I recently went to Crete and it was fantastic.

Time to relax, time to take a minute, try and get a tan and read. Lots of reading. I downloaded The Memory of Water novel onto my Kindle purely because of the cover. I was desperately downloading books before my holiday and didn’t have time to really go through and look at every single one. The Memory of Water appearing under the search Free Romance, but that’s not strictly what is was. Here’s what I thought (either way.)

Blurb

Slade Harris will do anything for a story, including murdering the woman he loves.

Slade doesn’t think twice about jumping out of a plane or conducting disastrous love affairs to gather material for his work, but his self-indulgent life is catching up with him. Stumbling through his late thirties hopeless and a little drunk, Slade has a dazzling, dangerous idea which will change his life forever. It’s going to be Slade’s ultimate story … and all he’s hoping for is to survive it.

My Review

I didn’t read the blurb before beginning the book, but it goes a little like this. Haunted by his past and struggling with writer’s block novelist Slade Harris plans a theoretical murder in order to the get words flowing again. When the events of his outline begin to play out he can’t control where fiction and reality blur. Set in modern day South Africa the action moves between rich suburbs and seedy towns. The plot moves with pace and constantly keeps you on your toes guessing what is real and what is only in Slade’s head.

Slade Harris is an author who likes to experience life high’s and lows to feed his writing. He carries around a car load of baggage from a family tragedy and the author documents it sublimely. The style has a contemporary crime novel feel with modern and classic culture references. The twist at the end left me off guard but I had an inkling. I liked the hints of the locale language that helped place me as a reader in South Africa. The place depicted add a flavour without too much focus on the country and its recent history.

The writing is phenomenal (and I don’t say that too often.) It has a melancholic, deliciousness to it. Slade is a hedonist who is too self-absorbed but definitely lovable. He sees himself as a Jay Gatsby character; a little shady, with brushes with the law and a vagueness about his sister’s death. We do in the end have the stories of Eve and Emily tied up. I had to definitely re-assess Slade, but I still thought he was wonderful. It’s a crime novel but the sex scenes are evocative, dark and delicious. Big fan.

Final Thoughts

The ending isn’t perfect. We have a double ending which is interesting but doesn’t quite get pulled off. Otherwise, I adored this. I couldn’t stop myself from reading it. The plot is excellent, the characterisation is fantastic, the themes and writing are a storm. It’s one of those books I find super difficult to review because it’s everything I was from a book. Just go read it. It’s bloody gorgeous.

Amazon Goodreads 

 

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Bookish Thoughts…

 I haven’t always written crime fiction but I have always read and studied forensic science. It had always been a delicious fantasy that I would suddenly develop an aptitude for study and become a pathologist but I didn’t, on either score. However, my grounding in the sciences from a later degree and an eye for a title grab (see below), enabled me to acquire a solid grounding in how a crime scene is worked, how to kill someone, how to cover your tracks and why that is so difficult in the light of modern forensics.

 The Forensic Casebook: N.E. Genge

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This is my favourite book on the subject of, well pretty much every aspect of forensics. It begins by defining what the differences are between the ‘scene of crime’ and the ‘crime scene’, a seemingly dry semantic debate. However, Genge’s style is pithy and well illustrated, using television, film and real life cases to expand and clarify concepts. The presentation is varied and invites a ‘dip in’ approach to reading. Bullet points, different fonts and highlighted sections break the material down into appetising segments. I loved the incidental job adverts and the well edited interviews with crime scene workers. The only weakness I would note is that the paperback copy I own has been published on very poor quality paper, which made the black and white photographs very difficult to view.

 Forensic Entomology: Dorothy E. Gennard

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I wouldn’t say this was an easy, or accessible read…at all. It is a serious, well documented degree level text book. There are some photographs but nowhere near enough for the lay reader. If I’m going to dip in, this is not a linear read by the way, I either access images on the internet or have an identifier open. I find insects astonishingly beautiful and alien, their life cycles and behaviour, which when combined with temperature, can pinpoint the time of death, is something I am particularly interested in.

 Postmortem: Dr Steven A. Koehler and Dr. Cyril H. Wecht

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This book has lots of glossy photographs and thoughtfully presented diagrams. The material is compact but it’s designed as a quick introduction to the study of forensics and, as such, is a great writer’s help. The photographs don’t pull their punches and the case notes are relevant, if a little rushed. There is an excellent chart on p75, which measures the visual changes of different bruises over a time period of 15 days. If it’s an exciting introduction to the discipline you’re after, then this book is the one for you.

 Molecules of Murder: John Emsley

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I am happy to recommend any of John Emsley’s books. They are well written, well researched and don’t skimp on the science. Each chapter has selected a poison and exemplifies its usage in numerous crimes both historical and contemporary. There is a helpful glossary, which gives further information on highlighted words. I confess to being particularly intrigued by the use of poisons and loved the way that Emsley’s conversational and enthusiastic style jumps out of the narrative, on occasion, and sweeps the reader off on an anecdotal journey.

 I believe that books make books. You read, absorb and mold information into narratives. Fact, however seemingly dry and inconsequential, is the basis of all crime fiction. Without a working knowledge of how forensics are applied in a contemporary, or even an historic setting, there will be gaps in your plot, or opportunities missed. I am not advocating that fiction should be determined solely by fact, you are not writing a textbook but to omit or fudge modern criminalistics is to deny richness and depth to your story.

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 Blog Tour: The Vault reviewed by mylittlebookblog

A Q+A by mylittlebookblog with Karen Long 

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