Books onlineIn Senior Gap Years, you have the time to catch up on all the books you missed. These are independent reviews of books that I am enjoying in retirement (yes, I used the “R” word!). Please free to comment on the reviews.

The Birdwatcher (by William Shaw)

I am beginning to be a big fan of William Shaw! I recently read his Salt Lane novel, and got the bug. Salt Lane features DS Alexandra Cupidi and her daughter. So The Birdwatcher is a prequel to Salt Lane? OK, the main character is Police Sergeant William South but Cupidi and her daughter especially feature in this novel. Do you need to read The Birdwatcher before tackling the start of a trilogy Salt Lane? No, not really: The Birdwatcher…

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Absolute Proof (by Peter James)

I am a fan of the Inspector Grace novels set in Brighton and eagerly await each new novel. Peter is quite prolific and often writes stand-alone novels - unfortunately, I find these variable in quality. I recently read Dan Brown's Origin, and thoroughly enjoyed his tale which tackles “Where do we come from” and “Where are we going?”. Anyhow, I was looking forward to seeing how Peter approaches his religious theme examining the Absolute Proof of Jesus's existence. It has…

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The Fox (by Frederick Forsyth)

Frederick Forsyth The Fox Review Many famous authors have a successful formula - Dan Brown comes to mind - and Fredrick Forsyth is another with a well-established formula. It all started with his book about the assassination attempt on General de Gaulle. Today so many books seem formulaic - perhaps they have all been to the same Creative Writing course. Frederick Forsyth is noted for his in-depth research into facts, topics, conflicts and events. He has an imaginative way of…

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The Last Lie (by Alex Lake)

This is the latest psychological thriller by Sunday Times best-selling author Alex Lake. He is the best selling author of AFTER ANNA, KILLING KATE AND COPYCAT. Claire Daniels comes with a healthy pedigree of rich parents. The mother has died but her father will do anything for Claire. Her life is good - friends, career, lovely home, property in France but she is desperate for a baby to make her family complete. Her "doting" husband, Alfie, hates Claire but of course, he loves…

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Salt Lane (by William Shaw)

Came across Shaw at a speaker event at the Firle Vintage Fayre. The plot sounded interesting and as it was located in area close by it seemed worth investigating The plot is centred around Romney Marsh and Dungeness - places we know well. He captures the remoteness but beauty well. His lead detective has recently transferred from the Met, and she has quite a back history with former colleagues, daughter and mother. Dead bodies start appearing on the Marsh. Are…

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The Parisians (by Marius Gabriel)

The novel is set in World War II and in 1940 the Nazis have occupied Paris and taken over the Ritz for their senior officers and mistresses. The cast of characters includes an American Olivia Olsen, working as a chambermaid, the famous Coco Chanel and Arletty, one of France’s best-loved actresses. Hitler’s right-hand man moves into the hotel and makes Olivia his favourite. Olivia sees an opportunity to pass information to the Resistance via her contact Jack. Of course, this…

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Dark and Sacred Story (by Michael Connelly)

I am an avid reader of Michael Connelly, and look forward to every new novel. It seems that Bosch is gradually taking a lower profile as he passes into retirement. Renee Ballard is the new focus, and although there is room for new plots for cold cases featuring Bosch and Ballard - perhaps Bosch is tiring and beginning to make mistakes? This cold case investigates the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was…

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Small Great Things (by Jodi Picoult)

The cover says that Small Great Things is about prejudice and power. It is a powerful novel about a White Supremacist who loses a baby at birth. Sad enough but the nurse could be at fault! The novel revolves around the ethnicity of the nurse who is black. It soon becomes evident that the nurse will be taken to court. The nurse is represented by a white lawyer who claims she no racial prejudices. The story allows prejudices on both…

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The Devil’s Dice (by Roz Watkins)

As a Times recommendation, I had high hopes for this debut novel. Alas, it is a run of the mill crime thriller. The plot outline according to Goodreads: Detective Inspector Meg Dalton has recently returned to her Peak District roots, when a man's body is found near The Devil's Dice - a vast network of caves and well-known local suicide spot. The man's initials and a figure of the Grim Reaper are carved into the cave wall behind his corpse,…

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Once Upon a River (by Diane Setterfield)

Introduction: A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child. Hours later the dead girl stirs. Is it a miracle? Lovely atmospheric story dripping in melancholy. Everyone is a storyteller and the plot meanders just like the Thames. Characters weave into the book with their own back story. Beautifully written…

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The Last of the Stanfields (by Marc Levy)

This is a fabulous read! Marc Levy is the most read contemporary French author in the world and I can see why. Story outline: "When London journalist Eleanor-Rigby Donovan receives an anonymous letter alluding to a crime committed by her deceased mother, her life is turned upside down. It points her to a bar on the Baltimore Harbor, where she finds a stranger who has received the same mysterious letter about his own mother. Together, Eleanor-Rigby and this young man,…

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Anatomy of a Scandal (by Sarah Vaughan

This book came with many recommendations and headlines: "Full of Twists and Turns""Sensational""Engrossing pysch-thriller-cum-courtroom-drama" It was also recommended by the Richard and Judy book club. So with all this hype, I was looking to a good read! But how disappointing. The story-line is fine: Hi-jinks by the PM and best friend, James at University lead to a rape of a student by the young James. Later we learn that James is now an upcoming politician with a promising future. After…

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Forget my Name (by J.S. Monroe)

The premise of this book is intriguing, and the first few chapters draw you in but then .... the plot becomes rather disappointingly improbable. Shame as the idea of a visitor turning up your house with knowledge of your house, but is suffering from amnesia and does not know who she is, sounds like an encouraging plot. The visitor is invited in and the drama starts to unravel. Initially, the wife is friendly, and welcoming. By the following morning, the…

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Origin (by Dan Brown)

[star rating="5" max="5"] Origin by Dan Brown is a super read. He is a Master of the Genre. Intrigue, technology, monarchy and religious factions all contribute to yet another page turner!

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