A Song for Issy Bradley – Carys Bray
A Song for Issy Bradley tells the story of all the members of the Bradley family after a devastating tragic event that affects them all. Set within the Mormon faith it is a fascinating insight from an author who herself was a Mormon until leaving the church in her mid 30s, as well as a heartbreaking, touching and utterly memorable tale of an ordinary family trying to find a way forward in their lives. The author has done an amazing job of capturing the identities of all the family from the youngest to the oldest, and the voices of all the characters are so well formed. I stayed up to the early hours to finish this, although I never wanted it to end.
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
It has taken me a while to get round to reading this first book by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling, and it has been good to wait until the hype has died down a bit, now that the second in the series has also been released. This is a true murder mystery, and definitely not part of the modern crime genre that has become more graphic, brutal and thrilling. The Cuckoos Calling has taken me back to the era of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie et al – and it is quite a refreshing change, albeit that the setting is modern. Cormoran Strike, the private detective, is hired by the brother of a supermodel who has supposedly committed suicide to investigate her death further as he is convinced she was murdered. Strike himself is an interesting character as he is an ex-military policeman injured in Afghanistan, and he has a superb “sidekick” in Robin, a young woman who initially starts out as a temporary admin assistant for him, but quickly finds herself so much more involved in the investigation. Some great supporting characters. Can definitely see a TV adaptation coming in the future! Lots of twists, turns, unravelling of stories, and in good old JK Rowling style some excellent insights into complex families, characters with hidden secrets, and a can’t-put-down final chapter!
The Martian – Andy Weir
Never have I loved a book so much despite understanding so little!!! A wonderful wonderful read, captivating from the best opening paragraph in a book EVER to the dramatic final chapters. Mark Watney is presumed dead after a mission to Mars goes wrong, and he is left behind on the planet. However, he isn’t dead. He is very much alive, but no-one apart from him knows it. How can he let the rest of the crew and mission control know so that they can try and save him? And how will he survive on Mars until they do? I haven’t read a sci-fi book in my life before this one! Some of the technical terms went right over my head. But do you know what, it didn’t matter in the slightest, as the charater of Mark was so spot on, and I was so engaged in his battle to survive. A wonderful wonderful read, and glad that it has been featured in the Richard and Judy Autumn 2014 list and that more people will hear about this book.
The Swimmer – Joakim Zander
A book in the mould of I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. A slick action thriller which brings together an estranged father and daughter. the opening of the book sees a CIA operative watch helplessly as his girlfriend is killed in a car bomb meant for him. He smuggles their baby daughter to safety to her maternal grandparents in Sweden, and continues his life without her, desperate to keep her safe from the people that are out to kill him. Many years later she is involved in a cover-up that many are keen not to see uncovered and her life is again in danger……Definitely a page turner, I don’t think this is going to take me long to finish.
Let us know what you’ve been reading this week in the comments box below.