Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Written in Blood Chris Carter 5*#Review @simonschusterUK #ChrisCarter @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #RobertHunter #Detective #BlogTour #BookReview #WritteninBlood

A serial killer will stop at nothing…

The Killer
His most valuable possession has been stolen.
Now he must retrieve it, at any cost.

The Girl
Angela Wood wanted to teach the man a lesson. It was a bag, just like all the others. But when she opens it, the worst nightmare of her life begins.

The Detective
A journal ends up at Robert Hunter’s desk. It soon
becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose.
And if he can’t stop him in time, more people will die.
If you have read it

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

My Thoughts…

Written in Blood is book 11 in the Robert Hunter series but the first I’ve read and it was good. It starts slowly, with Angela, a professional pickpocket with a tragic history. Unfortunately, she steals something from a ruthless killer that he wants back. The dark game begins as she cleverly involves a forensic scientist and ultimately Hunter and Garcia an elite detective team.

The writing style engages the reader from the beginning and layers on the menace, suspense and twists until you’re breathless. Clever subterfuge and authentic psychological profiling coupled with short pacy chapters and multi-person points of view, make the reader part of the story.

It’s graphic but not overtly allowing the reader’s imagination to expand or shut down the descriptions. It has a contemporary edge which makes it relevant and relatable.

This is a well-written noir crime novel. It resonates due to the quality of the characters and the authenticity of the setting.

Chris Carter

Born in Brazil of Italian origin, Chris Carter studied psychology and criminal behaviour at the University of Michigan. As a member of the Michigan State District Attorney’s Criminal Psychology team, he interviewed and studied many criminals, including serial and multiple homicide offenders with life imprisonment convictions. He now lives in London.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Blackwatertown Paul Waters 4*#Review @PaulWaters99 @Unbound_Digital @RandomTTours #noircrime #CrimeFiction #NorthernIreland #Ireland #1950s #Historical #BlogTour #BookReview #Blackwatertown

When maverick police sergeant Jolly Macken is banished to the sleepy 1950s Irish border village of Blackwatertown, he vows to find the killer of his brother – even if the murderer is inside the police.

But a lot can happen in a week. Over seven days Macken falls in love, uncovers dark family secrets, accidentally starts a war and is hailed a hero and branded a traitor. When Blackwatertown explodes into violence, who can he trust?

And is betrayal the only way to survive?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The attitudes, traditions and violence of 1950s Ireland are all reflected in the first chapter of this thriller. What follows is an impactful and pacy exploration of Jolly Macken’s posting in Blackwatertown, a small border town in Ireland.

This historical noir crime novel immerses the reader in the Irish ‘troubles’. Interwoven into this adrenaline-fueled, poignant thriller are the sectarianism, split families, and the culture of silence. Humour lightens this often dark story.

Macken is an enigmatic, but relatable character. His flaws make him believable, and he earns the reader’s empathy.

Paul Waters is an award-winning BBC producer and co-presenter of the We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast, shortlisted for 2020 Books Podcast of the Year. Paul grew up in Belfast during ‘the Troubles’ and went on to report and produce for BBC TV and radio.

His claim to fame is making Pelé his dinner. Paul has covered US politics, created a G8 Summit in a South African township, gone undercover in Zimbabwe, conducted football crowds, reported from Swiss drug shooting-up rooms, smuggled a satellite dish into Cuba and produced the World Service’s first live coverage of the 9/11 attacks on America.

He also taught in Poland, drove a cab in England, busked in Wales, was a night
club cook in New York, designed computer systems in Dublin, presented
podcasts for Germans and organised music festivals for beer drinkers. He lives
in Buckinghamshire and has two children.

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

Death Remembered K.E.Coburn 4*#Review #ASleuthingClubMystery @KeCoburn @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #1950s #VillageLife #historical #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview

Summer 1952.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

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

My Thoughts…

This 1950s village is the perfect setting for a naive but intelligent amateur sleuth and a slew of nasty letters and murder. Charity, the vicar’s daughter is desperate to leave the quiet village where she lives, nothing ever happens. The highlight of her week is the sleuthing club where they discuss crime fiction. Then her lovely father received a poison pen letter, and she decides to find out who has sent them.

