The Affair. Sheryl Browne

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I have to say I have read some mixed reviews of this book, it seems to divide people, and everybody is entitled to an opinion.

My Opinion?

It’s a great story

But it’s going to be hard to review it without giving anything away in the way of spoilers.

The story, a bit like life itself, is a like a domino rally. In this case one of those where two different dominos are tipped over in different strings, at the same time, and start a chain reaction that culminates in that final slab falling, with one hell of a bang.

The first domino in the first string. Alicia has been telling a lie for a while now. It’s not a malicious lie, more the type of lie that involves not telling your family about a piece of your past which is a bit murky.

But when somebody from that past turns up in the present, and has a malicious streak about them, then things start to go wrong.

More lies are told to try and cover up the past, and the tumbling dominos gather speed.

Alicia’s husband is shattered after finishing a long night shift at the hospital. Because she’s been distracted Alicia has forgot to fill her car with fuel, and when it doesn’t start her husband piles Alicia, and their two children, into the car to drop them off to work, school, and the child minders.

And so the first domino of the second string is toppled.

Together the two strings gather pace, weaving across each other until the traumatic culmination and the dropping of the final tile, right in the centre of everything.

This book really plays with the emotions, there are times when I empathised with the main character but hated her. There were other times when I hated what she was doing but loved her.

I really liked it.

 

Pages: 351

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing date: 10th August 2018.

Tell Me A Secret Samantha Hayes

Tell Me A Secret    Samantha Hayes

Earlier this year I reviewed The Reunion by Samantha Hayes, and I said “I was figuratively peeping between my fingers when I read parts of it”. Well its happened again.

Samantha really knows how to pick at those parts of the mind that hold the fear factor.

When a young girl catches her dad having sex, with the lodger, it’s bad enough. When her Mother finds out and goes crazy, it’s about as bad as it gets; but when her dad hangs himself and blames her, in his suicide note, because she caught him and the lodger, her life is damaged beyond recovery. That is all in the first few pages. Wow what a start to a book.

In the following chapters we meet Lorna, a Counsellor with an anal routine, who is really trying to forget one of the men in her life. Until she decides to make contact with him through a on line dating service.

That’s when things really start to go to wrong.

Lorna knows it’s impossible, after all the dead can’t talk, but when a dead person starts to message her things take another twist.

I don’t want to say anymore, because I don’t want to give anything away.

If you love psychological thrillers you will love this book.

I wasn’t just peeping through my fingers at this book, I was hiding behind the sofa. What a great read.

The bit below here is an extract from Samantha Hayes biography and it gives a bit of a clue as to why she writes such good books.

“Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.”

She’s lived a bit, and it shows.

 

Pages: 361

Publisher: Bookouture

Available now

Nobody’s Child Victoria Jenkins

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The legend at the top of the book says unputdownable, so did it live up to the gumph?

Oh Yes!

What a great story.

Set in a small town in the Welsh valleys a series of assaults and arson attacks are investigated by DI Alex King and her team.

When a body is found, amongst the debris in a fire at a derelict hospital, it could appear to be a homeless person that has been involved in an accident. But when the post mortem confirms he had been killed prior to the fire King and her team have a murder on their hands.

When a local convenience store is torched is it a coincidence?

As the investigation into the two incidents continues the team are confronted with a series of assaults and arsons which have them desperate to find the culprits.

Meanwhile King is struggling in her own life. Somebody is sending her a message and it’s not a nice one.

As is typical in real life the story revolves around 3 or 4 families in a small community that are making life difficult for everybody else.

Internal wrangling’s, and feuds between the families seem to be the reason the crimes are taking place but trying to unravel the threads is proving impossible for the team.

Can they find out who is responsible for the crimes before more people get hurt?

No, the trail of human and property destruction gets longer, and the team follow it to what is one of the most tense climaxes of a book I’ve read for a while.

Ok, so any book which involves fire as part of the crime gets my attention. It’s what I do for a living, so it would do.

Yes, I do get a bit knit-picky and hyper-critical. Not with this book.

This is Book 3 in the series and I hadn’t read the first 2. Did I get the feeling I was joining the party half way through?

Actually, no I didn’t, this is a great stand-alone story which I have no doubt is complemented by the 2 previous books, which I have just downloaded onto my Kindle to read around the pool on holiday.

I’ll be eagerly waiting book 4.

Pages: 277

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 19th June 2018

Dying Truth Angela Marsons Blog Tour

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DI Kim Stone book 8

I often look forward to getting my hands on a book I know is about to become available, but there’s only Angela Marsons, at the moment, that actually gets me excited when she is  about to release a new book.

