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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett

Scared To Death

The murderer in this story isn’t content with just killing their victims, they want to actually scare them to death. And, what’s more, they want to watch.

This is the twisted and horrifying situation that Detective Kay Hunter is faced with at the beginning of Scared To Death and it makes her absolutely determined to find the perpetrator, despite some deliberate attempts to mislead her along the way.

The plot sucks you in right from the very first pages as a couple desperately search for their kidnapped daughter, the beginning of a series of events that will end in tragedy.

This story is packed with plenty of action, tension and surprises. We also get to know a lot about Kay, from her private emotional scars to a recent bruising of her professional reputation. This makes her an appealing and well-rounded character, strong enough to carry the series following on from this first book well. During the course of this book we got to know her well enough to empathise with her, but with some questions left unanswered that will make readers want to go ahead and read further books.

The characters are all well drawn, even the minor ones, and this makes for a realistic read and a satisfying conclusion. There is also a well realised sense of place in the book and the settings play a big part in the way the story unfolds.

Overall I found this a great page turning read, intellectually satisfying and intriguing. The clues and the way the team work together on the investigation are brought to life in a very believable way and the plot was well structured and fast moving.

I look forward to reading further books in the series.

Thanks very much to the author for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

You can find other stops on the blog tour here. And follow the #scaredtodeath hashtag on Twitter.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

My Sister’s Bones

When Kate Rafter returns from reporting in a war zone to her old family home in the UK, she starts to experience a series of disturbing and bewildering events. We learn that she has a troubled family background and is estranged from her sister, Sally, and as the book progresses the past is unravelled to show us why.

But meanwhile she is challenged by events and images she thinks she has seen and heard, but can’t be sure about. Most pressingly, what is going on in the garden of the house next door to her mother’s house and can she help before it’s too late?

I found this novel a very gripping and emotional read. The author has family links to the world of war reporting and her sensitive handling of this aspect of the story really reflects this. Some parts of the story are heartbreaking.

The phrase ‘jaw-dropping twist that you won’t see coming’ is somewhat overused with reference to psychological thrillers these days, but in the case of this book it is actually true. And there isn’t just one twist, there are several. You’ll hardly have recovered from one before being hit with the next.

All in all, a very accomplished novel and a great, if sometimes disturbingly dark, read.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Robert B Parker’s The Devil Wins by Reed Farrel Coleman

The Devil Wins

I’ve never read any of Robert B Parker’s books so when this review copy of a novel written by Reed Farrel Coleman as a continuation of Parker’s Jesse Stone series arrived, I read it with an open mind and no particular expectations.

As an introduction to the character of Jesse Stone and the world in which he operates, I enjoyed it very much.

Jesse, once an LA homicide detective, is now chief of police in Paradise, Mass. and living a very different lifestyle from his previous one. Early on in the book we find out that Jesse is struggling with alcohol, with troubled relationships with women and with his own past.

Paradise turns out to be far from heavenly when, one night in the midst of a huge storm, a dead body is found in a collapsed building. Things take an even more sinister turn when two further bodies are found and it turns out they’ve been there for twenty-five years.

I found this an enjoyable and engrossing mystery. I really liked Jesse Stone and the characters surrounding him, and the way the story had its roots in the past added an extra dimension to it.

There are many twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, including an unexpected extra revelation at the end.

I can’t comment on how well the book reflects Robert B. Parker’s works, but would definitely recommend it in its own right.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Candles And Roses by Alex Walters

Candles And Roses 

by Alex Walters

My husband has a fantastic new book out today. Candles And Roses is published by Bloodhound Books and you can get it here.

Here's what the publisher has to say about it ...

Candles and Roses: a chilling serial killer thriller from a critically acclaimed author.

Who will live and who will die? 
DI Alec McKay is a man haunted by the loss of his daughter.  As he obsesses over a missing person case that is going nowhere, McKay’s investigation is interrupted when bodies start appearing on the Scottish Black Isle. Soon McKay and his team start to identify a disturbing pattern behind the killings.
Why are candles and roses placed around the bodies?
What is this twisted murderer trying to achieve?
While the police follow their own leads, a young woman who discovered the first victim begins an investigation of her own.
As the case unfolds McKay will be forced to face his own demons.
To catch the killer McKay must discover the true motive and untangle the web of truth and lies.
Candles and Roses is the first book in the explosive new DI McKay Series.  

