by Katia Lief
“You Are Next” is the first in a series of books about former detective Karin Schaeffer. Her career had come to an abrupt end a couple of years previously when a serial killer she was responsible for capturing escaped custody and turned his attention to her and her family.
Nicknamed the Domino Killer by the press at the time, as he left dominoes at each crime scene as a clue to his next victim. Karen and her colleagues managed to catch up with the mad man only after he had killer her husband and daughter.
And now he has escaped again, and is back to finish what he started. But this time, it is her brother’s family who look set to pay the price.
The twists and turns in this story are unpredictable. The plot is not particularly unique, but it is told with feeling and pace. An excellent introduction to a writer I will certainly be looking out for in future.
by Mohsin Hamid
Mohsin Hamid is building quite a reputation as a writer to watch, and with Reluctant Fundamentalist, that reputation is assured.
Reluctant Fundamentalist is one of the most unusual books I have read recently. The entire book is a one-sided conversation, as our young fundamentalist tells his story to an apparent stranger he meets in a street café in Lahore.
The story he tells this un-named American, is one of infatuation, disappointment and regret. Beginning with his nervous start at Princeton, we discover a rather shy young man who has much to prove, both to himself and his contemporise.
After leaving Princeton, he secures himself a much sought after position with an influential corporation, it seems he has everything he could possibly want. Or has he? After falling in love with the beautiful but sad Erica, nothing can ever be the same again.
Hamid has created a genuinely likeable character, one I found it easy to relate to.
The climax of the book is an unexpected one, with a twist I didn’t see until the very end.
A truly enjoyable read. Mohsin Hamid is a gifted writer. A fully recommend his work to anyone interested in stories about people, rather than events.
by Brian Freeman
I first read one of Brian Freeman’s books last autumn, when I was given a copy of “The Watcher”. It was an excellent book which left me wanting more.
What I hadn’t realised was that these books are part of a series, following the exploits of his creation, Jonathan Stride. In Stride, Freeman has created a complex character with the kind of past that makes him both vulnerable and resilient. Having lost the love of his life to cancer, followed by a disastrous second marriage, Stride finds love again. But that involves starting a new life in Las Vegas, where he and his lover, Serena Dial, find themselves chasing a serial killer whose victims at first seem to have nothing in common.
But as two seemingly different cases become one, the detectives uncover a link to the heady days of the 1960s and the murder of a showgirl. But Las Vegas is a city of secrets, and the more Stride and his colleagues discover, the deeper and more sinister the secrets get.
But the villains aren’t the only ones with secrets. Both his lover Serena, and his partner Amanda have pasts that threaten to compromise the case.
The story is well paced and believable, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I like to be given an opportunity to work out the clues, which I did, although the ending was suitably unpredictable, with a twist that I probably could have guessed, but didn’t.
If you like a good solid drama with realistic characters and plot, then Brian Freeman is the writer for you. I will certainly continue to look out for his books.