Review: The Lady Brewer of London by Karen Brooks

Title: The Lady Brewer of London

Author: Karen Brooks

Published: 10th November 2020, William Morrow

Status: Read November 2020 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss

++++++

My Thoughts:

When Anneke Sheldrake’s father is lost at sea she is horrified to learn that she and her younger siblings have been left with nothing. Desperate to keep what remains of her family together, she strikes a bold bargain with her father’s employer and, armed with her late mother’s family recipes, daringly chooses to go into business as a brewer of ale. Despite being ostracised by most of her family and friends, and repeatedly harassed and intimidated by the local Abbot and his cronies whose monopoly of the ale trade is threatened, Anneke’s brew steadily wins favour amongst the community. Just as success seems within her reach, Anneke is targeted in a malicious attack that razes nearly everything she holds dear. Forced to flee for her life, Anneke is nevertheless determined to begin again and finds an unlikely ally in a London brothel owner. With courage and hard work, Anneke, taking the name Anna de Winter, slowly rebuilds her life and business, until the horrors of her past once again threaten to destroy her.

A saga of betrayal, love, tragedy, courage and triumph, The Lady Brewer Of London is an ambitious historical drama by author, Karen Brooks.

Anneke is strong protagonist, with spirit and convictions uncommon for her time. Despite harrowing personal tragedy she finds the strength to rise above it and carry on, refusing to be cowed by her persecutors. Her courage, loyalty and determination are admirable qualities and ensure the reader is firmly on her side, willing her to triumph.

Anneke’s loyal cast including her sweet sister, Betje, the brash Alyson, and the dashing hero, Lord Leander Rainford, are eminently appealing. The villains, including Anneke’s spiteful cousin, a raft of spiritually corrupt monks, and her inescapable enemy are infuriating and often terrifying.

Though set in medieval England, the story begins in ‘The year of Our Lord 1405 in the sixth year of the reign of Henry IV’, I didn’t get a true sense of the period. It seemed not that much different from Georgian or Victorian times, though to be fair it mattered little as the details were consistent and the setting well grounded. I was surprised at how interested I was in the history of the brewery industry, and I finally discovered the difference between beer and ale. (I don’t drink either so had never thought about it before)

The writing is articulate and the first person perspective works well. The pacing was reasonable but I did feel the story, at well over 500 pages, was too long overall. I was tempted to skim at times, particularly as the plot was, though well thought out, generally predictable, with the second half of the story essentially mirroring the events of the first.

Nevertheless, The Lady Brewer of London was a satisfying read and I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy the drama and romance of sweeping historical fiction driven by a strong heroine.

++++++

Available from HarperCollins US

Or your preferred retailer via Indiebound I Book Depository I Booko

* Published in Australia as The Brewer’s Tale *


Also by Karen Brooks reviewed at Book’d Out

Review: Anti-Social: The Secret Diary of an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer by Nick Pettigrew

Title: Anti-Social: The Secret Diary of an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer

Author: Nick Pettigrew

Published: 23rd July 2020, Century

Status: Read November 2020 courtesy PenguinUK/ Netgalley

+++++++

My Thoughts:

I’d never heard of an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer before seeing this book, but I was intrigued by the existence of such an occupation. It turns out that in the UK, ASB officers are employed by various organisations to help manage and/or curb anti-social behaviour.

Anti-social behaviour is:

(a) conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person  (b) conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises (c) conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person 

Nick Pettigrew worked for a council managed organisation that provided low-cost housing for those in need for almost twenty years. As an ASB officer, his role was to investigate and take action regarding incidents of anti-social behaviour affecting the tenants in the approximately 3,000 properties he was responsible for.

Such incidents could vary widely, from complaints about noise, to teens hanging out in stairwells, from drug affected persons passed out in doorways, to concerns about domestic violence. Nick would investigate, and then decide on a course of action, which might mean doing nothing; or involving specific agencies like the police, mental health teams, or social workers. He might recommend the installation of CCTV, send a ‘cease and desist’ letter to a tenant, recommend an injunction via court action, or take steps towards eviction. Some incidents could be resolved swiftly, others could take months, or longer.

