Writings: September 2021 Reading List & Reviews by Beth Bowser

Novels by Ruth Ware, Val McDermid, and Louise Candlish September 2021 Reading & Reviews Click here for a printer friendly version of this page

One by One by Ruth Ware was the first novel I grabbed for September, and it was suggested. Thank you for the suggestions and keep them coming! One by One starts with two employees of a fancy chalet in the French Alps, the coordinator and the cook. The big wigs of a startup internet company have booked a stay at this posh refuge, but, of course, we have to run into issues or this novel would be boring, right? Because this is a mystery thriller, I don't feel I can write too much about what happens without ruining it for you fellow readers! Let me just say that there are many characters which is mildly confusing, and I only liked one of them by the end, with others possibility being likable but their stories didn't get as much page time as others. It's a fast read, the chapters are short and nearly always end in a cliff hanger where you have to read just the next chapter. We know what that turns into tho as "just the next chapter" ends up being five more chapters! It's a great novel and thrilling. You may immediately know what's going to happen, but you won't know who is at fault until nearly the end. The internet company thing of starting each chapter with the character's ID and how many listeners, etc I thought was an affectation for the novel and of little importance, but it does add to the feeling of the hip young company vibe, which in my case, soured me to the novel. If you can look past that and like thrillers, grab this novel! I doubt you'll be disappointed!

My second novel of the month was The Distant Echo, first novel in the Inspector Karen Pirie series, by Val McDermid. This novel follows four young Scottish men at university in the late 1970s. There are two parts to the book and the first part is very slow and plodding as the men find a dead woman that the police cannot find the murderer of. The nicknames the men have for each other can be confusing, and you should know that Karen Pirie who is what this series is named after, isn't really in this book. The second part of the book is twenty years later in the four men's lives and moves much faster and is a much more enjoyable read. The police just got the ability to test fibers and other technological advances and reopened the case from the first half of the book. Honestly, I don't know if McDermid had to have the first part, and maybe she did, but couldn't it have been shorter? I understand that we likely needed to understand the pain and suffering the four men went through to understand the connection to each other or something. I think you could read the back of the book and count that as the first half. open up the novel to the passage notating part 2 and read from there. The whole novel is from the point of view of the men, rather than the police so you aren't really in the thick of things and able to find clues as the detectives do. You may still be able to guess who did it, but you'll have to wait a while before you know if you're right. It's not a who-dun-it in that sense, but I did really enjoy the ending and the writing!

The third and final novel for September was The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish and was another suggestion. Thank you! The Other Passenger is billed as a thriller, but I didn't feel that way to me. We follow Jaime a man in his late forties, who is working at a coffee shop for whom his partner, Claire, forks over a considerable sum to allow him to take a ferry to his work. I'm unsure if entirety of his pay ever covers for that ferry pass. But she allows it as he's breaking, and I understand THAT, and she wants to help him get back on his feet. He meets others on the ferry commute, specifically a younger man, Kit, who feels entitled to comfort, and his girlfriend. Jaime and Kit become friends and they double date a little but that's where the problem begins. Jaime has feelings for his girlfriend and she reciprocates! After that happened, it felt I was shaking my head so much, I started having a neck crick. The story was very fast and written well enough that my dislike of all the characters didn't stop me from reading. Instead, I wanted to know if they got their comeuppance! I don't feel I can write much of anything else about this novel without ruining a twist. If you like twists, there are MANY MANY twists, and a little mystery, grab this book!

I guess I read slowly this month, sorry! Last year, I read five books in September and was furiously writing the first draft of my novel. I guess I'm slacking with all the setbacks I've had as of late. Please do check out my novel page! Just a simple reminder that if you didn't subscribe to my novel list, you won't get updates or requests to beta-read.