Book Review - The Steel Kiss

by Jeffery Deaver (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781473618480 


Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are old friends of mine. I have been reading their stories for a number of years. This one begins with a gory death, while Sachs is chasing down Unsub 40. But is it an accident? Never. 

In his cunning style, Jeffrey Deaver manages to convince us that this time it's different. Off to a slow start, this feels almost too layered, detailed and complex, yet you just know that you are being set up for a game where the stakes are epic, the action non-stop, and the tension gut-wrenching. 

All 480 pages are jam-packed with snide, witty remarks, smart-ass comments and observations, and great detection work. The plot is cleverly constructed, and changes direction in a sudden intake of breath. The support team of detectives and a student of Rhyme's are believable, and add colour and depth to the investigation. A modern day thriller that is very satisfying. 

I was entertained in every way and relished the adventure. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Affair

by Sue Hickey and Philippa Sklaar (MF Books) ISBN: 9781920601


Sue Hickey is a psychologist, and Philippa Sklaar a domestic abuse and affair survivor. This book is a compilation of thoughts, reflections and stories from inside the minds of the Narcissistic Cheater, the Sexual Predator and the Romance Addict - the profiles of those who cheat. 

"I know that cheating has nothing to do with loving or not loving, but it does destroy love, among other things." This is a great example of the type of honesty and truth found here. 

What makes this book brave and unique is that it tells stories from both sides of the betrayal fence without judgement and (mostly) in the safety of anonymity. Whilst you're gaping with incredulity at the shocking lies other people tell themselves and their committed partners, you can't help admiring the personal growth in admitting and sometimes dealing with the issues. 

Whilst reading this book with its gorgeous creepy cover I got many disbelieving looks. I think I'll keep it in my bag a little longer - for the train, the hairdresser, and the waits at the doctor's rooms. I’m having so much fun. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Insect Farm

by Stuart Prebble (Alma Books) ISBN: 9781846883545


Jonathan and Roger Maguire are brothers. They lead fairly normal lives, with Roger, the elder, being mentally challenged. 

Roger builds an insect farm. He purchases varieties of insects, and observes their behaviour. Jonathan, our narrator, attends an out of town university, together with his girlfriend Harriet. The boys are obsessed, Roger with his insect farm, and Jonathan with beautiful flautist Harriet. 

Described as a psychological thriller, the pace of this is somewhat gentle. More eerie than terrifying, and more lurking evil than in-your-face axe murderer, I found that made it all the more disturbing. 

The plot unfolds cleverly to a satisfying conclusion, and you will want to reread the prologue, as I did. This is a taut, well-written debut, and I couldn't put it down. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Work Like Any Other

by Virginia Reeves (Scribner) ISBN: 9781471152221


Work like any other tells the story of Roscoe T. Martin, an electrician by trade, but married to Marie, a farmer's daughter. 

Roscoe is forced to make the most of what he has, and make farming - which he hates - work. He tries, but nothing cooperates, and everything is failing - the farm, his marriage and his life. Set in the 1920s, you can imagine the difficulties. Reverting to what he knows, Roscoe decides to run in an illegal line of electricity to help with the farming. And it works. Until it all goes horribly wrong. 

This debut novel by Virginia Reeves has many things to recommend it, including an interesting cover, an originality that is refreshing, and a length that won't put you off. 

The writing is great - not a word wasted, making it difficult to believe this is her first. The anxiety is tangible, and the characters strong and brave, true to themselves. I loved the pacing - fast enough to keep you interested, but not breathless - to take in the scenery and everything around you. 

I devoured each word on each page, and found myself satisfied, replete. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Kept Woman

by Karin Slaughter (HarperCollins) ISBN: 9781780893570
 

Will entered, in the midst of a bloody, gory murder scene, after a brief moment of concern for Betty, his small dog, who was having her teeth cleaned, because if the vet was to be believed, you needed to take out a mortgage to pay for the bills associated with poor dental hygiene in dogs. 

And there you have a taste of Karin Slaughter. Her books are darkly amusing, clever and gruesome. That's before you've met the characters. 

Special agent Will Trent has a messed up past that will never leave him alone. His feisty partner, Faith is a single mother, determined to be the best agent in the GBI. Amazing Amanda is their bitchy boss, who never fails to fling a sarcastic, poisoned comment that will leave your jaw hanging. They've just been joined by medical examiner Sara Linton, a beautiful doctor. Sara and Will are trying being in love, and the fact that the murder scene has large amounts of blood belonging to Will's wife, Angie (yes, I did say wife!) is not helpful. 

Will thinks he can find Angie, because he knows her. Sara can tell from the scene that her chances of survival are small. 

Karin Slaughter, do you sleep? I can't. A page turner of note, a lot of blood, not for the faint-hearted. The characters are caught up in horrific scenes and the plot moves at a cracking pace - good confronting evil at every turn. 

It's a brilliant read, and ticks all the boxes - psychological crime at its very best. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5  

Karin Slaughter is the internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen crime thrillers. Following her New York Times stand-alone bestsellers, Cop Town and Pretty Girls, she has penned this eighth instalment in the Will Trent Series. 

