Post Script: Liar’s Candle – August Thomas

Liar's Candle by August Thomas cover art

Liar’s Candle

August Thomas

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978 1 4711 6703 4

 

Description:

In this brilliant debut thriller, set in the US embassy in Turkey, one young woman finds herself at the centre of a deadly plot and marked for death … An intelligent, fast-paced spy novel for fans of Olen Steinhauser and Joseph Kanon.

 

SHE IS THE WOMAN WHO KNOWS TOO MUCH …

 

Penny Kessler, a young intern at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, wakes up in a hospital on the morning of July 5th to find herself at the centre of an international crisis. The day before, the Embassy had been the target of a devastating terrorist attack that killed hundreds of Penny’s friends and colleagues. Not only has a photograph of Penny emerging from the rubble become the defining image of the event (#TheGirlwiththeFlag), but for reasons she doesn’tunderstand, her bosses believe she’s a crucial witness.

 

Suddenly, everyone is desperately interested in what Penny knows. But what does she know? And who can she trust? As she struggles to piece together her memories of the event, she discovers that Zach Robson, the young diplomat she’s been falling for all summer, went missing during the attack. Now his boss at the CIA, Christina Ekdahl, wants people to believe that Zach was a traitor. Only one person stands in her way: Penny. And Christina will do anything to silence her.

 

In a race to keep from being killed and to uncover the truth, Penny reluctantly partners with Connor Beauregard, a rookie CIA officer on his first overseas assignment. But the two won’t survive unless they can outwit – and outmaneuver – everyone from the Turkish president and his daughter to Islamic extremists, to the US State Department, to the CIA itself.

 

Praise for Liar’s Candle

 

“Stunning…a novel that brings the le Carré and Follett traditions into the 21st century.  Breakneck pacing, sharply observed detail, an all-too-plausible plot, and a protagonist to cheer for’ Joseph Finder

 

‘A high-energy thriller…The tension and relentless action ratchet higher from the very first chapter to the climatic ending as one terrifying escape follows the next and everywhere friends and foes change places. Thomas has eerily evoked not only the intrigue and brutality of terrorism in Turkey, but the country itself’ Paul Vidich

 

‘Tightly-plotted, well-written, and astute, Liar’s Candle is a remarkable debut’ Lisa Unger

 

‘August Thomas is a fresh, exciting new voice in international thrillers’ Chris Pavone

 

‘A propulsive, heart-in-your-throat thriller that’s loaded with unexpected twists and turns…. LIAR’S CANDLE is a shockingly good debut novel’ Daniel Kalla

 

My View:

What more can I say that hasn’t already been said? Only that the accolades are well deserved: this book is an outstanding read and if you love a fast paced, action packed, trust no one type of intelligent thriller – well then this book is for you.  So credible, such an authentic voice, I loved every word on every page.

 

 

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Post Script: The Escape Room – Megan Goldin

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin cover art

The Escape Room

Megan Goldin

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143785477

 

Description:

‘Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.’

 

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.

 

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.

 

Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

 

‘Fantastic – one of my favorite books of the year.’ Lee Child

 

 

My View:

With a terrific opening hook – the prologue reveals gun shots and a river of blood as the elevator opens its doors – now to find out how/who did it and why because this is a book where the why is so very important and the who will surprise you.

 

Megan Goldin excels once again with her second novel, The Escape Room, a psychological mystery told in alternating chapters; the elevator with the unravelling psyches of those who are trapped, and the protagonist, Sara Hall’s story. An engaging and disturbing read.

 

**And look what popped up in my news feed today in https://www.perthnow.com.au 

The best tricks for surviving in a falling elevator:

 

CUSHION THE IMPACT

If you’re travelling with luggage (or anything big and bulky) the best thing to do is lay or stand on top of it.

Whether it’s a suitcase, handbag or briefcase, make sure you get on top of it to cushion the blow.

That’s because it’s possible that the items you’re on top of can break the force of impact and act like a crumple zone in a car.

