Harper Collins. Yes indeed.
Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Fiction
It is ten years since Ella’s sister Miranda disappeared without trace, leaving her young baby behind. Chilling new evidence links Miranda to the horrifying Jason Thorne, now in prison for murdering several women. Is it possible that Miranda knew him?
At thirty, Miranda’s age when she vanished, Ella looks uncannily like the sister she idolized. What holds Ella together is her love for her sister’s child and her work as a self-defence expert helping victims.
Haunted by the possibility that Thorne took Miranda, and driven by her nephew’s longing to know about his mother, Ella will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth – no matter how dangerous…
Wow, The Second Sister is a twisted tale indeed in the very best way possible.
I loved “The Book of You” (and I still have my promotional Book of Liz from way back) so I was very keen to read this and turns out for good reason because it was absolutely beautifully addictive, really rather clever and often very very creepy. What’s not to love?
Ella as a character was top notch, driven, unforgiving yet extremely likable, you follow her along through good decisions and bad and can barely look away – some of the most chilling scenes come when she faces down the man she believes took her sister – but that is just the tip of a very deep iceberg.
Family relationships are explored, a strong theme of the affects of loss run through the storyline, what I loved most of all was its multi-layered strands that allowed things to be unpredictable (at least for me until about 3/4 of the way through) To be honest by about half way I didn’t really care about whodunnit, if indeed anyone did, but I wanted Ella to find her closure, to be able to move on. For me that’s the sign of a great crime book.
Claire Kendal takes us down a dark and dangerous road to the truth, every step on that road is an obfuscated one, keeping things off kilter and making for a completely gorgeous read and a finale that left me clutching my hair.
Overall very very good indeed. Loved it. Highly Recommended.
You can purchase The Second Sister HERE
Publication Date: 15th December from HarperFiction
When Special Agent Ren Bryce is called to Tate, Oregon to investigate the disappearance of twelve-year-old Caleb Veir, she finds a town already in mourning.
Two other young boys have died recently, although in very different circumstances. As Ren digs deeper, she discovers that all is not as it seems in the Veir household – and that Tate a small town with a big secret.
Can Ren uncover the truth before more children are harmed?
Late to the party with Alex Barclay novels and Ive started here with book 6 in the series but don’t let that stop you if you are in the same boat, easy enough to get into. Too easy if anything, I found it to be a bit of a page turner that often made me late for things.
Loved the vibe here. I like a good small town story, and in this instalment that is exactly where Ren has ended up – investigating a disappearance and discovering that in this town secrets lie buried deep.
Ren as a character is all kinds of messed up, events from previous books (which I will absolutely have to go back and read now dammit, like I need to add to the teetering pile) are defining her thinking a lot of the time but still she has a job to do and do it she will. I like a controversial character especially when embroiled in a twisty plot that is eminently unpredictable so for me The Drowning Child was an excellent excellent read.
It is not perfect, Rens inner monologue sometimes distracted me, but it is part and parcel of her I assume (we’ll find out when I go back) but for the most part the plot fairly rocks along. Some interesting and divisive characters, a strong mystery element and an endlessly fascinating story unfolding the writing is sharp and engaging and so here is yet another series Im adding to my must read list.
Recommended for Crime fiction fans.
You can purchase The Drowning Child HERE
Publication Date: Available Now from Killer Reads
Source: Review Copy
A serial killer is stalking your home town.
He has a type: all his victims look the same.
And they all look like you.
Kate returns from a post break-up holiday with her girlfriends to news of a serial killer in her home town – and his victims all look like her.
It could, of course, be a simple coincidence.
Or maybe not.
She becomes convinced she is being watched, followed even. Is she next? And could her mild-mannered ex-boyfriend really be a deranged murderer?
Or is the truth something far more sinister?
I was a fan of Alex Lake’s “After Anna” so I was looking forward to reading Killing Kate – and once again it was totally addictive. I do love a good serial killer thriller and thats kind of what you get here with an added mystery back story and a clever engaging plot.
So women are being murdered – they all look somewhat like Kate. Kate meanwhile is going through a divisive break up and with this on top its a worrying time.
Alex Lake weaves a fast moving and highly readable story here surrounding Kate’s past and her present issues. We also hear from her ex who is not coping with the break up well at all – but could he be dangerous? And what did happen when four friends became three?
The author teases things out nicely, I love the writing too it just gets right to the heart of the characters and keeps the reader guessing, if you like crime and thrillers its bang on target. Overall really really enjoyed this one. It’ll keep you up at night!
Another Killer Read from Killer Reads.
You can Purchase Killing Kate HERE
Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Voyager
Destined to destroy empires Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in the shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows loves her. And they drink her fear.
Nevernight for me was all the awesome.
Jay Kristoff, boy, writes a corker here with everything you could want from a fantasy novel and then some. Flowery language yes, occasionally this can make me mutter but in the case of Nevernight I loved the style, every word actually got you somewhere. With a HIGHLY compelling opening scene that just leads into more and more of the same as we hop and fizz along with Mia, I read this compulsively until it was done.
The world building is great. I mean GREAT. The main protagonist is fascinating, occasionally annoying, endlessly intriguing and the world she inhabits is more of the same. The plot building is clever and immersive, often emotional with lots of action and you know, stuff. That enigmatic stuff that just keeps you reading and reading and reading and then you realise 2 hours have gone by and you forgot you were sat in the sun and now are like a burnt up little over fried chip. Ok lets not dwell on that…
Definitely a series I’m excited to keep reading. Next time though I’ll do it in a darkened room and a DND sign on the door. One to get addicted to.
You can purchase Nevernight HERE
Publication Date: 30th September from Killer Reads
A missing family
Barefoot, bloodied, with no memory of what has happened to her – Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods in France and discovers that her exchange family have mysteriously disappeared.
A small town seeking revenge
Journalist Molly Swift is drawn to the mystery and prepared to do anything to learn the truth, including lying to get close to Quinn. But when a shocking discovery sparks fury in the town, Quinn is arrested for murder.
Dark secrets dragged into the light
As a trial by media ensues, Molly is left to unravel the town’s disturbing past and clear Quinn’s name – but is she really innocent? Or is she a cunning killer intent on getting away with murder?
The American Girl was a bang on psychological thriller, well told story with plenty of twists and the added advantage of not necessarily being predictable – and I liked the way the past/present vibe was used in this novel – a kind of found footage twist that worked very well.
The American Girl stumbles out of the woods one night and is immediately involved in an accident – remembering nothing of what has happened or the whereabouts of the family she was staying with the small community rallies around her. But the town itself has its secrets and soon the tables will turn.
I liked that Kate Horsley honed the backstory to perfection as we begin to find out what has lead up to recent events – I especially like the strands of the narrative that speak to a young girl spiralling somewhat out of control. The reporter who starts off looking simply for a story then ends up becoming emotionally involved added an extra layer that also added to the addictive nature of the storytelling.
Exploring some fairly modern themes – in this digital age if your life goes viral and the world is watching, just how do you cope with that – and the added mystery element of who what why and when just means that The American Girl works on several levels. Whilst it may be nothing entirely new it was one of those that held my interest throughout and was a pretty darned good read.
You can purchase The American Girl HERE
Publication Date: Available NOW on Kindle and December in Paperback. From HC Avon
A teenage girl is missing. Is your daughter involved, or is she next?
Your daughter is in danger. But can you trust her?
When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.
Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.
Saving Sophie is the type of psychological thriller that I love for an afternoons reading – fast paced, intriguing, devisive characters and a terrific mystery element.
I read it cover to cover in one go pretty much, totally immersed as Karen struggles with agrophobia whilst trying to work out if her daughter Sophie is in any real danger after a night out goes horribly wrong. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, a fascinating look at family and friendship ties and a cleverly embedded whodunnit for you to get your brain around.
I can’t say I particularly liked any of the characters, but thats no bad thing – human beings are inherently selfish a lot of the time and it gives a touch of realism to a crime story. Whilst its not perfect (I did find it a little hard to swallow how long anyone took to tell the police something important that could save their lives and my little mobile phone bugbear turned up a couple of times) Saving Sophie is a blinder of a read in the addictive stakes and the conclusion was edge of seat good. I also liked how Sam Carrington tackled agrophobia which is crippling, not allowing any sudden miracle cures which trust me I’ve seen in other books – in this one it is a mountain for Karen to climb if she IS to save Sophie, and speaks well to the underlying theme of how far would or could you go for the ones you love.
Overall a great read, certainly setting me up to read whatever comes next. Recommended for fans of this genre.
You can purchase Saving Sophie HERE
Publication Date 11th August 2016 from HC (Avon)
You take ONE risk. Now, those you love must pay …
Dom Turner is a dependable husband, a loving father. A man you can rely on. But it only takes one day to destroy a seemingly perfect life.
Emma thought she could trust her husband, Dom. She thought he would always look after her and their daughter Daisy….
