Night Market – Daniel Pembrey. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: 27th April from No Exit

Source: Review Copy

When Henk van der Pol is asked by the Justice Minister to infiltrate a team investigating an online child exploitation network, he can hardly say no – he’s at the mercy of prominent government figures in The Hague. But he soon realises the case is far more complex than he was led to believe… Picking up from where The Harbour Master ended, this new investigation sees Detective Van der Pol once again put his life on the line as he wades the murky waters between right and wrong in his search for justice.

Sometimes, to catch the bad guys, you have to think like one. . .

An excellent read here from Daniel Pembry, a classically  built sense of place, some intriguing characters and a pacy, compelling mystery to dig your teeth into.

Set to catch a mole in a complex and ongoing case involving some emotive subjects, Henk finds he has trouble on his hands. Echoes of the past haunt him and Daniel Pembry takes us on a twisted journey to the truth, where its impossible to trust anyone and the resolution is unpredictable – Night Market is a page turner, cleverly obtuse and well plotted to keep the reader guessing all the way.

One of the best things is the scene setting – Amsterdam comes to brilliantly observed life, you can see and feel where the characters reside – it adds a hugely atmospheric sense to an already atmospheric plot. The story could have been ripped from the headlines and the author builds the background perfectly, an intelligent nuanced building of relationships and history.

I enjoyed The Harbour Master very much but Night Market I read in one sitting – it is gripping, horrific and totally absorbing from the moment you start until the moment you finish. Excellent. More please.

Recommended.

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Latest Reads: The Mayfly by James Hazel.

Publication Date: 15th June from Bonnier Zaffre

Source: Netgalley

It’s happening again.

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

Charlie Priest, ex-detective inspector turned London lawyer, is hired by influential entrepreneur Kenneth Ellinder to investigate the murder of his son. But Priest is no ordinary lawyer. Brilliant, yet flawed, this case will push him, and those closest to him, to the edge.

Priest traces the evidence back to the desperate last days of the Second World War. Buried in the ashes of the Holocaust is a secret so deadly its poison threatens to destroy the very heart of the establishment.
With more victims going missing, Priest realises that not everyone should be trusted. As he races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?

Wow I loved The Mayfly. More than I expected to (always a good thing) and that is probably down to the completely compelling characters (Charlie Priest my newest book crush) and the rest (Georgie my newest girl crush) plus the brilliantly horrific plot which does get right under your skin. **slight shudder**

I won’t give anything away but the story fairly rocks along, whilst at the same time fleshing out (so to speak)  the characters, digging them into your consciousness so when bad things happen to them you are all discombobulated – and bad things do happen. Boy do they.

I like to find new crime fiction that has a different spin to put on things – what James Hazel does here is give you all the elements of a decent crime thriller with added oomph. Charlie Priest really is no ordinary lawyer – I’ll let you find out why for yourselves – but it adds a brilliantly intriguing twist on things that allows for some really meaningful moments in a plot full of layered depth. Also, his family is kind of weird – in the best reading way, I loved them. Even the one that I should probably be wary of.

I loved the past/present elements that all fused together ultimately, I really had no idea where this was going to end up, another reason for enjoying it thoroughly – I like the unpredictable not a lot get me that way these days. Even if I’d worked out every nuance though I would still have loved it – the characters are so fascinating, their relationships in our infancy of knowing them here are cleverly addictive – can’t wait for more now. Really. If the next book in the series is as good then its heading straight onto the must buy list.

Occasionally horrifically shiver inducing, never less than irresistible, The Mayfly is really top notch. Intelligently constructed, characters to die for and a truly sterling opening to what I hope will be a long running series. Charlie Priest. Remember the name.

I love this part.

Highly Recommended.

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Rewind Review: Two O Clock Boy – Mark Hill. Blog Tour.

Publication Date: Available Now from Sphere.

Source: Review copy

TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS…ONE BECAME A DETECTIVE…ONE BECAME A KILLER...

One night changed their lives Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager. Cries in the fire and smoke Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried …until today. A truth both must hide Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth. Discover the gripping, twist-filled start to a fantastic new London-set crime thriller series starring morally corrupt DI Ray Drake.

