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alison bruce

The Silence by Alison Bruce #BookReview

Posted on 4th September 2012 in #bookreview/ alison bruce/ cambridge/ Crime Fiction

THE SILENCE

by Alison Bruce

I have so looked forward to this book!

I even queued for it during the launch at Heffer’s in Cambridge where I finally got to meet the lovely @Alison_Bruce in person :)

The official blurb: Joey McCarthy is stabbed to death in a pub car park in a random act of violence. Shortly afterwards Charlotte Stone’s terminally ill mother dies and then, within weeks, two of her teenage friends commit suicide. With her home life disintegrating and both her father and brother racing towards self-destruction Charlotte realises that her own personal nightmare may not be over yet.

When DC Gary Goodhew finds the body of another suicide victim he is forced to recall some deeply buried memories of an earlier death; memories which lead him to Charlotte Stone and the events in her life.

From their individual points of view they both begin to wonder whether all these tragedies are somehow linked to a bigger picture.

And if they are right, then who will be the next victim?

After reading only a few pages of The Silence I remarked to my partner that this was “her [Alison Bruce’s] best book yet!”. I’ve been hooked on this series since book one but it seemed to me that in this book Alison’s writing has taken on new a depth; it seems more confident, more accomplished and the book seemed (to me) to move at a different pace to its predecessors. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the pace and direction, hold on tight as half-way through it seems to go up a gear and bursts forward shifting the whole focus of the story and racing towards its conclusion.

It offers a more complex plot than the previous books and immediately draws you in to the story which then leads you down more dark alleys and dead ends than a maize maze… Ok so that’s not the best analogy in the world but you get the idea 😉

I thought Goodhew seemed a more sensitive soul in this book and his memories of an earlier car crash showed us a new side to him and helped (in my head at least) to further define his enigmatic but oh so likable personality.

There were a couple of things in the book which I felt were ‘left hanging': DI Marks was very thoughtful and brooding throughout the book and although a brief explanation was proffered, it felt to me as though there was more to it; also, I was expecting fireworks between Goodhew and (the deeply unpleasant) Kincaide especially after Kincaide sinks to a new low with his malicious lies but Goodhew seemed to let it go. I wonder if both of these are being saved up for the next book?

The Silence very quickly had me hooked and, as usual, attempting to guess the outcome! I thought it was very clever the way the story constantly seemed to circle the central characters from the student house and I enjoyed the dynamics and differing personalities within the group. Except for Oslo, one word, ewwww!

I thoroughly enjoyed The Silence and can’t wait for book 5!

The Calling #BookReview

Posted on 16th August 2012 in #bookreview/ alison bruce/ book review/ books/ Crime Fiction

The Calling

by Alison Bruce

Synopsis: Kaye Whiting went to buy a birthday present and didn’t come back. Fifty miles away in Cambridge town centre a deeply disturbed young woman is standing by a payphone. She often feels compelled to do harmful things and is driven by a desire to make a call. When Kaye’s body is discovered, the only clue DC Gary Goodhew has to go on is a woman’s voice on his voicemail saying, “Kaye isn’t the first and won’t be the last…”

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am reading my way through the Alison Bruce books after discovering and loving Cambridge Blue.

I have one negative comment and I’ll get it out of the way first (Alison already knows this anyway!) I’m really sad that the cover has been changed from the original one which was:

I personally love the original style of the jacket covers and think it’s a real shame that they’ve been made more generic by the publishers.

Anyway, the book!

I know from my Q&A session with Alison that The Calling, although being the third in the Cambridge Blue series, is actually the first one that she wrote and I read the book with that knowledge to see if I could ‘tell’. I certainly don’t think it is screamingly obvious, but there were a few subtle differences about DC Gary Goodhew’s personality?

I love it when I get to start a new DC Gary Goodhew book, it’s great to settle down with a book knowing that you love the characters and that you love the writing style. The Calling did not disappoint. It is fast paced (as all of the series have been so far) and you get drawn into the story very quickly, making it hard to put the book down.