Then one reckless act ends in two innocent deaths – and Dom’s family becomes the target of a terrifying enemy.
There’s nowhere to hide. They’re on the run for their lives. And if Dom makes one more wrong move, he won’t have a family left to protect.
The Hunt, the previous novel to this, I read in one huge gulp of a sitting and actually the same thing just happened so really, Mr Lebbon it could be said writes utterly banging unputdownable thrillers.
The first part of this story had me putting my hands over my eyes going NO NO JUST DON’T DO IT YOU FOOL whilst our main protagonist Dom considers a risky, unlikely and totally out of the blue plan from one of his friends. Then I spent the next part of the book hanging on by my fingernails whilst things took a terrible turn for Dom and suddenly his family are in mortal danger. Just goes to show, you should never trust your friends. Or something.
As for the last bit well. Killer. Loved it. So really the whole thing was terrific. Opening salvo to insanely exciting finish. Tis what a good thriller should be for sure. Plus the author sneaks some devilish little plot twists in there to keep you on your toes in case you thought you knew what was going on.
Addictive writing style, utterly absorbing story, if you need to actually sleep at night don’t start this one late. Thats all really.
You can purchase The Family Man HERE
Publication Date: Available Now (Harper Fiction)
Sergeant Jack King is back on active duty after months off following a violent encounter. On the Met’s promotional fast-track scheme, King is headed straight for the top, but policing the streets is where his heart truly lies.
Tasked with cleaning up the notorious Grove Wood estate, King is determined to rise to the challenge. But it’s not just drug dealers and petty thugs his team have to worry about. Someone on the estate is preying on children, and they need to find the culprit, fast.
Soon King finds himself over his head: the local residents won’t play ball, his superiors want results yesterday, and he’s refusing to admit that he’s suffering from PTSD. As the pressures combine, the line between right and wrong starts to blur and King finds himself in a downward spiral. Only he can save himself – but is it already too late?
I’m a HUGE fan of the Corrigan novels so was really looking forward to seeing something different from Luke Delaney – a really intuitive storyteller whose true talent comes in the sheer authenticity he brings to each tale.
Here is a standalone then – and this one is ALL about Jack King, a protagonist with an enduring ability to suck you into his world – back to work after a life defining event, he is maybe not as ready as should be, especially considering what he is tasked with.
A very dark tone and a very dark story – some of Jack’s choices are questionable, Luke Delaney explores the depth of the human psyche with The Rule of Fear and it is both endlessly fascinating and deeply disturbing. Its very important I think in this case to not give away too many nuances of plot, but in any novel you read where children are targets of those who would harm them, you know that it is not going to make easy reading – if you add to that a character like Jack King, for whom the lines between right and wrong blur more and more the further you head into the story you have a poignant whirlpool of intensity and Luke Delaney pushes you every step of the way.
The plotting is tight, the prose is incredibly immersive, The Rule of Fear is a slow burn of a novel with a hugely captivating sense about it and an ending that will floor you emotionally, more so because everything leading up to the final denoument is utterly horrifically believable. I refer you back to the first part of this review.
Some incredible writing right here – it wont be for everyone, it is uncompromising, bleak, the tale of how we can never predict, how the most shining of futures can be taken apart in moments. An authentic and absolutely hard hitting insight into PTSD written with absolutely no glances towards any kind of comfort zone – I can’t do anything except highly recommend it.
You can purchase The Rule of Fear HERE
Publication Date: March 10th from Avon.
You think you know who to trust?
You think you know the difference between good and evil?
You’re wrong …
A LESSON YOU WILL NEVER FORGET.
As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.
But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.
And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?
Interesting read is “The Teacher”
It warns that this is not for the faint hearted. I would say nope it definitely is NOT for the faint hearted. If you can’t cope with descriptive random violence you may be in trouble. However that aside, basically if you can cope with a bit of Hannibal Lector style you’ll be fine – its a great psychological thriller, possibly with a few too many points of view but you get used to it.
The Teacher is a fast and furious read of the type that will keep you up at night – not only because you really want to know what the heck is going on but because it may induce a kind of nightmare twilight state in you where sleeping doesnt really seem to be the best option just in case…
The narrative jumps past to present and aroundabout as people die in very violent ways – but why, who, what has started all this – THAT is what will keep you turning the pages. Katerina Diamond has a particularly visceral way with words and has a great eye for plot development and character, she also is very obviously not afraid to push the boundaries.
I’m not sure that I loved it. I definitely didn’t hate it. I think it will divide opinion on whether or not some of the more violent aspects of it are there for the sake of it rather than adding to the story – hmm – one way, or another way, every reader will think for themselves.
Do you dare? Well I did and I have emerged unscathed. The Teacher is one to watch…
You can pre-order The Teacher HERE
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: Available now from HC (Killer Reads)
Source: Netgalley invite.
DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.
Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…
Absolutely thoroughly enjoyed For Reasons Unknown – a fast paced and endlessly compellling crime thriller and (we hope) the first in a series featuring Matilda Darke (great name great character) a DCI who has returned to work after a traumatic case and personal loss has seen her out of the picture for a while.
It’s always interesting reading a new crime fiction novel when you read as many of them as I do – often they can be quite same old same old, then sometimes one comes along that grips you completely for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on ….aptly in this case given it’s title – and you know that you are going to want more. I want more.
All the elements of great crime fiction are in here – a puzzling and engaging mystery, a touch of emotional angst, characters with a past that speaks to who they are today- what Michael Wood has done particularly well here is give psychological and realistic depth to all of this, especially in relation to how he offsets one personality against the other.
Then you have a lovely twisty turny murder case, where some things are predictable and some things are most definitely not so, a great piece of storytelling that gives the old brain cells a work out and really will have you avidly turning the pages to find out what is what.
On top of that Matilda is a really really terrific main protagonist – her back story is utterly captivating and you absolutely get caught up in her struggle to return to some kind of normality. The relationship between her and the surviving child (now grown) of the cold case she is looking at is brilliantly drawn. As for Ben Hale, the man in charge in Matilda’s absence, well – to say I was enthralled by his personality and what happens to him would be putting it mildly. Really well written to completely involve the reader.
Overall then a great read. One I achieved in one sitting, perfectly paced, entirely fluent throughout, a genuinely first rate first novel.
Bring on book two. I’ll be waiting.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date 24th September from HC (Avon)
A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back?
When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory.
Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible…
First of all I’m going to address the elephant in the room as far as genre and bloggers overload goes. Yes this title has the word girl. And gone. And yes we are fed up with gone girls and domestic noir overload – there have been rumblings in the proverbial jungle and I myself swore after a recent disappointment that I wouldn’t be going there again for a while..still I’d heard great things about this one from trustworthy sources so hey, what the heck right? One more for the road…
My advice? Ignore the title. This is a different kettle of fish (although yes, missing girls in this case a baby, a mother who may or may not be a killer but that’s where the comparison should stop)
Little Girl Gone starts with the fact of a missing baby and the rather strange happenstance that mother, Estelle, did not report this terrible loss. The police shake their heads, the reader shakes their heads we all look to Estelle for answers. At first she doesn’t have any…and no don’t get caught up in the whole unreliable narrator bag either – this is very much simpler in that it is the story of one mothers journey through the madness of post partum depression, possibly psychosis and her attempts to discover the truth about her daughters disappearance. This truth lies inside her own head, in a locked mind that is refusing to give up what it knows.
The tale has that great pull of being both a real page turner and a truly emotional read – Estelle accepts that she may have harmed her child. She doesnt want to believe it and nor do we, but the fact remains that she has been very ill – ill enough that anything is possible. The story twists and turns as she tells her psychiatrist about her background, her life before and her life after the birth of baby Mia.
Alexandra Burt does a really magnificent job of exploring the mindset of a mother on the edge – there is a huge authenticity here that pops off the page. Estelle as a character draws both sympathy and frustration as she goes on this journey – her frustration is your frustration and boy does that make the whole thing highly readable and extraordinarily addictive.
I think the thing that impressed me most was how the solution was not the ultimate resolution – once the truth does emerge about Mia the author takes us further – Estelle has to deal with the knowledge, the fallout, the next things in a life she struggles with and it is completely fascinating and horrifically emotive at times, I was utterly gripped the entire way through and came out the other side feeling a bit like a wet rag. Very good reading indeed.
So yes, ignore the title – this book has so much more going for it than a drop in the ocean of the Girl craze…and would definitely come highly recommended from me.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 27th August from Killer Reads
Alex Devlin’s life changed forever fifteen years ago when her sister Sasha’s two small children were snatched in broad daylight. Little Harry’s body was found a few days later, but Millie’s remains were never discovered.
Now Jackie Wood, jailed as an accessory to the twins’ murder, has been released, her conviction quashed by the Appeal Court. Convinced Jackie can reveal where Millie is buried, Alex goes to meet her.
But the unexpected information Wood reveals shocks Alex to the core and threatens to uncover the dark secret she has managed to keep under wraps for the past fifteen years. Because in the end, can we ever really know what is in the hearts of those closest to us?
