The Vanishing Season

A recent abduction becomes an unexpected link to a decades-long spree of unspeakable crimes.

This is the fourth entry in what was originally The Collector Trilogy which last year turned into The Collector Series. I had been quite sad when I finished The Summer Children (number 3) because I enjoyed this series so much, a feeling that turned to pleasure when I realised there was going to be a fourth book, and now I’m sad again because the changes that occur to a number of the main characters in The Vanishing Season are sufficiently significant that any additional books would require a major shift.

But at least the series gets a proper conclusion, and for that I should be grateful.

An eight-year-old girl, Brooklyn, has gone missing. Not only does this happen on the anniversary of the disappearance of FBI agent Brandon Eddison’s little sister, but the girls are also the spitting image of each other making this case particularly difficult for everyone involved. The Crimes Against Children team investigate and Agent Eliza Sterling quickly comes to the conclusion that not only are the two cases linked but there are many other cases going back decades.

Can they solve it? Yes, they can.

I really enjoyed this novel. It is well-written, nicely paced and although the crimes are awful the author doesn’t dwell on the nastiness too much, focussing instead on the procedural aspect of the investigation, and I’m a sucker for that sort of thing so this was very much in my wheelhouse

The series as a whole has developed nicely, moving from a story about victims in The Butterfly Garden which border on horror to the focus on the CAC team in the latest volume. This is a change that has happened gradually and organically but without losing any of the key people from the earlier stories.

I can’t recommend these books enough.

Series Details

Tnis is my first completed read for #20BooksOfSummer

Sunday Salon | 9 June

As I sat down to write/type this I realised that I hadn’t take any pictures to use for the post image this week, so just imagine something suitably pretty somewhere abov this paragraph 😀

It’s been a very quiet week focussed on domestic stuff, mostly to do with the replacement of our central heating boiler which has now been installed by Wayne, the very nice and extremely skilled British Gas engineer who spent the whole of Thursday Chez Bride.

It’s also the Book God’s birthday today, which means that loads of books have come into the house, they just weren’t for me. Sad.

Anyway, what about this week in books?

I finished two books this week, each bringing a series to a close. Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain is the last of the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell serial killer series, and I’ve already written about it over here, and The Vanishing Season by Dot Hutchison, my first book for #20booksofsummer which I’ll review soon.

New books

Just because most of the new books this week are for my other half, doesn’t mean that I didn’t get anything for myself, oh no. There were a couple of pre-orders that came out this week, namely:

  • My Life as a Rat * Joyce Carol Oates – Violet Rue is the baby of the seven Kerrigan children and adores her big brothers. What’s more, she knows that a family protects its own. To go outside the family – to betray the family – is unforgivable. So when she overhears a conversation not meant for her ears and discovers that her brothers have committed a heinous crime, she is torn between her loyalty to her family and her sense of justice. The decision she takes will change her life for ever.
  • Inspection * Josh Malerman – J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know-and all they are allowed to know.

Currently reading

I have started Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff and am enjoying it very much, and I am also about a quarter of the way through my second #20books selection, Siren Song by Robert Edric.

Hope you have a great reading week.

My Week in Review – 26 May

Not much reading done but immersed myself in several projects, a couple of trips and avoiding spoilers about Game of Thrones, closely followed by avoiding enraged GoT fans on Twitter.

For the record, I thought the finale was absolutely fine but would have liked the series to have had a few more episodes – everything seemed to happen very quickly. But that’s a minor quibble and I don’t really have a huge investment in the series as I have never read the books. The Book God has and he was equally OK with the outcome. More exciting is Good Omens coming to Amazon Prime at the end of this week; love that book and can’t wait to watch.

So, what else did I get up to this week?

  • we attended the Members Evening at the V&A and I got to see the Christian Dior exhibition with a reasonably sized crowd and no queues. I think it is possibly the most beautiful exhibition I have ever seen, not just because of the gowns but also the setting. It was magical and I may try to see it again before it closes in (I think) September
I may have gone a little overboard in the exhibition shop
  • we also went to see John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum which I really enjoyed and will write about in a day or two.

In terms of books, I finished one novella – Black Helicopters by Caitlin R Kiernan which I’m not sure I entirely ‘got’ and I’m still mulling over what I’m going to say about it when I finally get round to reviewing.

I’m currently reading the last of the Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain. I’m only about 25% into the book and there is no Gretchen so far. I still have hope.

