#BookReview - Alex by Pierre Lemaitre (translated by Frank Wynne)

 SHE'S RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Alex Prévost - kidnapped, beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a wooden cage - is in no position to bargain. Her abductor's only desire is to watch her die. 

HE WANTS ONLY ONE THING

Apart from a shaky police report, Commandant Camille Verhoven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads. If he is to find Alex, he will have to get inside her head. 

ESCAPE IS JUST THE BEGINNING

Resourceful, tough, beautiful, always two steps ahead - Alex will keep Verhoven guessing till the bitter end. And before long, saving her life will be the least of his worries.

This isn't going to be an easy review to write. Not because I don't know what to say about the book - there's plenty I could say, but I really don't want to give away any spoilers and in a book that's as packed with twists as this one that's not easy. So I won't be saying much about the plot, suffice to say it's one of the most gripping, shocking and gr…

Book Review: One Night at the Jacaranda by Carol Cooper





I don't tend to read many romance novels but when Carol Cooper asked if I would like to review her debut novel the interesting premise immediately tempted me.
It follows several characters who meet at a speed dating night - the eponymous One Night at the Jacaranda - and each chapter switches between them, offering their own individual take on proceedings. Among the characters are Sanjay, a young man facing the end of his life following a terminal testicular cancer diagnosis, Karen, a single mum to four children, Dan, newly released from prison, Geoff, a divorced GP who desperately misses his young son, Laure, a lawyer pretending to be a hairdresser and Harriet, a journalist who is there for the byline, not the romance. They briefly meet, chat, flirt, ask questions, tell lies, tick boxes and make decisions about who they want to see again.
Most of the book though is about what happens after that night. There's love, sex, children, illness, death, deceit, loneliness, fear, anger, grief and laughter. It's not really a romance, rather a look at each of the characters' lives during the few months featured in the book and all the more interesting for it. The main characters are a varied bunch but on the whole likeable despite their flaws. The secondary characters are perhaps a little less well fleshed out but as they are mostly on the periphery of the story this is only a small gripe. Carol Cooper is a doctor and uses that experience both in the believable and sensitive medical scenes and in her empathetic observations of how people behave.
This is a well plotted story, there are lighthearted moments but it has a darker edge than many romantic novels. If you're looking for something that is more than the predictable boy meets girl this Valentine's Day you may well want to check out One Night at the Jacaranda yourself.

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