Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Burning Air - Erin Kelly


The MacBride family - on the surface they are a perfect nuclear family. Sadly, the matriarch of the family, Lydia has passed away and the family is gathering all together for their annual bonfire night celebrations for the first time without her. She is survived by her huband, two daughters, one son and several grandchildren.

But not all is as it seems. This family, which prizes education, justice and a fair chance for all has a dark secret and an enemy they don't even know about. The idyllic atmosphere is soon shattered. Firstly, the son brings a girlfriend along - a stranger encroaching on their shared grief. Next thing, this stranger has disappeared and taken eldest daughter, Sophie's newborn baby with her!

At first, I thought this book was going to be (another) snatched baby-hysterical mother plotline, which seems in vogue at the moment. Wrong. As with Erin Kelly's other books, this is a dark, twisty tale full of brooding resentment, obsession and revenge.  I can't say much more without giving away any of the (many) twists. This is probably one of the best books I've read all year, and Erin Kelly is firmly one of my favourite authors.

My only slight irk with the book was - there is a character called Darcy who appears about a third of the way in. For about 50 pages or so I thought Darcy was a woman, when its actually a man!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Son-in-law - Charity Norman


Joseph Scott has been recently released from prison and wants to get his life back on track. He wants his kids back, living with him, and although his career as a teacher has been ended by his prison sentence, he wants to start again, find a new job and a new future.

The only fly in the ointment is that it was murder he was jailed for (reduced to manslaughter, if I remember rightly) and its was his children's mother he murdered. In front of them.

Scarlet, the eldest of the childrens, is in her teens now and a young woman. She remembers it most clearly and isn't ready to accept her father back into her life. She and her two younger brothers have been living with their maternal grandparents since it happened. The grandparents, although both showing the signs of aging, are definitely not ready to let Joseph Scott, the murderer of their only daughter anywhere near them.

This book really wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I'm a bit in two minds over it. I found it a little bit overly forgiving of the man who murdered the mother of his children - there were extenuating circumstances of course, and probably the most interesting thing about the book is the exploration of what happens to 'you' when you do something so terrible you can't forgive yourself.

I agreed with the grandparents all the way through - although I think the author intended you to be sympathising with Scott, so therefore I didn't really like the ending. Joseph Scott was okay. I liked the characters of the Granddad and Scarlet the best. Overall slightly disappointing and a bit too PC.