I received a copy of this book from Cayelle Publishing in return for an honest review.
This is more an erotic crime thriller than a romantic suspense and is an adult read.
Zia, a literary agent, is on the brink of success. She meets Bryce at work and becomes entangled with Baxter through her work. An unusual love triangle emerges, where only two of the participants are lovers. The story explores the concept of lust versus love in some detail, and the title resonates this theme.
Woven into the plot, as a story within a story, is the crime element. Again the Chameleon theme is reflected in the serial killer’s personality. The suspense building is good. The ending is not as powerful as it could be, with a few questions left unanswered. As this is part of a trilogy, perhaps the answers will be forthcoming in later books
Onyx Gold is a writer of all-things romantic suspense. The stories Onyx writes are primarily imitations of life with extreme twists. Onyx’s debut title, Chameleons, is the first in a tantalizing, unexpected trilogy.
To catch a villain sometimes you have to become one. Bailey’s Back! From the bestselling author of Jailbird.
Detective Constable Bailey Morgan is back doing what she does best – working undercover. This time she has to infiltrate the inner circle of a notorious underworld family. Posing as a fellow villain, she is on a one-woman mission to bring the family to their knees.
But things are never that simple. Bailey finds that she is forced to confront shadowy wraiths from her past and will come face-to-face with a set of devastating revelations that will shatter her world and threaten her very existence.
With only herself to trust, Bailey is on her own and the stakes are higher than ever.
At that point, the door of the restaurant swung open, letting out a gust of noise which made him turn his head sharply, all thoughts of the mysterious figure dropping from his mind. He saw that a couple had emerged into the chilly night and it looked like they were heading in his direction. A bolt of anticipation shot through him. Here was his opportunity, the chance to earn some money.
The man ambled along in a self-assured swagger, his black leather jacket flapping open despite the freezing weather. The woman was wrapped in a figure-hugging fur coat, below which a pair of slender long legs ended in towering stiletto heels. The woman, in particular, looked quite glamorous, like some kind of model or actress, and both of them looked considerably well-off.
The couple were laughing, the man saying something indiscernible in a low rumble, the woman tittering in response, their puffs of breath frosting in the night air. It sounded like they were tipsy, bathing in the high of a good evening.
They were drawing closer, the woman’s heels clacking sharply on the pavement as she tottered along a little unsteadily, her arm hooked into the man’s elbow, their conversation becoming more clearly audible the nearer they got.
‘Now remember you promised me,’ the man was saying in a rough, gravelly voice.
‘When we get back to the car,’ the woman replied, with a coy twinkle in her eye.
‘I’ve been waiting for it all evening,’ he said with a leering grin. ‘And I can’t wait any longer.’
‘You won’t be disappointed,’ she purred seductively.
Dave readied himself for their imminent approach. They were only a few metres away now. He projected the appropriate air of two parts dejected to one part cheerful and one part humble, a recipe he’d spent some time refining.
‘Spare some change?’ he said as they passed, making sure not to sound too whiny.
The man stopped abruptly, pulling the woman to a halt beside him. He peered down at Dave, the smile dropping off his face. Up close, Dave absorbed his appearance – a large diamond stud in his left ear, his loud shirt open at the collar revealing a heavy gold chain around his neck, a chunky, expensive-looking watch on his left wrist and one of those rings with a gold sovereign in it on the little finger of his right hand. He certainly didn’t look short of cash, that was for sure. And he appeared to be coked up, if the wide twitching eyes and the clenching jaw were anything to go by.
Dave suddenly felt uneasy. Just beneath the surface, he could detect the whiff of violence, as if this was the kind of bloke who thought nothing of doling out a beating to anyone who looked at him the wrong way. Maybe he should have kept his mouth shut. He wondered if the man was going to assault him. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had done so. He felt a faint quake of fear. He gulped and braced himself for a possible kicking.
Caro Savage knows all about bestselling thrillers having worked as a Waterstones bookseller for 12 years in a previous life. Now taking up the challenge personally and turning to hard-hitting crime thriller writing, Jailbird was published by Boldwood in October 2019.
Alfie doesn’t forget… and he certainly doesn’t forgive. Can Nathan and Gemma’s marriage survive the mob boss’s return?
Nathan has tried to be a changed man for Gemma after they escaped gangster Alfie’s clutches, but it doesn’t take long for him to give into temptation… and now Alfie’s back to get what’s his.
Alfie doesn’t like losing. The gangster has been biding his time ever since Nathan and Gemma escaped his clutches, but he’s determined to collect his debt now. It helps that he knows about Gemma’s big secret…
Gemma’s been hiding something life-changing from her husband while they’ve been on the run. But now Alfie’s back in town, her lies could cost her Nathan… and her son.
I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction in return for an honest review.
The second book in the Risking it All series concentrates on a gangland family vendetta, Gemma and Nathan have escaped, but he continues to put them in danger. Told from a multiperson viewpoint the reader understands all the main characters actions, emotions and motivations.
Gemma’s secret threatens her family and gives Alfie leverage. Nathan remains weak and self-centred and the least likeable of the three main characters. The action is swift and not graphic, and the characters are flawed and relatable.
The plot is well written and the characters vibrant making this an addictive ganglit read.
Stephanie Hart is a debut author writing in the ganglit genre. She lives in London with her family. Twitter
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?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
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.
When Laura’s marriage falls apart she needs to find a home for her and her daughter. And quickly.
Welcome to The Close, a beautiful street of mansions, where Laura rents a tiny studio above a garage, and gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee – who soon suspects Laura of having designs on her fiancé.
But when Laura unearths the ghastly secret he is hiding, it threatens Stella’s perfectly curated world as well as Laura’s career.
Hatching an elaborate plan to beat him at his own game, these former enemies are now best friends.
But has Laura forgotten that revenge always comes with a sting in the tail?
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK -Michael Joseph in return for an honest review.
There’s excellent escapism in this story whose characters are just on the right side of stereotypical. Laura finds herself in an upmarket area of London when she needs a bolt hole at the end of her marriage. Finding a nanny annexe in the exclusive close seems serendipitous until she meets the locals.
Think ‘Gossip Girl’ but older and you’ll appreciate the hierarchy among the female residents. Stella ‘Queen Bee’ sees Laura as a rival and sets out to cold-shoulder her from the group. Al Stella’s fiancé is the cause of the discord. Laura is determined to uncover his secrets. This leads to a strange alliance with Stella, as they plot revenge.
This amusing, often satirical observation of ‘The Close’s’ residents is easy to read. The shallowness and lack of self-worth evident, in some of the women, is poignant and adds another layer to this absorbing story.
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.