A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride @StuartMacBride

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5*

aboutthebook

Welcome to the Misfit Mob. It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to : the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from. But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting.

mythoughts

First let me say, I am a huge Stuart MacBride fan. His Logan McRae series is one of my most favourite things ever. Like right up there with wine and boots. That’s saying something.

So when I first heard that he’d written a stand-alone, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I miss the characters I’ve loved for so long? Would it be as brilliant as everything else I’ve read by him?

The answer is : of course it’s as bloody brilliant! And actually, the Misfit Mob made for a nice change from the usual characters. We’re still in a dark, gloomy, wet and slightly depressing area of Scotland. We still have a host of fabulously realistic characters. And of course, the humour.

The Misfit Mob is made up of officers that Police Scotland can’t get rid of. If you think that knowledge creates some kind of bond between them, you’d be wrong. What it does provide, is banter and lots of chuckles.

DC Callum MacGregor’s life has been going downhill for a while now, and it’s not getting any better. For reasons you’ll have to discover yourself, he’s not exactly accepted. But things will soon become a whole lot more interesting.

This is a long book but at no point does it ever become boring. There’s a fabulous backstory that will leave you itching to find out more. There’s a serial killer with one of the most innovative ways to murder someone that I’ve ever read. There are twists and turns and I was so utterly engrossed that I stayed up way too late to finish.

So, no, I shouldn’t have worried. Stuart MacBride knows exactly what he’s doing and I can’t wait for his next book. Whether it is another Logan McRae, another Misfit Mob maybe or something else, I’ll be first in line. I’ll be using elbows, people. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

(Note : Since writing this review, it’s been revealed a new book is coming in November and it’s a Roberta Steel spin-off! I may have wet myself. Or scratched my boobs, in honour of the fabulous lady *ahem* herself. My elbows are greased! Is it November yet? How about now?)

Many thanks to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for my advanced copy, which I chose to review.

A Dark So Deadly will be published on April 20th. That’s TODAY! Go get it RIGHT NOW!

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This Week in Books (April 19)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

If you read my twitter over the Easter weekend, then you may have seen that I have some family stuff going on and my reading has taken somewhat of a backseat since it’s quite hard to concentrate on anything. On Saturday, I got word that my mother is in hospital and things are not looking good. There’s no way of knowing what the next few days will bring so my Wednesday update is probably subject to change. I just wanted to put this out there in case I disappear for a bit or am a tad antisocial.

Anyway, onwards with today’s post.

Last book I finished reading :

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Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of a young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.

Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.

Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

The book I’m currently reading :

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How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?

A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

What I’m reading next :

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Two sisters and one betrayal that will carry across generations.

In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begins – the story of Adele and Amelia, and the heartbreaking betrayal that will divide them forever. Decades later, the efforts of one reckless act still echo – but how long will it be until their past returns?

What will you be reading this week?

Cursed by Thomas Enger @OrendaBooks

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5*

aboutthebook

 What secret would you kill to protect?

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.

Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

mythoughts

If you’ve been following my blog and reviews, then you know that I am cursed myself by a little something I call Dee-Logic, which dictates I start a series from the very beginning. So why did I now start in the middle, you ask? Well, I will tell you. First of all, because I’d seen this book around so much that I got too curious for my own good. And secondly, I didn’t actually know the previous ones had been translated to English. It’s okay, you may laugh.

This one actually reads pretty well as a stand-alone as you get a lot of information from events that happened in the previous books. Nevertheless, I did buy the other books and will be reading those at some point too. It’ll be another thing I’ve never done before, go backwards in a series. I’m obviously all about broadening my horizons these days.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that the main characters are journalists. It made a nice change from having detectives investigating cases.

Henning Juul’s job as a crime reporter has led to devastating consequences. He lost his son in an arson attack and he and his wife have gone their separate ways. Juul is determined to find out who was responsible.

