The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Thriller-Edition Escapism

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Thriller

Summary: When Libby inherits a mansion from the biological parents she never knew, it offers life-changing possibilities and the ticket out of her dead-end job. However, this once-lavish house holds the story of Libby’s first months of life, and she can’t sell until the truth is uncovered.

A newspaper article records how the house became infamous decades ago, when three adults were found dead in what was suspected to be a cult-related suicide pact. Concerned locals reported children living there too, but their identities were unknown and no trace of them remained. These missing children could be the only family Libby has ever known: the question is whether they want to be found. Continue reading The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Thriller-Edition Escapism

Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith Book Cover Image

Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith: Crime Fiction With Character

Rating: 3.5 stars

Category: Crime fiction

Synopsis: Victor Van Allen is proud of the ordered life he has created for himself. He runs a sought-after printing press, holds a respected position in the town, and is the father of a precocious little girl.

The only taint to this perfect facade is his wife, Melinda. Their relationship is tenuously held together by Vic sleeping in a separate room and pretending to ignore her involvements with other men. Yet a new arrival in the sleepy town of Little Wesley means Vic may not be able to look the other way for much longer… Continue reading Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith: Crime Fiction With Character

The Prison Doctor by Amanda Brown Book Cover Image

The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown: Unflinching and Compassionate Insight into the Prison System

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Non-fiction, Memoir

Synopsis: After the frustrations and bureaucracy of working as a GP cause Dr Amanda Brown to impulsively walk out of her practice, she is looking for a change. Her compulsion to challenge herself and make a difference lands her where she never thought she’d end up – treating prisoners in some of Britain’s toughest criminal institutions.

The Prison Doctor is the story of the incredible people she meets, as well as a compassionate insight into the individual lives that are placed into the hands of the justice system – for better or worse. Continue reading The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown: Unflinching and Compassionate Insight into the Prison System

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Book Cover Image

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Stand-Out Thriller that Deserves the Hype

Rating: 5 stars

Category: Thriller

Synopsis:

Theo has just started a new job at The Grove, a psychiatric unit for violent female criminals. Top of the list of new patients he must take on is Alicia. Alicia seemed to have it all – a flourishing career as an artist and a loving husband – until the night she shot him in the head. Since that fateful night, Alicia has refused to speak a word.

Disentangling Alicia’s past and the motives for her crime is not going to be easy – especially when The Grove is hiding secrets of its own. Continue reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Stand-Out Thriller that Deserves the Hype

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood Book Cover Image

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: Character-Centric Historical Crime

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Historical fiction, crime, literary fiction

Format: Audiobook

Synopsis:

Alias Grace is based on the actual historical figure Grace Marks, who was convicted of murdering her employer and his housekeeper in 1843, alongside James McDermott. In this fictionalised account, it is uncertain whether she was acting under duress, out of fear for her own life, or if she was McDermott’s lover and co-conspirator.

The ambitious psychologist Dr Jordan is sent to the penitentiary to draw out the truth. However, with Grace claiming to have no memory of the incident, it will be difficult to separate the innocent, exploited young girl from the woman capable of unspeakable violence. Continue reading Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: Character-Centric Historical Crime

Eve Was Shamed by Helena Kennedy Book Cover Image

Eve Was Shamed by Helena Kennedy: Feminist Challenge to an Unjust Justice System

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Non-fiction

Synopsis:

Working as a high-level barrister at the very heart of the justice system, Helena Kennedy is well placed to examine whether this system is working for women. In her book, she draws on extensive experience working with women, both as victims and perpetrators of crime, and the challenges she has faced as one of the only QC female barristers.

Eve Was Shamed is a shocking revelation of how women remain discriminated against by the law. It is also a powerful call for change. Continue reading Eve Was Shamed by Helena Kennedy: Feminist Challenge to an Unjust Justice System

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith Book Cover Image

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: Unsettling and Subversive Crime Novel

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis:

“Did the world always mete out just deserts?”

Tom Ripley is struggling to make his way in New York City, chasing the elusive American Dream while treading the edges of illegality. When the father of an old acquaintance approaches Tom in the hope that he can persuade his son, Dickie Greenleaf, to come home from Europe and take on the family business, Tom leaps at the chance.

However, from the first, it becomes clear that Dickie has no intention of obliging his father. His life in the Italian village of Mongibello is everything Tom has ever dreamed of: wealth, status, a luxurious lifestyle. Tom will have to return empty-handed to his sordid life in New York – unless he takes measures increasingly more extreme. Continue reading The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: Unsettling and Subversive Crime Novel

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler Book Cover Image

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler: Macho Detective Fiction That Screams “Male Gaze”

Rating: 2 stars

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis:

Private investigator Phillip Marlowe, a little strapped for cash, is on yet another assignment to track down an adulterous spouse when he runs into Moose Malloy. This cold, violent gangster has a soft spot: a barmaid named Velma whom he was going to marry before being jailed for armed robbery.
Marlowe strikes out to find Velma, but soon uncovers a black hole of gangs, blackmail and corruption in which she may well be lost forever. Continue reading Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler: Macho Detective Fiction That Screams “Male Gaze”

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite Book Cover Image

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Sharp, Provoking Crime Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis:

“You can’t sit on the fence forever.”

Zorede takes the role of older sister seriously. She protects Ayoola. Takes the blame when she gets in trouble. And – quite literally – cleans up the bodies. Ayoola has now killed three of her boyfriends, and, although she pleads self-defence, Zorede is not convinced.

So when Ayoola starts dating the doctor Zorede is in love with, it’s finally time for her to pick a side. With family loyalty stretched to the limit, Zorede questions whether she should continue to defend her little sister – no matter what. Continue reading My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Sharp, Provoking Crime Fiction

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie Book Cover Image

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: The Mother of All Plot Twists!

Rating: 5 stars

Category: Crime Fiction, Classics, Mystery/Adventure

Synopsis: Shortly after confessing to a close friend that she is being blackmailed, Mrs Ferrars is found dead: the police conclude it was suicide. The case takes a much darker turn when that same friend is found murdered in his own study.

An unassuming newcomer to the village seems the last person the police will call upon for help. He spends his days fondly tending a vegetable patch. However, this newcomer is not your average hobbyist gardener, but a retired detective going by the name of Hercule Poirot… Continue reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: The Mother of All Plot Twists!