I love that when I’m unsure of what books to buy next, I can always turn to the ‘best sellers’ section on Amazon; time is definitely a commodity, and I don’t think any of us would want to choose books blindly and waste a good few hours of our life if it turned out to be rubbish! Sometimes however, I’m left sat outside of the circle of the readers and reviews that are unanimous in their love for the books that have reached best-seller status. These three thrillers have all reached that status, and so I wanted to share my thoughts on them, but please let me know if you disagree/agree with them!
‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper
I had such high expectations for this book; not least because it has a rating of 4 stars on Goodreads. If I had to rate it, I would probably give it a maximum of 3 stars. The book is set in Australia, amid one of the worst droughts in its history, and the protagonist, Detective Aaron Falk, returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his old friend Luke, his wife and their child. It appears that Luke killed his wife and child and then committed suicide, but as Falk gets roped in to looking further in to the case, all is not as it seems. This plot sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it? I thought so initially, but I found that the pace was very slow, and began to droop towards the middle of the book, and so I found myself losing interest a lot of the time, but particularly in the middle. I also found the characters to be very dull and a bit…stiff, if you know what I mean! It definitely picked up towards the end and although this reads as a negative review, I did still enjoy the book. I just feel as though the word count was too large for what was essentially a very simplistic plot, and rather than moving forward in an exhilarating, fast paced kind of way that I expect in a crime/mystery book, the story kind of plodded along. Overall, I would describe this as an OK book, but it’s definitely not a memorable read for me or one that I’ll return to in the future.
‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’ by Ruth Ware –
The synopsis: Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her? But something goes wrong. Very wrong. Some things can’t stay secret for ever. Someone’s getting married – someone’s getting murdered.
I disliked the protagonist, Nora, so much that I stopped reading the book half way in. I did pick it back up a couple of weeks later, and I did finish it, but my feelings towards Nora tainted my whole experience of the book. I think the plot had the makings of something better than it turned out to be, but the scattering of immature, unlikeable characters makes the story hard to really fall for – seriously, every character is so unlikeable! I found the writing to be just ok, but I think I’m going to buy Ruth’s other much-loved book, ‘The Woman in Cabin 10’ because I do think that book looks great!
‘The Couple Next Door’ by Shari Lapena
This was such a disappointing read for me. The only way I can think to summarise the book is that a couple’s baby is kidnapped; panic and chaos ensues, and the rest of the book is an uncovering of what really happened. I found the writing to be quite amateurish, and the ending left me frowning and think ‘really?’ to myself. I didn’t really like the protagonists either; the mother of the baby is a stereotypical woman who comes from money and a rich father, and the father of the baby is much less successful, and is unliked by his father-in-law but seeks his approval at every given chance. The devices used in the book do make it very suspenseful, and I did think the very beginning of the book was very good in the way that it was set up, but the characters are very flat and undeveloped in my opinion, and I found the whole prose to be quite ‘meh’. The real reason that this book disappointed me though, is that the book is titled ‘the couple next door’, but said couple rarely actually featured in it! I still have no idea why this book has the title that it does. I think the plot is a really good example of a mystery thriller, but it just didn’t deliver for me as a reader. I am planning on reading Shari’s ‘A Stranger in The House’ though, which looks really good – this one just wasn’t for me, unfortunately!
Have you read any of these books? Did you love them, or were you left a bit disappointed like me? Jess x