Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, New Books, Noir, Suspense

Buried For Good Alex Coombs 5*#Review @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #PIHanlon #Scotland #BuriedForGood #noircrime #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

On a remote island, everyone is a suspect…

When Private Investigator Hanlon is hired to protect famous yoga instructor Camille Anderson on her Scottish island retreat, she thinks this may be her simplest job yet.

But when an attack on Camille’s life goes wrong, it soon becomes clear that there is a murderer on the island – and Hanlon will stop at nothing to track them down.

With only a small group of guests the suspects are clear, but as the body count rises Hanlon must step up to find out who the killer is before it’s too late…

A tense, atmospheric page-turner from Alex Coombs.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The latest book in the PI Hanlon has action, self-realisation, romance and suspense. The plot is layered with many suspects, two crime threads and a cast of characters who are not what they seem.

I have enjoyed all the books in this series, but after reading the previous series where Hanlon is a police officer, I appreciated her creative character more. She is a clever and courageous woman with undoubted issues, but her many positive traits outweigh these and make her likeable.

The story takes place in Scotland on an atmospheric island, Glasgow and the rural west coast. There is a murder mystery ethos to the first part of the story, with all the suspects marooned on an island battered by severe weather. There are also elements of psychological suspense and the supernatural which keep the reader guessing.

The clues to the final reveal are all there but well hidden. The suspense building leads to a climactic ending and a positive personal conclusion.

Alex Coombs

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He is the author of the highly acclaimed DCI Hanlon series.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Friendship, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Suspense, Travel

The Wild Girls Phoebe Morgan 4* #Review @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #PsychSuspense #Relationships #Friends #Botswana #TheWildGirls

In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…

  • THE BIRTHDAY GIRL: Has it all, but chose love over her friends…
  • THE TEACHER: Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…
  • THE MOTHER: Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…
  • THE INTROVERT: Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…

Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is atmospheric psychological suspense that explores friendship, relationships, and secrets. The Wild Girls, four friends who grew up together, all different personalities but a close-knit friendship group until the night they weren’t. Two years later and no one is in contact. A surprise invitation to celebrate a birthday in Botswana brings back memories, some good, others troubling, but will they go? Of course, they do and find themselves in a hostile environment which quickly turns toxic.

The suspense building is good, but not enough is made of the Botswanan location. Told in three parts from multiview points some first-person, others third-person. The secrets are gradually revealed as the events of their estrangement become clear. The three women are unreliable protagonists and hard to empathise with. The story is well-plotted, and the final chapters are particularly twisty and impactful.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, New Books, Noir

Games People Play Owen Mullen 4* #Review #PICharlieCameron @OwenMullen6 @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbooks #BlogTour #BookReview #Detective #MissingPersons #CrimeFiction #noir #MondayBlogs #GamesPeoplePlay #cantgiveupwontgivein

When a baby is stolen from a Scottish beach, private investigator Charlie Cameron reluctantly agrees to take the case.

While her parents are just yards away, thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland. Three days later, her distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has taken his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment, Charlie takes the case—and when bodies are discovered, he suspects this may not be an isolated crime. Is there a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades? Is baby Lily his latest victim? Charlie won’t be able to give up on this case. Memories and guilt from his childhood won’t let him… Owen Mullen is a best-selling author of psychological and gangland thrillers.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The story begins with a traumatic struggle for life followed by a sinister child abduction. Charlie Cameron is a successful private investigator with a tender heart. A past emotional trauma defines him, and he never takes cases involving children until now.

The first in the series introduces the reader to Charlie, his friends and his clients. The writing style draws the reader into his world, and it’s easy to imagine the characters and setting, which makes this addictive and engaging.

The plot is full of clues, false leads and complex, often toxic relationships. It showcases the best and worst of humanity in a heartrending and poignant way. Charlie is a dedicated and diligent investigator. Driven by his emotions and past experiences, he understands human nature and the devastation of a lack of closure and loss. His empathy gives him important insight but at the risk of his wellbeing.

Aptly named, Games People Play is well-plotted noir suspense, with relatable characters and a likeable main protagonist.

Owen Mullen

Owen Mullen is a highly regarded crime author who splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete.  In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. He has now written seven books and his first gangland thriller for Boldwood, Family  will be published in January 2021.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Suspense

Missing Pieces Tim Weaver 5*#Review @TimWeaverBooks @PenguinUKBooks @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #Mystery #suspense #CrimeFiction #MissingPieces


You don’t know your darkest secret.

But someone else does . . .

Rebekah Murphy knows too much. . .

She knows she’s alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail.
She knows that to get home to her children, she must survive long enough to understand why this is happening.
She knows someone tried to kill her for a secret.
What she doesn’t know is what that secret is . . .

Detective Frank Travis doesn’t know enough . . .

He doesn’t know where to find Louise Mason. He doesn’t know how and why she vanished into thin air three months ago. He doesn’t know the identity of the man last seen talking to her. Not yet.
But what he does know it that he’s a week away from retirement — and if he doesn’t find out where Louise went, no one will.