Poor Kaye, I was willing her to hang on and was quite shocked when she didn’t! That was totally unexpected for me but it was a great way to be thrown straight into the book. I thought that the pain portrayed by Kaye’s mother was excellently observed.

I kept changing my mind about who my chief suspect was as the story progressed and I enjoyed being kept on my toes as new developments arose. I liked the way that the crime was solved between DC Goodhew and the enigmatic character ‘Marlowe’ and thought the relationship between their, equally untraditional, personalities felt very plausable.

As ever I have no intention of giving away the ending to this book, except to say that I one point I did think Alison had taken leave of her senses with the way the story was heading but it was of course just another cleverly woven red herring!

Great book – if you are new to the Cambridge Blue series, please pick up a copy of Cambridge Blue first and fall in love with enigmatic DC Gary Goodhew!

The Siren #BookReview

Posted on 21st June 2012 in #bookreview/ alison bruce

The Siren

by Alison Bruce

I searched high and low for this book after being completely blown away by Cambridge Blue. I wanted to read more about Gary Goodhew, as with all great characters, I missed him!

In The Siren I found a Gary Goodhew who seemed a bit more comfortable in his own skin and in his role within the police force. He seemed to have gained more trust and respect from his senior officer and at least some of the team. The ever unlikable Kincaide is also back with his snide comments general air of slime bucket; personally I think I would’ve liked to have seen Kincaide become even more vile in this book and play up the part of the villain thus creating more of an element of risk.

The storyline, as I have come to expect from Alison Bruce, is innovative, it’s different, it doesn’t follow your standard crime by numbers style of book writing and I enjoy her books all the more for that spark of diversity which sets her apart from other writers.

I had to laugh when I read a review of Cambridge Blue on Amazon, it said something like “My biggest problem with the book, though, was that I found the character of the main protagonist, DC Gary Goodhew, increasingly implausible. I suspect that Ms Bruce is more than half in love with her creation – she makes him attractive but unaware of it, fabulously empathetic and non-sexist, far more intelligent and intuitive than any of his colleagues, and so bursting with integrity and the desire to do good that it’s a wonder it doesn’t give him a nose bleed….The author’s infatuation with her creation means that he is allowed to get away with frankly ridiculous behaviour.”

HA! I bet you that review was written by a man! 

Goodhew is all of the things that he has said but they are also all the things that make him so likeable, so engaging and so readable! It is caring about Goodhew that makes the books work so well in my opinion. I sort of want him to have a love interest (and I can smell one coming in the next book!) but I sort of don’t too.

One teeny negative for this book, if I may, not enough of his grandma. I loved her character in Cambridge Blue and she only makes a fleeting visit or two to the pages of The Siren.

Being a resident of Cambridgeshire I just love being able to picture places that are mentioned, I’ve walked across Parker’s Piece for example and shopped in the Grafton Centre. And, having just googled it like a complete saddo, I now know that The Cambridge Blue is a real bar!

Learn more about Alison Bruce in this interview.

Cambridge Blue by Alison Bruce #bookreview

Posted on 14th March 2012 in #bookreview/ alison bruce

I really enjoyed this book.

This was a given to me as a gift and I’m so pleased that it was as I’ve never read anything by Alison Bruce before and I’m always over the moon when I find a new author whose work I enjoy reading.

Now I need to find myself a copy of Siren!

The main character, DC Goodhew, has a brilliant mind which he has to try to restrain in order to keep within the rules; and the law!

He is an engaging character, with many quirks and eccentricities as befits the role.

I loved the descriptive walks through Cambridgeshire, it has made the town really come alive for me and I will enjoy looking out for some of the places mentioned in the book.

I thought it was well written, had clever twists and turns with lots of loose ends to unravel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Like all my reviews, I don’t want to spoil the story for you so I’ll let you find that out for yourself when you read the book!

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