Tia never harmed anyone. So why does someone want to destroy her?
Tia is walking home with her children, along the lakeside of their quiet, safe town, when she realises something is wrong with her five-year-old daughter, Rosie. She seems troubled, not at all her usual happy self.
But when Tia finally coaxes Rosie to open up, she wishes she hadn’t. Because her sweet daughter asks a question Tia never thought she’d hear.
‘Mummy, why did you kill someone?’
Tia knows how rumours spread around her small town. She just can’t understand who would have shared such a horrible story. Or why.
It can’t have anything to do with what happened. Only her two best friends really remember that…
Tia thought she could trust Fiona and Kelly with her life. They’ve been through so much together. But when she’s sent photos of herself that could tear her whole world apart, she starts to wonder. Someone is determined to punish her. But who? And will her friends stand by her, or will the past destroy all of their lives?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This fast-paced, multi-point of view psychological suspense breathes new life into a familiar scenario with plenty of twists and turns. Three school friends’ lives unravel years later. All have secrets, but who is targeting them and why?
All the main protagonists have elements of unreliability, who do you trust? The story is addictive and suspenseful and keeps its secrets until the dramatic conclusion.
Davina Granger wants revenge. She blames Dr Gareth Lacey for her brother’s suicide. When she gets a fellowship at his Oxford college, she sees her chance to punish him.
But is he really as guilty as she believes?
Alicia Norman is a student at the same college. She’s excited to leave her sheltered, privileged existence for college life. But her brother and his friends will do anything to stop her from being with anyone they think isn’t posh enough for her. Including murder?
I received a copy of this book from Joffe Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Something different from this crime fiction author that may surprise her readership. If you’re expecting murder mystery, you’ll be disappointed. This story set in an Oxford college, in the early twenty-first century, is about obsession, passion and revenge. These are all motivation for murder, but here the focus is more on romance and suspense.
Davina, a successful poet, gains an honorary fellowship at St Bede’s Oxford college, to compile and write a forward, for a poetry anthology. She has an ulterior motive for being there, but her quest for revenge is convoluted by physical attraction and passion.
The plot is complex with elements of psychological suspense. The characters are flawed and emotionally vulnerable as a consequence of life events, family and social class. There is good suspense building throughout the story. The exploration of the Oxford establishment and family, peer and societal expectations is insightful. An atmospheric and claustrophobic romantic suspense.
A marriage built on a lie… Until her pregnancy test confirms the truth!
Claudia Buscetta is swept off her feet by Ciro Trapani. Their wedding night is everything she dreamed of – but then she overhears Ciro’s confession: the marriage was his way of avenging his father. Heartbroken Claudia prepares to walk away from him forever…only to discover she’s pregnant!
Driven Ciro is suddenly bound irrevocably to his enemy’s daughter! Claudia is far from the pampered ‘princess’ he imagined. And living with her sparks a fierce battle…between his quest for revenge and his burning desire for his wife!
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley.
Revenge and vendetta are the only things on Ciro’s mind when he sets out to trap Claudia into a marriage of convenience. Claudia wants to escape from her father’s constraints. Ciro and Claudia learn to trust, and their character development is positive. The sensual romance leads to emotional commitment, and the ending is happy, as reflected by a lovely epilogue.
A stolen painting. A gangster intent on revenge. And nothing is what it seems.
Art consultant Kate Carpenter has an off-the-books sideline in art recovery, dealing with thieves, gangsters and the occasional war criminal to reunite priceless artworks with their owners. But when she refuses a request from the owner of one missing painting, Yuri Sokolov isn’t prepared to take no for an answer.
Her knowledge has cost him millions, he wants revenge, and he isn’t planning to show any mercy. The only way that Kate can get Yuri Sokolov to keep his distance is to find out exactly what happened to his painting, but when she starts scraping away at the surface, she finds that nothing is exactly as it appears.Don’t Blink is the first book in the Kate Carpenter series.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This story gives tantalising glimpses into the world of art and crime. Kate Carpenter is an art consultant with a rich and powerful clientele. Her less well-known role is as an art recovery expert. She loves this dangerous work which draws her into the darker side of life.
Kate’s associates are complex characters who give the plot its authenticity and vibrancy. Kate’s romantic life is never dull, but she is wary of commitment. Kate’s romance with Pete fizzles out, in favour of the flamboyant Koyla which perturbed me slightly after reading the prequel Vanishing Point.
The suspenseful plot is addictive. Kate is an enigmatic protagonist who is easy to like.
Vanessa Robertson has lived in Scotland for over twenty years. A former publisher and bookseller, she won the Pitch Perfect event for unpublished writers at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in Stirling in 2015.
Death Will Find Me, a crime novel set in 1920s Edinburgh featuring former spy, Tessa Kilpatrick, was her first novel, and Don’t Blink, the first in a series set in the world of art crime investigator Kate Carpenter was published in May 2020, with the second, Trace Evidence, scheduled for later in the year. Vanessa has also published a short novella, Vanishing Point, introducing the character of Kate, which is available on Amazon and free via her website at www.vanessarobertson.co.uk.
