A Fatal Game by Nicholas Searle | @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks @EllieeHud | #blogtour #AFatalGame

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Fatal Game by Nicholas Searle. My thanks to Ellie Hudson at Penguin for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

Author : Nicholas Searle
Title : A Fatal Game
Pages : 245
Publisher : Viking
Publication date : July 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A terrorist attack has just hit a busy railway station. Jake Winter was the British intelligence officer in charge of stopping the attack and now his career, and his conscience, are in freefall . . .

Jake’s next anti-terror operation has to be a success. He has got himself a new source – a young British Asian man, Rashid, recently returned, apparently disillusioned, from battle, who he hopes is the key to foiling the next attack and to getting Jake to the leader of the network. But is Rashid really working for British intelligence, or has Jake put his faith in the wrong man once again?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Who isn’t fascinated by the world of spooks? These men and women, whose jobs are steeped in mystery so much that they aren’t even allowed to talk about it, spend their days in ways we know nothing about. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. After all, there is a lot of stuff going on out there in the world and none of it is particularly good. Ignorance is bliss?

In A Fatal Game, we meet Jake Winter. Jake is a spy for the British Intelligence Service but things are about to come crashing down around him. The story starts with a terrorist attack on a busy railway station. Jake was in charge of stopping this attack but his asset seems to have played him for a fool. While an enquiry into this terrorist attack is ongoing, Jake’s job doesn’t just stop. He’s found another source, who’s part of yet another terrorist cell. But can this young man be trusted or will history repeat itself?

This is one tense ride and you’re never really quite sure how it will all end, which seems fitting because neither do the characters in this story. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Nicholas Searle tackled this intriguing tale from various angles. The reader follows Jake and his partner as they meet with the source, we are also introduced to the members of the terrorist cell, we follow the preparations from the armed forces, the political games behind the scenes and the enquiry into the railway station attack which makes you feel like a member of the audience, desperate for answers while all the while feeling none will be forthcoming. All these points of view really place the reader right in the centre of all the action.

What a compelling read this is. Full of fascinating characters, deceit, the games some people play and never quite knowing what will happen, A Fatal Game feels horribly realistic, utterly believable and somewhat frightening. If anything it has left me with the utmost admiration for spies all over the world, in awe of the responsibility they face every single day and the knowledge that it isn’t at all as glamorous as it looks on tv. It may be short at a mere 245 pages but it packs quite a punch and it held my attention throughout, right up until the quite dramatic conclusion. A Fatal Game is a well-plotted spy thriller that will undoubtedly appeal to fans of the genre.

A Fatal Game is available to buy!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Nicholas Searle is the author of three novels. His first novel, The Good Liar, was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for the best debut crime novel. In November 2019, the major Warner Bros film adaption, starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen, will be on general release.

Before becoming a writer, Nicholas worked in British intelligence for more than twenty-five years.

He lives in Yorkshire.

The Reunion by Guillaume Musso | @wnbooks @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #TheReunion

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Reunion by Guillaume Musso. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Guillaume Musso
Title : The Reunion
Pages : 275
Publisher : Weidenfeld & Nicolson 
Publication date : July 11, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

French Riviera, winter 1992.
On a freezing night, as her high school campus is engulfed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell runs away with Alexis, her philosophy teacher.
No one will ever see them again.

French Riviera, spring 2017.
Formerly inseparable, Thomas, Maxime and Fanny – Vinca’s best friends – have not spoken in twenty-five years. But when they receive a notice from their old school detailing the plans for a new gymnasium and inviting them to a class reunion, they know they must go back one more time.

Because there is a body buried in the gymnasium’s walls… 
…and they’re the ones who put it there.

| MY THOUGHTS |

School reunions. Personally, I’ve never attended one because I’ve never quite understood the appeal of them. But Thomas has little choice in the matter. During the reunion, the school is set to announce plans for a new gymnasium and Thomas, Maxime and Fanny, who haven’t seen each other in 25 years, know they must go back to school one more time. Because there is a body in the walls, and they put it there.

How is that for a premise? I couldn’t have been more intrigued if I tried. It’s also an interesting way to start a story because it seems as if you’re getting all the information in one go so what could possibly be left to discover? Ha! Quite a bloody lot, let me tell you!

Everything harks back to the winter of 1992 when nineteen year old Vinca Rockwell disappeared. Rumour had it she ran off with her philosophy teacher but neither one of them was ever heard from again. Despite moving all the way to New York from the Côte d’Azur, Thomas has never been able to forget Vinca. She was his first true love after all and thoughts of her still haunt him. But did he ever really know her?

