April Book Watch: Here and Gone Haylen Beck.

Publication Date: 6th April 2017 from Harvill Secker

Source: Review Copy

Here and Gone begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

Oh I LOVED this one. Well, you know, I use the word loved to mean it destroyed me and stole a few hours of my life then spat me out ragged the other side. One sitting, totally immersive, bang on the money thriller with heart. Just load up on the sugar and dive right in (the slight sugar rush might be running this review too)

So Here and Gone has a hugely emotional core, missing children, now in danger – of course its going to get you right by the throat. What helps that along and makes it so darned addictive is the near perfect pacing, the highly intriguing and resonant characters and that indefinable something that means you just CANNOT put it down.

I always think its clever when an author manages to make a book fairly rock along, but still keeps the heart and soul in it. Here and Gone is a book that you feel – from the opening pages when Audra is making her tentative but determined escape from an abusive marriage you just get enveloped right into it. Then the heart stopping moment when she loses sight of her kids stays with you from that moment and as events unfold you spend half the time wanting to clap your hands over your eyes, wondering what fresh hell Audra will face next. The plotting is tight, intense and utterly riveting, the final few chapters I barely drew breath for and in the end you let out a huge sigh of…well you’ll have to read it to find out but the whole thing was completely traumatic – reading trauma. Its what I live for.

Oh that Sheriff, I wanted to poke him with red hot pokers. Danny I adored. Audra was a particularly strong character because her flaws were on display for the world to see but she had that tough inner core that just resonates so you are with her all the way. And she wasn’t stupid. You know? Sometimes in thrillers like this the main protagonist is so stupid you want to throttle them, but Here and Gone has a healthy dose of reality that just feeds into the wider drama.

Things I wish would happen now.

Danny would get his own book series.

I could see what Audra does next.

Patrick’s mother falls down a well and Lassie never comes. (remember the whole sugar rush thing)

Seriously though, Here and Gone is a very clever, very emotive, highly charged read that will mess with your head and keep you up at night. The themes running underneath the thrill ride are hard hitting and distressing. None of it is impossible. All of it is compelling. Overall Here and Gone is a purely dazzling read.

I thought I would probably like it, this being the pseudonym of an author I’m already a fan of – but you can never be quite sure when these authors go rogue and write something different whether they really should be doing that or not. In this case the answer is a hugely resounding YES. So do it again please.

An edge of the seat full on emotional blast of a novel.

Highly Recommended.

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Latest Reads: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: Available Now from Orion

Source: Netgalley then Purchased copy

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

We are on book 3 of the Red Queen series and it is just getting stronger and stronger, with multiple layers and intrigue being woven into every separate novel, deepening the mythology and making all the character arcs ever more gripping. Therefore I add a cautionary note to readers to ensure they read Red Queen and Glass Sword first, before entering the utterly riveting story that is King’s Cage.

I love these. There are a very few absolute stand out series in this genre, although a lot of very good stuff, but with Red Queen and beyond Victoria Aveyard has created an immersive, beautifully described and intensely addictive other world with a cast of eclectic and troubled characters and a divisive and ever changing political landscape.

I won’t say too much about this instalment just in case you are reading this cold, but suffice to say our heroine  Mare, is in an untenable situation, brought about by the events of Glass Sword, she is now living the consequences. For a lot of this book you live that pain with her as she wonders if the life she has is worth continuing on with. Meanwhile more political maneuvering and a war that is widening its grip goes on both around Mare and in the background, leading to an explosive, thrilling and emotionally charged finale. Oh what will happen now? I can’t guess – another one of the reasons this is so good – but boy am I keen to find out.

I like that the author throws surprises at us regularly, not only with regard to the ebb and flow of wider loyalties but with how you view individual characters. One of the mainstays of the series showed us a whole new side in this, it was both fascinating and made you view previous actions in a different way, that is what Ms Aveyard does so well. There is good and evil in here – but good is not always honest and evil is not just born but made – those are the themes that come to the fore a lot in the Red Queen series, none so much as they do in King’s Cage. Murky motivations abound on all sides.

The magical fantasy elements are just ingrained into the stories now, its like that is just life, the abilities of different groups within the varying factions just pretty much the norm and having them there makes for some extensively thrilling, edge of the seat battle scenes. The intricacy of the world building is intensely good, more understanding of the history and the way different factions came into power, all beautifully imagined and flowing through the narrative, you never quite know where the next friendship will be thrown aside as the battles, both civil and extended, rumble on with often powerfully emotional consequences. Especially when you are invested. I’m invested. I love these characters. I’m probably slightly weird in that my main sympathy lies with Maven. But you know. I like the divisive ones, the ones who show so many sides you can’t grasp onto a single one of them..