Why is this?

Simple really, in my opinion Angela is the best Crime Fiction author out there at the moment. The books are gritty and realistic. They pull no punches, and cover the world as it is. Prostitution, human trafficking, drugs, murder, they all feature in this series of books.

She has her main character, the wonderful DI Kim Stone and her regular team. They all have a great back story, and at some time have all played a big part in one or more of the books.

She writes about the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes with equal measures, showing the effect crimes have on the victims and how the bad guys became bad guys.

In this book she takes tension and emotion to another level. In fact most of the reviews I’ve read have suggested having a box of tissues handy. They aren’t  wrong.

There has also been a few #DrAlexThrone, Oh yes the ultimate criminal is back.

Here’s my review of Dying Truth

What a way to start a book. The prologue see’s DI Kim Stone struggling with a broken leg as she tries to warn people not to enter part of a building where she knows they will be in mortal danger. But who are the people running into the building and what exactly is the danger.

Cut to chapter one, a few days before the prologue. The death of a young girl at a posh, private school.

It’s classical mystery writing technique but, I don’t think I’ve ever read it written in a better way.

As the story builds Kim is supported by all her usual crew, trusty Bryant, laddish Wood, and the quiet Black Country Lass Stacey. Will any of these be charging into danger at the end of the book.

The team are investigating a suspicious death at the private Heathcrest Academy. A private co-ed school, where the elite of midlands society send their children to study alongside sporting, and academic, high achievers.

Not surprisingly amongst the students there are secret societies that have seen generations of the same family pass through them. The societies employ horrific initiation ceremonies and even more horrific discipline methods.

When the body of the first victim is found, after she apparently committed suicide by jumping from one of the highest points in the school, Kim and Bryant are the first Officers on the scene.

Kim is not happy with the circumstances of the death and her suspicions are bourn-out when Keats carries out the autopsy and confirms that the girl was murdered.

The investigation is thwarted at every turn by the family, who are trying to hide their own secrets; by the school, whose principle will only entertain suicide as the cause, as murder would be bad for business; and by the students, who are either in one of the secret societies, or are scared of the pupils that are.

As the story unwinds Kim has to turn to an unlikely ally for advice, which itself holds dangers which I’m sure will hold recriminations.

As the body count begins to rise, and the climax of the book gets ever closer, the tension rises. Right up to the end it’s impossible to find out, or guess, who is running into danger, and how it will play out.

When the end comes it is no anti-climax. I had already read quotes on twitter where people said the they were left “broken” at the end, and that it was an “emotional ending”.

I thought I was ready for it, but no. It is emotional, and I was broken.

This is book 8 in the DI Kim Stone series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, and it works well as one, but to get full impact read the others.

I was lucky enough to find Angela Marsons when the first Kim Stone novel was released, and have been onboard from the beginning.

I am a prolific reader and I can think of no bigger recommendation than, every time an new book in this series is made available, I put down whatever I’m reading and read what Stone and her team are up to. This one was the best yet.

Roll on Book 9

News just in. It’s not just me that likes these books. The Australians get the 18th May 9 hours before us; And Dying Truth is already number 1 down there.

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The Next Girl Carla Kovach

 

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When I read the synopsis for this book I was expecting another Police Procedural with a twist of Psychological Thriller. There would have been nothing wrong with that, in fact that is my favourite genre of book. But I got much more than that, I got a book that made me think about the affects investigating crimes can have on people, because not all Police Officers are as tough as they make out.

 

DI Gina Harte is the head of a small team of officers. At work she is a strong woman, at home she is having problems in her relationship with her grown up daughter. Harte, a widow, had been the victim of domestic abuse but how does she tell her daughter that. Especially as her daughter is arranging a memorial service for her dad, who she thinks the world of.

 

Harte is also in need of a confidence building bit of TLC, but she is also concerned about starting a relationship, especially one that could interfere with her job.

 

When a baby is discovered abandoned in a small village it is Harte’s team that is tasked with investigating where the baby came from.

 

At the same time a young father is struggling to get over the disappearance of his wife 4 years ago. He too is struggling with his feelings as he starts to slide into a new relationship. Guilty that he has feelings for the new woman in his life, and guilty about being unfaithful to his missing wife, Luke is struggling enough.  When DI Harte knocks at his door his confusion is about to get much worse.

 

As Harte and team look at the case of the abandoned baby, and re-open the 4 year old missing persons case, it soon becomes evident that they are linked.

 

Harte continues to have run-ins with her daughter who has always blamed her for putting her job first. She finds her TLC in an unusual place, and with both these things playing on her mind she tries to lead the investigation.

