All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Stuart MacBride
Title : All That’s Dead
Series : Logan McRae #12
Pages : 437
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : May 30, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Inspector Logan McRae was looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…

The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.

Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Few things get me as excited as the arrival of a new Logan McRae book so as soon as my pre-order arrived, I dropped everything and settled in for what I was sure would be an entertaining afternoon.

On his first day back at work after a year long absence, Logan McRae is hoping for a nice and easy ride but luck is not on his side. High-profile and anti-independence campaigner Professor Wilson goes missing from his home and that’s just the start of a major shit-storm all over the place. Social media goes mental, there’s a war brewing between between factions for and against Scottish Nationalism and the media is having a field day.

Gee, I wonder where Stuart MacBride got his inspiration from 🤔. All That’s Dead is extremely politically tinted, if you hadn’t guessed that yet, and thus sadly incredibly apt in this day and age. This may not be to everyone’s liking and I dare say the author took quite a risk putting this out there. Personally, it didn’t bother me at all. It makes for a great story and ultimately that’s all I’m ever looking for.

I always worry slightly about how much Logan McRae can actually be involved in an investigation, being that he now works for Professional Standards. I shouldn’t have though, because he’s not on the fringes of this one at all. Logan McRae is tasked with keeping an eye on the investigating Detective King and this puts him smack-bang in the middle of it all. There are some surprises, some twists, many dubious decisions and quite frankly, if I were the big chief who gets a say in these things, I’d fire pretty much the entire force.

The Logan McRae books are always a treat but even though I found this one a fabulous read and it had me hooked as these books always do, I also felt it was missing something. It’s hard to explain but there’s a special kind of Stuart MacBride magic that seemed to be lacking this time around. Many of the characters that normally bring a brilliant kind of dark humour to the table were now just plainly getting on my nerves. I missed that particular way Stuart MacBride has of combining the darkest of crimes with a healthy dose of chuckles, even sometimes at the most inappropriate moments.

Was this the best book in the Logan McRae series? I’m sorry to say that no, it wasn’t. Although I also fully admit that my expectations are always insanely high. But I did still enjoy it immensely and if Stuart MacBride decides to carry on with this series, I’ll still be every bit as excited as I used to be.

Can’t leave without mentioning that for a The Hobbit fan like myself, seeing “Tuftin Oakenbeard” pop up in the middle of a page genuinely made me laugh out loud.

All That’s Dead is available to buy!

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Book 1 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen | @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #RandomThingsTours #VargVeum

It is a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Gunnar Staalesen (trs Don Bartlett)
Title : Wolves At The Door
Series : Varg Veum
Pages : 260
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Norway’s favourite private investigator returns but Varg Veum’s day quickly gets off to a bad start when a car drives at him at high speed and comes very close to running him over. Varg Veum is convinced someone meant to kill him. Especially after the deaths of two men who were convicted of crimes Varg Veum himself had stood wrongly accused of once. The police are not treating these deaths as suspicious. As far as they’re concerned, their cases are closed. But Varg Veum is worried he might be next and sets out to investigate on his own, bringing danger right to his door.

Dealing with a topic like child abuse makes Wolves at the Door an extremely uncomfortable read at times. Yet it also oozes atmosphere, which is what a great Scandi-Noir should do and Gunnar Staalesen knows exactly how to achieve that. The exquisite investigative skills Varg Veum has always remind me of the PI’s from the old days with their raincoat and hat, lurking in the shadows, like a black and white movie. No bells or whistles, no spending hours trawling databases, just good old-fashioned pounding the pavement and talking to people. This allows the reader to follow along quite nicely to try and put the pieces of the puzzle together right alongside Varg Veum.

I didn’t fit any pieces together at all, however. Varg Veum meets quite a few characters and they all quite obviously have something to hide, secrets they are desperate to protect. And just like him, I couldn’t at all figure out who was lying or if anyone could be trusted which often made me feel pretty frustrated. But if there is one thing to admire about Varg Veum, it is his sheer determination to get to the truth and somehow I’m always left with the feeling that he will accomplish exactly what he sets out to do.