Overall King’s Cage was a gorgeous, intense and beautifully written rollercoaster ride of a read, it took me but moments to be absorbed once again into Mare’s world and I seriously cannot wait to go back.

Highly Recommended.

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April Book Watch – A Game of Ghosts John Connolly

Publication Date 6th April from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Review Copy

It is deep winter. The darkness is unending.

The private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished, and Charlie Parker is dispatched to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found.

Eklund is no ordinary investigator. He is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings. Now Parker will be drawn into Eklund’s world, a realm in which the monstrous Mother rules a crumbling criminal empire, in which men strike bargains with angels, and in which the innocent and guilty alike are pawns in a game of ghosts . . .

Oh look its that time of year where I’m reading the next novel in the Charlie Parker series from John Connolly, ending up emotionally traumatised (and boy was THAT true this time) then wondering what the heck else I can say that I haven’t already said that can get across the pure brilliance of this series.

It really is a difficult one because you end up going around in circles and coming back on yourself then thinking well surely if I haven’t sold it by now its just never going to happen. But we’ll give it a go and I’ll even try and stay relatively sensible about the whole thing. Relatively.

This instalment finds Charlie on the hook again to FBI Agent Ross (a man I still haven’t made up my mind about) who sends him off on the trail of a missing private detective. This man, Jaycob ,  has been messing with things he can’t possibly understand so things are going to get fraught. Well lets face it if Charlie found him in the next town then went home for tea it wouldn’t be NEARLY SO TRAUMATIC. And breathe..

I can’t tell you anything else without then having to kill you, but suffice to say the indomitable Mr Connolly takes us on another emotional  rollercoaster read, where the ongoing mythology deepens and just wraps you up in that enigmatic something that I have no words for, the current shenanigans are dark and so beautifully terrifying, the storytelling genius just gets me every single time. And THIS time particularly some things happen that had me needing to lie down. I’m still not over it.

I don’t know another writer around today that has such a gorgeous, descriptively haunting and brilliantly incisive prose, the scene setting is sublime, the entire time you are just enveloped into this whole other world that feels as real as any you leave behind whilst in it. Emotionally charged readers will understand what I mean when I say life is blurred around the edges slightly when coming out of it and it takes a while to settle down. It is just CLEVER. From the first book to this book and probably on into further books, the quality never falters, every one feels fresh, you genuinely never know where they might take you next. The best crime series out there currently? In this readers opinion definitely. Head and shoulders above the best of the rest.

Angel and Louis never cease to be funny yet inevitably flawed, Charlie himself is still facing down the problem of a daughter who may be scarier than he is, more revelations about the underneath of it all are drip fed out to us and overall this was a purely dazzling reading experience which once again left me desperate for more. But I’ll have to wait. I don’t like waiting. It makes me crazy. It’s worth it though. Every single time.

Fans of Charlie Parker do not fear. This is everything you were hoping for and more.

A note – A Game of Ghosts is book 15 and whilst I’m fairly sure that it might be more helpful to be able to say you could read it as a standalone, I’m afraid I’m often to be found screeching at people  NO PUT THAT DOWN YOU MUST READ IN ORDER. There is of course no must about it, each book is a brilliant read and you’ll pick up some of the layers, but genuinely, if you don’t follow the arc’s I feel you will lose a lot of the soul of it. And it has a HELL of a lot of soul. So if you’ve not read these yet, you make your bets and you take your chances but I can almost guarantee book one will hook you and we won’t see you for a year while you burn through the rest (Every Dead Thing is where to start by the way)

Highly HIGHLY recommended.

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A Time of Torment out now in Paperback.

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March Bookwatch: Blood Tide by Claire McGowan

Publication Date: 23rd March from Headline

Source: Netgalley

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in...

Its probably not a surprise to many people that I am a HUGE fan of this series from Claire McGowan, I’ve always thought it was one of the top UK crime series and with Blood Tide that has just pretty much been confirmed for me.

The beauty is in the mix of personal and professional – each separate mystery for Forensic Psychologist Paula Maguire is entirely compelling and complete but each novel takes Paula further on a very personal journey, searching for her missing mother and trying to sort out a tangled set of relationships. Now here she is with a young child, a partner in jail and about to be thrown into a bit of a horror story – yes folks, Claire McGowan is channelling Stephen King and doing it with a touch of genius.