The Bad Things is a tense and emotional thriller, a definite page turner, another that I couldn’t put down once started and read really fast.
There are two main threads here – Alex, whose sister’s children were taken and killed, only one ever turning up – and who hides a difficut secret. Kate, the police detective who found the child’s body years ago and has been affected by it ever since who is dragged back into the case when one of the culprits is released from jail having had her conviction declared unsafe. We follow both these women on a twisty turny path towards truth, where secrets lie buried and everybody lies.
This is one of those novels that just grips you – even if at first you are not sure why. It is not a new theme or idea to be sure but that never matters when the story is compelling and this one absolutely is. Alex and Kate were both very different but fascinating and the minutae of their lives quite apart from the central plot was cleverly intertwined with the mystery and gave the story depth.
As for the mystery element, this was a good one for those of us who like to get our head into untwisting the twisted, the author weaves a great little web with some misdirection and mind games – for me, I did begin to see what was coming quite early on but I was never *quite* sure until the actual reveal moment. So as a conundrum, a puzzle to solve, this was spot on.
It is emotional – it deals with the death of children and is at times quite heartbreaking. Mary-Jane Riley handles the sense and feeling of the aftermath of that in a very insightful way, showing sensitivity to the emotive aspects of her story yet allowing it to become part of the whole in a way that works pretty perfectly.
I thought this was an excellent example of it’s kind, with gripping characters, a well constructed story and enough resonance to ensure it stays with you after reading.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 13th August
Source: Review Copy
One lied. One died.
When one sister dies, the other must go to desperate lengths to survive. Haunted by her twin sister’s death, Abi is making a fresh start in Bath. But when she meets twins Bea and Ben, she is quickly drawn into their privileged and unsettling circle.
When one sister lies, she must protect her secret at all costs. As Abi tries to keep up with the demands of her fickle friends, strange things start to happen.
Gosh I read this fast – seriously once started there is no stopping so there’s a slight warning for you. Don’t try and fit “just a couple of chapters” in before you have to go somewhere.
The Sisters is a tense and very gripping psychological thriller, totally twisted in the best way possible – in this case rather than one protagonist you just can’t work out and who will drive you mad, you have two.
Abi has lost her twin and is a bit lost herself. Seeing Lucy everywhere she goes, she suffers a breakdown – we meet her later as she is trying to build a new life away from all the horror of her past – then she meets Bea. Free spirit Bea reminds Abi hauntingly of Lucy and is also a twin, they are drawn together. But everybody is hiding something and when Abi moves in with Bea, her brother, and their artistic set things start to get slightly odd.
This flowed from the page like the fastest running river you can imagine, as we jump between Abi and Bea and their thoughts and perceptions – but who is lying, who is truthful, is one of them mad, perhaps even both or is something else entirely going on? Who knows ( well me now obviously) but on the journey I had no clue – I just knew that I was caught up in the lives of these two girls, sympathetic and trusting first one then the other before bouncing back to “I have no clue” and clutching my head.
The narrative style is perfect for this type of tale – creeping up on you, bright sunshine and seemingly happy people but underneath it all a distinctly menacing feel – Claire Douglas builds the tension absolutely superbly, changing the game with almost every other chapter and keeping you firmly off kilter.
Add to that some extraordinarily fascinating characters, a really clever and intelligent plot, some perfect scene setting and a distinct tendency to sneak things up on you, this was a really terrific read. There are quite a few novels around this year that focus on siblings and family dynamic, this is one of the best I’ve read for sheer depth of perception and I really do highly recommend it.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 21st July from HC (Avon)
Everything you’ve built your life on is a lie. Willow’s memories of her parents are sun-drenched and full of smiles, love and laughter. But a mysterious invitation to a photographic exhibition exposes a secret that’s been buried since a tragic accident years ago.
My Sister’s Secret is a really clever, beautifully written family drama come mystery story with some characters I fell in love with and is an utterly absorbing read.
So we are set over several timelines as Willow starts to discover things about her parents that she never knew. Meanwhile this is also the story of 3 siblings, the loss of one which devastates the other two and sets off a tidal wave of emotional fallout.
There is something utterly compelling about this one,highly engaging with some well developed characters that you really do get involved with. Willow, desperate to get answers, travels the world in search of them. Hope, who keeps her family’s skeletons buried deep in the closet is an absolutely fascinating character. Charity and Faith, the other two sisters equally fascinating for entirely different reasons – the whole story unfolds with perfect pace and a sharp eye for the little details that make a book so readable.
I loved the diving/submerged forests aspect, made me go google mad, added to that there is an artistic vibe to the narrative that just really holds you in that place and time while you are on the journey.
Overall a really great read and one that comes highly recommended from me.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 30th July from HC ( Killer Reads/Blue Door )
A girl is missing. Five years old, taken from outside her school. She has vanished, traceless. The police are at a loss; her parents are beyond grief. Their daughter is lost forever, perhaps dead, perhaps enslaved. But the biggest mystery is yet to come: one week after she was abducted, their daughter is returned. She has no memory of where she has been. And this, for her mother, is just the beginning of the nightmare.
“After Anna” is a superbly crafted and really most addictive psychological thriller – one that will keep you up all night (I know, after all it just did that to me) – some cutting edge characters and really insightful writing that brings the whole thing to life and really does not allow you to put it aside. For anything. Let alone sleep.
So Anna disappears. Then reappears. After that things get REALLY dangerous…
A couple of things I loved about this one – first of all, even though you know from the blurb that Anna will come back, the intelligence of the plotting and the theme that runs through the portion of the novel that deals with her disappearance will still have you on the edge of your seat and will illicit an emotional response. Looking at the pure horror from a parents point of view of losing a child and not knowing what has happened – peppered with a really authentic take on how the press and public at large may perceive such parents – the first part of the story is highly intriguing and very very involving.
The second thing is the sheer exhileration of the character development. Seriously. I loved them/hated them/was suspicious of them/cheered for them – at different points as things developed I’m sure I went through the whole emotional spectrum.
I’m being extraordinarily careful here to give absolutely nothing away. The intricate web that the author weaves round the ensemble, their tangled interpersonal relationships, their personality traits, history and motivations all blend together beautifully to complete the whole and make for a really really excellent read. To know almost anything at all about any of them might spoil those little twisty “moments” that this novel has in spades and what makes it rise above the standards of the genre. So go in cold. You won’t be disappointed.
I’m aware that this author is working here under a pseudonym – I’d like to know who they are AKA simply so I can ensure I read everything they’ve ever written no matter what the genre. With storytelling this good I might even be tempted to read their shopping list.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 27th August from HC (Avon)
Sourced via Netgalley
Dr Lise Shields works with the most deadly criminals in America. At Menaker psychiatric hospital all are guilty and no one ever leaves. Then she meets Jason Edwards. Jason is an anomaly. No transfer order, no patient history, no paperwork at all. Is he really guilty of the horrific crimes he’s been sentenced for? Caught up in a web of unanswered questions and hastily concealed injustices, the spotlight begins to shine on Lise.
The Hiding Place by John Burley is a superb psychological thriller which re-invents itself throughout as the story unfolds.
Lise works at Menaker – there she treats some of the most damaged patients, one day Jason arrives, no paperwork, no history, nothing. As she begins to delve into his psyche it becomes apparent that there is a lot more going on here and there may be real danger ahead..
The tale is fast paced and addictive as Lise uncovers a conspiracy and ends up fighting for her life. The author has constructed this in a really impressive fashion, starting as it does as a a character driven interaction piece as Lise and Jason start their therapy, then moving into crime and mystery as secrets start coming to light then morphing into a full on action thriller before retreating back to where it started. It keeps you on your toes, every element is perfectly placed to develop everything else and John Burley builds and builds the suspense until you are literally sitting on the edge of your seat.
Some real life issues are tackled very well, the ultimate resolution is pitch perfect whether you see it or not and overall this was absolutely top notch and comes highly recommended from me.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: Available now
Source: Review copy
Top divorce lawyer, Laura Maxwell, appears to have it all – perfect career, perfect husband, perfect life. But how well do you really know the people around you? All it takes is one tiny crack to shatter the whole façade.
A series of accidents leads Laura to believe that someone out there is deliberately trying to harm her. The fear starts to pervade every part of her life, affecting her work and her marriage. Increasingly, she feels that no one believes her story, and she must face down her attacker alone. One woman, fighting to survive in a nightmare world.
Really quite excellent psychological thriller here from Catherine Hunt – the opening scenes just hook you right in, from that point on you won’t want to put it down.
So we have Laura then, who has been having a few scares lately. She is a staunch professional and extremely successful in her career which has lead to a few people disliking her, to put it mildly. So when strange things start happening she believes that there is malice aforethought, but getting others to help her seems like an impossible task.