Presented in a diary format, with heavy use of black humour, Nick relates the events of his days over a period of about a year. The book includes tales of several of his clients that are variously heartbreaking, tragic, absurd, and infuriating, including a vulnerable woman manipulated by strangers into sharing her home with them, a schizophrenic with a crude vocabulary she wielded against her neighbours when she was off her meds, a man who considered carol singers to be an unruly gang, and an elderly Nazi paedophile who disclosed his predilections to his neighbours whenever he wanted to be rehoused.

Nick also writes of the increasing difficulties of his job in the face of UK ‘austerity’ policies that have affected the entire network of social services. With anti-social behaviour on the rise, the already under-funded, under-resourced, and under-valued agencies that serve the disenfranchised, are stretched thinner every year. Nick’s anger at this state of affairs is palpable, and entirely understandable.

It’s no wonder that in the role of an ASB officer, Nick’s own issues with anxiety and depression eventually worsened until he felt he had no choice but to resign. Describing lives plagued by poverty, trauma, mental illness, addiction, racism, loneliness, and family dysfunction, among other issues, Nick laments he grew weary of being able to do nothing but treat some of the symptoms of society’s ills, rather than affect real change.

Raw, honest, funny, and disturbing, Anti-Social is an insightful glimpse into the work of an ASB officer, and the lives of their clients.

++++++

Available from Penguin UK

Or from your preferred retailer via HiveUK I Book Depository I Booko

Review: The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell

Title: The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home

Author: Joanna Nell

Published: 27th October 2020, Hachette Australia

Status: Read November 2020 courtesy Hachette Australia/ Netgalley

++++++

My Thoughts:

The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home is a charming novel proving you’re never too old for a fresh start from Joanna Nell.

After 89-year-old Miss (never Mrs or Ms) Hattie Bloom breaks her hip from a fall in her backyard, she is dismayed to be told she must spend four to six weeks convalescing at the Woodlands Nursing Home. A recluse, far more more comfortable with birds than people, she is desperate return to the sandstone cottage she was born in, particularly concerned for the welfare of a pair of nesting owls in a tree her new neighbours are threatening to fell. When an ill-timed escape attempt is frustrated by a traffic jam, Hattie resigns herself to the temporary encroachments on her privacy and independence, agreeing to repairs on her home that might let her leave her sooner.

Ninety-year-old Walter Clements, recovering from a car accident, is also determined to return to his suburban home sooner rather than later. To that end, the former driver instructor agrees to humour his daughter and the DON (Director of Nursing) and undertake an assessment to show he is capable of safely managing a mobility scooter. Walter is outraged when a few small mistakes, which includes running over his examiner’s foot, destroying an antique table, and knocking over newcomer, Miss Hattie Bloom, scuppers his chances.

It’s not the most auspicious start to a relationship but nevertheless a friendship slowly blossoms between Hattie and Walter, despite their oppositional temperaments. Where Hattie is reserved and aloof, Walter is loud and gregarious, they actually remind me a little of my own grandparents (and coincidentally my grandfather was also named Walter). Both are well-developed characters, depicted with authenticity and warmth. Hattie, a naturalist and author, who has spent almost her entire life alone by choice, slowly opens up as she becomes enmeshed in the fabric of Woodlands. Walter is occasionally inappropriate, a little bewildered by today’s mores, fond of a glass or three of whiskey, and an incurable optimist, though not without regrets. Though he hopes to go home, he is making the best of his time in Woodlands.

Nell draws on her experience as a GP visiting nursing homes, to provide some insight into the routines, successes and failures of institutional care. Woodlands certainly seems better than many which have made news headlines due to abuse and neglect, however it’s still an institution and as such rules and regulations often override common sense practice. This is evident when night nurse Bronwyn is fired after her aged black lab Queenie, accidentally knocks over and injures one of the residents. Bronwyn is a favourite of many of the Home’s residents, not the least because of her unofficial night time ‘club’, the Night Owls, that provides and encourages activities for the sleepless.

