“An American Gothic thriller of deception and obsession, slicked in sweat and set in the swamps of Louisiana.
It’s a psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.
Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.
Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?”
I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Nemesister blog tour. Nemesister is written by debut author, Sophie Jonas-Hill and was published by Urbane Publications earlier this week.
That blurb! It was the blurb which initially drew me to this book. An American gothic thriller set in the sweaty swamps of Louisiana? Here, take my (measly) life savings because I am well and truly sold! As you can imagine, I started reading Nemesister full of nervous excitement. And I’m sorry to say that it didn’t quite have the oomph I was hoping for. Now, it may just be me but I found the first half of the book slower going than I had hoped. I had built this book up in my own mind so the blame for that rests totally at my door. However. And it’s a big ‘however’ so prepare yourself. The second half of this book totally blew my socks off. Wonderfully twisted and dark, it felt like a real indulgence. Our main protagonist, we’ll call her Margarita – that’s not her name but it’s easier that way – is sassy, fiery and a bit of a badass. Having lost her memory and stumbled on a secluded shack, Margarita comes to with a gun in her hand and a stranger trying to coax her down. Locked in the shack overnight with the mysterious stranger, Margarita decides to search for clues, as well as a key to open the padlocked door. What she thought she knew and what she actually know turn out to be two very different things…
There isn’t a lot else I can say without dishing out some rather large spoilers. Nothing is as it seems and I love it when an author can trick me into thinking the story is heading one way, only to take a massive about-turn and take me somewhere completely unexpected. I’ve heard a rumour that this may be the start of a series and if that’s the case then please consider this my pre-order for book 2! I loved the language, with the ain’ts and darlin’s and that distinctive Louisiana feel which the author writes so well.
Would I recommend this book? I would but I can’t get away from the fact that I found the first half such slow going. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Jonas-Hill is setting the scene exactly as she should. Without that first half nothing else would make sense! But oh, that second half is SUBLIME! If there had been a touch more oomph in the first part I would have given this book five stars. I can’t help thinking the problem was more down to me than the actual story telling so I’m going to give it four and a half stars out of five.
Four and a half stars out of five.
I chose to read and review an eARC of Nemesister. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 6th July 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |
I’ve always written and told stories, for as long as I can remember. My first self published work at the age of seven, fully illustrated in felt pen and crayon. I continued with a series of insightful ‘When I grow up I want to be an author’, essays, and an attempt at a ‘Bonk-buster’ series of supernatural thrillers written from a position of utter ignorance on all topics, until I was distracted by Art college. A never ending, or never finished, fantasy epic kept me going through my twenties, but it was motherhood in my thirties which concentrated my mind enough to actually finish a novel. It’s amazing what a bit of life experience and the sudden curtailing of your free time can do to concentrate the mind.
After that I began giving myself permission to take my writing seriously enough to spend time on it and actually listen to critiques. The writing festival in York proved invaluable, and time and disappointment got me to the point of producing something readable, which I was lucky enough to have read by Urbane publications.
If you make or write anything, the number one question you get asked is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ In answer to that question, it’s an easy process which combines working on your craft every hour you can for as long as possible – hard graft – reading as much as you can of everyone else’s work – stealing – and inspiration, which is just one of those things that just happens. The inspiration for ‘Nemesister’ comes from a dark episode of family history, and a moment from a dream; an image of a man standing in the doorway of what I knew was an abandoned shack, which was gone as soon as it came and yet lingered, the way some dreams do.