Meanwhile, Nora is approached by the husband of an old friend. She’s gone missing and the police aren’t much help. Nora sets out to investigate and quickly realises her friend’s husband may not have known her as well as he thought he did.

I didn’t know what to expect but I was hooked from the first page. This is one brilliantly constructed plot with various threads and layers that will keep you gripped right until the end. Thomas Enger has a beautifully descriptive writing style. I’ve never been to Norway but I could visualise it without a problem. The characters are truly realistic and believable, flaws and all. There’s also a reference to events in European history that I knew very little about.

It’s fair to say my first introduction to Scandi-Noir went well and I see another book in this genre in my near future. I should also mention that I don’t normally read translated books as I always have this feeling some things get lost in translation, but that wasn’t the case here at all.

And so now, I shall rather impatiently await book 5. Can’t wait! Although, hopefully I’ll have enough time to read the other ones first.

Cursed by Thomas Enger was published in January 2017.

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The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay

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4*

aboutthebook

Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn’t. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They called her Evie.

Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number : a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum, it’s not easy for Zoe, but life is good.

But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts. The sender claims to be her birth father. He has been looking for his daughter. And now he is coming to take her back.

mythoughts

 Zoe and Ollie have tried for years to have a baby but things didn’t quite work out for them. They turned to adoption and were approved to adopt a little girl from birth, Evie.

Seven years later, the family has moved from London to Yorkshire and things are very different. Not only is there the addition of baby boy, Ben, but the relationship between Zoe and Ollie has changed quite drastically.

Then Evie starts receiving letters and gifts from someone who claims to be her birth father.

True to form, this book offers a lot of twists and turns. Even when I thought I knew what was going on, the author managed to make my head spin so much I couldn’t remember what was what. At one point, I suspected pretty much every character of not quite being who they pretended to be. Red herrings and surprise events in abundance, which I absolutely love!

Yet it’s also a powerful story about families and about adoptions. Does Evie act out and behave a bit strangely because she’s jealous of her baby brother? Is she struggling because she’s adopted? Does she feel her parents treat her differently from their biological child? Or is there more going on?

The setting in the Moors was so descriptive it added an extra layer to the atmosphere of the story. Beautiful yet treacherous. The characters were believable and realistic, even though I didn’t warm to them. Zoe in particular makes some choices that boggled my mind. But the despair and devastation she felt did make me sympathise more with her.

The Stolen Child is a highly absorbing and suspenseful read. Having read and enjoyed the author’s previous book, Bone by Bone, I’m very much looking forward to what comes next.

The Stolen Child is available for purchase now.

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Lost Girls by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

Two girls go missing. Only one will return. The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine year old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping. And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for DI Kim Stone and the squad. Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive are getting smaller by the hour.

mythoughts

Continuing on my quest to catch up on the DI Kim Stone series before the latest one is published and here we are at book 3. Which is even better than the previous one! How do you ask? I don’t know! But Angela Marsons raises her game every single time and it blows my mind!

A missing child is every parent’s worst nightmare. But this kidnapper is playing a whole different kind of game. He’s not just taken one little girl, but two. And he’s pitting their families against each other by auctioning off one of the girls to the highest bidder. The other girl will die.

I mean, really. What kind of disturbed mind comes up with something like that?

The first chapter sets the pace and if you’re not hooked from then on, there is something seriously wrong with you! It’s all systems go until the very end and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. This book is action-packed, on the edge of your seat gripping and highly emotional. Some of the scenes make for some very uncomfortable reading but those were necessary to bring home the depraved mind of the evil Kim is hunting.

DI Kim Stone continues to steal my heart. Still flawed, still deeply determined, still willing to go that extra mile, still kicking ass and taking numbers. And as we go along, we also learn more about her colleagues, which I love.

This series is absolutely brilliant! I feel I can’t quite adequately bring across my excitement about this series and I’m kicking myself for leaving it this long to get caught up. As it is, I’m re-arranging my schedule every day just to be able to squeeze the next one in somehow. And you should too! What can I say? I’m a fan!

