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Book Review: The Girl on the Train

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl. Three for a girl. I’m stuck on three, I just can’t get any further. My head is thick with sounds, my mouth thick with blood. Three for a girl. I can hear the magpies, they’re laughing, mocking me, a raucous cackling. A tiding. Bad tidings. I can see them now, black against the sun. Not the birds, someone else. Someone’s coming. Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look at what you made me do.”

Like Southern Rail, I’m only a couple years late on this train journey, but here I am now!

 

The Girl on the Train story starts with Rachael Watson, an alcoholic who takes the same 8.04 train from Ashbury to Euston Station every morning, and the 17.56 evening train back, to convince her roommate Cathy that she is still working, although she was fired three months ago.

And every day, on her train journey, she always stops at Witney, outside of her favourite house – 15 Blenheim Road, a few houses from her old house, where she looks in and sees her perfect, imaginary couple “Jess and Jason” on the balcony.

Everything was going fine, until one day, Rachael sees “Jess” kissing another guy on the balcony, and everything changes for Rachael. Then, the next day, Megan Hipwell (or “Jess”) goes missing, and noone knows where she went.

But Rachael, heavily drunk, was there the night Megan disappeared, and she could sure that she remembered something, but she had another one of her blackouts.

What really happened that night in Witney?

 

Seriously, this was one hell of a train ride! It took me a while to get through it (as I lost all motivation to read), but once I got back into it, I just couldn’t put it down.

I can see why it’s compared to Gone Girl – literally, none of the characters in this book are likeable, which normally I wouldn’t like in a story, but The Girl on the Train is an exception. Everyone has their own little secrets, their own little lies, and even though you couldn’t give a shit about if they all got hit by the 8.04 train, it made it even more exciting to read about their troubled pasts.

This was a great psychological thriller, and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t work out what was real, what was fiction, and more importantly, who did it, until the last fifty pages or so. Which is disappointing, as I worked out the last two thrillers I read… so there goes my flawless run :D

But I can understand why people don’t like this book – after all, if you loved Gone Girl, then there’s a very good chance you’re going to love The Girl on the Train… if not, more. But if you couldn’t physically stand to read Gone Girl, then I’d probably advise giving this a miss.

My rating? 5/5

Some People Deserve To Die – Part 2

Just a continuation from a story I wrote previously on this blog – you can find the first part here:

(Again, just like to reiterate I’m not a bad person :D )


 

“Right, let’s see who we have here… David Johnson… 42… Oh you have a wife? What’s her name… Louise? Wow, she’s so pretty.”

“F…fuck you” David spluttered.

“Did I say you could interrupt me? HUH?” It was a rhetorical question, you stupid fuck!” I said, kicking him as hard as I could in the ribs. “Don’t you EVER interrupt me again!”

“Anyway, where was I… Oh, you have two kids as well? Twins? Let’s see. Posted on Facebook two weeks ago. ‘Happy 13th birthday to my beautiful girls, Anna and Lilly.’ You disgusting fuck” Another kick to his naked chest. “Imagine the horror on their face WHEN THEY REALISE THAT THEY’RE YOUR FUCKING TYPE!” Another kick – this time, in between the legs. “Isn’t that what you go for these days? Thirteen year olds? PEOPLE LIKE YOU DISGUST ME.”

“Please… please… no more…” David winced.

“Sorry… what was that? I couldn’t quite hear you.

“PLEASE! NO MORE! HELP! SOMEONE! HEELP!”

Honestly, people like him are so pathetic. Weak. Cowards. Imagine the pain that these people have caused in their life to young people, left them screaming for help to anyone that can listen, as they’re being sexually abused. Being so mentally scarred of their ordeal that they cannot carry on with their lives anymore. Some have even killed themselves because of it. And now this person in in their position, feeling hopeless. Now he can feel what they’ve gone through.

“Shh… hear that?” Silence. “Nothing. Not a sound.” Even more silence. “I guess they didn’t hear you buddy. I guess your luck’s run out.”

“Wait… what are you going to do with m-?” David couldn’t finish his sentence. I think he knew what was coming, after I powered up the chainsaw.

“No! NO! NOOOO!


DCI Tompkins arrived at the local woods, where the body of the middle aged man had been discovered earlier this morning. Already, he noticed the crime scene had been outlined by blue police tape and a white tent. Annoyingly, the local and national press were there too, ready to take pictures and ask questions.

“Couldn’t they just leave us alone so we can actually do our job properly.” Tompkins asked, signalling to the eager photographers, as he showed his badge to the officer on scene.

“You know what it’s like nowadays – they’ll do anything for views these days” DS Lewis said. DCI Tompkins nodded.

“Right. What do we have here then?” he asked, getting straight to the point as always.

“Well…” DS Lewis glanced at his notepad. “We have the body of David Johnson, aged 42, in the police tent. Was discovered in the early hours of this morning by a local runner.”

“Has he been interviewed yet?”

“We had a brief conversation. Obviously still in shock from discovering the body, but he didn’t see anything suspicious while he was running.”

“Didn’t think so.” Tompkins muttered under his breath. “Have the family been contacted yet?”

“No, not yet. We were going to wait until you came here.”

“Thanks for that.” he said, irritated. “Can I see the body?”

“Yes, what remains of him” Lewis stated. DCI Tompkins raised an eyebrow, as they entered the police tent.

“Jesus Christ.” Tompkins exclaimed, as he studied the corpse in more detail.

