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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend Request

What would you do if you received a Friend Request on Facebook from someone you believed had been dead for years?

When it happens to Louise it sets in train a series of events that put her and others in serious danger. At first she has no idea if the 'Maria' who has sent her a friend request is genuine or not, so she starts to track down other friends from the time in order to attempt to piece together what is going on.

The present day narrative is interspersed with flashbacks to Louise's schooldays in the 1980s and the past and present collide when Louise decides to attend a school reunion and comes face to face with people who knew Maria in the past. But who has organised the reunion and why?

As well as being a gripping thriller, I found Friend Request quite a poignant story as well. It deals with the tensions and jealousies between school girls and the ways in which that can spill over into adult life really well, and also depicts Louise's broken marriage from her childhood sweetheart Sam, and her relationship with her young son in a touching way.

Through many twists and turns the tension doesn't let up and ultimately the truth of what happened back then, and what is happening now is revealed in an explosive ending.

I received a review copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.

You can find out more here

Monday, 17 July 2017

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done

Based on the true story of Lizzie Borden who stood trial for the murder of her father and stepmother, 'See What I Have Done' is a compelling and well crafted novel.

The use of language is experimental in places, and the structure fragmented as Sarah Schmidt takes the reader backwards and forwards in time and in and out of different points of view. This complexity accentuates a story in which there is still much unsolved mystery.

It is not known whether Lizzie Borden did kill her parents or not, and in the novel we are presented with a mosaic of different scenarios. Things that might and could have happened. Reasons why they might have come about. Dark motives at the heart of a fractured family.

The writing is very accomplished and recreates authentically the claustrophobia of the Borden household. Father, stepmother and two adult daughters are living in close proximity to each other with all the tension and awkwardness that creates.

This book is not always an easy read. The visceral and sharply evocative descriptions of decay and death are so realistic that they assault the senses. But the quality of the writing and the execution of the plot are masterly and the overall read is well worth it.

A recommended read for anyone who craves the unusual, and for anyone who is familiar with the real life story of Lizzie Borden and intrigued to enter a fictionalised version of her world.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.