Vanessa lives in a cottage in the middle of a Scottish wood with her family and ridiculously large dog. Currently, she’s editing the third Kate Carpenter thriller, researching the next Tessa Kilpatrick 1920s novel, and trying not to be distracted by new plot ideas. Vanessa loves windswept beaches, the coffee-scented fug of Venetian cafes and wandering around art galleries.
From the author of the acclaimed novel The Borrowed, a very timely and propulsively plotted tale of cyberbullying and revenge, about a woman on the hunt for the truth about her sister’s death.
Chan Ho-Kei’s The Borrowed was one of the most acclaimed international crime novels of recent years, a vivid and compelling tale of power, corruption, and the law spanning five decades of the history of Hong Kong. Now he delivers Second Sister, an up-to-the-minute tale of a Darwinian digital city where everyone from tech entrepreneurs to teenagers is struggling for the top.
A schoolgirl – Siu-Man – has committed suicide, leaping from her twenty-second-floor window to the pavement below. Siu-Man is an orphan and the librarian older sister who’s been raising her refuses to believe there was no foul play – nothing seemed amiss. She contacts a man known only as N. – a hacker, and an expert in cybersecurity and manipulating human behaviour. But can Nga-Yee interest him sufficiently to take her case, and can she afford it if he says yes?
What follows is a cat and mouse game through the city of Hong Kong and its digital underground, especially an online gossip platform, where someone has been slandering Siu-Man. The novel is also populated by a man harassing girls on mass transit; high school kids, with their competing agendas and social dramas; a Hong Kong digital company courting an American venture capitalist; and the Triads, market women and noodle shop proprietors who frequent N.’s neighbourhood of Sai Wan. In the end, it all comes together to tell us who caused Siu-Man’s death and why, and to ask, in a world where online and offline dialogue has increasingly forgotten about the real people on the other end, what the proper punishment is.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.
A detailed, technical crime thriller set in HongKong. Nga-Yee doesn’t believe her sister committed suicide. Did someone provoke her untimely death? With no close family, Nga-Yee focuses all her grief on getting justice for her younger sister. Referred, to the enigmatic ‘N’ she’s unsure if she can trust him. Desperation forces her, to forge an unlikely alliance with the Hacker, who has many faces and even more secrets.
The plot uncovers cyberbullying, educates in the art of hacking and cybercrime and reveals some hard to like characters. The pacing is good, and although it plunges into technicality in parts, this is integral to the story and lets the reader learn things at the same pace as the main protagonist Nga-Yee. The plot has many twists and layers, and though you many guess part of the story, the ending may still surprise you.
Nga-Yee is a courageous woman, who is easy to empathise. N is eccentric, intelligent and streetwise. Although lacking in social graces, his actions recommend him, and his loyalty redeems his lack of social grace.
The atmospheric setting and cultural references are engaging and the story balances the factual and crime investigation with the emotional side of its characters well. The ending is satisfying and positive.
Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He has worked as a software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan wrote made his debut as a writer in 2008 at the age of thirty-three, with the short story The Case of Jack and the Beanstalk which was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan re-entered the following year and won the award for his short story The Locked Room of Bluebeard.
Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011 with his novel, The Man who Sold the World which won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.
In 2014, Chan’s crime thriller The Borrowed was published in Taiwan. It has sold rights in thirteen countries, and the book will be adapted into a film by acclaimed Chinese art film director Wong Kar-Wai.
‘Second Sister‘ has acquired a six-figure film deal with Linmon Pictures in China. The book will be published in the US in 2020 and rights have been sold to China, Korea and Japan.
Jeremy Tiang’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He has written four plays and translated more than ten books from the Chinese. Tiang lives in New York.
In a life of crime, loyalty means everything – even if you don’t always see eye to eye. But when Vaughn Sadler speaks up to get Franny Doyle sent down, he’s broken every rule in the book to win checkmate.
AND OTHERS YOU SHOULDN’T UNDERESTIMATE…
Holed up in prison, Franny has more than one score to settle – but she’s starting with Vaughn. Because you don’t grass on your own, no matter what. And though she may be behind bars, she will get revenge – whatever the cost.
Before, there was just bad blood running through her veins. But now, there is poison…
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Another chapter in the Essex ganglit saga, featuring Franny, Alfie and Vaughn. I’ve read another book in this gritty gangland crime series, so I am familiar with the recurring characters and some of their history. Although, this can be read as a standalone, its best to read the previous books in the series to appreciate the dynamics and relationships between the three characters.
As problems with the organised crime business mount up, everyone is on the defensive, and soon the previous allies become enemies when Vaughn turns Franny into the police, for a crime she didn’t commit. Franny is consumed with vitriol and vows revenge, from her prison cell.
Complex characters, heinous crimes and serious trust issues, make Poison an addictive book. The story is absorbing, character-driven and fast-paced. One not to be missed if you are a devotee of ganglit.
