6 books to read before they become TV series

Do you love TV series? Are you a bookworm? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then 2018 will be a good year for you. Bookish TV series are on the rise, and there will be plenty coming out this year for us to pick from. We must proceed with caution though, as many great books fell victim to screen adaptation over the past years. I still refuse to talk about the horror of watching the movie version of The Dark Tower. Just… Nope…

TV series are usually a safer way to bring life to our beloved stories. I loved the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and the series that came out last year with the same title was absolutely amazing, painting an even more terrifying picture than the book by expanding the plots of the secondary characters.

If you are anything like me, you will most likely want to read the book before watching the first episode of the show. You know, just so you can have enough ammunition to rage about later, that the book was better.

So let’s see what is waiting for those of us who love thrillers, sci-fi and a bit of weirdness.

Good Omens
Based on the 1990 novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman the TV series will follow the story of a demon and a fussy angel (both living amongst mortals) who are trying to prevent the coming of the antichrist and the ensuing battle between Heaven and Earth.
Guess who’s playing Crowley, the demon. David Tennant, that’s who. Love it! There’s no official release date, but according to IMDB we can expect it in 2019.

Altered CarbonThis juicy sci-fi, set in the 25th century, tells the story of Takeshi Kovacs, a soldier from an elite group of warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order. Even though Kovacs was also killed, his consciousness and skills are downloaded (a.k.a. re-sleeved) into the body of a thug. This action and violence packed series, starring Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs, will come out in February, 2018.
The series is based on Richard K. Morgan’s book with the same title, published in 2006.
A must for fans of the cyberpunk genre!

Sharp ObjectsGillian Flynn’s book, Sharp Objects is a delicious treat for anyone craving something dark and disturbing.
Camille Preaker, a journalist, returns to her hometown in Missouri, to investigate the murder of two young girls. If this wouldn’t be upsetting enough, staying in her parents’ house brings back unpleasant memories from her own childhood, and she’s forced to confront her own demons that led her down the path of self harm for years.
The show, starring Amy Adams and Chris Messina, is coming this summer.

The City & The CityBased on the multi award-winning novel by China Miéville, the series follows Inspector Tyador Borlú on his investigation of a murdered student whose body was found in the decaying city of Besźel. As evidence starts piling up, suggesting deadly conspiracies, the Inspector has to travel to Ul Quoma, the only metropolis on Earth.
China Miéville describes his own work as “weird fiction”, so if weird is your thing, don’t miss out on this one.

Instinct
This new police procedural series, starring Alan Cumming as Professor Dylan Reinhart, is based on Murder Games by James Patterson. Professor Reinhart is a criminal behavior professor who ends up helping Detective Elizabeth Needham, the NYPD detective in charge of investigating a serial killer case. The only clue linking the victims is a playing card left behind on the scene, hinting at the next target.
It’s coming in March, so you should still have time to finish the book before the show hits the screen.

You
You by Caroline Kepnes is yet another gem for those of us who enjoy exploring the depths of a twisted mind.
The show follows Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager, who becomes obsessed with Guinevere Beck whom he met in his bookstore. The stalker turned boyfriend orchestrates the perfect plan to remove all obstacles that stand in their way.
The release date has not been announced yet.

Have you read all these books yet? TV adaptations yey or nay?

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Published: 26th April, 2016
Goodreads
Series: The Collector #1
Rating: 3.5

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…


Dark. Creepy. Disturbing. I very much enjoyed the writing style, and how the author constantly played on our fear of the unknown.

Maya, the survivor, is an enigma herself. As the interrogation goes along, FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison grow more and more frustrated. With good reason, I would say. I loved the dynamic between these two; Hanoverian being the patient, fatherly figure, perfectly complemented by the explosive Eddison, who started banging his fist on the table not even ten minutes into the interview. I’m with you, dude… The more you find out from Maya (and let me tell you, it’s like pulling teeth), the more puzzled they get about her role in the garden. She’s cool as a cucumber, people. Not what you expect from your everyday kidnap victim, for sure.