Hattie and Walter’s antics are delightful, though not without a hint of poignancy. They bond over their plan to have Bronwyn reinstated, assisted by Murray, another resident who has become a close friend of Walter (men are severely outnumbered in Woodlands) but is bedridden. Nell doesn’t shy away from portraying the difficult realities of ageing, and Murray’s approaching demise, and his desire to go home one last time, is treated sensitively.

The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home is a witty, charming, and heartwarming novel, recommended for the old, and not so old alike.

++++++

Available from Hachette Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK

Review: Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard

Title: Letters From Berlin

Author: Tania Blanchard

Published: 7th October 2020, Simon & Schuster Australia

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

Inspired by the author’s family history, Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard is a heartfelt story of love, courage, betrayal and survival during World War Two.

As the Third Reich escalates its purge of the Jewish people from Germany in 1943, eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann’s fears grow for the safety of her beloved godparents who have raised her since childhood. While both she and her Onkel Georg are Aryan, Tante Elya is a Russian Jew, and their son, Leo, is classified a ‘mischlinge’, a halfbreed. The ability of the family estate, Gut Birkenhof, on the outskirts of Berlin, to provide goods and materials for the Nazi’s has allowed Georg to keep his wife and son safe, but as the Party rhetoric intensifies, their situation grows increasingly precarious.

Letters From Berlin unfolds from Susanna’s perspective as a reasonably wealthy, educated Aryan in Berlin who loves her country but is appalled by the actions of the Nazi Party, and their treatment of the Jewish people. Her primary concern is naturally for her Aunt Elya, and Leo, with whom she has been in love since she was a child, and to help protect them she makes some naive, brave, and dangerous choices. I liked the character of Susanna, and felt for all she endured, especially when circumstances separated her from Leo, and resulted in the loss of her child.

The plot of Letters from Berlin doesn’t offer much in the way of surprises, but the story is nevertheless engaging. There are some tense and dramatic moments and the themes of war, prejudice, injustice, family and love are inherently emotive. That it’s loosely based on real experiences adds a layer of poignancy, and I was glad Blanchard offered an epilogue of sorts.

Blanchard’s portrayal of life in Berlin during the war is interesting. In mid 1943, when the story starts, there seems to be little change in the day to day life of the wealthier of Aryan citizens, but as the country’s enemies close in, and the activities of the resistance take their toll, the privations grow. Blanchard merges fact with fiction as she writes of the forced labor camps, the failed conspiracy to kill Hitler, the bombings that set zoo animals loose in the streets, and the chaos post ‘liberation’.

A touching historical fiction novel, Letters From Berlin is a satisfying read.

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Review: Rebel Without a Clause by Sue Butler

Title: Rebel Without A Clause: Losing the linguistic plot…

Author: Sue Butler

Published: 29th September 2020, Macmillan

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy PanMacmillan Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

It’s surprising how often conversations about language crop up around our dinner table. The kids love to tease me about the way I say ‘tacos’, my son enjoys irritating his siblings with his eccentric vocabulary, and their father’s has a penchant for using old ‘bush’ phrases which often require translation. As it happens, just last week my youngest daughter started a debate when she took one of her siblings to task for saying pronounciation instead of pronunciation, which should please Sue Butler.

Susan Butler, the former Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, has some very particular ideas about language and how it ought and ought not be used. Rebel Without a Clause is a collection of her observations on, among other things, ‘the vagaries of English pronunciation, complicated by differences in varieties of English and personal idiosyncrasies and social taboos’.

‘To Care or Not To Care’ is the title of her first chapter in which she provides a brief explanation of how and why language changes, the need to balance preservation with the right of expression, and the importance of clarity and meaning.

In further pithy chapters, Susan goes on to discuss cliches, inventions, awkward spellings, mixed metaphors, and misconceptions. Her erudite commentary tempered by her wit, she explores questions like; Is Sheila now a derogatory term? What’s the difference between flaunt and flout? Should Covidiot have a place in the dictionary? Do you order brus-ketta or bru-shetta?

There’s a little overlap between Rebel Without a Clause and Butler’s The Aitch Factor (2014), but not a troubling amount. I’m heartened to see Sue still believes we can do without the apostrophe, and yet I’m in complete agreement with her dislike of stream-of-consciousness writing.

