STARTUP – Doree Schafrir
I was very excited about Startup when I first heard about it. The author is a senior writer at Buzzfeed, and if anyone was going to provide a good look at tech culture, it would be her.
The book centers around five interlinked characters who work at two tech startups in New York. Mack McAllastair, CEO of the hottest new app in town, Isabel and Sabrina, two of the women who work for him (and one that’s sleeping with him), Katya, an online journalist looking for a scoop, and her boss Dan, also Sabrina’s husband.
I liked this book, it is fast, funny and easy to read providing an interesting take on the male dominated startup culture. I imagine that the author, Doree Schafrir, drew on a lot of her real-life experiences for this book, which does make it all the more credible. I also enjoyed how Sabrina, an “older” character (she is thirty-six, “ancient”) who re-enters the working world copes with a much changed workplace.
The characters are engaging and I enjoyed the insight into startup culture (it’s fun to consider how apps that are part of our everyday lives begin) but I felt the book could have been longer –it ended without a real ending. I would have liked a few more chapters to see how everything panned out. There were lots of tech refs which I didn’t always “get” but nonetheless, an enjoyable read, ideal for settling in with a blanket on a wintery weekend.
SWEET LITTLE LIES – Caz Frear
Sweet Little Lies was recommended to me by some friends, and was also the winner of the Richard and Judy Search for Bestseller Competition, so I was looking forward to reading this book, and I so am very glad I did.
Detective Cat Kinsella is investigating the murder of a strangled woman, Alice Lapaine, found near the pub her father runs. As she digs deeper, evidence emerges linking Alice to a girl, Maryanne, who went missing 18 years ago who was also connected to Cat’s father. Cat doesn’t believe in coincidences and as the investigation continues she is forced to confront a terrible possibility about her father.
The story switches between two periods: 1998 where we get to know the young Cat, and see how her relationship with her father disintegrates, and the present day.
This book, a British police procedural novel with a thriller aspect, was very gripping and a definite page turner. I was desperate to know what happened. Starting off quite slow, soon you are totally hooked as the investigation takes many turns to find out the truth. Cat is also a complex and damaged character, not always behaving completely professionally which adds extra depth to the story. I liked the dynamics between Cat and other members of the murder investigation team. This book has set itself up well to be the first in a series of murder mystery/thriller novels.
Caz Frear, a first-time novelist, has delivered a well-rounded, exciting book with definite room for more Cat Kinsella stories. Hopefully her next will be out soon!