Lost Girls was published in November 2015.

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Keep You Near by Robin Roughley @Bloodhoundbook

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4*

aboutthebook

How far would you go to find your missing sister? A normal day in the park turns into a nerve shredding nightmare for eleven year old Marnie Hammond when she finds herself in a desperate chase to stop the “bad man” from abducting Abby. Fifteen years later, Manie is a Detective Sergeant but the memory of her missing sister still haunts her dreams. When it becomes clear that someone is stalking the streets of Kirkhead, DS Hammond has her hands full, and after remains are discovered buried in dense woodland, Marnie fears the worst. But this is only the start of a nightmare that will unearth more bones, more victims and the terror that Abby might be among the dead.

mythoughts

 I’m not at all familiar with Robin Roughley, who’s the bestselling author of the DS Lasser series. But since Keep You Near is the first book in a brand-new series featuring Marnie Hammond, I thought it was a good place to start my introduction to this author.

When Marnie was eleven years old, she was unable to stop a bad man from kidnapping her sister. Now fifteen years later, Marnie is a Detective Sergeant and her current case hits a bit too close to home as skeletal remains are discovered in woodland.

Such a thrilling backstory to kick off a new series with. That right there already kept me hooked. Throw in a disturbed serial killer and you have the makings of a compelling story.

There are quite a few threads in this book, some of which I couldn’t quite figure out the importance of, but it all became clear in the end. If you’ve ever wondered why a serial killer stops killing, then this is the book for you. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book as we get to explore the fragmented mind of this troubling soul.

This book is gruesome, with some incredibly descriptive may-just-lose-my-breakfast scenes but it’s also really brilliant and sets quite the tone for the next one in the series.

Keep You Near was published in March.

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This Week in Books (April 12)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading :

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Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn’t. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They called her Evie.

Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number : a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum, it’s not easy for Zoe, but life is good.

But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts. The sender claims to be her birth father. He has been looking for his daughter. And now he is coming to take her back.

The book I’m currently reading :

33638884

What secret would you kill to protect?

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests. Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son.

What I’m reading next :

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The dead don’t tell secrets … unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies above the bloodied mess. Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A “body farm” investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

What are you reading this week? Let me know! I’m always looking for more books to add to my TBR in preparation for the book shortage apocalypse!

Mystery Blogger Award Tag @ingstje @keeperofpages @BooksVertigoTea @Choconwaffles @Vicki_CosyBooks

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I was nominated by the lovely El over at El’s Book World. Thank you so much!

The Mystery Blogger Award is a tag created by Okoto Enigma as a way for bloggers to connect and find out more about each other and the rules are as follows :

  1. Put the award logo/image in your post.
  2. List all the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  5. Nominate 10-20 people and notify them
  6. Link back to the creator of the award.
  7. Ask nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with a weird or funny question.
  8. Share the link to your best/favourite post of yours.

Three things about myself :

  1. I’m a horrible procrastinator.
  2. I’m a serial pot plant killer. Not on purpose. It’s not like that was my ambition in life.
  3. I don’t own a single pair of shoes. Just boots. And a pair of sneakers. But no shoes.

The questions :

1. Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Tuscany, Italy. The weather, the gorgeous landscape, the language, the people, the food and the wine.

2. If you could trade reading for a year for £2 million, would you?

Well, I’d definitely consider it because that would totally pay for my dream home in Tuscany. It seems worth it. Whether I can do it, is another thing.

3. What is your favourite film and why?

I always get weird looks from people when I say this but I don’t really have a favourite and I’m not in the habit of watching a movie more than once, unless it’s something like The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings.

4. If someone were to buy you a gift, what would be the perfect item?

Apart from that dream house in Tuscany? 😄. A signed copy of a book by Karin Slaughter. Or Stuart MacBride. Or both. Yes, I know, greedy. My bad.

