Cover Image: Limelight

Limelight

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Member Reviews

I was drawn to this book by the cover image, which depicts a rugged and isolated coastline. I was further intrigued by the blurb, which describes it as a ‘completely gripping and fascinating thriller.’

Of course, lots of blurbs will claim such things of a book, but I really feel this is true of Limelight. It is book 4 in a series, but it was easily enjoyed as a standalone book.

It covers many controversial and interesting topics, such as that of a missing person, euthanasia and politics. Graham develops the main characters well and it is clear that he is a sophisticated story teller.

This was an enjoyable read which really got me thinking. Also, I am tempted to go back and read the first three books in the series.
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An absorbing crime novel, dealing sensitively with the topic of euthanasia. The characters are well drawn and engaging, and the setting is appealing. Recommended.
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Limelight by Graham Hurley is the fourth book in the Enora Andressen series. I must be truthful and say I never realised this when I accepted the blog tour. I needn't have worried, after the blurb enticing me in, I was prepared to throw myself in head first! The book works well as a standalone, which I was happy with.
Actress Enora loves her home town, the people, the peace and the literary festival that happens as well.She enjoys chatting to her neighbours and making friends with them all.Then one of them disappears, Christianne Beaucarne, a French lady who is one of Enora's friends as well as neighbour. She decides she is going to find Christianne and nothing will stop her, maybe Enora, isn't prepared for what will happen as she investigates this missing friend.
A book that you think is a straight forward mystery story, until you realise it is beginning to become more complicated by the chapter.Before you know it you are on the edge of your seat, reading an intriguing mystery that is becoming more of a conspiracy with the twists and turns in the story.
I enjoyed the characters and feel this is a very character driven plot and they all play their own parts in making this as suspenseful as I found it. I have definitely been missing out on an excellent mystery/suspense series and that, I feel, needs rectifying!
Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources and Graham Hurley for my copy of the book today for this review.
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This just wasn’t for me. It’s a decent friendship story with a character, Enora who is stopped at customs whilst transporting her dead partner’s ashes and so goes to stay with a friend whose neighbour subsequently disappears. It’s a book in a series that I’ve not followed and this may go some way to explain why I just couldn’t get into the book.
It’s got some interesting elements, not least a philosophical view on euthanasia and it’s well written. Unfortunately, it just didn’t capture me sufficiently and I found it a bit difficult to finish.

Overall though, it’s a 3* good read and thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to preview.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   I have not read anything from this author for a while, shame on me.   Fast paced, great characters and more importantly a great storyline.   I loved it.
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I was initially attracted to this book as it’s based in Budleigh Salterton. A lovely little coastal village and somewhere Touring Tails visited on our first motorhome trip.

The story begins with actress Enora Andressen checking in at the airport for a flight to Prague. However, her plans are cancelled when for some reason airport security aren’t happy with her carrying her dead boyfriend’s ashes in her hand luggage!

So instead of Prague, she heads down to Budleigh Salterton for the weekend, following an invite from her friend Evelyn. Just what Enora needed right now, a relaxing weekend away. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be as relaxing as she’d hoped, far from it.

Evelyn takes great delight in showing off her actress friend around the village. Enora is introduced to several of Budleigh Salterton’s wealthy and very charming residents. She also meets Evelyn’s friendly neighbour, and fellow french women Christianne. They hit it off immediate and spend a lovely day touring the village and coastal walks.

What started out as a lovely weekend soon turns sour when Enora finds herself the centre of attention in the village and in hot water with the local police. Apparently, she was one of the last people to see Christianne before she’s reported missing by her husband. The only lead the police have is a note addressed to Enora.

The book sensitively raises awareness of one of many tragic illnesses that modern medicine cannot yet cure. It reminds you of the impact incurable disease can have on the individual, their families, friends and even their community.

This is the fourth book from author Graham Hurley to include Enora Andresson. Limelight can be read as a standalone novel. I haven’t read the previous books and this wasn’t a problem.

I finished the book with a new-found appreciation of the importance of friendships. Also, that we should have a right to be in control of our lives, right up to the end.

