single day unfolding in the present, where a very married Elle has consummated her lifelong love, and the past, with selected scenes from Elle’s life presented chronologically. As Elle narrates her day long-held secrets are revealed and considered leading her to make a momentous decision. Beautiful and rich new voice. Loved it!

Rating: 9/10

Perlroth, Nicole (2020) This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends: The Cyber Weapons Arms Race. Bloomsbury.

This book will put the fear of God into you! Journalist Nicole Perlroth’s mind-blowing exposé on the clandestine world of cyberwarfare lifts the curtain on a shadowy threat, and reveals our vulnerability. Made possible by our wired world cyber intrusions have the potential to spin our lives out of control. From zero-day bugs, spies, hackers, arms dealers, mercenaries, to hostile foreign governments, Perlroth shows consequences and champions an urgent call to action. Reads like a modern-day spy thriller. Frightening.

Rating: 8.5/10

Candlish, Louise (2021) The Heights. Simon & Schuster.

When Ellen Saint spots Kieran Watts on the roof of an apartment building in Shad Thames she is disconcerted because she had killed him two years ago. Suddenly her world implodes and the psychological drama takes off. For Kieran had single-handedly ruined her life and that of her family, and for that she had sought revenge. Whilst the plot sounded intriguing I struggled to stay the distance. Disappointing.

Rating: 7/10

Kurian, Vera (2021) Never Saw Me Coming. Vintage.

Chloe Sevre is a psychopath with a passion for revenge, and a university freshman. Chloe is one of seven students receiving free tuition in exchange for participating in her university’s Multimethod Psychopathy Panel Study. When two of the students in the study are found murdered Chloe aligns with surviving students to find the killer. However flushing out the killer when you are detecting with a couple of untrustworthy manipulative liars is no easy task. And, what about her own mission to kill Will? Different approach to psychopathy. Slow.

Rating: 7.5/10

Clarke, Lucy (2021) The Castaways. HarperCollins.

Sisters Lori and Erin were heading for a Fijian island resort escape when they had a falling out and Erin misses the flight. Lori’s plane fails to reach its destination, disappearing over the Pacific. She and other survivors must fend for themselves until they are rescued. As days turn into weeks tensions build in the wildness of the island, and as weeks turn into years Erin keeps searching for her sister – did Lori survive? An atmospheric and action-packed thriller. A page turner.

Rating: 8/10

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