A couple have gone missing on an island – the islanders are used to being cut off from civilisation – Paula not so much. When things take a turn for the macabre she is stuck, without back up, a storm brewing and a killer watching her every move…

Blood Tide was both thrilling, chilling and utterly immersive – interspersing scenes on the island with little gems of information on what is going on elsewhere in Paula’s life – you are thrown from one to the other, both strands totally gripping, leading to a spot on edge of the seat finale that had me pulling clumps of hair out. Then of course this author is STILL not done with you as she sets Paula up for the next stage of this journey..

Once again Claire McGowan speaks to the history, the troubles, in a way that genuinely educates readers like me who remember those times but in a vague I was young then sort of way – really bringing the aftermath and the effects of it to stunning brutal life – from the very first novel Paula has had this in her past, with a need to understand how it has affected her family. As ever this layer is incredibly emotive.

It is so beautifully done, you are in it all the way, Paula is still one of the most compelling female protagonists in Crime Fiction and is surrounded by a stellar supporting cast all of whom have you chasing the next part of their story. The Blood Tide is coming and the Island scenes are SCARY truly creepy insidious stuff, the parts of this novel I read when it was dark outside had me glancing around nervously – WHY DOES THE BOILER ALWAYS MAKE THAT NOISE WHEN I’M ALREADY JUMPY – one of life’s little mysteries. *Dives under duvet in case it is actually an axe murderer*

Genuinely clever, beautifully written and best of all not at all predictable when it comes to what might happen to our beloved crew, I will miss  Paula when her story is done. One can hope for happy endings but folks this ain’t no fairy tale…

Highly Recommended. The entire series.

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Latest Reads – A Darkness Absolute – Kelley Armstrong.

Publication Date: February 7th from Sphere

Source: Review Copy

Rockton town detective Casey Duncan makes a terrible—and dangerous—discovery in the woods outside of town.

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Two things to be clear on, this is the first time I have read Kelley Armstrong and therefore I did miss book one in this series – which did not matter one iota and I will be going back and reading it for sure now!

A Darkness Absolute was utterly addictive, a central premise that was completely gripping and some really fantastic characters, all of whom I just want to know more about at this point -plus I LOVED this so much I read practically all of it yesterday and its now gone onto my must read series list.

Rockton, a town where you go to hide. Either as a criminal or as somebody running from danger, the community is secure, closed and hidden from the wider world. Slight issue – once you are in you cannot leave. At least not easily and not for some time. Casey is the town detective – whilst chasing down an erstwhile resident she finds a woman trapped in a hole – where she has been, abused and held hostage for years. There is a killer on the loose – and who knows where they might be hiding..

So that is the set up then, the story rocks along from there, beautifully paced, intriguing themes digging into human nature abound, it is also a thrill ride of the highest order with many moments where you want to clutch your head. Really the best kind of thriller because it offers so many nuances, both in mystery element and character substance that just makes it a perfect storm of a read. Plus there is an actual storm when things could get really really sticky for our “good” guys and there is a puppy. I mean REALLY what more could you ask for?

Personally I adored the immersive style of it and descriptively it made me shiver – you really felt like you were stuck in that snowy landscape right along with the protagonists, nowhere to run and everything to lose. The relationship dynamics were utterly compelling, I thought the world set up if you like was pure brilliance – especially in relation to the “hostiles” – even without the benefit of book one it all came into sharp wonderful focus, you did not feel at all lost along the way.

Overall a banging read – adored it. It is set so there could be many more stories from Rockton – my obsession now is Matthias – TELL ME MORE ABOUT HIM – I’m a little in love.

Highly Recommended for fans of intelligent, character driven thrillers with heart.

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February Book Watch : The Dark Room Jonathan Moore

Publication Date: 23rd February from Orion

Source: Review Copy

Gavin Cain, an SFPD homicide inspector, is in the middle of an exhumation when his phone rings. San Francisco’s mayor is being blackmailed and has ordered Cain back to the city; a helicopter is on its way. The casket, and Cain’s cold-case investigation, must wait.  At City Hall, the mayor shows Cain four photographs he’s received: the first, an unforgettable blonde; the second, pills and handcuffs on a nightstand; the third, the woman drinking from a flask; and last, the woman naked, unconscious, and shackled to a bed. The accompanying letter is straightforward: worse revelations are on the way unless the mayor takes his own life first.  An intricately plotted, deeply affecting thriller that keeps readers guessing until the final pages, The Dark Room tracks Cain as he hunts for the blackmailer, pitching him into the web of destruction and devotion the mayor casts in his shadow.

