Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My new reviews on Reviewing the Evidence

Because I receive so many crime titles to review now (even though I try to be very selective and keep the TBR pile manageable), I've been adding more publications (magazines, newspapers, websites) that I review crime and thriller fiction for - not only in order to give me more opportunities to publish reviews of the books I am sent, but also in order to find publications allowing me to write some longer, more in-depth reviews of some books (ie it's nice to be able to write more than 300wds on some books).

As I said on 12 October, I have recently started contributing to Reviewing the Evidence, a website set up by Barbara Franchi in 2001 to help fill the growing void of mystery review websites. It now boasts thousands of reviews of mysteries and thrillers of all categories, and has more than 30 reviewers from the US, the UK, and Australia. The site is edited by Sharon Wheeler, a UK-based journalist, and by writer and translator Yvonne Klein. I am their first NZ-based reviewer, and I will be looking to contribute regular reviews to their site in the coming weeks and months.

Each fortnight or so they publish about twenty (20) new reviews. Their most recent release on the weekend included two reviews I wrote for them; DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn, and OR SHE DIES by Gregg Hurwitz.

Flynn's DARK PLACES was one of the books shortlisted for the recently-announced 2009 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger (won by John Hart for THE LAST CHILD). In it, the main character Libby Day survived the 'Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas' as a seven-year old, when her mother and two sisters were brutally killed. A quarter century on she is pretty destitute, scarred physically and emotionally, while her brother rots in prison for the crime. Desperate for money, she meets a group of true-crime obsessives who are convinced her childhood evidence put an innocent man in prison. As she searches for the truth, the novel bounces back and forth between Libby's present-day narration, and the stories of those that were there on the day. It's a bleak, troubling novel filled with unlikeable characters, but I found it compelling.
You can read my review of DARK PLACES HERE. I'd reviewed the book earlier in the year for the Nelson Mail newspaper in New Zealand, but it was nice to be able to write a longer review, and explore a few more things about the book.

OR SHE DIES is the latest novel from LA-based thriller writer, screenwriter, graphic novellist and Shakespearian scholar Gregg Hurwitz, who I met and interviewed while he was in New Zealand recently - see HERE.

In OR SHE DIES, failed screenwriter Patrick receives DVDs in the post. They show footage of him and his wife washing, dressing, going to work - all taken by cameras hidden in his house. Someone is out to get him. And then the emails start arriving: Tell No One. Go Alone. OR SHE DIES. Patrick's life is turned upside down. Suddenly, this is a matter of life and death. He must follow the instructions on the email if he is to survive...

You can read my OR SHE DIES review HERE.

Thoughts and comments on my reviews, the books reviewed, the authors, and the Reviewing the Evidence website, all most welcome...

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