The House Swap – Rebecca Fleet

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A couple struggling to reconnect and rebuild their marriage take a house swap as a chance to get away. Things get creepy.

This was a reasonably good psychological thriller that held my interest all the way to the end. It’s well written; I like the author’s style and voice. The characters were believable, if not terribly likeable. I did feel that the ‘what the heck is going on’ state of mind for the reader went on for a bit long – there were too many questions that were unanswered right until the end, but I guess that’s what kept me reading. I wouldn’t give it five stars, maybe only three and a half, but it’s a pretty decent debut and I would read the author again.

Force of Nature – Jane Harper

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Five women go into the bush on a weekend team-building exercise. Only four come out. What happened to Alice?

This is Jane Harper’s second book, and I must admit I enjoyed it more than the first. The Dry, her debut, was great; a small-town murder mystery set in drought-stricken rural Australia. I very much enjoyed that one, but I had it solved way too early. Force of Nature had me baffled, though. It has everything I love about a good murder – a limited cast of suspects, determined but fallible detectives, a great setting, and that alternating point of view thing that keeps you needing to read just one more chapter. I’m now a Jane Harper fan.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo

Rafferty's Rules – W. Glenn Duncan

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A private investigator with a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and wisecracking his way out of trouble, shows that deep down he’s a big softy.

Okay, so that doesn’t explain the plot terribly well, but the plot is secondary in this new series I’m reading. It’s all about character, and Rafferty has plenty of it. This is an action-packed, hard-boiled thriller, and once I got past a little sexism (it was written in the eighties, after all) and realised Rafferty really was one of the nice guys, I loved it. I’m already halfway through book two.

Interesting side note about the series: the first six books were written by W. Glenn Duncan Senior, and have been re-released by his son, Bill Duncan. Bill is now continuing Rafferty’s story, with his first (book seven in the series) due out in July. What a great story!

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith

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A divorced woman uses an inheritance from her father to start the only ladies’ detective agency in Botswana.

This was a fun read. The characters make the story in this book, most definitely. The plot seemed to jump from place to place at times, but it didn’t matter because Mma Ramotswe was a delight to read about. Unlike other mysteries which usually centre on one case for the entire book, Mma Ramotswe has many cases – some big, some small – as she starts her business. This was a great departure from all the psychological thrillers and traditional detective novels I’ve been reading lately. I’ll be on the lookout for more of the series.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo

Never Look Away – Linwood Barclay

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A man’s life is turned upside down when his wife goes missing from a fun park, and there’s no record that she was ever there.

This has some plot twists and turns! I had to feel sorry for the main character, who is manipulated and not believed from the start. He’s just a regular guy with a wife and kid enjoying a family day out, or so he thought. Then everything turns to, well, crap. The book was a great read, even if the plot got a little convoluted at times. It was believable at a stretch, I guess, but this is fiction. And believable or not, it was a great read. Even though for the most part the reader knows what is going on, there are still plenty of surprises to keep it a great page-turner. I’d forgotten how good Linwood Barclay is.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo