This week the heat gang popped our slippers on, took the phone off the hook and polished our spectacles as we sat back and enjoyed a spot of reading. On this week's heat bookshelf: The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain and An Absolute Deception by Lesley Lokko.
Here's what we thought:
The Good Father
DIANE CHAMBERLAIN (Mira, £7.99)
The Plot: Travis Brown is 19 and in a whole heap of trouble. His house just burnt down, leaving him and his four-year-old daughter Bella homeless, penniless and living out of the back of a van. When a friend of a friend gives him the chance to make some cash, it’s too good to pass up. A few hours’ work for a few hundred bucks. Sounds easy, right? Umm, sounds illegal, to be honest.
What’s right with it? Diane Chamberlain really knows what she’s doing when it comes to characters struggling to move on from a troubled past. Watching how Travis, and her other secondary characters try – and often fail – to fathom out how to be the good father of
the title is fascinating stuff.
What’s wrong with it? The bad guys are cartoon villains: gun-waving, fag-smoking baddies, driving fast cars and scaring little kids and vulnerable women. It’s like the final scenes of a bad action flick got spliced onto the end of a much gentler novel.
The verdict: Ill-conceived conclusion aside, The Good Father is a compelling read. 4/5 @racheleling
An Absolute Deception
LESLEY LOKKO (Orion, £12.99)
The plot: Anneliese Zander de St Phalle (good luck saying that out loud after a few shandies) is a fashion designer extraordinaire, with all the wealth, fame and privilege she could ever want. She is also a reclusive ice queen hiding a secret so eyeball-poppingly huge that it carries the weight to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. Then there’s Callan, her tempestuous daughter, who has her own sordid secrets to conceal. Add to the mix a collection of glamorous characters, all of whom are in some way connected to the St Phalle family, and you’ve got the recipe for adventure.
What’s right with it? While most chick-lit concentrates on just a slice of a character’s life, Lesley Lokko starts you at the very beginning, giving her main players undeniable added depth. The plot is suitably twisty, the descriptions – especially those of Africa – are vivid and real, and the characters are gloriously naughty.
What’s wrong with it? Our brain got hiccups from having to continually decipher all the tongue-twister names.
Verdict: An epic, handbag-stretching tome packed with love, secrets, lies and glamour. 4/5
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