Dark Waters (Monica Kennedy #2) by G.R. Halliday #DarkWatersBook @HarvillSecker @GR_Halliday

Dark Waters (Monica Kennedy #2) by G.R. Halliday
Publication Date : July 16th 2020
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Genre : Scottish Noir / crime fiction
Pages : 384

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The haunting new novel from G. R. Halliday, author of FROM THE SHADOWS, shortlisted for THE MCILVANNEY DEBUT PRIZE

THREE MISTAKES. TWO MURDERS. ONE MORE VICTIM TO GO . . .

Annabelle loves to drive. It helps her escape her world, her past. Speeding on a mountain road in the Scottish Highlands, she sees a little girl step out in front of her. She swerves to avoid her. The next thing Annabelle remembers is waking up in a dark, damp room. A voice from the corner of the room says ‘The Doctor will see you now’.

Scott is camping in the woodlands in the Scottish Highlands – but in the middle of the night, he hears something outside his tent. When he goes out to have a look, a little girl is standing among the trees, staring right at him. Scott is never seen again.

When a dismembered body is discovered, DI Monica Kennedy gets called to the scene immediately. After six months away from the Serious Crimes team, they need her back on board.

As Monica searches for the murderer, another body is found. Monica knows the signs . . . She’s on the hunt for a serial killer.

Perfect for fans of James Oswald, Ann Cleeves and Val McDermid.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mia @vintagebooks for tour invite and providing review copy. ***

Dark Waters was dark and disturbing crime thriller, second novel in Monica Kennedy series that revolved around another serial killer case. It was about juggling work and family life, haunting and unsettled past and history, unsolved and mysterious murders, and real demons of the world-humans.

This first line was chilling and it should have prepared for what’s going to come in the book- “When she still had all arms and legs, Anabelle liked to drive.”

Writing like previous book was engaging and vivid that took me to dark mountains and of Highlands that were both beautiful and menacing. I’m really glad to read in author’s note Glen Turrit and Little Arklow doesn’t exist outside this book but place were based on Glen Strathfarrar and it doesn’t look as dreadful from pictures as it sound in book. This book was even darker than first one. This is not for squeamish readers or those who feel claustrophobic by reading tunnels and caves under mountains. Let me give a little warning, there’s cannibalism. Plot was brilliant. It was told in third person narrative from Annabelle and Monica’s perspective and occasionally we also see other victim’s perspective.

Annabelle travelled from London to Highlands for thrill ride on single track road- beautiful but secluded- from one gate of Glen Turrit across the hydro dam to another gate near Strathcarron. But on this route, where she wasn’t expecting anyone, she saw a girl that made her swerved the car that collided to a tree. When she opened her eyes, she found herself in damp and dark room, injured and kidnapped! Just within few chapters Scott, Canadian traveler was abducted after seeing a girl. Simultaneously, we see what was going on in Monica’s life after previous case that ended horribly, working in traffic department, and giving Lucy lot of time. But then she got call from her boss Hately who needed her in new case. They found dismembered body near dam, at bank of river Beauly. Within 2 days another body, same condition, close to another hydro power station. I was curious to find out who was the killer, whose bodies they found, was it Scott or someone else, who was that girl and why she was working with a killer, if Monica could find killer before he kills Scott or Anabelle, or if Anabelle can find a way to escape.

Monica was once again was great. I liked the way mother’s concerns and guilt were portrayed through her and Lucy’s relationship. Monica’s strength and vulnerability, how stress of new changes in Lucy and her nightmares were affecting her and the case, was realistic to read. Her intuitions related to case was brilliant. What I liked most was a glimpse in her past that showed her relationship with her father. I feel there is more about her to be revealed in next books. I had complain about her too frequent height reference in previous book but in this one it was better, not too often and didn’t appear unexpectedly.

I like Crawford in this book. We don’t know his full story yet but that was balanced by Fisher’s story. We know a bit about Fisher and his real life. It was surprising to know how that connected him to this murder case. Annabelle was caring and clever. She had parents issue and it was sad to see how her parents behaved and treated her and how deeply it affected her. Even after what she was enduring in killer’s den, she felt empathy towards Marcus and even in worst condition she was selfless. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. Villain was worst nightmare imaginable. The story he shared and what was revealed everything related to him was terrifying.