Does anyone even know anyone in this story?! There are not just secrets buried behind the gymnasium’s walls. In fact, they are everywhere and they come at you thick and fast. I think this is one of the most unpredictable plots I’ve read in a long time. There are some delicious twists and turns, none of which I saw coming and there’s a lovely kind of Noir vibe throughout.

The Côte d’Azur provides the perfect backdrop too. Beautiful surroundings that ooze atmosphere and really off-set the dark events that play out throughout the story. The Reunion is an engaging and well-paced story about unrequited love, obsession, jealousy and family. I must admit I’d never heard of Guillaume Musso but it’s easy to see why he is so popular in France. Hopefully more of his books will be translated to English so a bigger audience can acquaint themselves with his work but for now, if you’re looking for a page-turner, The Reunion will not let you down.

The Reunion is available to buy!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Guillaume Musso was the number one bestselling author in France in 2011 and 2012. Born in 1974 on the Cote d’Azur, he knew from an early age that he wanted to write novels and to touch the largest possible number of people. 

In 2004, ‘AFTERWARDS’ was published in France by XO Editions and was an immediate bestseller and established a loyal following for his unique brand of storytelling which blends romance, adventure, suspense and the supernatural. It was later made into a film starring John Malkovich, Evangeline Lily and Romain Duris.

Since then, with every one of the six novels which have followed, his loyal readership has grown significantly, making him the most widely-read author writing in French today. His stories have universal central themes: missed opportunities, second chances,the passage of time, lost love and redemption.

Source : Amazon

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter | @KarinSlaughter @HarperCollins | #20BooksofSummer #recommended

Author : Karin Slaughter
Title : The Last Widow
Series : Will Trent #9
Pages : 448
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor. 

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.

| MY THOUGHTS |

After a three year hiatus, Will Trent is back and I couldn’t be more excited if I tried! The Last Widow is the ninth instalment in this series but it can be read perfectly as a stand-alone. Karin Slaughter manages really well to give new readers sufficient background on these characters, while giving older fans a bit of a refresher course.

If you’re new to my blog, or you just haven’t been paying attention, you may not know I am a huge Karin Slaughter fan. I’ll read whatever she writes, to be honest. I’ve been following the Will Trent series from the very beginning and it’s one of those series that just keeps getting better and better, while Karin Slaughter’s writing gets even more taught and sharp with each book. One of the things I really like about her, is that she doesn’t shy away from the tough and hard-hitting topics and The Last Widow definitely has one of those.

A series of events put Will and Sara’s lives in danger. First, a scientist from the Centers of Disease Control is kidnapped in broad daylight. Then, a month later, one of Atlanta’s busiest neighbourhoods is rocked by two explosions. As Will and Sara both work for law enforcement, they run towards the danger in order to offer any help they can. But that decision has devastating consequences when Sara is abducted.

Cue heart pounding, clammy hands and the need to take a break from time to time because the tension was so high, I almost forgot to breathe!

The Last Widow isn’t an easy story to read. It often made me feel extremely uncomfortable and it should have done, considering the topics that are dealt with here. White supremacy, pedophilia, child abuse, all the worst things man could possibly get up to; it’s all here, hidden away in a remote location in the Appalachian Mountains where the leader of a cult has zero good intentions. You know deep down things won’t end well, you can feel it in your bones but nothing can prepare for the devastation.

This is Karin Slaughter at her best. Yes, there was a bit at the beginning that slightly puzzled me. Certain events played out from both Sara and Will’s point of view and while I could totally understand why it was done that way, it was also somewhat repetitive. But that little niggle aside, The Last Widow is an absolute corker of a book. The wait for Will Trent to return was most definitely worth it. This story made me angry, it made me sad and throughout it all, you can feel Will’s desperation and helplessness, his fear but also his determination and resolve to do whatever it takes to save Sara. I’m not normally one for romantic shenanigans in my crime fiction but these two? Aaww. They have such a delightful, yet complicated relationship and I can’t help but root for them all the way.

Karin Slaughter firmly keeps her top spot on my list of favourite authors. She can truly do no wrong in my eyes and I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Be it another book in the Will Trent series or a stand-alone, I’ll be right there at the front of the line, using my elbows.

The Last Widow is available to buy!

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

Book 4 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Whisper Man by Alex North | @writer_north @MichaelJBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #TheWhisperMan #recommended

Thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Whisper Man by Alex North today! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Alex North
Title : The Whisper Man
Pages : 400
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken. 
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home. 
If your windows left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass. 
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue the Whisper Man will come for you.

Oh. My. Word.