Murder makes the investigation a police matter. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple Charity has a tense relationship with the police detective that you suspect may improve with acquaintance and results. Full of clues, false leads and suspects this engaging story reflects the characters, society and village life in the 1950s well.

This first book is an entertaining and promising start to the Sleuthing Club series.

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on social media

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Weekend Away Sarah Alderson 4*#Review @sarahalderson @AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #Lisbon #Friendship #BookReview #TheWeekendAway

Two friends go on holiday. Only one comes back.

Orla and Kate have been best friends forever. Together they’ve faced it all – be it Orla’s struggles as a new mother or Kate’s messy divorce. And whatever else happens in their lives, they can always look forward to their annual weekend away.

This year, they’re off to Lisbon: the perfect flat, the perfect view, the perfect itinerary. And what better way to kick things off in style than with the perfect night out?

But when Orla wakes up the next morning, Kate is gone. Brushed off by the police and with only a fuzzy memory of the night’s events, Orla is her friend’s only hope. As she frantically retraces their steps, Orla makes a series of shattering discoveries that threaten everything she holds dear. Because while Lisbon holds the secret of what happened that night, the truth may lie closer to home…

A twisty holiday read

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The predictability of this story’s foundation makes it relatable, and when it all goes wrong so much more chilling. Orla and Kate best friends embark on a long-awaited weekend away. Orla, a new mum, is torn between rekindling her friendship and lost identity and staying home with the child she idolises. She goes and quickly gets into the weekend away vibe. Unfortunately, the next morning Kate is missing, and so is Orla’s recollection of the night before.

The story follows Orla trying to find Kate and what she uncovers along the way. There are lots of twists, plenty of smokescreens and unreliable characters. Who can she trust? The suspenseful, pacy plot engenders a sense of danger.

I like the dynamic between Orla and her unlikely hero. The ending is true to the psychological thriller genre, unexpected, unexplained and unsettling.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Watch Over You M.J.Ford 4*#Review @MJFordBooks@AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #Suspense #DSJosieMasters #BookReview #WatchOverYou

The hunt is on. And this time, it’s personal…

When DS Josie Masters is called out to a house in North Oxford to investigate a serious incident, things take a personal turn. The body is Harry’s – her friend and former colleague.

Josie thought Harry lived alone, but evidence suggests he’d had a lodger – a young woman who has fled the scene.

And as more killings stun Oxford, the police discover the picture is more complicated than it appeared.

The young woman is on the run, and someone is following her – leaving a stack of bodies in their wake…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A contemporary, gritty police procedural with a relatable female detective, and a complex investigation. DS Josie Masters is now a single mum returning to work for the first time since the birth of her son. She’s conflicted, but her driven personality and diligence to her role keeps her on active duty.

Her first murder is personal and violent, and old friend and everything is not as it first appears. The pacing is commensurate with the investigation, which is hampered by further seemingly unrelated deaths. I read this as a standalone enjoyably, but if you can read all of the books in the series to understand the character development and relationships at play.

This has a noir-crime ethos emphasised by the occasional chapters from a disturbed individual.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Deadly Wishes Rachel McLean 4*#Review #DetectiveZoeFinch @rachelmcwrites @rararesources #CrimeFiction #Detective #WestMidlands #DeadlyWishes

Meet Zoe Finch, West Midlands Police’s newest Detective Inspector. She’s outspoken, ambitious, and damaged. And she’s working a case that could make her career, or cost her everything…

Fresh from the success of the Canary investigation into depravity and corruption at the highest levels, Zoe has attracted attention. Not least from Assistant Chief Constable Bryn Jackson.

But when Jackson is brutally murdered on the night of his retirement party, Zoe is dragged into a case that’s deeply personal.

All the evidence points to the victim’s downtrodden wife, who has secrets of her own. But Zoe begins to suspect all isn’t as it seems. Could Jackson’s death be linked to the Canary case? And what is her new boss, DCI David Randle, hiding?

