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mystery

PRECIOUS THING by Colette McBeth | Book Review

precious-thing-coverI don’t read mysteries. I don’t read thrillers. Years ago, I managed a bookshop. Part of my job involved running the mystery book club. I think my bosses added that task out of a sense of epic Schadenfreude because they knew that I would read just about anything BUT a mystery. My inability to read the genre comes, not from a sense of snobbery, but because I’m a giant ‘fraidy cat. I always understood Joey’s need to put books in the freezer on Friends - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qqaCby1lGw. A few months ago, I attempted to read The Shining Girls (Lauren Beukes, Mulholland Books 9780316216852). I made it to page 60, at which point I was so terrified of the time traveling serial killer appearing in my bedroom while I was gone that I couldn’t get up to pee. True story. All this to say, reading Precious Thing (Colette McBeth, Headline Books, 9781472205940) was a major stretch for me. And I loved every minute! The story of the friendship between Clara and Rachel, as told from Rachel’s point of view, gripped me in a way I didn’t expect. This is one of those ‘stay up until 3 am’ kind of books. You just want to read one more chapter. Just one. Well, maybe just one more. And then another. As their story unfolds, as you start to question what you’re reading, you’re pulled even deeper into the obsessive and dangerous dance between two very troubled girls sharing secrets you just don’t see coming. About a third of the way through, the penny started dropping for me and a cold sense of dread began creeping. Everything I believed up to that point wasn’t quite right. And everything that followed? Well, just go read it. Trust me.

There is a tendency in selling books to make comparisons to what’s come before. Precious Thing has been called the British Gone Girl. Not having read Gone Girl, I can’t comment on that, except to say, I think this stands on its own. Colette McBeth doesn’t need the comparison for you to pick up Precious Thing. I was hooked from the last sentence of the first page. And I’m still waiting for an answer to my question about the third line on the last page. If you’re like me, if you don’t read thrillers, you don’t read mysteries, make an exception this time. And make sure you have lots of coffee on-hand for the morning, because I promise some late nights reading just one more chapter.

precious-thing-coverPrecious Thing Colette McBeth 9781472205940 $22.99 CDN Paperback 9/10/2013 Headline

Read an excerpt!

Visiting for IFOA: MARK BILLINGHAM, MONS KALLENTOFT & MICHAEL ROBOTHAM

We here at Manda were all very excited and thankful on Tuesday when Billingham, Robotham & Kallentoft, three exceptional crime & mystery authors, stopped by our office to tell us a bit about themselves and their books. All three made appearances at Toronto’s International Festival of Authors as stops on their North American tours. They happen to be incredibly entertaining! If you made it out to see them you may have been privy to some hilarious anecdotes about getting hate mail from avid Phil Collins fans, writing novels set in frigid climates while beach lounging, and buying your book for $60 dollars in Sweden.

Mark Billingham, a Londoner who gave up a career in stand-up comedy to write thrillers,  read excerpts from his newest novel Rush of Blood (Little, Brown - 9781847444226) on Tuesday. He also participated in a round table talk on violence and realism last night. While you may be familiar with Billingham's best sellers starring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, his most recent book is a departure from the series. He was so inspired by his friends’ bizarre holiday story that he “had to have it." His new novel is a cautionary tale about making friends while on vacation - with a few murders thrown in for good measure.

The round table talk at IFOA also featured crime-writer, Mons Kallentoft, visiting all the way from Sweden. At the festival, he read from the first three books in his award winning Malin Fors series published by Hachette Australia: Midwinter Sacrifice (9781444739930), Summertime Death (9781444721577), and Autumn Killing (9781444721621). Often compared by Swedish media to Stieg Larson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the books feature a strong female detective, Malin Fors, as she investigates murders and kidnappings in the little town of Linköping, Sweden. During his Manda visit, Mons joked that one of the advantages of writing from the perspective of a strong heroine is that women often believe that he may understand them better than their husbands.

Michael Robotham is an australian mystery writer known especially for his terrifying storylines and gripping suspense. He read at Studio Theatre from his most recent novel. In Say You’re Sorry (Sphere - 9781847445254) a clinical psychologist named Joe O’Loughlin convinces the police to reopen a cold case involving the disappearance of two teenage girls when two new dead bodies are uncovered. His new thriller has been praised by the likes of Stephen King and David Baldacci as exceptional. Fortunately Robotham’s so down to earth that his major concern is being "uninvited to dinner parties" by friends who think the  psychotic characters in his novel might reflect something about his own nature. More likely, his friends will be so impressed that invitations will be especially forthcoming!