I loved how the author built the tension in this novel – another standout debut, it starts with a bang and a racing heart and pretty much continues in that vein – heart stopping and addictive, the pressure builds as Laura fights a lone battle against an unknown foe. It will have you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see how it all pans out, the flow of the story is pitch perfect and it carries you along with it from first page to last.
Characterisation is top notch – you get a real feel for Laura and those around her, this may be a thriller but it is character driven and has a strong emotional edge that has great impact, some strong writing and a real sense of menace make this a huge page turner.
Overall then another fantastic story from the Killer Reads team. They know their stuff and this author is one to watch.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: Available Now
Across the south of England, a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. A local businessman is burnt alive in his car, two car thieves are bitten to death by poisonous spiders and a driver is impaled through the chest with scaffolding. Accidents do happen but as the body count rises Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg suspects that there is something far more sinister at play. Who is hunting these people down and can Heck stop the killer before they stage the grisliest ‘accident’ of all?
Highly entertaining (and gruesome in the best way possible) crime fiction here – This is my first Paul Finch novel, I did play a bit with the idea of catching up with the series before reading this- I have actually now got a little pile of Finch novels sat in my tbr pile – but in the end I decided to dive right in with the latest.
Really enjoyed it. Probably more than I should have done given the premise, but I loved Heck, didnt feel as if I had lost anything by reading this one first and the story was terrifically addictive and really very clever.
Heck works for the serial crimes unit which gives him great scope to get into anything – in this case a nasty accident that may not have been an accident finds him in Surrey – and when he uncovers a series of unfortunate events that seem to be plaguing the population there he decides to stay for a while.
He’s a great character. Likeable, a little odd but then who isnt? And he certainly thinks outside the box which makes him very intriguing. I also liked sidekick (for this novel anyway) Gail who hopefully we will meet again. The relationship between these two was one of the strengths of the novel for me, especially as someone coming in cold to a character who has already had time to develop – she is meeting him for the first time as well.
The case they are investigating really is magnificently imagined, the descriptive prose when it comes to the more violent parts of “Hunted” are simply brilliant, putting you right there and definitely giving a few shivery moments. If you are an arachnophobe beware!
Overall a really terrific crime novel, beautifully written, hauntingly scary at times I’m definitely a fan. I will certainly be reading the backlist and really looking forward to the next.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 18th June 2015 (Kindle version available now)
THEY SAY EVERY FAMILY HAS SKELETONS IN THEIR CLOSET . . .
But what happens when you open the door and they won’t stop tumbling out?
For Adam and Beth the first secret wasn’t the last, it was just the beginning.
Wow I read this fast. Completely compelling from the very first page this is a beautifully written novel, an authentic and intriguing family drama that had me completely hooked.
It is about the breakdown of a marriage, the heartache and sometimes ultimate life affirmation this can bring, a story about how we can never really know each other. This one truly spoke to me – the couple in this tale have been together a long time, yet here they are in absolute crisis. Something I have been through myself recently, it touched a nerve but only in a good way – I related so much to Beth,especially as a lot of her thoughts and emotions so closely mirrored my own.
On the opposite side of that is Adam – a man who cheated on his wife not once but twice, the second time leading to their split. Nothing is ever as simple as that though,despite his actions I ended up feeling quite sympathetic towards him – the author does a really terrific job of delving beneath the surface of her characters, showing that in anything there are two sides to the story.
There is even more depth to it to be had in the form of Meg, their daughter, who is now grown but this does not lessen the impact that all this has on her. As more secrets begin to surface, it is utterly engaging and really gripping.
The best part is the emotional impact – you feel right alongside the characters in this novel, you may take sides but in the end we can really only ever be who we are – a truth that Fionnuala Kearney obviously knows for sure.
Beautifully done. Kudos.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: Available now
Source: Publisher review copy
A killer at large in a remote Basque Country valley , a detective to rival Clarice Starling, myth versus reality, masterful storytelling – the Spanish bestseller that has taken Europe by storm.
The naked body of a teenage girl is found on the banks of the River Baztán. Less than 24 hours after this discovery, a link is made to the murder of another girl the month before. Is this the work of a ritualistic killer or of the Invisible Guardian, the Basajaun, a creature of Basque mythology?
This was quite an intriguing read – the first in a series featuring Inspector Amaia Salazar, beautifully translated and a great piece of Crime Fiction.
My favourite thing about it was the mythology aspect – exploring local customs and legends in an area that I know very little about – I always find it fascinating when reading a novel set in a different culture and the author brings this to life in a really terrific way. There is also a historical element that was highly engaging.
As far as the police procedural element goes, it is fairly standard stuff, still extremely readable and if you are a lover of Crime Fiction this will hit the mark in a lot of ways. Salazar is very well drawn – another aspect of this I liked was the way the author filled in her background, fleshing her out in a way that gets the reader caught up in her world. Compelling and often dark, there is a lot to appeal here.
Overall then a good solid crime read, one that I would recommend. Certainly it is a series I shall be following along with.
Many thanks to the lovely crew at Killer Reads for sending me a copy of this novel – another huge plus for book collectors and hoarders such as I am is that it is a beautiful hardback with a stunning cover.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 12th March 2015
Guilty or not guilty?
A lone vigilante is abducting wealthy Londoners and putting their fate in the hands of the public. Within hours of disappearing, the victims appear on the internet, bound to a chair in a white room.
Revenge or mercy?
Their crimes of greed and incompetence are broadcast to the watching thousands who make up the jury. Once the verdict is cast, the man who calls himself ‘The Jackdaw’ will be judge and executioner.
Live or die?
DI Sean Corrigan and his Special Investigations Unit are under pressure to solve this case fast. But as The Jackdaw’s popularity grows, Corrigan realizes he’s hunting a dangerously clever and elusive adversary – one who won’t stop until his mission is complete.
Luke Delaney’s “Sean Corrigan” series has become one of my favourite crime series – I still remember reading the first one, Cold Killing and thinking to myself “Yay, another great series to add to the must reads”. Each book has solidified that and improved on it and The Jackdaw is no different.
Loved the premise of this one – very topical and given Mr Delaney’s unique crime twist, wealthy folk who are perhaps not quite so caring of others as they should be are being kidnapped and put on trial. Watched on the internet by thousands, whether they live or die is down to people like you and me hitting a button and choosing their fate.
The main strength of this series lies with its main protagonist, DI Sean Corrigan – a man constantly on the edge and with his own very well developed sense of justice, he can divide opinion like no other. As fond of him as I am he occasionally drives me nuts! An intriguing background and personality which gets explored further with every new case, he is what keeps you hooked into the story and rapidly turning the pages…
The mystery elements are always authentic, addictive and full of psychological depth. The author’s background serves the reader well as he manages to bring some truth to the fiction and make the procedural elements seem spot on – whilst also managing to entertain and provide many lovely little twists and turns, not only with the cases as they unfold but with the personalities of the people involved – so overall it makes for an intelligent and captivating read.
Definitely highly recommended from me for fans of Crime fiction everywhere. Brilliantly done.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date 29th January from Harper Collins.
Source: Publisher review copy. Thank you Hannah.
I am Kirstie. I am Lydia I am confident and loud.I am thoughtful and quiet.I lived. I died.Or did I?
Prepare to be haunted by The Ice Twins.
Five things you need to know about The Ice Twins. Teaser Review.
1) “Prepare to be haunted by The Ice Twins” – seeing that, you may be blase. Seen it all before. Heard that more than once. But PAY ATTENTION. If this book does not appear somewhere in some subconcious form or another in my dreams tonight I shall be very surprised.
2) Storytelling genius. Really can’t tell you anything about it though. It is obvious of course that there are twins involved and one dies and there seems to be some confusion over which one. Apart from that though, I would not give anything away. You need to read it. The pure and haunting prose and beautifully constructed plot will engage and enchant you at the same time as having you feeling vaguely afraid of something you can’t quite capture.
3) Atmosphere. One of the most atmospheric and exquisite novels I have read for some time. And I read a lot. If I had to liken it to anything, it would be The Shining. Not in story form, the two tales are poles apart. But in sense and feeling and the odd sudden reading adrenalin rush, that is the novel I would “twin” it with. Yes I really did do that.
4) Don’t put it in a genre box. I hate boxes for books. But if I must this is not only a top notch, highly readable and terribly addictive psychological thriller it also manages to be a pretty emotional and heart wrenching look at grief and survivor guilt, However it is also many other things. Clever and intuitive writing, let it be what it is.
5) You will worry for the dog. I’m not going to tell you whether or not that worry is justified because I really am that mean.
Highly Recommended. 5 beautiful shiny stars and a puppy for this one.
Publication Date: Available Now.
Source: Publisher review copy – thanks Kate!
Detective Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus have moved from the chaos of L.A. to upstate New York, to a quiet town that is home to elite colleges and pensioners. Semi-retired and faced with mundane call-outs at the Greenbury Police Department, Decker is becoming bored of life. So when he is called about a potential break-in at the local cemetery, he jumps at the opportunity to investigate.