There are a lot of great things in this book, if you can suspend your disbelief. The way the chapters switch between the present day, where we know Maya has escaped, and her time in the garden just keeps the pressure up constantly. The characters are great. Every single butterfly from the garden has a unique personality, and the Gardener (notice how he doesn’t even have a name) is super ominous.

If it weren’t for the “shocking twist” at the end, I would have liked this book much more. I found certain elements somewhat unbelievable, but then reminded myself that poor butterflies are basically teenagers, and probably shitting their pants too much to actually think straight. Mental and physical abuse does that to people. But it seems the author just had to throw in a plot twist, just for the sake of it, because people love plot twists, don’t they, even when it’s super “duh”. Well… Nope.

This book is not for everyone. It’s violent, graphic, and downright nasty, but I guess it’s just expected, when you decide to pick up a book about some obsessed guy, who kidnaps a bunch of young women and keeps them captive for his own entertainment.

The trouble with sociopaths, really, is that you never know where they draw their boundaries.

P. S. I also wanted to show you some of the international book covers. They are seriously pretty!

Bulgaria
Estonia
Poland
Slovakia

Get The Butterfly Garden (The Collector Trilogy) on Amazon UK.

The Wife Between US by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife Between US by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Genres: Thriller, Suspense
Published: 2nd January, 2018
Goodreads
Series: N/A
Rating: 4

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

This one was damn twisty, guys, damn twisty! You know how you get those blurbs sometimes, promising an edge of the seat thriller with unexpected turns and after the first chapter you just kind of roll your eyes and go “Yeah, right…” Well, this one promised a gripping thriller, and it delivered. Since we are told from the beginning that we are being played, the only thing left for us to do is to sit back and enjoy the ride.

I was properly hooked in from the get go. The chapters alternated between Vanessa, the “crazy ex”, and Nellie, a young and sweet pre-school teacher, preparing to marry the amazing Richard. There was one eyeroll-worthy moment at the end of the first part, and I thought “Oh, please not this again!”, but soon after that shit hit the fan.

Assume nothing!

There are quite a few domestic thrillers out there with similar premise: a woman obsessed with some dude who is married, has a girlfriend, not interested, you name it, and they just have to get him. Majority of these women however are rather insufferable. Just think of The Last Mrs. Parrish or The Girlfriend: both of those lead characters were proper bitches.

Vanessa comes across pretty unhinged, and yet I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards her. I loved her relationship with her aunt, and Aunt Charlotte herself is a pretty sweet character. With her calmness, and the air of artsiness around her she’s quite the opposite of Vanessa who is all over the place, and quite frankly a mess.

Set in New York, this quick page turner has great characters, an intriguing sub-plot, and an unexpected ending I did not see coming.

I’ll be on the lookout for more from this duo.

Get The Wife Between Us: A Gripping Psychological Thriller with a Shocking Twist You Won’t See Coming on Amazon UK.

Ran out of Stephen King reading material? These might just be the books for you

It was a sizzling summer day when, at the age of fourteen, I first came across a Stephen King book. My friend’s dad lent me his copy of Gerald’s Game, and it was love at first sight. I spent the entire day in my shaded room, sipping my ice cold lemonade (actually, it most likely was Coke), reading well into the night.

This was twenty years ago, and since then I have pretty much read everything the man wrote. I still need to get my hands on Sleeping Beauties, the book he wrote with his son, Owen, and Gwendy’s Button Box, a collaboration with Richard Chizmar.

You can imagine my delightful little squeal when I saw the master’s new book is coming in May. The Outsider has no official cover yet, but I honestly couldn’t care less.

But the wait is long, and it feels like May is still far, far away. There are some new books coming out this year that might just satisfy our dark cravings in the meantime.