5. What are your interests apart from reading and blogging?

I like to dabble in some amateur photography although it’s been a while and I wage a daily battle against my Netflix addiction because it wreaks havoc on my reading time.

I nominate the following, whose blogs you should definitely check out!

Vicki @ cosybooks

Donna @ Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles

Janel @ Keeper of Pages

Danielle @ Books Vertigo and Tea

Inge @ The Belgian Reviewer

Don’t feel you need to do this if you don’t want to. I promise I won’t be offended!

My questions for the nominees are :

  • If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would that be and why?
  • Who’s your favourite author? The one whose books you automatically pre-order without even knowing what they’re about?
  • Can you think of a character in a book you’d love to invite for dinner?
  • Name five books you’d hope to have with you if you were stranded on an island?
  • You’re going on a road trip but you can only bring music by one artist. Who do you choose?

Thanks again for the nomination, El!

Wishing everyone a happy Wednesday.

#bookreview – Evil Games by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game. When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work. With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment. Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time, it’s personal.

mythoughts

Back in 2015, I read the first book in the Detective Stone series, Silent Scream, and absolutely loved it. Obviously since then, I’ve been living under a rock as I didn’t realise I was now four books behind with number six to be published very soon. At first I thought I’d just leave things be for now, but I didn’t count on ever so gentle pressure from one of my favourite book pushers.

Thank goodness I caved because Evil Games is absolutely brilliant! Not only do we learn more about Kim’s background, but there is a manipulative sociopath on the loose who’s bloody scary, yet also fascinating. I was gripped by the actions of such a disturbing mind.

The action starts from the very first page as there’s a midnight raid on a house due to a child abuse case. Officially, that’s the case Kim is working on but unofficially she’s tracking another kind of evil she may not have the tools to deal with.

Detective Kim Stone is quickly becoming one of my favourite characters. She’s deeply flawed due to horrible events in her childhood. But she’s also extremely likeable and without doubt someone you want in your corner. She’s like a dog with a bone, unwilling to let go if her gut tells her something’s not quite right. Even if she puts herself in danger.

Here’s the proof of how much I loved this book. I bought all the other ones and pre-ordered the last one, which is due at the end of the month. I’m determined to catch up and not lose sight of this series again. My book pusher most likely won’t let me.

Evil Games was published in May 2015.

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In Deep Water – Sam Blake (@samblakebooks) @BonnierZaffre

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4*

aboutthebook

Good intentions can be deadly. Cat Connolly is back at work. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her workload once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane goes missing. Her mother reports Sarah Jane was investigating something dangerous – yet the only records Cathy can find suggest Sarah Jane was involved in a seemingly innocent children’s project. Then a body turns up and Cathy realises the case is only just getting started.

mythoughts

In Deep Water is the second instalment in the Cathy Connolly series by Sam Blake and it’s every bit as gripping as the first one.

When Cathy’s friend Sarah Jane fails to show up for a boxing session, she immediately fears the worst. Sarah Jane is normally incredibly reliable. When Cathy checks out Sarah Jane’s house and finds her room completely ransacked, she knows her best friend isn’t only missing but possibly in serious danger. What was she working on that could have attracted the attention from the wrong people?

What starts as a seemingly straight-forward missing persons case soon turns out into something way darker and disturbing. With the clock ticking, can Cathy find her friend before it’s too late?

Cathy is still struggling with the after-effects from events in the previous book. I really like how the author explores that and doesn’t just gloss over the mental and physical scars. It makes Cathy so much more human and realistic.

I won’t say any more about the plot, you’ll just have to read the book for yourself. Suffice to say there are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. Gripping and compelling, it leads you through the streets of Dublin and its criminality. You’ll end up wondering who Cathy can trust and you’ll be rooting for her every step of the way.

In Deep Water is a worthy follow-up to Little Bones. Sam Blake has truly found her voice and I can’t wait to see where she takes us next.

Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for my advanced copy, which I chose to review.

In Deep Water is available now.

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