Nyx Book Reviews

fantasy ♥ paranormal ♥ horror ♥ science-fiction

Review: Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Title: Black Moon
Author: Kenneth Calhoun
Series: Standalone
Rating: 4 Stars

288 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Hogarth
Review copy received from the publisher

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

What if the world is hit with an epidemic of insomnia? That is the premise of Black Moon, Calhoun’s debut novel. Often called hallucinogenic by other reviewers, this book is an engaging book about the end of the world as we know it.

Biggs doesn’t know why, but he can still sleep, even though everyone around him is in the grasp of insomnia. Then one day he can no longer find his wife. Biggs and a cast of other characters try to find their way as society crumbles.

Sometimes reading other reviews can influence your thoughts on a book, and with Black Moon I’m glad I went in blind. The book has an absolutely atrocious average rating on Goodreads. A rating I wasn’t expecting at all, making me wonder whether we all read the same book – because the one I read was a solid apocalyptic science-fiction novel.

What might put some people off is that Black Moon isn’t always an easy read. The plot isn’t completely linear, there are multiple characters to keep track of, and the sleep-deprived points of view sometimes take a turn towards the bizarre. However, I would by no means call this book unnecessarily convoluted or complex. It doesn’t take the reader by the hand, but the main story is never far off either, and there are no chances of getting lost.

In a way Black Moon reminded me of World War Z – how it should have been. The comparison by the insomniacs and zombies isn’t far off, and the emphasis on the crumbling of society is similar. Our heroes go through some pretty big peril before a sort of balance is restored, and like in World War Z, not all characters are sympathetic. I really held my heart at some instances, not wanting my favourites to meet a terrible fate.

Black Moon combines solid writing with a true and tried concept of an apocalyptic scenario. Though it doesn’t give many answers of the why and how, it’s an adventure novel that hits the spot.

Blurb

Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness. Chase and his buddy Jordan are devising a scheme to live off their drug-store lootings; Lila is a high school student wandering the streets in an owl mask, no longer safe with her insomniac parents; Felicia abandons the sanctuary of a sleep research center to try to protect her family and perhaps reunite with Chase, an ex-boyfriend. All around, sleep has become an infinitely precious commodity. Money can’t buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it. However, Biggs persists in his quest for Carolyn, finding a resolve and inner strength that he never knew he had.

Kenneth Calhoun has written a brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, strange, and profoundly moving.

Other reviews you might be interested in

Book Fatigue – Let’s Discuss

BOOK FATIGUEI’ve been wanting to post about this topic, which is quite close to my heart, for a while. But I keep putting it off because it’s not a very fun thing to post about. Actually, it might be the one thing book bloggers don’t usually discuss. We hide behind “reading slumps” – temporary lapses of bookish ennui that can be solved by reading an old favourite, a new genre, or if all else fails, a bout of Netflix-bingeing. What I’m talking about today makes a reading slump look like a nick on the otherwise spotless record of out reading lives.

I no longer get that all-encompassing excitement from reading.

Books no longer blow me away.

All books I read have turned into one big blur – some good, some bad, but none amazing and mind-blowing.

And before you’re going to suggest that this is just a phase and that it will pass should I stop reading for a bit or cleanse my palet – it won’t. This is something that has been growing for the last three years. And it’s not that I don’t feel like reading. I do. I’m still enjoying myself when I read, and I’m still interested in the stories that are presented to me. But apart from piquing my interest and keeping me entertained for an afternoon, books don’t touch me any more.

Often I read raving 5 star reviews in which people gush about what books have made them thing and feel and how it stuck with them and changed their lives. I want to read that. I want that feeling. But no matter what I read, I don’t feel that way. I read diversely, and widely. I read old books and new releases. I read MG and YA and adult titles. I read science fiction and fantasy and horror and contemporary and literary fiction and classics. But none of those books make me want to gush. When I finish a book I go “oh, that was cool”, I write my review, and the story fades from my mind.

