fiction and other writing

Book Reviews

The Edge of Doom by Elizabeth Horrocks

The “Edge of Doom” is Elizabeth Horrocks’ debut book. It is an Arthurian novel with a difference. The characters of Ellie Tollet and Lance Poole meet up in a computer class at their local education college and then travel back through time. Each period of time they visit is brought to life through the happenings and surroundings evoking mystery and suspense. The settings vary but wend their way to the areas in and around Alderley Edge in Cheshire, where Elizabeth has been living for nearly the last 25 years.

The Edge of Doom is the first book in a trilogy; published by Vanguard Press and is available from all good bookshops and Amazon. The stories entwine historical facts and legends with new elements that will throw in some surprises.

Elizabeth is a former BBC Mastermind Champion (1974) and retired English Literature teacher. She is involved as a leader in the Girl Guides in her local area, and in the church youth drama group.

This book is suitable for adults and young adults alike and is a thoroughly good read.

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

Twenty five years after the mysterious disappearance of her mother, father and brother, Cynthia agrees to take part in a television programme in the hope that she will finally find out what has happened to them. This action starts a fast moving chain of events and an intriguing plot. The story is told by Cynthia’s husband Terry.

Did Cynthia kill her entire family when she was fourteen? Has the strain of wondering what has happened to them driven her over the edge or is she right to be very frightened of the brown car that follows her and her daughter to her child’s school?

No Time for Goodbye is written by Linwood Barclay, an author who is new to me, but one I will certainly look out for in future. The story has many strands which come together bit by bit to reveal the truth. It is compelling reading with likeable main characters that the reader can easily empathise with. It’s certainly worth reading.

The Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell

Chief Inspector Wexford sees a face from the past; a man he knows to be a murderer but who has evaded conviction. He tells his colleague, Inspector Mike Burden, about the murder of Elise Caroll, which happened when he was new to the force. Eric Targo, the murderer has stalked Wexford, almost taunting him about his failure to prove him guilty.

Not being able to catch Targo has haunted him over the years, especially as Wexford is convinced that Targo has committed other killings.

Rendell builds the Targo character as a strange obsessive loner, who has a natural affinity with animals; in fact he loves animals more than his own children.

Wexford suddenly finds that Targo is not just back in Kingsmarkham but back in his life and then Wexford’s gardener is murdered.

This is Ruth Rendell at her best, telling the compelling story of Targo and that of an Asian family whose daughter, Tamima, goes missing. The Monster in the Box is published by Hutchinson and is available from Amazon and other bookshops. It’s well worth a read and takes you back through time to Wexford’s past.

Midnight Fugue by Reginald Hill

Midnight Fugue by Reginald Hill (one of my favourite authors) is a great read.The story is set over a twenty four hour period and Dalziel is back at work after recovering from a bomb blast, but is he back to form? He wants to prove to his team that he’s the boss but is Pascoe ready to give back his leadership role?

The story centres round businessman Goldie Gidman and his “business” involvement in the past. A policeman went missing seven years ago and now his wife, Gina Wolfe, wants to remarry another policeman, Mike Purdy. First she has to see if her husband actually died or is he still alive? Mike Purdy calls on his old friend Dalziel to help her out with the investigation.

None of them have any idea what this search will cause. A murderous sister and brother team set out on a mission and a high flying journalist sniffs the hint of a story. Pascoe gets drawn in and wonders at Dalziel’s capabilities, because some of Dalziel’s decisions are questionable.

Reginald Hill crafts believable characters and his books have a number of regulars who develop with each tale he tells. Reading his books is like visiting a familiar place, but this book is one of his best. It has a quick pace and little islands of humour among the action. The plot is more complex than I’ve indicated but describing the twists and turns might ruin the reading of the book.

Midnight Fugue is available from all good bookshops and published by HarperCollins.

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