The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore [Out this week]

poisonartist

Title: The Poison Artist
Author: Jonathan Moore
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 228 pages
Publication Details: January 26th / 2nd Feb (UK) 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre(s): Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

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Dr. Caleb Maddox is a San Francisco toxicologist studying the chemical effects of pain. After a bruising breakup with his girlfriend, he’s out drinking whiskey when a hauntingly seductive woman appears by his side. Emmeline whispers to Caleb over absinthe, gets his blood on her fingers and then brushes his ear with her lips as she says goodbye. He must find her.

As his search begins, Caleb becomes entangled in a serial-murder investigation. The police have been fishing men from the bay, and the postmortems are inconclusive. One of the victims vanished from the bar the night Caleb met Emmeline. When questioned, Caleb can’t offer any information, nor does he tell them he’s been secretly helping the city’s medical examiner, an old friend, study the chemical evidence on the victims’ remains. The search for the killer soon entwines with Caleb’s hunt for Emmeline, and the closer he gets to each, the more dangerous his world becomes.

From the first pages up to the haunting, unforgettable denouement, The Poison Artist is a gripping thriller about obsession and damage, about a man unmoored by an unspeakable past and an irresistible woman who offers the ultimate escape.

Review

I was in the mood for a gritty crime thriller so I figured The Poison Artist was the perfect ARC for the job. Unfortunately, it ended up being a bit of a let down.

I was really intrigued by the idea of a toxicologist studying and experimenting with the chemical effects of pain, and thought it would make a great thriller, but the majority of this story was about Caleb’s obsession with a mystery woman, and the whole toxicology thing took a back seat.

I think the main reason I wasn’t enamoured with this book was because I didn’t warm to Caleb at all. He’s ruined his marriage and is heading towards alcoholism which is taking its toll on his work. You know, a total downward spiral kind of thing. All he can think about is a brief encounter with a beautiful woman who drinks nothing but absinthe.

The mystery of the bodies turning up in the bay held my attention for a little while, but I just didn’t get hooked into the story and unfortunately I found it a slog to finish (although the ending did improve it)!

Not for me, but I’m sure some people will enjoy this murder mystery/ dark tale of infatuation.

unicorn rating 2

 

Lazy Saturday Review: She is Not Invisible

sini
Title: She is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 240 pages
Publication Details: July 3rd 2014 by Indigo
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary
Disclosure? I borrowed it off Dora. Thanks Dora!

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Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers – a skill at which she’s remarkably talented.

Her secret: she is blind.

But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness.

She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

I went into this book with a little trepidation because it’s a huge departure for Sedgwick, whose previous books I’ve loved.

All of the other Sedgwick books I’ve read have been dark and quirky gothic reads with an almost fairy-tale feel. So when I realised he’d ventured into the world Contemporary YA (something I don’t read enough of), I was intrigued but slightly concerned. If it’s not broke, why fix it, right?

But of course, I was wrong.

I realised straight away that SINI was going to be something special. I devoured it in two short sittings.

Protagonist Laureth is worried about her semi-famous father, author Jack Peak. He seems to have gone missing and his precious notebook has turned up in New York, where he wasn’t even supposed to be.

Laureth’s mother doesn’t seem to care one bit, but Laureth has had enough. With the help of her younger brother, who acts as her guide and her eyes, she sets off to find him, and things go from weird, to weirder.

I loved everything about this book. The way it looks at Laureth’s impairment was refreshing and often beautiful. The mystery surrounding Jack’s disappearance was exciting and just the right amount of bizarre, and I loved that it was almost a book within a book.

But most of all, I think I loved the duality between Sedgwick and his character, Jack. In the author’s notes, Sedgwick admits that he himself became obsessed with coincidence and had been trying to write a book about it for some time. An obsession with coincidence almost sends Jack to the brink of madness in the novel, and even before reading the notes at the back of the book, I was picturing Jack as Sedgwick.

Coincidence?

Jack is also constantly reminded that his old ‘funny’ books are great, with an underlying message that his latest ‘serious’ books are not, and I couldn’t help thinking that this new direction of Sedgwick’s is something that worries him too.

Don’t worry Marcus. You get all the unicorns!

unicorn rating

She is Not Invisible is available from Waterstones in hardback and paperback now.