Only once in a blue moon do I get that obsessed feeling with books, and it’s usually with rereads. Books from my childhood like Harry Potter remind me how I used to feel about books, how I used to be completely passionate about words and characters and stories. Apart from Harry Potter rereads, I’ve only given two 5 star ratings. The other 58 books I’ve read this year were varying shades of okay. Reading has almost become mechanical to me. I consume book after book.

Sometimes I take a break from reading for whatever reason, but it changes nothing. It’s as if, by having read a few hundred books, I have read them all. It’s incredibly hard to present me with a book that I cannot guess the ending of. By having learned the inner workings of stories, through blogging, freelancing, reviewing, and my academic career, they have lost their magic. I know all about the three act structure and of the inciting incident and turning points. We completely dissected story structure and narrativity in class. After you know how a magician performs a trick, the magic show loses part of its glamour.

What I’m looking for right now is not so much advice, but dialogue. I want to know how you feel, especially those among you who have been blogging for a while. Does the critical gaze you impose on books ruin part of the experience for you too?

Have you contracted book fatigue?

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The Sunday Post #37

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

seether

Just after the Seether concert, holding the guitar string I conquered

One more week. One week of being in sort of an in-between place – I’m waiting to finally get a yes/no on my thesis, which will determine whether I’ll have to do it over or whether I’ll start my master’s degree on September 1st. I’m someone who likes to be prepared, and the fact that these deadlines are all so close is bothering me. In under seven days, I have to make sure to bully my teacher’s into filling in my thesis mark, badger the student desk into giving me a piece of paper to prove I’ve gotten my degree, and pass that degree on to the student desk of a different university. It’s either this, or everything will fall apart and I’ll be a very sad panda.

I did have a very good week. Since finishing my thesis I’ve been sleeping a lot, and just generally doing nothing at all. It’s nice not to have to work on anything, even if it’s just for two measly weeks. I went to a Seether concert and it was fabulous. I gave the singer a high five (as awkwardly as can be) and managed to get my hands on one of the strings of his guitar. Definitely the highlight of my week.

This week on Nyx Book Reviews

I wrote the post Jane Austen and Me partially because I signed up for the Austen in August event and partially as an experiment. While I love my reviews, I want to write a bit differently, maybe more conversationally, and this post was the result of that. The comments were positive, so I think I’m going to deem it a success! In the review department I wrote about Dark Prince, a paranormal romance with the most alpha of alpha males, and Forbidden, a shape shifter urban fantasy.

This week on Irresponsible Cactus

This week’s Cactus post discusses three graphic novels that I read lately. I was a bit disappointed with Nimona. While it started off well, I thought that it lost a bit of its shine the further the story progressed. Both Lost at Sea and the first new Thor were lovely.

Read this week

sundaypost37The infamous Bout of Books readathon was being held this week, an event where readers from around the world try to read more than they usually would. My goal for the readathon was to finish a book – and I did! I managed to finish Stone of Farewell, second book in the Memory, Thorn, and Sorrow series that carries a whopping 750 pages. When taking a break from that brick, I reread the first volume of Rat Queens. I enjoyed it more on reread than I did on first read. These ladies are so cool – I’d definitely bring them with me if I ever went questing.

How was your week?

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Review: Forbidden by Cathy Clamp

Title: Forbidden
Author: Cathy Clamp
Series: Luna Lake
Rating: 3 Stars

352 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Tor Books
Received review copy from the publisher

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Forbidden is the first book in a brand new urban fantasy series called Luna Lake, which ties in with the Tale of the Sazi series. I had never read a book by Cathy Clamp before, so I went into Forbidden without any knowledge of its background story.

Claire is sent to Luna Lake by her alphas to investigate shifter children going missing. When she arrives in the little secluded town, she discovers there is more wrong than just a few runaways.

The start of Forbidden is rather rocky. You know that authors are advised to start in the action? This book does just that, and it falls into the trap of having too much going on without reference. I had no idea who I was looking at and why before things started to hit the fan. I experienced a disconnect between me and the characters, simply because I had no idea what they were talking about. I suspect that it would have been easier if I had read one of the other Sazi books before. Now, however, I was forced to get to know the characters, make sense of the world-building, and keep track of the action on top of that.