The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

 

The Storm King by Brendan Duffy

Nate McHale has assembled the kind of life most people would envy. After a tumultuous youth marked by his inexplicable survival of a devastating tragedy, Nate left his Adirondack hometown of Greystone Lake and never looked back. Fourteen years later, he’s become a respected New York City surgeon, devoted husband, and loving father.
Then a body is discovered deep in the forests that surround Greystone Lake.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.
Tamsen Donner must be a witch. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the pioneers to the brink of madness. They cannot escape the feeling that someone–or something–is stalking them.

 

The Hollow Tree by James Brogden

After losing her hand in a tragic accident, Rachel is plagued by vivid nightmares of a hollow tree, and a hand reaching from it, begging her for help.

Terrified that she is going mad, Rachel experiences phantom sensations of leaves, trees, and finally a hand that grasps hers and pulls a young woman into Rachel’s world.

 

Obscura by Joe Hart

In the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms are disturbing. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similar inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses.

For the full list and description from the publishers check out  BookBub.

To see the Goodreads description, click on the book title you are interested in from the list above.

Where the Memories Lie by Sibel Hodge

Where the Memories Lie by Sibel Hodge
Genres: Mystery
Published: 22nd September, 2015
Goodreads
Series: N/A
Rating: 3

Chilling family secrets, obsession and decades-old lies. How well do we really know the ones we love? A gripping psychological thriller from the #1 bestselling author of Look Behind You.
Twenty-five years ago Katie ran away from home and never came back. But now she’s suddenly reappeared in her best friend Olivia’s life—in the form of a chilling confession. Olivia’s father-in-law, wracked with guilt, says he murdered her all those years ago. Tom suffers from Alzheimer’s and his story is riddled with error and confusion. Except for one terrifying certainty: he knows where the body is buried.
As Olivia and the police piece together the evidence, they are left with one critical question. They have a crime, they have a confession, and now they have a body—but can any of it be trusted?


So, a family secret, you say? Blurted out by a frail Alzheimer’s patient? Would you really take everything at face value from someone who only last week was under the impression that he’s Gregory Peck? The story had potential, but imagine you stumble upon this secret in the man’s diary. The one he’d written when he was still at full mental capacity… Now that, I could get into.

This book is not really a suspenseful thriller, more a story about a tight knit family and the lengths they would go to protect those they love the most. How far would you go to keep a secret that could destroy your family? Would you ignore all your values and beliefs if they were not suitable anymore? Maybe you are one of those people who is a firm believer of giving out the highest possible sentence to criminals. But if it’s your child on trial? Would that make a difference?

We see the plot unfold from Olivia’s point of view. She’s Tom’s daughter in law, and potentially one of the most annoying characters I came across in recent months. As a nurse, I expected her to be the voice of reason, but as the outsider so to say, of course she had to be the one who triggers all the digging into the past. It just didn’t seem that plausible to me, purely because of the way she found out about the secret.

As we go along, the uneasiness grows, accusations fly around and everyone seems suspicious. Olivia is off the rocker, and the most painful of it all is that she doesn’t use her brain. You want to accuse someone? Fine, but at least don’t show all your “evidence”.

The end twist was nicely done, and I’m actually happy with the resolution. Is it a bit far fetched? Maybe. But I’ve learnt watching all those true crime documentaries is that people are capable of anything.

Get Where the Memories Lie on Amazon UK.

Blue Monday by Nicci French

Blue Monday by Nicci French
Genres: Thriller, Crime, Mystery
Published: 23rd June, 2011
Goodreads
Series: Frieda Klein #1
Rating: 2

The stunning first book in a new series of psychological thrillers introducing an unforgettable London psychotherapist Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place, but what we can control is what is inside our heads. This attitude is reflected in her own life, which is an austere one of refuge, personal integrity, and order.

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A red-haired child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew. She finds herself in the center of the investigation, serving as the reluctant sidekick of the chief inspector.

Drawing readers into a haunting world in which the terrors of the mind have spilled over into real life, “Blue Monday” introduces a compelling protagonist and a chilling mystery that will appeal to readers of dark crime fiction and fans of “In Treatment” and “The Killing.”