 

This book takes the reader into the troubled worlds of a Police Officer who has been a victim and is struggling both professionally and personally, and a victim who has never had closure and is struggling to find direction in his life.

 

Those that read my blogs will know I love characters to have a good back story and an element of an ongoing personal life. Well this story has given me that and wrapped around it is a great crime story.

 

I like it when a book I like appears to open up the possibility of a series.

 

Well it says on the Amazon page Detective Gina Harte Book 1.

 

Bring on Book 2. I really enjoyed Book 1

 

Pages: 300

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 2nd April 2018.

Cross Your Heart. Kierney Scott

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Special Agent Jessica Bishop is back, or steal a phrase from my favourite TV show, “Very Special Agent” Jessica Bishop is back. My God is she “Special”

I love quirky characters in books. There is so much similarity out there today amongst fictional crime fighters, and it’s the quirky ones that stand out.

Bishop stands out in a great way. Psychologically she has problems, in this book these problems are confounded as she is still recovering from injuries she sustained during her last investigation. Her mental health is on even more of a knife edge after injuring her friend and FBI partner Jameson during the same investigation.

They are thrown back into work when they are cleared for duty days after each other and re-join their old team.

Bishop thinks she has identified a serial killer who is praying on vulnerable children. At first, she is not taken seriously, but as the body count rises everybody begins to realise she’s onto something.

Partnered with a member of the team that is more interested in hitting on women and avoiding conflict, than actually doing any work, Bishop finds work infuriating. Jameson wants to help but she is keeping him at arms-length.

Her head is completely scrambled and she is fighting inner demons as she tries to find the killer, with an ineffectual partner.

From the very start of this book I was immediately gripped by the story of Bishops internal fights, as much as I was with the story of the crime. Both stories are brilliant but for me it’s the fight Bishop is having with herself that makes this book stand out.

There is no down time in this book. It is full on from page 1 to the full stop on the last sentence. I didn’t see the end coming, partially because I was so engrossed I didn’t realise I was coming to the end. The story is full of twists and turns, none of which are predictable, but all of which make sense.

This book can be read as a stand-alone novel, but I would highly recommend reading Now You See Me the first book in the series.

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Jess Bishop is emerging as one of the great characters of modern crime fiction, and to get the best from her, you need to know her story.

I loved this book, I loved the first one, I really can’t wait for the 3rd.

Pages: 242

Published by: Bookouture

Publishing date: 25th April 2018

Dark Lies Nick Hollin

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Nick Hollin has produced two characters which have got me completely and utterly hooked.

DCI Katie Rhodes, once brilliant, smart and reliable; now a promiscuous heavy drinker seemingly bent on self-destruction.

Criminal Psychologist Nathan Radley, a very strange man who has been in self-imposed exile for a year. A man who can get into criminals minds, unfortunately, he also empathises with their dark feelings and lusts for violence.

Why has Rhodes started to self-destruct, and Radley placed himself in exile, because they were both badly affected by the last case they worked together.

When Rhodes is called to the scene of a murder she notices a mark on the body, a mark which is identical to a feature on her own, she starts to worry. Days earlier she had been to another scene where a body also had a mark left on it. A mark that resembled a birthmark that the exiled Radley has on his thigh. Coincidence? Of course not.

The murders are horrific but more than that, somebody is playing with Katie’s head. A head that is full of booze and hasn’t functioned properly for a year.

She can only turn to one person.

Radley has spent the last year living alone in a cottage in Scotland, reading children’s literature because he is too scared to open the boxes in his brain that hold memories of past cases. Scared of the feelings that vicious crime provokes in him.

To say he is unwilling to help his ex-partner is an understatement, but she gets him back to London and they start working on the murders.

What follows is one of the best, and most original criminal psychological thrillers I have ever read.

There are twist and turns as suspects come and go. There are frustrations as the pair are branded mentally and physically unfit to carry on with the Police investigation. But they’ve got to find the killer before he destroys them.

The two main characters are complimented by a cast of fringe characters that bring a credibility to the story.

I loved this book. In fact I have a confession to make. It had been on my to-be-read pile for weeks now. It was only when I remembered, that I was taking part on the launch blog blitz for it, that I picked it up on Saturday morning and started reading it. I put my Kindle down late Saturday night when I finished it. I don’t usually read a book in one day. I just could not put this one down.

Well it says on the cover Detective Rhodes and Radley Book 1. Well bring on book 2, and 3, and 4, in fact Mr Hollin, just keep them coming.

 

Pages: 275

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing date: 26th March 2018