Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones - Guest book review

A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages, and different times. They tell of a rumour. A shadow. A killer. The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore ... until he comes face to face with a myth. For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run. But Hannah knows that if her daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has hunted her family for five generations. And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that...

Guest book review by Janice Lazell-Wood

This is a debut novel, and one I was keen to read.  The first chapter quickly drew me in, and as most of the chapters end on cliffhangers, I was 100 pages in, until I'd realised my coffee had grown cold! 
Immediately we are introduced to Hannah, her badly injured husband Nate and their daughter Leah, who are on the run after a particularly violent confrontation, one that has left Nate fighting for his life.  Holed up in the middle of nowhere, their story starts to unfold.  It's a tale that takes us from the present day, back to 1970s Oxford and even further back to 19th century Hungary.  Oh, it's another vampire novel I hear you cry... but no, it most definitely is not!  The villain of the piece, is something much more sinister, and he won't give up, until he's got Hannah in his clutches.
The plot is original, and the story straddles various genres including myth, horror, thriller and historical fiction, we are introduced to interesting characters along the way, but do you trust them, or do you not.  The story keeps you guessing.
There were a couple of niggles, to me it was never fully explained why Mr Nasty wanted Hannah so badly, and when the final confrontation comes, it left me feeling a little flat.  However, on the whole, I found this an exciting novel, an original bad guy.  I look forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.

Reviewed by Janice Lazell-Wood - many thanks to Janice for reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library
Published by Headline
Find the author on twitter @sljonesauthor


  1. I tend to like novels constructed of notes, diary entries, etc. The original Dracula was such a work. I know that this is a not a vampire book, but I I wonder if this was written that was as sort of tribute to that book.

  2. I'm really in the mood for a novel like this - something thrilling and original - so I'll keep my eye out for The String Diaries.

  3. Great review, I agree with all you say.

  4. Brian, apart from some of it being set in eastern Erope, I couldn't see any nods to Dracula. I meant to say in my review a glossary would have been a good idea, as there are some Hungarian words the crop up. Glad you enjoyed the review Tracy!

  5. Thanks for your comments and thanks Janice for replying too!

  6. This looks like a good read. Love the review for including your niggles...

  7. A great review Janice, I have this one patiently waiting to be read!


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