The Crime of Julian Wells

by Thomas H. Cook (Head of Zeus) ISBN 9 78 1908 800 152 



Only readers who know Thomas Cooks’ writing will enjoy this kind of story. It is mysterious, dark, very beautiful prose. As Julian steps into the dinghy in the pond he lets it drift far from inquisitive eyes. He slits each wrist letting his hands hang over the sides of the boat as life drains away in dark red blood from his body. 

He has been a famous true crime writer and his friends cannot explain his suicide. They follow a trail of places where he wrote each book, searching for clues to his death. His agent thinks he may have been in love with the innocent Marisol who is missing. ‘There is no such thing as love,’ says the agent, ‘only a lack of perspective’.  Did the author’s ‘games’ that he played cause Marisol’s ghastly death? 

A cruel death camp leads to a body, a sneering, laughing slaughterer who says she deserved what she got. It all ends with a huge question with no answers. 

Dee Andrew
3/5

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Lady Limbo

by Consuelo Roland (Jacana) ISBN 978-1-4314-0508-4 



I loved this book. I couldn’t tell you how much the love story meant to me. It was beautifully written and you had to hold your breath in moments where you recognised what you had missed in your life. 

But alas, the story waned, and the search for Daniel, de Luc, an elusive crime writer with a deep love of poetry, who disappeared from a Camps Bay apartment, becomes frustrating. Is Daniel alive, writing one of his French novels that pull at the heartstrings? Where is he? His absences have become longer. His wife, Paola knew she would be parted from him as he researched his novels but this time it feels like forever.  

Paola is desperate to become pregnant, hoping that will bring him home. He has always longed for a child. Then Paola learns that her husband is involved in the shadowy world of the international sex industry, where women pay men to become the anonymous fathers of their children. 

I never learnt whether Luc is still alive, whether he will come home, or if he is always just a ghostly step away from her. The descriptions of the Cape are like the sunsets, they draw you into a place that uplifts the senses. Such beautiful writing is just waiting for a reader to enjoy it. 

Dee Andrew
4/5

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The Rose Petal Beach

by Dorothy Koomson (Quercus) ISBN798-1-78087-497-5 



The policeman at the door told her they were taking her husband away. 

Tamia Challey’s husband, Scott, is accused of something terrible. Mirabelle, his secretary, and Tamia’s best friend, accuses him of rape. Unsure what to think, Tamia is forced to choose who she instinctively believes. Should it be her good-looking husband whom she absolutely adores? This looks like the answer she needs, but she begins to quickly unravel and soon doubts her own sanity and actions. 

Then a stranger arrives in town to sprinkle rose petals in the sea in memory of her lost loved one. This woman has shocking truths that changes everyone’s lives. There is a clever, clever twist that makes you feel uncomfortable because you never guessed it. Although the story is well-written, I found it slightly slow to read because of the constant shift in perspective between Tamia and the other women in the story. 

Dee Andrew
4/5

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Time between us

by Tamara Ireland Stone (Doubleday) ISBN 978085753115-5 



Anna wants to see the world. She lives in 1995, in Chicago. Bennett lives in 2012, in San Francisco. They were never meant to meet but Bennett has the incredible ability to travel through time and space and suddenly finds himself in Anna’s world but they know it can never last. By clasping hands, Bennett is able to show Anna his world.

They are inescapably drawn to each other. Bennett’s amazing gift is also an unpredictable curse which constantly threatens to separate him from Anna with no more than a second’s notice. Love cannot exist in either world but the magical pull is very strong and you are left wondering if there is a solution to their problem.

You can’t put this story down in spite of the puzzle, and in the end you are entranced. A most unusual novel and well worth reading.

Dee Andrew
5/5

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Thursdays in the Park

by Hilary Boyd (Quercus) ISBN 978-0-85738-517-8

 

Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park on Thursdays and out of a casual conversation with a granddad, Ray, who takes Dylan to the park, a flame of intimacy is lit.

 

This is a very suspenseful love story. There is a loyal and loving husband, who is boring, waiting at home for Jeanie. The passion portrayed is heart breaking, the decisions to be made are nail biting. For a woman of sixty who should know better (and she says this) the feelings aroused in her for Ray amaze the reader.

 

The sympathy for the victims brings tears to your eyes. How heart breaking for the couple in love who are decent people. A tale simply told with powerful writing that drags you, the reader, into the decision making, the talking and laughing as if you are part of their lives.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

 

Dee Andrew

4/5

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A Chimpanzee in the Wine Cellar

by Pat Cavendish O’Neill (Jonathan Ball) ISBN 9781868424856

 

I so enjoyed the author's A Lion in the Bedroom that I grabbed this copy knowing I would be highly entertained. I wasn’t wrong. The animals and her relationship with them fascinated me.