So I’m a HUGE fan of the Kellerman Dynasty – Faye, Jonathan and Jesse – I discovered the Decker/Lazarus series solely through being interested in the Kellerman clan having loved all of the Alex Delaware books – and have been hooked ever since.
It is a long running series, has had its ups and downs, but overall has always given an excellent reading experience and this one was no exception. It seems to have been a bit hit and miss with the fans, but for THIS fan it was a hit.
Pete Decker, having opted for a slower pace of life, had been bored out of his mind. But when he investigates a robbery which leads to a brutal murder, he is back in his element once again. As the story ebbs and flows towards its final resolution it is, as always, very compelling and absolutely fascinating.
The “Murder 101” of the title presumably relates to new character Tyler Mcadams, a wet behind the ears temporary recruit, whose arrogance is immense and who is none too pleased it seems to be stuck with an “Old man” for a partner. Rina of course can see past the bluster and as things progress one of the very best things about this story was the eclectic and ever changing relationship developing between Tyler and Pete. A lot of whether or not you will love this one will come down to your feelings as a reader about him, his background and his persona – for me he was a perfect yin to Decker’s yang and gave a fresh feel and a new ambience to the series as a whole.
The mystery element as always was well done – if I had one slight bugbear it was that the art speak was a little too complicated at times and perhaps over egged slightly, possibly too much information occasionally to absorb into the plot as a whole – but putting that aside the “whodunnit” is still a lot of fun to try and work out and there are lots of lovely little twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Excellent writing and sense of place still there, Ms Kellermans style extremely readable.
It is true sadly that Pete and Rina are getting on a bit – how much longer they can take front and centre is of course open to discussion – but the series as a whole has a deep and enduring mythology with plenty of more peripheral characters easily able to take the reigns (indeed Cindy, daughter of Pete, has had her own stories already) but despite the division of opinion on the Tyler character I would love to see more of him. His ongoing story bodes well for a scenario where he could take a bigger role and if that was the intention (and I kind of hope it was) then, well, Yay. Although obviously there are people that would disagree…
Overall though another terrific read from Faye Kellerman – I am still two books behind on Mr Delaware which gives me something to look forward to – and I have no hesitation of highly recommending the Decker/Lazarus series as a whole entity and indeed you can pick up any individual book and immerse yourself in their world very easily.
Happy Reading Folks!
Kindle edition available now, Paperback 25th September from Harper Collins UK Avon.
Lucy. I don’t even know how to start this letter.
Something happened. Something terrible . . .
Lucy was always sure of one thing – her future with husband and soulmate Luke. But after eight long, heartbreaking years trying to have a baby, that future is crumbling before her eyes.
When a terrible accident puts Luke into a coma, Lucy is forced to reassess everything she thought she wanted.
Then a woman arrives with a shocking secret that will force Lucy to make the hardest decision of her life.
Ok so this is one of those novels where I’m not really sure what to say. I LOVED it because it was so beautifully written, so totally absorbing and absolutely compelling, but I disliked it intensely simply because it tugged on my heartstrings so much I spent most of it bawling. So I suppose you could say it was brilliant. Lets go with that..
Lucy is a wonderfully drawn and sympathetic character and boy does she face off against some difficult times and decisions….her husband Luke is lovely and they are the perfect couple on the outside, almost annoyingly so, but they face a terrible struggle. Desperate for a child of their own, Lucy has suffered multiple miscarriages and all the stress and strain that brings. Then, she gets past the first stage and they seem to be on the road to true happiness, until a terrible tragedy occurs.
Told from several points of view, extending to family and friends, this is extremely sad and haunting reading at times, but also very authentic in the outlook and reactions of some of the participants. Ms Harper manages to give a unique voice and genuine complexity to the people and events, one which will give you pause for thought and genuinely touch you. Just when you think it can’t get worse it does…and yet there is hope here and a realistic journey through to the other side. I adored the ending because that also felt very real and likely and overall this really is a stunning debut.
Wonderful writing, an emotional story gracefully told, this comes highly recommended, especially for fans of family drama.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 31st July.
Huge thanks to Kate and the Killer Reads team for the nightmares.
In the city that’s become a symbol for the death of the American dream, a nightmare killer is unravelling reality. Detective Gabi Versado has hunted down many monsters during her eight years in Homicide. She’s seen stupidity, corruption and just plain badness. But she’s never seen anything like this.
Read this book and never sleep again. No really I am NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN. It was worth it though. When I’m dragging my weary sleep deprived self through the next few days I shall look back on the sheer exhileration of this reading experience and embrace the madness…
The single problem I have with this novel is how to review it without spoiling some ambience, some of the beauty hidden inside the horror of it all so I can give the next reader the same total immersion into that world that I had. I certainly can’t tell you what it is all about. It is a dream read this one, both literally and figuratively. Even killers have dreams indeed….
There are many engaging characters, one of which is the city of Detroit itself, living and breathing here in the pages as much as any of the people residing there – you will absolutely walk the streets and feel the vibe.
We follow several of these residents as the hunt for a killer turns into an urban myth in the making, the sheer magic of the storytelling involving the reader every step of the way. And oh my word, how can I describe how Lauren Beukes makes you SEE things in your head, often things that will burn themselves onto your psyche and hold on for dear life…hence the rather intense dreams I have found myself having the last few nights as I got further and further into the brilliantly imagined drama.
I will warn you this is definitely not for the faint hearted. And there is no point in trying to fit this one into a genre box, it will punch its way back out again a few chapters later. It will entertain you, it will haunt you. It will drag you kicking and screaming into an unimaginable place that is all too real. A rollercoaster of a ride with some heart stopping moments and some tremendously stunning imagery, it is one of those stories that will chill your soul and make you wonder about the world around you.
So go in, mind open, try not to read TOO much about it before you start and just let yourself be transported to Detroit. Take your camera!
Amazing. I am in awe.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 3rd July 2014 Harper Collins UK/Avon
U.S. Title: The Absence of Mercy – available now.
Review copy received via Netgalley.
The peaceful town of Wintersville is a place safe from the crime and congestion of city life, where neighbours feel like family. It’s the perfect place to live.
But when a teenager is discovered brutally murdered in the woods, it becomes clear that a psychopath is roaming the streets. Dr Ben Stevenson, the town’s medical examiner, and father of two young boys, becomes entangled in the hunt for the murderer, determined to keep his family safe.
But as Ben uncovers the dark secrets of his seemingly quiet community, he confronts a truth that will haunt him forever and puts those he loves in serious danger.
A clever little mystery thriller this one, with a great flowing storyline and a way of making you read just ONE more chapter before you put it down. When a badly mutilated body turns up in the small, neighbourly town of Wintersville, local coroner Ben Stevenson is drawn into a case that will haunt him and those around him. With an eye cast firmly over the emotional resonance and underlying psychological trauma an event like this can cause, the author weaves a twisted tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
There were some really great things about the way this particular story is constructed – I loved the forensic detail which was enough for a good understanding but not so much that you got bogged down in it. The psychological and physical effects of recovery from a traumatic event was brilliantly done through one particular character’s eyes and this was perhaps the part of the book that got me at the heart. Add to that some great characters and well drawn relationships and you are onto a winner.
The mystery elements are kind of secondary in a way to the people that are caught up inside it – as a look at a town on the edge this was fascinating stuff. You choose a safe place to live, you do the best you can to protect those you love – then BAM something happens that makes you realise that those things you once relied on are tenuous at best. The author does an excellent job of making that very real and making you ask the question – how well do you REALLY know anyone, even those closest to you.
All in all this is a great addition to the genre and for me, an author to keep an eye on. If the standard keeps up then John Burley will certainly end up on my “must read” list.
Happy Reading Folks!
A top-ranking Iranian military official is blown up while trying to defect to the West. An investigative journalist is arrested and imprisoned for writing an article critical of the Turkish government. An Iranian nuclear scientist is assassinated on the streets of Tehran. These three incidents, seemingly unrelated, have one crucial link. Each of the three had been recently recruited by Western intelligence, before being removed or killed.
Again I feel the need to remind you that spy thrillers are not my thing. Well unless they are written by Charles Cumming it seems as this is the third of his novels I have read and I loved every minute of it. For a start, Thomas Kell was back. I have a major book crush on Thomas – the thinking man’s spy and more than that he is also a reader. What more could a girl want?
In this instalment he is sent to discover the truth behind the death of a colleague in a plane crash and as is obviously usual for him, nothing is straighforward. He finds himself on the trail of a mole and involved once again with the man that destroyed his career. What follows is an intriguing, page turning, brilliant adventure that will keep you on your toes and guessing all the way.
Absolutely enthralling – a bit of a love interest for our Mr Kell, the authors trademark sense of humour kept throughout along with some rather tense moments all add up to one heck of a fun involving read. It all feels very authentic, there are no dull moments and at the end I was so in it that it took me a while to return to the real world. As a reader, what more could you possibly want? Nothing thats what.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: 24th April 2014
Thank you to Harper Collins for the delightfully creepy hints and then the review copy.
