Posted in Book Review, Crime, Suspense

The Heights Parker Bilal 4*#Review Crane and Drake series @Parker_Bilal @blackthornbks @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #London #BlogTour #BookReview #Detective #TheHeights

What starts with the gruesome discovery of a severed head on the Tube soon becomes personal for former DI Cal Drake. 

After one betrayal too many, Drake has abandoned the police force to become a private detective. 

He’s teamed up with enigmatic forensic pathologist Dr Rayhana Crane and it’s not long before the case leads them to the darkest corners of the nation’s capital and in dangerously close contact with an international crime circuit, a brutal local rivalry and a very personal quest for retribution. 

With the murder victim tied to Drake’s past, his new future is about to come under threat.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Severn House Publishing in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second book of the Crane and Drake series set in London. This is an urban thriller with an enigmatic team of investigators who work in the private sector as they both have issues with the establishment. Cal Drake is an ex-detective inspector, who after a stint in undercover left the police force disillusioned. Ray Crane is a forensic pathologist estranged from her family.

The menacing atmosphere is established from the first page, as is the vibrant urban setting. The observations and characters in the early chapters give the novel a good sense of place. The plot pulls together elements from the first book in the series, and a current, seemingly unrelated case for the new investigative team. Ray’s background is exposed in this second story and the team dynamic becomes stronger.

The characters are authentic and diverse, and it’s easy to empathise with the two protagonists. The plot is intricate and cleverly layered to produce a relevant gritty thriller that exposes the crime in the city and beyond.

Parker Bilal

Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub, the critically acclaimed literary novelist. He is the author of the Makana Investigations series, the third of which, The Ghost Runner, was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year
Award.

The Divinities, the first in his Crane and Drake London crime series, was published in 2019. Born in London, he has lived in a number of places, including the UK, Denmark, Spain and, currently, the Netherlands.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

#Payback Claire MacLeary 4* #Review @SarabandBooks @ClaireMacLeary @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebookstours #HarcusandLaird #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview

When police are called to a murder scene at the home of Aberdeen socialite Annabel Imray, they find themselves under pressure to get a conviction, and fast. Meanwhile, local PIs Wilma Harcus and Maggie Laird are at rock bottom, desperate for income. As Maggie contemplates replacing Wilma with an unpaid intern, an eccentric widow appoints them to search for her lost cat – and Wilma goes off-piste to negotiate a loan, with terrifying terms.  As the fear caused by a series of sinister break-ins escalates, Maggie blames the aggressive language in public discourse for inciting violent crime. But before long, she finds she is in the danger zone herself.

Will Wilma manage to save her?

Amazon UK Waterstones Saraband

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

My Thoughts…

Wilma Harcus and Maggie Laird are a private investigation team. As different, as it’s possible to be, the two women look out for each other, have a strong friendship and success rate. Despite, all of this the business is struggling and money is needed urgently. Maggie (the cautious, sensible one), thinks about selling her assets to keep meet the bills. Wilma, (the free spirit), goes for a less conventional and ultimately dangerous alternative, which has consequences for her friend.

This is the fourth book, in the Harcus and Laird series. It’s my first encounter, with the team and I find it, full of action, humour and solid investigation. Although the characters have history and previous cases are alluded to, it doesn’t detract from this story.

The characters are engaging and realistic. The story is cleverly plotted and the divergent investigations interweave to produce a strong ending.

Payback is enjoyable crime fiction, with a strong sense of place, humour and team dynamic.

Claire MacLeary

Claire MacLeary lived for many years in Aberdeen and St Andrews, but describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”. Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She has appeared at Granite Noir, Noir at the Bar and other literary events. Claire’s debut novel,Cross Purpose, was longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017, and Burnout was longlisted for the Hearst Big Book Award 2018.Runaway is her third novel and continues the Harcus & Laird series.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy

Getting Dirty Rachael Stewart 5* #Review @rach_b52 @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonDare #HarlequinDare #PublicationDayPush @rararesources #Romance #Dare #GettingDirty #MillsandBoonInsider #Investigator #Socialite #BookReview #WeekendReads

#GettingDirty

Sometimes digging up the dirt

Means getting deliciously dirty…

I always work for the good guys. My job was simple: get the dirt on Coco Lauren, a princess of a socialite who talks—and plays—dirty. But I kissed her. I tasted her. Uncovered the tantalising woman beneath the polished façade. And she undid me in every way. Now I’m the bad guy. But how do I tell Coco the truth…when coming clean means losing her?

