I love reading but just don’t often find the time to do it. Since graduating, I’ve had a lot more time on my hands, and have read more as a result. My last Recently Read was back in September last year, so today I wanted to share with you three of my most recent reads. I’d say they all loosely link to a crime fiction narrative which is a genre I really like.
Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
‘Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.’ So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them all into chaos.
This book has been sat on my shelves for ages, and despite it’s 292-page length, I had been putting off reading it. I was expecting a murder mystery novel into Lydia’s disappearance but really enjoyed the complex narrative that this book actually gave me. The story covers not just Lydia’s life, but her whole family; her parents’ childhoods, their meeting, their marriage, the complicated relationship between siblings and parents, and I couldn’t get enough.
The ending for me is what made this book. In a way it is heartbreaking, but it fits the story so perfectly. It raises questions as well as answering them, but tells a beautiful story of love and life.
A Daughter’s Secret – Eleanor Moran
Mia is a high-flying child psychotherapist, hoping to be made partner in the thriving practice where she works. But then she takes on a case which will change her life for ever, and bring back the past she has done her best to bury. Thirteen-year-old Gemma was the last person to see her father before he went on the run, fleeing from a major criminal trial. The police are desperate to track him down, pressuring Mia to tease the information out of his angry and reluctant daughter. But what does Gemma really know and how hard can Mia push without betraying her? Both are hiding devastating secrets. Both need the other to survive. Will they learn to trust each other before it’s too late?
Another one I expected something a little different from, though thoroughly enjoyed. Both Mia and Gemma have secrets, but the stories behind them are more complex than I first imagined. I did find the book a little slow in places, but that didn’t stop me reading it in no more than a few days.
The story flits between Mia in the present day and throughout her childhood, giving us insight into her life and her story. In this way I felt that Gemma’s character was more underdeveloped, and I was kept guessing up until the end because I simply did not trust her. I would have liked to have learned more about Gemma’s character, but I suppose it reflected the limited information that Mia had about her, so that we could make up our own minds in the end.
You Are Next – Katia Lief
Detective Karin Schaeffer was a happily married mother until she got too close to catching a serial killer. The press nickname him The Domino Killer because he systematically murders whole families, leaving a trail of bloody dominoes as the only clues to his next victim. Having brutally slain Karin’s husband and child, he had left her a chilling message in her daughter’s blood: You are next. And now the Domino Killer has escaped prison and the police believe he’s on his way to find her. But Karin is waiting…
I was going to save this for a review with it’s sequel, but I have no idea when (or if) I’ll get around to reading that so thought I may as well include it whilst the memory is still fresh.
I actually demolished this book in a day; probably about 5 hours total. It wasn’t necessarily that I couldn’t put it down – I just didn’t have anything better to do. Whilst You Are Next is certainly not the best detective novel I’ve read, it’s not the worst either, and despite it’s flaws I did enjoy it. I was intrigued by the randomness of the dominoes, and the complexity of the case.
My one main flaw with this book is that Karin herself is pretty dull, and I would have liked more of a background into her story. When we meet her she is suicidal; still mourning the loss of her husband and child, however this narrative quietens too soon for me. I expected more from a main character, but to be honest I never really cared if she lived or died.
Whilst I am not all that excited for the sequel, I already own it so will probably give it a go at some point. I just hope I warm to Karin a lot more than I did in this book.
Have you read any of these? Let me know which would be your favourite in the comments!