Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour-Dead and Gone- D.L. Michaels- Extract and 5* Review

Paula Smith could have had it all. Hugely successful in her fashion business, she lives the kind of life she could never have imagined. Her world should have been an idyllic one if it weren’t for her husband Danny who is resentful of her success and increasingly prone to alcoholic rages. Paula knows she should leave him but she if she did, he would pick up the phone to the police and her life would come crashing down around her.

Sarah has found the kind of happiness with Martin she never thought possible. He is everything she could have wished for in a man. Caring, sensitive and loving, yet he has a secret that could threaten everything they share. But he is not the only one with a secret….

DI Annie Parker, mother, grandmother and widow, has plenty of baggage of her own, but she’s still determined to be the best police officer she can be. When she and her sergeant Nisha Patel hear about a 20-year-old murder that nobody knew about, nothing will stop them from tracking down the killer, even if it brings them up against one of the most dangerous crime families in the country.

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Extract
1
Annie
North Derbyshire
I am so not in the mood for this!
A silver Range Rover has slipped into the parking spot I am reversing into. The last space close enough to the supermarket entrance to avoid a long and slippery trudge over ice and snow.
‘You selfish bastard!’ I shout over my shoulder, as I hit the brakes – and the car horn.
A dark-haired lad in his late teens springs out of the driver’s side of the 4×4. He’s an Adonis. Tall, broad and way beyond handsome. Despite it being minus three, he’s in a skin-tight white T-shirt that shows off muscled arms, bouldered shoulders and a broad chest.
I roll down my window and shout, ‘Hey, I was going in there! You’ve taken my space.’
‘Then you should’ve been quicker, grandma,’ quips Adonis with a cheeky smile. ‘It’s mine now, innit?’
I want to kill him. And that’s despite the fact that I am a grandma. A very proud one – though I do quickly tell people that I’m only forty-four, which I’m sure is exceptionally young to be a grandparent. And secondly, he’s right, the parking place certainly is his. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, as I certainly know, given my particular line of work.
So, that should be the end of the matter.
But no bloody way is it going to be.
I get out and stomp towards him.
‘I’d like you to move your vehicle, please. You could see me backing in.’
He laughs in my reddened face. Not a slight snigger. Nor a cynical smirk. Oh no, this is a full-on chuckle.
The 4×4’s passenger door opens. An older man, with sandy hair, eases himself out. ‘What’s going on?’
‘Granny ’here is ’avin a laugh, i’n’t she?’ He nods in my direction. ‘Wants me to shift the motor coz she says she was ’ere first.’
‘I’m picking up medicine for my sick granddaughter,’ I announce, defiantly.
The passenger’s blue-grey eyes study me as he tugs on a brown leather jacket. ‘Do as she says,’ he tells his friend. ‘Get it moved.’
Adonis looks shocked. ‘What d’you mean?’
‘You heard me, thick lad, get it shifted.’
He thinks better of arguing and instead tells me, ‘Back up, then, or I can’t get out, can I?’
‘Thank you!’ I boom sarcastically.
As I get back in my car and start reversing, I guess the older man knows who I am. Right now, he’s probably telling his young friend my full and awful story. ‘That’s Annie Parker,’ he’ll be saying. ‘A year ago, her husband and daughter-in-law died in a car crash, not far from here. A bus driver fell asleep. Ploughed right into them. It tore the family apart. Her son had a mental breakdown and tried to kill himself. Now that poor bitch is looking after him and his little kiddie.’
I am getting a parking space out of pity.
It’s the last thing I want.
But I’ll take it.
Maybe it’s because we’ve just had Christmas and it’s close to the anniversary of their deaths, but right now everything seems to remind me of my husband, Jack, and daughter-in-law, Lily. I think the only reasons I don’t fall apart are the need to work for a living and to look after my son, Tom, and granddaughter, Polly.
The Range Rover reverses out quickly. Adonis slams it into first and sprays icy slush everywhere. A stupid, final gesture of anger.
And then a thought hits me.
I might have got this all wrong.
I hit a speed-dial number on my mobile and switch to hands-free as it connects. ‘Control, this is Detective Inspector Annie Parker. I need a PNC check on a licence plate. Registration Bravo, Mike, Zero, Two, Mike, Alpha, Mike.’
Before the reply comes, I’m forsaking the newly won space, slaloming around shoppers and heading for the exit.
‘DI Parker, the plates belong to a black Audi A6,’ says a male controller. ‘It’s registered to a Mark Andrew Mason and was reported stolen in Westminster.’
Stolen.
‘Then I need back up, please. I’m in my own car, a blue Golf, and in pursuit of a silver Range Rover bearing that registration.’
Pulling onto the main road, I catch a glimpse of the 4×4. It’s at a set of traffic lights, some five vehicles ahead.
‘DI Parker, this is Control. Please state your exact position so we can get officers to you. Over.’
The lights change, and traffic moves. ‘I’m at the crossroads of Vincent Street and Main Street, heading east, towards the A515. Over.’
There was something about the older man. What was it? Is he on a Wanted List? Have I seen his face on a recent police circular?
I just can’t place him.
We pass through another set of lights and turn onto a dual carriageway. The Range Rover shifts into the outside lane and glides away.
I glance at the speedo. My little car’s doing seventy, meaning their disappearing 4×4 must be clocking ninety, maybe a hundred. ‘Control, this is Annie Parker, I’m on the A515 heading south. Suspects’ vehicle is now doing excessive speed, and I am unable to keep up.’
‘DI Parker, this is Control. Two traffic vehicles are already dispatched.’
Colin Ronald Richardson.
That’s who he is!
Armed robber.
It’s all coming back to me.
The last time I saw Richardson, I was a new PC, and part of an early morning raid that saw him pulled out of the scraggy bed of a very scared young hooker called Sharon Croft. Poor girl made the mistake of running for the bathroom, and a police dog bit her ankle and brought her down face first on the landing.
I call it in. ‘Control, I believe one of the suspects to be Colin Ronald Richardson, a known criminal who has in the past been armed. Please advise local CID and Tactical Firearms.’
‘Will do. Over.’
There’s a roundabout ahead, and the traffic is slowing. I have a siren, but I don’t want to use it. It would clear a path for me but also blow any chance of a covert follow.
I switch lanes as we slow to a halt, turn the wheel sharply and take the Golf up onto a grass verge, hoping to skip a good hundred metres of traffic.
The back end bumps up along the frozen turf and for a second the tyres spin. It’s a long time since I did my skid pan course but I remember not to accelerate too viciously. The car gains traction, and I start to make progress. Stranded drivers, amazed and enraged by my manoeuvre, blare their horns.
Up ahead, I see the end of the backed-up cars. And a problem.
The banking is cut off by a crash barrier.
I’m going to have to rejoin the traffic. And you can be absolutely certain no one is going to let me in.
At the last moment, I spot a gap.
A fanfare of horns accompanies my certifiably insane manoeuvre. But I get away with it and hit the roundabout traffic flow at about twenty miles an hour.
There’s no sign of the Range Rover.
It could have gone left, right or straight on.
I have no idea which exit to take.
I circle for the second time. Up on the brow of a hill, I catch a glimpse of a silver roof. I turn off and follow.
The chase is still on.’

My Thoughts…

If you’re a crime thriller reader, it’s always exciting to find a new detective you like, and DI Annie Parker is such a character. Reminiscent of ITV’s ‘Vera’, but more conventional, she has a family albeit one fractured with grief but she has the same tenacity, kind heart and innate skill of finding the truth.

The plot is deliciously sophisticated but easy to read. The main characters tell their stories in headed chapters. There are many connections and just as many twists as the plot weaves and intertwines seemingly separate characters and events. Historic and real-time stories make this absorbing, and the final court case chapters are authentic and suspenseful.

DI Annie Parker’s personal life gives essential insight into the woman who gives herself tirelessly to her career, the final scenes are beautifully poignant and provide an extra dimension to this fast-paced crime thriller.

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

D.L. Michaels is a former award-winning TV executive, who married in Tuscany, has one teenage son and lives on an old converted farm in the Peak District. Favourite writers include Harlan Coben, Patricia Cornwell and Nicci French.