Amazon UK

#GettingDirty

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

My Thoughts…

You always know you’re in for a sensual treat when you read this author’s books.’ Getting Dirty’ delivers this and more. The characters are believably relatable, the pacing is fast, and the romance is conflicted, emotional and so sexy.

Ash has every reason not to like socialites, and he has no trouble digging up the dirt on Coco until he meets her. The attraction is instant and unwelcome, but undeniable, and soon he is drowning in a conflicted spiral of personal and professional.

Coco is hurting and vulnerable, trying to be what she knows her Granny wants but needing something to deaden the pain at the prospect of losing her. Ash is just a source of pain relief, isn’t he? Soon, she is in too deep, and far more emotionally exposed than she wants to be.

The dramatic irony of knowing that Ash’s secret will devastate Coco, and destroy any possibility of a future together, ramps up the story’s intensity. As you wait for the inevitable. Coco is likeable and you want her to be appreciated for who she is. Her maturity and ability to forgive, ultimately make this story perfect.

Ash has a lot to learn, and a great deal of emotional baggage to leave behind before he deserves Coco. His heart and instincts are good, but he’s blinkered by past hurts, and getting over these are difficult, and endanger his future happiness.

An emotionally honest, romantic adventure with a couple you can empathise and a happy ending they deserve.

#RachaelStewart

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it’s now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true. 

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Website Twitter Facebook

Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Getting Dirty by Rachael Stewart (Open INT)

Click on Giveaway link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review, Romantic Comedy

I Will Follow Him – Holly Tierney-Bedord – 4* #Review @HollyTierney @rararesources #RomCom #Series #Novella #Holiday #Summer #PublicationDay

A bachelor party on a cruise ship. What could go wrong?

When private detective Francie is hired to spy on a groom-to-be as he and his bachelor party set sail for the Caribbean, she thinks she’s landed herself a week of paid vacation. Between lounging in the sun and sipping margaritas, she just needs to–best-case scenario–report back that he’s on the up and up, or–the unfortunate, more likely scenario–snap a few photos of her target in compromising positions, buy a box of sympathy chocolates for her client, and then collect her pay along with a nice golden suntan.

Blame it on the island breezes or the alcohol, but within hours of setting sail, Francie’s leisurely vacation gets complicated when she starts making careless mistakes. Like accidentally becoming friends with the groom and falling for his best man.

Can she get herself and her mission back on track, or has she blown her cover and possibly even her career?

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed this quirky, humorous novella, part of a series of eight books, by different authors. Each is a standalone read connected by the cruise ship. Romantic comedies, they are lighthearted and reminded me of a twenty-first-century version of the 1970’s ‘ The Love Boat’, television series.

‘I Will Follow Him’, features Francie, a private investigator following in her father’s footsteps. She is hired to follow a bridegroom to be on his bachelor party by his suspicious fiancee. The party takes place on a cruise ship and then the fun really starts for Francie.

Francie lacks self-esteem, evidenced by her sometimes boyfriend’s treatment of her. The cruise proves to be her salvation but also causes professional issues for her. The romance is sweet, and a little contrived, but this adds to the enjoyment. I like Francie and would be happy to read more of her private investigator exploits.

A fun, romantic story, with believable characters and situations, a holiday setting and a heroine who is easy to like.

Holly Tierney-Bedord is the author of over twenty books including Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women.

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Oceanic Dreams Series

Set sail for love and laughs aboard the Oceanic Aphrodite

This series of stand-alone romantic comedy novellas releases throughout the summer of 2019.

To learn about the contributing authors and each book, watch our trailer, here: https://oceanicdreamsbooks.com/series-trailer/   and visit our website, here: https://oceanicdreamsbooks.com/ 

The Oceanic Dreams series is a collection of romantic comedy novellas by eight award-winning, bestselling, and critically acclaimed authors from around the globe.

Meet Holly Kerr, author of I Saw Him Standing There.

Meet Laura Heffernan, author of Time of My Life.

Meet Tracy Krimmer, author of Circle in the Sand.

Meet Kirsty McManus, author of I Thought it was You.

Meet Holly TierneyBedord, author of I Will Follow Him.

Meet Delancey Stewart, author of Take a Chance on Me.

Meet Monique McDonell, author of Shut Up and Dance with Me.

Meet SophieLeigh Robbins, author of The Best of You.

