4*, blog tours, book review, debut author

#BlogTour #BookReview The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen. @orlaowenwriting #TheLostThumb #RandomThingsTours @annecater

Today on If Only I Could Read Faster it appears to be twin day, because this is my second review today and both books have featured twins. Thank you to Anne Cater for asking me to be part of the blog tour for The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen.

My Review:

The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen is a quirky book, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it but it definitely wasn’t any of the options that I had thought about.

This is the author’s debut novel and it is a really impressive first novel in many ways. The story is set in Australia, although that is totally irrelevant because the setting has no part in the story. I only realised that the book was set in Australia when I was about half way through and I realised then that it is really unusual to read a book that is so insular that the outside of the story doesn’t matter.

The other unusual thing with this book is that I have absolutely no idea what year the book was set in. There were no mentions of mobile phones which could be an indication but other than that I really have no idea. I think it would be from the 1960s on, perhaps in the 80s but who knows.

Lara and Luella are twins who live with their mother who controls everything about their lives, the twins have no say in how they live, where they go, what they wear and what they eat. They have no friends and live a colourless life, both literally and figuratively, and this is why the outside world doesn’t seem to matter, because for Lara and Luella it is totally irrelevant.

At times the book was hard to read, the abuse from the mother is shocking and upsetting, the description of the characters emotions was also quite raw. I also felt as though some of what happened was somewhat predictable and that was disappointing, given how different the story and characters were I had hoped that the author wouldn’t follow some predictable storylines.

But that didn’t stop this book from being a very clever debut, one that I enjoyed reading even though at times it made me feel very sad. Orla Owen is an author to watch.

Blurb:

In a small town in New South Wales, Lara and Luella Jeffreys lead isolated lives until the night they are left alone for the first time, and Luella decides to have some fun. 

That evening goes horribly wrong. 

After Luella wakes up in hospital, she’s kept prisoner at home with her mother acting as her warden. Lara is sent to school to keep up the pretence that she is fine, her sister is fine, and the world is fine. Except they aren’t. The local storekeeper, sensing that something’s wrong, pushes her son to befriend Lara but the results of her meddling are deadly…

About The Author:

Orla Owen is a writer, online editor, and author of the novel The Lost Thumb. She’s been writing since she was a child, and in 2016 was picked to be mentored by Sarah Savitt at Virago.

Her writing focuses on the dark and macabre side of family life, the parts that go on behind closed doors.

Before she became a writer, she was an actress and drama practitioner, studying Theatre at Bretton Hall College of the Arts. She has performed at the Royal Court and Edinburgh fringe, as well as working on The Women’s Theatre Workshop mentoring scheme.

Supporting women in writing is important to her, and she was lucky enough to work on a writers’ mentoring scheme, as an assistant to the author Kerry Hudson, at the WoMentoring Project. 

She is currently working on her second novel, PAH, which will be released in early 2020.

The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview The Essence of Evil by Rob Sinclair. @RSinclairAuthor @canelo_co @Tr4cyF3nt0n #PoliceFiction #TheEssenceOfEvil

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Essence of Evil by Rob Sinclair. The first book in a new series about Detective Inspector Dani Stephens. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for asking me to be part of the blog tour.

My Review:

As a parent of twins I have to admit that I am drawn to read books that feature twins, especially boy/girl twins. This book might now sound like something that would appeal to a parent of boy/girl twins, given the boy in the story tries to kill his twin sister, but of course this is fiction and not something that could ever happen with my twins (obviously).

Dani Stephens is an unusual character, the consequences of the attack from her brother are something she continues to battle with, years after the attack occurred. I really liked how the author added details of Dani’s traumatic brain injury and the long term consequences on her and her behaviour. This added an element of drama, compassion, empathy, doubt, confusion and mistrust that is hard to achieve in believable fiction.

The book did feel a bit slow at times, and the last 15% was jammed full of action, which was great but I wish the pace had been quicker throughout and the majority of the book less of a slow burner.

But the scene is now set for a thriller series with a strong female lead who is vulnerable and flawed. Roll on book two.

Blurb:

He’s your attacker.

He’s a murderer.

He’s your twin. 

When D.I Dani Stephens returns to work after the attack that almost ended her life, she’s quickly plunged into a horrific new case, as dead bodies are discovered on the streets of Birmingham.

But with no link between the victims, Dani has to get inside a killer’s mind – so turns to the murderer she knows best. Her own twin brother…

But what makes a psychopath? Can understanding her twin help her find a murderer who leaves no trace? As the circle closes on Dani, the clock is ticking and she needs a breakthrough – before she becomes the latest victim.

A heart-stopping crime thriller that fans of Peter James and Mark Billingham won’t be able to put down.

About The Author:

@JigsawPhotographyUK

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemyseries and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers. His books have sold over half a million copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn. 

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

The Essence of Evil by Rob Sinclair is out on 12th September 2019 and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.