I loved this book. With strong likeable characters and a gripping detective story, I couldn’t put this down. Well worth a read, definitely a 5 stars from me.
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This is a different sort of crime thriller to the norm… because at the end of it, I was left wondering if there had actually been a crime.

Enora Andressen, half-French actress, is the narrator of this tale. Thwarted in an attempt to visit Prague to scatter a loved one’s ashes, Enora instead accepts an invitation to visit a friend living in Budleigh Salterton, a quiet coastal village in Devon. There, she meets Christianne, her friend’s neighbour, a Frenchwoman with a fascinating past, and the two become instant friends over the course of a weekend. It’s a couple of days later when Enora receives the shocking news that Christianne is missing, and that she was suffering from motor neurone disease (MND), and is thought to have taken her own life in a bid to avoid the disease’s painful degeneration.

The police, however, are wondering otherwise. To her own astonishment, Enora finds herself questioned as a suspect, accused of conspiring to murder a woman she liked but barely knew. And even her certain knowledge of her own innocence might not be enough to keep her out of jail.

The topic of euthanasia is heavily explored here, as well as the political backdrop in the UK. Anger over the decision to spend enormous amounts of police resources pursuing a case which was, at worst, an assisted suicide, comes into play in a small, tight-knit community. Realistically, I’m not sure I’d actually call it a thriller, because there was never really all that much at stake. Certainly Enora was never in any physical danger, and it was clear that her lawyers were confident no legal case against her would stick. It’s more of a women’s fiction with a few unusual twists and turns.

For the most part I enjoyed it, but there were a few moments when Enora’s inner monologue made her come across as privileged and spoilt - her unkind thoughts about a fat policewoman were something of a slap in the face which made me really not like her. I also really didn’t understand the subplot with her son going to work for a guy selling doomsday superyachts to the mega-rich, and thought it distracted from the main story. The two threads never tied back together at all, which meant all those scenes breach a major rule of storytelling - if a scene doesn’t advance the plot, it doesn’t belong in the story. Maybe it’ll come to something in a later book in the series, but in and of itself that creates a problem… if you need to have read an earlier book to understand a plot point. Although this is the fourth book in the Enora Andressen series, and there were references to earlier happenings, the plot in this one did stand alone quite nicely if you haven’t read any others.

Overall, I’ll give this four stars; the author does a nice job with setting the scene and getting the feel of the town, and introducing an intriguing cast of characters, but I think as a thriller it’s a little underdone and takes a few too many unnecessary diversions from the main plotline.
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The story begins with Enora heading to Prague with her partner’s ashes, only to be stopped at customs and told she can’t take the ashes on board. Rather than leave them behind, she instead leaves the airport and sets off to visit her friend, Evelyn, in Budleigh Salterton.

The opening scenes are beautifully written, drawing me effortlessly into Evelyn’s relaxed lifestyle away from her previous life in London. Enora is welcomed by Evelyn’s friends , especially her French neighbour, Christianne, with whom she can chat in French and enjoy their shared cultural heritage.

Then Christianne disappears. Has she taken her own life? Enora learns that Christianne has Motor Neurone disease, for which there is no cure. But was she so desperate to end her life? Did Christianne’s partner, Andy, know of her plans? Did he help her? Was he alone?

Limelight raise many issues as the police investigate first Christianne’s disappearance, and then later her death. Suspicions abound among the close-knit community and the police seemed determined to find someone to charge with the “crime”. Are Evelyn’s other friends complicit in Christianne’s death? (Evelyn herself is never implicated, yet Enora who has only recently met Christianne is … because of the very close (and French) friendship they had formed. To me, that felt a little forced to propel the plot forward, but as I’ve not read any of this author’s previous books, I don’t whether that is his style of storytelling.

The police investigation is also a little contrived and, for me, seems an unlikely portrayal of how a police force would investigate such a case. That said, with fiction, anything is possible.

This is a slow-burner of a mystery, with a very understated crime at its core. The debate as to whether there has been a crime at all does form a central feature of the story. Of course, it’s a valid discussion point, and I congratulate the author in weaving the theme of euthanasia into his mystery so beautifully.

