Nightmare

by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781444700718


What an interesting book. Jack Nightingale, a private detective, is a haunted man. Once upon a time he was a police negotiator who couldn't stop a nine-year-old girl named Sophie jumping to her death after she was abused by her father. Her mother knew about the abuse but did nothing. Now Jack thinks she's trying to contact him from beyond the grave. 

Jack tries to find the truth with his personal assistant, Jenny McLean. He has to battle his former boss, Detective Superintendent Chalmers, and the forces of evil. This is a well-researched paranormal thriller. Stephen Leather produces excellent pacing, brilliant, believable characters, solid plotting, and a great ending. Nightmare is the sequel toNightfall and Midnight, books one and two in a taut thrilling trilogy. 

Thank you, Stephen Leather, for sending me a copy! I wish I'd read it sooner. It would have been one of my top reads of 2012. 

Amanda Patterson
www.writerswrite.co.za
4.5/5

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7 Days

by Deon Meyer (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN 9781444723717

 

After 13 Hours and Devil’s Peak this is the third novel with a main part for Detective Benny Griessel. The brainchildren of Meyer have become popular worldwide and will be brought to the screen with Sean Bean in the role of the sympathetic Griessel.

 

In 7 Days the South African Police Service is embarrassed by emails from a sniper who promises to take aim at policemen until the murder of beautiful lawyer, Sloet, is solved.

 

Griessel is called in to coordinate two lines of investigation, one into the murder of Hanneke Sloet and the other into the sniper and why he is so upset about this particular case. The mention of communists in his emails puts the team on the track of black empowerment deals and ‘old world’ communists seeking fortune in South Africa. But is this where Griessel and courageous Captain Mbali Kaleni will find the answers?

 

After ten years of alcoholism Benny is sober and coming to grips with what is left of his family life. Against his sponsor’s advice he does this together with the beautiful singer Alexa Bernard who is in the same recovery boat as he is.

 

Meyer has delivered another fast-paced thriller set in the new South Africa with its dynamic relations and developments.  He tells a good story with a skilfully developed plot. 

 

Josine Overdevest

3.5/5

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The Edge Of Nowhere

by Elizabeth George (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781444780750 

Elizabeth George is trying too hard to become a young adult author. The author who won me over with her Inspector Lynley series, has suddenly decided to try her hand at a paranormal mystery and romance. Versatile authors like James Patterson have done this successfully. Elizabeth George has not. Her writing is too stylised for young adult fiction. Her painful attention to detail does not work here.  The 496-page novel (in hardcover) is far too long.

Becca King arrives on Whidbey Island, near Seattle. She is fleeing from her crazy step-father. Becca can ‘hear’ other people’s thoughts and she has heard too many of Jeff Corrie’s. Her mother contacts a friend on the island who will look after Becca. Unfortunately, she learns her ‘Aunt’ Carol has passed away, when she arrives. Alone, she moves into a motel called The Cliff, where she discovers that the island hides many more secrets than she could have imagined. 

I don’t recommend this book. 

Amanda Patterson
www.writerswrite.co.za 
1/5

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Lone Wolf

by Jodi Picoult (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 978-1-44472899-6

 

I have a confession. I have not read a Jodi Picoult novel before. I have always thought her topics were heart wrenching. Then Lone Wolf crossed my desk. I wondered if she had ventured into the supernatural genre. I was pleasantly surprised once I had finished reading Lone Wolf.

 

Luke Baxter is a man who neglects his family to live with wolves. His wife has divorced him and remarried. His son Edward has not spoken to him for six years. One night he collects his daughter, Cara from a party. On the way home, they crash. Life support systems keep him alive. The doctors feel he will never revive from his coma.

 

Luke Baxter has presented his family with a dilemma. Do they keep him alive? Or, do they let him die. Cara wants to save her father’s life. But, she is hiding a secret. Edward wants his father dead. He too has a secret.

 

Picoult’s story weaves its way into the thoughts of the characters and presents back-story so that the reader can participate in this dilemma. If Luke Baxter were your father, would you want him to live or die? The plot is tight and the scenes will keep you captivated.

 

I have another confession. I am a Jodi Picoult fan.

 

Ulrike Hill

5/5

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The Wrath of Angels

by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton) R180, ISBN: 978-1-444756456

 

 

Harlan Vetter is dying and he has a secret to tell.

 

His home is on the edge of the Great North Woods. In the depth of these woods lies the wreckage of an aeroplane. The wreckage contains something more important than the bag of money taken by Harlan. He found a list with names; names of people who had sold their soul for power, money and prestige. The wreckage still lies undiscovered, its secrets obscured by the forest. The pilot has escaped. How? Where is he? There are people who want the list to remain hidden.

 

Private detective, Charlie Parker’s name is on that list and he wants to know why. Parker wants to find the secret behind the list but finds his investigation hampered by murders. The murders seem to be connected to a beautiful yet scarred woman and a silent child. A serial killer known as The Collector creates further complications for Parker’s investigation.

 

This is not a quick read. The reader gets an insight to the cursed and the ambitious. Connolly reveals the vulnerabilities of the greed of man and the forces of evil who feed on these vulnerabilities.

 

A thrilling book with an interesting cast. The suspense will keep the reader guessing until the end.

 

Ulrike Hill

3/5

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Nightmare

by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN 9 781444 700718

 

This is a haunting story in every way possible. Don’t stop your hands from clutching the book because terror reigns on every page.