Seeking out the truth will force Zoe to confront her own past and put her career, and her team’s lives, on the line.

Deadly Wishes is a gritty crime thriller.

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

My Thoughts…

Female-led police procedurals are a favourite of mine, and this is one that I will add to my list of series to follow. Zoe Finch is a forceful character, dedicated to her career and her son. She’s intelligent and diligent and has caught the attention of the top echelons of the police after success in her last case. At the outset, the reader isn’t sure whether this due to her detecting skills or the threat she poses, to the hierarchy.

The death of a senior police officer puts Zoe in the middle of a politically sensitive murder inquiry. The victim had enemies, some close to home, and Zoe’s immediate superior seems determined to relegate her to the sidelines and close the case quickly.

Well-paced and plotted this story has an addictive quality. It explores contemporary issues concerning the police force, particularly corruption and misogyny. The characters are complex and relatable. The suspense building leads to many surprises, and there’s an undercurrent of menace increasing as the story reaches its climax.

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at a breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Nordic Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Playdate Alex Dahl 4*#Review @alexdahlauthor @HoZ_Books #Psychological #suspense #family #drama #NordicNoir #BlogTour #BookReview #Playdate #FridayReads

It was meant to be your daughter’s first sleepover.
Now it’s an abduction.

Lucia Blix went home from school for a playdate with her new friend Josie. Later that evening, Lucia’s mother Elisa dropped her overnight things round and kissed her little girl goodnight.

That was the last time she saw her daughter.

The next morning, when Lucia’s dad arrived to pick her up, the house was empty. No furniture, no family, no Lucia.

In Playdate, Alex Dahl puts a microscope on a seemingly average, seemingly happy family plunged into a life-altering situation. Who has taken their daughter, and why?

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

My Thoughts….

This story painstakingly explores a parents’ worse nightmare. The suspense builds from the first pages and increases to an almost painful intensity. Elisa loses her child, but she’s hiding something making her difficult to empathise.

This story is told from multi-points of view, but are any of the viewpoints reliable? The intricate plot is slow-paced in keeping with the Nordic Noir genre. It’s possible to work out the motivations for Lucia’s abduction, but the plot keeps its mystery until the end. It’s absorbing and atmospheric with a realistic ending.

Alex Dahl – Image credit- Nina Rangoy

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she studied Russian and German linguistics with international studies, then went on to complete an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University and an MSc in business management at Bath University. A committed Francophile, Alex loves to travel and has so far lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland, Bath and London. Her first thriller, The Boy at the Door, was a Sunday Times Crime Club star pick.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Darkest Night Jenny O’Brien 5*#Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #Wales #BlogTour #DarkestNight #BookReview #17July #Preorder

Christine De Bertrand wakes up to her worst nightmare: rather than the man she went to bed with, lying beside her is her housemate, Nikki – dead. With no memory of the night before, Christine can’t explain what happened, and the police are baffled. For DC Gaby Darin, newly arrived from Swansea after her last case ended in tragedy, it’s a mystery she’s determined to solve. When another woman goes missing, Gaby faces a race against time to uncover the link between the two victims and find the man who vanished from Christine’s bedroom. But as Gaby gets close, the killer gets closer – and soon one of Gaby’s own team is in unimaginable danger…

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

My Thoughts…

The second Detective Gaby Darin book has a well-constructed plot and excellent characters. This contemporary mix of police procedural and psychological suspense told from multi-viewpoints is absorbing. The reader gains an omniscient view of the events but is everyone a reliable narrator?

The story is pacy and intelligently plotted. The crime descriptions are graphic and add to the authenticity. Psychological suspense makes the investigation complex, which makes detecting the criminal harder.

There’s an adrenaline-inducing conclusion that keeps you guessing.

Jenny O’Brien was abandoned in Dublin at the tender age of 17 by her parents when they decided to move to Wales. It was only on the completion of her studies that she was finally able to join them. 
She’s an avid reader and book blogger in addition to being a RoNA book judge. She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. 

