Title: Thirteen

Author: Steven Cavanagh

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Orion Books

The Blurb

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I would make a terrible detective and a terrible lawyer and a terrible FBI agent for that matter. For I am Lisa Bentley, the person who never quite cottons on to clues given in crime thriller novels. In essence, I am the perfect audience for crime fiction.

This brings me to the review of Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. Holy moly, this is a great novel. Let’s forget that I didn’t solve the crime, yada yada yada, but instead look at the way Steve Cavanagh builds tension and suspense in his novel. The chapters are palatably sized, you are always kept wanting more, to read more. His dual narrative makes you think you know what is going on and what is going to happen next (you really don’t) and the added inserts about jury members keeps you on your toes and invariably keeps you guessing over who the bad guy is. All in all, Steve Cavanagh did good.

Thirteen is actually the fourth book in the Eddie Flynn series. I haven’t read the earlier books because as I have said, crime fiction is not really my genre of choice. If I was asked to recommend a book – which I very often am – and they want a crime/mystery/thriller, then Steve Cavanagh will be at the top of that list.

Read Thirteen. It will either make you feel really smart if you guess whodunit or like me it will make you marvel at someone else’s genius and not your lack of mad detective skills.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh is available now.

For more information regarding Steven Cavanagh (@SSCav) please visit www.stevecavanagh.com.

For more information regarding Orion Books (@orionbooks) please visit www.orionbooks.co.uk.

Title: 13 Minutes

Author: Sarah Pinborough

Pages: 406 Pages

Publisher: Flatiron Books

The Blurb

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.

Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

13 Minutes is a psychological thriller with a killer twist from the #1 internationally bestselling author Sarah Pinborough.

The Review

I am woeful when it comes to mysteries and thrillers. I can never figure out who the killer is or who the bad guy is. Now, I could say that it is my lack of skills that have led to my perpetual confusion or I can be more upbeat and positive and put it down to excellent writing. Reader, I choose the latter.

Sarah Pinborough’s wonderful 13 Minutes had me guessing to the very last page. I (incorrectly) guessed who the culprit was several times only to change my mind the next page. Pinborough masterfully filters in clues, red herrings, and massive shocks throughout. Her multi-perspective tale leaves you unsure who to trust and the way Pinborough slips from traditional narrative to text message adds an authenticity that her target audience (young adults/teens) will appreciate.

I really enjoyed 13 Minutes. It was a brilliant example of a genre that I am not really too comfortable with. If all mystery/thrillers were like 13 Minutes then I would be hooked and never feel the need to read beyond the genre.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Pinborough (@SarahPinborough) please visit www.sarahpinborough.com.

For more information regarding Flatiron Books (@FlatironBooks) please visit www.flatironbooks.com.

Title: Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One)

Author: Dani Oden

Pages: 216 Pages

Publisher: Dani Oden

The Blurb

College freshman Jill Holloway takes one look at the stuck-up girls going through sorority rush and nearly returns her borrowed dress and heels. Against her best judgment, she ends up falling for the prestige and parties, and snagging a bid from a top house. After moving in, she quickly grows skeptical of her too-perfect sorority sisters. She tries to ask questions, but no one will take time from their busy social calendar to give her any real answers.

Jill wastes no time digging for everything she’s not supposed to find, and soon comes face-to-face with a big and bloody secret hidden in her sorority’s basement. She knows she’s in over her head, however taking off so soon would raise the perfectly-plucked eyebrows of her suspicious new sisters. She’s stuck until she can make a smooth exit.

The closer she gets to leaving, the more it becomes clear that it won’t be as simple as she hoped. A tempting fraternity guy, a best friend who needs her, and new details about what has really been happening in the basement have her questioning what her next move should be, and whether or not it’ll be worth the risks.

The Review

Handpicked is like a Scooby-Doo episode for a Y2K generation. It focuses on Jill, college freshman who is rushing a sorority but when spooky things start to happen she, along with friends Hannah and Lindy, begin to wonder if the sisterhood is really for them.

Handpicked is a really easy read. It is one of those books that you can get lost in but not feel overwhelmed by. You don’t feel guilty when you put it down to deal with real life stuff. Personally, I felt that it was a little anticlimactic but as it is the start of a series I am willing to forgive that. If you’re not into heavy literature and you just want a book to brighten your day then Dani Oden could be your next favourite author.

Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One) by Dani Oden is available now.

For more information regarding Dani Oden (@MsDaniOden) please visit her Twitter page.

My Side of the DiamondTitle: My Side of the Diamond

Author: Sally Gardner

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books/Bonnier Zaffre Books

The Blurb

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner.

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared.

But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air.

Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance?

Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

The Review

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is a very curious tale that had me reading way outside of my comfort zone. It is part YA which I love, part thriller and mystery which I am lukewarm to and part science fiction which is so not my genre.

However, Sally Gardner has created a really compelling story and full bodied cast that I found myself unable to put the damn book down! The story is told from multi-perspective which lends the book an air of displacement and discomfort. I did not feel comfortable or settled reading it. I constantly questioned my characters – on their morals and what they said.

I do feel more settled now that I have finished My Side of the Diamond but it has left me irked in the best possible way.

I would love to know if the Lazarus theme is a link to David Bowie? There are too many shout outs. If anyone knows if this was a choice by Sally Gardner – or if indeed Sally Gardner you would like to answer this question for me – then I would be really grateful.

My Side of the Diamond is a strange little book that begs to be read.

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Gardner (@TheSallyGardner) please visit www.sallygardner.net.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Zaffre Books (@BonnierZaffre) please visit their Twitter page.

3 Stars

The Hanging GirlTitle: The Hanging Girl

Author: Eileen Cook

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books/Bonnier Zaffre/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group

The Blurb

Two girls, one fatal reading . . . because the truth always lies in the cards

Skye’s mother believes she has ‘the gift’ – the opportunity to see the future. Skye however can only see the opportunity to make money – and happily fleeces her gullible classmates into handing over their cash to hear their futures through Skye’s wellworn tarot cards.

But it’s all in a good cause, right? Skye needs to save her hardearned cash to go to New York with her best mate Drew. Then the local mayor’s daughter Paige disappears – and Skye has a tip off about her whereabouts.

Skye is uncomfortable about the source and masks the tipoff as a vision she has received. But then events get wildly out of control – Paige is found murdered and Skye is a prime suspect . . .

The Review

Oh I do love it when a book is good.

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook has been, for me, the surprise triumph of the year. I’ve never read anything by Eileen Cook before and I can admit that I was drawn to the book because of the cover which I found very intriguing. What I wasn’t expecting was to be sucked into this vortex of mystery and thrills which left me desperate to turn the page.

Skye is a con artist. She isn’t a petty criminal but she charges her fellow classmates for tarot readings all the while knowing that she has no psychic abilities. She swindles their money and she doesn’t feel bad about it.

However, Skye’s lying is about to catch up with her when a fellow student goes missing and the police begin to rely on her ‘visions’ to help solve the case. How far will Skye let the lie go?

The Hanging Girl is a thrill ride of a book. You are constantly questioning the things around you. I was constantly on the edge of my seat whilst reading it. It is definitely a book that you can immerse yourself in that has a central theme but also deals with other issues such as social poverty and privilege.

The Hanging Girl is a book worthy of the phrase ‘page turner.’

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook is available now.

For more information regarding Eileen Cook (@EileenWriter) please visit www.eileencook.com.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (@HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Zaffre (@BonnierZaffre) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group (@HMHco) please visit www.hmhco.com.

4 Stars