Weirdo by Sara Pascoe

The July choice for ‘The Book Taster Book Club’ was ‘Weirdo’ by Sara Pascoe. This was a book that I had my eye on for some time, so it was a perfect excuse to pick it up and read it.

I can see why this book may be a Marmite book – and I definitely do not think that it is a book that will be for everyone, but I rather enjoyed it.

This story is told as a stream of consciousness, like we are living in the head of our main character, Sophie. And, for some, this may be a little jarring, but I rather enjoyed this as a reader. We all live in our heads sometimes, like Sophie, and we often have thoughts that may trigger other thoughts and cause us to jump around in our own heads. For me, this was really interesting, as little moments can often cause another memory or idea to be sparked – and this is what happens throughout the story. Sophie unpacks her past as she lives in her present, which takes her on a journey of self-discovery, as she realises that maybe there is not such a thing as perfection. But she also begins to understand why her present may have been impacted by her past…

Sophie also has a whole host of difficult and dysfunctional relationships to address in her life. These have certainly impacted the Sophie that she has become and need a bit of shaking off if she is going to move forward with her life.

So, as much as I appreciate that this book will not be everyone’s cup of tea, I think that there were a number of features that are probably quite relatable to many young women. The overthinking is definitely something that I could relate to, as was the way we jump around with our thoughts. This is especially true if we are feeling isolated or alone, which is how Sophie is feeling in this stage of her life. And I think there is an important lesson to us all that we should never let anyone dull our shine, or tell us that we are not worth being exactly what we want to be.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

I think one of my reading red flags is that I do not always read some long-standing series in the correct order, and it would appear that is the stance that I have taken with the Eddie Flynn novels by Steve Cavanagh. And it has not impacted by enjoyment of these books – so, I guess it is not the end of the world.

I decided to pick up ‘Thirteen’ as I was in quite a thriller mood after some very busy work weeks, and I was certain that this book would not disappoint. And I was correct – this book did not disappoint and it was a joy to be back in the company of Eddie Flynn.

I absolutely cannot give any of this tale away, so all I am going to say is that Joshua Kane is very keen to make it on to the jury for the trial of a Hollywood star. A hero of the silver screen is charged with murder and Kane is keen to ensure he is found guilty. But, as Eddie Flynn is the defence lawyer, it may not all go to plan for Kane – so, how far will he go to ensure that his plan is a success?

This is such a brilliantly constructed thriller. You are on the edge of your seat at moments throughout this book. The dual perspective of the story, the antics of Kane and the experiences of Flynn definitely combine to inspire you to be an armchair detective – but the twists and turns of the narrative won’t guarantee that you get it right. Especially as it is a twisty page-turner of a novel, and it has reminded me that I need to make sure that I read even more about Eddie Flynn’s adventures.

In fact, I have another on my shelf – so, maybe I will have to pick it up sooner rather than later, especially as there is a new Eddie Flynn story out very soon…

The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

I have been told several times that I should try to read a John Marrs novel. So, when I spotted that ‘The Good Samaritan’ was a bargain on Kindle, I decided it was time to take the advice.

And, what I learned immediately is that John Marrs can clearly write a chilling novel. I found the start of this novel rather unsettling (in a good thriller way) and knew that I would be reading all of this book, because I just had to know more. We have a fantastic, unreliable narrator in our lead character, Laura, who works for the charity helpline ‘End of the Line’ – we seem to be presented with a ‘Good Samaritan’ but, as the story unfolds, we doubt so much of what we have learned.

The majority of this story is told from two key perspectives: that of Laura and Ryan. Ryan, particularly, experiences intense grief when his wife commits suicide, apparently with the help of someone else. We follow him as he seeks his revenge – after all, an ‘eye for an eye’ – but that just results in him destroying his life even further as he takes matters into his own hands.

It is actually quite hard to review this book, as there is no way I can reveal spoilers. But I can tell you that this book has all the ingredients of an intense thriller. You have, as previously mentioned, your unreliable narrator; you have your complex characters, you have your secrets, your lies, and your twists and turns. I am not sure at any point you are actually sure what is going to happen next – and, just as you think you are not going to be shocked, something else takes your breath away. It is a truly addictive read.

I am not sure what else I can say about this book without giving too much away, but I will suggest you read it if you are a thriller fan, although please be clear that there are some difficult topics amongst its pages, so you may want to check those out first.

And now I am off to seek out my next John Marrs novel, because one of the best treats about stumbling across a new author is that it means you have a whole back-list of books to catch up on, which is always a treat.