Review: Catherine Steadman – Mr Nobody

Mr Nobody
Catherine Steadman

Dr Emma Lewis is a specialist in memory loss and brain damage. Perhaps it comes from her own past, a man who did something terrible and a memory Emma couldn’t forget. Mr Nobody has no memories of his own, but he knows things about Emma that he shouldn’t know.

There is a beautiful slow pacing in the first half of the novel which potentially could be considered glacially slow if you prefer a novel with a bit more action. I wasn’t in a hurry because I’d only brought one book! I enjoyed the perspectives, although I felt like there was perhaps too much insight into each of their minds. I also didn’t really ‘need’ all of the characters. For example, the nurse wasn’t that necessary.

The ending to this one was a bit of a twist, but not quite as twisty as I thought? I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Honestly, after all the build up I thought something exciting might happen in the final pages. I was wrong, and it made me sad. It seemed like Emma had given up (something nebulous that I’m not going to say because it’ll spoil the book).

Thanks to COVID-19 I’m more than a year behind on reviewing this novel. With all the bad stuff that was/is happening in the world I couldn’t face a thriller. This is worthy of three stars – 4 from the beginning and 2 for the ending! If you want a gripping crime go check out Before Her Eyes.

Simon & Schuster | 1 February 2020 | AU$29.99 | paperback

Review: Sarah Schmidt – See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done
Sarah Schmidt

A true mystery novel, Lizzie Borden took an ax and brutally murdered her father and step-mother. But is it true? This is what this fiction novel explores from the other people’s perspectives at the time.

The dust jacket is written as if a 32-year-old woman living at home is abnormal, but truly it isn’t especially for those days. She isn’t married. I also think her sister was a complete idiot. Ok, your mother has trusted you to look after your sister, but at some point you must get your own life. From what I learnt about the sisters in this novel, Lizzie should have been institutionalized.

I never connected with any of the characters, I got confused between all the time jumps and the ending was completely unsatisfactory. I get that its based on a true story, and so there is no resolution – but that’s what fiction is all about! Resolving storylines and helping the reader to understand what is going on. Instead I met a bunch of characters that I didn’t care about, including Lizzie’s parents, and thus I couldn’t care less that they had died, or had hope for someone to be punished for the crime.

I HATED this novel. I persevered to the end, but it wasn’t worth my time. It’s not worth your time either. I finished it, yes, but that is because I was hoping for deliverance at the end by the creepy guy in the shadows. So since I finished it, I should give it 2 stars, but I’m not. 1 star.

Hachette Australia | 1st April 2017 | AU$32.99 | paperback

Review: AJ Conway – The Successor

The Successor
AJ Conway

Five offspring of a business magnate gather to get their inheritance. But instead of a fat cheque, they each receive a clue to find where it has been hidden. These siblings have always been rivals, and in the race to get their hands on the money and business, they are willing to stop at nothing, not even murder, to get it.

This is Conway’s greatest literary achievement so far. This novel made me keep reading it, and the range of characters was diverse. I have to say that I didn’t see most of the novel coming! Ah, twisty good bits. It’s amazing what secrets people can keep – and how awesome it is to set up a clue-finding trail. I only wish he had been there to see it!

I would even consider reading this novel again, despite its flaws. Some of the dialogue is a bit iffy, and occasionally there are too many descriptive words in a row that it throws the reader out of the story. Not to mention there is a lot of shouting going on – on one page I saw at least three characters all ‘shouted’ rather than ‘said’, if you know what I am talking about.

WHY? Why did I not review this novel while it was fresher in my mind with its awesomeness? All I can remember now is a feeling of being unable to put it down. And as I flick through it again to refresh my memory, I can feel myself wanting to sink back into the novel. Despite my terrible review, please get yourself a copy of this novel.

I think I’m going to give it 5 stars, even though it wasn’t perfect. I loved the way it exposed each family member in turn and didn’t flinch from the cut-throat corporate world out there. A.J. Conwey’s work is well worth your time, and I hope to see more novels from her in the future. If this novel isn’t for you, perhaps you’d prefer My Nova or Skyquakers. I’ve promoted this author from the beginning and will continue to do so.