I just don’t get this book… There was a lot going on, but hardly anything actually happening in the first half. It was meant to be a story about a child kidnapping and the surrounding investigation, involving a psychotherapist. Sounds great, no? Well, that poor child was barely mentioned, he was more like an afterthought people every now and then remembered to mention in the background.

A strange mood enveloped the room where they sat, dreamy and sad.

And that strange and sad mood spilled our all over the whole story. The atmosphere was great. London at its most depressing. But there were just too many moments of staring out windows, sitting around tables and walks at 3 a.m.

Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist, or, according to her sister in law some kind of a doctor with a bunch of stuff after her name. But she’s also turned out to be a technophobe, Christmas-hater, miserable moron who is scared to be happy.

In fact, it had only been in the last year that she had finally bought an answering machine and she steadfastly refused to have a mobile, to the incredulity of all those around her, who didn’t believe that people could actually function without one. But Frieda wanted to be able to escape from incessant communications and demands.

Because having a mobile means having to be glued to it, doesn’t it? You can’t, like… heaven forbid, put it away or turn it off, can you?

Great start for someone who is supposed to be there for people to help putting their lives back together, right? But her constant negativity would put a damper on any happy person.

‘What am I doing this summer, you mean? I should warn you that I hate flying. And sunbathing on beaches.’

Yes, Frieda, we get it, everything’s shit. But we have no clue why, so it’s just annoying, sorry. I sometimes wondered if she even likes anything, apart from munching on toast in front of the fireplace.

There were quite a few pointless characters. Starting with Sandy, the boyfriend. What for? Poor dude appeared a few times, just so we get it that Frieda is afraid of commitment. I almost started feeling sorry for her that she’s taking so long to trust someone and not staying overnight or letting them come to her place, when the dude dropped a bombshell (new job, moving overseas) and turned out they know each other for some weeks only. WTF?

 

 

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Yet, he also thought it was a great idea to suggest she moves with him, and then when didn’t work, to suggest they get married. But sure, he’s the great, reliable dude, isn’t he.

 

 

Jack, Frieda’s student-protege-trainee whatever was another one of these people who just hung around to basically explain the obvious. Josef, the Ukranian dude who drove Frieda around, cooked meals for her and was perpetually confused because he didn’t bloody understand half the time what anyone was talking about and basic words had to be explained to him. Duh. Have they become friends? Fuck knows…

I did like Chief Inspector Karlsson though. A cool dude, who is trying his best. He at least resembled something we’d call a reasonable person.

Since this series is mainly about Frieda, I doubt I will read the next book.

His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James

His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Published: 1st January, 2013
Goodreads
Series: N/A
Rating: 2.5

Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.

But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.

For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?

And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura?


Great story idea, but fell short on the execution. It seems, nowadays the term “psychological thriller” gets thrown around frequently, even when it’s not the case.

There was very little suspense in the story. The chapters alternate between Laura and Daniel, and we find out quite early on why the kidnapping happened, even though the blurb made it sound like this will the most burning question in the book. Laura clearly suffers from some sort of a mental illness, but it’s hardly thrilling, mostly just sad. Despite getting to know her back story, I just couldn’t empathize with her, and I had a feeling that I was supposed to.

Daniel was not much more likable either, but I could at least get behind his anger, frustration and confusion.

The way the plot unfolded was rather far fetched, and I can’t help but feel that it took away from the potential suspense. It’s just my opinion, but I think the revelation about Laura not being his mother could have been more powerful if he stumbled across it by accident, thus confirming his suspicion, as opposed to the way it actually happened.

 

 

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That whole thing with him having green eyes, while Laura’s are blue and the alleged father’s brow starting a whole drama with DNA testing is just beyond annoying. I’m the living example of a green eyed person with a blue eyed mom and a brown eyed dad, an no, I was not found in a dumpster…

 

 

His “big reveal” at the end, his “real reason” for hating his so-called-mum, was not a reveal at all. It was clearly coming from miles away. Sometimes I wonder though… Am I reading too many of these types of books and I just got to know the formula, or is it really that obvious?