His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. At the university where she works. Her favorite sewing shop. The train station. Outside her apartment. His messages choke her voice mail; his gifts litter her mailbox. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becoming more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go.
Oh. Scary. I mean REALLY. And compulsive. And strangely fascinating that such men (and women, lets be clear) exist. And they DO exist. In a lot of ways this novel comes with a healthy dose of realism. It is not a unique story by any means but it is a beautifully constructed, intelligent and genuinely disturbing example of its kind.
Clarissa trusted too easily. One night with Rafe and her life is turned upside down. As she becomes increasingly isolated in her attempts to avoid him, she finds herself on jury duty – and begins to realise that if she is to escape a terrible fate she must take control.
This book creeps up on you. Rafe is superbly terrifying, straight out of your nightmares and onto the page, you may find yourself half expecting to see him lurking on the corner as you head out for a walk. And yet for all that he is absolutely real – with a job and a life and people that respect him. Clarissa feels she has no recourse, that no-one will believe her and that she is on her own. What resonated most with me is how she comes to hate her own name. Rafe uses it in every sentence, in every letter, in an almost caressing way, a twisted love that darkens with every new bump in the road, every new turn of the tale and leaves you wondering if Clarissa can survive this.
Told in both diary format and real time, we watch aghast as one woman has her life ripped away from her, in a kind of car crash can’t bear to look but can’t turn away experience that will haunt you long after you have finished reading it. I’m not sure I want to know what my dreams are going to look like for the next little while!
Intense, utterly compelling, horrifying yet enthralling, it was difficult to leave behind. Having gone through the trauma alongside Clarissa with every breathtaking moment, I almost can’t bear to let her go. A realistic portrayal of stalking, this is one to look out for in 2014.
Happy Reading Folks!
Coming Febuary 2014
Thank you for the advance copy Kate!
Your child has been taken…
Snatched in the dead of night from the safety of the family home. There’s no sign of forced entry, no one heard or saw a thing.
DI Sean Corrigan investigates.
He needs to find four-year-old George Bridgeman before abduction becomes murder. But his ability to see into dark minds, to think like those he hunts, has deserted him – just when he needs it most.
Another child vanishes.
What kind of monster is Corrigan hunting? And will he work it out in time to save the children?
So here we are at the third Sean Corrigan book by Luke Delaney and honestly these just get better and better. In this instalment Sean has to deal with a missing child, a change of location and the interference of politically motivated superior officers…all the while fighting his own inner demons.
Perfectly paced, with plenty of edge of the seat excitement tempered with more thoughtful and contemplative moments this is a top notch example of what good Crime Fiction should be. Sean Corrigan, our main protagonist has many sides, not all of them loveable..and one of the things I have been enjoying most about this particular series is the character development, not only of Sean but of those surrounding him. It is extremely well done here, the after effects of what has gone before in previous novels echoes through this latest tale with realism and emotional resonance.
The mystery element here is just as good if not better than has gone before. I also love how this author fleshes out his victims and peripheral characters – occasionally in Crime Fiction this can feel “slap dash” as if they are unimportant because its unlikely you will meet them again further down the line – but that is absolutely not the case here. Some of the threads of this and previous books in the series covers some quite emotive subjects and Luke Delaney manages to be sympathetic and yet absolutely authentic in his handling of them.
Some clever little twists and turns make this intriguing and fascinating – now of course the problem for me is, lucky as I am to be able to read these early thanks to the super Kate from Harper Collins, I now have a long long wait until I can have more. Which displeases me. This chronic impatience of mine can be a problem.
If you love Crime Fiction and want it to be real yet escapist, beautifully written and clever, then these books are definitely for you.
Happy Reading Folks!
All is not well with the Hurst family.
No indeed tell me about it! All is certainly NOT well with the Hurst family. But what, I wonder, could be at the heart of that disease? Well thats what Koren Zailckas looks at here – a family dynamic – and something at its core that is eating away at the whole.
Told from two points of view – that of the two younger children, Violet and Will, their elder sister Rose having escaped by running away a year or so before, a picture begins to emerge of a rather strange and terrible household. As Violet finds herself on a psychiatric ward after an incident at home and Will is left behind with their mother, the two very differing points of view on what went on and why make fascinating reading.
Dad Douglas is fighting his own demons and is noticeably pathetic, Mum Josephine is unpredictable and scary, Violet is beginning to rebel and Will is endlessly annoying – I kept forgetting he is only 12, his character is BRILLIANTLY written to the point I very much wanted to slap him. But then its not his fault – we are all a victim of our upbringing in one way or another. Another theme that is explored well here.
Mother Mother sits at the heart of this tale of course – no surprise there – I’m fairly sure if I had a mother like her I’d WELCOME the psychiatric ward…but I love the way that the author keeps the whole thing slightly off kilter and by allowing us to see things through two separate pairs of eyes she manipulates her readers into first one train of thought and then another..so you are compelled to read ever onwards to find out what exactly will happen to this desperate lot.
All in all a well written, intriguing and fast flowing tale of a dysfunctional yet fascinating family and one I would recommend to fans of psychological thrillers.
For this reader, it was terrific fun at the same time as being strangely cathartic – I mean my family has its moments but compared to the Hursts we are the Waltons.
Goodnight John Boy!
Happy Reading Folks.
Coming March 2014 From HarperVoyager.
Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent.The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn’t look outside anymore.
So thanks to Kate and Bob (known to her friends as Katie) this novel arrived on my doorstep on Friday – all I knew about it was what I have put for you above. Anyway, loving post apocalyptic fiction as I do, I added it to my next reading batch and on Saturday off I went. And then I didnt stop. Literally – the book held me in its thrall for the entire day. Various attempts to put it down and do something else for a while ended in failure. Yes, its that good.
Now I strongly advise that this is all you attempt to find out before you begin reading, basic plot is all you will get from me, and that is the absolute best way to come at this one.
We follow Malorie, responsible for her two children, who have been born into a dangerous world, as she attempts to bring them up and keep them safe. Food, water, sleep, none of this comes easy. And she is on her own…
Its hard to describe the atmosphere if you like of this one. It sucks you into the vortex of a completely different way of living – one that is barely imagineable as I sit here typing away in a world full of light and people and hey, internet access. And yet somehow the author, with no effort it seems, makes it all too real. Malorie is a compelling character, and as we learn a little more about the events leading up to where she is now, you will feel what she feels and will travel along the way with her.
Yes Josh Malerman has managed to do something a bit new with the genre – no easy task. And the perfection of the writing means you feel slightly off balance while reading this – its creepy. It really is. And so addictive – I simply had to know. From beginning to end completely and utterly fascinating, obsessive and sublime. Loved it. Can you tell?
Happy Reading Folks!
Forty years after a devastating thermonuclear Armageddon, mankind has been reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. In a style that’s part Hemingway and part Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, The Wasteland Saga chronicles the struggle of the Old Man, his granddaughter, and a mysterious boy as they try to survive the savage lands of this new American Dark Age.
This novel is made up of three interconnecting stories – The Old Man and the Waste Land, The Savage Boy and The Road is a River. Originally released separately, I was lucky enough to have all three in one go – Thank heavens!
As far as post apocalyptic fiction goes this is at the top of the game – Brilliantly involving, a realistic scenario and some tremendously well drawn characters make it a terrific read for fans of this genre and indeed anyone with a love for storytelling art. The author picks you up and puts you into a different world, paints you a picture and leads you through an amazing landscape where you will need all your senses.
I was bereft when I got to the end of Part one. I thought Part two could not possibly match it. Then I was bereft when I got to the end of Part Two and thought…well, you get the point.
This will have added depth if you have read Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” which I also loved and also suffers inevitable comparison to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (a book incidentally that I hated with every fibre of my being, an opinion that often gets me into trouble!) but the tone and the feel of it for me was more “The Stand” which anyone who knows me well will be aware is my favourite book of all time. Since that novel only Justin Cronin with “The Passage” has come close to evoking the same emotional response in me – and now Nick Cole with this tale. That is perhaps the highest compliment I can pay and probably the easiest way to say how good I thought it was.
There is excitement and adventure here – occasionally an adrenalin rush – but tempered with periods of quiet contemplation and insight. The world the characters inhabit is a harsh one, but there IS hope here. It is a wonderful read. Thats about all I can say.
Happy Reading Folks!
Coming 3rd December
Meet HP Pettersson. Not the most stable of people, he’s kind of a drifter..and a little bored with life. One day he finds a mobile phone…thinking he can sell it for some profit his day seems to be looking up…then the phone asks if he would like to play a game….
Meanwhile Rebecca is a bodyguard, about to move up to the elite squad that runs protection for all sorts of important people – exciting times but then with her connection to HP who knows what is going to happen?
