I recently read two books that fall outside my usual comfort zone: Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger and A Likeness in Stone by Julia Wallis Martin. For different reasons, both books unfortunately didn’t work for me.
Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger is the story of Ridley Jones, who, after appearing on television for an act of heroism, receives a mysterious package that indicates she may not be who she thinks she is. I don’t usually read thrillers and unfortunately reading this one hasn’t changed my opinion that this genre isn’t for me. While the novel was fast-paced and intriguing enough to keep me reading until the end, there were a few plot points that really bugged me:
How is it possible that a relatively well-adjusted and seemingly normal person like Ridley doesn’t have a single friend in the world except her creepy ex-boyfriend and his strange mother?
Why would her parents, no matter what their issues, not tell her what they knew when it became obvious that by keeping her in the dark they were endangering her life?
I guess the bottom line for me was that I was unable to suspend my disbelief enough to really enjoy this novel. There were too many coincidences, too many things that didn’t make sense and I also found the main character whiny.
To read other reviews of this book, visit these blogs:
Book Chase • Confessions of a Bibliophile • Reading without Restraint • Ticket to Anywhere
Thank you to Donna at BookBound for giving me this book to read.
A Likeness in Stone by Julia Wallis Martin is a mystery, a genre I do read and love; however, as I’ve mentioned before, my taste in mysteries is fairly limited. I picked up this book because the author was recommended by Elizabeth George, one of my favourite mystery writers. (I found her recommendations on the Fantastic Fiction site.*) I completely ignored the fact that this novel was compared to those of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters, two authors I carefully avoid as they don’t fit my rule of “no psychopaths or serial killers, no terror and no blow-by-blow descriptions of murder or its results.”
In the first chapter, divers find a corpse in a wardrobe in a submerged house—the dead woman turns out to be Helena Warner, an Oxford student who disappeared some 20 years before. This reopens a case that had remained unsolved despite the fact that the homicide detective in charge at the time was sure he knew who did it. There is no question that Martin writes well and if you enjoy Rendell’s or Walters’ mysteries, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this atmospheric (and creepy) novel as well. Despite the small cast of characters, the story kept me guessing until the very end and completely sucked me in—I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it. However, it was too creepy for me (it definitely broke the above-mentioned rule), so unfortunately I’ll be staying away from this author in the future too.
A Likeness in Stone was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel in 1999.
*George actually recommends The Long Close Call, Wallis Martin’s third book, but I wanted to start with her first, which may have been my mistake.