Sleep by C.L.Taylor

Sleep - C.L. Taylor

After a traumatizing experience in London where Anna was involved in a car crash and two of her passengers/ colleagues did not survive and a third passenger was seriously injured,she feels ,apart from feeling guilty, as if someone is stalking her and very soon paranoia and insomnia sets in. So she decides to leave the Metropolis and move to Rum,a small Scottish isle, where she is helping David,the owner, to run a small country hotel. A group of 7 hikers arrive in this charming hotel and they all bring their own secrets and problems. When a storm hits the island and the hotel is completely cut off things start to become a bit uncomfortable. Anna feels more than insecure and is convinced that her stalker is in the neighbourhood… It starts very slowly and I had a hard time getting into this story. Of course,the fact that I wasn’t particularly attracted to Anna and that her fate wasn’t a major concern to me,well it didn’t exactly help. Somehow this story had all the right building stones,(storm, invisible threats ,isolated house,strangers meeting each other for the first time…)but it just lacked something. The different POV didn’t help and their were some strange passages for instance:” He’s dead”, I whisper again. Her eyes fill with tears.”Her being the whisperer… I know that this is a 4 to 5 star rating on most major sites but somehow it had all the promises but it just didn’t fulfil them…

 

Unto us a Son is Given by Donna Leon

Unto Us a Son Is Given (Commissario Brunetti #28) - Donna Leon

An elderly family friend of his father-in-law and therefore of Commissario Guido Brunetti, contemplates adopting an adult man. His father-in-law asks Brunetti to intervene or at least talk some sense into the very wealthy,eighty-five year old Gonzalo. This adopted son would be the sole beneficiary of a more than substantial inheritance. But he is not the only one who looks upon this scheme with disguised,or not,horror. When Gozalo,while visiting his estranged family in Spain, unexpectedly dies from a brain haemorrhage waters start to stir in Venice. And old friend comes to Venice so she can organise a memorial service but just hours after her arrival she is found strangled in her hotel room. It is Brunetti’s task to unravel any connection between Gonzalo and this victim and to find a murderer…. A Donna Leon novel hardly starts with murder and mayhem on page one,and it is not different here. And sometimes this slowly building up of both the story and the tension works and sometimes it doesn’t and it is not to everyone’s liking (this is by the way the 28th in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series,quite a feat…),but here it all comes together perfectly. It captures and keeps the attention and the curiosity of the reader well. The characters are well developed and it feels very (Venetian) Italian(food,way of life…) And then there is Venice,not exactly heaven on earth and not exactly inhabited by angels ,but still fascinating and intriguing enough to play a discreet leading role in this series. Yes,both Brunetti and Venice are back on track…

 

A January Killing by Paul Toolan

A January Killing: Detective Inspector Zig Batten 2 - Paul Toolan

It is an exceptional cold winter in Stockton Marsh where Wassail is celebrated, a pagan blessing of the apple orchards ,topped with plenty of cider,but this happy gathering is overshadowed by the death of one of the participants. Late as usual, he is found dead in the same orchard. We are quickly informed that his wife received an anonymous letter and that other letters are being distributed. It is clear that the Inspector Zig Batten and his team have to find a serial writer/murderer. The setting of a rural community in rural Somerset is very attractive, the characters, both main characters and bystanders are well developed but we are confronted by several POV’s and they all seem to talk to themselves Ex.: “You’ve got to stop doing this,Zig.Doing what Zig? This hanging about ,where dead bodies are”. Unfortunately several of them appear in the same chapter and blend into each other. Frankly,apart from being confusing is it also,and this is very personal,very annoying. Fact is,the storyline is full of opportunities but somehow it didn’t deliver. Mind you,it has a very attractive cover…

 

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Wakenhyrst - Michelle Paver

1966. The late Edmund Stearne,a gentleman and a murderer,creates a bit of a stir in the modern art world with his triptych that he painted while being a guest at Broadmoor,a high security psychiatric hospital. Because,yes, Edmund was a murderer. Right?

1906. Maude lives with her family in Wake’s End,a rather grim, isolated manor surrounded by marshes and fens. Her father, Edmund Stearne,an egocentric, inspired historian with a predilection for medieval history has more than a tight grip on his household and after the death of her mother life becomes just a bit more unsettling for 15 year old Maude. She discovers her father’s diary and so secretly follows his musings and thoughts. When Edmund discovers the Doom,a painting that represent the Last Day of Judgement,in the churchyard things start to break down for him. Present and past demons haunt Edmund and very slowly he becomes a more than tormented and haunted man. The outcome is both tragic and horrific…

This is a gothic story,a crime story and the story of the downfall of a human being. The bleak and haunting fens are a perfect background for this very atmospheric and mesmerizing story.