I enjoyed description of all Highland locations, a bit about hydro dam, its history and stories related to it, intermittent chapters’ from victims that cleared the mystery behind what exactly happened to them and why, and lastly that maze of underground tunnels and those chapters about it and Annabelle’s experience in there. Author did amazing job with tension, suspense, and twist and turns. Suspects were few but yet I couldn’t guess who the killer was until around 40% of the book and yet I couldn’t connect the dots and figure out why these particular victims until Monica’s last interview with suspect.

Climax was tense, blood chilling and adrenaline inducing. I was literally yelling at characters at this point thinking why it was taking so much time. I almost lost hope for Anabelle and it was not clear if she will live or not till the end. It felt so unfair what happened at the end but at the same time it felt realistic.

Why 4.5-

There are still more to characters and not all their stories were told in this book but I hope to read that in  next books in series.

Overall,

Dark Waters was clever, horrifying, fast paced and well written sequel with vivid and gruesome description and beautiful yet dangerous setting.

Books Links:

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I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what do you think about the book, if you have read this already or previous book in series, and Which is your favorite book set in Scotland.

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#BookReview : Episodic Sleep Disorders by E.L. Haines #Mystery #EpisodicSleepDisorders

Episodic Sleep Disorders by E.L. Haines
Publication Date : June 3rd 2019
Genre : Mystery
Pages : 119

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Beware, beware, the beast of Lozère!
Who lurks in your dreams, and knows how to scare
You will freeze at the sight of strange dancing at night
And the dead, in their coffins, still stare.

A menacing wolf is terrorizing the village of Lozère. A beautiful young girl has lost her family and her best friend to this nightmare when Sparrow shows up with his characteristic curiosity. But all is not as it seems in this cold mountain village, where the beasts are like men and the men are like beasts.

Sparrow came to Lozère to tell stories, but he stayed for the stories Lozère told him…

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to author for review copy. ***

Episodic Sleep Disorders was unusual mystery that revolved around Sparrow, a storyteller, trying to uncover the mysteries of Lozère village and its people. It was interesting blend of folk tales and scientific elements set in fictional village filled with imagination and allusions.

Episodic Sleep Disorders started with Sparrow, traveler and storyteller, meeting Reynard at his campsite. Sparrow wanted to visit Lozère next but his new companion hinted there’s something dark about this village and it gives nightmare. When Sparrow visited Lozère, he knew Reynard was telling the truth. Lozère had a feel of ghost town, no sounds, no activities shrouded in eerie silence and he witness an unusual events at graveyard that picked his interest. He wanted to know story of this village and its people, to uncover what happened here. The more he knew the more darkness he discovered that might endanger his life.  I was curious to know why people were having hallucination, what was the story of wolf was and how Sparrow would save himself and the village from twisted scheme of perpetrator.

Writing was easy to follow, vivid, and gripping. Story was written in episodes instead of chapters that told the story within story and each ended with cliffhanger that made me keep flipping pages. I liked the switch between Sparrow’s visit to Lozère, story about it and his retelling and conversations with Reynard. There was some interesting myths and scientific details- Anomic Aphasia, taphophobia and phytology and Zymology- incorporated with mystery.

Suspense of villager’s behavior, unseen beast was interesting. I couldn’t figure it out until its revelation. Climax was both tense and entertaining. I was impressed by Sparrow’s smart trick and clever escape. End was shocking and also open to interpretation for reader using their imagination.

Why 4 stars-

My only complaint was it was bit confusing at some points.

Overall,

Episodic Sleep Disorders was quick, intriguing, dark mystery with vivid description and eerie setting. I recommend this book to fans of short stories.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about the book and review, if you have read it already or are you going to add it to TBR. Do you like to read short stories? Which is your favorite short story?

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#BookReview : From the Shadows (Monica Kennedy #1) by G.R. Halliday @HarvillSecker @GR_Halliday #FromTheShadowsBook

From the Shadows (Monica Kennedy #1) by G.R. Halliday
Publication Date : April 18th 2019
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Genre : Scottish Noir / crime fiction
Pages : 432

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A stunning, atmospheric police procedural set against the grit of Inverness and the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands, this is the first book in the DI Monica Kennedy series.

