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Book Review: Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

Ali Land’s debut novel Good Me, Bad Me has as its narrator a distinctive female voice, one that grabbed this reader from the very beginning as she tells her story of escape and survival. This is a perspective which is fast becoming a trend going by my recent reads: victim lit or, perhaps more appropriately, survivor lit. I have a feeling that this is one book that’ll spark debate and it is ripe for wide-ranging, and heated, book group discussions. If you have the stomach for its subject matter.


Annie’s mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

Where Good Me, Bad Me works best for me is where Annie/Milly tells us about what it was like living with her mother and the new life she has with her foster family while she waits to testify at the upcoming trial. Her voice demands that we listen to her and it’s fascinating to hear about her coping mechanisms while adjusting to a new home, a new (albeit temporary) family, a new school at which she’s bullied, the tentative moves she takes towards making friends, preparing for and having sessions with her foster father/counsellor and giving testimony during the trial. It’s interesting to see which battles she picks to fight and when she decides to bide her time and save her strength. Her reasoning of her current situation and past and the mental manoeuvres she undertakes to function and keep her mother’s voice at bay were interesting and, of course, you’re never entirely sure how much to trust her or her version of people or events. Read more

Book Review: Sirens by Joseph Knox

Sirens is a new voice in urban noir and a book that’s set in Manchester rather than London, for a welcome change. I suspect even if you know Manchester well, and I don’t at all, it won’t be the Manchester that features in this debut novel from Joseph Knox. At least, I hope it isn’t. For while there are bars and a penthouse apartment in Sirens, the majority of its action and characters all exist in the shadows, the dark underbelly of partying and clubbing.

It starts with the girl. How it ends is up to DC Aidan Waits.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again.

When Aidan Waits, a troubled junior detective, is summoned to her father’s penthouse home – he finds a manipulative man, with powerful friends.

But retracing Isabelle’s steps through a dark, nocturnal world, Waits finds something else. An intelligent seventeen-year-old girl who’s scared to death of something. As he investigates her story, and the unsolved disappearance of a young woman just like her, he realizes Isabelle was right to run away.

Soon Waits is cut loose by his superiors, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. He’s out of his depth and out of time.

How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

When Sirens opens, Aidan Waits is back on the force but working the graveyard shift: taken back into the fold but kept at a distance, and still not trusted by his colleagues. And the fact that he’s not your typical hero, but someone who is not only flawed but more ambiguous that that, is one of the reasons I enjoyed reading this book so much. You’re never quite sure where you are with him: is he working for the police, or the drug lord whose inner circle he’s trying to be admitted to, or the politician who asks him for a favour, or himself, or trying to cater to all those interests in his own way? How will he keep juggling those competing demands without getting himself into even hotter water than he’s already in: disgraced and an outcast, he doesn’t seem to have many friends left in the force, and a boss who’s losing patience with him.Which side of the law is he, and will he stay there? Add into the mix his attempts to do right by one young girl and his obvious attraction to another, and he’d have his hands full sober. But this guy isn’t, and he’s dabbling (rather heavily) in a heady cocktail of drink and drugs. Read more

Croeso i Nut Press! Welcome to Nut Press!

This is the online home of writer Kathryn Eastman.

It’s full of book reviews, chocolate tasting, adventures with squirrels, a lot of tea drinking, and a snoring pussy cat, among other things.

Oh, and very occasionally, some writing gets done.