Wolves at the Door may be slow paced but it’s also incredibly gripping and full of suspense. It’s dark, gritty and sadly also all too realistic and believable. All the while, it shines a spotlight on the failings of the criminal justice system, highlighting modern day issues like sex trafficking and the effects of abuse. Not an easy read, like I said, but with Varg Veum at the helm it is a fascinating investigation. Gunnar Staalesen’s well-developed character undoubtedly has many more investigations ahead of him and will keep fans coming back for more. As always, I mustn’t forget to mention the seamless translation by Don Bartlett, whose hard work allows the masses to enjoy top-of-the-shelf Scandi-Noir too.

Wolves at the Door will be published in paperback format next week and can be pre-ordered. The Kindle version is available to buy!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947.

He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed.

Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson | @Author_Dave @bonnierbooks_uk @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #YourDeepestFear

Thrilled to host a stop on the blog tour for Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson today! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : David Jackson
Title : Your Deepest Fear
Series : DS Nathan Cody #4
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

‘Sara! Remember! Victoria and Albert. All I can say. They’re here. They’re-‘ 

These are the last words Sara Prior will ever hear from her husband. 

As DS Nathan Cody struggles to make sense of the enigmatic message and solve the brutal murder, it soon becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. Taking the investigation into her own hands, Sara is drawn into a world of violence that will lead her in a direction she would never have suspected. 

For Cody, meanwhile, things are about to get personal in the darkest and most twisted ways imaginable . . .

| MY THOUGHTS |

Your Deepest Fear is the fourth instalment in the DS Nathan Cody series and … bloody hell! I’m in need of a drink. Or an oxygen tank. I feel absolutely drained.

This book is a little different from its predecessors, in that it isn’t all about Cody. Sara Prior’s estranged husband is found brutally murdered at his home, his naked body nailed to the floor. Due to events from the previous books, Cody finds himself somewhat sidelined in this investigation but not to worry, because we have a kick-ass and fierce Sara Prior who will dig deep and try to figure out what happened to her husband.

Meanwhile Cody is being taunted by his biggest nemesis. The clown. This person is by far one of the creepiest and most chilling characters I’ve ever met. Manipulative, pulling Cody’s strings and playing games … there is just no way of knowing what he’ll do next. Only that it won’t be anything good.

I do so love it when an author has no qualms whatsoever in putting their main character through the wringer, and the reader right alongside with him. After three books, I, as the reader, have become incredibly invested in Cody. The reader is aware of his struggles and issues and to see him suffer even more, to be pulled down to the depths of despair, utterly broken … well, it hurts. Now, don’t despair! If you’re new to this series, you can read this as a stand-alone. There is enough background to fill you in on what went on before but not so much that it’ll bore fans of the series to tears. It’s a tough balance to achieve but I feel David Jackson managed it perfectly.

I kept expecting Sara’s and Cody’s investigations to converge at some point but when they did, I was not at all prepared for what happened. Mind blown to smithereens! Just awesome! Part of me was happy in finally getting some answers, the other part has so many questions that I don’t even know where to start.

Your Deepest Fear is dark, disturbing and insanely tense. It’s so fast paced, it almost felt relentless at times and left me in desperate need of a breather. My heart was pounding, my hands were clammy and I was trying extremely hard to figure out how it would all end. Obviously I’m not telling you that but I will say that it has left me wanting more and I have no doubt it will have the same effect on you!

What an incredible addition to an already outstanding series! I dare say this is even the best one yet and I urge you all to read this series, if you’re not doing so already. I highly recommend it and I can’t wait to see where David Jackson takes DS Nathan Cody next.

Your Deepest Fear is available in ebook format. Other formats will follow soon, which you can of course pre-order.

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While you’re there, why not pick up the previous books in the series if these are missing from your bookshelves 😉

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

David Jackson is the bestselling author of Cry Baby. His debut novel, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards. He lives on the Wirral peninsula with his wife and two daughters.

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly | @orionbooks @orion_crime @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #bookreview #compulsivereaders

Truly delighted to join the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly today! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Michael Connelly
Title : Dark Sacred Night
Series : Renée Ballard #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : May 16, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Gather around, it’s confession time.

Ready? *ahem*

I have never read a Michael Connelly book before this one. I know, you’re wondering where the heck I’ve been and you have every right to judge me. I did watch The Lincoln Lawyer film once upon a long time ago and I had every intention of reading a Harry Bosch book, before I realised how many there are. So, as Dark Sacred Night brings together Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch in one fell swoop, I figured this was a good place to start. And even though this is Renée’s second outing, I found this read perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Renée Ballard is a detective, working out of Hollywood Station. After filing a sexual harassment claim against a colleague, she finds herself cast out and working the graveyard shift. On returning to her office one night, she catches someone rifling through the police station’s filing cabinets. Turns out this person is none other than Harry Bosch himself. He’s looking for information on an old investigation; a cold case involving the murder of a young girl almost a decade ago. Harry is determined to finally find out what happened to her.

That investigation isn’t the entire focus of this book though and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed that. It feels more realistic to see detectives investigate more than one case, even during a dark night. A lot goes on behind the bright lights and the glamour of the Hollywood sign and even though a regular burglary might seem quite boring compared to a thrilling murder investigation, it is still a case that needs to be solved. All this combined made for great diversity and I could easily imagine the frustration of needing to attend these other crime scenes and filling out paperwork when something more interesting is waiting for you to sink your teeth into.

I don’t think Ballard particularly needed Bosch to give this series a push in the right direction because as a character she is more than capable to hold her own, but they worked together perfectly and I loved the different points of view. I enjoyed getting to know both these characters. Both are tenacious and determined, although Bosch might be somewhat tired of it all, and not afraid of bending the rules. I warmed to them in an instant. At no point did I feel I was missing out on not knowing anything at all about their backgrounds. If anything, it’s made me more curious to go back and get caught up on the previous books in both the series. Although when I’m supposed to find the time for that is another matter.

What is clear throughout this story, is Michael Connelly’s background. Well thought-out and cleverly plotted, he shows remarkable attention to detail and an insight that can come only from inside knowledge somehow. This added an extra layer to the realism and believability. Michael Connelly is a fantastic crime writer and it’s easy to see why he’s so popular and still going strong after all these years. I have no doubt fans and new readers like myself will enjoy Dark Sacred Night and it has most definitely left me wanting more!

Dark Sacred Night is available to buy in ebook and hardcover, with the paperback to follow on May 16th.

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series, and several other bestsellers including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer. The TV series – Bosch – is one of the most watched original series on Amazon Prime.

He has been President of the Mystery Writers of America, and his books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards.

He spends his time in California and Florida.

Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary | @sarah_hilary @headlinepg @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #mustread #DIMarnieRome #RandomThingsTours

Beyond thrilled to kick off the blog tour for Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary alongside Anne Cater today! Huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

Author : Sarah Hilary
Title : Never Be Broken
Series : DI Marnie Rome #6
Pages : 368
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Blessed are the hearts that bend; they shall never be broken.

I am broken though. Just … WOW!

Never Be Broken is sadly extremely realistic, believable and apt in this day and age. Children are dying on London’s streets and the whiteboard at DI Marnie Rome’s precinct is covered in photographs of young victims. Then, another teenager finds herself on the wrong side of a knife. Raphaela comes from a rich background and is white, and suddenly everyone sits up and takes notice. DS Noah Jake is determined to solve every single case on the whiteboard but he is struggling.

Never Be Broken shows the raw and harsh reality of living on the streets of London. Beyond the bright lights and the beautiful tourist spots, this is a city full of drugs, racism and violence. Police seem to be unable to make much of a difference, no matter how hard they want to. Yet throughout it all, the author’s love for the city manages to shine through.

This is at times quite a painful read. There’s no way the fate of the victims and the suffering of those they leave behind can leave you cold. But there’s also Noah, who’s having a hard time coming to terms with the death of his brother Sol. My heart was absolutely breaking for him. I just wanted to wrap him up in a tight hug. Despite his grief being hard to see, I thought Sarah Hilary handled that whole topic quite brilliantly.

There are some super tense chapters that almost brought tears to my eyes, that made my heart pound and my hands all clammy. This is a dark story, immensely gritty, compelling, captivating and gripping but also one of hope for better days and one of the toughest things to achieve : forgiveness. For those who’ve done you wrong but also for yourself.

Please tell me you are reading this series. It’s been absolutely outstanding from the very beginning and I don’t know how she does it, but Sarah Hilary manages to outdo herself time and time again, bringing each book in this series to whole other level. At the risk of repeating myself, because I’m pretty sure I say this every time, this is the best one in the series yet and Sarah Hilary is an author who deserves all the praise. She continues to impress me with her remarkable storylines, utterly brilliant character development and fantastic writing. There are so many lines I could quote but I won’t because I’d be here all day and obviously you just need to read this book (and the rest of the series) for yourself.

