Thursday, 23 June 2016

Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinead Crowley

It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin.

Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself.

When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman?

But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?

This is a book about living in the modern world. I think the vast majority of us talk to people who we have met online and this book explores just how well we really know these people and considers whether we should volunteer so much information about ourselves.

The characters in this book are well rounded and believable. I particularly liked Sergeant Claire Boyle who I found to be a very realistic character.  The author was clearly setting her up for future novels of which I will be very happy to read.

The prose is interspersed with extracts from the Netmammy online forum all of which are vital to the plot so it is worth paying close attention when reading these postings.

This book kept me guessing throughout and the ending came  as a real surprise to me.

All in all, a really good read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Are You Watching Me?

About the Author:

Can Anybody Help Me? was an Irish bestseller and shortlisted for Crime Book of the Year at the BGE Irish Book Awards in 2014. Her second thriller, which also features Sergeant Claire Boyle was published in 2015.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi

Idyllic but remote, the Greek island of Thiminos seems untouched by the modern world. So when the battered body of a young woman is discovered at the foot of a cliff, the local police--governed more by archaic rules of honor than by the law--are quick to close the case, dismissing her death as an accident.

Then a stranger arrives, uninvited, from Athens, announcing his intention to investigate further. Hermes's methods of investigation are unorthodox, and his message to the islanders is plain--tell the truth or face the consequences. But Hermes brings his own mystery into the web of dark secrets and lies. Who has sent him to Thiminos, and on whose authority is he acting? 

Rich in images of Greece's beautiful islands and evoking a life unknown to most outsiders, this compelling novel leads the reader into a world where the myths of the past are not forgotten, and forbidden passion still has dangerous consequences.

Don't you just love it when you read the first book in a series and find that you really liked it? That is exactly what happened to me with this lovely book by Anne Zouroudi.

The descriptions of the fictional Greek island are wonderful and it is easy to get sucked into the beautiful atmosphere of this book.

I also really liked the character of Hermes Diaktoros (although he is consistently referred to as the Fat Man throughout the book) with his white shoes which he is constantly cleaning. He is an enigmatic character who appears to have materialised from thin air to investigate the apparent suicide of a young woman. The mystery surrounding Hermes continues throughout the book and really adds something.

There were many twists and turns as this book ambled along and as most of the characters appeared to have something to hide I was kept guessing right until the end.

I enjoyed this book very much and already have the next book in the series on my shelf and I am looking forward to getting to know Hermes Diaktoros better.

About the Author:  

Anne Zouroudi was born in England and has lived in the Greek islands. Her attachment to Greece remains strong and the country is the inspiration for much of her writing. She now lives in the Derbyshire Peak District with her son. She is the author of four other Mysteries of the Greek Detective: The Taint of Midas, The Doctor of Thessaly, The Lady of Sorrows and The Whispers of Nemesis.