 

LAY FLAT ON FLOOR

The best way to survive a falling lift is to lie flat on the elevator floor with your arms and legs spread out in a starfish shape.

This means you distribute the force of impact across your entire body and there is less chance of serious injury to one area.

You need to use the part of your body with the most fat on to cushion the blow, and try to protect your head and neck.

However, experts warn that it’s important to be aware of any shrapnel or debris which may come loose and hit you as you land.

Don’t panic — the fatality rate of using a lift is only 0.00000015 per cent or one in 650,000,000 rides, so you’d be really unlucky to find yourself in that position.

But, in the very unlikely event that you do, your best bet is to lay flat.

This story first appeared in The Sun

Post Script: Ghosted – Rosie Walsh

Ghosted

Ghosted aka The Man Who Didn’t Call

Rosie Walsh

Pan Macmillan Australia

Mantle

ISBN:  9781509886432

 

Description:

It was the perfect love story… until he disappeared.

Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything in your life. So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him.

But he doesn’t call. And he doesn’t call. And he doesn’t call.

Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong – something must have happened – there’s got to be a reason for his silence.

What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason – and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other? The truth.

If you’ve ever found yourself waiting for a call that didn’t come, Ghosted by Rosie Walsh is the book for you.

 

My View:

What a fantastic read! This narrative confused me a little (in a good way) from the glorious cover art to the back page synopsis I thought I was getting a run of the mill romance; something light, something that doesn’t require too much concentration or attention, something…middle of the road.  How wrong was I?

 

A mash up of mystery, life lit and a coming of age story, this book has it all. Beautifully written, engaging…and the twists…this one belongs on   my favourite reads of 2018 list.

 

PS This would make a fab film!

Post Script: I’ll Keep You Safe – Peter May

I'll Keep You Safe

I’ll Keep You Safe

Peter May

riverrun

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781784294946

 

Description:

Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

 

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

 

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.

 

 

My View:

Another evocative read by Peter May. Peter is a skilful wordsmith, his ability to paint a country side (in this instance two very different landscapes- Paris and The Isle of Lewis) is worthy of applause; majestic, brooding, isolated, stormy, threatening, deadly V frenetic, busy, trendy, deadly.  (I think Peter’s writing influenced my sister in laws choice of recent holiday destinations – Scotland and the Orkneys and Paris made it on to her itinerary.)

 

Another great read, Peter May does not disappoint.

 

 

Post Script: I, Witness – Niki Mackay

I Witness

I, Witness

Niki Mackay

Orion

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781409174592

 

Description:

They say I’m a murderer.

Six years ago, Kate Reynolds was found holding the body of her best friend; covered in blood, and clutching the knife that killed her.

I plead guilty.

Kate has been in prison ever since, but now her sentence is up. She is being released.

But the truth is, I didn’t do it.

There’s only one person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attalee, the first officer on the scene all those years ago.

 

But there’s someone out there who doesn’t want Kate digging up the past. Someone who is willing to keep the truth buried at any cost.

 

Robert Galbraith meets Susie Steiner in this gripping debut from Niki Mackay.

 

My View:

Gripping, choc full of twists and surprises, every time you think you have it worked out -think again-you don’t.

A flawed (read that as very flawed but good hearted, empathetic, dedicated… ) female Private Investigator ex- cop is a wonderful protagonist that quickly gains the readers respect and admiration. Madison Attalee drives the pace of this drama – fast, frantic and deadly.

There are so many twists, most totally unexpected. And just a little pricking of your social conscience  – enough said, read and let me know what you think.

 

What an amazing year on the crime fiction front – I have read so many exceptional reads, and have been surprised by how many, like this, are debut novels. Amazing! What talent!

 

I am looking forward to the next episode in Madison Attalee’s life.

 

Post Script: All In – Lily Gardner

The third instalment in Lily Gardner’s P.I. Lennox Cooper series does not disappoint, this is compulsive reading.