Forbidden straddles the line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I think there is too much romance (and too much cheesy lust-at-first-sight) for it to be a proper urban fantasy, yet there is not enough of the urgency and focus for me to convincingly call it paranormal romance. The main pairing is between two wolf shifters, and the moment they meet, they do the whole wolf mating thing. My issue with this was that the first time the hero sees the heroine, she is half dead and not breathing. He gives her mouth-to-mouth and basically makes out with her while she is unconscious. This really did not sit well with me, and their budding romance did not work for me.

The reason I did still enjoy the book is the action/mystery part of the story. The inner workings of the town of Luna Lake slowly unfold, and the sense that there is something fundamentally wrong there was very well done. I loved reading about the corruption that runs through it. One ceveat: trigger warnings for abuse all over the place.

One of the nicest things about shifter books in my opinion is the familial bond that most shifters have with each other. Reading about groups of people who are close to each other is one of my favourite things – whether they’re friends or family. Forbidden features a large adoptive family, filled with contrasting characters and personalities, which I enjoyed getting to know.

Forbidden is a quick romantic shifter book, which is easy on the eyes and fast-paced. It has some problems (cliched insta-lust, wolves/owls that can speak while in animal form), but I enjoyed the slow unfolding of the mystery in a small-town setting.

Blurb

Ten years have passed since the war that destroyed the Sazi Council and inflicted a horrible “cure” on thousands of Sazi, robbing them of their ability to shapeshift.

Luna Lake, isolated in Washington State, started as a refugee camp for Sazi orphans. Now it’s a small town and those refugees are young adults, chafing at the limits set by their still-fearful guardians.

There’s reason to fear: Sazi children are being kidnapped. Claire, a red wolf shifter, is sent to investigate. Held prisoner by the Snakes during childhood, Claire is distrusted by those who call Luna Lake home.

Before the war, Alek was part of a wolf pack in Chicago. In Luna Lake he was adopted by a parliament of Owls, defying Sazi tradition. The kidnappings are a painful reminder that his little sister disappeared a decade ago.

When Claire and Alek meet, sparks fly—but the desperate race to find the missing children forces them to set aside their mutual attraction and focus on the future of their people.

Other reviews you might be interested in

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Jane Austen and Me

This post is part of the Austen in August event hosted by Roofbeam Reader. Participating in this event, I’m going to tell a little story.

janeaustenThe first Jane Austen book I read was in 2010. Growing up in the Netherlands means that I wasn’t familiar with most of the English classics, but ever since joining Goodreads those tasty bits of world literature started calling my name. One of the most-loved writers seemed to be Jane, who came highly recommended by almost everyone. I got my hands on a beautiful box set of Jane’s works, and I started with Emma.

At the time I was only 16, and was only getting started making English into a true second language. While Jane isn’t that hard to read, it was a lot to take in. The nineteenth century syntax was different from anything I had ever read before, and I honestly felt tired of all the familial relationships by the time that I was on page eight. When we finally get to know Emma, however, I was sold. Though I couldn’t completely understand all that Jane was trying to say, I knew I really liked this spunky and slightly annoying young lady that tries to pair up everyone she knows.

After finishing and loving Emma, it took me a few years to get return to my Austens. While I really did love the story, I think the books slightly scared me because the writing felt so difficult the first time around. It wasn’t until 2013 that I read Mansfield Park, which was actually a buddy read with some lovely ladies who (strongly) disliked the heroine, Fanny. While Fanny isn’t like me, I fell in love with her gentle nature. She reminded me so much of one of my friends, and I loved how Jane wrote a character that felt so real to me. After Mansfield Park, I read Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility with just a few months in between each.

And that’s where I’m stranded now. From a Jane Austen book I expect to be swept away to early nineteenth century England – to manors and balls and witty conversations. Her world, though with real dangers, is a safe one. When you read one of her books, you know what you’re going to get. You know she’ll sometimes confuse you with all the family trees, but also that she’ll write characters that are realistic and that might just steal your heart.