Say hello to what will possibly end up being my Book of the Year! Yes, I realise it’s only June, which is why I say “possibly”. But I tell you right now, it’s going to take something extraordinary to topple The Whisper Man off that number spot. As soon as I saw this book mentioned on social media, I knew I had to read it. There was just something about the cover and the book description that immediately said “this is the book for you, Eva”. Yes, it knew my name. 😉 My expectations were sky high but within the first few pages, I already knew those expectations would be met. However, I was not entirely prepared for those expectations to be exceeded and then some!

Tom Kennedy is looking for a fresh start for himself and his young son after the sudden death of his wife, Rebecca. New beginnings in a new house in a village called Featherbank. Little does Tom know that Featherbank hides a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer kidnapped and murdered five children. That serial killer, known as the whisper man, is behind bars. But Tom and Jake barely have time to settle in, when another child goes missing and Jake begins to act quite strangely.

Goodness me, I don’t even know where to start. Gripping and compelling? Absolutely! Creepy and chilling? Yes! Addictive and clever? Totally! It is all that and so much more because there is a level of depth to The Whisper Man that you don’t always find in crime fiction thrillers and that’s what makes it stand out already. This story isn’t just about missing children and a serial killer. There are multi-layered and complex characters that struggle with a variety of issues, who pulled me in right from the beginning and didn’t let go. Cleverly plotted and brilliantly written, I was hooked from the very first page, flipping the pages faster and faster, utterly absorbed by the suspense and mystery. And sometimes also somewhat disgusted by human behaviour.

The Whisper Man is the kind of book any crime thriller fan dreams of. It made my skin crawl, it’s sometimes heartbreaking, it’s dark and twisty and just mind-blowingly fabulous! I’m not all surprised to learn that movie rights have already been sold.

Buy this book! Read this book! It could quite possibly indeed be the crime thriller of the year. It undoubtedly deserves to be. I can’t recommend it enough and you will most definitely be seeing this book again in my list of books of the year. Well played, Alex North! I’d like some more now, please!

The Whisper Man is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alex North was born in Leeds, where he now lives with his wife and son. He studied Philosophy at Leeds University, and prior to becoming a writer he worked there in their sociology department.

What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts | @AndrewCrofts @RedDoorBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #extract #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts! Today, I have an extract to share with you all but first, let’s see what this book is all about.

Author : Andrew Crofts
Title : What Lies Around Us
Pages : 256
Publisher : RedDoor Publishing
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It is possible that since this book’s publication you will have heard that I have died in ‘suspicious circumstances’. Obviously I hope that will not be the case, but I believe it is worth taking the risk in order to get this story out there.

Why would one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful billionaires offer a British ghostwriter a million dollars to write the autobiography of Hollywood’s biggest star?

Only once he is living and working among the world’s richest and most beautiful people does the ghost realise that there is way more than a publishing deal at stake.

The ghostwriter must face the dark underbelly of the tech industry. He must face corruption and manipulation, come to blows with people who will do anything to remain at the top of their game and uncover the dark truth behind what it really means to be an influencer . . .

| EXTRACT |

From Chapter 1

The day the first email arrived, Caroline suggested I start a diary, although neither of us had the slightest idea how enormous the story would become.

All I knew was that I had been contacted personally by one of the mightiest beasts from the world of the business and technology superpowers. Roger Rex’s name was right up there with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk; a modern-day witch doctor who was believed to not only be able to see into the future but to be able to shape it too; a magician for our times. And instead of a fire-breathing dragon, this sorcerer had his billions to give credibility to the rumours of his magical powers and stupendous brain.

I was aware that the email could have been a hoax. I mean, what were the chances that one of the half dozen richest people on the planet had actually sat down and written a note directly to me? But there was no reason not to accept it at face value, at least until it proved to be something else. The message was simple; I am going to be in London next week and I would really like to discuss a possible project. Could we meet for lunch? I will be staying at the Four Seasons.

Even if it came to no more than a lunch with Roger Rex at the Four Seasons it would be an adventure worth having. I would love to, I emailed back, just let me know where and when you would like to meet.

“I love your work, Andrew,” he said once the complications of the menu had been ironed out and the staff had quietly withdrawn to prepare the meal as ordered and attend to other customers. “Particularly the human interest stories; ordinary people battling against the odds…”

“Really?” I said. “You’ve read my work?”

“Of course,” he seemed shocked by the suggestion that he might have come to a meeting unprepared. Leaning down beside his chair he dipped his hand into his backpack, which he had refused to relinquish to the staff at reception, producing Secrets of the Italian Gardener with a flourish, making the gold inlay of the cover glitter in the subdued restaurant lights. “Fantastic story. And short too. I like a book I can read in one flight.” He paused for a moment before adding awkwardly, “my condolences on your loss by the way.”

“Thank you.”