I was a fan of “The Poison Artist” the first in a loose trilogy from Jonathan Moore, it was different and compelling and entirely gripping. With The Dark Room he has changed things up and out and I do believe I love this one more – I read it in two hugely immersive sittings, this is a slice of dark noir that digs deep with some beautifully composed characters (something that The Poison Artist also could boast of) and a story that just grabs you by the heart and won’t let go.

Whilst the first book was a deep seated psychological thriller, The Dark Room, whilst maintaining that gorgeous prose unique to this author, has an entirely different feel about it. Both mystery and drama, with a main protagonist in Cain who holds you in the story and keeps you hooked, this is a dark often hard hitting tale with some haunting and emotive themes as its driving force. Starting with an exhumation and ending with what I can only describe as an indelible hit to the senses, the story twists and turns beautifully, keeping you off kilter and never sure what may happen next.

The characters are rich and full of depth, the mystery itself is eerie and fascinating, the writing is pacy yet considerably eloquent and the reading of it is often intense and ultimately very satisfying. I think you could say I’m now a huge fan – the fact that Jonathan Moore has now offered within a glass darkly two very different and yet similarly clever novels means that I will look forward hugely to The Night Market next year. In fact couldn’t I have it now please? Oh go on….

The style may not be for everyone but from me it comes Highly Recommended. HIGHLY.

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Ones to Watch in 2017 – One Of Us Is Lying – Karen M.McManus

Publication Date: June 2017 from Penguin Randomhouse UK Childrens

Source: Netgalley

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
 
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

I loved this – clever, often tense, addictive to the ninth degree and with as many twists as a plethora of pretzels – except the twists don’t always come within the mystery but just as often within the characters.

So this is The Breakfast Club if The Breakfast Club was a murder mystery. That is the best way I can describe it (and for those of an age to appreciate the true genius of The Breakfast Club the highest compliment I can give it)

5 students enter detention only 4 come out alive. But what happened to them? Murder? Accident? And who were they? Victim? Undeserved of their fate? And most of all, who hated them enough to want to see them dead? Well all of those questions will eventually get answered but before that we have a genius of a novel, brilliantly insightful storytelling that starts with a group of teenagers who have easy labels applied to them (the Jock, the popular girl etc etc) but over the course of the novel grow layers and flesh and bone and become actual people. The people they are…

One of them may be a killer. All of them are not as shallow or as easily read as would first appear. As they enter the spotlight, not only within school gossip but also under intense scrutiny as the police investigation unfolds, the media looks on and nothing will ever be the same again. We hear from all of them and start to understand what has led to this moment, Karen M.McManus slowly but surely takes us towards the ultimate resolution, peeling back the hidden underneath of their friendships and loyalties, pushing them together and pulling them apart.

It is absolutely riveting – seriously I was hooked, I really engaged with all of them and their plight – so when I say this is utterly character driven I mean that exactly. As relationships are tested, not just within the school hierarchy but within each of their families, all of them have some serious growing up to do and you watch them do just that.

Not all of the reveal moments are unexpected but they are all emotionally resonant, this is not just a Young Adult mystery but an unravelling of substance and what makes us tick as people. Plus to be fair the mystery element is HIGHLY intriguing – there is also a Christiesque touch to things that really adds to the sheer joy of reading it.

That’s it – The Breakfast Club if Agatha Christie had written it. One Of Us Is Lying in a nutshell for me.

Highly Recommended. Beautifully written and a genuine barnstormer of a page turner.

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February Book Watch: Close Your Eyes – Nicci Cloke

Publication Date: 23rd Feb from Bonnier Zaffre (Hot Key Books)

Source: Netgalley

Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything.

There’s the twins: Aisha, rebellious, kind, and just a tiny bit worried about what the hell she’s going to do once this year is over, and Vis, smart, quiet and observant. Then there’s Remy, the loudmouth, and Gemma, who’s more interested in college boys and getting into the crap club in town. And then there’s Elise: the pretty one.

But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be. Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

Close Your Eyes is the story of a school shooting which, through interviews, messages and questionable actions, asks: Who is truly responsible?

