Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

Silent Night – Geraldine Hogan 5*#Review @bookouture @GerHogan #DetectiveIrisLocke #Ireland #policeprocedural #crimefiction #BlogTour

‘She reached into the pram and placed her hands on the cotton blanket. It was still warm. But her smiling, new baby sister, with her wide blue-grey eyes, was gone…’

Twenty-five years later, three bodies are found at a ramshackle cottage in the Irish countryside, and Detective Iris Locke is sick to her stomach. The victims are Anna Crowe and her two young children.

Iris has only recently joined the Limerick Murder Squad. Against her father’s advice, she’s working the narrow lanes and green hills of her childhood. Iris still remembers Anna, who was just a small girl when her baby sister was snatched, never to be seen again. It was the one case Iris’ own father never solved, and Iris can’t help but wonder if the two crimes are connected.

She’ll stop at nothing to find Anna justice, but a fire has destroyed almost all the physical evidence, and Limerick is the same small town she remembers: everybody protects their neighbours, and Iris has been away for too long.

Can Iris unpick the lies beneath the surface of her pretty hometown, and catch the most twisted individual of her career, when reopening the old case means reopening old wounds for her team, the rest of the community, and her own father?

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

My Thoughts…

All the ingredients for a stunning police procedural, are in this first book of the Detective Iris Locke series. An ambitious, clever detective, an atmospheric authentic setting, believable characters and unexpected twists in the poignant case, they are investigating.

The tragic first event sets the scene for this story and draws you in, even though you can’t immediately see how it is connected to what follows. Iris is desperate to work in Murder, and she needs to prove herself. Hardworking, and likeable, she is not sure if she can fit in with the other detectives. There are some wonderful characters in this story, the detectives are recognisable, and avoid stereotypes. Even Slatterly, who is the closest to a stereotype has a reason for his behaviour that is eventually revealed, making him believable.

The investigation is well thought out, and interesting, lots of suspects, with the true reasons behind the crime hidden until the end. The twists are believable, and unexpected, especially towards the end, and everything comes to a satisfying conclusion. With the prospect of more investigations for Iris and the team

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Geraldine Hogan

Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree in Training and Management from University College, Galway. She is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of four contemporary fiction novels under the pen name Faith Hogan.
Silent Night is her first crime novel, her second is due out in December 2019.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Fantasy, Horror Fiction, Magic, Noir

The End of the Line Gray Williams 3* #Review @canelo_co @gray_books #noir #magic #fantasy #dystopian #crime #paranormal #bookreview

A fast-paced thriller set on the streets of a London rife with undercover magic.

Abras, as they are known, can harness these illegal powers, but for con-artist Amanda Coleman – whose father was a powerful and abusive practitioner – magic is anathema.

When her criminal crew decide to hire an Abra to help with their heists, they don’t expect to raise a demon or to quickly lose control of it. Now Coleman and her crew must travel across Siberia to a remote stone circle in order to kill this murderous creature, who has destroyed everything they hold dear.

But as the demon’s power grows, a battle of wills commences. Coleman must fight to survive, facing demons both in chains and within herself.

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

My Thoughts…

Fantasy and paranormal fiction do not have the popularity of a few years ago. The current trend for fusion in genres allows for paranormal and fantasy themes, to fuse with the crime fiction genre, something which has always been popular in graphic novels.

‘The End of the Line’, is a crime based story set in a dystopian world, where magic is outlawed, and paranormals are used to further criminal ends, often, as in this case, with disastrous results.

The violent world setting of this novel is immediately apparent. The leader of the gang is ruthless and emotionally damaged having suffered a personal tragedy. The violence is vividly described, indeed this story would make an excellent graphic novel.

Understandably, there is a great deal of world-building in the main part of this story, which adds to the complexity, and takes the reader away from the main story. If you are a fan of fantasy worlds, this will not be a problem, but if you find it difficult to merge into someone else’s creation, this will reduce the book’s appeal.

The story is fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled and dark. There is little to dissipate the noir world, some of the characters do have redeeming features, but these cost them dearly. The picture painted, is of a world without hope.

So, not an uplifting read, but something to try, if you enjoy fantasy crime in a dark dystopian setting.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction

Boy Swallows Universe Trent Dalton 4* #Review @TrentDalton @BoroughPress @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK #LiteraryFiction #Comingof Age #FamilyDrama #Friendship #Romance #Magic #Crime #UrbanFiction #Australia #Brisbane

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious criminal for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already.

But Eli’s life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He’s about to fall in love. And he has to break into prison on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.

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I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction – Borough Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I’m always a little wary of critically acclaimed, and over-hyped books, often they are not as good as they are reputed to be. So I started this one with trepidation. Initial impressions are that is honest, raw, and full of experiences of urban life in Brisbane that do not make easy reading.

Eli and August, are brothers, their carers’ lives are driven by drugs, and the boys have to constantly battle adversity to keep the family together. Despite the family’s dysfunctionality, the love the boys feel for their mother and each other dominates this story and puts into perspective many of the bizarre and often frightening experiences they endure.

At the end of this lengthy book, there is a note from the author, about how the story came into being, what it means to him and the story’s themes. It is, on reading this that you appreciate, it is more of a memoir than fiction, although seen through a young child’s and then young boys eyes. I wish I’d read this note first because it grounds this complex story, and makes it more relatable.

There is a great deal of imagination in this story, magic if you like, which I attributed to a young boy’s need to escape from the harshness of his life, and give himself the power to overcome some its more sordid aspects.

I’m still not sure if I liked it, but the writing is engaging and authentic, the story moves forward in an understandable way, and it gives an insider view of Australian life, particularly life in Brisbane and Queensland, through a young person’s viewpoint.

