Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Mini-Reviews: Thrillers of June! The Perfect Mother, All the Beautiful Lies & Bring Me Back


One of the best things to do in the world is reading thrillers, especially, during the monsoons! Picture this- a dark, gloomy, rainy day and you curled up in bed with a thriller! Isn't that the most fun way to spend rainy days?! Well, for a bookworm, it is! 

So, obviously, since June is when the rain Gods bless Bombay with some much-needed showers, my sister and I ended up spending many such rainy weekends with some much-hyped thriller books. Most, unfortunately, were a miss, but there were a few good ones too in the mix, which I thought I should review below, just in case any of you fine folk are considering reading thrillers in July! 

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy 

Plot Summary: We all want different things. Francie wants to be the perfect mother. Nell wants to escape the past. Collette wants to spend more time with her family.

All Winnie wants is to have her baby back.

When Nell suggests a night out in Brooklyn to her new mums club, the others jump at the chance. But the evening takes a tragic turn when single mother Winnie learns that her six-week-old son Midas has been kidnapped.
As the investigation hits a dead end, Nell, Collette and Francie make it their mission to succeed where the police are failing and bring baby Midas home. But as Winnie and those around her come under scrutiny from the media, damaging secrets come to light and friendships are pushed to the limit.

  • The Perfect Mother is an interesting book about the pressures and struggles of raising a child in today's world. The story is centered around the May mothers- a group of new moms with May-born babies- living in Brooklyn. The book, partially, focuses on their struggles as new moms- the constant benchmarking with other babies' development, the struggle between working and being a stay-at-home mom and the impact having a new baby has on the husband-wife relationship. So, it is in the midst of all this, one of the women's (Winnie, single mother, mysteriously wealthy) baby goes missing from her house on the one night that the May Moms were out partying! 
  • The book then goes into how three moms- Nell, Collette and Francie- go on to investigate and try and find Winnie's missing baby. Honestly, the investigation is very basic, but, I guess, that is the kind of simple investigation three non-detectives can manage, so, at least it is authentic. The identity of the kidnapper is not a big surprise, but there is an unreliable narrator angle, which is quite interesting. 
Rating: 3.5/ 5

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson 

Plot Summary: On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his step-mother Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father.

But who really is Alice, his father's much younger second wife? 

In a brilliant split narrative, Peter Swanson teases out the stories and damage that lie in her past. And as her story entwines with Harry's in the present, things grow increasingly dark and threatening - will Harry be able to see any of it clearly through his own confused feelings?

  • All the Beautiful Lies is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that moves between present-day event as seen from Harry's perspective and past events as seen from Alice's perspective. It is a pretty well-written book as Peter Swanson is a very competent writer and is able to tell a taut, suspenseful story quite well. 
  • However, Swanson seems to be stuck in the loop of writing very eerily similar female protagonists. Alice, like Swanson's other female protagonists, is a beautiful sociopath and after a point, this trope gets really annoying! It was very difficult to relate to her not only because she is a sociopath but also because her own deep denial about her past just does not make sense! 
  • The ending, however, is very, very satisfying! So, read this book for the fast-paced events and a very satisfying ending! 
Rating: 3.5/5

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Plot Summary: Finn and Layla: young and in love, their whole lives ahead of them. Driving back from a holiday in France one night, Finn pulls in to a service station, leaving Layla alone in the car.

When he returns, minutes later, Layla has vanished, never to be seen again. That’s the story Finn tells the police. It’s the truth – but not the whole truth.

Twelve years later, Finn has built a new life with Ellen, Layla’s sister, when he receives a phone call. Someone has seen Layla. But is it her – or someone pretending to be her? If it is her, what does she want? And what does she know about the night she disappeared?
  • We've read all books by B.A. Paris, mostly, because we really liked her first book- Behind Closed Doors. It was mostly very likeable because of the characters and not because it was, supposedly, a thriller. It was not a thriller, psychological or otherwise, but just a fast-paced story about a woman trying to escape her abusive husband. Anyway, after that, we also read her much-hyped second book- The Breakdown- which was TERRIBLE! It was not a thriller, it was dull and annoying. So, when her third book came out and, as usual, was getting all kinds of hype on Goodreads and on the internets, we thought, okay, maybe third time's the charm! And, boy, we were WRONG! 
  • Bring Me Back is just so OBVIOUS and IMPROBABLE and just UGH! The story makes no sense. The "big, shocking twist" is hardly that! It is so ridiculous and so contrived that you'll want to throw the book/ your e-reader against the wall in anger and want the 2+ hours of your life, that you spent on reading this book, back! I don't think I'll be ever buying a B.A. Paris book again, until and unless she gets her act together and actually writes a psychological thriller!  
Rating: 1/5

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