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Books 28 & 29: Sister and The Woods

Book 28: Sister.
Author: Rosamund Lupton, 2010.
Genre: Crime Fiction.
Other Details: Paperback. 375 pages.

"You're missing. I'm coming to find you ....." - cover tag-line, Sister.

The story is told in retrospect by Beatrice, a successful young woman living in New York who has come home to London due to a frantic phone call advising that her younger sister, Tess, is missing. The narrative takes the form of a letter written to Tess that has a stream-of-consciousness feel to it. Beatrice's account moves from the present time to the early days of her investigation and all points in-between.

It is a very unusual crime novel that also examines the nature of the bond between sisters. Lupton creates an atmosphere of brooding isolation, even in the middle of modern-day London. Overall it did evoke some comparisons with recent Scandinavian crime fiction, which is very much in vogue at the present time. I found it compulsive reading that elicited a growing sense of unease as the story progressed.

This is an impressive début novel that has been enjoying quite a bit of buzz in the UK though it won't be published in the USA until June. If you decide to read it though do avoid spoilers as it is one best read 'cold' just allowing Beatrice's tale to unfold.

Opening Chapter of 'Sister' - from Rosamund Lupton's website.

Book 29: The Woods.
Author: Harlan Coben, 2007
Genre: Crime Thriller.
Other Details: Paperback. 442 pages.

Paul (Cope) Copeland is currently a County Prosecutor for Essex, New Jersey. Twenty years ago while he and his older sister were at summer camp, she and three friends went into the woods one night and disappeared. Two of the teens were found murdered but there was no trace of Cope's sister and one other. Now as Cope struggles with his demanding career and bringing up his daughter after his wife's death a homicide victim is found with evidence on him that links to Cope and the secrets of the past. There are plenty of twists and turns as Cope begins to unravel what happened that fateful night.

This was the second Coben novel selected by one of the reading groups I attend. It was quickly evident to me that he had improved vastly as a writer since the rather cheesy 'Play Dead'. This was a page-turner that was entertaining and undemanding. However, when the reading group met to discuss the book what emerged as a consensus was that although it was an easy read and an effective thriller there really was no substance to its narrative or themes that would generate a group discussion. I'd certainly read more of his work for those times I want an escapist crime thriller.
Tags: british, crime fiction, richard and judy/channel 4 book club, thriller
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