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book review

House of Crime & Mystery: Interview with Michael Robotham

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The Globe and Mail calls him, "the master of the dark and threatening," and Kirkus says, "his skill as a writer remains undeniable: He offers memorable characters caught up in an irresistible story."  His second book THE DROWNING MAN won the Ned Kelly Award for the Crime Novel of the Year in 2005 and SAY YOU'RE SORRY, was shortlisted for the 2013 Gold Dagger by the CWA.  Let's just say, Michael Robotham has been owning the psychological thriller genre ever since he started 11 years ago.  But, when it came to writing his first novel Robotham had one humble goal. "When I started I remember thinking it would be great to get just one novel published,"the author tells Jacques Filippi in an interview on http://houseofcrimeandmystery.blogspot.ca/2015/03/the-psychology-of-crime-interview-with.html. "I figured it would probably sell a dozen copies – my mother would buy eight of them – and then I’d go back to ghostwriting or journalism, which were making me a good living." Little did Robotham know that he would go on to become one of the most highly acclaimed and bestselling authors of thriller fiction. Check out the rest of his brilliant interview with Filippi on http://houseofcrimeandmystery.blogspot.ca/2015/03/the-psychology-of-crime-interview-with.html and pick up a copy of his latest novel, LIFE OR DEATH, available now.

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After Alice ...

Splintered by A.G. Howard (Abrams, 1419704281)  is a mesmerizing YA novel that just came out on January 1st and is a fantastic read! It is along the lines of Michael Buckley's The Sisters Grimm series. Both a tribute to and a continuation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, (available from Dover Publications, 0486416585) Howard plays with the dark undertones in Carroll’s novels and draws inspiration from his real life muse, Alice Lidell.

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Howard's debut novel produces a hatter who is just a bit madder, a Moth King who spouts red herrings and flies on gossamer wings,  and a Wonderland that is macabre but grand, alluring but perhaps just a sleight of hand. You’ll be drawn into the story by nostalgia, but you’ll soon fall head over heels down the rabbit hole, eagerly navigating the plots surprising twists and turns.

Alyssa Gardner is your typical skateboarding, rainbow-hair-extension-wearing, sixteen year old girl... except that she is Alice Lidell’s great, great, great granddaughter and her mother is in an insane asylum. Alyssa is concerned that she has inherited the family curse – hearing talking plants and insects can make you a bit paranoid after all. She follows her delusions through the looking glass to save her mother from madness by breaking the curse and fixing everything Alice once put amok. Upon arrival in Wonderland, she discovers that her over-protective crush, Jeb, has followed her on this adventure, and she must rely on the alluring but devious King Morpheus, to guide her on a magical mission.

At its heart, Splintered is a quirky coming-of-age story with a vivacious cast of characters.  Alyssa must grapple with the challenges of growing up which is confusing when you can’t decide who you trust, if you like the good boy or the bad boy, or even who you are.  In the end, will Alice be able to break the curse, fix Wonderland, and get herself and Jeb back home … with their heads still intact?

bk-CarrollBestOfLewisCarrollNot only is this story enchanting and whimsical, but it inspired me to read The Best of Lewis Carroll (Book Sales, 0785813268)  - some of my all time favourites - all over again. Howard's descriptions are vivid and draw on Steampunk, Gothic, and Tim Burton imagery, and her Splintered Pinterest boards are gorgeous!

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