Review of ‚The Lost Girls‘ by Helen Pryke

The Lost Girls: A gripping suspense novel (English Edition) von [Pryke, Helen]

One of my favorite authors has written a new book and of course I had to read it right away. Helen Pryke moved genres once more and now entered the realm of mystery and thriller. A thrilling read it was, indeed, presented in her usual beautiful and capturing style. It never takes me long to read what she writes and it was the same with this book. Two girls were kidnapped from different families and the police could never find them again. Were the kidnappings related? Are the girls still alive? If so, where are they?

Each of the girls has siblings and they cannot let the matter rest. They approach a journalist to help them find their sisters, who – as we learn – were indeed both kidnapped by the same man, and this man is rapidly losing his grip on sanity.

The story has all the ingredients you need for a good read: Well formed characters, emotional turmoil, twists and turns and insights into a deranged mind.

And yet … (Spoiler alert for the following paragraphs!)

The story left me strangely untouched. I should have ached with the abducted girls. I should have shuddered at the cruel madness of the kidnapper. I should have cheered the investigators on – but I didn’t. Despite all the right ingredients, the story brushed by me, an uninvolved bystander.

I would have expected more depth – especially from Helen, who I know is completely capable of making me shiver and cry and scream while reading her books. But this story feels as if she shied away from diving in all the way. It’s all there – but it’s all on the surface.

Take Jane, for example, one of the abducted girls. She had trouble with her family and readily accepted the kidnapper’s lies that her family didn’t want her anymore. Too readily for my taste. Where was her pain? Where was her struggle to accept that which she had hoped would not be true? And later, when she sees through the lies, where is her struggle in the opposite direction? Where is her shock at finding out the truth? She seems to be taking it all in her stride.

And then there’s Charlotte, the other girl. She misses her family. She is sad and scared beyond belief. But her deranged kidnapper wants her to be happy and smiling. I would have expected more interaction between them, showing me how they trigger each other, how each misunderstanding results in another beating. It’s the same with the relationship between the girls, which undergoes various changes. It’s all hinted at, and I can guess what happened – but I don’t want to guess. I want to be shown. I want to read it all and be shaken deep inside, moved and touched.

What did move me in the end was the stupidity of the journalist. I’ve come across this theme a few times before: private investigator finds all the details to solve the case and then rushes into danger without alerting the police. In this case it was a journalist and either she was totally delusional from fatigue or plain stupid, which would have been out of character, as she was presented as a pretty smart person. So why does she go into the kidnapper’s house with two teenagers in tow, knowing the kidnapper would freak out in the near future and more than likely set everything on fire? The story lost credibility for me at that point. Yes, the police were alerted by someone else, but nobody in their right mind would have acted like that. It annoyed me. But that’s just a matter of personal taste and has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. The scenes were full of tension and had me flipping through my kindle at top speed.

Comparing this story to the author’s previous works, especially ‚Walls of Silence‘, I have the feeling it was published too soon. It feels rushed. Well done, great concept, beautifully written, but published too soon. I sincerely hope the author will take more time and really dive deep into her next work. I know she can and I’m looking forward to it!

Review of the Lindy Johnson Series by Nellie K. Neves

Caskets & Conspiracies (Lindy Johnson Series Book 1) (English Edition) von [Neves, Nellie K.]

Welcome to the Lindy Johnson series!

Having met the author in a facebook group, I got curious about her writing, bought two of her books and boy, did I get a wild ride!
I read both books back to back, luckily at a time when book 3 is already on the horizon, due to be released on July 12th. I will definitely pre-order it, because I’m dying to know how the story goes on.

Nellie K. Neves is a master storyteller. The tension in the story was so dense, I couldn’t decide whether to read on (need to know what happens) or take a break (my pulse has to come down). I stopped reading after one very beautiful scene for a while, because I knew bad stuff would happen next and I wanted to linger in peace!

Saddles & Sabotage (Lindy Johnson Series Book 2) (English Edition) von [Neves, Nellie K.]

Deep, deeper, depth!

Let’s talk about characters. Lindy Johnson is a private investigator with a warped past and a cruel fate. Suffering from Multiple Sklerosis, her daily struggle is a heartache in itself. Add to that an equally multi-layered character in the form of Ryder, handsome not-doc, but artist, and a series of deeply disturbing deaths, and you have a rollercoaster ride of a story that’s going to make you dizzy.

Lindy and Ryder quite obviously fell in love, but for a variety of reasons they can’t really start a relationship. Instead, they are pulled into two separate murder cases (one per book), which Lindy tries to solve at risk of her life.

So what you have is
a) an exciting, nailbiting mystery concluded in each book and
b) an ongoing character development in the persons of Lindy and Ryder that is totally believable and continuing through the series.