The body of a retired cop is found in a partially constructed nightclub in Atlanta. The blood and evidence at the scene indicate that there was another victim. Will Trent’s ex-wife, Angie’s purse and gun are found at the scene. To further complicate things, the night club belongs to Atlanta’s favourite basketball star Marcus Rippy. Will had just concluded a seven-month brutal rape case against Rippy. Wealthy and protected by expensive lawyers, Rippy had gotten away with it. 

Time is running out for Angie based on Medical Examiner, Sara Linton’s, analysis of blood at the scene. Will is obsessed with finding Angie which threatens his year long relationship with Sara. 

Slaughter delves into the physical and mental abuse of women and children in her books and so it is a major theme in this book. I was on the edge of my seat as Will scrambles to solve the case before his world implodes. 

I found this book completely addictive. 

Ewa Fabris
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5  

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Girls

by Emma Cline (Chatto & Windus) ISBN: 9780812998603


For those who know that this is a novel about the Charles Manson murders, don't be put off reading this book. And, if you can, forget what you know about them, and take this at face value. Even though there has been a huge amount of hype in that regard, this book is much more than that story. 

Debut novelist, famous writer, Emma Cline has created a book of great beauty. She delves into the world of the insecurities, passion and anxieties of teenage girls with a deftness and elegance that astonished me. 

The prose is simply delightful, and that is enough reason to read this. But it is the strong visual imagery, the extravagant portrait painted of lives lived not so well, and the reasons why that will stay with me for a very long time. 

It would have been interesting to see how well The Girls did without the huge amount of marketing that promoted it. It is good enough to like anyway. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Last Photograph

by Emma Chapman (Picador) ISBN: 9781509816545
 

Emma Chapman’s second novel, The Last Photograph, tells the backstory of Rook Henderson - an award winning photographer who carries Vietnam and the agony of all that life behind the lens with him. Always. 

Now he has to add dealing with his wife June’s death to his burden. His son, Ralph looks to him for comfort and attention. 

Beautifully written, there are nuggets on almost every page, like - “In the darkness, it is easier to be thrown back into the past”, and “There was the smell too, of things growing.” However, I had almost no connection with any of the characters. The plot, which was told in reverse, was quite ordinary and unsurprising. 

Although I appreciated the gorgeous prose, and the detailed research and insight into Rook’s life, it was a let-down in terms of enjoyment and satisfaction. Beautiful - yes. Evocative - certainly. Memorable - not. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
2/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Anxiety For Beginners

by Eleanor Morgan (Pan Macmillan) ISBN: 9781509813230


"When I was seventeen, I lost part of myself to a toilet cubicle. A part I don't know if I'll ever get back."

As I began to read Eleanor Morgan's investigation, I was fascinated to learn about facing invisible monsters on a daily basis. It was eye-opening to unpack the emotions, battles and wars waged in everyday events, objects and situations.

Eleanor Morgan draws us in to her fraught world. She is talented, with a knack for getting to the point. She adds a dash of humour too. She covers the build-up of anxiety from a child's perspective. She talks about the varied encounters with doctors and therapists, and the medications that can help. Helpful strategies and coping mechanisms are presented; anxiety needs to be managed, it can't be cured.

We need to talk and read about anxiety disorders. We need to understand the battles others face on a daily basis. We need to think about how to create an atmosphere of sharing, openness and trust. Mental illness is crippling, more so if you find yourself isolated and alone. Like being banished to an institution, you’re locked into a frightening world.

This is an excellent way to start undoing that.

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Constant Queen

by Joanna Courtney (MacMillan) ISBN: 9781447281962

 
Part two in a trilogy involving three Viking queens, this book can be read before the first. History is like that. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the battles were not long, drawn-out detailed accounts, but dramatic re-enactments, succinct and more powerful that way. But if you like the detailed war scenes more than intricate relationships, vividly illustrated, this is not a book for you.

The story of how Elizaveta and Viking warrior Harald met, wed and adventured is an amazing one. What I loved was how Joanna Courtney gave them strong personalities. This, together with the rich detailed setting and thorough research of all the many interesting characters and ways of life make for a wonderful journey.

This is not a light easy read, but it is enchanting, enthralling and an enriching experience.

Bravo, Joanna Courtney for giving readers of historical fiction permission to be done with the Tudors, and for bringing out the sexy Vikings.

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Daisy in Chains

by Sharon Bolton (Bantam Press) ISBN: 9780593076323


It had to be done. I had to drop everything and read this book. I couldn't wait, unless I could read while I waited. In lines, in reception areas, everywhere.

It was gripping, intense. 

The hook in this case is the fact that there is a gorgeous serial killer in jail, and, it appears, many women in love with him. But not Maggie Rose, a reclusive author and lawyer. She is impervious to his charms. Or is she? And so the game of cat and mouse begins. Is he innocent, as he protests? Enter Detective Pete Weston, the man responsible for putting Hamish Wolfe behind bars. Is he helping Maggie to uncover the truth, or protecting his own little dirty secrets?

And now you have an inkling of why I had to finish, no stopping. The sinister setting - from prison to meetings of "supporters of Hamish" in strange secretive places; and the lurking strangers in the night; the unexpected twists and turns around every corner and down each dark alley. 

Bolton doesn't shy away from examining how women fall for monsters - guilty or innocent. She does not spare readers from the violence and pain experienced by prisoners, or the unforgivable "fun" that boys have with overweight girls. It's an unforgettable book, and well worth your time.

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.