 

A little girl called Sophie kissed her doll’s head as she slid from the balcony of the fourteenth floor building.  Jack Nightingale was too late to save her from falling although he was nearby.

Is everyone he meets going to call out “Jack Nightingale”? Even strangers on the street?  No wonder he tries to run away from his life.

 

The hellions of Death seek him out at every possible moment. And he seeks, through supernatural means, to find out what is going on. His secretary, Jenny believes in him and his innocence, but that’s not enough to help him. He has to find the little girl Sophie who lost all her family and then decided to take her own life.

 

This is a different kind of thriller, much like a ride on a roller coaster. If it is possible to research satanic worship and other supernatural things, then Stephen Leather has really done his homework. 

 

The end is mind blowing and challenges all your beliefs about death. Whew, it is a really good read.

 

Dee Andrew

5/5

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XO

by Jeffery Deaver (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9780340937327 R195 



Kayleigh Towne, a beautiful young singing superstar, signs her fan mail XO. Most fans realise this is a form email sent to millions, but Edwin Sharp loves Kayleigh a little more than the average fan. And that XO means everything to him. Edwin sends gifts, mails messages to her private address and he knows everything about her. When he arrives in Fresno for a concert, Kayleigh and her entourage are stunned. 

Kathryn Dance, music lover, is in town. Dance is a police officer, an agent with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI). She is also Kayleigh’s friend. Dance is an expert in kinesics, but stalkers are the most difficult criminals to read. They believe their version of the truth. It is their reality. 

A series of murders begin. The killer targets people close to Kayleigh, using the lyrics of Kayleigh’s song, Your Shadow to let everyone know he is about to kill. Dance joins the investigation. Is Sharp the killer? He cannot be tied to the murders. His intimate knowledge of Kayleigh is available to anybody from dedicated ‘stalker’ fan sites. The murders continue, new suspects emerge, and Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs make a guest appearance. 

XO twists and turns and never disappoints. I finished the book in less than a day. Deaver is the master of the art of plotting stories of personal terror. His characters are complex, his dialogue is simple, and his pacing is perfect. 

Amanda Patterson
5/5 

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone

by Laini Taylor (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781444722635 R180, 00 



Karou is the beautiful girl with the blue hair who doesn't belong. She doesn't know where she comes from and nobody will tell her. She lives in two worlds, 'Elsewhere' and Earth. She runs errands for Brimstone, who raised her, and lives as a 17-year-old art student in Prague for the rest. 

Enter Akiva, the angel who wants to kill her. But he's smitten as he observes, "It was like stepping into the pages of a book - a book alive with colour and fragrance, filth and chaos - and the blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it did others, the air seeming to gather around her like held breath. As if this whole place were a story about her." 

The doors to ‘Elsewhere’ are closing. Karou has to find out who she is, and what her destiny is. The novel is beautifully written. Taylor weaves words with myths with dreams. However, I found she lost me in the last third of the book when things became too unbelievable. Even for this book. 

Amanda Patterson
3.5/5

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The Burning Soul

by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN 978-340-99354-5

 

After Haight and Lonny have done their time, Haight moves far away to Pastor's Bay in Maine where he hoped no-one would ever find out his secret past.

 

Haight remembers how he had wanted to let her go but Lonny was the one who took it too far, closing her nostrils so she couldn't breathe. Lonny and Haight were tried as adults and spent years in separate facilities, from juvenile to adult. The judge ordered that all records of the trial should be sealed.

 

Now someone attacks Haight about his past. He asks the police to intervene but keep the matter private. Haight is a private man, a man of figures, an accountant who lives a solitary life, except for his customers who were happy with his work. Pastor's Bay seemed to be as far away as he could get from his past.

 

But her ghost begins to haunt him, and then another little girl who was missing, played and sang in his basement. She seems quite happy there.

 

There is a shocking twist to this story, one you'd never believe could happen. The police come up with a solution in the end, in the woods, in an old caravan.  What happens to Lonny and Haight who did the worst thing they could ever have done?

 

Dee Andrew

4.5/5

 

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Devious

by Lisa Jackson (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 978 1 444 71341 1

 

Lisa Jackson is the author of twelve spine-chillers, with suitably creepy titles like Chosen to Die and Fatal Burn.  Devious, her new novel, opens with a gruesome taste of things to come – a young nun is found brutally murdered in a Cathedral and detective duo, Bentz and Montoya, are called to the scene.

 

The disturbing part is that the young novice was pregnant at the time of her death and Montoya knew her well. She was once his brother’s girlfriend. As other nuns are slaughtered, the hunt is on for a devious, depraved serial killer.

 

The maniac seems to know all the victims’ secrets, but the detectives are left cold as to his identity. Their prime suspect may not be the man they’re looking for – the only other possibility on their list is a man who died years ago. Or did he?

 

Devious takes the reader into the hushed, shadowy world of a New Orleans convent and to the heart of police procedure as the mystery unravels. The pages are salaciously loaded with intrigue, lust, revenge and even a bit of a romance.

 

Some may not care for the author’s sometimes choppy style of writing, but Jackson writes with intensity and keeps up a fast pace. Another minus point is that some of the plot threads weren’t tied up or resolved. All in all, it’s a juicy and creepy story to keep you up at night. Say your prayers, girls!

 

Faith Parker

3/5

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