In a hotel room in Venice, where she’s just completed a routine assassination, Villanelle receives a late-night call.
Eve Polastri has discovered that a senior MI5 officer is in the pay of the Twelve, and is about to debrief him. As Eve interrogates her subject, desperately trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, Villanelle moves in for the kill.
The duel between the two women intensifies, as does their mutual obsession, and when the action moves from the high passes of the Tyrol to the heart of Russia, Eve finally begins to unwrap the enigma of her adversary’s true identity.
Having enjoyed, if that’s the word, the TV series ‘Killing Eve’, I wanted to read the books that inspired the series.
The story is adrenaline-fuelled, clever, dark, fast-paced and rich in vivid imagery. Obviously, the characters assume the faces of the actors in the TV series I watched, but the settings, horrific killings and the continually intensifying relationship between Eve and Villanelle are perfectly executed in the book. The thrills, twists and terrible events are delivered at a fast pace, making this a page-turner, even if you haven’t seen the TV series.
Dark humour, multiple plot twists and characters who are larger than life, but remain believable make this story the perfect read, for lovers of spy thrillers, intense female relationships and hard-hitting action fiction.
I received a copy of this book from John Murray Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage, and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.
Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.
Set in a fascinating historical period, where Nazi Germany’s nationalistic aims created unspeakable dark times for many. In stark contrast, the British establishment turned a blind eye to the interwar years’ atrocities, until powerful, forward-thinking people forced them to act. The Carlisle family is wealthy and influential, but the glossy exterior hides emotional cruelty, festering anger and secrets that would rock the society they live in.
Easy to read this is an absorbing novel, the historical detail gives depth to a simple plot, but I would have liked more, to let me feel what living at that time was like. The first chapter set in Germany is pivotal and underscored with menace. What follows is well written, but the danger Cat the heroine faces is narrated rather than demonstrated by the protagonist through actions and emotions. Espionage is a dangerous world, but I didn’t feel the threat, just knew that it existed.
The characters lack vibrancy. Much of Cat’s motivation is as a result of her crumbling marriage, and yet the reader knows little about her husband and the two rarely interact. Isobel and Cat’s relationship is toxic; you can feel the anger and envy. The other character interactions also need strong emotional depth to make them believable.
A good story but for me, it lacks authentic, believable characters.
I received a copy of this book from HQ Digital via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
It is summer 1989, and fifteen-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve and plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives.
Twenty-seven years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband and their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants the trip to do two things – to help exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her and her daughter. But in the very place where she spent that summer all those years ago, she receives a letter. From her mother. As if she were still alive.
As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. And yet it all seems impossible – she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter – and why?
There are lots of intelligent components in this international thriller; The backstory in the form of a real-time teenage diary. Corsica’s way of life that is often at odds with the legal system and government that allows illegality to go unpunished and the parallels between the family in August 1989 and the family in 2016.
The characterisation is convincing and compelling, through Clotilde’s eyes they come alive both in the past and present. The twisty plot takes away as many clues as it gives and to truly understand it you must accept the Corsican culture’s uniqueness.
Compelling and detailed it’s a page-turning read but a very long story. The repetition is necessary for the story as Clotilde’s memories return but this adversely affects the pacing and reduces the impact of the revelations.
There is an overriding sadness to this story of loss and, so many lives blighted but the ending is adrenaline-fueled and suspenseful, and the balance of good and evil returns.
I received a copy of this book from the Orion Publishing Group W&N via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Odir Farouk is about to become king—but to take his throne, he needs his errant wife by his side! Odir denied his hunger for Eloise, refusing to compromise power for passion. His rejection drove her away. Now Odir has until news of his succession breaks to win back his queen…and pleasure will be his most powerful weapon!
A little escapism is always lovely. Internationally themed, this contemporary romance allows the reader to see what life is like living with a prince and it’s not as romantic as it first appears.
Eloise accepts an arranged marriage because she likes Odir and believes they could grow to love the other. Odir, bound by duty ignores her after their marriage and finally sends her away when he thinks she has forsaken her marriage vows. She runs away, but now he finds her and wants her back, but she has other ideas.
Odir is afraid loving Eloise will weaken him and threaten his kingdom. Eloise will only be his wife again, without compromise and their rekindled passion seems doomed to fail.
I like the structure of this novel; each chapter covers an hour in their reunion, the sense of time slipping away from them increases the story’s dramatic tension and makes it fast-paced.
Character-driven, past tragedy and heartache are explored, making their actions more understandable. Loyalty and duty rule both their lives, everything they do is for others. To achieve the love they both desire, they must consider what they want as individuals, and at times this seems to be unlikely.
Sensual love scenes echo their poignant journey. Complex characters, both Eloise and Odir negotiate a problematic emotional path full of angst and pain before they realise what is truly important to them.
A fascinating snapshot of the professional and personal faces of a royal romance, which doesn’t stint on angst, drama and romantic sensuality.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
It’s been two years since mass murderer, Giacomo Riondino, disappeared after killing Greta Alfieri…Dr Claps, devastated and guilt-ridden by Greta’s death has been on a man-hunt for Riondino ever since. Meanwhile, an American girl disappears on the 382nd step of the Cerro trail in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
No one saw her disappear. Who took her? And how?
When the US authorities contact Claps, he is certain that it must be Riondino. But, unlike Riondino’s other victims, the girl has disappeared into thin air…
Will Claps solve the puzzle, or will he lose his mind in the process, blinded by his own obsession?
It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, and although this book has a predecessor, there is enough backstory both to the plot and characters to make this a very worthwhile read.
It focuses on a criminologist/profiler, Dr Claps and his pursuit of a serial killer who has become his obsession. The plot is detailed and cleverly written, with clues and misinformation filtered in at salient intervals, moving the story along at a fast pace and holding the reader’s attention.
The serial killer, Riondino has multiple personality disorder, described in an understandable, knowledgeable way that makes him a fascinating, unpredictable and menacing antagonist. The suspense builds up to an explosive and poignant end. If you can, read ‘Hunted’, the precursor to this story for maximum impact. ‘Taken’ has believable characters and setting, a realistic pursuit of the serial killer and a breathtaking ending.
I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Monty Marsden, a Tuscan by birth, grew up in Milan, where he studied medicine and still works. He lives in the province of Bergamo, with his wife and four children.