.All In

All In

Lily Gardner

Diversion Books

ASIN: B07BB3QRZR

 

Description:

The third noir mystery featuring P.I. Lennox Cooper, a smart detective, a smart poker player, and one of today’s boldest heroines in the sorority of lonesome gumshoes.

 

“Gardner has created a modern P.I. in time honored tradition, and the result is both fresh and grounded. Lennox Cooper, her protagonist, is crafty, intelligent, resourceful, bold and tenacious. . . . The locale and ambiance are detailed to perfection.” —Carolyn Lane, Murder by the Book

 

Flinty ex-cop, poker-playing, private detective, Lennox Cooper stands alone in championing Tomek Jagoda, darling son of a Portland crime family, accused of murdering his high-living girlfriend.

 

The cops have proof that will send Tomek to prison for life, and prosecuting the case is a Viking goddess of a woman, as smart as she is stunning, who draws everyone’s adoration. Next to her, Lennox feels like a garden gnome. Even August Kline, Lennox’s boss and Tomek’s defense attorney, is ready to throw Tomek under the bus in a plea deal that carries a ten-year sentence just to court the prosecutor.

 

What is it about Tomek-big as a tool shed and twice as dumb-that convinces Lennox of his innocence?

 

As Lennox unwinds all the lies surrounding the case, she sees deeper into Tomek’s humanity and into her own. She realizes that she’s in love with the defense attorney who’s in lust with the prosecutor. Lennox bets her job, her love, and her own safety to find the killer.

 

She’s all in.

 

 

My View:
The third instalment in Lily Gardner’s P.I. Lennox Cooper series does not disappoint, this is compulsive reading.

 

This is a series I particularly  enjoy – I love the honesty of the characters, the camaraderie between the poker players and the angst that Cooper exudes as she tries to navigate the world as an ex -cop now private investigator desperately trying to pay her way (and find happiness) in an chaotic world.   This is compulsive reading and I do hope that that there will be a part four coming soon.

 

 

 

 

Guest Review: Widows – Lynda La Plante

Widows

Widows

Lynda La Plante

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781785763311

 

Description:

When a security van heist goes disastrously wrong, three armed robbers are burnt to death – and three women are left widows.

Then gang boss Harry Rawlins’ wife Dolly discovers his bank deposit box. It contains a gun, money – and detailed plans for the failed hijack.

Dolly has three options: she could hand over Harry’s ledgers to Detective Inspector Resnick; she could pass them to the thugs who want to take over Harry’s turf; or she and the other widows could finish the job their husbands started…

As they rehearse the raid until it is pitch perfect, the women realise Harry Rawlins’ plan required four people, not three. But only three bodies were discovered in the carnage of the original hijack. So who was the fourth man, and where is he now?

Brenda’s Review:

Harry Rawlins, Joe Pirelli and Terry Miller were part of a four-man team whose plan for the raid on the security van was foolproof. Harry was the boss; meticulous in everything he did. But something did go wrong that day – and all three men died; incinerated in their vehicle. The three widows were devastated; the funerals were well attended, especially Harry’s. But trouble was only just beginning…

Harry’s wife Dolly discovered details of all his criminal activities – it felt like Harry was talking to her from the grave. Her decision wasn’t that hard – she certainly didn’t want Detective Inspector Resnick (Harry’s nemesis) to receive Harry’s ledgers; nor did she want Harry’s rivals to get them. So why couldn’t she and the other two widows follow Harry’s detailed plan and finish the job – benefitting from the windfall themselves of course. What could possibly go wrong?

Widows by author Lynda LaPlante was a fast-paced crime thriller which kept me enthralled right the way through. The tough gangs with their stand-over men; the constant threats of death; the intense pressure on Dolly and the girls to stay one step ahead of Harry’s rivals – as well as the police. A well-crafted novel, Widows is the first in the Dolly Rawlins series, and well worth the read. Recommended – 4 stars.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC to read and review.