I had the most terrific fun with this book. Its the second novel I’ve read this year about a real life game being played with real life people and it was intriguing, exciting and very addictive. Completely barmy (in the best way possible) characters and a great storyline meant a smile on my face pretty much all the way through this one. Although now I know there are more to come, my chronic impatience has kicked in again.
The Game itself is well imagined and the story twists and turns its way through some tremendous scenario’s with both disquieting and humerous outcomes. I sort of want to play the game…although I’m fairly sure I would find myself in all kinds of trouble fairly early on pretty much as HP himself does…
With an ironic turn of phrase, Anders De La Motte keeps you on your toes and with a lovely quirky style and some fabulous interactions between both the main and the peripheral characters, this was an enjoyable reading experience.
The resolution was stimulating and you will definitely want to carry on with HP’s story…I certainly do and as soon as possible as well! Thank you kindly to the publisher, author and netgalley for allowing me the pleasure of reading this one early.
Happy Reading Folks!
This book received via Goodreads Giveaway – thank you to all concerned.
Sisters Alice and Natalie were once close, but adolescence has wrenched them apart. Alice is a dreamer who loves books and birds; Natalie is headstrong, manipulative – and beautiful. On their lakeside family holiday, Alice falls under the thrall of a struggling young painter,Thomas Bayber. Natalie, however, seems strangely unmoved, tolerating sittings for a family portrait with surprising indifference. But by the end of the summer, three lives are shattered.
The first thing that struck me about this book was the wonderful and evocative writing style – easily drawn in, I was fascinated by the inital portion of the novel that begins the tale of Thomas, Alice and Natalie at the point of their first meeting. From then on in it is a haunting story of betrayal, the consequences of which echo on in the present…
Overall this was a terrific read. As we see the story unfold in various timelines, from the point of view of Alice amongst others, it is easy to “see” the people and the places, the author really does paint a picture with her words. I was intrigued to find out the ultimate story of Thomas and the sisters, and bit by bit more is revealed of their past.
I did feel it lost momentum about half way through, for a while the characters lost their “edge” and became less interesting
A lot of the “authenticating art” story went right over my head. Mind you by the time I had finished the book I was utterly fascinated by the whole Art World and the work that goes into ensuring the best is preserved and original. If I had read this book 30 years ago it might be an area I would be interested in going into myself (assuming I had the talent!).
The downside did not last long however and as we head out of the middle section and into the final hurdle I was right back in it again.
There is some beautiful writing to be found here – words are power and Tracey Guzeman uses them perfectly and with zeal. I will be very interested to see what she brings us next.
Happy Reading Folks!
Thanks Kate! I think…..
So the first thing to make perfectly clear is I HATE religion based thrillers of the Dan Brown ilk. They really are all the same book. In this readers opinion Dan Brown has written the same book several times and still manages to get a huge following – thats great, my one thing with reading is you should read what you enjoy…and its not up to me to tell you what that is, all I want to do is tell you about the ones I love and hope that you will love them also. But for me, those books and all the “bandwaggoners” that followed could be summed up with the SSDD tag. The only good one up to this point that I have read was “The Library of the Dead” by Glenn Cooper which, like Sanctus, had a very different idea at its heart.
So I read Sanctus solely because Kate told me I must. And you do what Kate says or bad things occur. No really, don’t cross that line folks! And in a reading turn around of epic proportions I loved every word. Every single word.
At the Citadel, in the heart of Ruin, a solitary monk climbs to the pinnacle, forms his body into an iconic pose and then waits. Once the eyes of the world are upon him, he falls to his death. Watching on television Katherine realises an ancient prophecy may be about to come to pass…and in America Liv is about to be drawn into an unimaginable adventure….
Tight, concise plotting made this book almost impossible to put down. From Liv first realising that this huge news story actually involves her, to Katherine trying desperately to discover if her fears are justified, you will be immediately drawn into their world and that of those around them. The Citadel itself is fascinating – a tourist attraction and yet very insular, the monks who reside there are secretive and some of them are bound and determined to protect the secret contained within its walls at all costs. The eradication of anyone who might even have an inkling that the secret is real not folklore means that anyone who is even peripherally connected to Liv is in immediate danger….and this makes for some solid edge of the seat portions of the book. Yes literally edge of the seat…at one point I almost fell off!
Characterisation is without fault – there is not a single cardboard cut out to be found – each and every one of them live and breathe within the pages and the absolute best thing about it – no cliche. None. Nowhere. The resolution (such as it is for the fact that this is a trilogy) is unique. Unless I missed it somewhere in my avoidance of such things, but I’m fairly sure I’m right. Brilliantly imagined, superbly written with not a wasted word, if you, like me, tend to avoid books with this type of storyline then avoid no more. Pick this one up.
The Key and The Tower await me as soon as its humanly possible. I am very excited to find out how the story as a whole pans out. I’m sure Mr Toyne has a lot of surprises in store for me…and when I have completed the trilogy you can expect a blog post on site about how to do these things properly. Kudos Mr Toyne.
Happy Reading Folks!
Hunted. Hounded. Haunted.
She is the most important person in the world. She is The Key
Journalist Liv Adamsen has escaped from the highly secretive Citadel at the heart of the ancient city of Ruin and now lies in isolation, staring at hospital walls as blank as her memory. Despite her inability to recall her past, something strange is stirring within her. She feels possessed by a sen-sation she can’t name and plagued by whispers only she can hear: “KuShiKaam,” the key.
So following on from the heart stopping events of “Sanctus” the story continues with “The Key” and if anything this one enthralled me even more than the first. Which is REALLY saying something considering my usual aversion to this kind of tale…
I’m not going to say anything specific because its difficult to review properly without spoiling Sanctus for those readers who have not yet started this series – so generally speaking…
The plot development is second to none – SUCH an imaginative unique story and with “The Key” Mr Toyne expands and adds depth to his mythology and the background to the events occurring in the lives of his characters. The writing style draws you right into this world, you can see the places and the people described with perfect clarity and it is brilliant addictive reading. I finished it bleary eyed in the early hours then woke up later extremely cross with myself that I hadnt packed “The Tower” which I’m sure is going to be an amazing conclusion to this ingenious story..
Character development is also well done here – second books often suffer from the assumption that the reader knows the characters well and they can therefore take a secondary place to the plot but this pitfall is avoided here – they are also broadened and given extra heart. This is no “filler before the finale” this is a whole story in its own right and moves us along with perfect pacing.
All in all a most terrific read – sadly for me, only one more to go in this particular trilogy. Then I’ll have to start moaning at Mr Toyne to bring me something else from his particularly lively and intriguing imagination.
Happy Reading Folks!
First of all a HUGE thanks to Kate for sending me a copy of this book for review. And because I love the Kellermans!
This instalment of the Decker/Lazarus series begins with a body in an apartment building. Well, they think there is a body…trouble is there is also a Tiger. A very large and rather hungry looking Tiger..perhaps one of the most entertaining openings to this series yet.
As Decker investigates it becomes apparent that a tiger is not going to be the only problem…the dead man was wealthy and eccentric…and not at all a nice person to know. As the team find out more about him a dark secret emerges…and the suspect pool will be large.
I very much enjoyed this addition to a series I have followed from its humble beginnings…when Pete Decker first met his wife Rina Lazarus and they became an enthralling literary partnership. Pete solves the crime, Rina solves the domestic issues…and it works out for all concerned. Pete and Rina often have as much drama in their own lives as Pete has in his working one…especially since they took on the care of yet another young man, one whose parents are not exactly model citizens.
The mystery elements are well done here as always – it will keep you guessing and also might induce some chills – Tigers are not the only thing to be discovered here and I did occasionally have a little shiver. Mrs Kellerman’s trademark characterisation is top notch as always. My favourite character (since he first appeared a few books ago) Chris Donnatti makes a short but sweet appearance and Mr Jonathan Kellerman’s protagonist Alex Delaware has a cameo role. Other well loved characters you know will also be around doing their thing – so as usual a satisfying, enthralling and entertaining read that will not disappoint you.
If you have yet to begin this series well, terrific you have a wonderful journey to start…and to do so you need “The Ritual Bath”.
Happy Reading Folks!
The Keeper – Luke Delaney
So we come to the second in the DI Sean Corrigan series from Luke Delaney (Start with Cold Killing – review further down the page) and it was a corker.
This outing finds Sean investigating a missing persons case – not his usual type of case but the powers that be demand and so on he goes. Soon he realises that something sinister is going on, then another woman disappears and a body is found. So begins an emotional and heart stopping roller coaster ride while Sean uses his peculiar and intriguing senses to unearth the villain of the piece.
I liked this a lot. Cold Killing was excellent, but the standard has been raised with “The Keeper” to a very high level. Crime fiction is an overcrowded genre but Luke Delaney is going to fit right in – Sean Corrigan may not be unique but his quirks, his background, what drives him on are all very well imagined and the plotting is tight and realistic. The aftermath of the events of “Cold Killing” are dealt with and with a new addition to the “cast” who I hope we will see again (I really liked Anna) this was an absorbing read. One of the cleverest parts of Mr Delaney’s writing comes with the hidden agenda’s and the examination of each characters motivation for doing what they do – you will know as much about the criminals as you will about the police officers that hunt them and this makes for a well rounded and complete reading experience.