There was a certain amount of angst involved in my reading of  Two O’Clock Boy – due to the fact that Mark is indeed a good friend of mine (well I say that anyway he may beg to differ and  hide under a table when he sees me coming) and also a lovely chap so the thought that I might not like it kept me up at night. I can’t lie about the books. Doesnt matter how much I love you…

Then I started reading  Two O’Clock Boy and instead THAT kept me up at night. Because I couldnt put the blinking thing down and it was entirely brilliant. I can say in all honesty that it was banging good – insanely addictive – as dark as you like (and I like it dark) with a main protagonist you might literally die for if you reside within the pages. Add in a twisted, compelling storyline with some relevant and thought provoking themes and you have a magnificent read that will stay with you for ages. And ages. Then keep you up at night some more…

ANYWAY on the due diligence front, if you love tv shows like Luther and you like the good guys to be not quite as good as all that then you’ll love Ray Drake even though he’ll possibly terrify you too. But hey I always liked the bad boys. And to be fair he’s going after a killer who is pretty terrifying too. If you like a thriller that has great depth of character, enough twists in the tail to satisfy a rattlesnake, a fantastic supporting cast and the ability to make you keep turning the pages as if they were a drug habit you just can’t quite quit then this book is for you.

Basically this book is probably for you. More if you are a crime fan. Even MORE if you just like bloody good writing which tells a bloody good story and then leaves you just wanting more. More more more. With a hugely rebel yell…

Go on. You know you want to. Just don’t blame ME for the lack of sleep and the need for much caffeine to get you through the next working day.

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Good News Bad News WHS McIntyre Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Sandstone Press

Source: Review Copy

Life’s full of good news and bad news for defence lawyer Robbie Munro. The good news is he’s in work, representing Antionia Brechin on a drugs charge. The bad news is that she’s the granddaughter of notorious Sheriff Brechin.

Meanwhile, another of Robbie’s clients, Ellen Fletcher, has won the lottery and asked Robbie to find her husband Freddy, who disappeared having swindled the evil Jake Turpie. Unfortunately, Jake’s not willing to bury the hatchet – not unless it’s in Freddy’s head.

Robbie juggles cases and private life with his usual dexterity, but the more he tries to fix things the more trouble everyone’s in.

This is my second foray into the Best Defence series and I loved every minute of it again. I’m a huge fan of Robbie, he’s just so beautifully normal in so many ways but funny and determined even if that determination sometimes lands him in hot water.

He is juggling several things in “Good News Bad News” not least his accidental engagement from the last novel which means he can no longer do exactly as he pleases. In his professional world he is defending the granddaughter of his bete noir Sheriff Brechin, dealing with a demanding lottery winner and trying to keep the peace between many factions none of whom are all rainbows and light.

This series is so involving – WHS McIntyre writes with an ironic, witty prose that just makes you smile again and again – he throws his protagonists into all sorts of weirdly hilarious situations whilst maintaining an authentic and gritty backdrop – so beautifully readable and insanely addictive.

This series is all about the characters – their interactions, changing relationships and all the rest make it entirely fascinatingly brilliant, the scene setting is spot on and the plotting is cleverly obtuse, the author throwing in the little twists and turns almost casually, you never know quite where everything might end up.

Overall I’m a huge fan of this series. Bring on the next one I say! I want to see what Robbie ends up accidentally doing next!

Highly Recommended.

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Latest Reads: The Boy on the Bridge – M R Carey.

Publication Date: 2nd May from Orbit

Source: Review Copy.

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

So I’ve been waiting for this one in that way that I do, really patiently and without bugging anyone at ALL about it. Just sat here patiently waiting. No seriously!

ANYWAY The Boy on the Bridge is tagged as The Girl with all the Gifts book 2 but it is not that, it is a brilliant companion novel set in the same world, you can read this perfectly easily as a standalone book, although there are some lovely little gifts (yes I did that) for you if you have read Girl first. You should do that anyway simply because it is brilliant. I’m reading it again right now in fact…

Is “The Boy on the Bridge” as brilliant? Yes. You’ll get no argument from me, although it is brilliant in very different ways and for a whole host of new reasons. This is where I will struggle – because much like TGWATG I don’t want to give anything away. What the rather talented Mr Carey has done here is expand the entire sense of the world he built, given it form and function, with the help of some inspired characters and a kind of post apocalyptic road trip of highly charged emotional doom. Or redemption. You decide.

I was so involved all the way through this book – I felt all the feelings and clutched my hair quite a lot, growled at the actions of a few, clung onto the edge of the actions of at least one and from the moment I started it I lost my grip on this reality and lived in that one. Mr Carey has a way of writing with such totally immersive prose that you do live every moment, sinking into it and travelling along with it. By the end I was wrung out and blimey what an end I got too, first the last few cliff hanging chapters that brought everything from before to an emotive and heart wrenching finish then if that wasn’t enough there’s a beautifully placed little aftershock.

These really are the books I read for, the ones that for whatever reason, totally subjectively, grip you to the point that you know you’ll never forget them and will return to them to recapture that emotional tug they gave you the first time. The ones that will give that over and over no matter how many times you read them.

The Girl with all the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge are such books for me – whether they would be for you or not I cannot tell but what I can  do is  recommend that you at least give it a try. Really. What’s the worst that could happen?

