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Geoffrey Wansell

Journalist


Geoffrey Wansell



Thrillers and Crime Reviews

Thrillers Crime

30 August 2018

JUST BEFORE I DIED by
S.K Tremayne (Harper Collins £12.99, 384 pp)

 

Just Before I DiedThere is more than a hint of Daphne du Maurier in this gripping thriller. Set in the heart of Dartmoor, it evokes a chilling, creepy world which threatens to unhinge the heroine, Kath Redway.
She thought she had a perfect marriage to Park Ranger Adam, although their shy, gifted nine-year-old daughter Lyla seems a little strange. Could there be a hint of Asperger’s? Then Kath plunges her car into a lonely reservoir late at night. She survives, but cannot clearly remember what happened — there are only flashes of memory.
What is not in doubt is that her husband is now cold and angry, while her daughter is perpetually spooked and afraid of her father. Gradually, the truth about what she thought was a skid on ice begins to surface . . . Tremayne’s evocation of the moor and its ancient ghosts is masterful, while his depiction of his heroine’s anguish is superb.

 

 

30 August 2018

THE DRAMA TEACHER by
Koren Zailckas (Crown £22.50, 400 pp)

 

The Drama TeacherOn the surface, Gracie Mueller is a proud mother of two and devoted wife of an estate agent. But in reality she’s the daughter of a lifelong con artist who taught her his tricks, and she survives by using her exceptional talent to take advantage of anyone she meets.
She succeeds, but only by killing along the way. Gracie eventually transforms herself into Mariana DeFelice, an architect, designer, musician and actress.
After fleeing upstate New York with her children when a friend gets too inquisitive, she ends up in Manhattan and decides to get them into the most expensive school in the city — by any means she can. Even more astonishingly, she ends up as the school’s drama teacher.
But can she keep her past hidden, and sustain the subterfuge that is her entire life? Supremely entertaining and elegantly written, the book is a wicked pleasure.

30 August 2018

A TREACHERY OF SPIES by
Manda Scott (Bantam £16.99, 480 pp)

 

A Treachery of SpiesA strikingly beautiful woman in her 90s is found murdered in Orleans, France, but it is the manner of her killing that jolts the imagination. Her tongue has been cut out — the same fate that befell traitors to the Resistance during the country’s occupation in World War II.
Inspector Ines Picaut starts to trace her identity, but to unlock the mystery she has to return to those who remember the dangerous days, when agents from Britain’s Special Operations Executive parachuted into France to help the Resistance.
Jumping back and forth over 70 years, the story reveals the victim’s true identity was disguised decades ago. Her life may have been taken by someone who believed she turned traitor to save her own skin.
Lyrically told, the plot is peopled with real heroes and villains. None is quite what

 



2 August 2018

BELIEVE ME by
J.P. Delaney (Quercus £12.99)

 

Believe MeA dark and haunting thriller from the author of the best-selling The Girl Before, this follows British drama student Claire, in New York, anxious to become an actress, but without the necessary Green Card to allow her to perform legally.
An agent suggests she work for Manhattan divorce lawyers, as a honeytrap pretending to be a willing pick-up for straying husbands.
The moment they take the bait Claire tells the wife, provides the audio evidence and legal proceedings begin. Then she’s asked to entrap a rich husband, Patrick Folger, who steadfastly refuses to take her bait — only for his wife to end up dead.
No one can prove that he killed her, so the police ask Claire to trap him into a confession. At first she is reluctant, not least because she believes he is innocent, but then she falls in love with him . . . and that’s when the complications begin.
A superb evocation of conflicted emotions, this never lets you guess what’s coming next.

 

 

2 August 2018

THE OTHER WIFE by
Michael Robotham (Sphere £19.99)

 

The Other WifeChildhood sweethearts William and Mary, he a successful surgeon, she a devoted wife and mother, have been married 60 years when he is brutally attacked.
Their psychologist son Joe is summoned to intensive care only to find another woman sobbing at his bedside, covered in his blood.
It turns out she is his ‘other wife’ — with whom he has been living part-time for the past 20 years while still married to Joe’s mother, who arrives at the hospital to discover her rival. Is she a fantasist? Or could William have been a bigamist?
Gradually Joe discovers a far murkier truth about the father who never seemed to care for him and his mother’s ability to conceal her emotions from them both.
Superbly constructed and elegantly written, it has a breathtaking twist in its tail.

 

 

 

2 August 2018

THE BREAK LINE by
James Brabazon (Michael Joseph £12.99)

 

The Break LineThis debut, from a documentary maker who wrote an acclaimed factual account of a mercenary, is the story of Max McLean, a man trained to kill by the SAS. He has been doing it for 23 years and never failed. Now he is given one last solo mission — to destroy a high-value target in the jungles of Sierra Leone.
There is the possibility he is not being told the truth about a task that sees him parachute into one of the most inhospitable countries in Africa, where there are rumours of white ghost warriors who feel no pain and cannot be stopped.
There are echoes of Joseph Conrad and Frederick Forsyth’s The Dogs Of War: it’s not for the faint-hearted and is as ferocious a portrait of an assassin as you will find.

Thrillers Crime

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For a synopsis of any of Geoffrey's books, please click on the appropriate cover above.

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