New books:

  • All the Lives We Ever Lived * Katharine Smyth – Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf. – ” Katharine Smyth was a student at Oxford when she first read Virginia Woolf’s modernist masterpiece To the Lighthouse in the comfort of an English sitting room, and in the companionable silence she shared with her father. After his death – a calamity that claimed her favourite person – she returned to that beloved novel as a way of wrestling with his memory and understanding her own grief.”
  • Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water * Vylar Kaftan – a pre-order – ” All Bee has ever known is darkness. She doesn’t remember the crime she committed that landed her in the cold, twisting caverns of the prison planet Colel-Cab with only fellow prisoner Chela for company. Chela says that they’re telepaths and mass-murderers; that they belong here, too dangerous to ever be free. Bee has no reason to doubt her—until she hears the voice of another telepath, one who has answers, and can open her eyes to an entirely different truth”
  • The Carnelian Crow * Colleen Gleason – Stoker & Holmes Book 4 – ” Evaline Stoker (sister of Bram) and Mina Holmes (niece of Sherlock) return in the fourth volume of the steampunk adventure series set in an alternate Victorian London.”
  • The Killer You Know * SR Masters – “I’ll murder three strangers. And you’ll know it was me . . . ” (cue maniacal laughter)
  • The Vanishing Season * Dot Hutchison – The Collector Book 4 – ” Eight-year-old Brooklyn Mercer has gone missing. And as accustomed as FBI agents Eliza Sterling and Brandon Eddison are to such harrowing cases, this one has struck a nerve. It marks the anniversary of the disappearance of Eddison’s own little sister. Disturbing, too, is the girl’s resemblance to Eliza—so uncanny they could be mother and daughter.” This was a pre-order and I’m extremely excited to read this book; I love this series and it has shot right up to the top of my TBR pile!

Which brings me to the last thing of note that happened this week – I’ve decided to take part in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge – you can see the book list at my sign-up post.

Hope you all have a great reading week!

20 Books of Summer 2019

Yes, it’s that time again! From 3 June to 3 September I’ll be taking part in #20BooksofSummer hosted by Cathy over at 746 Books. I’ve been mulling over what I might include during the past wee while and have finally come up with a list.

All the titles are on my Kindle app but other than that the only thing they have in common is that they’re just books I really fancy reading. So, to the list!

  • Westside by M Akers – when the blurb includes references to Algernon Blackwood, Caleb Carr, Raymond Chandler and Neil Gaiman then you really can’t ignore it. Set in 1920’s Manhattan as an added bonus.
  • Transcription by Kate Atkinson – WWII espionage, Fascists, and the BBC in the 1950s. Kate Atkinson is a wonderful writer and I’m glad to be finally getting round to reading her latest.
  • Winter Journal by Paul Auster – a book about growing old from a writer I’ve enjoyed in the past though I often find him challenging; I’ll be interested to see how fundamentally male this is or whether it will resonate with 57 year old menopausal me.
  • MI5 and Me by Charlotte Bingham – more spies, this time real rather than fictional, as Charlotte Bingham explains what it’s like to discover your Dad is a spy and then begin work as a typist at MI5
  • Ma’am Darling by Craig Brown – a “kaleidoscopic experiment in biography” this is all about Princess Margaret in her heyday and beyond. Much praised so very willing to give it a try.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – the second in the Wayfarers trilogy, included here because I loved the first volume and I’m trying quite hard this year to catch up with series where I’ve fallen behind
  • Siren Song by Robert Edric – as above but a more recent find as I just finished Cradle Song in the past few weeks. Interesting to see if there is more to the trilogy than the same lead character.
  • The Ka of Gifford Hillary by Dennis Wheatley – I love some good black magic, and Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out is one of my favourites; I haven’t come across the Ka before but the Book God assures me it’s a goody
  • The Private Lives of Elder Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky and others – Lovecraftian short stories. Lovely.
  • I Still Dream by James Smythe – I like James Smythe a lot and had the pleasure of chatting to him once at Nineworlds, so I am excited to read this, underlined by the Kate Bush references.
  • Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw – A female Helsing. London. A strange medical practice. A sect of murderous monks. My friend Silvery Dude tells me this is awesome and I have no reason to doubt him 🙂
  • Into the Fire by Manda Scott – appalled to discover that I bought this in 2015. I know I started to read it but was going through some stuff at the time and set it aside until my brain was ready to give it the attention it deserved. With added Joan of Arc.
  • Slowly We Die by Emelie Schepp – Scandinavian medical serial killer mystery. These are all words that go together very well in a single sentence.
  • Real Tigers by Mick Herron – more spies and more catching up with enjoyable series; this is the third Jackson Lamb novel out of six so far and they are so so good.
  • The Vanishing Season by Dot Hutchison – when you think something’s a trilogy and feel understandably bereft when you get to the last book, then discover there’s going to be a fourth but it’s a year away, you’re going to jump up and down when it finally arrives.
  • The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleeson – another book I’ve had for rather a long time, this is a Holmes & Stoker novel – as in Mina Holmes, niece of Sherlock, and Evaline Stoker, sister of Bram. First in a series.
  • Carpathia by Matt Forbeck – so you’re on the Titanic, it hits the iceberg, it sinks but you’re picked up by another ship and you’re going to be OK except there’s something nasty in the Carpathia……
  • Crooked by Austin Grossman – an alternate history horror novel starring Richard Milhouse Nixon. I have no idea what this is like but I’m looking forward to giving it a try.
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz – a classic murder mystery with a twist. A fiendish twist, apparently.
  • The Man from the Train by Bill James – it wouldn’t be a Bride list if there wasn’t some true crime in here somewhere and this investigation of a historical serial killer mystery sounds totally fascinating.

