Posted in Book Review, Crime, International Thriller, Mystery, Thriller

Gone By Midnight – Candice Fox- 5* #Review @arrowpublishing @candicefoxbooks

 

They left four children safe upstairs.
They came back to three.
__________________

On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young boys are left alone while their parents dine downstairs.

But when one of the parents checks on the children at midnight, they discover one of them is missing.

The boys swear they stayed in their room. CCTV confirms that none of them left the building. No trace of the child is found.

Now the hunt is on to find him before it’s too late – and before the search for a boy becomes a search for a body…

Amazon UK


I received an electronic advanced reading copy from Random House UK Cornerstone- Century via #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Crimson Lake series, which reads well as a standalone book, features the hunt for a missing child.  

Ted, a former detective with a nightmare past, and his partner Amanda are the only ones likely to find the answers but everything is a constant battle, as they face conflict both internal and external before they can solve the mystery.

Ted and Amanda are clever and haunted, you empathise with them because of the past and continuing injustice the endured. It is their current mindset that makes them willing to take risks to get to the truth. Both their personal lives seem more optimistic at the end of this book, but you’re left wondering whether they can ever rebuild their emotional lives.

An atmospheric plot and setting are intrinsic to this intense crime, mystery thriller. It’s like working out a route in a maze. How did the boy disappear? Has he run away or been abducted? If so, who took him? Is he still alive? The plot unwinds with multiple possible outcomes and a multitude of probable suspects. The final twist is exciting and menacing with a surprising ending, worthy of this well- thought out story.

If you want to see what I thought of Redemption, the second book in the Crimson Lake series click here for my review.

 

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, International Thriller, Mystery, Thriller

Gone By Midnight – Candice Fox- 5* #Review @arrowpublishing @candicefoxbooks

They left four children safe upstairs.
They came back to three.
__________________

On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young boys are left alone while their parents dine downstairs.

But when one of the parents checks on the children at midnight, they discover one of them is missing.

The boys swear they stayed in their room. CCTV confirms that none of them left the building. No trace of the child is found.

Now the hunt is on to find him before it’s too late – and before the search for a boy becomes a search for a body…

Amazon UK

I received an electronic advanced reading copy from Random House UK Cornerstone- Century via #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Crimson Lake series, which reads well as a standalone book, features the hunt for a missing child.  

Ted, a former detective with a nightmare past, and his partner Amanda are the only ones likely to find the answers but everything is a constant battle, as they face conflict both internal and external before they can solve the mystery.

Ted and Amanda are clever and haunted, you empathise with them because of the past and continuing injustice the endured. It is their current mindset that makes them willing to take risks to get to the truth. Both their personal lives seem more optimistic at the end of this book, but you’re left wondering whether they can ever rebuild their emotional lives.

An atmospheric plot and setting are intrinsic to this intense crime, mystery thriller. It’s like working out a route in a maze. How did the boy disappear? Has he run away or been abducted? If so, who took him? Is he still alive? The plot unwinds with multiple possible outcomes and a multitude of probable suspects.
The plot unwinds with multiple possible outcomes and a multitude of probable suspects. The final twist is exciting and menacing with a surprising ending, worthy of this well- thought out story.

If you want to see what I thought of Redemption, the second book in the Crimson Lake series click here for my review.

 

Posted in Book Review, Horror Fiction, Indie

The Demon Seeds- 4*Review-Derek Muk

Taylor and Jan have an edgy, exhilarating and dangerous occupation: they’re monster hunters. While they’ve endured many strange adventures in their Southern California/Los Angeles area turf, their latest is as harrowing as it gets….for they are about to encounter the nefarious bubog, the demonic offspring of the cult leader Bubog, an entity carrying the seed of the Dark Prince himself, and he is trying to impregnate as many human women he could lay his hands on. While the intrepid monster hunters track the bubog down in an attempt to put an end to their evil scourge, Jan learns that her best friend, Carol, has been initiated into their cult and the two must save her before she too gives birth to one of these abominations. But can they save her? And can they rid our world forever of these diabolical Demon Seeds before it’s too late? 