Limelight is a gentle mystery with a solid message about euthanasia. It encourages discussion well beyond the last page which can only be a good thing. There’s a heart-warming element to the story when looking at how the friendship of Evelyn and Enora has lasted, and how strong the community spirit and commitment to each other is in Budleigh Salterton.

The characters meander through the story, ably assisted by beautiful prose, stunning scenery, and a vibe that is captivating and engaging. Not your average crime mystery at all, but one that will keep you thinking about the story even when you’ve finished reading.
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*So what's the Story?*

'Limelight' starts with a 42 year old woman trying to takes the ashes of the man she loved to Prague. She wants to scatter those ashes at the bridge that was special to him. This woman is the protagonist, Enora Andressen. An actress, by profession. 

Alas, Enora isn't allowed to board an airplane with an urn full of ashes. Understandable, considering airport security. But emotional decisions seldom bow down to reason, do they? Air travel out of the picture, Enora plans to go to Prague via road. That is when she recieves an invitation from her friend/ ex neighbour Evelyn. She asks Enora to come and stay with her at a small, quiet seaside town called Budleigh Salterton.

Enora agrees and drives up to Budleigh. In this little known place, she certainly does not accept an adventure. It is idyllic and restful. She befriends Evelyn's neighbour. All seems quite normal. But she starts to observe slight.... anomalies. You know how you can feel something is wrong but can't really put a finger on what?
And then this new friend of Enora suddenly disappears. And suddenly the silent little Budleigh Salterton gains infamy. What follows is a fiercely tangled mess of lies, conspiracies, suspicions, political greed and ultimately....the forever debatable question of what discriminates right from wrong.

*Honest Impressions*

At first, I couldn't quite get into the plot of 'Limelight'. But for that, I cannot assign all the blame to the book. I am a fan of thrillers that jump into the mystery in the first few pages. Limelight, in contrast, is a story that churns out its thrills slowly but steadily. Although, I appreciate the finely tuned build up by author Graham Hurley, it did make me a tad impatient. 
It was precisely after I covered 42% of the book, that I really felt as if things started happening. And once they did, no going back. Also, I should mention that the story has a background focus on the dynamic political environment. I personally do not enjoy that. However, as the main plot was intriguing, I was not deterred in my reading experience by this element.

*Reasons to read 'Limelight'*

1. There are multiple story lines running through 'Limelight'. The manner in which Graham Hurley manages to tie them each up in a neat little bow is clever.

2. The enigma of a sleepy town has been captured well through the storytelling style.

3. 'Limelight' successfully highlights the drastic changes and the fluid power of public perception which plays a big part in this story.

4. It is not the sort of thriller we are generally used to. That, I do believe, is a part of the charm.

*Do I recommend it?*

Yes. But I would like to mention this. Although, 'Limelight' can be read as a stand alone, I am of the opinion that it is best read as a part of the series. It feels like readers would be able to get involved in the story more quickly if they are already invested in the protagonist Enora's character.
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Limelight works as a standalone novel, even though it is the fourth book in the series. I like fast-paced thrillers, but if you want to see how a relatively slow-paced story can still be riveting, you’ve got to pick up this book.

Limelight is full of twists and turns–just when you’re expecting to finally get the answer. It takes great skill to write something so complicated, which, on the surface, looks simple.

I learned quite a few French phrases and words in this book–Enora (the MC) is part-French and the lady who disappears is also French.

The author tends to use people’s first names and surnames alternately throughout the book, and initially that confused me. I was wondering just how many characters there were in this drama! He! He!

When you’re looking for something relaxing yet engaging, this is just the right book. I’d also recommend that you read the other books in the series. I think you’ll get more background on Enora, although the beginning of this story provides enough information for the reader to grasp what’s happening.

(Thank you to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my review copy!)
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Limelight is book 4 in the Enora Andressen series from Graham Hurley, I have not read the previous books and definitely do feel it would have been best if I had, there was very little background to bring a new reader up to speed so from my personal point I do recommend reading this in series order.

