Tag Archive | Minette Walters

Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2011 and 2012

Back at the tail end of 2009, I discovered the brilliant Book Chick City, around the time of sign-ups for the Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010 were happening. Was I tempted? Of course – 12 Thriller or Suspense books in 12 months. What a plan.


Plan didn’t go exactly to plan though, and at the end of December 2010 I was frantically reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger in the hope that I could finish it by the end of the year, and that it would count as a thriller/suspense. Someone else had added it as their book, so I figured I was good on that, then on 30th (I think) I finished it. Phew.


Even before I finished it, I knew I had to do it again, so after the slight name change to the Mystery & Suspense Challenge, I signed up again – promising myself to do better in 2011. 


I thought I was doing ok when we had about 2 months left, even though November was NaNo, so my reading time was limited. I was wrong I had 4 books left to read. Eek. Somehow I powered through the writing madness and continued to read. Then mid December I did a count up, and I’d actually read 13 books. Um, oops. How did that happen? Me thinks someone’s maths isn’t that great (counting to 12 – apparently it’s harder than it sounds!). Just to prove how bad my calculations are – I’ve just recounted, and only have 12. Hmm. Something odd is going on here!


Yay, I completed the challenge again. The only problem is that until today, I hadn’t posted my reviews for them all. Heck, I read them, that’s what counts.


Here’s the list of the books I read (with links to each full review and just a very quick, few worded review here):


January – A Kiss Gone Bad by Jeff Abbott – Brilliant, can’t wait to read the next 2 books in the series


February – Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan – Again, fab. Again can’t wait to read the other 2 books in the series.


February – Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay – I think Barclay is my favourite thriller author at the moment – says it all.


April – Past Mortem by Ben Elton – not as good as some of his other books, but still really good.


June – The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell – Love Jewell so much. This took me a while to get into, but once I was there I was hooked.


June – The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson – Love Koomson and everything she writes – this included.  


August – Every Last One by Anna Quindlen – Took me a while to get into this, and the whole pace was a bit too slow for me.


September – Trams AM by Rob Ryan – Brilliant. Loved from start to finish


October – Mitigating Circumstances by Nancy Taylor Rosenburg – Was hooked from the off – brilliant.


October – The Sculptress by Minette Walters – Love, love, love.


October – Die for You by Lisa Unger –


November – The Birthday Present by Barbra Vine (Ruth Rendell writing as) – slow, and bored me a little.


12 books, 12 months. I loved the challenge so much, that, yep, you guessed it, I’m doing it again in 2012 – yay!


Like the past 2 years, you don’t have to chose the books you are going to read for the challenge ahead of time, but I know for sure that I want to read the next one from each of the series’ by Jeff Abbott and Allison Brennan that I read in 2011. Other than that, I just don’t know, but can’t wait to find out.


Read more about the challenge here and if you’re interested sign up – it’s great – you won’t regret it!

The Sculptress by Minnette Walters – Review

It was a slaughterhouse, the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed… Olive Martin is a dangerous woman. I advise you to be extremely wary in your dealings with her.’ The facts of the case were simple: Olive Martin had pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering her sister and mother, earning herself the chilling nickname ‘The Sculptress’. This much journalist Rosalind Leigh knew before her first meeting with Olive, currently serving a life sentence. How could Roz have foreseen that the encounter was destined to change her life – for ever?

I didn’t chose this book, my Aunt bought it (I think from a charity shop or something, I can’t remember) and offered it to me along with a huge pile of books that she was going to take to her holiday let flat. I took this one and another because they were thrillers and so would fit in with my Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge for this year.

This sounded a little creepy, but I do love that kind of thing – as long as it was mainly thriller, not horror. This was.

And love it I did. You know when you start a book and don’t want to put it down? I totally had that with this. I got into it really quickly and stayed into it the whole way through. I kind of loved to hate (or I think maybe hated to love) Olive who Walters makes you feel sorry for and yet be totally repulsed at, on the same page. Roz is an awesome main character, she’s mad – doing things that had me shouting at her to go back home not be so stupid – but fun and so loveable.

The ending is a little ambiguous, which at the time annoyed me a bit, but it kept me thinking about it for the next few days, which I think is brilliant – it has to be a good book to keep me thinking about it a few days later!

When I just googled the book to get the description, I found out it was a TV series over here in 1996 (it’s quite an old book) starting Pauline Quirke. As soon as I saw it, it slid into place – Pauline Quirke is a perfect Olive. Perfect. I’m going to somehow try to get hold of it,  I think it will be really good.

As you can see, I loved it. I’d never heard of Minette Walters, but will definitely be looking out for more from her!