Tag: crime

Book Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X
Author: Alexis Schaitkin

Published: February 18, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 24- December 9, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort – are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth – not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

Jessica’s Review:

I am not really sure what to think of this one. It was not really good, but also not really bad, so I put it in the middle and give it three stars.  Though taking place before Natalie Holloway’s disappearance in Aruba, it was reminiscent of that story even though we don’t and most likely never will have answers to that case. 

Saint X deals with the disappearance/murder of Alison Thomas at 18 years of age on the last night of her family’s Caribbean vacation which includes her younger sister Claire at age seven.  Two native islanders are accused of Alison’s murder, but things eventually amount to nothing.

We then come to present day and Claire is all grown up. She still deals with her sister’s death even to this day and encounters one of the men who was accused of killing her sister.  Then this leads to a story of obsession on Claire’s part and reflecting on who she is and who her sister might have been. 

Saint X focuses on three people telling their story: Alison, Claire and Clive Richardson.  The three stories are blended together to get a whole picture. We also have interviews, audio diaries (yes, Claire gets to hear her own sister’s voice) and autopsy reports. 

I think why I have some issues with this one is that I was not connected to the characters, but was involved enough in the story to keep listening.  It did help me that there was a cast narration.  There are many themes dealt with throughout the novel including class, race, and privilege. Saint X gives you enough to keep you thinking. 

This one seems to be an average novel that may or may not be for you.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Blog Tour: Apartment 6 By Stuart James

Today I am sharing my review as a part of the blog tour for Apartment 6 by Stuart James.

Book Description:

Be careful what you wish for…

When Meagan was five years old her mother was viciously attacked and murdered.

Now an adult, she herself is the victim of an abusive relationship. Meagan is desperate to escape but doesn’t have the courage to leave.

So, when Meagan meets Oliver, a decent guy who is on the rebound after a failed relationship, the two strike up a connection. But when Meagan confesses that her husband is abusive, it leads Oliver down a dark and dangerous path.

Just how far would you go to protect someone?

Oliver is about to find out and be pushed to his very limits…

Apartment 6
Author: Stuart James
Published: January 29, 2020
288 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 20-27, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Jessica’s Review:

This is my first book from James and it will not be my last! He shows us the pure terror that is physical and verbal domestic abuse. What makes it worse is that the abuse occurs over two generations.  Apartment 6 was at times difficult to read, and if you have experienced domestic abuse of any sort, this novel may be a trigger for you.

From the first line, I was drawn into Apartment 6 and that first chapter is incredible. The chapters alternate between twenty years ago and present day and the past definitely affects the present.  Megan is the focus of our novel and in present day she meets Oliver and then together they go down a path that many may not expect.  Apartment 6 really does show the dark side of human nature, in both expected and unexpected ways.  Nearly all the characters are unlikeable in some way, but this adds to the story, and does not take away.

The less you know about Apartment 6 the better.  I did figure out all but one twist, which was about ¾ into the novel, and that twist I never even saw coming. It was a complete shocker to me!  If I had not figured out the other twists I can imagine that I would have been completely blown away.

If you enjoy thrillers, do give Apartment 6 a try, it is currently just .99 on kindle!

**Many thanks to Book on the Bright Side and the publisher Bloodhound Books for granting me an arc copy as a part of the blog tour.**

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breathe away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.

I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness. That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.

I have multiple stories running, past and present:
A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.
A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.
A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.
A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which will be released 29th of January.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.

I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come. That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

Contact Stuart:
Website
Twitter: @StuartJames73

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Short Story Sunday: A Christmas Crime by Tara Lyons 

A Christmas Crime 
Author: Tara Lyons
Published: December 9, 2019

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 12-13, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

With snow falling in a quaint Surrey Village, it’s the perfect setting for Holly and Christopher’s dream Christmas wedding. But instead of enjoying mince pies and mistletoe, their happiness is threatened by old secrets and someone harbouring a grudge. When the truth is finally revealed, can the couple enjoy the festivities with their family, or is their marriage doomed from the start?

Jessica’s Review:

This short story starts with quite the first line:

The blood splatter on the altar wasn’t the only sign that everything wasn’t right.

This is the first I have read by Tara Lyons and this short story gives us a taste of what she can write.  I hope to read some of her full-length novels sometime!

The only negative for me was that I wanted to get to the ‘meat’ of the story, which did not happen until the wedding day.  Despite being a short story, it did drag a little for me.  I think I wanted to know what the crime was.  And I did not see that ending coming, it was quite unexpected!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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