I’m glad I found this author whose books are so agreeable to me, but I’m also a bit sad about the fact that there are only two more left for me – Persuasion and the ever-present Pride and Prejudice. It’s no coincidence that I left P&P unread for so long. I’m hoping that I’m saving the best for last.

Have you ever read a book by Jane Austen? Which is your favourite?

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Review: Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Title: Dark Prince
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Dark Carpathians #1
Rating: 3 Stars

496 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Piatkus Books
Review copy provided by the publisher

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

First published in 1999, Dark Prince is the first book in the long and acclaimed Carpathians series. Carpathians are an ancient race of vampires – and Mikhail, the hero of Dark Prince, is their leader.

Mikhail does no longer see the world in colour. Literally. When a Carpathian male like himself is alone long enough, he no longer feels. Then his mind touches that of Raven, a human woman with psychic abilities. From the moment he meets her, he knows he has to have her. No matter the cost.

It was interesting to read Dark Prince. It predates paranormal romance series that shaped the genre such as Black Dagger Brotherhood. When I was reading it, it felt like the missing link between Anne Rice and modern paranormal romance. The vampires in Dark Prince are inspired by those written by Rice, in the sense that they are alien to humans. Mikhail, especially when we first meet him, is more predator than human. His instincts are completely vampire, and it is only through interacting with Raven that he learns to be (relatively) civilized.

I found it incredibly difficult to rate this book, because I’m not it’s target audience. Mikhail is one of the alpha-est of alpha males I have ever seen in a romance novel. He rules his underlings with absolute power. He claims Raven as his from the moment he discovers her. When a man touches Raven’s leg, he almost kills him, only stopping when Raven pleads with him. He carries her from the inn she is staying at, not even putting her down when she tells him to. He knows she is afraid, but he does not budge. And this is just within the first 24 hours of their acquaintance. I generally don’t enjoy reading romances featuring alpha males, only tolerating them if they are misunderstood and have a heart of gold deep down. Mikhail as a romantic hero did not work for me – even apart from the fact that he crosses many of my boundaries, I simply couldn’t root for someone with a personality as his.

Raven as a heroine was decent enough. She did not have a sparking personality, but she wasn’t as bland as I would have feared either. She seems to be rather standard fare, a heroine that is “normal” enough to be a stand-in for the reader. The world of the Carpathians was interesting enough to make me intrigued to learn more about them. I do enjoy it when vampires aren’t sparkly, and that Carpathians are most certainly not.

If alpha males make you swoon, and the idea of a dark prince sweeping you off your feet to make love to you in his library gets you going, Christine Feehan’s first Carpathian book is for you.

Blurb

Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await, and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible passion

A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney’s work has drained her body and spirit, and now, in need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks on a vacation far from home.

The powerful leader of the Carpathians–a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night–Mikhail Dubrinsky is engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness.

From the moment they meet, Raven and Mikhail are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love.

Other reviews you might be interested in

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The Sunday Post #36

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Hi everyone! It’s the first Sunday Post after my two-week blogging break. Time flew. I can’t believe I have to go back to school in just two little weeks. I’m just starting to relax! The good news is that I finally handed in my thesis. Now I have to wait for the final judgement of my teachers – will I get to start my master’s degree on September 1st, or not?

paris7In less serious news, we went to Paris! The weather was great and we had a good time, though very sore feet. I wrote a post about Paris, so go check that out if you’re interested 😀

This week on Nyx Book Reviews

I actually had something else planned as a Wednesday post, but then I read an article from a Dutch publicist, and I just had to share my thoughts. In “Why I Read English Books” I talk a bit about how circumstance got me into English rather than Dutch books. Other than that, I review two books – a cozy mystery called The Whitstable Pearl Mystery and a YA book with the premise “Sherlock meets Doctor Who”, Jackaby.

This week on Irresponsible Cactus

The aforementioned Paris post! I’ve been so lucky to be able to travel so much this past year. If only next year would be so fantastic travel-wise.

