Saturday 23 November 2019

Thrillers: Grief and redemption and family dysfunction

Thrillers reviewed by Myles McWeeney

The Amber Fury Natalie Haynes Corvus, £12.99, pbk

Alex Morris is a young theatre director on the way up when she loses her fiancé in tragic circumstances. Consumed with inconsolable grief, she flees her life in London and returns to Edinburgh where she studied. Robert, a friend from her student days, offers her refuge and a job at a Pupil Referral Unit which accepts troublesome children banned from other schools.

Her class has just five unruly and difficult pupils – scrappy Ricky, surly Jono, Swedish immigrant Annika, deaf Carly and her best friend Mel – whose attitudes and behaviour terrify Alex and intimidate all the other teachers.

When Mel and Carly begin to surreptitiously delve into the reasons why Alex left London and why she returns there every Friday, Alex begins to worry that her pupils might be taking the bloodcurdling myths a little too much to heart and that a whole new modern-day tragedy might be unfolding before her eyes.

The Amber Fury is a startlingly original debut novel packed with vibrant characters that not only works as a gripping thriller but also as an affecting trope on loss and grief and the difficult road to redemption.

  • Available with free P&P on or by calling 091 709350


Dysfunctional family drama

Eden in Winter Richard North Patterson Quercus, £12.99, pbk

Adam Blaine is a CIA operative working under cover in Afghanistan targeting Al-Qa'ida and Taliban terrorists when he is called home to Martha's Vineyard to deal with the fallout from the suspicious death of his high-profile father.

Suspicion is rife that his father was murdered by one of his own family, Adam uses all his professional skills to attempt to protect his family from prosecution while still finding himself increasingly drawn to his late father's mistress who is carrying a child, his brother.

With Eden in Winter Richard North Patterson completes the third and final instalment of the Blaine family saga. Few thrills here, more a searing, almost forensic, examination of a privileged if dysfunctional family.

  • Available with free P&P on or by calling 091 709350

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