Just a fantastic fascinating beautifully formed reading experience. All the love for this one. Both the  boy and the girl hit me right in the reading soul.

Highly Recommended. HIGHLY.

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Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

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Latest Reads: Penance Kanae Minato

Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland

Source: Netgalley

When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.
Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emily’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.

I read Confessions from this author and loved it, a one sitting read and Penance was another one sitting read. It was strange and dark, occasionally heart breaking and beautifully done. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel I was immediately hooked in to this tale of a group of children caught up in the horrific murder of one of their friends, a sinister threat from the girls mother and how that affected them growing up..

Penance is less a murder mystery and more a character drama – the murder, and the mothers emotionally charged “threat” setting off a chain of life events for the 4 girls and indeed for the mother herself. Each girl tells her tale, about that day and about their lives after, all of them in one way or another end up paying that “Penance” that was demanded of them at a young and impressionable age. Kenae Minato really delves into personality here, taking us on a twisted, atmospheric journey through the lives of these characters, whose realities differ so much but all are tied into a seemingly unbreakable bond to that one event.

The cultural aspects are equally involving, as I read I got a real sense of both the differences and the similarities between life in Japan and life here – there are different expectations, different society rules and hierarchy, but people are people everywhere. Grief, love, trauma, those things have no borders and I was struck by how beautifully the author managed to portray the feelings, the passion, the core heart of everyone we meet within the pages.

Utterly riveting, everything in Penance hovers underneath the surface, the decisions made, the actions taken, all informed by the past  at differing levels. The plotting is taut and extraordinarily clever, its not until you come to the end of Penance and look back at it that you understand fully the complete tragedy. Because Penance is a tragedy, almost Shakespearean in nature, I devoured every word of it with a shivery intensity.

Absolutely Highly Recommended.

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Latest Reads: My Sister by Michelle Adams

Publication Date: 20th April from Headline

Source: Review Copy

Two Sisters:

You don’t get to choose your family.

She thought she’d never go back home.

But there’s something in her sister’s voice she just can’t refuse.

And hasn’t it always been that way?

What her sister asks, she does . .

A really stand out psychological thriller here from Michelle Adams – great depth to character and setting, beautifully done, not easily anticipated which is a huge plus and generally I’m a big fan of this one.

The two sisters are oh so very different – Irini, given away by her parents, never grasped the full reason, over the years her intermittent contact with sister Elle brings a whole world of trouble. When we meet Irini she has spent a while trying to escape Elle’s vortex, moving and hiding, again we are not sure why but a single phone call brings her back into Elle’s world and back into that destructive sphere of influence.

I loved My Sister for its eloquent descriptive sense, especially of the relationship between the sisters which is difficult to grasp and even harder to hold onto. Michelle Adams brings a sense of menace to the whole story but mostly to Elle who is  definitely a character I will never ever forget. Divisive, out and out scary occasionally, her loyalties questionable but unbending – it is no surprise that Irini cannot stay steady or react logically in her presence. Irini has been formed by that sense of abandonment, that inability to discover why she was discarded. Both Elle and Irini are fascinating, compelling and completely unpredictable, it is gripping gripping stuff.

The plotting is taut and effective – sitting at the heart of it, these two girls, but the multi layered mystery element is completely clever, the resolution when it comes is one of those you go away and think about for ages afterwards. My Sister is about family dysfunction, about parental love and security, about what you do to keep those you love safe. It is a psychological thriller with a whole heap of heart and I was agog at every page. You know how sometimes you actually talk out loud to a book while you are reading it? Ok maybe that’s just me then but “My Sister” and I had many discussions. I could not put it down.

Flipping awesome.

Highly Recommended.

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Fatal Music – Peter Morfoot. Blog Tour Extract.

Today I am very happy to offer you an extract of Fatal Music by Peter Morfoot  as part of the blog tour – the novel is available now from Titan books  and details follow.

6

The doorbell rang. And rang again. Léo had a key and no john knew the address. Stubbing out her cigarette, she went to the door and peered through the spy hole. It was a policeman. Uniformed, the safer kind. And in a hurry by the look of it. She took a moment to compose herself and then opened the door sharply to the limit of its chain.

‘Yes?’

‘Mademoiselle Daviot?’

‘Who wants to know?’

‘Mademoiselle Cristelle Marie Daviot?’

Granot arrived at the morgue just in time to oversee the ID process. He and Darac had decided to tell Cristelle only that her grandmother had drowned in her hot tub. On seeing the look in the young woman’s eyes, it was the correct decision.

‘You don’t have to do this, mademoiselle.’ Sod Dr Carl Sodding Barrau. ‘We could get dental records.’

‘It’s alright.’

‘You sure?’

