Liar, Liar by M.J. Arlidge

Liar, Liar is a U.K. crime thriller and the fourth novel in the D.I. Helen Grace series by Matthew “M.J.” Arlidge. I’ve thoroughly (synonym for absolutely, since I say that too often) enjoyed each and every novel in this series. I must admit, thus far, my favorite thing about this novel is the title. I find it profoundly clever due to the main theme of the plot. (Liar, liar pants on fire!)


*Spoiler Alert: a few spoilers may lay ahead! Read with caution...


D.I. Helen Grace is a tough loner with a secret fetish outside of work that makes her fantastically unique: she’s into S&M, but strictly for the physical punishment rather than the sexual aspect. At first, I was completely thrown by this tidbit; I thought it was a bit much. But the more I’ve gotten to know Helen Grace, the more it’s made sense. She’s a glutton for punishment, and without any family and very few friends to speak of, she seeks out release in this manner. This unusual activity leads to an unfortunate situation for D.I. Grace. She ends up finding herself on the wrong side of the law when she attacks the man, Max Paine, that she’s paid to render her his services. Because I’m currently reading this novel, I don’t yet know what happens, but due to a bit of foreshadowing, it’s not looking good for Helen.


Her foe, crime reporter Emilia Garanita, has written a trash piece of D.I. Grace with the narrative provided by a disgruntled fire chief. It seems that with these two events, Helen Grace is soon to be facing trouble in her career and personal life. I’m eager to find out what happens next.


Specific to this book, there’s a hooded figure running around Southampton setting fires to various buildings. So far, three nights in a row, this person has set three fires each night: one fire to a residential building (someone’s home) and two fires to relatively small businesses. As the story goes on, it’s revealed that the residential fires are the main targets and the business fires are meant to be distractions to spread thin emergency responses. The manner in which this serial pyromaniac killer does his/her bidding is unique and enthralling. Just the very idea of a serial arsonist/murderer is original and has me on my toes.


Where I’m currently at in the story, the detectives have zeroed in on a prime suspect that seems a bit unbelievable. I guess until I fully understand the motive and strategy behind the crimes, it will remain a little far-fetched. However, I think this is also a good example of “not judging a book by its cover.” The prime suspect seems an unlikely candidate, but I think with this M.J. Arlidge has made the point that monsters, murderers, and criminals come in all packages.


© Chelsie Cummings 2016

Picture in featured image found on Flickr.

End of Watch by Mr. King

After Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, the much anticipated End of Watch has finally arrived! The third in this Bill Hodges trilogy, End of Watch has already left me breathless with excitement.

Opening with a new perspective of the City Center’s “Mercedes Massacre,” I was immediately drawn in. I’m only pausing my reading long enough to rave about how enticing the story already is. I literally cannot read or turn the pages fast enough! I love how quickly and effortlessly Mr. King unfolds the plot of his stories. Planting a seed of information here and there, but only just enough to keep me going until he’s ready to reveal all.

King has once again redefined the standards of a great novel. Great doesn’t even do it justice—Stephen King’s work is beyond greatness. However, I’m currently at a loss for a worthy synonym. On that note, while I continue to ponder over a synonym deserving of praising Mr. King’s work, I’m gonna get back to the book! Who knows, I may find a word within the novel.

© Chelsie Cummings 2016

Pronounce That

I’m just hanging out, reading my book (to myself, of course) and I stumble on a word that I haven’t the slightest idea how to pronounce. So then, instead of moving on and not worrying about it, I spend the next 5-10 minutes trying to figure out what the heck this word means, how to say it, what’s its origin, who invented it… And 5-10 minutes turns into 20-30 minutes and I’ve lost my place.


I don’t know about you, but when I’m reading (yes, in my head) I have to be able to pronounce the words I’m reading and have at least a basic understanding of their meaning; otherwise, I may misinterpret something or miss a valid point. Now obviously names aren’t (always) going to greatly impact my comprehension of the story, but I still just can’t ignore the fact that I don’t at least know how to pronounce it.


Therefore, I use these moments as a learning opportunity. What better way to learn a new word and use it in the future? I have an endless list of words that I’ve stumbled on while reading. This is what I do: I come across a word I don’t know or can’t pronounce and I add it to my list (there is seriously a list). I then define it, learn how to pronounce it (which sometimes requires Google and YouTube), and I store it away for future use.


For example, while reading one of Lisa Gardner’s many fantastic novels, I tripped up on the word surfeit. I know, right!? Tripped you up, too, didn’t it? First things first, according to Google, it’s pronounced / ˈsərfət / which if you’re like me, means absolutely nothing to you. So, thank you YouTube for teaching me how to say that correctly. Using my handy dandy Kindle app on my super convenient iPad, I was able to define the word by simply highlighting it. As a noun, surfeit means an excessive amount of something. (Which, ironically, describes my reading habit!) I decided I really liked this word and I added it to my seriously-real-and-endless list of words. I liked it so much that I was able to find a place for it in my writing: the poem titled three a.m


And just like that, I’ve take an annoying moment of realizing I don’t actually know everything, and turned it into an opportunity to learn something new and use it to my advantage.



© Chelsie Cummings 2016