Enora is stopped at customs whilst trying to take Pavel’s ashes to Prague, I need a more fleshed out back story on their relationship as I didn’t really understand it – were they once lovers, or only every just friends? Instead of heading home she takes a detour and instead takes the ashes and visits her friend Evelyn in Budleigh Salterton. From here the story is a slow build of friendships with Evelyn’s neighbour Christianne, and when she goes missing it starts to pick up the pace. The whole village is shocked by Christianne’s disappearance and as the story progresses politics and ethics come into play.

This book covered the hot button topic in euthanasia, it is clear from reading what the authors stance is on this – and I have to admit I have no read much where a story line involves such a topic as people are going to have very strong opinions on the subject whether they agree with how the story plays out.

I enjoyed this book, it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting and I do wish I had read the previous ones in – but it gives me an excuse to go back and do so now.

4 stars
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I have been a fan of Graham’s work for a few years now.  I haven’t quite read all of his books to date but I was a huge fan of the Faraday and Winter series and also the series featuring Jimmy Suttle.  I must admit that I hadn’t realised that ‘Limelight’ was the fourth book in the series featuring Enora Andressen when I agreed to take part in the blog tour.  Not that that made any difference.  I read the synopsis for ‘Limelight’ and it certainly intrigued me.  So without further ado, I grabbed my Kindle, grabbed a cup of tea and sat down for what I suspected, would be one hell of a read.  I was spot on.  I really enjoyed reading ‘Limelight’ but more about that in a bit.
It took me no time at all to get into ‘Limelight’.  In fact by the time I got to the end of the first few pages, I knew that I was going to find it extremely difficult to put this book to one side for any length of time.  To say that reading ‘Limelight’ became addictive is a bit of an understatement.  I read this book in bursts.  If I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the book.  If I had to put the book to one side for any length of time then I would immediately look forward to being able to pick the book up again.  I became so involved in the story that I managed to shut out all other distractions and I was able to focus solely on the story.  I also would lose track of time whilst I was reading the book.  The pages turned at a fair old rate and I soon got to the end of ‘Limelight’ which I had mixed feelings about.  I wasn’t disappointed with how the story ended but I was enjoying the author’s writing style, the characters and the story so much that I just wished the book had continued for longer.  I soon cheered up when I realised that I had the first three books in the series to catch up on and I didn’t have to say ‘farewell’ to Enora Andressen just yet.
‘Limelight’ is well written.  The author knows how to grab your attention with an intriguing synopsis which tempts you into the story itself.  Once Graham has your attention, he won’t let you have it back until you read the last word on the last page.  Graham has one of those writing styles that makes the reader feel as though they are in the thick of the action and as though they are part of the story itself.  That’s how I felt anyway.  Reading ‘Limeliight’ was like being on a very unpredictable rollercoaster ride with more twists and turns than you would find on a ‘Snakes & Ladders’ board.  ‘Limelight’ is a tightly plotted, well written book that gripped me from start to finish and had me on the edge of my seat pretty much all the way through.
In short, I really enjoyed reading ‘Limelight’ and I would recommend it to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Graham’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 4* out of 5*.
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Honestly, the turns in the book were beyond my expectations. What starts off as a simple mystery, soon turns into a tale of possible conspiracies and terrorist attacks. The story progresses in such a gripping manner that you wonder how Enora will get herself out of the various predicaments. Some of my memorable scenes in the story is when Bullivant and Brett arrest her because of her past in Syria, or the story she narrates in French about Marcel and his impending death after the Germans captured him.

The author does a wonderful job in maintaining the suspense in this story. Although I have not read the previous three books, I had no trouble reading this as a standalone. The author provides a nice recap in the beginning of what happened earlier. The supporting characters like Andy, Sylvester, Beth and Bullivant also added well to the story. I also liked Enora’s friendship with Christianne (even if Chris appears for just a few scenes). On a side note, I also liked the various French terms I learnt while reading this tale like “dégringolade” and “copine”.

