If you are given a chance to turn back the time, what would you do? In God's Gift - 14 Days, it is a harrowing experience for mother Kim Soo-hyun (starring Lee Bo-young) as well as a former cop turned private investigator, Ki Dong-chan (starring Jo Seung-woo), as both of them have to race against time in the allotted 14 days to unveil a mystery involving their loved ones.

Kim Soo-hyun's young daughter Han Saet-byul was kidnapped and murdered, and Soo-hyun is determined to expose the killer and save her daughter before she dies all over again. As for Ki Dong-chan, he has to prove the innocence of his mentally challenged older brother who is falsely accused of murdering Dong-chan's ex-girlfriend. Now Soo-hyun and Dong-chan do not know each other, but fate throws into their ways and they have to trust each other and work together to solve the mystery before they have to face the cruel fate of losing their loved ones once again. 

If you ask me, I love the combination of a time travel and a mystery theme. I would love to see the victims are given another chance to unveil the truth and even stop the crime from happening, and that the murderers are caught and punished should they attempted and succeeded in escaping the law in the first place. 

I liked the plot of God's Gift - 14 Days. It especially touched my heart because of the plot involving a young child, and to see the mother has gone through various hardships to search and save her daughter. I also find it heart-wrenching to see two brothers for taking the blame wrongfully all these years (especially for Dong-chan because he has assumed his older brother had committed a murder and was even testified as a witness, thus leading to the hanging of his older brother). 

Although I find the plot intense and riveting, and full of twists and turns, however I wasn't satisfied with the ending. You see, it was left with an open ending and you have to use your imagination to judge the fate of Dong-chan. I liked the characterisation of Dong-chan; he is righteous and full of charge - he is not a person who would be intimidated by death. However, the ending is totally anticlimactic. It lacks clarity and instead leave the viewers with more questions instead of answers. Despite this flaw, I have to say the performance by Lee Bo-young and Jo Seung-woo is marvellous. As an individual or as a duo, the characterisations they have portrayed have convinced the viewers about the hardship and dilemma a mother and a frustrating, desperate man have to face under certain circumstances. 

Before ending this post, I would like to ask you this question: Do you believe in fate? I do. But can we change fate? I don't know, but I think our fate wouldn't be that bad if we harbour good thoughts and live truthfully. 

ISBN-13: 9780593068182
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: Hardcover, 416 pgs
Source: Personal Library

I always find myself in a dilemma while reading a Mo Hayder book. Why? Because they are all so good and intense that I want to devour them all and get to the bottom of it quickly; on the other hand while I still want to devour them all, I want to do it on my regular reading pace, and try to think of the missing puzzles and how they would fit towards the end. So in the end, I just find myself lost in Mo Hayder's world and let her words push me whichever ways they want me to. 

Wolf, let me tell you, is not an easy read. Gruesome, violence, cruelty . . . you name it, they are all here. There were times I had to tear myself away from the book and let my mind wander about other than the story. Yes, I think I could say this is not a book for the faint hearted but what can I say . . . the plot is simply stunning! 

Fifteen years ago, two teenage lovers were brutally murdered in a patch of remote woodland (I won't go into details on how they died but all I could say is it is terribly horrifying and violent). The prime suspect confessed to the crime and was kept behind bars. The story should have ended there but it didn't. 

A five-year-old girl found a dog while picking flowers near that woodland. Attached to its collar was a teeny-weeny piece of paper are two legible words - Help us (the rest are a filthy smudge). Her parents are unaware of the little note, but someone who called himself The Walking Man does know about the note. In fact, he had struck a deal with the little girl that he would help the dog to find its owner. 

DI Jack Caffery, on the other end, is still looking for answers on his older brother's disappearance all these years (this issue was brought up in previous installments but there isn't any clue or answer until this installment). Ewan Caffery was nine when he walked out of the family's back garden and never came back. There was an ageing paedophile called Ivan Penderecki who lived hundred and fifty yards from their family. Jack is sure he played a part in Ewan's disappearance but there is simply no evidence, and Ewan's body is never found. 

Now the Walking Man and Jack Caffery knew each other. They have something in common (loss of their dear ones) and that's why they somewhat feel they are on the same path regardless of their class. The Walking Man told Jack that he would help find answers to Ewan's disappearance but in return Jack is to help him look into the doggy's case and find out the story behind its note. 

What came off from these two cases had totally shocked me; and no I'm not going to elaborate any further. It spoils the fun, as you my dear readers know it. All I can say is, I am in awed of Ms Hayder's brilliance for creating such a terrifying yet a perfect thriller that still sends shiver down my spine as of writing this post. I simply have no words for her Jack Caffery series and I just hope that she will write quickly so that we will have a new Jack Caffery thriller to devour, I mean, read. 

ISBN-13: 978-0552159838
Publisher: Corgi 
Publication Date: January 2013
Format: Paperback, 464 pgs
Source: Personal Library 

I started this book without knowing that this is part of a series, but that is fine since the story could be read as a standalone. In fact, I am going to read the first book (and the rest of the series) anyway because Dead Scared is simply awesome!