 

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Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour -Blood Ties – Heather Burnside 3* Review

Adele Robinson is locked up – convicted for the murder of her abusive father. She quickly realises that she’ll have to play it tough if she’s going to survive, and soon gains a reputation for standing her ground.

Meanwhile, her brother Peter is building his criminal empire on the outside – running protection rackets, seedy nightclubs and all manner of schemes to make a fast buck. He soon comes to the attention of, not only the police, but also Manchester’s rival gangs, and a turf war breaks out.

And when things start to get bloody, only Adele can step in to protect the family business. Will she get out in time to save Peter? After all, blood is thicker than water, and when family’s in trouble, you can’t look the other way.

 Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2C7MllX

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2CCWcMg

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2sGi4qp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2omUg5x

My Thoughts…

‘Blood Ties’ isn’t a sophisticated thriller, it’s base, gritty and often violent. It focuses on a crime family based in Manchester, one sibling Adele, is imprisoned for brutally killing her abusive father and on the outside, her younger brother Peter is furthering his organised crime empire. 

Part one focuses on Adele’s time in prison, and how she copes, I’m not keen on prison drama, but this did show Adele’s character development and possibly introduced other characters that she may meet in a future book perhaps?Peter’s empire building makes him fall out with old friends as he forms new alliances. Protection and revenge dominate Peter’s life, and he discovers how ruthless his new business associates are. 

Part two focuses on Adele’s life immediately after her release, and with the limited choices left to her with a prison record, she is obligated to work for her brother. She finds life on the outside is challenging and just as dangerous as imprisonment.

This story is easy to read if a little stereotypical in parts. The pacing is good, and it doesn’t rely on graphic violence. I think it would be more exciting written in predominately active tense, rather than relying on passive descriptions.

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

Heather Burnside is a Manchester-based author who, after taking a career break to raise a family, swapped credit control for writing and decided to study for a writing diploma. Heather had articles featured in several popular UK magazines before publishing her first Manchester-based crime thriller in 2014.

Website: https://heatherburnside.com/

Twitter: @heatherbwriter

Facebook: @HeatherBurnsideAuthor

 

Posted in Book Review

4*Review Dark Game (DI Kelly Porter#1) Rachel Lynch

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‘Kelly’s gut turned over as she realised the danger she was in. She heard no sirens. She knew that she was simply collateral. To these men who made a lot of money from the suffering of others, they’d have no problem snuffing her out.’

After a scandal forces DI Kelly Porter out of the Met, she returns to her home turf in the Lake District. Crimes in the Cumbrian constabulary tend to be of the minor sort, but Kelly begins work on a cold case that shocked the local community – the abduction and brutal murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davies.

Meanwhile, Kelly is also investigating two seemingly straightforward crimes: a case involving an illegal immigrant, and a robbery following the death of local businessman Colin Day. But evidence comes to light that reveals a web of criminal activity beyond anything Kelly imagined. Behind the veneer of sleepy, touristy towns lies a dark and dangerous underworld. As Kelly threatens to expose those with much to lose, she risks paying the ultimate price to get to the truth…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Kelly Porter is a career-driven female detective, committed to giving the best to her job, regardless of the personal cost. After a spell in the Metropolitan Police force, she returns ‘under a cloud’, to her birthplace to regroup and heal, expecting the quiet life. She finds a professional team who are willing to give her a chance and more serious crime than she ever imagined possible in such a seemingly peaceful, picturesque setting.
I have spent many happy hours in Cumbria and the Lakes, and it was pleasant to revisit some of these in the well-described settings. The plot of this novel and many of the characters are in sharp contrast to the beauty of the surroundings.
I loved the female protagonist, Kelly Porter. Living in a competitive world hasn’t made her bitter, she’s just made sure she’s better than the rest. This positive trait is easy to empathise. She cares about her mother, her friends and the victims of crime and this compassionate quality is both a plus and a risk in her job.This story has many antagonists, some you don’t expect, and they are believable and complex.
There are many explicitly written gruesome events. For me, the violence was excessive and spoilt my enjoyment of the story. I appreciate these were hardened criminals, but I’m sure most readers could imagine the outcome, without having it so graphically described.
This story is full of detail, again I think a little less would have made it more readable but I’m sure some readers will enjoy this fact-packed read, which seems well researched. The story’s pacing is excellent and the short chapters, build the suspense.
In conclusion, this a good story with an interesting female lead and I look forward to reading what DI Kelly Porter does next. I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Life of Crime – Kimberley Chambers 5* Review

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Sometimes crime does pay, but at what price?

