Thursday 21 August 2014

Book: The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

Meet eighty year old Edward Shank, former chief of police, highly respected pillar of the community.... and serial killer.
During his police career Shank famously cornered and shot dead a serial killer but unbeknown to anyone it was Shank himself who was the killer known as The Butcher.

Long retired and about to move into an old folks home Shank decides to let his Grandson in on the secret and although his body might not be what it used to be the old man is helpless to prevent the urges which are beginning to return on a frequent basis.

Jennifer Hillier’s first stand-alone thriller delivers an anti-hero unlike any other. Edward “The Chief” Shank is a thoroughly despicable but totally captivating character who completely dominates the book. The supporting cast of grandson Matthew, his girlfriend Sam and detective Sanchez add important elements but when The Chief appears it feels the same as when an acting legend with great screen presence appears in a movie.

In fact, The Butcher is prime movie adaptation material and my ideal choice for the part would be Clint Eastwood. Until that happens make sure you catch this absorbing and unique serial killer story.

Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Book: The Cold Cold Sea by Linda Huber

A family day out at the beach takes a tragic turn when 3 year old Olivia Granger goes missing. Time passes and with no sign of Olivia she is presumed drowned.

Meanwhile 5 year old Hailey Marshall starts school and her Mother Jennifer couldn’t be any more proud.

As we follow both families it isn’t clear where this story will take us but slowly the horrible truth begins to reveal itself.

Following her impressive début novel, The Paradise Trees, Linda Huber returns with another tension filled tale depicting a young girl in a very worrying situation. As the growing sense of dread builds you anticipate certain things happening, only for events to transpire somewhat differently.

I’m not entirely sure that this sits comfortably under the crime fiction umbrella. Yes, there is a crime being committed, but there is no sign of the hackneyed genre favourites of serial killer and streetwise detective. This is far removed from those types of novels but it is no less entertaining whilst also managing to instil an excruciatingly uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach.

The Cold Cold Sea also gives us a wonderful main character that has you completely emotionally invested in her. I haven’t rooted for a character as much since Thor the dog in Wayne Smith’s story.

With only her second book Linda Huber has written a wonderful tale that puts the reader through the wringer and then drags them back again. Thankfully every suspense filled page is worth it.

The Cold Cold Sea is available now from Legend Press. 

Ric’s Rating: Essential