Posted in Book Review

5*Review: The Blood Road – Stuart MacBride

 Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he’s policing his fellow officers.

When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him. Or they thought they did.

As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead?

But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers – and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried. If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Starting a series at book eleven is probably not the best way to become acquainted with the characters, but despite this being my first Logan McRae book I found the characters delightfully quirky and wholly authentic.

‘The Blood Road’, as the name suggests has a dark theme, not revealed in the blurb I read. ‘The concept of a child auction’ is truly horrific and readers should be prepared to be appalled by some of the events in this story. The scenes with the children are sensitively written but its not for everyone.

The plot is very detailed and includes the remarkable and the mundane, while this adds to the story’s authenticity, it did make specific areas drag for me. The dialogue is what makes this a five-star book; it’s believable, informative, and sometimes amusing. The plot has subtle twists and a suspenseful, adrenaline-inducing ending.

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

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Posted in Book Review

4*Review: Stalker – Lisa Stone

 

Someone is always watching…

Derek Flint is a loner. He lives with his mother and spends his
evenings watching his clients on the CCTV cameras he has installed inside their homes. He likes their companionship – even if it’s through a screen.

When a series of crimes hit Derek’s neighbourhood, DC Beth Mayes begins to suspect he’s involved. How does he know so much about the victims’ lives? Why won’t he let anyone into his office? And what is his mother hiding in that strange, lonely house?

As the crimes become more violent, Beth must race against the clock to find out who is behind the attacks. Will she uncover the truth in time? And is Derek more dangerous than even she has guessed? 

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Reading the blurb to this techno-thriller, you would be forgiven for thinking you are about to read a 21st-Century ‘Psycho’ but don’t be fooled.

A convoluted plot takes you in one direction in an almost predictable way but then leads you down an even darker road before reaching an action-filled conclusion. Even with all the twists, it’s the characters rather than the plot’s complexity that make this a readable thriller.

Derek Flint, a loner, still living with his mother is a voyeur but does he do more than watch? Initially, it appears that Derek is not a good person, but as the story progresses, you discover he is more naive than evil, but he still has the key to the crime wave hitting his hometown. Detective Constables Beth and Matt have a good team dynamic, and they’re a credible police presence in the novel.

Well researched crime description with believable characters that develop within the plot’s sinister ethos, created by cleverly built suspense. An original  21st- century angle on the Stalker trope.

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

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

5* Review-Thirteen – Steve Cavanagh

 

 

 

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead, and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century, and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the courtroom start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

For once a thriller lives up to its blurb.

The twisty nature of this thriller made it a must-read for me, and I wasn’t disappointed.

A celebrity trial, an unusual lawyer and a serial killer but is he the man on the stand? Well, he’s undoubtedly in the courtroom.

Told from two points of view this predominately courtroom based story lets the reader into the psyche of Eddie Flynn, a con-man turned lawyer and Kane, the serial killer. A fast-paced plot faithfully traces court procedure with essential insights into the lawyer and killer’s personality cleverly entwined with the on-going trial.

The extensive cast of characters is slickly used to add depth and authenticity to the plot. It’s easy to follow, but there are plenty of surprises, well-crafted suspense and a great twisty ending. The killings are not overly graphic, but they give you a chill down your spine. The fourth book in the Eddie Flynn series but the first one I’ve read. There is enough backstory on Eddie and his friends to make this easy reading as a standalone story. 

A chilling, clever, courtroom thriller that enthrals the reader and gives you a definite adrenaline rush.

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

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

the tall man – Phoebe Locke- 4*Review

A SENSELESS MURDER. A TERRIFYING LEGEND. A FAMILY HAUNTED.

1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…

YOU DON’T FIND HIM… HE FINDS YOU. 

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

This story starts off sinister and creepy, and this urban myth should have held me spellbound, but it didn’t. There are numerous sub-plots most of which feed the main storyline. The story’s pacing is in the main fast, but there are areas mired in detail that make it drag.

The plot’s supernatural element alluded to in the blurb and title fades into the background, amidst the making of the documentary and Amber’s relationship with her parents. Well executed plot’s twists in an ethos that is undeniably chilling and sinister make the facts of the story when revealed genuinely horrific but the connection to ‘the tall man’ seems tenuous.

A good thriller with authentic characters, vivid setting and carefully built suspense, it just needs the supernatural element to be more prominent to be great.