I’ve had a ridiculously hard time getting my thoughts in order. This is one of those books that managed to get completely under my skin, making me go through a whole range of emotions and writing this review seemed like an impossible task when all I really wanted to say was “WOW! Read this now!” and leave it at that. Do yourself a massive favour and pick this up, along with the rest of the series if you haven’t done so already. I promise you from the bottom of my heart, you will not regret it!

Never Be Broken will be published on Thursday, May 16th but you can, and should, preorder it now!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and was a World Book Night selection. The Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continues with TASTES LIKE FEAR (2016) QUIETER THAN KILLING (2017) COME AND FIND ME (2018) and NEVER BE BROKEN (2019).

Follow Sarah on Twitter

With Our Blessing by Jo Spain | @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks | #bookreview #recommended

Author : Jo Spain
Title : With Our Blessing
Series : DI Tom Reynolds #1
Pages : 531
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : July 27, 2015

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother.

2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.

Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

You’re probably familiar with Jo Spain’s psychological thrillers but did you know she also writes a crime fiction series, set in Ireland? The DI Tom Reynolds series has been on my shelf for ages and since I heard there is a new book on the horizon, I decided to try and squeeze this series into my reading schedule in an attempt to catch up.

Best decision ever!

With Our Blessing is the first book and hoo boy, what a first instalment it is! Despite its 531 pages, I absolutely flew through this one because once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop. The body of an elderly woman is found in a park in Dublin. It’s quite a gruesome scene and the investigation leads DI Tom Reynolds and his team to a convent in the Irish countryside and a part of history Ireland would probably quite happily forget all about.

The notorious Magdalane Laundries have been in the news often these last few years. The events that happened there remain horrible and With Our Blessing starts with one such horrific scene when in 1975, a newborn baby is forcibly taken from its mother. If that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.

But how does that prologue connect to the murder of the elderly woman? That’s for DI Tom Reynolds to figure out and it’s a race against the clock because this killer is quite obviously on a mission to get revenge and if they aren’t stopped, more people will die. I quickly ruled out a number of potential suspects which left me with a tiny problem, in that I had nobody left. I was convinced I knew who wasn’t the killer but couldn’t at all figure out who was!

As brilliantly gripping as the murder investigation was, I also really enjoyed the perfect balance Jo Spain achieved by including information about the various team members’ private lives. I got a really good feel for them and loved getting to know them along the way.

With Our Blessing is a fantastic start to this series. With intriguing characters, a compelling investigation, a beautiful setting and even some humour, this had me hooked from start to finish. I’m kicking myself for not reading this series sooner and I can’t wait to read the other books. If Jo Spain wasn’t already on my go-to list, she would most definitely be now! And if you are looking for another crime series to sink your teeth into, you should definitely check this one out!

With Our Blessing is available to buy!

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No Way Out by Cara Hunter | @CaraHunterBooks @EllieeHud @PenguinUKBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #NoWayOut #recommended #must-read

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for No Way Out by Cara Hunter today! My thanks to Ellie at Viking for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Cara Hunter
Title : No Way Out
Series : DI Adam Fawley #3
Pages : 360
Publisher : Viking / Penguin
Publication date : April 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder.

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you’re sitting there wondering if you need another crime fiction series in your life, the answer is “yes” and this right here is that series.

Set in Oxford, No Way Out is the third instalment in the DI Adam Fawley series and it is utterly chilling from the get-go as we follow a firefighter via the camera on his helmet during a fire at the home of the Esmond family. Two young children are pulled from the wreckage. Matty Esmond is fighting for his life but his toddler brother is found dead. There is no sign of their parents. Were the children left in the house alone? Their father was supposed to be attending a conference but why isn’t he answering his phone? When new evidence is discovered, DI Adam Fawley soon realises this fire was not an accident.

Some of the chapters are set before the fire that wrecked the Esmond family home and if those were supposed to have any clues, I completely missed them. Cara Hunter incorporates newspaper articles, emails and fire investigation reports throughout the story, giving the whole thing a truly realistic touch. Things are not as straight forward as you might first expect and there are plenty of twists, turns and dead ends leading DI Adam Fawley and his team to frustration.

Speaking of the team, due to events in the previous book one of the team members finds himself demoted to DC, while another is promoted to acting DS. Could there be trouble? Meanwhile Adam himself is struggling with personal issues that may or may not interfere with his ability to do his job. I thoroughly enjoy the balance Cara Hunter achieves between Adam’s job and his personal life. Especially during this investigation because, if you’ve read the previous books, then you know anything involving children is particularly hard for him.