 

But the book began to wind down when she started on horse racing. I know nothing about inheriting qualities that go to make a champion race horse and so I found the latter part of the book a bit boring.

 

There are anecdotes that make you laugh and cry.  In her last book her life was saved by her lioness, Tana who literally slept in her bed. In this book her pet baboons save her life. A rescued chimpanzee named Kalu finds her way deepest into Pat’s heart.

 

Always interesting, and especially from the point of view of “name dropping” you could almost call the society she mixed in,The  White Mischief  crowd. Read this for sheer entertainment and fascinating historical facts.

 

Dee Andrew

4/5

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Around Iceland on Inspiration

by Riaan Manser (Jonathan Ball) Price R185 ISBN 9781868424818

 

Bob Skinstad is so well known but nobody knew that he had a brother called Dan Skinstad who suffers from mild cerebral palsy.

 

Riaan Manser, known as South Africa’s best-loved adventurer, is a giant of a man who agrees to take Dan around Iceland by kayak.

 

The journey itself involves icy seas, raging winter storms and logistical nightmares. The two adventurers overcome daunting obstacles, working through their anger at each other to come to terms with how to work together as a team. This is a book of huge courage, enduring friendships, and determination to overcome every obstacle that comes there way. Riaan learns humility from Dan, and Dan learns to respect Riaan's determination.

 

Around Iceland on Inspiration is Riaan’s story behind the TV series aired in 2012

 

This is a wonderful book. I couldn’t put it down.

 

Dee Andrew

5/5

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Dark Heart

by Tony Park (Quercus) ISBN 978-1-78087-418-0

 

To compare this story writer with Wilbur Smith is far from the truth. Wilbur Smith entertains and holds your interest all the way through. Had I not read about the Rwanda war I would have been totally at sea with this ghastly story.

 

In Dark Heart there is a very important secret that no-one will reveal. Somewhere in the Gorilla mists are animals behind bars for sale to the highest bidder.  Even baby gorillas are captured and kept under horrendous conditions. The torture scenes are beyond belief and the survivors survive the most amazing horrors. 

 

Embarking on a mission that takes them from South Africa to Zambia and back to Rwanda, the three characters are drawn into animal smuggling, a world far darker and more sinister than it first appears. I found the story's characters completely mixed up.

 

This book is badly written and I do not recommend it.

 

Dee Andrew

1/5

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Philida

by Andre Brink (Random House) R215 ISBN 0 781846 557057

 

In 1832, after following the Elephant Trail that runs from the Village of Franschoek to the small town of Stellenbosch near Cape Town, the young slave woman, Philida arrives at the Drostdy. She is directed to the Office of the Slave Protector, to lodge a complaint against her owner, Cornelius Brink, and his son, Frances Brink.

 

They cross question her. ‘When did I leave last light? Where did I sleep? Did I get a pass for coming here?’ Philida thinks and knows it is hopeless trying to become a free slave, especially after she made babies with a white man.

 

Zandvleit is where it started in the shadow of the mountains. She was nine when she was brought there. She learned how to knit only to have her pretty patterns destroyed time and again for small offences.  Her best friend was a tiny cat, and Frans made a bamboo basket for the creature.

 

The grootbaas decides to make an example of Philida and strips her and lays her on the flogging table. The whistle of his langriempie slashes her buttocks.

 

I put the book down in horror and took it up some time later. But slavery was slavery and some were beaten to death for dropping a basket of figs. You cannot ever reconcile the world of slavery and the world we live in now, without counting your blessings. Andre Brink has brought that world to life. A giant of a writer, he says it exactly as it was.

 

Dee Andrew

5/5

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Siberian Red

by Sam Eastland (Faber and Faber) ISBN 9780571260676

 

Who knows where the missing treasure of Tsar Nicholas II is hidden? 

 

The Nazis are poised to invade Russia. Stalin’s need for the Tsar’s gold is greater than ever. When Stalin learns that a prisoner who could have revealed the place of the gold has been brutally assassinated, he sets off to send a second spy in to look for the gold.

 

Detective Inspector Pekkala is horrified to hear that he is being sent back to the brutal Gulag of Borodok - a concentration camp, but he endures all the lack of clothing, shoes, and meagre provisions, in the hope that he will learn something for Stalin. 

 

He becomes a tree marker in the wilderness for two years, his red painted handprint becoming a chilling mystery to the rebels who live there and yet never see him. When the gold is found it is far too heavy to carry. How many bars of gold does one man need?

 

This story is one of violence, terror and the worthlessness of life and yet one reads on. You cannot to wait to arrive at the solution. In the most dangerous place in Russia, can the Truth, and Pekkala, survive?

 

Dee Andrew

4/5

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