Sixteen-year-old Robert arrives home late. Without a word to his dad, he goes up to his bedroom. Robert is never seen alive again.

A body is soon found on the coast of the Scottish Highlands. Detective Inspector Monica Kennedy stands by the victim in this starkly beautiful and remote landscape. Instinct tells her the case won’t begin and end with this one death.

Meanwhile, Inverness-based social worker Michael Bach is worried about one of his clients whose last correspondence was a single ambiguous text message; Nichol Morgan has been missing for seven days.

As Monica is faced with catching a murderer who has been meticulously watching and waiting, Michael keeps searching for Nichol, desperate to find him before the killer claims another victim.

From the Shadows introduces DI Monica Kennedy, an unforgettable new series lead, perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves’ Vera, Susie Steiner and Peter May.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mia @vintagebooks for tour invite and providing review copy. ***

From the Shadows was intriguing crime fiction that revolved around Monica trying to solve murder and a social worker trying to find his missing client.  It was about work-life balance, trying to find peace with traumatic past, and race between killer and detective.

From the Shadows was written in third person narrative mainly from Monica and Michael’s POV and occasional killer’s perspective under title ‘watcher’. Atmospheric setting of Scottish Highlands and Inverness beautiful yet remote with its weather and history of missing people added more darkness to story of murders by a delusional psycho killer.

Story took place in one week that started with, as synopsis said, Robert arriving late at home who was found murdered next day. D.I. Monica could tell this wasn’t killer’s first murder and it won’t be last. At the same time, a social worker, Michael, was trying to find his client who was missing for a week. A gruesome murder, marks on body, and mysterious stone that Michael saw with Nicol made him fear the worst. And then another body was found. It made me curious to find out where was Nicol, did he knew these dead boys, how he had that stone that were found in dead boys’ body, had killer kidnapped him or was he next, how would Monica find killer and how Michael find Nicol. With killer observing their all moves and staying two steps ahead of them made the story thrilling and intriguing.

All characters were interesting. They had traumatic past. Their flaws and vulnerability made them realistic. Monica was clever, observant, and strong but she had her issues. Her past made people gossip about her. Her height references and her uncomfortability related to her height and shoe size was a bit too much but her doubts as a mother, trying find work-family life balance was genuine. I liked her intuitions and logic in this case, she was right most of the time. Her mistakes and ‘not-so-perfect’ character made her more realistic. The only complain I had about her was her decision in climax. It was actually stupid, looking at her concerned motherly nature.

Michael was great character. Lonely, affected by past and tragedy in life, still couldn’t find closure and messed up many things in life. He was different from his colleagues. He cared too much and was empathetic but also reckless social worker. He had many flaws but it was admirable how much risks he took in finding a boy who probably didn’t want to be found.

Michael and Monica, made story interesting. They had their differences but at the end they started supporting each other. Monica’s colleagues D.C. Connor Crawford and D.C. Ben Fisher were also different from each other. There was competitive tension between these two, one didn’t care about appearance and showing superiority while other was orderly, prim and proper, doing everything by book. They made unusual team but I liked how they all worked in the case. There wasn’t much story about them so it was hard to connect with them but I hope I can know them more in next book.

Description of murders was gruesome but not unbearable or overly graphic. Suspense was solid. I couldn’t identify killer till climax. There were not many suspects and we can rule out if they were really culprit or not from killer’s narration which made it more difficult to figure out who he was. Climax was tense and surprising. I didn’t like Monica’s decision but it made me fear for her and her daughter for the first time. I liked surprise at the end. I wish I could see Lee’s (criminal psychologist, who was made to dislike) reaction for being wrong about everything. That would have been satisfactory.

Why 4 stars-

That height references were too much. It made Monica look like some freak woman. And also reference popped at really unexpected time, like when they were visiting Robert’s father to hear his side of story and to let him know his missing son is dead. Monica’s decision near climax was biggest complain. She was smart capable of making better decision but this made me rethink that because no parent would do that.

Overall,

#FromtheShadows was compelling, dark and interesting #ScottishNoir with many twist and turns. It was commendable debut novel and definitely recommend it.