However, the only downside to the story is in the reference to the characters. I get confused at stories that refer to characters on first name basis at certain times, and last names at others. The author did this quite often in the story, diverting my concentration, as I had to remember the full name of the characters.
Apart from that, this was a very nice story, igniting my  interest to pick up the previous books in the series.
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Limelight is a slow build mystery with a big message.


What I Liked


I loved how the story covered a hot button topic in euthanasia.  Even as modern as medicine is, there are still some diseases that medicine can do very little for, and it is scary.  Most of us are lucky, and we will never have to face any of these diseases/disorders.  But, how about the ones who do have to face a fate worst than death?  The big ethical dilemma still exists about euthanasia and a person's right to choose not to have to endure the unendurable.  The story explores both sides of that debate in-depth, and though it is obvious which side the story leans on, it does an excellent job of showing why.

At the beginning and end, it is a story about friendship.  I have not often seen the importance of enduring friendships in a mystery novel, so exploring it in Limelight has a refreshing element.  Enora and Evelyn have been friends for many years, and watching their friendship throughout the story is heartwarming and gives the reader a message to take with them well after the story ends.

Technically, the story is slow to build – almost atmospheric in that slowness, with a languid pace that belies its thrilling events.  The crime does not take place until about a quarter of the way into the story. The police action is contained within the second half, making this book a good choice for people willing to take their time and meander through the mystery with Enora Andressen (the main character). It is in the first person from her perspective.

To Read or Not to Read

If you enjoy stories that explore legal and political gray areas and you don't have to have the roller coaster ride that defines most thrillers, you will enjoy this quiet mystery with a big message.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of Limelight, the fourth novel to feature actress Enora Andressen.

Enora is stopped at customs from taking her dead partner Pavel’s ashes to Prague for dispersal so she goes to Budleigh Salterton instead to visit her friend Evelyn. While there she meets and instantly warms to Evelyn’s neighbour, Christianne. Then Christianne disappears and the impact of this on both Enora and Budleigh Salterton is huge.

Limelight is my first dip into the series and while I have read some of the Faraday novels I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I enjoyed it to a certain extent but it is totally different and not my kind of novel. Because Christianne has disappeared there isn’t a provable crime and yet the Police, in the form of DI Bullivant and Operation Bulldog, are determined to find one. The first half of the novel picks apart the community’s grief over her disappearance and its reaction to the aggressive police investigation. The second half finds a body and the investigation ramps up. 

The novel is told entirely from from Enora’s first person perspective and this is an interesting approach. Ostensibly an outsider she becomes an insider almost immediately due to her unlikely rapport with Christianne. It seems a bit contrived to me but what do I know about middle class England? The rest of the novel is occupied with Enora and the group of friends’ struggles with the forces of justice who see euthanasia as a crime. It’s fairly obvious where the author stands on the issue but his arguments are less than subtle. The police investigation is a farce that bears little resemblance to the hard truths of modern day policing - no force has the finances to push such a speculative investigation and no detective would be allowed to arrest suspects on such a flimsy and contrived assembly of circumstantial evidence. Yes, it makes for good reading if the reader can suspend their disbelief long enough.

Limelight is not my kind of reading. I liked it well enough but not enough to want to read the other novels in the series.
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Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
Enora Andressen is on her way to Prague with Pavel's ashes but is turned away, not allowed to fly with them.  Instead she goes to visit a good friend, Evelyn, in Budley Salterton by the sea.   She meets Evelyn's neighbors and has an immediate connection with Christianne, a fellow French woman.  When Christianne goes missing, presumed drowned, the village is stunned and a large search is put into action, with no result.
What follows is a mystery that is tense and super readable, I loved it!
Superb writing and absorbing details about politics, euthanasia and a deadly disease make this much more than just a mystery.
I like Enora a lot and, having read all four books now, I'm eagerly waiting for the next in the series.  Highly recommended!
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This is the fourth Enora book that Graham Hurley has written in a remarkably short period of time and they are getting better and better. 

Her character is developing all the time and I really feel that I’m getting to know her, her son and her friends. 

For an actress she seems to get herself into all sorts of scrapes - but without them there’d be no series of books. 

I loved Faraday and Winter but this series is really growing g on me.
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