The spy who came in from the cold by John le Carre

Amy The Spy who came in from the coldI never knew before that this was a novel studied at school, but I can see why. It has the twists and turns, and treachery of an adventure filled spy novel, but it relentlessly dark, bleak even, and so very clever. Alec Leamas, after years of spying in Berlin, wants out, but agrees to one more assignment, which will take him into Communist Germany. It’s about how complicated politics, war, and life itself is; complicated, cruel, seemingly pointless, yet with the glimmer of light – love, kindness and what is deeply right – to strive for. I found it enthralling, powerful, and darkly beautiful.

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My sister, the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

amy-my-sister-the-serial-killer.jpgKorede’s younger sister, Ayoola, has just killed her third boyfriend, and calls practical Korede to come and clean up. Things get tricky when the sisters both have their eye on the same man. Lots of typical sister relationship issues, and some that are not so typical, in this darkly amusing book. It’s a quick read, with a great Nigerian setting.

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In the woods by Tana French

Amy in the woodsWhen he was twelve, Adam Ryan went into the local wood with his friends, and something most terrible happened. His friends were never seen again, and Adam couldn’t remember a thing. Years later, Adam is called Rob and he is on the Dublin Murder Squad when a girl is found murdered in the same wood. I really enjoyed this story about two crimes, of course, but also about friendship, childhood and the mess we can make of relationships. It has a delightful Irishness to it, and the ending isn’t too neat.

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Mockingbird songs by R.J. Ellory

Cynthia Mockingbird SongsA slow burning thriller with an undertone of menace throughout. A story of small town USA and broken families. Henry is released from prision and is asked to deliver a letter to his cell mate’s daughter. Through alternating chapters we follow Henry’s story of keeping his promise to deliver the letter and the story of Evan (his ex cell mate) and his brother Carson and what the contents of that letter may reveal. Loved this format of storytelling as the stories, secrets and carnage are exposed.

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The freedom broker by K. J. Howe

cynthia-freedom-broker.jpgThe story began well, introducing Thea and her work. There is a large cast of character to keep a track of, particularly when you were not sure whose side they were on or what was their place in the story, and I became a little lost with the story. The author was able to regain my interest towards the end of the novel as I had to find out who would survive and how the family relationships would resolve.

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Anatomy of a scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Amy Anatomy of a scandalAnatomy of a Scandal is a fast-paced, courtroom drama told from multiple perspectives. A powerful politician, happily married and living in London, is accused of rape, and we follow him, his wife, the prosecutor and a number of others, both now and during his time at Oxford, in events leading up to what has happened. It is clever, tight, suspenseful and very timely, dealing with the experiences of women, privilege, the abuse of power and the search for truth.

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Into the water by Paula Hawkins

Kate Into the WaterI chose the audiobook of ‘Into the Water’ by Paula Hawkins, not as one who had read ‘The Girl on the Train’, but seen (and loved) the movie. Being the first audiobook I’ve listened to with not one but four narrators, with so many characters telling the story from their point of view, I actually thought that was clever. As each spoke in their own unique manner and voice, it helped recognise who was then telling the story, something I’ve seen others find confusing when reading the book. It was not quite the thriller I had hoped it would be, but I throughly enjoyed getting to know all the diverse characters (and such a range of accents) and wondering about, to quote the synopsis, ‘the stories we tell about our pasts and their power to destroy the lives we live now’.

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