Stories involving children are always so heartbreaking and I may have uttered an “oh my god” here and there, and even let out something resembling a sob, especially near the end. Talk about a punch to the gut. I never really expect to need a tissue while reading crime fiction but I did here. Heartbreaking for sure.

No Way Out is hugely gripping, immensely compelling and extremely addictive. I dare say this is the best one in the series yet and that’s saying something because the previous two books are insanely outstanding as well. Yet Cara Hunter managed to raise the bar another notch and I stayed up way past my bedtime, desperate to reach the conclusion only to find myself faced with a cliffhanger that has me itching to get to the next book. Luckily we don’t have to wait too long as All The Rage is published in December and you can already preorder it here.

I highly recommend you add this series to your shelves. It is one of the best crime fiction series out there and a definite must-read!

No Way Out is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Make sure you also check out the previous two books in the series!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

I’m lucky enough to live in the city I write about. Oxford will be familiar to crime fans across the whole world because of the fabulous Morse novels and TV, but my version of the town is a long way from the beautiful ivy-clad colleges. A much edgier place where the crimes are darker and closer to home.

I’ve always been a voracious reader and viewer of crime – I’ve learned so much from the outstanding writing that we now see on crime TV like Line of Duty or Broadchurch, and I’ve tried to recreate the experience of watching series like that for my readers. I love true crime TV as well – my husband used to tease me about it but now just nods sagely and says ‘research’ !

What else about me? I have pet cats who do their best to distract me whenever I get close to a keyboard (if you have cats, you’ll know), I love travelling, spending time with friends, and I have never knowingly turned down a glass of champagne….

The Dare by Carol Wyer | @carolewyer @bookouture

Author : Carol Wyer
Title : The Dare
Series : DI Natalie Ward #3
Pages : 348
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 25, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When thirteen-year-old Savannah Hopkins doesn’t come straight home from school, as she always does, her mother Jane immediately raises the alarm. 

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward whose daughter Leigh is the same age as Savannah. Soon Natalie’s worst fears are confirmed when the teenager’s broken body is found in nearby shrubland. 

Evidence points towards a local recluse, but just as the net is closing around him, one of Savannah’s friends, Harriet, is reported missing. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

I can’t believe we’re already at the third instalment in the DI Natalie Ward series. That Carol Wyer is an insane writing machine!

When thirteen year old Savannah doesn’t return home from school, her mother immediately raises the alarm. A search for the young girl bears no results. Then her body is found near rubbish close to where she lived. As it is obvious this is not where Savannah was killed and there are no DNA clues at all, the investigations into her murder quickly turns into a frustrating one. And then another young teenager goes missing.

Do you know what your kids are up to? The mothers in this story most certainly do not, no matter how close they think they are to their daughters. These days, with all their online presence, things are even more frightening than they used to be. Carol Wyer introduces the topic of online dares in this story, which I’m sure you’ve seen mentioned in newspapers quite often as most don’t end all that well for the participants.

I shared the team’s frustration in this investigation. While there are a few suspects in their sights, there are also quite a lot of dead-ends. I couldn’t figure it out at all and was way off in a completely different direction than the one Carol Wyer herself went. Even the brilliantly written flashback chapters, courtesy of the killer, didn’t give me the tiniest clue as to who I should be focusing on. It is always such a bonus when you’re left guessing until the end.

Of course, we are also offered more glimpses into Natalie’s private life. Her husband David remains a total douchebag and I for one would quite like to see Natalie give him the boot. As it is, their arguments are having an effect on their children. But could one of them end up in danger? And let’s not forget Lucy, who is slowly but surely beginning to steal away the limelight from Natalie in this series. Lucy is incredibly focused, determined and like a dog with a bone. I just really like her and I hope her character continues to grow.

As always, Carol Wyer has delivered another gripping and compelling story. I raced through these pages as if my life depended on it, desperately trying to pick up clues and failing miserably at every turn. The Dare had me absolutely hooked and engrossed and I can’t wait for more!

The Dare is out tomorrow!

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Perfect Crime by Helen Fields | @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K | #blogtour #bookreview #PerfectCrime

Delighted to join the blog tour for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields today! My thanks to Sabah at Avon for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!

Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Crime
Series : DI Luc Callanach #5
Pages : 400
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : April 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Let me just start my review by saying that if you’re not reading this series, I am judging you like a big, bad judging thing! This is one of the best crime fiction series out there and you are sorely missing out!

Perfect Crime is the fifth instalment in the DI Luc Callanach series and by now, these characters feel like family and I am always excited about spending more time with them. Before you ask, no, you really shouldn’t treat these as stand-alones. Start from the beginning. I promise you won’t regret it!

Things kick off when Stephen Berry is getting ready to jump off a bridge. Luckily, a suicide prevention counsellor manages to talk him down but a week later, Stephen is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are called in to investigate whether Stephen killed himself or was murdered. But the deaths do not stop there …

Meanwhile, Callanach is finding himself in hot water when he visits someone in a care home who is later found dead. I won’t say anything else about that so I don’t spoil things for those who haven’t read the previous books (shame on you! 😂) but I will say I really enjoyed this second thread of the story. Switching back and forth between the two investigations really held my attention.

I mentioned these characters feel like family by now so when they hurt, I hurt. And there is a lot of “hurt” going on in this one. Relationships shift, some characters managed to surprise me, others infuriated me and through it all are original, frightening and gruesome deaths as I’ve come to expect from this series.

I very early on figured out what was going on but that didn’t ruin things for me at all. I became so absorbed in the investigation that I almost forgot about my suspect. Helen Fields always delivers gripping, compelling, thrilling and tense stories full of intriguing (and sometimes totally crazy) characters. This is one of those series that just keeps getting better and better and I can’t wait to see what Helen Fields comes up with next but I know it will be awesome once again. Highly recommended!

Perfect Crime is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

While you’re there, why not grab yourself copies of the previous books in the series 😉

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar.

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Helen and her husband now live in Los Angeles with their three children and two dogs.

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Hodge | @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #blogtour #SheLiesInWait

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for She Lies in Wait by Gytha Hodge! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

Author : Gytha Hodge
Title : She Lies in Wait
Series : DCI Jonah Sheens #1
Pages : 384
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : March 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Thirty years ago, fourteen year old Aurora went missing from a camp site in the forest. She was never found. Now a dog walker (it’s always the poor dog walkers, isn’t it?) stumbles across a body. DCI Sheens is called to the scene but he already knows what will be waiting there for him. Aurora has been found at last but the place where she was found, raises a multitude of other questions. Her body is found in a hideaway only her six friends could have known about. Is one of them the killer?

There is something I find extremely fascinating about cold case investigations. I’m one of those people who can barely remember what she did last week, never mind thirty years ago. Although I suppose a night where someone goes missing would be memorable enough not to forget. But the details however are another thing. Especially when alcohol has been consumed. Are the memories you have really that reliable? Surely things have become somewhat muddled? Maybe misremembered or misinterpreted?

These six friends have gone on to be hugely successful and they have a lot to lose. While they have maintained their innocence all these years, DCI Sheens is convinced one of them knows a lot more than they’re saying. Now you’d think that with only six suspects, you’d be able to figure things out easily, don’t you? That was not the case for me. I didn’t have a clue and kept wondering if I’d missed something obvious along the way. As it happens, I was completely on the wrong track and I do so enjoy it when an author can take me by surprise like that.

This isn’t an action-packed story and its pace is rather slow but it is full of intriguing characters and quite gripping. There’s a lot of interviewing and re-interviewing suspects, trying to uncover the lies and deceit these six friends have been hiding behind for so long and I found that rather refreshing for a change. It also gives the reader the opportunity to somehow join in in this investigation as opposed to detectives miraculously finding all the answers in a computer database, for instance. Added to that are the four members that make up DCI Sheen’s team. They’re all remarkably different, each with their own set of skills and one or two may just have an interesting background story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first instalment in the DCI Sheens series and I look forward to seeing where Gytha Lodge takes him and his team next.

She Lies in Wait is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Gytha Lodge is a multi-award-winning playwright, novelist and writer for video games and screen. She is also a single parent who blogs about the ridiculousness of bringing up a mega-nerd small boy. 

She has a profound addiction to tea, crosswords and awful puns. When not writing, she heads up a copywriting team at a global translation firm, where she generally tries to keep all the video-game writing to herself. 

She studied English at Cambridge, where she became known quite quickly for her brand of twisty, dark yet entertaining drama. She later took the Creative Writing MA at UEA. 

She has signed with Penguin Random House worldwide for the first three books in her crime series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens.