Review: Stranger Child (DCI Tom Douglas, #4) by Rachel Abbott

Stranger Child
Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For an ambitious plot, this book succeeded in having a brilliantly realistic human feel to it that carried the suspense wonderfully throughout the novel.

Pros:
– I was genuinely moved by how compassionate Emma was and how the author showed how this heightened compassion faced some tough decisions with the arrival of Tasha. My favourite part of the whole book was seeing how this character coped with impossible situations and how real her love for others felt.
– This book is advertised as a gripping thriller and it certainly delivers, the plot keeps you intrigued the whole time and its fast-paced action keeps you on tenterhooks as Abbott pulls no punches in dishing out twists and turns.
– Stranger Child is immensely absorbing – seriously. It should come with a warning that reading it will result in you detaching from everyday life for a few hours as you end up thumbing through the pages.
– The ending truly brought tears to my eyes, it was wonderful.

Cons:
– A small criticism but Tasha herself could have done with being a more developed character. In comparison to how well-written Emma’s characterisation is, most of the other characters paled in my mind when reading.

I picked up this book from Amazon’s new Prime Reading service that allows people with Amazon Prime memberships to ‘borrow’ 10 books from a small selection for free. Because this book was one of the few options to borrow for free, I really wasn’t expecting very much from it at all – I hadn’t heard of the author before and I didn’t even realise the book was meant to be part of a series. I just saw the cover and wanted an easy read to take my mind off real life for a few hours.
Boy, did this book go above and beyond my expectations!

Instead of it being a lazy read to relax with, I found myself fighting off tiredness to finish the whole book in one sitting. The plot is entirely absorbing and the characters, especially Emma, feel so life-like that you’re drawn to them. In fact, Emma is pretty much the whole reason I was in love with the book, she felt incredibly real and her compassion for all the characters around her brought the whole story to life, particularly her love for Ollie, it almost felt too tender to intrude on.

Do yourself a favour – don’t read anything else about this book. Pick it up, clear your schedule and dive right into the story, if you like suspense thrillers, you will love this book!

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Review: Roadwork by Richard Bachman

Roadwork
Roadwork by Richard Bachman (Stephen King’s pseudonym)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I hadn’t known who the author of this is and his reputation (which you know, is largely the point of a pseudonym), I wouldn’t have kept reading this book past the first couple of chapters.

As it stands, it is a hard book to rate as it’s difficult to second guess what the author’s trying to achieve. To me, it felt like a book about how something inconsequential to someone else could have the potential to utterly unhinge another person’s life and how fragile our grasp on ‘normal’ really is once parts of our identity start to crumble.

It was interesting, unsettling and thought-provoking but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone as it’s more of a social commentary or a take on the fragility of mental illnesses than it is a suspense or thriller book. I reckon it could’ve been much better if it was written entirely in this way too as the more theatrical elements of the plot stuck out like a sore thumb and made a poignant story into a somewhat silly one. Fortunately, this didn’t overshadow the whole book as it would’ve been unreadable.

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