I am also quite fond of the fact that the author doesnt see the need to rely on dramatic license and there are no plot holes – ok its not one of those books where you will be saying “Never saw THAT coming” but neither is it predictable. In fact what makes it so good IS its unpredictability especially where Sean is concerned – you are never quite sure what he might do next and it can be edge of the seat stuff.
So all in all a brilliant read and one that I would recommend. My thanks to Kate at Harper Collins for sending me an advanced copy of this book – I’m going to have to stay on her good side because I believe there are more to come. Happy Reading folks!
I was very impressed with this wonderful book I have to say. Very assured for a debut it tackles the subject of mental illness with sensitivity and realism. Following Matthew as he struggles with schizophrenia and the death of his brother, it is sometimes fragmented but always compelling. I especially liked the family – to live with someone who suffers in this way cannot be easy and the portions of the book that dealt with that side of the issue were heart wrenching. Equal parts uplifting and poignant this is one of those books that will stay with me long after today.
So, Hannah and Kate having made me dive into my first spy thriller with the wonderful “A Foreign Country” by the same author, were kind enough to send me a copy of one of his other novels “The Trinity Six” Yes I love those girls! Because this was absolutely superb once again.
Sam Gaddis, Academic, needing money after facing rising childcare costs and a huge tax bill, is searching around for a story that he can turn into a book. He stumbles onto the possibility of a sixth spy, hidden from history, involved with the so called Cambridge Spy Ring…and falls into an adventure beyond his wildest imagination. With people dying all around him, it turns into a desperate race against time to uncover the truth of the matter and save himself from harm. Twists and turns abound – I was surprised every step of the way and the story was intensely exciting.
Sam was a great character – kind of tumbling from one disaster to the next but still with a practical head on his shoulders. Caught between two beautiful women, neither of which are good for him it seems, I loved his attempts to get some kind of order to the chaos he found himself in. The resolution was satisfying and the whole novel is peppered with terrific supporting characters all of whom have their own quirks.
I never really thought I would enjoy books of this nature. I’m fairly convinced that it is because Mr Cumming is such a good writer – he has inspired me to try some John Le Carre who I’m told by those in the know is also quite good at this sort of thing. I will certainly be reading more from Charles Cumming as well. Because who DOESNT love a good adventure. Happy Reading!
The latest Carson Ryder novel from Jack Kerley was one I had been looking forward to and wow, what a great addition to this series (Start with “The Hundredth Man if you are only just starting). In this instalment, Carson ends up embroiled with a killer who apparently kills randomly and without motive. Every investigators nightmare according to Carson…but is there really no motive?
These books are always brilliant but I have to say that this one is definitely a favourite. I won’t say over much because if you have not read Carson’s story so far I really wouldnt want to spoil it. For those of you who HAVE I will say – the usual suspects are back including the randomly brilliant Jeremy and the always entertaining Harry. The story as always is involving, exciting and will get the old brain cells working overtime. This is a cat and mouse game – and its not clear whether Carson will end up victorious and don’t you just LOVE books like that? The ending was stunning. I never saw it coming and yet it made perfect sense. I’m fairly sure that there are not many readers out there who WILL see it coming – Mr Kerley you are very clever and I see to my absolute delight that Carson will be back in December. Wow what a Christmas present that will be! And to finish this review I offer a very special thanks to Hannah and Kate. They know what for!
So Hannah and Kate of Killer Reads/Harper Collins fame have been subtlety and well, not so much, nagging me to read this book for a while. Its a spy thriller. I wouldnt normally read one because although I adore “Spooks” as a tv show, I’ve never really had the inclination to read that type of story – I’ve always felt the action for spies is so much better in visual format. But those girls have never sent me down the wrong path so with a lot of trust I opened the pages. And well. They still have a 100% record as far as telling me what I will enjoy. It was terrific! Thomas Kell, disgraced operative, is asked to track down Britain’s chief spy who has vanished just prior to taking up her new position. All is not as it seems however, and what follows is a stonking good story and a terrific tale of, well, life. Spies have them as well you know – they don’t spend all their lives clandestinely following mysterious foreign characters down darkened streets. Some of them even read. Thomas Kell does – hey, so do I. Perhaps I should join MI6.
The characters are all wonderful – the background is interesting and well described and you have your “good guys” and “bad guys” and of course those in between. That grey area. Good? Bad? You decide. Thomas Kell has just knocked Charlie Parker (John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series) off my no 1 spot for “literary figures I would marry”. He’s great. Flawed and yet brilliant. Backing him up are some great peripheral characters. The scene setting is nigh on perfect – at one point I almost got seasick. So there is a lot to love here. I can’t elaborate on the plot because anything I say will spoil it. But know – you won’t want to put it down, its easy to read and involving. Uncomplicated yet clever. If you havent read in this genre before make this your first. If you have then be reassured this is good – very very good. Happy Reading folks!
A Cold Killing
In Luke Delaney’s debut novel he brings us DI Sean Corrigan, a detective with a dark past, who’s childhood trauma gives him greater insight into the criminal mind – especially the darker criminal mind – than most. A man is murdered – stabbed repeatedly, the killer leaving no clues behind. Enter DI Corrigan to investigate and he soon realises that there is more to this murder scene than meets the eye. Corrigan is an interesting character to be sure – its not unique to Crime fiction to have a police officer who is less than normal, but Mr Delaney has created a protagonist with a true dark side and a realistic one at that. The villain is truly villainous and that is always a plus – a crime novel with a wishy washy or fairly standard “bad guy” can be quite dull, but the author has avoided that pitfall. The supporting cast of characters all have their good and bad sides and are excellent sidekicks to the main character. The plot moves along nicely,at a pretty perfect pace and you will certainly keep turning the pages. If you love Crime Fiction you will like this. It has its flaws – one being I realised who the killer was quite early on, the second being that there isnt really that much new to be found here.Yes its a great crime novel and definitely worth the purchase price, and the potential is there for the series (there is a taster of the next book at the end of this) to grow in stature. Hence 4* for me not 5 as yet although if Corrigan develops in character depth I can easily see there being a 5* awarded in the future. Well done to Luke Delaney, it was thoroughly enjoyable and certainly a good edition to the genre.
The Shining Girls
Darn I didnt want this book to end. I would happily have read on into eternity and an eternal tale is exactly what you will get if you have the good sense to pick up a copy of this book. A huge thanks to the lovely lasses at Harper Collins for the early copy – it means I have had the honour of being amongst the first to read it, and when the rest of the world gets in on the act very shortly, trust me its going to be huge. The back of the book tells me “A Killer who shouldnt exist, A girl who shouldnt have lived, A Thriller that breaks all the boundaries”. Well, yes. But don’t let the “Thriller” tag give you preconceptions – it is thrilling, but trying to put this novel in a genre box is like trying to explain to people why you love your children. The words will come out of your mouth but you are never going to get the sentiment across. ANY reader worth his or her salt will love this book – it transcends genre and just sits happily where it is. A classic in the making.
Harper Curtis is a very bad man. And through a twist of fate he is able to carry out his nefarious acts across history – he is compelled to seek them out, his “Shining Girls”, the ones who must die, the ones he feels in his soul. And die they do. Until Kirby. She lives. And so begins a chase across the decades, a search for the truth that may undo both of them.
The timeslips are brilliantly done. Each chapter in its own space, each period of History cleverly described and researched, you follow Kirby and Harper, The Shining Girls and interconnected characters, over many years and many encounters…until the final resolution, which does not disappoint. Despite the decade hopping you are never lost – often the author will let you know whats coming, sometimes what has come before. You will always know where you are but be aware peripherally that everything can change in an instant. The characters you find within the pages will touch your heart – and if you don’t start looking over your shoulder in case Harper should appear, suddenly made flesh by your reading of him, I’d be very surprised. Or perhaps thats just me! Still, I loved this book. If your passion for reading matches mine, you will too. *This review from competition copy**
Angela goes missing on a camping trip – three years later she returns, with no memory of where she has been or what happened to her. During the course of the novel we discover, along with Angela, what has transpired. This book was written in an interesting way – in order to cope with her trauma, Angela has created several “alternate” personalities, each one dealing with a separate part of her ordeal. With the help of her therapist, Angela and these personalities interact, and a fuller picture begins to emerge of what she went through. Things are revealed at a good pace, and I found it extremely gripping. For a YA novel, this story deals with some dark and violent subjects, and is also an interesting object lesson in associative identity disorder – these subjects are dealt with in a realistic but not voyeuristic way, and therein lies the genius of the storytelling. There are several twists and turns along the way, and all in all I thought it was pretty darn good. I would certainly pick up another book by this author