As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Algonquin Books, 1 July 2016. ISBN:
Warning: this book is not for the weak of stomach. Almost from the
outset, there are graphic descriptions of the goriest murders I’ve ever
encountered on the page – and I read a lot of murder mysteries. If Quentin
Tarantino doesn’t put in a bid for the film rights, he’s missing a trick.
But as long as detailed
close-ups of the murderer’s craft don’t make you wish you’d said no to that
bacon sandwich a couple of hours ago, you’ll be gripped. It’s well written,
interestingly structured, full of surprises and definitely out of the ordinary.
The setting is Manderley: not
the burnt-out shell at the end of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca,
but a discreet luxury hotel which has borrowed the name, the kind that caters
for the ridiculously rich, and protects their privacy with iron-clad security
and lets them escape from long lenses and prying fans and reporters for a
while. It isn’t open yet; the manager and a handful of carefully selected staff
are applying the finishing touches, and the invisible security staff are
testing their systems.
Somewhere in the hotel lurks
a killer. It’s unclear, at least at first, whether he – or possibly she, but he
is more likely – is in the pay of the paranoid billionaire owner, and setting
out to give those systems a thorough workout, or if she/he has been sent in by
a rival to create the kind of mayhem and bad publicity that will bankrupt the
The killer’s mission is
simple: leave no one alive. And slowly, inexorably, the killer goes about the task...
Meanwhile, Tessa, the
manager, is mustering her troops: cleaners, chefs, tradesmen, a gardener. Each
has his or her own story, sketched in along the way. Tessa herself has a more
interesting background than most, though she doesn’t talk about it – and then a
little bit of her past turns up on a motorbike.
All the above happens, or
begins to happen, in the first couple of chapters. The rest of the narrative is
partly cat-and-mouse game between the killer and his unwitting victims, partly
unfolding romance as Tessa and Brian rediscover each other, and one hundred per
cent edge-of-the-seat tension and gritted teeth for the reader, who is almost
the only person who knows what’s going on.
Almost. Up on the carefully
shielded twentieth floor, where the security team do what security teams do
with hidden cameras and monitors, someone is watching...
Yes, it really is that tense.
Once you get past all that gore, you won’t want to put this book down.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Gina Wohlsdorfwas born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. She
graduated from Tulane University, taught English in the south of France, sold
books in four states, and earned an MFA at the University of Virginia. She
currently lives in Colorado.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.