Rebel Without a Clause is a delightful exploration of the ever evolving wonder of words, and would make an ideal gift for language lovers, or pedantics, grammar Nazi’s or wordsmiths.

++++++

Available from Pan Macmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Review: The Wreck by Meg Keneally

Title: The Wreck

Author: Meg Keneally

Published: 1st September 2020, Echo Publishing

Status: Read September 2020 courtesy BFredricksPR

+++++++

My Thoughts:

The Wreck is an engaging historical fiction novel from Australian author Meg Keneally.

Less than a year after Sarah McCaffrey’s parents are murdered while attending a peaceful protest against the cruelty of the Westminster government, Sarah is forced to flee London accused of high treason when a plan to attack the Cabinet is betrayed. Finding herself on a ship bound for the colony of Australia, her plans go awry when The Serpent wrecks against The Gap. As the only survivor, calling herself Sarah Marin, she is taken under the wing of local business owner, Molly Thistle, but even though she has come so far, her past threatens to sink her new life.

Set in the early 1800’s, The Wreck exposes what life was like for the women and men of the working class in London, left to starve when industrialisation made them redundant. Merging fact with fiction, Keneally places Sarah at the Peterloo Massacre, described at ‘the bloodiest political event of the 19th century in English soil’.

The wreck of The Serpent also draws inspiration from a true event, the sinking of The Dunbar in the mid 1850’s, which still ranks as one of Australia’s worst maritime disasters with the loss of all but one of its 122 crew and passengers, a young Able Seaman thrown onto a cliff ledge.

The township of Sydney, still in its infancy in 1820, is well described by Keneally with its crowded port and dusty streets. Though the colony is plagued with similar social issues as in London, which especially affect women, Sarah’s association with Mrs Thistle (modelled loosely on Mary Reibey) helps her to recognise there are alternatives to fostering change, that do less harm to those they are trying to help.

Keneally has created a strong-willed and resilient heroine in Sarah, though her age is never stated she is probably only in her late teens when she arrives in Australia. She has endured so much loss that her anger at the government and the ruling class is understandable. In the wake of the massacre, Sarah was easily convinced a bloody revolution could be the only answer, but once in Australia, Sarah’s opinion begins to change. I liked the friendship between Sarah and Nell, and the mentoring relationship that Keneally developed between Sarah and Mrs Thistle. The touch of romance is sweet addition too.

A well-written story of rebellion, betrayal, survival and courage, I enjoyed The Wreck.

+++++++

Available from Echo Publishing

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Review: The Survivors by Jane Harper

Title: The Survivors

Author: Jane Harper

Published: 22nd September 2020, Macmillan

Status: Read September 2020 courtesy Macmillan/Netgalley

+++++++

My Thoughts:

The Survivors is Jane Harper’s much anticipated fourth novel, a stand alone, slow burning mystery set on Tasmania’s coast.

Kieran Elliot, his girlfriend, Mia, and their infant daughter, have returned to Evelyn Bay to help his parents pack up their family home. It’s an uncomfortable homecoming for Kieran who still blames himself for the death of his older brother Finn, and Finn’s best mate, in a tragic accident during a violent storm. The same storm during which a fourteen year old girl disappeared, and was never found.

When a young woman’s body is discovered on the beach the day after they arrive, it seems the sea has claimed yet another victim, but investigators soon determine she was murdered, and as the search for her killer begins, the secrets of the past begin to unravel.

While the present day mystery in The Survivors revolves around the murdered girl, an art student/waitress with only a tangential link to Kieran, it’s her unwitting connection to the events twelve years previously amid the storm that marks her as the catalyst of this story. Unfolding from Kieran’s perspective, the story moves between the present and memories of the past. Well-considered red herrings distract as the plot takes unexpected twists, slowly revealing tightly kept secrets. But while I was intrigued by the story, and really had no idea who would be found responsible for the murder, I felt there was a distinct lack of tension in the novel, not helped by the conservative pacing, leading to what was an anticlimactic conclusion.

Harper’s characterisation of Kieran is compelling though, with a nuanced portrayal of a man burdened with grief and guilt. The supporting characters are sufficiently fleshed out to suit their role in the story, though few feel like active participants. I thought the dynamics of a small community under stress were well illustrated, and uniquely communicated through the town’s online forum.