Giveaway to Win a $10 Starbucks card (Open to US Only)

Giveaway Link

*Terms and Conditions –US  entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

The Never Game – Jeffery Deaver -5* #Review @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @JefferyDeaver #ColterShaw #1 #Thriller #Suspense #Survivalist #Investigator

A student kidnapped from the park.
Nineteen-year-old Sophie disappears one summer afternoon. She wakes up to find herself locked inside a derelict warehouse, surrounded by five objects. If she uses them wisely, she will escape her prison. Otherwise, she will die.

An investigator running out of time.
Sophie’s distraught father calls in the one man who can help find his daughter: unique investigator Colter Shaw. Raised in the wilderness by survivalist parents, he is an expert tracker with a forensic mind trained to solve the most challenging cases. But this will be a test even for him.

A killer playing a dangerous game.
Soon a blogger called Henry is abducted – left to die in the dark heart of a remote forest – and the whole case gets turned on its head. Because this killer isn’t following the rules; he’s changing them. One murder at a time…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Gaming is a major theme of this detailed, fast-paced thriller. The book corresponds to levels in a video game, starting at level three, with a tense, action-filled, seemingly desperate rescue, and then moving back two days to level one, and the first disappearance. The story progresses through each level in the two days preceding the rescue, with pertinent flashbacks to level three, and historical interludes, to give the reader insight in Colter Shaw, his upbringing, and what motivates his constant restlessness.

Colter Shaw, a man of many talents, who sometimes searches for missing people, good or bad for the reward offered. He had a unique upbringing, off the grid, by loving parents. His parents choice of lifestyle to bring up their children is odd, given that they lived mainstream, and were respected academics, but as the story progresses you realise that they had their reasons.

Colter is searching for answers to his own personal dilemmas, and these are part of this first story, but although some clues are given, the mystery and questions remain, for the next books in the series. Colter is an intelligent investigator, who lives by a set of rules, drilled into him by his father. He is complex, compassionate, clever and easy to like.

The plot is pacy and has plenty of twists, there are political undertones to the story and a detailed understanding of the popularity of gaming and its impact on twenty-first-century society. Don’t be put off, if you are not a devotee of gaming, I’m not, but whilst it is integral to the story, it doesn’t take over, the mystery and the suspense are front and centre and these are addictive and engaging.

‘The Never Game’, is easy to read, with an enigmatic protagonist, and an exciting plot.

Posted in Book Review, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

No One Home -5*#Review-Tim Weaver #DavidRaker10 @MichaelJBooks @TimWeaverBooks #Mystery#Thriller#Suspense

At Halloween, the residents of Black Gale gather for a dinner party. As the only nine people living there, they’ve become close friends as well as neighbours.

They eat, drink and laugh. They play games and take photographs. But those photographs will be the last record of any of them.

Because by the next morning, the whole village has vanished.

With no bodies, no evidence and no clues, the mystery of what happened at Black Gale remains unsolved two and a half years on. But then the families of the missing turn to investigator David Raker – and their obsession becomes his.

What secrets were the neighbours keeping from their families – and from each other?

Were they really everything they seemed to be?

And is Raker looking for nine missing people – or nine dead bodies?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Investigator David Raker, who specialises in finding missing people is a driven, complex man, who seems to make both enemies and friends wherever he goes. Haunted by his past actions and losses, he is always looking over his shoulder. Empathetic, intelligent, and a risk taker, he is the person you want in your corner if you need to find the truth.

Nine people disappeared without a trace two and a half years ago, and now the son of one of the missing people wants Raker to investigate their disappearance. Over thirty years previously in Los Angeles, a female detective is hunting for a murderer, storylines seem unconnected, but as they both progress they converge and the historical illuminates the present.

Both stories are complex, full of details and vividly written characters. There are many similarities between Raker and Jo, both are dedicated, intelligent detectives, who work in hostile environments. The late 1980s setting portrays the lawless ethos and prejudices of the era perfectly, which makes the retro chapters both atmospheric and authentic.

The present-day, chapters are no less absorbing. The Black Gale hamlet is a contemporary ‘Mary Celeste’, nothing seems out of place, but everything is wrong. As the suspense level increases, even the ordinary events Raker witnesses are menacing.

The final chapters are so vivid, as Raker finally realises the truth, but this is not the end, just the beginning of the most intense, adrenaline-fueled action and despair. Even the ending leaves you wondering, it seems that everything is resolved, but then you go back and begin to wonder if the worst is yet to come.

Clever plot twists, complex characters and a pervading air of despair and menace make this thriller one of the best of 2019.