3.5 star, Uncategorized

Review: A Game of Fear by Charles Todd

Inspector Ian Rutledge #24

In this newest installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge is faced with his most perplexing case yet: a murder with no body, and a killer who can only be a ghost.

Spring, 1921. Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Rutledge to the sea-battered village of Walmer on the coast of Essex, where amongst the salt flats and a military airfield lies Benton Abbey, a grand manor with a storied past. The lady of the house may prove his most bewildering witness yet. She claims she saw a violent murder—but there is no body, no blood. She also insists she recognized the killer: Captain Nelson. Only it could not have been Nelson because he died during the war.

Everyone in the village believes that Lady Benton’s losses have turned her mind—she is, after all, a grieving widow and mother—but the woman Rutledge interviews is rational and self-possessed. And then there is Captain Nelson: what really happened to him in the war? The more Rutledge delves into this baffling case, the more suspicious tragedies he uncovers. The Abbey and the airfield hold their secrets tightly. Until Rutledge arrives, and a new trail of death follows… 

This was my first time (randomly) picking a book from this series to read. I actually didn’t realize it was part of a series, but like many other long series, they can be read as standalones too (I think). I think I said I would pick less books up randomly, but luckily this one did not come back to bite me.

A Game of Fear revolves around our protagonist Inspector, Ian Rutledge, who investigates an interesting murder… a murder with no body. Or really any evidence at all, for that matter. Set in 1921 in the small village of Walmer, we get a historical into the look of what happened to the town during and after war, and how that all may be culminating into the current mystery. Is there really a ghost in Walmer?

Continue reading “Review: A Game of Fear by Charles Todd”

Review: The End of Her by Shari Lapena

It starts with a shocking accusation…

Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.

Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a shocking accusation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.

He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?

Okay, so I have a new Shari Lapena favourite now. It has all the things we all know and love: incredibly fast-paced suspense, psychologically thrilling, and her signature short sentences. Except this time I felt it was much more refined, and more of what I wanted from her style. Considering it was published in 2020, perhaps over time there was adaptation. I certainly really enjoyed this one!

The End of Her revolves already a fairly simple plot. The main protagonists, Stephanie and Patrick, are happily married with twin babies who are now colic and messing with their lives. Suddenly, an unsavory character from the husband’s past comes back with all sorts of accusations—problem is, are they true? As the accusations start to take a toll on their marriage, just who is really telling the truth?

The characters in this thriller were fairly believable, but for the most part unlikeable. That actually may have helped the suspense though, trying to sift through the lesser of so many evils. No particular character is truly that pitiable except perhaps Stephanie, but I didn’t mind that too much. Their motives and consistency were overall pretty good, and I didn’t have too much trouble with accepting all the characters at face value.

The suspense was also great. I mean I’ve never really complained about Lapena’s work in this department, but I just wanted to reiterate it here. Super fast-paced, I read this in two short sittings. Her usual abrupt sentences are present once again here, but this time I really appreciated it. In the past I found them a little bit jarring and sometimes distracted from the story. I don’t know if there was truly any change but in this novel I found that it was the right length of sentences and correct frequency of use as well.

The plot itself was believable…ish. I think some complaints were that it was a bit out there sometimes. But in my opinion total believability isn’t paramount. It can still be extremely suspenseful and thrilling, and as long as the characters are acting consistently with their personas, I generally give the author a lot of leeway in designing plots. While I didn’t totally predict the whole ending, I did predict some parts correctly, but this didn’t take away from it—after all, half the suspense was based around this main mystery.

Overall Recommendations

The End of Her is a very fast-paced thriller which follows the crumbling marriage of a couple, with twin babies tiring them out, and an old friend coming to disrupt their lives. It’s he says she says, and poor Stephanie does not know who to believe. Just how well does she know her husband? As more and more of the past surfaces up, the facts just get more and more messy. Follow this exciting and riveting thriller from beginning to finish!


Let’s Talk Bookish – Reflecting on 2021

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where they discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.


What did you accomplish reading and blogging wise in 2021? What are you most proud of? What are you most disappointed by? If there’s something new you tried in 2021 with your reading or blogging, what was it and how did that turn out? How do you think you’ve grown as a reader/blogger? What would you advise yourself as we look to 2022?

The year 2021 is where we really tried to post content constantly here on DTRH, and adhere to a schedule and try and get into a habit of things. And overall, I really do think that we accomplished this and I’m definitely proud of us for coming this far. It’s not easy to just add commitments to your schedule and actually stick to it for a whole year, and I am so glad we had the chance to do that this year in 2021.

One of the things I am proud of was being able to read so many books this year. I only set a goal of about 50 books, but I managed to surpass this in the end. Normally I don’t keep track of how many books I read, but I’m glad that I committed to reading a certain number of books and executed on it. The best part was that it didn’t even feel like a chore, and I genuinely enjoyed reading all these books. Hopefully I will continue to have time for this hobby in the upcoming year(s) as well.

I was definitely disappointed in some books that I randomly picked, but I suppose that’s the danger of random picking in the first place. I may, in the future, want to look into a book more before just reading it. While I have found some great treasures this year just picking one off the shelf, there were probably more times where I was underwhelmed and expecting much more.

As stated earlier, I’d say the commitment to posting as often as we can and trying to engage with the community was really something we worked on this year and really hope turned out well. We have both definitely grown here at DTRH this last year, and not only purely because of reading and blogging as well. It has been a hard year for most, but struggle really does invite growth.

Our post yesterday gives some insight into what we looked back on in 2021 and how it feels looking forward. For 2022, I hope we can continue to enjoy reading and blogging, and continue to grow with the community. Of course, we will also make new goals to try and reach next year, so stay tuned for those.

Happy New Year, everyone!