Fifty-Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

‘911 what’s your emergency?’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

I’m back from maternity leave to review the most recent book from one of my favourite writers. Fifty-Fifty was released in Ireland back in April 2020 but a few small things got in the way so I couldn’t write any reviews for a while.

If you haven’t read the Eddie Flynn series by Steve Cavanagh, as well as his stand-alone Twisted, I implore you to get them all asap. Fifty-Fifty, a recent Richard and Judy book club pick, is the fifth in the series and follows the best-selling Thirteen, the well-deserved winner of the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year in 2019. The series features Flynn, a surprisingly likeable and vulnerable ex-conman turned criminal defence attorney. In Fifty-Fifty, Eddie is representing Sophie Avellino, one of two sisters who are both accused of killing and mutilating their father, the former mayor of New York. Both sisters, who are very different, are testifying that the other is the murderer. The other sister, Alexandra, is being represented by Kate, a new character in the series, who is a lawyer in the mould of Eddie. The book switches between multiple perspectives including Eddie’s, Kate’s, and the guilty sister’s referred to only as “she”. The sections narrated by “she” are cleverly written to keep us guessing about the killer’s identity as we’re constantly given conflicting clues about her identity.

This shifting perspective works particularly well in the section called The Dark Red Night, where the narrative cuts between different characters to masterfully build tension and suspense. Needless, to say, the payoff is well worth the build up. The section demonstrates Cavanagh’s skill as a thriller writer and he has revealed that it has even upset readers. The section also demonstrates that we can’t trust anyone’s perspective. This is a book about duplicity, facades, and our need to uncover the truth as Eddie and Kate are trying to do. This is also evident in Kate’s experiences with her employers at the start of the book as she works to reveal the sexism at the heart of the company.

The book is gritty, very fast paced, and full of tension and it can easily be read as a standalone. It’s incredibly original and a clever version of the whodunnit and, like all of Cavanagh’s books, we know we’re going to get a thoroughly satisfying ending.

Orion Books, 02 April 2020

About the author

Steve Cavanagh is a critically acclaimed, Sunday Times best-selling, author of the Eddie Flynn series. His third novel, The Liar, won the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the year 2018. Thirteen won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime novel of the year 2019. He is also one half of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. His latest novel, FIFTY FIFTY, is out now. 

I’m back from maternity leave to review the newest book by one of my favourite writers. If you haven’t read Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series, and his stand-alone Twisted,

On Maternity Leave!

IMG_1995Life is strange. This time last year, myself and my husband had just lost our little boy. 2019 was an incredibly hard year for us. I was on maternity leave from work so I concentrated on recovery, reading, blogging, writing my first book (which still isn’t finished), and attending writing events around Ireland. I met some wonderful people and some of my favourite writers at some fantastic events including Noireland, the Listowel Writers’ Week, and several events in Dublin and Cork organised by the formidable Vanessa Fox O’ Loughlin. I also learned so much about the writing process and got lots of ideas. Thanks to all of the fantastic writers and publicists that sent me ARCs for the last few years. I love reading and reviewing and hope it’s always something I can do.

This year is a bit different because we’ve just welcomed our little girl. Our rainbow baby. So for the next few weeks/months, I probably won’t be posting reviews for newly published books. Instead, I’m taking a break and I’m going to try to get through some of my TBR pile which includes a lot of books published in the last two to three years that I didn’t get a chance to read. I also have a lot of Stephen King books that I’ve wanted to read for a while. I might post reviews of these older books if I have time and I might also blog about my own writing if I get any time to write!

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for but I’ll see you on the other side 🙂

Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain

44154597._SY475_From the international number one bestseller comes the most clever and gripping thriller of 2019.

It’s June 2008 and twenty-one-year-old Adam Lattimer vanishes, presumed dead. The strain of his disappearance breaks his already fragile family.

Ten years later, with his mother deceased and siblings scattered across the globe, Adam turns up unannounced at the family home. His siblings return reluctantly to Spanish Cove, but Adam’s reappearance poses more questions than answers. The past is a tangled web of deceit.

And, as tension builds, it’s apparent somebody has planned murderous revenge for the events of ten years ago. Continue reading

Various States of Decay by Matt Hayward

48478517._UY400_SS400_From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of What Do Monsters Fear? and A Penny For Your Thoughts comes twenty new tales of terror!

Including the Irish Short Story of the Year-nominated Intercepting Aisle Nine

From a white doomsday crawling with abominable beasts to the bizarre case of a marketing company advertising within people’s dreams, these stories explore the extremes of Hayward’s prose—contrasting the heartfelt with the deeply disturbing.

These are…VARIOUS STATES OF DECAY Continue reading

Magpie by Sophie Draper

A1qo4jlEeNL._SY600_She’s married to him. But does she know him at all?

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful glass house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.

But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.

Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth? Continue reading

The Six by Luca Veste

the-six-9781471168147_lgSix friends trapped by one dark secret.

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …

Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay? Continue reading

The Long Way Home by Richard Chizmar

43297534._UY400_SS400_Gathered here for the first time ever are seventeen short stories, two essays, and a short script by award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, Richard Chizmar.

Eerie, suspenseful, poignant, the stories in The Long Way Home run the gamut from horror to suspense, crime to dark fantasy, mainstream to mystery. This brand new collection features more than 100,000 words of short fiction, as well as more than 5,000 words of autobiographical Story Notes. Continue reading

In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter

imagesHow far would you go to save the ones you love?

The first book in a gripping new crime series featuring DCI Anna Tate.

When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area is in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying… Continue reading