Sunday Book Review – Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing a mystery that kept me turning the pages all the way till the end – Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie. Craigie is a masterful storyteller who leaves plenty of red herrings in this tale, keeping us guessing right until the end.

Blurb:

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

My 5 Star Review:

Gwen is having a bad day, many bad days. She is a teacher’s assistant who does not like the school principal, Ian, yet someone snapped a shot of her shaking his hand at an event and it became taken out of context, big time – internet big time, and a smear campaign ensued.

Gwen noticed an alcoholic, abusive father physically abusing his child. She tried to intervene and the man drove off with his child. Her alerting authorities angered this man and he began harrassing Gwen.

Dyleth has a crush on married principal Ian and believes Gwen is hot for the two timing principal and spreads gossip.

Gwen had a boring, quiet life before these incidents happened. She moved in with her ailing, demanding, grandmother Edith less than two years ago to take care of her. The only good thing that has happened in Gwen’s life lately, was meeting her new next door neighbor, Ben. Ben becomes her shining knight in armor when all the weirdness, attacks and chaos begins. Is Ben too good to be true, or should we now begin suspecting him?

Strange and evil things are taking place at Gwen’s home. The abusive man is doing drive bys and knock knocks, someone lurks in her garden at night causing damage and painting vile words on her car and lawn. Gwen feels like she’s losing her mind when even the police aren’t doing much with her many complaints.

Gwen’s brother Gethin is having relationship problems at home and decides to come visit his sister and grandmother to help figure out what is going on around that house. He too is attacked one night, and once again, neighbor Ben manages to save his life.

A lot is going on in Gwen’s life and she begins to question her own sanity when too many strange things keep happening. Gwen also struggles with a childhood incident where she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. We’ll later discover that everything Gwen thought happened wasn’t really as it seemed.

If you are already curious as to what is going on, trust me, you will continue to feel that way as you will be eager to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Who done what? Is there a traitor among family? Is the principal or the abusive man responsible for all the chaos and accidents? Could Gwen’s developing relationship with Ben the neighbor be real or does he have ulterior motives? You will want to find out as Craigie takes us on a carefully plotted out story that won’t give us a hint until the very end.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Charlotte – #Shortstory by S.R. Mallery

My Sunday Book Review is for S.R. Mallery’s, Charlotte. This is a cleverly written short story that doesn’t feel like a short story because even in the limited pages, the story is well crafted, will keep our curiosity revved until the very end when we find out who ‘Him’ is.

 

 

 

Blurb:

 

Sometimes things are not as they seem…
In 1793, all the twenty-four-year-old Charlotte desires is to travel the long distance to Paris and visit Him. Despite La Guillotine operating day and night, in spite of her family’s warnings about her being too independent, she has a true mission and will not be deterred. In the end, will everything work out? Will meeting him give her the fulfillment she so craves?

 

She only knows that when she finally does face him to execute her plan, she will take care to look her most beautiful. For, by doing that, she will assuredly draw him in––and forever change her life. She cannot wait.

 

Originally entitled, “Him,” in the short story collection, TALES TO COUNT ON, this is an alternative route to a famous event during the French Revolution.

 

 

My 5 Star Review

 

This is a short story that packs a punch. Mallery paints a story taking place during the French Revolution. Charlotte Corday is on a mission to leave her comfortable country home to visit a mysterious ‘someone’ in Paris, at a time when Paris was known as the City of Blood and the guillotine was working overtime. We are taken through her journey of her traveling to Paris, and the stops she made along the way to ensure her safe passage. In a time where one must be aware of surroundings during the time of bloodshed, simply because one had wealth or nobility, Charlotte dressed in her finery, set out to seek the man, only referred to as ‘Him’ throughout the story.

 

We learn she must look her finest and takes great pains to make sure she does in preparation to finally see ‘Him’, she will be the desire of his wantings when she arrives. She thinks.

 

This author is known for her short stories that are deliciously descript and for a mere 8 pages she sets the tone for this quick-paced historical fiction tale that is guaranteed to drop a few jaws by the time we reach the end.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

Sunday Movie Review: The Undoing #miniseries – #Whodunit

Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review again. The Undoing is a mini series on HBO, an intense psychological thriller. For those of you who enjoy a good suspense whodunit, this series is for you.

 

My 5 Star Review:

I love a good character study movie. And with a cast of Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant and Donald Sutherland, what’s not to love? Except, when you are used to seeing certain stars in movies who are mostly typecast play someone out of their character realm. But in this series, it demonstrates a great example of what going against the grain is like with Grant’s personified movie image. Grant in this psychological suspenseful role plays an unlikely and unusual character. We get a glimpse of a darker side of Grant in this suspenseful family saga whodunit with Grant as one of the suspected murderers because of who the murder victim was.

So what’s the action? Grant and Kidman are a well-off – ‘seemingly’ happy couple. Grant is an oncologist and Kidman plays a psychologist. They lead busy lives and seem to have a great relationship. But does something sinister lurk in Grant’s head?

A young struggling artist comes into Kidman’s circle on the ‘mom’ board at her son’s preppy school, wanting to join the school board of a private school where she hopes to assimilate her young son into the preppy school and become part of the ‘mom board’. She ‘somewhat’ befriends Nicole and shows up in unpredictable places. Then suddenly the girl is murdered. The show progresses searching for and suspecting some unsuspecting characters – including Nicole and then Hugh. How could we possibly suspect a doctor of oncology who dedicates his life to saving people?

As Grant becomes the main targeted suspect, I, as the audience couldn’t buy it. But not until the last episode (of six), did my suspicion begin to grow. And not til the very end do we get a big surprise in this well written series with great characters and subject matter that will keep you guessing til the last minute.

End-game: there are so many clever possible theories and suspects thwarting guilt, who dunit? A cleverly woven tale to keep you guessing as you may begin to suspect each suspect as guilt continues shifting and had me changing my mind about whodunit. Is Hugh guilty? Was it his son? Was it the dead woman’s husband? The last court episode was like a tennis match of shifting blame. Who’s on your side? Who can you trust?

Grace (Kidman) taking the stand and the twisted last turn of interrogation was the final straw which determined the killer’s fate. Perfect name – Undoing of so much, of a child’s innocence, of a marriage, of trust, and undoing the facade behind people, exposing the farce.

 

 

“Grace Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. She’s a successful therapist, has a devoted husband and young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. Overnight a chasm opens in her life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.”

The above quote taken from below link to another few trailer scenes at IMDB

https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2746007833?playlistId=tt8134470

 

***

This miniseries was based on a book originally titled – You Should Have Known. I presume once the series became a hit the cover was changed. I’ve read a few comments of almost 3000 4 star reviews, and I think my review is with the majority of 4 and 5 stars. Of course with that many reviews an author is going to take some 2 stars and most of what I read didn’t grasp the psychology of the story. At over 400 pages it became a 6 hour miniseries.

 

 

Blurb:

Read the “rollickingly good literary thriller” and New York Times Bestseller — and watch the most talked about TV series of 2020, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant.

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended.

Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

 

Has anyone here seen this series or read the book? What did you think?

 

©DGKaye2021

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