Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

Second Sister Chan Ho-Kei 4*#Review Translated by Jeremy Tiang @Chan_HoKei @HoZ_Books @JeremyTiang @midaspr #HongKong #CrimeFiction #TechnoThriller #InternationalThriller #BookReview #BlogTour

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.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

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 Ho- Kei

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.

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Jeremy- Tiang Translator

Jeremy Tiang

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.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Thriller

Poison Jacqui Rose 4* #Review @RoseThisis @AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #ganglit #Poison #BlogTour #BookReview #Revenge #TuesdayThoughts

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE YOU SHOULD NEVER CROSS

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…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

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.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, Suspense

What He Did J.G.Roberts 5* #Review [Detective Rachel Hart] @JuliaRobertsTV @bookouture #crimefiction #policeprocedural #Detective #FamilyDrama #BookReview

Your husband’s car crash wasn’t an accident…

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…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

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.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Crime, Excerpt, Extract, Friendship, Gangland Crime, ganglit

The Trouble Girls @MysteryCreator #Extract @LoveBooksGroup #GangLit #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #LoveBooksTours

It’s in her blood…

Camille O’Brien’s father was an Irish gangster who was betrayed and murdered.

Violet McCarthy has inherited control of the Irish mob.

The two women were once friends, but the exposure of the past has made them enemies, and Camille believes that what Violet has should be hers.

Now they must fight against each other as Camille strives to gain control of the mob in any way she can, no matter how brutal, and Violet struggles to keep it.

Love and loyalty are tested as they push each other to the edge. 

Amazon UK

Goodreads

#TheTroubleGirls
Excerpt from ‘The Trouble Girls’.

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.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Gangland Crime, Thriller

The Liar’s Daughter Claire Allan 4*#Review @AvonBooksUK @ClaireAllan #CrimeFiction #NorthernIreland #FamilyDrama #Secrets #Lies #BlogTour #BookReview

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. 

Amazon UK

#BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

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.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir, saga, Suspense, Thriller

The Final Trail A.A. Abbot 4* #Review #TheTrailSeries @AAAbbottStories #thriller #CrimeFiction #Domestic #Noir #Revenge #Betrayal #Lies @LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka.

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page-turner. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

‘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.

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

#Payback Gemma Rogers 5* #Review @BoldwoodBooks @GemmaRogers79 #BoldwoodBloggers #CrimeFiction #thriller #PsychologicalThriller #Suspense #Revenge #Secrets #Lies #noir #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay

#Payback

A dark secret and a deadly score to settle…
In 1997 teenager Sophie White and her three girlfriends decide they want to lose their innocence before summer is over.
Roping in her childhood buddy Gareth and his mates, Sophie holds a party to get ‘the deed’ over and done with, but the night doesn’t end as planned.
Twenty years later, the group are brought back together when Gareth is killed in a car accident and Sophie begins receiving threatening messages. It seems the party wasn’t as innocent as everyone thought and now someone wants payback.

A gripping, highly addictive game of cat and mouse where the past comes back with vengeance. 

Amazon UK eBook

#BoldwoodBloggers

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

My Thoughts…

A teenage party starts to have repercussions, over twenty years later, with fatal, and sinister results. There is a steady build-up of drama, plenty of psychological suspense and an underlying ethos of menace, as Sophie’s life disintegrates, even though she tries to carry on as normal.

A dark. pacy thriller, with complex characters, who harbour lies and secrets, from their past. The seemingly innocent event that happened in their teenage life, has sinister echoes. Someone wants revenge, but for what?

The story is told from Sophie’s point of view, as a teenager in the past, and a present-day adult. A plot, full of twists reveals just enough clues, to the mystery and antagonist, as it progresses. The characters are authentic and relatable, and the ending packs a punch and doesn’t disappoint.

#GemmaRogers

Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Stalker is her debut novel which Boldwood will publish in September 2019 and marks the beginning of a new writing career.  Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog Buster.

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