It all started with a spate of suicides at Cambridge University. Several female students had dramatically attempted suicide over the years and the gruesome thing is, they had all ended their life in extraordinary (and cruel) ways, i.e. jumping from high buildings, self-immolation, self-stabbing and self-decapitation, etc. 

DI Mark Joesury and his team realize that things are more than meet the eye, thus he sends young policewoman, DC Lacey Flint, to the university as undercover. Lacey would pose as a vulnerable and depression-prone student and they would see how things would churn out from there. Dr Evi Oliver, a psychiatrist who counsels the students there, is the only person who knows the true identity of Lacey. Initially, the two women thought the students who attempted suicides are delusional or simply a cry for attention, but what they didn't understand is why they had chosen a terrible way to end their lives. They speculated that there might be a destructive subculture that is manifest largely on the internet; a virtual world that legitimised and even glamorised the act of suicide.  

As they dig deeper, they realised that things aren't what they seemed or they had expected. Someone (or a few very sick people) seems to have orchestrated the death of the students and they had made it look like the students had ended their own lives. Lacey reported what she had speculated to DI Mark Joesury but they have no valid evidence to proof that. By that moment, someone has tried to scare Dr Evi Oliver, knowing that she is semi-crippled from her skiing accident years ago and that she has a past that still haunts her; they had cleverly use these knowledge to remind her of her phobias so that her credentials would be questioned. And that is not all, Lacey, who has a fragile past herself, soon have the killers' attention or did she just walk into their deadly game on her own? 

Dead Scared is one of the most intense and clever crime thrillers I read for a while. Not only it is gripping but the story is multi-layered and it leads you to more speculations as you flip those pages. It had me hooked from page one till the end as there is never a bored moment. What I also liked about this book is the characterisations, no doubt. DC Lacey Flint is a very brave woman, I would say, considering she had had a very tough mission (from the first book, which is briefly mentioned and she nearly couldn't make it) and it didn't take her long to consider taking up this case, as a vulnerable student and one that couldn't allow her to use her authority. Her relationship between DI Mark Joesury is ambiguous, as it seems they do have feelings for each other, but neither of them shows or admits it, but then I find that's the beauty of it as there is always something sweet about reading a relationship develops (even if it is subtle).  

I wish I am eloquent in describing Dead Scared, but after fidgeted for what more to say I could only think of "Wow!" and nothing more. In my dictionary, that is suffice to cover the overview of this book. Go-read-it! 

* Sharon Bolton is also known as S.J. Bolton under other publication. 

There have been a lot of hype surrounding 3 Days way before it was filmed and aired. After all, the screen writer is none other than Kim Eun-Hee (the female screen writer who wrote Phantom and Sign and were received with good reviews). The other reason is Park Yoo-chun, a singer turned actor (who's still with pop group JYJ) whose success is witnessed by many since his debut drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal to his latest drama, 3 Days. Many fans/viewers were captivated by his role in Rooftop Prince, in which he played a Crown Prince from Joseon era and was transported to the modern day to solve a mystery involving his past and his future. His next drama, I Miss You aka Missing You, is another hit which he played a detective who believed his high school sweetheart is still alive after a kidnapping case 14 years ago involving his family.

Onto 3 Days, the plot is about the disappearance of the South Korean President during his vacation at a villa after three gunshots are heard. A team of the Presidential guards are alerted and given the task to find the President and to escort him safely back to the Blue House within three days. However, it was a complicated task as it involves political issue as well. On top of that, there are staff who would betray the President under the influence of money and power and one couldn't know who to trust anymore.

I liked the characterisations of Han Tae-Kyung (Park Yoo-chun), the President's elite bodyguard and Yoon Bo-Won (Park Ha-Sun), a female police officer who fought their way to save the President. They crossed each other's path by chance, and it is their righteous attitude that binds them together. Through their encouragement for each other, they find the courage and strength to overcome all obstacles which are thrown towards their way, even if it means their lives are at stake. 

Like many viewers, I waited with anticipation for the airing of this drama and I was glad it delivered and that Yoo-chun's acting skill is getting better and better. Aside from his action performance (I was wowed by the fighting scene in a train and falling off from a storey against a glass window to fight the bad guy, etc), he also did well through his facial expression (oh, his eyes sure can 'talk'!) as he was given the challenge to act both as a loyal, protective bodyguard as well as a grieving son who had lost his father. In other words, he oozes charisma and once again he has captivated the viewers and proved to us all that he could really act, and he is not just any other pop idol turned actor who impressed with his looks. Another issue which makes me admire him more is his professionalism in his work as he injured his shoulder while filming this drama but he gritted his teeth and continued filming despite the pain it had caused him. 

I still have a lot to say about the plot and the charming Han Tae-Kyung but it would be spoilers and also to avoid this post as a fan raving post, I think I had said enough and I shall leave it to you to judge for yourself if you haven't watched 3 Days