Review: This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

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This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston was an amazingly intriguing murder mystery. I didn’t want to put it down! It’s set in a small town where controversies are often hushed up, but this time a teen who aspires to be a lawyer is determined to get to the truth of what happened when five boys when hunting and only four came back. And that premise entirely captivated and intrigued me! There’s nothing like a bit o’ murder amongst friends and a teen girl who is going to see through the lies and bring justice. I am a fan.

Basically the story takes off with Kate’s boss taking on this case of a “hunting accident”…although he’s suspicious that it’s murder. Due to failing health, he has Kate doing a lot of the footwork to gather evidence and get to the bottom of which of the 4 boys shot their friend, Grant. Was it an accident? Was it on purpose? Kate’s life is further complicated by the fact she had a secret friendship with Grant…and now he’s dead. She wants justice for him and sees the other 4 boys involved as rich, entitled, and cruel fiends. Or are they?

I’m really pleased it featured quite a lot of the lawyer/case working side of the tale! Usually that’s the part that’s brushed over in the YA crime novels I tend to find…so it was great to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of that part of the case solving. All the attorney storylines felt really realistic and intriguing!

Kate was a very winning protagonist too. Although she did make a lot of dumb decisions, including getting involved with one of the boys when she’s explicitly told not to talk to them. Obviously that’s going to happen and obviously that’s going to go badly. But despite the slight clicheness of that aspect, I still enjoyed it! I liked getting to know the boys, even though they all seemed pretty evil. I also enjoyed the fact there was no instalove, but actual developed friendships and relationships. Such a relief! And on top of that, Kate actually had a really epic female friend, so the book was winning for positive girl relationships too.

I, of course, was very interested to know the killer. There are four boys alive and despite their jerky behaviour, they all have complex layers that Kate has to unwind to figure out what they’re hiding. I would’ve liked to got to know the boys deeper?? But the mysteriousness of them did keep the “but whodunnit” aspect of the story fresh and full of pressure. One of the boys anonymously narrates every second chapter, too, providing us with clues to try and figure it out. I loved that! Just let me get my Sherlock Holmes hat.

The writing was engaging although on the slower side. But if I couldn’t stop reading, that makes it a solid win right?? It made sure to include lots of details and also frequents trips to eat fast food because lawyers don’t sleep apparently. Seems legit.

In summary: This Is Our Story is an engaging murder mystery that leaves you freaking out till the last page. You won’t get answers until the last minute and then you’ll be thrilled how it all comes together. It’s full of surprises and plot twists, with a cosy setting that is more sinister than it seems, and a protagonist you can’t help but root for!

Review: One Boy Missing by Stephen Orr

9781922147271This is one of the best crime books I have read in a while. Totally absorbing, emotionally gripping it is one of those books that sinks its teeth into you and doesn’t let go. Set in the South Australian town of Guilderton the book not only explores life in a small rural town but the bonds between fathers and sons.

The book begins with a nine-year-old boy being taken. There is only one witness but other than that nothing else to go on. No child has been reported missing. Was this an abduction? Is there a crime?

Detective Bart Moy, recently returned to Guilderton to look after his father, begins his investigation that quickly leads nowhere. Moy’s search takes him through the heart and the outskirts of the small town and its inhabitants as well as his own inner turmoil. Moy is haunted by the loss of his own son and is determined not to let the this case go. But at the same time wonders if he can make any difference.

Stephen Orr plots this novel brilliantly. He has your doubting and questioning events in tandem with Moy who is struggling at being a decent cop (and he knows it) yet needs to solve this case. You get glimpses of the man he was before he returned to Guilderton but at the same time knows it is impossible for that part of him to return.

Harrowing yet hopeful this is a reflective a crime novel where finding the case is as important as solving it.

Buy the book here…