Some people are made for a life of crime

Dragged up on a council estate, Jason Rampling was determined to change his lot. Jason’s a chancer, shameless with his good looks and his gift for earning a few quid. Life is easy when the money rolls in.

Some people are ruined by it

Melissa thought she’d struck gold marrying Jason. Being on his arm meant she was finally a someone. But there’s no glamour in waiting for your husband to come home or waiting for a knock on the door. Melissa made her bed the day she made her vows – will she lie in it without a fight?

Some would kill for it

After a stretch inside Jason wants to pull off just one last job, the biggest of all, it could solve all of their problems. But this is a game that could cost them everything . . .

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

The first book I’ve read by this author and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s an easy to read, well-written, gripping tale of organised crime, family and money.
The plot is clever, with suspense and twists and a satisfying ending but it’s the characters that enthralled me and kept me turning the pages. I wanted to know what happened to them, even those I didn’t like, and there were quite a few of those.
A story about families embroiled in and affected by crime. Jason is a chancer, always looking for a quick way to make money, whatever side of the law it takes him on. Melissa is the daughter of a gangster father, whose respectable front hides organised criminal activity. Jason sees her as a meal ticket; she sees him as her knight in shining armour, their story is complex, outrageous and poignant as they both live out their ‘life of crime’.
Starting in the 1990’s this story is fast-paced and action-packed, often violent and foul-mouthed. It is a believable tale, with vivid imagery and characters that make it more like watching a film than reading a book. 
A hard-edged, gritty story, which stands out in this popular genre.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

300 Days of Sun – Deborah Lawrenson – 4* Review

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Blurb - Coastal

Traveling to Faro, Portugal, journalist Joanna Millard hopes to escape an unsatisfying relationship and a stalled career. Faro is an enchanting town, and the views are enhanced by the company of Nathan Emberlin, a charismatic younger man. But beneath the crumbling façade of Moorish buildings, Joanna soon realizes, Faro has a seedy underbelly, its economy compromised by corruption. And Nathan has an ulterior motive for seeking her company: he is determined to discover the truth involving a child’s kidnapping that may have taken place on this dramatic coastline over two decades ago.

Joanna’s subsequent search leads her to Ian Rylands, an English expat who cryptically insists she will find answers in The Alliance, a novel written by American Esta Hartford. The book recounts an American couple’s experience in Portugal during World War II, and their entanglements both personal and professional with their German enemies. Only Rylands insists the book isn’t fiction, and as Joanna reads deeper into The Alliance, she begins to suspect that Esta Hartford’s story and Nathan Emberlin’s may indeed converge in Faro — where the past not only casts a long shadow but still exerts a very present danger.

Buy Links  - Coastal

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Review - Coastal

300 Days of Sun

 

This is a clever novel merging the past and present seamlessly. As a reader, you become an investigative journalist, without having to move from your armchair. The setting is dramatic, yet has a simplicity, which contrasts wonderfully with the corrupt elements discussed in the novel.
At a crossroads in her life, Joanna leaves the difficulties of her career and love life behind when she takes a language course in beautiful Portugal. Attraction and intrigue draw Joanna to Nathan. He embroils her in his mission to discover the mysteries of his past.
The pace is a little slow to begin with but it’s worth the wait, as the past collides with the present in alarmingly ways that make this book hard to put down. There is a story within a story as time slips back to WW2 and the fascinating, dangerous place Portugal was during this period, giving this novel an original twist. The plot and characters are authentic and vivid, you can imagine these people, behaving in this way. This is not a romance, there is no happy ever after but a believable, satisfying conclusion to the mysteries, with just a few threads left dangling to let you draw your own conclusions.
Joanna is a good heroine who I think could have further adventures both in the present and the past.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson

Deborah Lawrenson

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Posted in Book Review, Summer Impulse

5* Review- Sue Fortin -The Half Truth -#SummerImpulse

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Blurb - Coastal

Every marriage has its secrets…

Tina Bolotnikov, widowed after her husband, Sasha, is killed in a car accident, relocates back to her hometown on the south coast of the UK, to bring up her young son. Her life back in London with her adored husband is now nothing but a memory; a history to pass onto her son.

DS John Nightingale saw his partner killed in the line of duty and has made it his personal and professional quest to bring to justice the Russian gang responsible. Five years on and the killer is still free but as reports come in of Sasha Bolotnikov’s brother returning to the UK, John is tasked with tracking him down and following him to the seaside town of Littlehampton.

Tina finds herself an unwitting connection to a world she knew nothing about. She thought she knew her husband. She thought their past was the truth. But now as the investigation draws her closer to DS Nightingale, professional lines are blurred and crossed, and only he holds the key to her future.

Buy Links  - Coastal

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Review - Coastal

 

The Half TruthSuspenseful and sinister from the first page, this crime orientated, romantic suspense draws you into a world of organised crime and the dedicated police squads that track them down.
Five years after her Russian husband, Sasha, died in a an accident Tina is rebuilding her shattered life, her young son Dimitri, who her husband never saw, is her reason for getting up in the morning, She is determined he won’t miss not having a dad.
John Nightingale is still guilt ridden by his partner’s death. The chance to capture his murderer means invading Tina’s life and possibly destroying it again but he owes it to his partner doesn’t he?
Both Tina and John are strong characters, he appears in Tina’s life at a time when she is ready to consider moving on, but there is a strong conflict of interest, which makes any future for the couple unlikely.
The plot is realistic and the characters’ reactions believable. Tina and John wrestle with their consciences and realise life is all about shades, rather than stark right or wrong. Angst and emotional soul searching contrasts with adrenalin filled action scenes.
This story is easy reading but it will provoke your emotions right up to the end.

The Half Truth by Sue Fortin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Half Truth by Sue Fortin

Sue Fortin

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Posted in Book Review

4* Review: Summer of Fire – John Sinclair Mystery #3 – Kitty Pilgrim

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Blurb - Coastal
On the beautiful island of Capri, a royal princess begins a secret love affair, oblivious to the dangers that surround her. Internationally renowned novelist Kitty Pilgrim chronicles a modern thriller based in the historic volcanic region of Southern Italy. Her characters, archaeologist John Sinclair and oceanographer Cordelia Stapleton, team up once again for a tale of glamour and romance that spans every level of society—from the dangerous criminal underworld of Naples to the jet set of Europe.
Buy Links - CoastalAmazon UK
Amazon
My Review - Coastal

Summer of Fire (John Sinclair Mystery #3)‘Summer of Fire’ reads as a standalone, even though it is the third book in the ‘John Sinclair Mysteries’. If you enjoy adrenaline packed thrillers, this one is for you. The writing is atmospheric and the pacing fast, some of the volcano scenes take your breath as you read.

John Sinclair and Cordelia connect a diverse group of characters and scenarios, which pull the reader into the world of a royal princess hounded by the paparazzi, an organised crime network and a series of volcanic eruptions, which give the book its name. There are plot twists to keep you guessing but it is the gangsters and the volcanoes that make this story worth reading.

In contrast, to the action, John’s and Cordelia’s romance is gentle. Their emotional journey is implicit rather than detailed, presumably because it started at the beginning of the series?
I am intrigued enough to want to read the first two books in the series.

This story is action and imagery rather than character driven but is definitely worth reading.

I received a copy of this book from Greenleaf Book Group, River Grove Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.


Summer of Fire
by Kitty Pilgrim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Summer of Fire (John Sinclair Mystery #3) by Kitty Pilgrim

Kitty Pilgrim

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