Maddy Shaw learns the life-shattering news in the most horrific way: live on air. As the shaky phone recording pans over the terrible crash, she recognises her husband Simon’s car in the wreckage… He is critically injured, and she rushes to his side.
Detective Rachel Hart knows how it feels to have a loved one’s life hanging in the balance, and hurries to support her friend. Maddy is distraught about her husband’s accident, and Rachel decides to investigate. It’s not her case, but if she can give her friend answers, she will. But she soon realises Simon didn’t crash because he was distracted, or because a tyre blew. Someone made this happen. Someone who wants Simon dead…
After the discovery of a threatening letter buried in Simon’s diary, Maddy has to ask how well she knew her husband. Then a new victim is found – an old friend of Simon’s, a man he hasn’t seen in years. It seems a dark secret from their past has finally come to light… The killer has a list of targets, and they are dying one by one.
Rachel must race against time to protect her friend and find the murderer before another life is taken. But however fast she runs, it seems the killer is always one step ahead. And Maddy must decide if she wants the truth – even if it puts her in the killer’s path…
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The second book in the Detective Rachel Hart series reads well as a standalone. There is sufficient backstory on the main protagonist, for this story be enjoyed without reading book one. DCI Rachel Hart is a dedicated and successful police officer, her emotional life is damaged by past experiences, which give her commitment and guilt issues.
The plot for this story is cleverly constructed, multi-layered, it introduces lots of characters, seemingly unconnected. The crimes are many, and escalating, as Rachel has to negotiate difficulties and loyalties in her personal and professional lives. The twists, keep you guessing. It seems solvable, until the end when you realise you only solved part of the puzzle.
All appears satisfactorily resolved until the story ends with an emotional personal tragedy for Rachel and a raises a question over who she can trust.
An excellent police procedural detective story, with a complex female lead detective and a well-thought plot, looking forward to the next book in the series.
When Camille O’Brien was a girl her mother liked to tell her that her father if he had lived, could have been the king of New York City. Camille never knew her father. Colin O’Brien had been murdered when she was just a baby, in the early 1960s. It was the 80s now and Camille was in her twenties. Her mother Sheila had raised her alone after Colin’s death until she remarried when Camille was in high school. Camille’s stepfather was a high up Italian mob guy named Vito Russo, and she hadn’t liked him ever since he made a pass at her when she was a teenager, something she never told her mother.
Still, her mother talked about Camille’s father all the time and Camille knew that he had been a gangster, but he was still her father, and every day she had a desire to avenge him, because she was, after all, her father’s daughter. Her father’s absence in her life had affected her profusely and she’d started taking an antidepressant medication a few years ago to help her cope.
Camille and her mother had coffee in the diner around the corner from the church, as they did every Sunday after attending morning mass together. Camille had always known her mother to be a devoted churchgoer, but her mother had told her that Colin’s death had brought her closer to the church.
Best-selling crime author E.R. Fallon knows well the gritty city streets of which she writes. She studied criminology and was mentored by a leading advocate for the family members of homicide victims. E.R. is currently writing a book about living with autism and also working on her next gangland book, The Trouble Legacy, with her writing partner, KJ.KJ Fallon is a former reporter with Time magazine who currently works as a freelance writer for numerous media outlets.
No one deserves to be taken before their time. Do they?
Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.
But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.
As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…
A gripping suspense novel about deadly secrets and lies.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
There’s a claustrophobic vibe to the story from the beginning. It impacts intensifies, as the plot reveals its secrets. The suspense builds steadily to a shattering conclusion, as all the dark secrets are revealed, but will justice prevail?
A dark story of abuse, and unforgivable betrayal of trust. Joe is dying and he wants his family with him, but why are they so reluctant to come? Why does he want them to? Is it to share what time he has left? Or to ensure their continued silence?
Heidi and Ciara are both emotionally damaged, they share a bond of hate, mostly directed at each other. As the story progresses they have more in common than they realise. Told from multi-points of view, in the past and the present day. Mostly from Heidi and Ciara’s but also Joe, Alex and Kathleen’s. The reader becomes immersed in their anger and pain. The setting is beautifully described and the culture and traditions add an extra layer of tension in an already fraught and intense environment.
The plot is not overly complex, what draws the reader into this story is their empathy and in some cases disgust for the characters, who are both authentic and relatable. I guessed the twist, but the sense of dramatic irony, of knowing something the characters in the story didn’t, gave the story an added twist, rather than spoiling it.
The last chapters are both emotionally draining and satisfying. It’s not a story you enjoy but is one that you can believe in.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
‘The Final Trail’, is book five in ‘The Trail Series’ set predominately in Birmingham. I haven’t read the previous books in the series, but I enjoyed this one, as the characters are well written and there is sufficient back story.
The immersive, intense writing style makes it easy to connect with the characters and work out their motivations and relationships. The short chapters each from a main characters point of view, lets the reader see developments from several points of view.
Business, family and politics are the points of conflict. The suspense building is good, especially around the political aspects involving Erik. This story explores many areas of life. Business crime, family, love and politics, are all fused into an adrenaline-packed story.
Reading this book makes me want to read the whole series.