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

This is a short read, it took me about half an hour to complete, and so it’s the perfect book for reading on your phone. I haven’t read any of ‘The Occult Files of Albert Taylor’ but it is easy to get into, so important for short stories.

There is an interesting relationship between Taylor and his graduate student Jan,  who is clever but full of youthful innocence. There is a sense of Taylor studying her because a couple of times he talks about capturing her actions or expression in a photograph.

The writing is atmospheric and image-driven. It reads, like a graphic novel without the pictures, and its fast pace builds tension and enhances the action sequences. The monster hunters are akin to the demon hunters in the ‘Supernatural’ series and will appeal to readers who enjoy this type of fiction. 

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

 

Derek Muk is a writer and social worker from California. His short stories have appeared in various online and small press magazines, including New Realm, Cheapjack Pulp, Ink Stains Anthology, Nebula Rift, 9 Tales, Story of the Month Club, Cranial Leakage, The Haunted Academy (Novella-Midnight Frost Books), Fiction On The Web, Whispers From The Past: Fright and Fear (anthology), Dark Eclipse, The Dead Walk (anthology), 13 Magazine, Diabolic Tales 3, Both Barrels of Legends of the Monster Hunter I and II, The Trigger Reflex: Legends of the Monster Hunter II (anthology), Suffer the Little Children (anthology), Splatter: An Anthology of Horror, Death Rattle, Dark Things II (Anthology), Anthology of Ichor: Hearts of Darkness, Twisted Tongue Magazine, Static Movement, Sex and Murder Magazine,  Sinister Tales, Night to Dawn, M-Brane SF, Sonar4 E-Zine, The Ethereal Gazette, 7th Dimension Magazine, Switchblade Magazine, ESC! Magazine, Scorched Wings Magazine, Hardboiled, Masque Noir, Detective Mystery Stories, Dawnsky, The Pinehurst Journal, Mystery Forum Magazine, The Green Queen, Kracked Mirror Mysteries, Golden Visions Magazine, Crossroads Magic, The Street Corner Magazine, Calliope Magazine, Unspoken Water, Space and Time Magazine, Infernal Ink Magazine, Tales of the Talisman Magazine, Aurora Wolf, The Horror Zine Magazine, Disturbed Digest, and Parabnormal Digest.
 
He has three chapbooks published: Three Parts, The Sacrifice and Other Stories, and Sin After Sin. In addition to writing, he enjoys reading, travelling, museums, art, dining out, and meeting new people. He has a bachelors and masters degree in social work. 
 
“The Occult Files of Albert Taylor” is his first full-length collection of short stories.

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Posted in Book Review

The Forbidden Place – Susanne Jansson – 3* Review

In the remote Swedish wetlands lies Mossmarken: the village on the edge of the mire where, once upon a time, people came to leave offerings to the gods.

Biologist Nathalie came in order to study the peat bogs. But she has a secret: Mossmarken was once her home, a place where terrible things happened. She has returned, at last, determined to confront her childhood trauma and find out the truth.

Soon after her arrival, she finds an unconscious man out on the marsh, his pockets filled with gold – just like the ancient human sacrifices. A grave is dug in the mire, which vanishes a day after. And as the police investigate, the bodies start to surface…

Is the mire calling out for sacrifices, as the superstitious locals claim? Or is it an all-too-human evil?

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

I find Scandinavian Noir mystery thrillers difficult. I enjoy the atmospheric settings and the underlying menace, but I find the pacing inexorably slow and the characters hard to empathise and understand.

All these things are true of ‘The Forbidden Place’, so from that point of view it fits well into this genre, the ending is good, and the author’s ability to create suspense is not in doubt, it’s just for me the slow pace, and the characters’ insular, inherent coldness negate this.

