No Way Out by Cara Hunter / Blog Tour

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

 

39805700Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Series: DI Adam Fowley #3

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 360

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

DID YOU SEE ANYTHING ON THE NIGHT THE ESMOND FAMILY WERE MURDERED?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME and IN THE DARK comes the third pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked.

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder.

Rating: four-stars

 

Michael and Samantha Esmond and their two children live in a large house in an expensive part of Oxford. On New Year the fire brigade is called to their property and when they arrive, it’s already engulfed by flames. Two children are being found, three year old Zachary and his older brother Matty. However, there is no sign of the parents, it looks like the children were left alone at home. What’s worse is the fact that all the evidence points to the fire having been started deliberately, of it being an arson. The police and fire investigating team start to investigate.

This, what at the beginning looked like a simple case, turned out into something full of twists, turns, red herrings and puzzles along the way. The story is told “before” and “after”, so we slowly start to find out what has happened on the day of the fire. The events from few months before intertwine with the current police investigation and what emerges is a picture of the family that isn’t necessary happy, as we get to know their dynamics. Actually, it was like peeling away the layers, with each layer revealing more and more, until we get direct into the heart of the event.

No Way Out” is the third book in the DI Adam Fowley series and the first one read by yours truly – no idea how I’ve missed on it, to be honest, though I’m sure that the two previous novels hide somewhere in my never – ending TBR pile – and I had some reservations before reading it, not knowing if it can be read as a stand – alone. Well, the verdict is, yes it can. I haven’t got a feeling that I’m lost, that I’m missing something, the cameos were enough. Though yes, at the beginning I felt really confused with all those DIs, DSs, who was who before and was there someone degraded?

It took me some time to get used to the way it was narrated, as it was told in the first person present and third person past, and at the beginning I wasn’t sure who it is that’s talking to me, but then I simply got used to it, got into the story, felt invested in the characters’ lives so I also didn’t have any more problems. I truly liked the way the author mixed police statements and telephone transcripts, news and social media – it felt so realistic, dynamic and sharp.

This was a captivating, heart – breaking and also sad read, and the relaxed banter from Adam’s team, that occasionally was there to relieve the tension only shows how skilful the author is in planning her novel. It was, for me at least, full of twists, turns and surprises, but I would never make a good investigator, so there, and of course I couldn’t guess the outcome, but this is only a huge bonus point for the book. It dealt with a truly poignant case, and I really appreciated the way the author tackled all those issues – always when children are involved it needs this special, gentle touch and Cara Hunter provided us with it. The author’s writing style is refreshing and very modern, which makes the reading this bit faster. I can only highly recommend this domestic – noir police procedural.

 

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Swallowtail Summer by Erica James / Blog Tour

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

 

44303017Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 386

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 11.07.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A captivating story about friendship, making changes, and learning to live life to the fullest from SUNDAY TIMES bestseller Erica James.

They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . .

Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.

But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .

Rating: four-stars

 

“Swallowtail Summer” is a story about three men who have been friends from their schooldays, and about their families. One of them, Alastair, owns a beautiful house in Norfolk, where the whole group – later with the wives and then with the offspring – used to spent every summer, enjoying their holidays and sometimes searching for the elusive swallowtail butterflies. They are all happily settled into their lives and enjoy them, until Alastair’s wife Orla dies, and he goes travelling. After his return, he has some news for his friends, that turns out to be rather shocking for them, and that will affect them all.

The setting was absolutely beautiful, the picturesque Norfolk Broads vividly and colourfully described. The house that was the centre of the story was incredibly welcoming. I had, though, problems to get into the book, the beginning was really heavy for me. It was probably because of the great number of characters introduced to us and I couldn’t keep track who is who and who belongs to whom and what has happened, often feeling confused about their relationships. However, later, it starts to fit and after I’ve worked out who, why and what, I felt myself really invested in the story – it is really worth persevering, as then we are more likely to understand them, their decisions and motivations.

Nevertheless, I’ve started to feel anxious to be honest, because, well, I haven’t warmed to the characters, and I was scared that it’s going to destroy the whole reading experience for me. I couldn’t, for example, really understand why the guys, and then their families, put Alastair’s on a pedestal, I found it a bit strange, to be honest, I mean, they were all adults but they still behaved like in their youth. What made him so special? Also, I can’t imagine any of my friends – best friends – behaving like this should I tell them such news as Alastair – well, it’s my decision, right? However, they had strength to them and their personalities were very well captured, they all were flawed and had their own problems and secrets.

“Swallowtail Summer” was a story with friendship in its centre, loyalty and with a depth to it, written in a very lyrical way, providing a very accurate and sharp look at the ways people work, how they see what they want to see, how they react at truth. It was rather a sad read, or maybe I should say a very realistic one, as reality is a bitch, we know this only too well. There was never a dull moment, and while I might have not understand some of the actions of the characters, I really appreciated all the emotions that were released after Alastair’s announcement. I could never be sure where the story would lead and the few skeletons that came out of the closets were really surprising. It is a great picture of characters’ interactions, really exploring different group dynamics, showing the effect of Alastair’s news, how it affected them all and how they tried to work it for themselves, and making you also wonder. A story that had a substance to it. Recommended!

 

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