I can’t even begin to say on how many levels these books touched me and in which way. Whenever I was not reading, my mind was spinning with the mysteries, trying to solve them while at the same time my heart was aching for Lindy, because I really cared about her, despite the number of wrong decisions she made (in my opinion). Naturally woven into that are insights about one of the invisible diseases that only show up when they are really bad, but affect the sufferer’s life to a great extent long before anyone else will notice.

Folks, read these books. Here’s my new favorite author and for this outstanding tale, I’m more than happy to award this series my Chatworthy Read Award. Congratulations, Nellie!

For more information about the Chatworthy Read Award, please check my English Blog A Chat with Annette

Die stumme Magd

Letztes Jahr überfiel mich eine Idee. Ideen tun sowas schon mal mit mir, weswegen ich überhaupt erst Autorin geworden bin. Ich war von dieser Idee alles andere als begeistert, denn sie kam in Form eines historischen Romans daher. Nein, dachte ich, kein historischer Roman, auf gar keinen Fall. Da muss man so viel recherchieren!
„Geh weg“, sagte ich der Idee, aber die hörte nicht auf mich.

Immer wieder landeten meine Gedanken auf einem wunderschönen ländlichen Anwesen in England, einem Gestüt um genauer zu sein. Szenen entspannen sich vor meinem inneren Auge, die ich grundsätzlich sehr spannend fand, aber ich wollte sie einfach nicht aufschreiben, zumal ich gerade beschlossen hatte, mich auf die deutsche Schreiberei zu konzentrieren und alle Szenen sich auf englisch abspielten.

Nach mehreren Monaten war sie noch immer da, die stumme Magd und drängte mich mit der ihr eigenen Charakterstärke, ihre Geschichte aufzuschreiben. Schließlich gab ich nach. Ich schrieb etwa ein Drittel der Geschichte runter – geplagt von meinem latent schlechten Gewissen, dass ich nun doch wieder auf englisch schrieb, wo ich das doch lassen wollte und sowieso zu wenig Zeit hatte. Zufrieden war ich mit meinem Geschriebenen auch nicht. So interessant die Geschichte auch war, ihr fehlte etwas. Da war nur ein Gerüst, ein Skelett ohne Fleisch und Muskeln. Der Story fehlte Atmosphäre.

Dann traf ich eine Entscheidung. Wenn ich diese Geschichte denn nun unbedingt schreiben sollte, würde ich mich voll und ganz darauf einlassen und sie auf deutsch schreiben. Jetzt kam Bewegung in die Sache. Sehr viel Bewegung. Ich recherchierte wie verrückt und war praktisch an den Computer gefesselt, schrieb schon fast zwanghaft in drei Monaten 80.000 Wörter. Dann war sie fertig, die Geschichte der stummen Magd. Nochmal überarbeiten und raus an drei Testleser. Das Feedback war überwältigend.

Derart motiviert überarbeitete ich den Text noch einmal und schickte ihn an den Francke-Verlag. Letzte Woche kam die Rückmeldung. „Wir werden Ihren Roman sehr gern in unserem Frühjahrsprogramm 2020 veröffentlichen.“ Ja, sie weiß, was sie will, die stumme Magd und sie lässt nicht locker, bis sie es hat.

Und damit ihr euch schon mal vorfreuen könnt, gibt es hier eine kurze Beschreibung:

Yorkshire, 1711
Der junge Stallbursche Daniel Huntington bekommt überraschenderweise eine Anstellung als Stallmeister auf dem renommierten Gestüt des Baronets Brigham angeboten. Voll Feuereifer stürzt er sich in seine neue Aufgabe, um sich zu beweisen. Alle eine Träume scheinen wahr geworden zu sein und er lebt sich schnell in seiner neuen Umgebung ein.
Unter den Bediensteten des Baronets befindet sich allerdings eine Magd, die ihm nach kurzer Zeit Rätsel aufgibt. Sie spricht nicht und wird von allen anderen gemieden. Sie muss schwer schuften und der Baronet wacht über sie wie ein Schießhund. Niemand kennt ihren Namen.
Was hat es mit diesem stummen Mädchen auf sich und was hat die kleine weiße Stute damit zu tun, die sich von niemand anderem als ihr anfassen lässt? Als der alte Stallmeister mit seinem letzten Atemzug eine Warnung ausspricht, ahnt Daniel Böses.

Neuigkeiten / News

Auf dieser Seite findet ihr alle Neuigkeiten rund um mein Autorenleben. Textschnipsel, Berichte von Lesungen, Buchrezensionen, Neuerscheinungen und alles, was mich sonst noch so beschäftigt. Wenn Du nur die deutschen Posts sehen möchtest, wähle die Kategorie ‚Deutsch‘.

On this page you will find all the news of my authorlife. Teasers, reports of readings, book reviews, new releases and anything else currently on my mind.
If you only want to see english posts, choose the category ‚English‘.