Book reviews: March 2019


Deals on Wheels reviews some of the latest titles to hit the bookshelves

The Great Wide Open

By Douglas Kennedy

$37

Penguin Random House

Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

3/5

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I’m always a little uncomfortable when male authors write from a female perspective and that goes for female authors who think they can really make us believe they can think like the opposite gender. However, in the case of Douglas Kennedy’s latest book, I have to admit he doesn’t do a bad job.

In this latest offering, we follow the meanderings of a well-to-do 1980’s family as they negotiate their ways through life, and readers should identify some parallels in their own lives.

Douglas focuses on the daughter of the family as she negotiates rifts, secrets, and other aspects while trying to work out how all the goings-on have left members at certain points in their life. One reviewer said the book was fast-paced, but I found it an interesting slow read—or perhaps that may just have something to do with my reading speed.

The Wedding Guest

Jonathan Kellerman

$37

Penguin Random House

Reviewed by Laura Batten

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3/5

Coming in completely cold to the Alex Delaware series, I found this wasn’t all that bad for a standalone novel. Child psychologist Alex Delaware and Lieutenant Milo Sturgis are called with no information to the homicide at a wedding reception, a place which is weird in itself as it’s a repurposed former strip club with a Saint and Sinners theme. A young brunette dead on a bathroom stall appears to be a party crasher, and after inte

nse questioning, nobody seems to know who she is. Slowly, Dr Alex and Milo peel away the unconventional venue façade to understand more of the victim.

Except for the slow pace at times, I enjoyed the handful of twists, red herrings, and the mostly undetectable killer. Recommended for the logical and analytical versus the thrill seekers, I, not an action reader at all, found this hard to put down.

Not Bad People

Brandy Scott

HarperCollins

$35

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Reviewed by Claire Smith

4/5

If you’re looking for a good page-turner, you won’t be disappointed with this debut novel from Kiwi radio journalist Brandy Scott.

Set in Australia, this gripping book is based around three 30-something women who have been best friends for decades. On New Year’s Eve, the women let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions—sounds harmless enough. But as the glowing bags float away, there’s a sudden bright flare in the distance.

The next day, the newspapers report a small plane crash. The women are divided over whether they were responsible. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, and blackmail. All the components of a ripping good yarn.

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