Book Links:

Goodreads

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#BookReview : Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella #GhostsofHarvard #Academia #Mystery @PRHGlobal

Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella
Publication Date : May 5th 2020
Publisher : Random House
Genre : Mystery
Pages : 480

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Harvard freshman becomes obsessed with her schizophrenic brother’s suicide. Then she starts hearing voices.


“Every time I thought I knew where Ghosts of Harvard was heading, I turned out to be wrong. Part mystery, part ghost story, part psychological thriller, this novel is all entertainment.”—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light


Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her brother, Eric, a genius who developed paranoid schizophrenia took his own life there the year before. Losing Eric has left a black hole in Cady’s life, and while her decision to follow in her brother’s footsteps threatens to break her family apart, she is haunted by questions of what she might have missed. And there’s only one place to find answers.

As Cady struggles under the enormous pressure at Harvard, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic scribblings. She knew he had been struggling with paranoia, delusions, and illusory enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? With her suspicions mounting, Cady herself begins to hear voices, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who walked the university’s hallowed halls—or huddled in its slave quarters. Among them is a person whose name has been buried for centuries, and another whose name mankind will never forget.

Does she share Eric’s illness, or is she tapping into something else? Cady doesn’t know how or why these ghosts are contacting her, but as she is drawn deeper into their worlds, she believes they’re moving her closer to the truth about Eric, even as keeping them secret isolates her further. Will listening to these voices lead her to the one voice she craves—her brother’s—or will she follow them down a path to her own destruction?

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Ghosts of Harvard was powerful and realistic mystery that revolved around Cady dealing with grief and trying to know more about his late brother’s last days at Harvard and getting at root of his illness or something that might have pushed him to the edge. The book was about grief, loss, feelings and emotions of family of schizophrenic patient, suicide and its trauma, fine line between madness and reality, guilt and regrets, obsession, deeper meaning of life, death, grace.

It takes only error to father a sin.

Ghosts of Harvard was third person narrative written from (Cady) Cadence’s POV whose sad and grieving voice made this beautifully written tale of espionage heavy, heart-rendering to read. It was between slow to steady paced because of so many information, description of Harvard and its history, and heavy subject it dealt with. Some didn’t like that but I didn’t mind slow pace. This was second book I read set in Harvard and again this university, its community and culture fascinated me.

I’m not going repeat how book started and what was the plot, synopsis was perfect in briefing it. First few chapters were about Cady’s arrival at Harvard, her motif and her feeling related to her brother and her family. In between her present, accommodating with her life at Harvard, we see the glimpse of past, both happy and sad memories of Eric, what Eric meant to her and her family, and how he turned from brilliant, lively, caring brother to paranoid, schizophrenic, and volatile person, how it affected her parents and how their undivided attention to Eric made her feel, and her own guilt and regret she was dealing with that lead to obsession- which was revealed near climax.

Just because it’s my choice to go doesn’t mean I’m not heartbroken to leave you.

As I progressed in the book, I was curious to know what were those voices of ghosts, what they wanted from Cady, why she was hearing them and how they were helping her, were they just ghosts or she too had Eric’s illness.  And then there was his brother’s diary that added more mystery and I wanted to know if she could decipher cryptic writing in Eric’s diary or was that what everybody said- gibberish of mentally ill person, what she would find once she could decode it, would it would lead to what was going on in Eric’s mind and give her closure she was looking for and move on in life.

Do we all pick only the best snapshots to remember in our mental scrapbooks and throw away the bad? Perhaps all photos should bear the subtitle “The Past- The way You Want to Remember It.”

Both characters and plot were well balanced here. Diverse group of student, professors, ghosts, Cady’s parents, roommates, new friends she made, and other people she met during her investigation were interesting to read. They all were flawed and played great roles in happenings of Cady’s life and change in her.

It was easy to feel for Cady, I rooted for her. She was clever, empathetic, friendly and caring person but she had her flaws. She reacted badly to Eric’s illness. When she should have shown maturity and love, she acted selfishly but at the same time I could feel what it might be like for her to live under Eric’s shadow, even when he was healthy and even after his illness and death. When he died she regretted her behavior, felt guilty for not trying enough or being more patient. Coming to Harvard and voices of ghosts was huge turning point in her development. Her fear of being schizophrenic like Eric, emotions and feelings were amazingly represented. The way she was ignoring her friends, missing classes and not paying attention to her studies because her obsession and voice was worrying. By the end of the book, I loved her more and more. She learned a lot throughout the book and her growth and internalization was best part.