The story is undeniably atmospheric, with Harper masterfully conjuring a brooding seaside town during the off-season, perched above deserted cliff-side beaches and dark, echoey caves slowly filling with cold, creeping waves. The sea becomes a pitiless thing, claiming the innocent and guilty alike.

The Survivors is perhaps not as thrilling a mystery as I had expected, but it is involving, evocative and affecting.

++++++

Available from Pan Macmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK I Indiebound

Also by Jane Harper reviewed at Book’d Out

 

 

Review: Either Side of Midnight by Benjamin Stevenson


Title: Either Side of Midnight

Author: Benjamin Stevenson

Published: 1st September 2020, Michael Joseph

Status: Read September 2020, PenguinRandomHouse Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

 

“How can it be murder when the victim pulled the trigger?”

I somehow overlooked Benjamin Stevenson’s debut novel, Greenlight, shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction in 2018, which introduces true crime documentary producer, Jack Quick, but i was intrigued by the premise of Either Side of Midnight, and assured it could stand on its own.

It seems events in Greenlight didn’t go particularly well for Jack Quick. When he is introduced in Either Side of Midnight, Jack is in prison on multiple charges related to perverting the course of justice. Just before his release, he is visited by the identical twin brother of a TV presenter who had recently shot himself live on air. Despite the suicide being witnessed by millions of viewers, Harry Midford is convinced his brother was murdered, and offers Jack a substantial sum to prove it. Jack, who has his issues with his own brother, reluctantly agrees to investigate and begins by poking around the studio where ‘Mr Midnight’ was filmed and Sam killed himself. What he learns piques his interest, and as he digs deeper, Harry’s claim doesn’t seem so outlandish after all.

Inspired in part by a recent-ish landmark case in the US involving the use, or rather misuse, of technology, Stevenson presents a creative and intriguing plot, with an original twist on the ‘locked room’ mystery. I thought the storyline of Either Side of Midnight was very clever, I generally had no idea how the plot would unravel until the moment Stevenson intended it, with red herrings deftly distracting from the culprit and their motive. The action ramps up as Jack grows closer to understanding why Sam died, culminating in a exciting confrontation.

I do feel that in not having reading Greenlight, I may have missed some of the nuances of Jack’s character. He is certainly an interesting protagonist, with a unique vice. Traditionally male crime solvers tend to be alcoholics, or womanisers, or handy with their fists, or all three, Jack is bulimic. In Jack’s case the eating disorder was triggered in early adolescence by his brother’s accident, and I think the author’s representation of his illness, and his relationship with his brother, is portrayed sensitively.

Though Either Side of Midnight is set on Australia’s east coast, I didn’t think there was really a strong sense of place, which was a tiny bit disappointing.

An entertaining thriller with a complex lead and an original plot, I enjoyed Either Side of Midnight and I’ve added Greenlight to my WTR list.

+++++++

Available from PenguinRandomHouse Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Review: Gathering Dark by Candice Fox

Title: Gathering Dark

Author: Candice Fox

Published: 3rd August 2020, Arrow

Status: Read August 2020 courtesy Random House UK/Netgalley

+++++++

My Thoughts:

 

I’ve been delighted by the international success of author, Candice Fox, whose novels I have generally found to be creative, compelling and uniquely Australian. Unfortunately I can’t say the same of Gathering Dark which reads like it was written for the lowest common denominator of the US crime/action market.

Actually that sounds a lot harsher than I intend it, in and of itself Gathering Dark offers a fast paced, action packed, entertaining story, but it was so far from what I expecting, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed

Set in L.A., newly paroled felon, Blair Harbour, is doing her best to live quietly in the hope of increasing access to her young son, when ex-cellmate ‘Sneak’ begs her to help find her missing daughter, Dayly. Despite the risk to her liberty, and life, Blair soon finds herself, with a gopher in a shoebox, careening around town in dubious company, and turning to the very detective who put her away for help when she realises she is in over her head.