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

Posted in Book Review

Death Notice – 4* Review -Zhou HaoHui

For nearly two decades, an unsolved murder case has haunted Sergeant Zheng Haoming of the Chengdu Police Department. Eighteen years ago, two victims were murdered after being served with ‘death notices’. In refined calligraphy, their perceived crimes were itemised, and they were sentenced to death. The date of execution was declared, as was the name of their executioner: Eumenides.

Now, a user on an internet forum has asked the public to submit names for judgement – judgement for those the law cannot touch. Those found guilty will be punished, and there is only one sentence: death. The user’s handle? Eumenides.

Does Zheng have a lead? Has a long-dormant serial killer resurfaced? Perhaps modern police techniques – criminal profiling, online surveillance and SWAT quick response teams – can catch a killer who previously evaded justice? Or perhaps the killer is more than a match for whatever the Chengdu Police Department can muster?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A fast-paced police procedural set in China with well-written suspense elements and an authentic setting. Translated into English this book, reads well. ‘Death Notice’ is a mixture of cold case investigation and the present day pursuit of a serial killer.

The plot is complex as are the characters. The writing style isn’t descriptive, but there is sufficient information for the reader to understand what’s going on and try to solve the clues. The procedures are bureaucratic and appear dated but presumably are reflective of police procedures within China.

I enjoyed the writing style and the author’s ability to create suspense. There is an overriding mystery to solve, which will span the series but this first book ties up the immediate loose ends while leaving the detectives and the reader further mysteries to solve.

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

Posted in Book Review

BlogTour: What Did I Do? Jessica Jarlvi – 4*Review

“Kristin is on the run. From her life. From herself.”

When two murders happen in Chicago, a witch-hunt ensues, and Kristin quickly finds herself at the centre.

The problem is she isn’t sure of what she did or didn’t do. Armed with a life insurance payout, she runs away to Sweden to start her life over.

But it’s not that easy to escape the past. And whatever she’s done, someone is on her tail, wanting her to pay…

The question is: could she be a killer and not even remember?

 

Links to buy

 Amazon UK 

Amazon

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

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

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Hwy4za

 

 

My Thoughts…

Multiple characters provide tantalising snippets of information in this psychological thriller. Set in Chicago and Sweden, this story has the pacing and sinister elements of a Scandinavian thriller.

All the characters have psychological issues, which makes finding the antagonist difficult. I did work out most the plot before the end, but there were a couple of surprises. What stands out in this story is the unmitigated evil of the antagonist, who is the puppeteer, while all the other characters are puppets to some degree, although few are entirely blameless.

The story’s pace is slow and won’t appeal to everyone, but if you like Scandinavian thrillers this has all the essential requirements.

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

Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!

 

Twitter: @JessicaJarlvi

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.jarlvi.graham

Posted in Book Review, Guest post

Blog Tour:The Wrong Man Guest Post -4*Review-Kate White

The Wrong Man Blog Tour Banner

Kit Finn meets handsome sculptor Matt Healy on a business trip, and the two share a night of passion. They arrange a second date, but when Kit arrives at Matt’s apartment, she is greeted by a stranger claiming he is the real Matt and that his identity was stolen.

Realising she has been duped Kit decides to put the encounter behind her. Shortly after, the police ask her to identify a man killed in a hit and run, carrying only her business card, and she is shocked to find the dead man is the person she knows as the genuine Matt Healy.

Kit fears she has become unintentionally embroiled in a sinister web of deceit. With no real evidence to take to police, Kit resolves to unravel the mystery herself. But can she do so before more lives, including her own, are put in danger?

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

The Wrong Man

Guest Post-  Kate White

How to Finally Start Writing (After Weeks, Months or Years of Being Stuck).

Over the years, people have frequently asked me if the time I spent in the magazine business–I ran five U.S. magazines, including Cosmopolitan for 14 years–was good preparation for my career as a mystery and thriller writer. My guess is that being a former prosecutor, cop, or private eye would have served me better, but overall my background has had its advantages.

     For starters, it gave me great contacts in media, as well as a certain amount of name recognition, both of which came in handy when I had to promote my first book.

     But probably the best thing my magazine career did for me was teach me how to stop procrastinating. As a young magazine writer, I learned a technique that helped turn me from a wannabe fiction author into a real one.

