#5Books: Book recs, music and New Blood

#5Books for the week ending 2 December 2018

Has anyone heard of Rag ‘n Bone Man? He’s a singer out of the UK and I started paying attention to his damned gorgeous voice when I first heard his single Human at the gym of all places — it was a merciful change from the techno nonsense that plays usually.

I can’t express to you how much I love this song. But that is not the point of this post. It’s this song of his

Which is the theme song to a little UK cop show called New Blood

New Blood is about the children of immigrants — Arrash Sayyad (Iranian background) and Stefan Kowolski (Polish background) who are both investigators. Arrash (Rash) is a constable trying to make his way up the ranks to detective and Stefan is a junior investigator with the Serious Fraud Office. 

They are very intelligent, brave and very young and immature at the same time and that makes for hilarious viewing. These two totally MAKE the show work with their chemistry and their odd-coupleness — Stefan is often dragging Rash into things he really ought not to be doing (and sometimes getting him fired or stuck to his desk), and Rash loosens up when Stefan isn’t getting him in heaps of trouble.

The cases they investigate make for a different sort of procedural and each case becomes more complex as they unfurls. But really, these guys make for compelling and enjoyable TV!

AND — like I siad — killer soundtrack!

Now in between all this bingeing, there were these:

A Good Enough Mother

Ruth Hartland is the director of a trauma therapy unit in London. A psychotherapist with years of experience, she is highly respected in her field and in her office. But her family life tells another story: her marriage has fractured; her daughter has moved far, far away to Australia; and Tom, her teenage son, after years of struggling with being a child who never fit in, has disappeared and has had no contact with anyone for two years. Ruth’s fragile son has always been sensitive and anxious, the opposite of his cheerful and resilient sister. Is he hiding? Is he dead? How did she fail him, and how can she find him after all this time?

Then Ruth is assigned a new patient, a young man who bears a striking resemblance to her own son. Ruth is determined to help Dan, but her own complicated feelings and family history cloud her judgement–and professional boundaries, once inviolable, are crossed. When events spiral out of control, Ruth will have to accept the unacceptable, and reckon with those who truly matter in her life. A brilliant, beautiful story of mothering, and how to let go of the ones we love when we must.

This one is not my usual fare, but there is something about the blurb that is compelling — is it that Ruth and her family live behind a facade? What happened to her son? Does Ruth find her son? And I still can’t figure out what to make of the patient that reminds her of her son. That last line though — it breaks my heart. How can you let go of the ones you love? Isn’t that the time you’re supposed to hold on the most?

Bone Deep

A twisty and propulsive read, this dark psychological thriller of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal, and the dire consequences of family fallout brilliantly plays on our fears of loneliness and abandonment, harkening to the modern gothic bestsellers by Ruth Ware and Liz Nugent.

Is a story ever just a story?

Mac, a retired academic and writer, is working on a new collection of folktales, inspired by local legends, and at the insistence of her only child, Arthur, she hires a young assistant, Lucie, to live in a cottage on her property and help her transcribe them. What Arthur doesn’t know is that his mother is determined to keep the secrets of her past from ever being discovered. And what Mac doesn’t know is that Lucie has a few complicated secrets of her own.

The creaking presence of an ancient water mill next to Mac’s property that used to grind wheat into flour serves as an eerie counterpoint for these two women as they circle warily around each other, haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, ready to point accusing fingers from the pages of history.

This atmospheric page turner evocatively gives voice to the question: What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?

There’s a whole heap of things happening here, isn’t there? Mac and Lucie sound like they will both protect their secrets and they both sound like they would be compelling to read. But if that’s not enough, how does the story of two dead sisters and a mill tie into everything? Never forget: a story is never just a story….

Death Prefers Blondes

Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.

But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them — for good?

First off, I couldn’t resist that cover! Not to mention, four kickboxing drag queens and a rebel heiress! And what drives a teenage socialite to a life of burglary? I think I might like Margo!

The Stranger Diaries

From the author of the beloved Ruth Galloway series, a modern gothic mystery for fans of Magpie Murders and The Lake House.
Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

Oh hello, literature and real life colliding, with a whole new level of creepiness that comes with finding someone else’s writing in a most personal place.

What theme song gets your attention every time it comes on? And what books are you looking forward to this week?


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