She set her jaw. ‘Yes.’

‘This way, please.’

He led her into a small room containing only a TV monitor. The screen was blank.

‘May I smoke?’

‘Sorry.’ Granot reached up and removed the battery from the smoke alarm. ‘It’s not permitted.’

Cristelle lit up, offered him one – he declined – and sucked in a lungful of familiarity.

‘Are you ready?’

A nod.

Granot turned on the TV. He had to admit that in such a short time, Barrau had done a remarkable job on the right-hand half of the drowned woman’s face. And with the mutilated and missing parts of her skull hidden by cloths arranged to mimic bedclothes, the effect was as natural as could be imagined.

‘Mademoiselle, do you recognise your grandmother, Jeanne Honorine Mesnel?’

Shaking, Cristelle blew smoke, whispered that she did and then lost her cordon-bleu evening all over the floor.

‘Léo.’ She groped around in her handbag. ‘I need Léo. I have to call.’

‘What’s his number? I’ll ring him.’ Granot steadied her as she found a tissue. ‘There’s a bathroom across the hall if you want to use it.’

‘No, no.’ She closed her bag. ‘I’ll ring later, it’s alright. Across the hall?’

‘Hang on to my arm, I’ll take you.’

‘You’re very kind, Lieutenant.’

Cristelle’s stomach had settled by the time the police driver returned her to her apartment. She went to bed wondering how long she would have to wait. How long before she could enjoy stretching out in the sun? How long before gazing at the sea through a curtain of fumes would be a thing of the past? Not long, presumably. A smile giving way to a smirk, she lit a cigarette. ‘Thank you, Grand-mère,’ she said aloud. ‘Thank you, at last.’

About the Book:

Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle is called to a potential crime scene – an elderly woman found dead in her hot tub. At first it is thought that she died of natural causes, but a surprising link with Darac’s own life leads him to dig deeper. In doing so he uncovers disturbing proof that there may have been a motive to kill the woman, and there is no shortage of suspects…

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Faithless – Kjell Ola Dahl – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date:Available Now from Orenda

Source: Review Copy

Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back and this time, it’s personal… When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he ponders the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda investigates a disturbingly similar cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway and Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers – and the killer – before he strikes again.

Faithless is the first of this series I have read, which was not a problem, the characters round out nicely you don’t feel you have missed anything.

Faithless is more of a slow burner of Nordic Noir, the author bringing many layers to a beautifully atmospheric mystery – Giving one of his main protagonists, Frank, a bit of a headache and drawing the reader into his life and past in a highly intriguing fashion. Brilliantly translated by Don Bartlett, there is a wonderful flow to Faithless that sits well in the Nordic Noir genre, something I read a fair bit because it offers a genuinely different feel to things – Faithless is an excellent example and I’d even say would be a good book to give you a killer start if you’ve not read within these books before.

I was especially impressed and fascinated with the group dynamic Kjell Ola Dahl brings to this novel – with a cold case and a hot case raging on, the various strands and various characters are perfectly placed, it was easy to pick up on some of the history and understand the relationships. The mystery itself has enough twists and turns to keep your brain busy, it was a really really engaging read.

Oh, also, Killer ending. KILLER. Something I’ve been seeing a few times this year in my reading and am loving the sudden crop of authors writing clever and unpredictable finale’s – here is another one. Kudos.

Overall a tense, intelligent and character driven crime mystery that I have no trouble at all recommending. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series as they are translated.

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Dead Woman Walking – Sharon Bolton. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: 20th April from Transworld.

Source: Review Copy

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all.

Another bang on target crime novel from Sharon Bolton  – cleverly twisted plot with some great characters, emotional themes and once more is a genuine page turner. Also Nuns. Loved the Nuns.

This authors plot weaving, game changing, impressively engaging prose is second to none in the crime field really, doesn’t really matter what you expect to get, you’ll end up sent all round the houses and back again. I loved this – clever and totally riveting. Two sisters, a balloon crash, a bad  guy and a gun – edge of the seat stuff but still considered, intelligent plotting and multi-layered characters with an atmospheric sense second to none, that is what you will get here.

The sibling relationship, one both divided and yet solidly together, is one of the stand out layers in “Dead Woman Walking” – Ms Bolton really lays on the emotional trauma, building the tension with short snappy chapters and a slowly drawn out history, but one thing I love more than anything is that she doesn’t need plot devices or cliche’s to keep you guessing or keep you engaged  – the story just pings along with its own sense of self and you are utterly utterly gripped from first page to last.

I won’t give anything away obviously but Dead Woman Walking is truly brilliant, like a movie in book form, pulling you along with the ebb and flow of it, I have to give a nod also to the scene setting which is truly immersive. Loved it.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I went all capital letters and everything…

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