Nathalie, a biologist, returns to her childhood town to finish her PhD dissertation. She is troubled and eventually, you find out why. The bog steeped in folklore and tragedy is part of her study but when someone is attacked, and the bodies start appearing she is forced to relive her past, face her demons to ensure she has a happier future.

It is suspenseful, and the mystery throws up lots of false suspects, if you are happy with a slow-paced read and accept the characters lack vivacity, this is worth reading.

I received a copy of this book from Hodder& Stoughton- Mulholland Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Mine – J.L.Butler – 4*Review

My CLIENT
My LOVER

Francine Day is a high flying lawyer about to apply for silk, ambitious and brilliant. She just needs one headline-grabbing client to seal her place as queen’s counsel … Martin Joy. The attraction is instant. Obsessive.

They embark on a secret affair, and Francine thinks she can hold it together. But then Martin’s wife goes missing. And Martin is the prime suspect. Francine is now his lawyer, lover and the last person to see Donna Joy alive.

As the case unravels so does Francine.

Her HUSBAND
My OBSESSION

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

‘Mine’ is an enjoyable read. The legal setting is interesting. The professional trust between a lawyer and client broken by the protagonist pushes her into the unreliable protagonist territory. Her mental health issues may also make her observations and perceptions questionable from the reader’s point of view.

A well written psychological thriller, regarding mystery, menace, pacing and suspense. The themes are well tried in this type of novel as are the characters; the mentally unstable obsessive mistress, the ruthless businessman for whom reputation and money is everything, but if you enjoy psychological thrillers the polished presentation of this one will please.

The mental disintegration of the Fran, the main protagonist, is realistic as are her actions, many of the choices she makes are bad, but they are understandable and therefore believable. The final chapters are atmospheric and suspenseful, aided by a wonderfully gothic setting and inclement weather.

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

Posted in Book Review

4* Review – Nick Louth – The Body on the Shore

A killer is at work in the supposedly-safe commuter belt.  DCI Gillard needs answers, fast…

Promising architect Peter Young is shot dead at his desk. DCI Craig Gillard is quickly on the scene, looking at what appears to be a brutal and highly professional hit: two bullets, fired with ice-cold calm.

Gillard knows that the most crucial question in solving the crime is one word: Why? Two weeks later, on the Lincolnshire coast, another body is found on a windswept beach. In this case, there is no identity for the young man, just a curious brand burned into his neck….

As the mystery deepens Gillard is plunged into a case without answers, finding himself up against dark forces, people who believe in only two things: blood and a warped code of honour. This time lives are on the line, children’s lives – and his own.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

An intricate, well-paced police procedural with an engaging detective and an absorbing plot.

Intrigue and mystery beckon from the start of this story and intensify as it progresses, with three seemingly unrelated serious crimes. DCI Craig Gillard has to try and solve them, keep his bosses happy and avoid an international incident with the help of his dedicated team of detectives, colleagues from the past and his keen intuition.

The crimes are shocking but not overly graphic in description, the conspiracy that surrounds them gives the story a menacing ethos and the final twist is thought-provoking and somewhat poignant. I liked the authenticity of the story and the all the characters are believable. The settings are vividly described and add to the story’s suspense.

A worthwhile read for anyone who likes police crime fiction.

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

Posted in Book Review

Trust No One- 4* Review – Anthony Mosawi

My name is Sara Eden.

My name is Sara Eden.

My name is Sara Eden.

This is all Sara Eden knows about herself. She was found at the age of ten, abandoned in a vat of water – a homemade sensory-deprivation chamber. Someone had placed her there – trapped for days in the dark, with only a cassette player taped to her head repeating again and again – ‘My Name is Sara Eden’. There were a handful clues: a battered cassette player, a cheap necklace, a few scraps of paper. And a Polaroid of a stranger with a handwritten note: ‘Don’t trust this man’. 

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Political thriller meets the ‘X’ Files is the best description of this novel.

Exploring themes prevalent in the eighties when the main protagonist of this story was born. Government’s misuse of people with psychic ability, regardless of the human cost, while not new is absorbing and allows the writer latitude. Not everything has to be believable in a story of this type only possible.

