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Ebook Published: 1 November 2016
Reviewed: 10 November 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Penguin Books (UK) in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her very first night she is woken by a terrifying scream. At first she tells herself it’s just a nightmare, a legacy of her time in Syria.

But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she’s not imagining it…

What secret is lurking in her mother’s garden?
And can Kate get to the truth…before she loses her mind?

My Thoughts & Review:

My Sister’s Bones was a book I had seen increasingly on social media with high praise from fellow book bloggers so I thought it was only fair that I should dive into this one and see if it was worth all the hype.

At the heart of the story is Kate Rafter, a war reporter who is arguably one of the best at what she does, she has the ability to look underneath, roundabout and inside situations to tell the truth about a story.  Unfortunately, having visited various war torn countries has taken its toll on her and she is reliant on sleeping tablets and alcohol to deal with nightmares and hallucinations that plague her.  Her troubled childhood adds considerably to her fragile mental state, having suffered abuse at the hands of an alcoholic father.

It’s very hard to say much about the plot without giving too much away, but the clever structuring means that the reader is taken back to Kate’s childhood to see the mental anguish she suffers at the hands of her father and give explanations for her attitude towards her sister Sally.  But the author also gives wonderfully rich details about the present where Kate is struggling to make sense of what is going on around her.  Recounting tales from her times in Syria as well as from her life in just a few weeks previously gives an insight to the fast paced and hectic life she lives.

Using unreliable narration in the form of both Kate and Sally’s characters the author is able to create a conflicting set of facts in her story.  Two characters seeing the same events or being present in the same situation but having been told differing information shapes what they think and how they see the events which makes for thrilling reading.  Clever manipulations and warped frames of mind are factors that run rife in this story, the reader feels growing unease as the tension escalates, but like Kate, cannot put their finger on the exact cause.  Using the “foggy” thinking of Kate as the driver for the main narrative means that the reader cannot see through the hazy details to know fully what is happening at all times and so is often surprised at events within.

Initially slow to begin, this book slowly builds a claustrophobically tense thriller, there were points that I started to try to guess ahead at what might happen and for the most part I was utterly wrong, one or two things I did guess correctly but this did not impact on my enjoyment of this book at all.  Part two of the book is where the action really picks up, and towards the end this almost becomes a speed reading exercise to try to get to the bottom of it all.

This is a great thriller with filled with lies, conspiracy and twisted manipulation, it is definitely surprising that this is a debut novel from Nuala Ellwood, she writes beautifully and with skill.  Her research into PTSD and its far reaching effects shows in the detail she writes, the harrowing realism adding an authenticity to the storyline.

You can buy a copy of My Sister’s Bones here.

 

About the Author:

Nuala Ellwood is the daughter of an award-winning journalist. She was inspired by his experiences and those of foreign correspondents such as Marie Colvin and Martha Gellhorn to secure Arts Council funding for her research into PTSD for her debut psychological thriller MY SISTER’S BONES

For more information see her website or follow her on Twitter

 

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Author: Luke Delaney

Published: 30 June 2016
Reviewed: 21 August 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by HarperCollins in return for an honest review

 

Description:

The new novel by Luke Delaney, ex-Met detective and author of the terrifyingly authentic DI Sean Corrigan series. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Stuart MacBride.

Sergeant Jack King is back on active duty after months off following a violent encounter. On the Met’s promotional fast-track scheme, King is headed straight for the top, but policing the streets is where his heart truly lies.

Tasked with cleaning up the notorious Grove Wood estate, King is determined to rise to the challenge. But it’s not just drug dealers and petty thugs his team have to worry about. Someone on the estate is preying on children, and they need to find the culprit, fast.

Soon King finds himself over his head: the local residents won’t play ball, his superiors want results yesterday, and he’s refusing to admit that he’s suffering from PTSD. As the pressures combine, the line between right and wrong starts to blur and King finds himself in a downward spiral. Only he can save himself – but is it already too late?

My Thoughts & Review:

The Rule of Fear is a standalone novel about Jack King, a complete departure from the much loved Corrigan novels penned by the same author.  Being a fan of Stuart MacBride’s writing I was intrigued by the claim that this book would be perfect for his fans.

Jack King is an interesting character, returning to work perhaps earlier than he should leads him to make choices that are arguably controversial at times.  This theme is explored by the author by showing the protagonist navigating between what is right and wrong and how it’s not as black and white as many people see it.

The plot itself is superb, the pace begins slowly, pulling the reader in gently before it takes hold and drags you under the surface.  The subject matter may not be easy reading for some and I would urge caution if you are uncomfortable with the idea of children being targets for abusers.  The hard hitting style of writing works well for this novel, the subject matter never strays towards anything remotely comfortable and so to write accordingly takes skill which I believe the author has done here.

This was not an easy book to read, there are definitely aspects of it that cause deep disturbance and discomfort.  The detail and care that went in to writing about the PTSD suffered in this book shows, meaning the impression it left me with was how utterly uncompromising and so powerful it is.  I would definitely say this is a book that makes the reader stop and sit back to think about what goes on in the world, how unpredictable things can be, but most of all how it can all be taken apart in an instant.

Powerful, emotive, dark and dangerous – but not for everyone.

You can buy a copy of The Rule of Fear here.

 

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