The characters are the lifeblood of this story, and the author indicates that they are based on people he knows or a medley of them, in his personal and journalistic life. Many are not likeable, and the danger the children are exposed to is disturbing, but they are real, and the reality of this story is what stays with you.

An unusual tale of growing up and surviving life in a gritty urban setting. With a cast of characters, covering the spectrum of humanity, and the humour, love and magic required to reach adulthood.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance

An Elegant Solution Anne Atkins 4* #Review @anne_atkins @malcolmdown #Mystery #crime #friendship #romance #autism #BlogTour #BookReview #LoveBooksTours #LiteraryFiction @LoveBooksGroup #MondayBlogs #Cambridge

#LoveBooksTours – An Elegant Solution – Anne Atkins

When someone mentions the City of Cambridge you probably think of an iconic building, its four corners stretching out of the once medieval mud and into the arms of everlasting heaven, its white limestone yearning into eternity… and without even knowing exactly what ephemeral joys or permanent wonders the vision brings to mind, it’s a safe bet that the one thought which does not occur to you is that the Chapel might not be there by Christmas.

Theo (Theophilus Ambrose Fitzwilliam Wedderburn to his friends) is a Junior Research Fellow in Number Theory. Prompted by a supervisee to demonstrate how to trace the provenance of bitcoins, Theo happens across a shocking revelation, with embarrassing ramifications for the whole University. Meanwhile, he is being stalked unseen by someone from his childhood. To his annoyance, Theo falls for a cheap con… and discovers a horror set not only to rock the very seat of power itself but to change the face of Cambridge and its beautifully iconic image forever.

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

My Thoughts…

This book is on one level, like its title, elegant, the setting in Cambridge draws you into the iconic place, where, in some ways, nothing has changed. The criminal threat and technological mystery, impose the contemporary world on the academic establishment, causing ripples and threatening the people and ancient buildings.

The characters are what makes this story stand out. I did find it difficult to get into initially, but Theo and Charlotte have an intriguing relationship, that faces both internal and external conflict. Theo’s character is significant and gives an honest portrayal of autism and how it affects the individual’s perception of the world, and those around him.

The detailed theory will not be for everyone, but even if that is not for you, there is still a lovely character-driven drama to enjoy.

Anne Atkins

Anne Atkins is a well-known English broadcaster and journalist, and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. She took an involuntary, and long, break from writing fiction when her son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, their daughter repeatedly hospitalized with a severe illness, and finally, the family was made homeless. Thankfully those dark days are now behind her and she and her husband Shaun along with some of her children now live happily in Bedford, England.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime

5* #Review Two Victims Helen H Durrant @joffebooks @hhdurrant #crime #policeprocedural #Manchester #FemaleDetective #DCIRachelKing

A MURDERED WOMAN FOUND ON A BUILDING SITE. EXECUTED BY A SINGLE GUNSHOT.

BUT WORSE IS TO COME. ANOTHER BODY IS FOUND BURIED IN THE SAME PLACE.

Detective Rachel King has two victims to deal with. The first woman was a local nurse, Agnes Moore. One of the victim’s friends makes contact but then disappears.

Does Rachel have a serial killer on her hands? And what was Agnes really helping local girls with?

Will Rachel’s former lover, well-know villain Jed McAteer come back to haunt her with his connections to the victims. Who will pay the ultimate price next?

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

My Thoughts…

This series is becoming addictive.

The second in the DCI Rachel King series has a girl on the run, and a murder. DCI Rachel King continues to find juggling home and work life difficult. Thankfully her ex-husband is there for the girls, but now he seems on edge, just when she Rachel starts another murder case. Rachel’s ties with a supposedly reformed organised crime boss, continue to plague her, threatening the status quo both personally and workwise.

This is a well-written police procedural, with strong, and realistically flawed protagonists, and menacing antagonists. People trafficking vice and drugs themes dominate this story. There are crossovers to Rachel’s case, that bring her into to contact with DCI Kenton. They clash over their cases, and Kenton knows more than Rachel would like. Final plot twists set the scene for the next book in the series, and I can’t wait to read it.

If you want to read book 1 first?

Click the link for my review of Next Victim

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

Then She Vanishes – Claire Douglas 5* #Review @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks @Dougieclaire #PsychologicalThriller #Crime #FamilyDrama #MondayBlogs

THE ONLY THING MORE SHOCKING THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST.

Everything changed the night Flora disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

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I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

It is this novel’s complexity and depth that makes it such a riveting read.

A shooting, a missing girl and a failed suicide, the clues are evident, but there are so many permutations when the past is interwoven with the present, is it really as simple as it seems? The beginning is shocking, and the guilty party obvious? Until you meet the cast of characters, both in the present day and eighteen years previously. Everyone seems guilty, and you begin to doubt your observation skills and understanding of what is happening.

Jess, a journalist is trying to make a new start in Bristol, but when there is a sudden, violent incident in the town where she grew up, the past and present collide, and she has to face secrets she kept for years, and confront why she always seems to be running away.

Margot’s life changed irrevocably eighteen years ago, but not for the first time. Now she faces heartbreak again, can she survive the loss of both her daughters?

The plot is fast-paced and easy to follow, as it moves between the past and present, and the different points of view. The characters are believable, as are the situations they find themselves in. Jess has a unique role in the story, both objective from her profession and subjective from her relationship with the family. This allows her, and the reader insights that an outsider wouldn’t have, but also raises moral questions of bias and loyalty.

The unravelling of what led to the murders and the disappearance of Flora is realistic. The twists are clever, and the final chapters, adrenaline led and thought-provoking.

A cerebral thriller, that is both poignant and twisted.