Book Review: “Secrets and Lies” by Lynda Renham

New home, new village, old secrets… and a haunting spirit?

Flora and Adam McIntosh move to the country. It’s a setting they’re not used to, but they absolutely love it, or at least Adam does. Flora isn’t so keen. She’s torn. She can admire the home’s charming quaintness, but she can’t shake off the feeling of a presence in the home.

The proud villagers are welcoming, but they’re also suffocating. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Everyone’s doors are open, literally, even if you don’t want them to be.

I did enjoy this book. The premise was great. Wherever Flora was, she wasn’t safe. Nowhere was safe for her. This added a lot of mystery and fear of what was going to happen next. The mix of overfamiliar villagers, secrets, Flora’s inquisitiveness, and a haunting spirit made this story addictive.

There were however a few things about the narrative I didn’t enjoy. Reflection and thoughts. Flora has many of them during the story. They were mostly following the line of questioning of: Is it this? Is it that? Could this happen? Or could this? Maybe this person did this. Maybe that person did that. It was a little much. Let the reader think about these questions, not Flora. Or not Flora as regularly as she does throughout the book.

There was also a twist which I DID NOT see coming. But as I reflect (not as much as Flora) on it, I feel the author cheated a little bit here and there to make this twist impossible to guess, which kind of ruins the fun. A character can’t react a certain way to something and then later in the book it’s revealed that same character already knew about it. Unless I’m misunderstanding the scenes, I would say that’s cheat storytelling. I can’t say too much more without giving away this twist (it’s not the big twist). Hopefully those of you who have read it know what I mean.

Overall, a fair 3 star rating. 4 star for the premise itself, brought down by my little doubts. 

Secrets and Lies by Lynda Renham

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My Holiday Readings: Karin Slaughter and Liz Jensen

Karin Slaughter – Cop Town & Blindsighted

Cop Town

Blurb: Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD… – Goodreads

I did like this story. It was a solid detective novel which was hard to put down at times, however it didn’t blow me away. I had a lot of suspicions as I read the book, a lot of which turned out to be the sneaky twist inserted by Karin Slaughter.
An average read. 3/5.

Blindsighted

Blurb: A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.

A typical Karin Slaughter novel in all the right ways. This was much better than Cop Town in my opinion, but I thought that it was slightly too graphic and violent. The murder at the beginning of the book is certainly not a murder for the faint hearted to read. It did affect me in such a way that it had me thinking and imagining the feelings and the pain of the murder itself; I often thought about the circumstances and imagined how it would feel.
It was a good book with a good set of twists and turns and an element of difference throughout the book. I thought that it was a little too graphic at the beginning, but still had me wanting to read more. 4/5

Liz Jensen – The Rapture

Blurb: It is a June unlike any other before, with temperatures soaring to asphyxiating heights. All across the world, freak weather patterns—and the life-shattering catastrophes they entail—have become the norm. The twenty-first century has entered a new phase.

I liked the characterisation in this, and I enjoyed following the story of Gabrielle and Bethany; I liked the relationship between them too. Although not always pleasant, you could tell that Gabrielle did care about Bethany.
I feel that to enjoy this book you have to be in the right mind set. You need to be open minded and accepting of Bethany.
Overall it had many questions form as you progressed through the book, and it certainly got you contemplating throughout the book.
A decent read, I would give it a 3.5/5

I would probably recommend Blindsighted and The Rapture to friends, and potentially Cop Town if you’re a fan of detective kind of novels.

If you’ve read them, do not hesitate to let me know what you thought of them.