It’s human nature to default to our own narrow perspective. The stories we tell ourselves have such power, and yet they can cherry-picked, or otherwise fictitious.

I enjoyed history of Harvard, all scientific and academic information, back and forth argument between Cady and prof. Prokop on quantum physics and its correlation with ghosts and schizophrenia, discussion on poetic verses and on mental intuitions. Portrayal of grief, mental illness and its impact on family was written with raw emotions.

Ghosts were important in the story but this is not horror or ghost story. It did confuse me a little in first half of the book making me think what’s really going on with Cady but in second half I could understand it better. Back story of ghosts was thought-provoking and eye-opening. Their conversation with Cady gave story philosophical depth. I didn’t know Harvard kept slaves around 18th century and was officially declared in 2016 until I read it in author’s note. It showed how well researched this book was.

Now she understood that we must love people whom we cannot control, in fact, we are lucky to love and be loved by people we cannot control. If we could control the person, love wouldn’t be a gift. This was the uncertainty of life, and of death. It was what made life beautiful and terrifying at once.

Mystery was suspenseful. Climax was tense. I was worried for Cady and I felt her investigation is not leading anywhere and then everything happened fast and made sense- her trip to ER, parents’ weekend, final clue and her plan to reveal it. I didn’t like two people in this book, something was off about them from the beginning but author successfully made me rethink about it. In the end, I wasn’t wrong about that two. Only one was real villain and other had own motives but still when the final card was turned I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and at that moment I expected Cady fuming with rage but her new developed self – wise and looking at things from different perspective had different reaction. End and epilogue was perfect. This book will stay with me for long time.

Overall,

Ghosts of Harvard was deep, impactful, powerful, and thought-provoking mystery with great characters, philosophical writing and eye-opening history, and honest and raw representation of grief, loss and mental illness.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon.(IN) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post and review. Let me know What do you think about the book or if you have read this already and what are your thought on this book. Have you read a book set in Harvard? If so, which it is and if you like it or not.

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#BookReview : Pretty Things by Janelle Brown #PrettyThings #Mystery #Thriller @PRHGlobal #BooksTeacupnReviews

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown
Publication Date : April 21st 2020
Publisher : Random House
Genre : Mystery Thriller
Pages : 496
Stars : ★★★★☆ (4.25)

Two wildly different women – one a grifter, the other an heiress – are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Pretty Things was slow-burn mystery thriller that revolved around two women from different background, one a con with plan of heist and other rich heiress spending her time in loneliness. It was about grift, con, gap between rich and poor and their mindset about it, social media and its illusion, pretty things and its not-so-pretty reality, dysfunctional family, friendship, love, deceit and betrayal.

Writing was beautiful, descriptive and often lyrical. I love it when there’s more than just story and characters. Deep, thought provoking and meaningful messages and quote worthy line are something I always appreciate it most in book and this had it in abundance.

Plot was interesting. Story was first person narrative from Nina and Vanessa’s perspective. They were given few chapters each sharing their view points on their present situation, telling their life story, how their path collided and what happened after that.

Pretty Things had intriguing beginning with Nina swindling a young rich Russian along with her Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina conned rich people to pay her mother’s medical bill, but had set of rules- “Don’t take too much and only con those who deserve it and can afford to replace things they stole”. But when police came knocking at her door and sending her on run, they had to break the rules for one last big grift with more than enough cash that can help her mother’s treatment and give her new start. So, they decided to con Vanessa Liebling, young privileged heiress of Liebling estate, Stonehaven at Lake Tahoe. Now Nina has history with this place and she hated Lieblings. I was curious to find out what was the history, why she hated the rich and specially Lieblings so much, what they did to Nina?

This was character driven story. Most part of the book was character building and development. First 50% of the book told about present life of characters, their childhood, past, what happened in their lives that shaped their present and their mindset. This was slowest part and long chapters didn’t help in speeding the story.

