My reading for pleasure has suffered a bit recently because I’m doing some freelance proofreading work and this is taking up a large chunk of my time. This has meant that I have read more Westerns in the last 3 weeks than I think I’ve otherwise read in my entire life.
Fortunately, I’m a fairly easygoing reader (I like to think!) and I haven’t found this too tedious. There’s something quite comforting about Westerns. For a start, the ones I have been reading are quite short so it’s just a lot of action packed in with little to no character development. Normally I’m not much of a fan of this, but the whole nature of a Western is that it’s based around these familiar stock characters, so you just don’t need to know an awful lot about them.
The general gist of a Western is this: there is trouble in a small, isolated town; a mysterious and notorious man rides into town and hears about or witnesses said trouble; man meets pretty girl who is at the heart of what’s going on; man joins forces with local lawman to bring down the bandits; girl gets put in danger; big gunfight; bandit dies or is run out of town; hero and pretty girl get married. It’s as simple as that.
Anyway, I also read The Ice Twins by SK Tremayne. It was recommended to me by my sister who had had it recommended to her by a few other people and the reason I didn’t review it right away, apart from it being Christmas, was that it’s taken me a while to really process it.
It’s a slightly strange book. A young husband and wife have recently suffered the loss of one of their identical twin daughters. The husband’s mother has also just died, leaving them a house on a remote Scottish island so they up sticks and go. This would probably be an interesting story in itself but their remaining daughter is acting very strangely and is beginning to insist that she is in fact, the daughter everyone believes dead, her parents got it wrong. Now, this may sound rather unbelievable. I think everyone knows or has encountered a set of identical twins and there’s always something to tell them apart, but this book does a good job of covering that; the girls are young and were playing at being one another to wind their parents up when the girl died. They’re also described as a very particular type of twin, where there really are no differences between them.
The effect of this is rather haunting, and you run through a lot of ‘what would I do?’, ‘how would I react?’ scenarios as it plays out.
The best way I can describe it is as if you are running through a vast old mansion you’ve never visited before, and something is chasing you. You run and hit a dead end so you turn and meet a sharp bend and run, dead end. The story offers up many ‘answers’ to this issue with the daughters, and I was certainly guessing throughout.
The eventual conclusion, however, was a bit anti-climactic, maybe just because, like I say, there are so many of them offered you’ve almost given up buying into them. I guessed at least half of it before it was explained which I was proud of, but I’ll definitely have to read it again to get the full effect of the ending I think.
I’ve also been reading some more of the Rosie Gilmour series by Anna Smith. I’m currently on the sixth one Rough Cut, having finished Betrayed yesterday. I now see I’ve skipped one too which is annoying.
They’re become increasingly more violent which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are some depictions of torture that are seriously unpleasant but in all they’re good, well thought out stories. They can be a bit formulaic, especially if you’re like me and blast your way through the whole series one after another, though I imagine the same could be said of a lot of similar series.
I’m also still reading Boundary but I’m not allowed to review that properly until it’s released in March.
Today I finally ordered the new MJ Arlidge Helen Grace book, Hide and Seek, as today it was released in paperback so look out for that review soon.