Read this week

sundaypost36This is everything I read since my last Sunday Post on the 27th of July. Usually I don’t have time to read on vacation, but because of some nice meds, I could actually read on the bus to and from Paris. I really enjoyed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a science-fiction classic. The other pleasant surprise was Writing Tools, a non-fiction book on writing that has sensible and practical writing advice. It’s a book that I would recommend anyone who writes, from journalists to authors to bloggers.

How was your week?

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Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

Title: Jackaby
Author: William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #1
Rating: 3 Stars

299 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers
Bought

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Jackaby was one of my most anticipated 2014 releases. It has a beautiful cover, a great blurb, and honestly just sounded so good. A paranormal Sherlock Holmes? Count me in!

Abigail Rook doesn’t want to live a life of pretty dresses, but one of adventure and excitement. That’s how she ends up on a different continent, penniless, looking for a job. She finds employment by the eccentric Jackaby, a young man who solves paranormal mysteries.

It’s clear that Mr Ritter is an absolute fan of old detectives. There are countless allusions to the grandfathers of the genre, including to Poe (there is both a character named Allan, as well as one named Dupin). Ritter knows his source material, but that is also his greatest weakness. Jackaby as a character is described as “Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Who”, which is exactly who he is. He is simply a mash-up of the personality of these two pop-culture heroes, and he never breaks from the mould into becoming a character of his own. He struts around like the Doctor, and deduces like Holmes. There isn’t more to him than this flat characterisation.

Abigail herself isn’t much better – like many detective sidekicks she is simply a foil, a stand-in for the reader so we can enjoy the work of the detective in her place. There is a shallow back story that never fully takes form, and she’s hardly an acting character at all. Mr Ritter deserves a cookie, however, for writing a story with a male and female character in close quarters to each other without there being any romantic feelings between them.

On a sentence level Jackaby is fantastically written. I think this is where Ritter’s expertise shines most. He has a very convincing 19th century voice, something that isn’t easy to accomplish. He also writes entertaining banter and seems to have a great imagination for mythological beasties and paranormal occurrences.

I quite liked this debut, because in the end these archetypical characters are very entertaining. It took a bit to get used to the fact that Jackaby investigates brownies and trolls instead of normal human beings, but when I got into the story, I enjoyed the ride. Jackaby wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but I will read the next book.

Blurb

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Other reviews you might be interested in

Why I Read English Books

flower

I rarely have to explain myself to other people, because most people that know me know that I almost exclusively read English books. As a Dutch person, this isn’t that exceptional. Many Dutch readers are rather disgruntled by the state of publishing in the Netherlands. For me this was definitely part of the issue, but it’s not the only factor that made me read a hundred English books a year, and only one or two Dutch ones. Part of what caused me to write this post is this article (it’s in Dutch, though.)

Genre publishing in the Netherlands

If you’re not from the Netherlands as well, you probably don’t know any Dutch authors. Depending on what genre you favour, that’s because there might not even be any authors to know.

As a kid, I grew up on horror books. The scarier or magical, the better. I read R.L. Stine alongside Dutch authors like Paul van Loon and Bies van Ede. By the time I was ten I had read every book in the children’s section and graduated to adult books.

Then I discovered fantasy. Adult horror books were too gory or weird for me to understand, and I threw myself at all of these fantastic looking tomes. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that I wasn’t reading a single book by a Dutch author – all of these fantasy books were translated from English.

The sad reality is that fantasy fiction doesn’t sell in the Netherlands. Some of the bestsellers are translated, but even then, more often than not, only the first few books are translated. Dozens of series are left unfinished. The Dutch fantasy market is dead, and it doesn’t take much time for a fantasy fan to make the switch to English.

Reading in a second language

I’m not going to lie to you – reading an adult book in a language that is not your own is not easy. The first English book I read, Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison, was a process. I didn’t understand half of what I was reading, but I had a blast. Urban fantasy was just so exciting, and there was not a single Dutch author out there that wrote it.

The more I got into urban fantasy, and later discovered young adult paranormals, the more I became disillusioned with my country’s literature. When I walked into a book store, there was nothing there for me. What I wanted to read simply wasn’t published. So out of necessity, I continued reading English books, which had the added benefit of being much cheaper to buy as well.