All characters were flawed, complex and complicated. It was interesting to read their life stories, their mindset, insecurities and strength. The story was written in such way that my likeness scale kept tipping from left to right.

At first I didn’t like Nina. She was presumptuous, judgmental and selfish. She saw the world in only two shades, poor and rich and defined life based on that. Her judgement was fractured once she got involved with Vanessa in real life, living with her at Stonehaven with her.

The cold judgement she formed based on Vanessa’s Instagram v-life warmed eventually and she saw the reality of Vanessa’s life, her pain and emotions. I liked her development from this point onward. After major turning point she discovered many secrets that shattered the definition of world she created. I loved her for trying to do right thing at the end, taking decision that was hard for her. It steered her away from what she did whole life. At the end I loved her.

It’s easiest to judge from distance. That’s why the Internet has turned us all into armchair critics, experts at the cold dissection of gesture and syllable, sneering self-righteously from the safety of our screens. There, we can feel good about ourselves, validated that our flaws weren’t as bad as theirs, unchallenged in our superiority. Moral high ground is a pleasant place to preach, even if the view turns out to be rather limited in scope.

Vanessa was vulnerable, lonely woman desperate for love and appreciation. She was privileged and she knew she could get everything with money and looks. She used it to hide her flaws, her insecurities and lack of any talent. Circumstances lead her towards Instagram influencer life that gave her fame and illusion of world where people loved her and appreciated what she did, until it was shattered by one tragedy after other. She believed what her parents said and taught and one of those thing was Nina Ross ruined her brother- Benny’s life.

It was easy to like her and empathize with her. Her only flaw was she had low self-esteem and lot of self-doubt. She was naïve and stupid. Maybe not totally but I didn’t like how she turned blind eye to all the signs. But then again I liked her once the fog of naivety was cleared and she started using her brain.

Benny was diagnosed schizophrenic but he was most smart and sane person in the book. I felt for him. I wish he stood up against his dad all those years ago but at the same time I could see he was just boy whose parents didn’t understand him.  

I blame adults for everything wrong happened to Vanessa, Benny and Nina. Liebling family was typical rich dysfunctional family and had major impact on Benny’s mental condition and Vanessa’s self-esteem, while Nina’s mother was no better.

Perspective is, by nature, subjective. It’s impossible to climb inside someone else’s head, despite your best-or worst-intentions.

What I liked most was characters’ background and development and description of Lake Tahoe. It was both beautiful and atmospheric setting. Along with the luminous water of the lake, beautiful peaks of mountains, there lurked the darkness and coldness of Stonehaven. I liked the descriptions of Stonehaven and all the antiques there.

Another thing I loved was deep insights on social media and rich life, how people view it from outside and how the reality of pretty things are so different when you get close to it, and how actions of parents causes horrible consequences for their children.

Second half was brilliant, fast paced with surprises and twists that made me appreciate that slow first half. I liked character development and redemption arc in this part. The way Vanessa and Nina realized their mistakes and cleared misunderstanding was amazing. Turning points, surprises and twists were well written without giving away true intentions of characters and what they were going to plan next, and how they will come out of the mess they created.

Nothing is ever as pure as it seems at first glance; there is always something more complicated to be found when you peel back the unmarred surface of pretty things.

Climax was tense, surprising and brilliant. At this point I knew what they were going to do and what will be the end. End was good. I like it when characters get what they deserved. Epilogue was best, I liked how characters pulled their life together and tried to form a bridge over their differences.

Why 4.25 star-

First half was too slow. It took me more than 1 hour to read 10% of the book. I thought I would rate this book 3 or 3.5 at 50% of the book but then I loved second half and I could see how important the first half was, it helped in understanding characters and what was going on in their mind. I appreciated all those back stories. But then there was a little repetitiveness in first half which was, I think, because of narration style.

Overall, Pretty Things was impressive, deceitful, and twisted tale of two women with lots of secrets. I recommend this to fans of this genre, specifically those who don’t mind slow pace and descriptive, philosophical writing.

Books Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.UK | Book Depository

What do you think about the book? Have you read it already or any book by the same author? Have you read a book(s) featuring social class differences and if so which is your favorite?

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