      I’m not sure how or why I became such a procrastinator, but I do know it began after college, perhaps because the work world seemed so overwhelming at first. During my 20’s, as a feature writer for Glamour magazine, I’d put off my assignments until the very last minute, practically pulling all-nighters to finish them. I was also trying to write fiction then, and that proved to be hopeless. I’d vow to spend all Saturday working on my novel, and yet I’d end up wiling away the hours on stupid stuff like cleaning out my wallet.  I began to think that despite what I told people, I really didn’t long to be an author.

     To help combat the problem, I snagged an assignment at Glamour to write a short piece on time management, and I ended up interviewing some of the top experts in that field. One of them, Edwin Bliss, taught me the trick that changed everything for me. He called it “slice the salami,” and though it’s pretty simple, it was a miracle worker for me. 

     First, the reasoning behind the strategy: Bliss explained that we often avoid an important task not because our heart isn’t in it but because it’s too big and daunting. The key to success, he said, is to make the steps as small as possible.  

     He compared the process to slicing a salami. On its own, a hunk of salami can look fat and ugly, but once you slice it, you’ve got something that–to meat eaters at least–looks very appetizing.  

     If you’re putting off a project or activity, Bliss said, you need to study it and decide how thinly you can slice it down.

      The technique worked fantastically for me in my magazine work and then later in my 40’s when I started trying to write fiction again. I’d decided to attempt murder mystery, something I’d always fantasized about, and with the salami technique in mind,   I made the decision to write for only fifteen minutes a day. That didn’t seem too much for me to ask of myself and it wasn’t. I managed to work every day. And after three months I actually had a few chapters under my belt—and I started expanding the amount of time I wrote each day.  

     I don’t need the salami trick anymore (I’m on my fourteenth suspense novel), but I know it’s there if I fall back into bad habits.

     It also helps, of course, to love the idea you’re working on. Writing The Wrong Man was never a burden because the concept thrilled me, the idea that one small, wrong choice could upend your entire world. As the protagonist Kit Finn muses: Wasn’t the problem with a little danger that you had no guarantee it could be contained? It was light a match tossed on dry brush. Maybe things only smoldered for a while. But with the right conditions, those embers could begin to flare higher and higher in the darkness, until they torched everything you owned.

     That always kept me going!

Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve works of fiction: seven Bailey Weggins mysteries and five stand-alone psychological thrillers, including most recently, The Secrets You Keep. For fourteen years she was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate on being a full-time author and speaker

Twitter: @katemwhite

My Thoughts…

‘ The Wrong Man’ has all the intrigue, menace and suspense of a psychological thriller but it’s the action rather than the main protagonist’s state of mind that is the real focus of this fast-paced novel.

Kit is at a crossroads in her life, she’s tired of playing safe and wants to take a few risks. A ‘one night stand’ fits the bill but unfortunately, it embroils her in a conspiracy that threatens everything she values. Kit’s dilemma of whether to trust her instincts or the evidence, fuels her often impetuous actions,  putting her in danger. As she finds the emotional strength she needs for survival she is increasingly easy to like.

Minor characters such as work colleagues and friends add additional interest to the story. Vividly portrayed they add authenticity to the plot which is suspenseful with often chilling twists. The New York setting is well described and complements the storyline perfectly.

An easy read, with a touch of glamour, edge of the seat suspense and a thrilling ending.

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

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: Theresa Talbot – The Lost Children – 5*Review

TV journalist and media darling Oonagh O’Neil can sense a sinister coverup from the moment an elderly priest dies on the altar of his Glasgow church. Especially as his death comes as she is about to expose the shocking truth behind the closure of a Magdalene Institution. The Church has already tried to suppress what happened to decades of forgotten women. Is someone also covering their tracks?

DI Alec Davies is appointed to investigate the priest’s death. He and Oonagh go way back. But what secrets lie behind the derelict Institution’s doors? What sparked the infamous three-day riot that closed it? And what happened to the girls that survived the institution and vowed to stay friends forever?

From Ireland to Scotland.

From life to death.

 Links to buy

 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pFMSUo

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2GzG9oE

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

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

My Thoughts…

A high profile investigative journalist, the death of a priest and past secrets of abuse and injustice make this mystery thriller an enthralling read.
‘The Lost Children’ is written in dual timelines, the terrible lives of the young girls in the Magdalene Institution in the late 1950s in Galway and Glasgow inform the investigation and mystery explored by Oonagh O’Neil and DI Alec Davies in 2000 Glasgow.

The chapters from the 1950’s are harrowing reading, the abuse suffered by young girls forced into the Magdalene institutions is compounded by their imprisonment and torture when they are there. These young unmarried pregnant girls treated like criminals for being victims of abuse and an uncaring, judgemental society. Their stories are written sensitively and backed up with social history that makes them believable characters.