And that’s my plan!

I’ve no idea whether I really will finish them all – I think I got about halfway last time (too lazy to go look) but I do know I will start with The Vanishing Season because I love that series and have been waiting for it to be published!

2019 Reading Goals

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So after a very successful reading year I’m hoping to keep up the good work in 2019, including reading

  • more physical books,
  • more books that I already own (ie not just bought and read immediately), and
  • more books from series that I’ve read some of in the past or have yet to start.

I will be setting my Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge to 75 books – up from my usual 52. I think I should be able to achieve that as I read 63 books this year, including a real dip in the last few months of the year so that’s a conservative outcome.

I will also be taking part in the Mount TBR Challenge, hosted on Goodreads by Bev. This is my first year participating and I’ve decided to be ambitious and aim to climb Mont Blanc; that will account for 24 books included in (not in addition to, I’m not mad) the 75 mentioned above.

The key rules for the climb are:

  • books must be owned by the reader prior to January 1, 2019 – so that includes Christmas gifts, hurrah!
  • any re-read may count, regardless of how long the reader has owned it before 2019, provided it hasn’t been read in last five years
  • ebooks can count if they are owned and are one of the primary sources of backlogged books – however, I’m only going to include physical books because that’s where my problem lies; I find it easier to read on my iPad

I will set up a page on the blog so that you can track my progress, should you wish to; my main reading goal will be tracked on my Goodreads page.

Does that make sense? I hope that makes sense. To the Reading Chair!

20 Books of Summer Report Card

IMG_0769Way back in the mists of time, before the heatwave we had here in London, I signed up for #20BooksofSummer because:

[…] as my reading is going pretty well this year I decided it was time that I took part in a challenge, and thought that this one (hosted by Cathy over at 746Books) was ideal. The twist is that I’ll be reading only books on my Kindle app; this doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on #ReadingMuriel2018 – I (foolishly) believe I can do both!

I’m very late reporting back (here’s Cathy’s closing post from 4 September) but in case you need a bit of a hint – not only couldn’t I do both, I didn’t complete either 😞

I’ve repeated my original list below – the items in bold are the ones that I read, though with the move to the new blog I decided not to go back and complete any outstanding reviews. All of the books I finished are really enjoyable. So here we go:

  • You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames (I also watched the film version which was excellent)
  • Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam
  • All That Remains by Sue Black
  • The Boy on the Bridge by MR Carey
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Who Killed Sherlock Holmes by Paul Cornell
  • The Cathedral of Known Things by Edward Cox
  • Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Piu Eatwell
  • Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys
  • The Keeper by Alastair Gunn
  • Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  • Slow Horses by Mick Herron
  • The Summer Children by Dot Hutchinson
  • Head On by John Scalzi
  • I Still Dream by James Smythe
  • The Hunger by Alma Katsu
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • Gilded Cage by Vic James
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

In summary I read 18 books over the summer; 10 from my list, 3 Muriels and 5 others. I’m pretty happy with the outcome, so will definitely take part again next year.