What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realise is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle — and it will cost them everything they love to finally solve it . . .

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is story plays out like a never-ending nightmare, tinged with fantasy, horror.

Rebekah is marooned on an inhospitable, remote island. Can she survive? Why is she there? The reader experiences her ordeal intimately as the storyline, past and present, immerses you in her claustrophobic and sinister world. Frank is a cop about to retire, but he needs to solve one last missing person’s case. These two seemingly unconnected stories are full of clues and misinformation as somewhere within are the missing pieces to both mysteries.

The dual timelines from Rebekah’s viewpoint are complex and initially confusing. This is intentional to let the reader experience Rebekah’s disorientation and sense of hopelessness. The plot keeps its secrets and uses spurious information to keep the reader guessing. Rebekah is a flawed and unreliable protagonist, but despite this, she evokes empathy from the reader.

The mystery is well-plotted and largely plausible, the characters are relatable, and the suspense building is addictive.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

My Little Girl Shalini Boland 5*#Review @ShaliniBoland @Bookouture #Family #Secrets #Lies #Friendship #BookReview #psychsuspense #MyLittleGirl #FridayReads

Your daughter is missing. Did someone close to you take her?

Seven-year-old Beatrice has gone missing. Her mother Claire’s whole world has been turned upside down in just one moment and she can’t stop shaking. She’s desperate to find her precious daughter, but nothing about the day she disappeared makes sense…

The mother-in-law: Jill was meant to be looking after Beatrice. She says she didn’t take her eyes off the little girl but her version of events doesn’t add up… Claire has never got on with her, so why should she trust her now?

The husband: He should have been with their only child. Instead, he changed the plans without telling Claire. She didn’t think there were any secrets between them, but maybe she was wrong?

The first wife: Laurel has always been jealous of Claire’s family. Has her husband’s ex-wife taken her daughter?

Which one of them is lying? And who really knows where Beatrice is?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley in return for an honest review..

My Thoughts…

This is a compelling read. The author’s ability to take a traumatic incident and weave an ethos of menace and suspense is what makes her stories so addictive. Told from multi viewpoints, the reader gains insight into the two unreliable protagonists and the unknown antagonist.

The family unit is scrutinised, and the devastation a missing child causes is convincingly written. The believably written relationship dynamics immerse the reader into the characters’ traumatised world. The story keeps its secrets well, and although I did work out the antagonist, the author still has the final word.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, International Thriller, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

Vanished James Delargy 4* #Review @JDelargyAuthor @simonschusterUK #Vanished #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #PschSuspense #Thriller #Detective #Australia

From the groundbreaking author of 55 comes an extraordinary new thriller…

The Kane family, Lorcan, Naiyana and their young son, relocate from Perth to Kallayee, an abandoned mining town in the Great Victoria Desert to start over again, free from their chequered past. 
 
The town seems like the perfect getaway: Peaceful. Quiet. Remote. Somewhere they won’t be found.  
 
But life in Kallayee isn’t quite as straightforward as they hope. There are noises in the earth, mysterious shadows and tracks in the dust as if the town is coming back to life. 
 
But the family can’t leave. No one can talk sense into them.
 
And now, no one can talk to them at all.
 
They’ve simply vanished. 
 
Now it’s up to Detective Emmaline Taylor to find them… before it’s too late. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric, intriguing fusion of psychological thriller and police procedural. Written from multi viewpoints, it allows the reader an omnipotent insight into events both past and present from the unreliable protagonists’ viewpoint and that of the detective leading the investigation into their disappearance.

Based on betrayal, deceit and secrets, most of the characters are hard to like as they exhibit the worst side of humanity. The suspense-building uses sensory imagery to immerse the reader into the barren and unforgiving setting. This allows the reader insight into what the characters perceive and how it feels. Even ordinary occurrences are disturbing in the right circumstances.

The final twists are impactful and poignant.

James Delargy

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Political Thriller, Thriller

The Rift Rachel Lynch 5* #Review @r_lynchcrime @canelo_co #CrimeFiction #International #Thriller #political #France # MilitaryPolice #BookReview #TheRift

She’s determined to save a stolen son. But will that mean justice?

As a high-ranking woman in the Royal Military Police, Major Helen Scott gets the job done – no matter the task. So when she is pulled in to lead a NATO summit security team in Paris, it barely causes a ripple. Yet within hours she’s dispatched to Lyon on a new mission. One with a complex problem at its heart.

Kahlil Dalmani and Fawaz bin Nabil were close in childhood, growing up in the hubbub of Algiers. As men, they are both wildly successful. Yet their paths to fortune have caused a rift. Fawaz’s empire is built on illegal trade, and when his estranged friend refuses to grant a favour he seeks to change Kahlil’s mind the best way he knows how: kidnapping his son, Hakim.

Working out of the Interpol headquarters, Helen must unpick a web of deceit that spreads across borders and dates back years. Only by trusting those from her own painful past can she hope to return Hakim to his family. But with her focus on saving one life, she risks overlooking a plan that puts many others in grave danger.

