In June 2022, I read:
- The Passengers by John Marrs
- How to Write Like Tolstoy by Richard Cohen
- The Nurse by J A Corrigan
- One August Night by Victoria Hislop
- Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
- The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
- The Castaways by Lucy Clarke
- The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
I was quite looking forward to the advent of driverless cars until I read The Passengers by John Marrs! This is a high-concept thriller about a future world in which driverless cars are the norm. But what happens if they get hacked? This is a fast-paced novel that kept me gripped until the end.
How to Write Like Tolstoy covers all the key aspects of writing a book: plot, structure, character, endings, and polishing prose. It takes examples from classic literature and explains the techniques great authors use to create their works. I enjoyed this book, picked up loads of ideas, and would recommend it to other writers.
I read The Nurse by J A Corrigan because I appeared on a panel with her at Essex Book Festival in June. This is an excellent thriller, told from the point of view of a woman who has confessed to a murder and a journalist who doesn’t believe she’s telling the truth. I loved how the past unravels and the complex relationships between the characters.
One August Night by Victoria Hislop is the long-awaited sequel to The Island. I enjoyed returning to Crete in the late 1950s. The leper colony of Spinalonga has now closed, and the former occupants have returned home, but this brings about major consequences for the people they left behind. I enjoyed this book but would recommend reading The Island first, if you haven’t already.
Shari Lapena never disappoints, and Not a Happy Family is another page-turner. A wealthy couple are found dead in their luxurious home and a number of suspects are set to benefit from their inheritance. But whodunnit? Another great novel from one of my favourite writers, I read this in a couple of days.
The Family Upstairs is the first Lisa Jewell thriller that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last! A great plot with complex characters and evocative settings. I loved all the contrasts in this book, and I particularly liked the character of Henry. The sequel is out now, and I can’t wait to read it.
The Castaways by Lucy Clarke has been on my Kindle for ages, and I can’t believe it took me so long to read it! I absolutely loved this book which has a Lost vibe (but makes more sense) and I am excited to discover a new author. I will definitely be reading her next book, which has just come out, as well as her backlist.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is one of my favourite psychological thrillers, so I had high expectations of The Maidens. The two books are quite different, and the book I found myself drawing the most parallels to was The Secret History by Donna Tartt. The books share many of the same elements: an elite group of Classics students, an enigmatic tutor and a murdered student. I liked all the references to Greek mythology and the perspective of the investigating group therapist. Although I guessed the killer quite early on, there was plenty of intrigue to keep me turning the pages.