There is this one argument that keeps popping up in any discussion about reading in a second language: you won’t get the same out of an English (or French/German/whatever) book as you will from one written in your own language. For me this is simply untrue. Let’s do the math here – I have 700 books marked as “read” on my Goodreads. Of these 700, about 20 might be Dutch. It doesn’t matter in what language you’re reading, but I’m pretty sure that by the time you’ve read a few hundred books in it, you’re pretty fucking fluent. In reality, my English grammar is better than my Dutch grammar is. My exposure to written Dutch is limited to the occasional article I read for university.

The beauty of language

I used to have a French teacher in high school who told us that he thought that French was more beautiful than Dutch. At the time I had no idea what he meant by that. Now I finally get it, because I think the English language is more beautiful than Dutch. When I now read a book in Dutch, it doesn’t feel like “coming home”. It feels like I’m reading something flat and dull. Dutch isn’t a poetic language. It’s business-like, clunky, shallow. Where English has multiple words to describe something, all meaning something slightly different (such as faith, belief, conviction), Dutch only has one (in this case, “geloof”).

English is gorgeous. It’s my favourite language, and my language of choice for writing. I do hope that fantasy will some day become a widely-read genre in the Netherlands, but I probably won’t be the one to read it. I write my stories in the English language, which in my eyes is superior in prose.

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Review: The Whitstable Pearl Mystery by Julie Wassner

Title: The Whitstable Pearl Mystery
Author: Julie Wassmer
Series: Standalone
Rating: 3 Stars

320 pages
Published March 5th 2015 by Constable
Review copy received from publisher

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Whitstable Pearl Mystery follows Pearl, a woman whose dream of being a detective was cut short when she found out she was pregnant. Now her son has left for college, she has started her own private investigation agency. She has barely declined her second client when she finds not one, but two dead bodies in the quiet coastal town of Whitstable.

There are elements I enjoyed in The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, but also plenty that didn’t impress. The setting is one of my favourites – the quaint English town. Whitstable is a small sea-side village close to Canterbury, and oysters are the backbone of its economy. During summer and the annual oyster festival, the small town gets flooded with tourists. I love small-town settings, and I felt that Ms Wassmer did a great job expressing both the sense of community and the social tensions such a small community brings. I really enjoyed the dynamics between Pearl, her mother, her son, and her friends and neighbours. A lot of time was spent establishing the setting, and although I can’t judge the accuracy of the statements, the sea and fishing sections felt well-researched.

The aspect of the book that failed in my eyes was the mystery itself. In a cozy mystery such as this, it’s generally accepted that the sleuth can also stumble upon clues, rather than having to actively bring a solution about. The Whitstable Pearl Mystery had the unfortunate plot of there not being a mystery at all. There are two dead bodies – but are they the result of murder? This question doesn’t get answered the last quarter of the story. There is no urgency of finding a killer, because it’s not clear whether there actually is a killer to speak of. There was very little clue gathering, and Pearl’s cooperation with police officer Mike McGuire is laborious, resulting in the reader being largely unaware of the investigation into the deaths.

The Whitstable Pearl Mystery is a successful novel depicting small town life and the struggles of a woman missing her son who has left for college, and the story is entertaining; the mystery, however, left much to be desired.

Blurb

Pearl Nolan always wanted to be a detective but life, and a teenage pregnancy, got in the way of a police career and instead she built up a successful seafood restaurant in her coastal home town of Whitstable – famous for its native oysters.

Now, at 39, and with son Charlie away at university, Pearl finds herself suffering from empty nest syndrome . . . until she discovers the drowned body of local oyster fisherman Vinnie Rowe, weighted down with an anchor chain, on the eve of Whitstable’s annual oyster festival.

Is it a tragic accident, suicide – or murder?

Pearl seizes the opportunity to prove her detection skills and discover the truth but she soon finds herself in conflict with Canterbury city police detective, Chief Inspector Mike McGuire. Then another body is discovered – and Pearl finds herself trawling the past for clues, triggering memories of another emotional summer more than twenty years ago . . .

Other reviews you might be interested in

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