Oonagh, a successful journalist produces a series of exposes into the seedier areas of Glasgow and British society. Her ongoing investigation into the Magdalene institutions coincides with the death of an old priest who is part of her inquiry, what follows is the gradual revelation of the mysteries and a collision of characters seemingly unconnected as the story progresses.

Oonagh is a dedicated journalist, still grieving for her father, she doesn’t suffer fools, but she is loyal and trustworthy. Her polished outer shell hides a tender heart which she keeps well hidden. Her personal life is complicated, and she has a surprisingly deep friendship with DI Alec Davies a hardened Glasgow cop.

In the year 2000 chapters there are multiple storylines; a frustrated priest, a seedy journalist, cynical police and a successful doctor all have their own stories, but these are necessary to the plot and part of its perfectly pitched ending.

Realistic characters, a well-researched plot tempered with mystery and surprises make this a riveting, crime based thriller.

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

Theresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many, she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel. Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.

Website: http://theresatalbot.com.websitebuilder.prositehosting.co.uk/

Twitter: @Theresa_Talbot

Facebook: Theresa Talbot

 

Posted in Book Review

The Wife – The Complete Series – M.L.Roberts 5* Review

I loved ‘The Wife’, series by M.L.Roberts and now all four parts are available in one book.

Michael and Ellie are that couple.

The ones who have it all.

Success, charm, trust…but no relationship is perfect, and the events of the past cast a shadow over their charmed life together.

When lecturer Michael starts to mentor a new student, Ellie fears that history is repeating itself. As paranoia takes its ugly hold, it’s clear some things just can’t be forgotten…or forgiven.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

 There is a skilful build-up of psychological tension and believable characters. The intense storytelling makes it hard to tell what is real and what is in the main character’s mind, breathtaking suspense and drama. 

Ellie’s tragic past is revealed, which explains much about her current state of mind and motivation. The story is told entirely from Ellie’s point of view, but the actions of others, who touch her life are essential to this story. 

The psychological tension is ramped up. Is  Michael the real villain of this? Or is it all in Ellie’s troubled mind? Maybe Liam isn’t the selfless, knight in shining armour Ellie believes him to be? Ellie thinks she is in control but is she? There are so many questions in this story, which has a dark, sinister ethos. Ellie is in danger but is she her own enemy or is there someone else controlling her life for their own ends. 

Paranoia or intuition, which is it that makes Ellie believe her husband is lying to her? The final chapters of this enthralling, psychological thriller, keep its secrets almost to the end. When you think you know everything there is another breathtaking revelation that leaves you with a chill down your spine.

Ellie’s mental health continues to deteriorate, her marriage to Michael reaches the breaking point, but Liam is more than willing to take his place. Is this what she wants? Ellie’s not sure about anything, but her need for the truth.The outcome of the terrible night that destroyed her is played out, and we find out why she can’t put it out of her mind. While this is not a surprise, it does give you further pieces towards solving the psychological puzzle.

The story continues with its twisty plot. Will Ellie learn the truth or is it all in her mind, the fall out from her night of terror. All is revealed in a nail-biting end to an original, gripping story.

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

 

Posted in Book Review

Bring Me Back B. A. Paris 5*Review

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The Disappearance
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

Amazon

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Fast-paced, totally addictive suspense fiction that draws you in from the first lie until the final terrifying twist. Written from Finn and his missing girlfriend’s point of view, you learn their past and current thoughts, without slowing down the story.

Finn is troubled he has a shady past that occasionally resurfaces with devasting results, his obsessive love of Layla his missing girlfriend makes him an obvious suspect in her disappearance but his well-placed lies and excellent legal advice leave him free to rebuild his life.  Twelve years later, Finn has moved on, but random events collide to make him believe the past hasn’t done with him yet.

Focusing on Finn, his current girlfriend, a longtime friend and ex-girlfriend, the cast of this sinister thriller is small. As the menace escalates, Finn cannot trust anyone, and this sense of isolation builds his anger to boiling point.

The gripping final chapters reveal an unexpected twist, with horrific consequences for the story’s major players. I guessed this before the end, but even then, the ultimate revelation is not quite as I envisaged. For me, part of the enjoyment is trying to foresee the outcome before the story’s end. 

The tagline #forgetsleep is true. I read this book through the night yesterday.

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