Husband and wife writing team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French have been churning out the psychological thrillers now for almost ten years since the release of THE MEMORY GAME. Every year another is released and they all feature variations on a similar theme, that being of the urban girl in jeopardy. UNTIL IT'S OVER lacks the density of some of the priors and is almost startlingly light in the mental conundrums we're used to seeing in novels by these authors. The suspense, such as it is when it appears, doesn't gel with the casualness in which the characters go about their lives, as they keep it all upbeat and act strangely indifferent to the murders happening around them.
Perhaps this is a deliberate play for the female market. Not romantic suspense as such, but skimming somewhere close to it. Think backpacker murders in inner city London, only it is an old house with the tenants being virtually squatters. What holds these people in the house is the prospect of losing their cheap rent when the owner decides to move his less than easy-going girlfriend in. It is so absurd to think that a legal battle could even be contemplated in such circumstances, and it simply isn't enough of a plot driver to keep all the characters rooted in what is clearly an extremely dangerous place to be. UNTIL IT'S OVER is a somewhat shallow read, nowhere near the calibre of what Nicci French is more than capable of, yet may be just the ticket if you aren't in the mood to agonize over the plight of the characters, and simply want to see how it all ends.
Kudos to the cover artist as the cover image at first appears to be a rather creepy bug! At second glance, it can be seen that it is actually a bicycle wheel with the spokes bent out of shape (very relevant to how this book begins).
URBAN LEGENDS UNCOVERED - Mark Barber
As they say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. From the horror of the KENTUCKY FRIED RAT (the urban legend which was Barber's inspiration for the writing of this book) to the more modern fakery of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, UK author Mark Barber presents them all. It is not just all about the kitsch campfire stories or teen-scream "it-happened-to-a-friend-of-mine anecdotes"; Barber has detailed the modern day internet scams and spoofs right alongside the creepy or funny stories we all delight in hearing about (of course, as long as they haven't actually been personal experiences of our own).
Working on the premise that each urban legend has a contained moral message or some other reason for its creation, Barber presents his book like an investigative fact file. Many of the cases are referenced back to the author's website or otherwise readily found on the internet, should you wish to take your own investigation that little bit further. There's a lot of "eureka!" moments in the reading of this book as it is impossible not to read of at least one "legend" in each section that you recognise. Barber lists the variations on each, with the possible geographical or culturally diverse reasons for such.