I read “Close Your Eyes” in one sitting – this is not the first (nor is it likely to be the last) book I have read recently that has a school shooting at the heart of it – but this one resonated, probably due to the clever plotting and emotional core of it.

We follow a friendship group through the ups and downs of school life, of family, the deeper connections forming, all whilst knowing that things are not going to end well for everyone. I think what I liked most was the depth given to each of the characters – and how, in the end, the author brought a difficult but realistic understanding of why a tragedy unfolded. Nicci Cloke got me invested in these people, in their inner thoughts and feelings and so when things go so horribly wrong there is a real tug on the heartstrings.

It is beautifully written, cleverly obfuscated and purely character driven. It is not about shock value but about personality, events that form us, things that others casually throw out there not knowing the hurt they are causing (or sometimes knowing exactly that) Nobody in Close Your Eyes has entirely pure motives all the time, they are human beings with all their flaws, jealousies and idiosyncrasies – and sometimes that adds up to mental instability and a lashing out. Not always with violence, but this author takes on the nuances.

I thought it was very very good indeed. Because it is an easy read but also an extraordinarily hard one. Addictive and pacy at the same time as considered and intriguing.

Yes. I’d definitely recommend it.

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From the Purchased Pile: A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay

Publication Date: Available Now from Titan Books

Source: Purchased copy

The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories begin to surface and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed.

I LOVED this although you know, I hid under the duvet for a lot of it. Kind of peered out every now and then and read a bit more, hurriedly, before diving back under and contemplating whether or not I could make it to the kitchen for a cup of tea and back without dying horribly.

I survived. Just.

ANYWAY A Head Full of Ghosts is brilliantly done, razor sharp, genuinely shiver inducing but also quite frightening for other reasons that are not necessarily the loud ones. Paul Tremblay has written a supernaturally subtle and  haunting tale that screams out loud then gets you properly with the quieter moments, its all in the things that you don’t see. Just like the best horror movies, there are a lot of levels to this novel and I was engaged with every single one of them. And kept my sanity. Oh ssh…

SO Merry as a child lived in a house with a Sister, Marjory,  who was possessed by a demon. Probably. As is the way of things in our modern age a reality tv show was made about the whole affair,  following the family as it worked up to an exorcism- Merry, now an adult, looks back on this time with an ironic eye and a whole new wisdom – she tells her story and it is utterly gripping, endlessly compelling and creepy as all hell. Really genuinely great stuff.

And the ending was BOOM. I was very impressed (after I’d gotten over the traumatic “What? Why? Hang on a minute” phase that lasted a while) and it just sealed the deal for this reader. This is a damn good book.

Anyone remember that Halloween special from years ago – Ghostwatch – that had half the country semi hysterical when they thought it was all real?  Those that missed the exploding studio at the end when it became obvious to even the silliest of people that this was a hoax, were still nervous the next day. That was a genuine water cooler moment before water cooler moments were a thing, if you do remember then you will appreciate this novel for sure.

The author  builds to a climax in a tension filled, superbly intuitive narrative that hits a crescendo then brings you down a little gently before leaving you with a few things to contemplate. It is both definitive and interpretive and as such is hugely satisfactory and yep I’m a fan.

Just don’t forget – make the tea before you start and if someone could bring me a cup now I’d really really appreciate it. I’m not moving from under this duvet yet a while. It is axe and ghost  proof you know…

Highly Recommended.

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Latest Reads: Perfect Remains – Helen Fields

Publication Date: 26th January from Avon

Source: Netgalley

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Perfect Remains is basically a totally addictive utterly gripping one sitting read. It is brutal though, be warned, some of the descriptions made me peek out suspiciously from behind a cushion, a bit like when I pretend I’m brave enough to fully embrace those horror movies…

One thing I really liked about this one is that its not a traditional whodunnit or even really whydunnit its more about the psychology of the crime, in its investigative elements that trend continues, those out to solve the case are put under the microscope just as much. As the start to a new series it was done very well, I was intrigued and engaged by both Luc and Ava, especially in relation to their growing relationship, it is obvious that Helen Fields is not going to pull any punches and I shall certainly be reading on when the next one is out.

The writing is riveting and clever, drawing you in, the level of suspense is brilliantly done, ramping things up as we go, keeping that sharp, knifes edge feeling about proceedings throughout then throwing us into a heart stopping and ruthless conclusion.

Overall I really enjoyed it – if you like your crime fiction vicious yet human, razor sharp and captivating, then Perfect Remains is probably for you.

Recommended.

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