The story unfolds from the perspectives of Blair, and Detective Jessica Sanchez, which run parallel until about halfway through the book. As Blair is riffling through Dayly’s few belongings, bribing a probation officer who threatens to violate her on a petty charge, and foolishly extracting a favour owed from gangster Ada Maverick; Jessica, a dedicated investigator, is dealing with jealous, venal colleagues after inheriting a multi-million dollar house from the father of a murder victim. Jessica really isn’t interested in having anything to do with Blair at all, except Blair’s son is her new neighbour, which prompts her to take a second look at Blair’s murder conviction, and what she learns, with the assistance of eccentric pathologist Diggy, suggests Jessica has a debt to repay. The situation soon goes from bad to worse in the search for Dayly, and Fox leads us on a madcap and dangerous adventure that pits the group against a mass murderer, corrupt cops, would be thieves, and each other.

Variously tense, funny, violent, poignant and outrageous, Gathering Dark is obviously best approached without preconceptions. If you can manage that then you’ll find this to be an enjoyable crime thriller.

++++++

Available from Random House UK

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK I Indiebound

Also by Candice Fox reviewed at Book’d Out

 

  

Review: The Less Dead by Denise Mina

Title: The Less Dead

Author: Denise Mina

Published: August 18th 2020, Mulholland Books

Status: Read August 2020, courtesy Mulholland Books/Netgalley

++++++

My Thoughts:

I loved Conviction so I was eager for the opportunity to read Denise Mina’s newest release, The Less Dead.

In the wake of her adoptive mother’s death, newly separated and pregnant. Glasgow GP Margo Dunlop, decides she wants to meet her biological family. She learns that her biological mother is long dead, but her Aunt Nikki, her mother’s older sister, is eager to connect with her. Their first meeting, in a small room at the reconciliation center, leaves Margo reeling when she is told that her mother, Susan, was a drug addicted prostitute who was brutally stabbed to death just months after Margo’s birth, and Nikki wants Margo’s help to solve her murder.

“It’s a cruel story to tell a stranger. Asking for things. Demanding things. It’s not her problem, all these long-ago things. She’s got enough going on.”

A compelling novel with a noir sensibility, The Less Dead sees Margo reluctantly drawn into her Aunt’s quest to hold someone responsible for Susan’s murder. Uncomfortable with Nikki’s intensity and her biological family’s unsavoury past, Margo’s commitment is half-hearted until she too becomes a target of vile, anonymous letters that appear to be from the killer.

“’When we get killed they call us the ‘less dead’, like we were never really alive to begin with.”

‘We’ refers to sex workers, drug addicts, migrants and the poor, women like Susan and Nikki, and ‘they’ the Glasgow police who routinely turned a blind eye when it came to crimes against women on the street. Susan was one of nine sex workers from the same small area murdered in the eighties. The women themselves feared a serial killer, the police were uninterested, Nikki later became convinced the murderer was a cop. Whomever it is, he has continued to taunt Nikki over the last thirty plus years, and now Margo has his attention and the tension rises as the killer grows increasingly obsessed.

“It doesn’t feel as if she’s looking at someone else at all but a younger self, a splinter Margo.”

Honestly I found Margo to be a frustrating character who, even with the recognition she was under an enormous amount of stress, often made inexplicable decisions. However, I was impressed with the way the author explored the contrast between Margo’s adopted middle class life, and that of her struggling biological family through her. Margo may look almost exactly like her late mother but she had no understanding of life she lead, or the environment she grew up in, and the way in which she is forced to confront her own prejudice, assumptions and authority is intelligent and thought-provoking.

“… we made being outsiders the thing we were. They couldn’t break us or make us lie. We knew who we were.”

It was Nikki who I found the most interesting and authentically portrayed, along with Lizzy and Susan (even though she is not actually present). I felt sorry about the hardships the women experienced, but never found them pitiable, in fact I admired them.

Though not a fast-paced book, The Less Dead is thrilling, with a pervasive sense of unease and a steady increase in tension. Gritty, insightful and absorbing, it’s only the character of Margo that unfortunately let it down for me.

++++++

Available from Hachette: Mulholland Books

Or from your preferred retailer via Book Depository I Indiebound I Booko

Also by Denise Mina reviewed at Book’d Out

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