The Curfew by TM Logan, The Siege by John Sutherland, The Summer Trip by Isabelle Broom, My Unapologetic Diaries by Joan Collins
Janet Gordon, who lives in Takeley, reviews bestsellers and early fiction for India…
I was so looking forward to this week for the whole family to decamp to the seaside – including Rollo the dog – for a week’s vacation.
And, of course, the first packing item I do is pick out my holiday books. Am I obsessed? I don’t think so, but since I never know exactly what I want to read, I tend to get overwhelmed (husband shouts “and that’s why I insisted on buying you a Kindle !”).
But since we’re just going to the seaside, I feel allowed to pack as many books as I can – and I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I often read two or three books at a time.
The Curfew by TM Logan (Zaffre £8.99)
Browsing Netflix the other night I came across the TV adaptation of The Holiday based on TM Logan’s novel which was released in 2019. If you haven’t seen it, it’s compulsive viewing and my husband and I had to stop staying up all night to binge watch it. (Don’t tell him, but I watched the last episode while he was busy in his man cave).
So when I was offered Logan’s latest, The Curfew, for review, I simply had to start it immediately. Logan is billed as the “master of the all-night thriller” and OMG, the blurb is telling the truth. I literally sat up all night to finish this.
Connor has a midnight curfew and texts his parents to say he’s home. Only he is not. He has been friends since birth with his cousin Zac, who lives nearby. And at the back of their houses are the woods – by day eminently nice, but at night…
The group – now five of them including two girls, one of whom is the object of Connor’s devotion – party in the woods until Connor’s curfew to celebrate the end of school, but only four come out.
Connor’s father is a GP, a pillar of the community, and when it’s discovered who hasn’t come home, Connor shuts up and makes “no comment”. Because for Connor, telling the truth just isn’t an option. And it wasn’t Connor who slept in that house.
Curfew is simply compulsive reading. You can’t let go, you have to keep turning the pages, but you don’t want it to end. This is quite simply one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year.
TM Logan’s other novels are Lies, 29 Seconds, The Holiday, The Catch, Trust Me and, coming in 2023, The Mother.
John Sutherland’s Seat (Orion £16.99)
This is the first novel (he has written non-fiction books before) by John Sutherland, who was a Met Police officer for over 27 years before becoming Borough Commander of Southwark. During this time, he was an experienced hostage and crisis negotiator.
Siege capitalizes on all of its experiences over those years with an insider’s perspective on how traumatic it can be to deal with a terrorist, with the ultimate goal of getting each of the hostages out – and, of course. , the author – safe.
Terrorist Lee is convinced that a UK without illegal immigrants is the only way, so he plots, plots and takes hostages from a small church community. One of the hostages is a woman of color, Grace, the daughter of an “illegal immigrant”, which is the very antithesis of how Lee thinks of “immigrants”. This is a masterful first novel.
Having been caught in the Balcombe Street siege in 1975 when the IRA tried my locked door, I know exactly how scary a siege can be. A few things that are still stuck in my head hear the sound of running footsteps and my front door rattles (thank goodness it was locked) and looks out the window to see armed police officers pointing guns at my window (c was around 10 p.m.).
Later the next day, with all the blockages in place and dozens of reporters all standing behind the tape, the police came to me and ordered that we were not to stand in front of the tall Georgian windows because the cameras looked like machines . guns and we were in direct line with the hostages’ apartment. So we had to crawl everywhere!
The BBC had offered me money if they could use my flat, with its wonderful view, and to be honest my ex-husband was terminally ill in hospital and I just couldn’t refuse the amount of money they were offering.
And, because it was so scary to be alone with a toddler, it was kind of nice to have a very gracious BBC reporter to keep me company. Thus, all the images broadcast on television came from my living room.
But back to the books…
The Summer Journey by Isabelle Broom (Hodder £7.99)
Having not been abroad since lockdown and no longer wanting to leave Rollo in kennels, I am refueling ‘abroad’ by reading information about other people vacationing in foreign climes.
The summer trip takes place in Corfu where younger sister Mattie lives and eldest Ava spent the summer.
Mattie is married to Niko, whose family owns a terrific Greek restaurant in a sleepy hamlet and who owns a gorgeous villa high up in the hills overlooking the warm waters of the bay. The youngest sister Olivia lives in Thailand.
Ava had a summer romance and has since refused to set foot in Corfu. There’s also a set of scheming parents determined to end this family feud.
Can you see where the author is coming from? Yes, it’s kind of a familiar plot, but laced with humor, drama, lyrical descriptions, regrets and misunderstandings. Oh, and a stubborn teenager.
I absolutely loved it. I read it in the moonlight in a warm garden with purple gin and lemonade and pretended to be there.
My Unapologetic Diaries by Joan Collins (Weidenfeld & Nicolson £9.99)
And to someone renowned for her glamour, the wonderfully gorgeous Joan Collins.
Before he retired, my husband (not the terminally ill one!) was a black cab driver in London and often had this sensational woman in his cab.
Between 1989 and 2006, Ms. Collins’ diaries are full of gossipy anecdotes and insider stories about TV, movies and travel, and are full of names you’ll recognize (and only a few you won’t). ).
And, of course, she writes about meeting the love of her life, Percy.
This woman makes everything seem effortless – here she tells you it’s not.
• The winner of the Awesomely Austen contest, in Janet’s July 27 column, was Natalie Hogg.