An explosive and gripping crime thriller from one of the most brilliant British crime fiction authors of recent years.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Canelo Crime via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a suspenseful international thriller from the author of the DI Kelly Porter series.

Set in France and North Africa, it features Major Helen Scott, a Royal Military Police officer. Helen, on first acquaintance, appears to be a career officer but this more by design than intention after a personal tragedy. The story is multi-viewpoint, and several sub-plots successfully dovetail into a climactic conclusion.

The contemporary plot is authentic and multilayered with a good balance of action and introspection. The detailed and vivid writing style makes the action and settings easy to visualise.

The reader gets to know the main characters and what motivates them well. Helen Scott has emotional strength and human flaws making her believable. The cast of characters are diverse and add to the story’s authenticity and depth of interest.

In conclusion, this is an exciting international political crime thriller.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama

Lost Cause Rachel Lynch 5* #Review #DIKellyPorter @r_lynchcrime @canelo_co #LakeDistrict #Cumbria #CrimeFiction #Urban #Detective #BookReview

Is he a victim? Or a killer?

Kevin Flint is a young man on the cusp of adulthood and something of a misfit. He has no friends and a reputation of being odd. At home he lives in fear of his cruel, controlling father. Kevin starts spending time at an abandoned church with an ancient graveyard, and learns couples also go there to have sex. He becomes obsessed with watching them. Soon, one of the women who he has followed is reported missing.

DI Kelly Porter investigates the disappearance and knows that the adolescent boy is hiding something. Kevin is culpable, but to what degree? The evidence against him begins to stack up and Kelly is torn between instinct and facts. Distracted by a looming crisis in her personal life, can she preserve what she loves and still uphold the laws she lives by?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is another addictive book in the DI Kelly Porter series set in Cumbria. It’s an intriguing medley of noir crime, police investigation, and the personal lives of the detective team.

Kelly is a likeable detective who is motivated by the need to seek justice for crime victims. Although career-driven, she does have an increasingly important personal life which shows another side to her and sometimes makes her professionally vulnerable.

Although the violent crimes featured are disturbing to read about, the detailed descriptions are necessary to the story. There’s an authentic team dynamic with a good mix of personal and professional interactions.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Literary Humour, Political Thriller

Facets of Death Michael Stanley 4*#Review The Detective Kubu series @detectivekubu @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #FacetsofDeath #DetectiveKubu #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

A dark and sophisticated thriller set in the heart of Botswana,
introducing Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove.

When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself.

First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.

Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Botswana in the late 1990s, this story introduces the reader to Kubu as he embarks on his career as a police detective. The story is multi-viewpoint and written in a police procedural style with a keen insight into the culture and politics of the Botswanan setting.

This is an atmospheric noir story with multiple murders. Kubu proves to be worthy of his fast-track appointment, as he gradually wins around those opposed to his detective status. He is an intuitive, intelligent investigator. His relative youth makes him impulsive in following leads despite the personal risk, but this is also what makes him effective.

This is an absorbing story with a likeable detective.

Michael StanleyMichael Sears and Stanley Trollip

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.

The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award. They have also written a thriller, Dead of Night, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery

After the Storm Isabella Muir 4* #Review @SussexMysteries A Giuseppe Bianchi Mystery #HistoricalFiction #Histfic #Crime @rararesources #SussexCrimes #1960s #AftertheStorm

 

When a violent storm blasts England’s south coast, it’s up to retired Italian detective Giuseppe Bianchi to sift through the devastation and piece together the tragic events left behind in the storm’s wake.

Giuseppe Bianchi’s brief visit to Bexhill-on-Sea has become an extended stay. He is loath to return to his home in Rome because of the haunting images that made him leave in the first place.

During his morning walks along the seafront with Beagle, Max, he meets Edward Swain, who becomes Giuseppe’s walking companion. They form a friendship of sorts and find they have a similar outlook on life.

But the devastating events of a single night lead Giuseppe to question the truth about Edward Swain. Teaming up with young journalist, Christina Rossi – his cousin’s daughter – Giuseppe learns about the brutal reality lurking behind the day-to-day life of families in the local community. And as the story unravels Giuseppe is reminded how anger and revenge can lead to the most dreadful of crimes.

After the Storm is the second novel in the Giuseppe Bianchi mystery series – the much awaited sequel to Crossing the Line. Grab your copy today and enjoy the intrigue of traditional English mystery, cleverly combined with a continental twist.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is the second book in the Guiseppe Bianchi mysteries set in Bexhill on Sea. The mystery is complete but reading the first book gives the reader insight into the main character, his family and his secrets. The setting in the nineteen sixties is atmospheric and authentic. The gently paced investigation is in keeping with the historical period and encompasses different threads interwoven into the main investigation.

Guiseppe is an enigmatic character, intuitive, likeable and a little mysterious. The investigative partnership with journalist Christina works well. Their different skills complement the other. The family is central to the story and valued by Guiseppe.

If you are looking for a gently paced, well-written mystery, this is worth reading.

Isabella Muir

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then she has gone on to publish six novels, three novellas and two short story collections.

Her latest novel, After the Storm, is the second novel in a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Her first Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

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