The dialogues were a pain to read. What is with this constant name calling? Why do you have to repeat the person’s name you are talking to in every other sentence? If anyone talked to me like that for real, I’d rip them a new butthole for sure.

For some reason all the people Daniel encounters in the story are some wise sages, full of understanding and patience, and great advice that could compete with a skillful psychologist, and yet, nobody in the book thinks that seeing an actual therapist could actually help. No way! What is more, they all seem to think that seeing one would actually be more harmful than anything.

Ian mentions seeing the doctor, pills, getting proper help, and I understand exactly what he means. Well, I won’t do it. I’m not going to allow some fresh-faced graduate whose experience of life is all from a textbook to probe around in my thoughts. Someone older wouldn’t be any better either. I doubt any of them would have dealt well with the crap I endured in my early life; what right would they have to throw clichés like ‘broken childhood home’ and ‘unresolved issues’ at me?

Laura going through all sorts of horrors from an early age, mentally unstable, but a psychologist would surely not understand any of it, nobody could. Well, aren’t you a special snowflake? Real mum, suffocating with guilt from the loss of her child, but no skilled professional would be able to help with this. A female friend of Daniel, who goes through some other sort of horrific, life changing experience, where a therapist would be absolutely zero help… Daniel? “I’d rather have a beer and a shag, thank you.” Obviously…

In conclusion, I’m not saying the book is terrible. I see why this kind of story appeals to people, but it’s not something I appreciate.

Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner

Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Published: 1st June, 2017 (Thomas & Mercer)
Goodreads
Series: N/A
Rating: 3

By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.

No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.

Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.

Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?


Well, this one was pretty good! I quite liked the idea of the book within the book (Charlotte’s half finished novel as a clue to her murder).

Can’t say the same thing about having to read some dialogues and scenarios twice because suddenly the story switched to the killer’s point of view. The fact that the identity of the murderer was quite obvious early on did not bother me. It was actually quite interesting, seeing how he behaves and trying to figure out what his motives were.

 

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That said, the killer going after Ella, and plotting her murder to tie up the loose ends, that were not even loose at the point he came up with this brilliant idea, was a bit over the top. I kept thinking “But what the hell for? Just chill, dude!”

 

To be fair the reason why he killed poor Charlotte is nothing earth shattering, and other reviewers marked this up on the negative side, but having watched tons and tons of true crime documentaries I know sometimes the motives for real murders are just plain stupid, and frankly disappointing.

From the book description the main character, Ella, sounded pretty interesting. I imagined her double life will be a big part of the story. Kind of like imagined something along the lines of Gipsy, the series I saw recently about this therapist who lives a proper double life with fake identity and a lot of subterfuge. Nothing like this happened here though. Apart from singing once in a club under a different name and some lipstick on, it was not mentioned again, and even the main character admitted, anyone who’ve ever met her would know straight away that it’s her. (Couldn’t help but think of Ron Swanson / Duke Silver… I’ll see myself out).

According to the bio the author is a practicing lawyer, and I must say, all the lawyer talk was nicely done, in a no-bullshit fashion. I actually look forward to reading more stories from him.

P.S. Loved the fact that the main characters are 5″2 (like me) and not some six foot tall amazons!

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Published: 27th December, 2016
Goodreads
Series: N/A
Rating: 3

Even the perfect marriage has its dark side…

Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.


I’ve read this about a month ago, and have to admit, I have no recollection of it…

After checking my notes on it, now I remember why. I found the story quite intriguing, based on the book description. But I was not prepared to put up with such a useless main character! She spent most of the story whining and flopping around and making remarks how “but Will is in Orlando, he is supposed to, he said so”. Yes, thank you, Iris, we got it.

The big reveal at the end was not so great after all… I could see it coming from about 50% in.

This whole mystery surrounding the husband, why was he not where he was meant to be… hmm… I must say I don’t remember what the reason was.
Enough said…