In her spare time, she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.

Jenny currently resides on the island of Guernsey with her husband, children and cats. She works as a nurse and writes in her spare time. 
 

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, New Books, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Heatwave Katerina Diamond 4*#Review @AvonBooksUK @TheVenomousPen #PsychologicalThriller #suspense #noir #CrimeFiction #SurviveTheHeatwave #BookReview #TheHeatwave

One summer. One stranger. One killer…

It can’t happen here…’

But what if it does – twice?

In their sleepy seaside town, Jasmine and Felicity have only ever felt safe.

Until Jasmine’s parents invite a stranger to stay, and they sense something about him isn’t right.

Tim is watching them both.

And then their community is rocked by a disappearance…

Years later, a second girl goes missing in her hometown, and Felicity is forced to return to face the truth.

A predator is stalking the streets. And only she holds the answers.

The unmissable new standalone thriller from the bestselling author of The Teacher and Woman in the Water

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Intense and immersive, this psychological thriller is suspenseful and twisted. Told from dual points of view Felicity in the present and Jasmine in the past it reveals a shocking story of betrayal and horrific crime.

Felicity has anxiety and keeps secrets about her past from her husband and children. An incident in her hometown draws her into the past. Felicity is an unreliable protagonist. Jasmine is a young girl confused by her feelings. The dual stories twist as they gravitate together.

The pacing increases with the impact of the reveals. The similarities between the past and present increase the suspense and make the story claustrophobic in its intensity.

The final twists in the past and present unify the viewpoints in a climactic way.

Psychological suspense tinged with noir.

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

Death at the Dance Verity Bright 4* #Review A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book @BrightVerity @bookouture #Historical #1920s #cozymystery #MurderMystery #ALadyEleanorSwiftMystery #BookReview

A masked ball, a dead body, a missing diamond necklace and a suspicious silver candlestick? Sounds like a case for Lady Eleanor Swift!

England, 1920. Lady Eleanor Swift, adventurer extraordinaire and reluctant amateur detective, is taking a break from sleuthing. She’s got much bigger problems: Eleanor has two left feet, nothing to wear and she’s expected at the masked ball at the local manor. Her new beau Lance Langham is the host, so she needs to dazzle.

Surrounded by partygoers with painted faces, pirates, priests and enough feathers to drown an ostrich, Eleanor searches for a familiar face. As she follows a familiar pair of long legs up a grand staircase, she’s sure she’s on Lance’s trail. But she opens the door on a dreadful scene: Lance standing over a dead Colonel Puddifoot, brandishing a silver candlestick, the family safe wide open and empty.

Moments later, the police burst in and arrest Lance for murder, diamond theft and a spate of similar burglaries. But Eleanor is convinced her love didn’t do it, and with him locked up in prison, she knows she needs to clear his name.

Something Lance lets slip about his pals convinces Eleanor the answer lies close to home. Accompanied by her faithful sidekick Gladstone the bulldog, she begins with Lance’s friends – a set of fast driving, even faster drinking, high-society types with a taste for mischief. But after they start getting picked off in circumstances that look a lot like murder, Eleanor is in a race against time to clear Lance’s name and avoid another brush with death…

A tremendously fun cozy whodunnit, full of mystery, murder and intrigue!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This cosy mystery is full of vivid imagery it’s characters, conversation and setting all draw the reader into the 1920s, from the first page. Historically authentic characters and an engaging mystery plot make this an enjoyable read.

Events and people, in the wrong place, may seem insignificant, but they might not be. So if you are trying to solve the murder mystery be observant. The story is well-paced and not hampered by the impressive amount of character and historical detail.

This story is the second in the series but reads well as a standalone. Eleanor is a likeable amateur sleuth, and there is a diverse cast of characters that make reading the first book in the series a good idea too.

Despite the murders, this story captures the frivolity of the 1920s. It largely ignores the aftermath of the great war in keeping with the attitude of the bright young things that epitomised the period.

This mystery interlude is irreverent and irresistible a fun way to escape for a few hours.