“As you can see Chief, it’s not just the usual murder that we’re used to” the forensic scientist stepped forward. “We believe that he has been dead for about five hours, an hour before he was discovered. As you can see, his genitals has also been removed by a sharp object, what appears to be caused by a chainsaw. Also, the large bruising on his chest suggests that he was tortured whilst he was alive.”

“His motive is pretty clear then” Tompinks added, indicating towards the writing carved on his chest.

‘DAVID JOHNSON IS A PEDOPHILE’

“Exactly. It clearly shows that he has some vendetta towards him. The killer also left him a list of people on a piece of paper. It’s currently being analysed back at the lab for fingerprints.”

“What did it say?”

“It had a list of ten people, all girls, ranging from ages 13 to 17. We suspect that they are all victims of sexual abuse by our friend here”

“How would he know all of this information in the first place?” DS Lewis asked.

“We don’t know. It’s too early to say. Our killer could be anyone – a police officer, a social worker, a nurse or doctor, a counsellor. For all we know, he could be imagining all of this in his head, and the victims are a figment of his imagination”

“So we have nothing to work with?”

“I didn’t say that.” Tompkins snapped. “We have to follow police protocol. We’ll talk to the family of David Johnson first, and then we’ll work our way through the list.”

“And what if they don’t exist?”

DCI Tompkins held his hands up. “Then we really do have nothing to work on.”


 

Book Review: Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

This was supposed to be out last week, but I’ve been really ill over the past few days as I’ve been getting used to my antidepressants, so sorry about that. :(

Anyway, the review of Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

 

Tim Johnson is walking with his daughter Molly through Liverpool, in order to keep her away from his psychotic partner, when he is suddenly attacked. To his horror, after waking from unconsciousness, Molly is gone. However, the police think he’s lying and made this story up, as there is nothing suggesting that he ever had a child. Then, when the blood of a Polish woman is found at his former home, Tim Johnson is arrested for the murder, although Tim protests his innocence and wants the truth about his missing daughter.

A year later, Sam Byrne is guaranteed to become a Tory MP for Liverpool, which would make him the first in a generation. However, when he unexpectedly disappears, DI Murphy and DS Rossi are sent to investigate, where they discover a shocking side to the popular MP, and uncover a serious revenge killing spree that will keep you reading late at night.

 

Honestly, I couldn’t put down this book. I don’t know where to start because I don’t want to ruin the plot, but it had everything – lies, twists and turns, revenge-killing, cliques… even a little bit of political humour and subtle references to a former Prime Minister and his ‘pig antics.’

One thing in particular that I also loved about this book is how the city of Liverpool is portrayed by Veste, especially regarding the city itself, and people’s opinion and prejudices towards politics. I mean, I’m not a Liverpudlian myself, but I can already tell from this book that there’s more chance of Everton winning the league than a Tory MP being elected in Liverpool. In all seriousness, it’s clear that Veste knows the city well, and this is evident in his writing. He’s made this story more authentic.

Then She Was Gone is the fourth installment in the DS Murphy and DI Rossi series, and although I didn’t read the preceding books beforehand, I didn’t need to. This was a perfect standalone novel and a great introduction for me into Scouse Noir.

I can’t wait to read more Scouse Noir in the future!

Overall rating: 5/5

 

Book Review: Crime Song by David Swinson

*I won Crime Song in a recent Goodreads giveaway, so before I start my review, I’d like to quickly say a massive thank you to Hodder Books for running it and allowing me the chance to read this book 👍*

Synopsis:

Frank Marr was a former cop in the D.C. police after he was forced into early retirement due to his drug addiction. Now a private investigator, he takes on a case close to home – to spy on his cousin Jeffrey as a favour for his aunt, who suspects that he was dealing drugs. After a long night of surveillance in a nightclub, he returns home to find that his house has been burgled, and his possessions have been stolen – his laptop, his flat-screen TV, his turntable, his vinyl and CD collection and his .38 revolver. At the crime scene, a body has been left on the kitchen floor, and it doesn’t take Marr long to recognise who it is. It’s Jeffrey. In Crime Song, Frank Marr unravels the mystery towards what happened to his stuff (and Jeffrey), taking him deeper into a network of thieves, crooked cops and drug addicts, in a mission which could get him killed.

Review:

Crime Song is different to most crime thriller novels that I’ve read recently. It’s more of a “let’s cut the bullshit out, and get down to BUSINESS”, one man solving a case with virtually zero fucks given. Like some nitty-gritty crime series that the BBC would show (just without 99% of the swearing)

The pacing of this story was really good – everything didn’t happen at once, nor did it become so slow that it became unbearable to read. It was right in the middle and was consistent throughout the entire story.

The main character, Frank Marr, was also easily likeable, despite his flaws, such as his drug addiction and saying ‘fuck’ every other sentence, which was annoying to read at first, but you get used to it eventually.

The side characters were pretty interesting too – even if they have their flaws like Marr, I noticed that I started to feel empathy and anger towards them at the end. I suppose that being an ex-cop himself, Swinson knows about this stuff well, and how good people can get themselves involved in bad situations, and his previous knowledge as a cop really showed in Crime Song.

I think that’s why this book stood out for me – it’s not just a simple case of finding out “who dunnit?”, it actually goes much deeper, and if it wasn’t for exams, I could have easily finished it in a day or two. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and now I need to read The Second Girl in the near future too.

Overall rating: 4.5/5