If you are looking for a fast-paced political, spy thriller, you will find this here, with significant twists, Not for the purists but adrenalin-fuelled, intelligent and often poignant, 

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

Posted in Book Review

#BlogTour: The Pupil- Dawn Goodwin – 4* Review

 

Literary agent Viola Matthews is sure she’s met Katherine Baxter before. So when her husband and bestselling novelist Samuel Morton introduces Viola to the quiet, unassuming woman he has offered to mentor, she knows their paths have crossed before. The question is where?

As their worlds collide and the bond between Samuel and Katherine deepens, Viola realises she must take control. If Viola is right, then Katherine needs to pay for something that happened twelve years ago.

Amazon UK

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

My Thoughts…

Katherine is a realistic character, yet fulfils the role of unreliable protagonist associated with psychological thrillers. ‘The Pupil’ focuses on Katherine’s ambition to be a successful writer, she is in a controlling marriage and becoming a writer is her way of achieving independence and rising from the problems of the past.

There is suspense, but this is more of a family drama than a psychological thriller. The threat Katherine percieves appears to be visible only to her, which makes you question her mental state but it’s her husband’s treatment of her that is sinister and the real threat to her mental stability.

There are elements of dramatic irony in this, as the thinly disguised significant plot twist means the reader knows who Katherine’s enemy is, but she is oblivious until the final chapters.

A suspenseful read and an excellent family drama but not the twisty, psychological thriller I expected.

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

Dawn’s career has spanned PR, advertising and publishing. Now, she loves to write about the personalities hiding behind the masks, whether beautiful or ugly. Married, she lives in London with her two daughters and a British bulldog called Geoffrey. 

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Posted in Book Review

Believe Me – J.P. Delaney – 4* Review

Claire Wright likes to play other people. 

A British drama student, in New York without a green card, Claire takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands.

When one of her targets becomes the subject of a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting skills to help lure their suspect into a confession. But right from the start, she has doubts about the part she’s being asked to play. Is Patrick Fogler really a killer . . . Or the only decent husband she’s ever met? And is there more to this set-up than she’s being told?

And that’s when Claire realises she’s playing the deadliest role of her life . . .

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

An original perspective on the concept of ‘the honey trap’ and entrapment that raises numerous ethical issues but produces a quirky, dark thriller with addictive qualities. There is a mix of writing styles, including poetry, scripts and interviews.

Claire is a British drama student living in New York, her opportunities for making ends meet are scarce, so she uses her acting talents and earns ‘cash in hand’ money from a firm of divorce lawyers, acting as a ‘pick up’ in hotel bars to trap straying husbands.

Claire is the unreliable protagonist, at her happiest playing other people and so it’s difficult to establish who she truly is. When someone dies her role escalates, she is co-opted to trap the suspected killer. The thriller’s intensity increases and fantasy and reality merge with dangerous results.

The only thing predictable about this thriller is its unpredictability. If you accept, nothing is as it seems or what you expect and enjoy the show its an absorbing thriller.

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

Posted in Book Review

All the Hidden Truths – Claire Askew – 5* Review

This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself.

But no one can say why.

The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A behind the headlines story that explores what happens after the tragic mass shooting until all ‘The Hidden Truths’ are revealed. Told from an exclusively female point of view, the stories of the teenage killer’s mother, the first victim’s mother and the newly promoted detective inspector tell a harrowing tale, that is unerringly authentic and disturbing. 

The story highlights the police and the press roles and relationship; the ruthless journalist is contemptible, furthering his career through the misery and misfortune of others. The ‘true life’ crime approach to this thriller is original, realistic and contemporary. The emotions of the three protagonists as they come to terms with the tragedy and find the answers make this story remarkable and memorable.

A new perspective on the psychological crime thriller that embraces the contemporary fascination with family dynamics and secrets in an empathic, thought-provoking way.

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