Also, don't forget that today is the last day you can pick up Late Checkout for 99p on the Kindle Countdown Deal. You can find that here.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Girl In Danger by Leigh Russell

Girl In Danger

‘Girl In Danger’ is the second outing for Lucy Hall, and this time finds her based in Paris and trying to make her way as a journalist.

This is what the book blurb has to say …

Lucy Hall’s first summer in Paris promises to be idyllic. She’s fallen in love with the city and enjoys her new job as an investigative reporter. When her friend Nina comes to stay, the girls look forward to a wonderful summer. But Paris is a city of contrasts and Lucy is about to experience its dangerous side.

When an anonymous source promises her a scoop, Lucy can’t resist the chance to make her name. The deeply unsettling meeting with her informant indicates that there may be more at stake than she’d suspected. Returning home with questions instead of answers, Lucy finds her apartment ransacked and Nina gone.

Lucy knows her friend is in danger, but the police are unwilling to help. When her informant is found dead, she realises she may be next. Lucy has something the killer wants and he’ll do anything to get it back…

One of the things I’m really enjoying about the Lucy Hall series is the way that each one is set in a very different location. In the first book, ‘Journey To Death’ we found ourselves in the exotic surroundings of the Seychelles. This time we are much closer to home in Paris, and I found the setting was very deftly recreated. I haven’t been to Paris for many years, but I really felt as I read that I could picture where Lucy was and see it all very clearly in my mind’s eye.

In this adventure Lucy finds herself trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of what has happened to Nina alongside a local Private Detective. The mysterious Alain turns out to be the perfect partner for Lucy. His hardbitten attitude, born of long experience of crime and corruption, acts as a perfect foil to the sometimes slightly naïve and impulsive Lucy.

As they work together, both Lucy and the reader wonder if Alain can be trusted. As events unfold it turns out that certainly no one else can be!

All in all, a very gripping crime story that takes both the reader and Lucy to some very dark places. Some of the descriptions of the crimes committed are not for the fainthearted, but are necessary to indicate the level of jeopardy Lucy and Nina find themselves in and the urgency of their dilemma.

I’m looking forward to seeing where Lucy ends up next, and I hope this series will run and run.

Thanks very much to the author for a review copy of this book via Netgalley.

'Girl In Danger' is out on Kindle on 27th September and available for pre-order now. You can find out more here

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Late Checkout - 99p only!

Late Checkout

by Alex Walters

Just to let you all know that for a limited period of a week only, my husband's book 'Late Checkout' is a total steal at 99p!

Don't trust my word that it's good - read all the excellent reviews.

You can find it here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner

Missing, Presumed

When I requested and read this book for review I wasn’t aware that it was the first in a new series featuring DS Manon Bradshaw, but I enjoyed it so much that I was really glad to find out that appears to be the case.

In this book we follow Manon on a missing person case. Edith Hind, young daughter of a very well-connected family, has gone missing from home and Manon knows how crucial the first 72 hours of the investigation are if she’s to have any chance of finding her. As the investigation into Edith’s disappearance continues, the team of detectives uncover details about Edith’s private life that suggest almost too many possible reasons for her disappearance.

The story is told from the point of view of various different characters involved in the investigation. I found this gave an interesting panoramic feel to the story as it progressed, but it was the sections from Manon’s point of view that I enjoyed the most. Her voice really shone through and lifted the story out of the ranks of the usual crime novel.

We also find out quite a lot about Manon’s private life in the course of the story. As we join her at the beginning she is looking for love through a series of unsatisfactory internet dating encounters. But will it turn out that she’s looking for love in completely the wrong place?

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys crime that is a little bit different from the norm. I enjoyed the story, but more than that I just really enjoyed being in the company of DS Manon Bradshaw.

I obtained a review copy of this book via Netgalley.

You can find out more here.