The social niceties apparently now out of the way he reverted to monologue-mode. I wished I was recording him because I wanted to remember everything he was saying so that I could relay it to Caroline once I was home, but our relationship had not yet reached a point where I could whip out a Dictaphone or a notepad. At this stage it was just a casual lunch and I still had no idea why he wanted to meet me. Everything he said was interesting. There was too much of it for me to hope to remember more than a few main themes; too many ideas, too many digressions, too many extraordinary pieces of information and exciting predictions, all sparkling with the most dazzling name-drops in the world – Clinton, Obama, Gates, Mandela, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Soros, Clooney, Swift, de Niro and Streep – delivered with no apparent self-awareness, simply reporting something interesting they had said to him or done. He had no need to boast about who he knew, it just so happened that many of the people he talked to in the course of his average days were world famous. I wasn’t even sure that he realised how famous they were, or cared.

“So,” I grabbed a fleeting opportunity to interrupt his flow, “are you thinking of writing a book?”

“Sure,” he said, apparently surprised by the question, “sure, sure, but not yet.”

“If we were to commission a book but we had very strong ideas about what should or shouldn’t be in it. Would you mind being told and having to re-write and edit a great deal?”

“Usually I suggest that I write the first draft as I think it should be,” I replied, “but ultimately it is the author’s story, so they can make whatever changes they want.  When you say ‘we’ would have very strong ideas …?”

“There are a few people interested in the outcome of this book. It could have huge global impact. Absolutely huge.

“Can you give me an idea what you mean by ‘global impact’?”

“Not yet, no. Not until you’ve talked to the lawyers. You would be great for this job, really great. Your books made me cry. You’ve done celebrity books too, right?”

“Yes, a few.”

“It’s important not to be star struck.”

I remembered reading that he had been buying up film studios and television networks, corralling creative talent so that he could control the creation of the content he needed for streaming services into smartphones and social media. Were these the sort of stars he was talking about? I felt my heart thump a little faster – surely everyone’s star struck about somebody.

“Can you tell me anything about the story at all?”

“No,” he shook his head and gave a sharp bark of laughter which made several heads turn in our direction. “Lawyers. You’ll have to sign away your life before we can tell you anything. Do you have an agent? Is there someone we have to talk to?”

“We can go through an agent if you like,” I said, “there are a few that I use for different projects. Or you can just deal with me.”

“We would prefer that, if you don’t mind. If there is an agent involved then that is one more person who has to know at least some of the details of the project, one more person who might leak, one more stage in the process, slowing things down. This is really great coffee! Such a great aroma.” He held the tiny cup close to his nostrils and inhaled deeply, closing his eyes in apparent ecstasy. “We will want to pay you an outright fee so that we own the copyright completely. Your name would be visible nowhere. Would that be a problem?”

“Absolutely not.”

“This is great, really great. It’s going to be so great!” he rocked happily back in his chair, clapping loudly, his huge hands flapping like a seal’s flippers. “I’ll get the lawyers to contact you. We are going to make history.”

If this extract has left you wanting more, then why not to go ahead and grab yourself a copy of What Lies Around Us!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Andrew Crofts is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than eighty books, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He has also guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing.

His books on writing include “Ghostwriting”, (A&C Black) and “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook”, (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years.

Throughout his bestseller, “The Ghost”, Robert Harris quotes Andrew’s seminal book, “Ghostwriting”. Harris’s book went on to become a major movie by the same name, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGregor as the eponymous ghost. The opening lines in Robert Harris’s book sum up Andrew’s philosophy:

“Of all the advantages ghosting offers, one of the greatest must be the opportunity that you get to meet people of interest”.

Andrew was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors from 2012 to 2015. He lectures on the subject of making a living from writing at Kingston University, presents Masterclasses on the subject at The Guardian and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing.

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.

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

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.

The Innocent Ones by Neil White | @neilwhite1965 @HeraBooks @Lizzy11268 | #blogtour #bookreview

It’s such a pleasure to host the penultimate stop on the blog tour for The Innocent Ones by Neil White today! My thanks to Liz for the invitation to join and to the publisher for the review copy!

Author : Neil White
Title : The Innocent Ones
Series : Dan Grant #3
Pages : 383
Publisher : Hera Books
Publication date : April 24, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When London journalist, Mark Roberts, is found battered to death, the police quickly arrest petty thief, Nick Connor. Criminal defence lawyer, Dan Grant, along with investigator Jayne Brett, are called to represent him – but with bloody footprints and a stolen wallet linking him to the scene, this is one case they’re unlikely to win. 

Until help comes from an unlikely source…when the murder victim’s mother says that Connor is innocent, begging Dan and Jayne to find the real perpetrator. 

Unravelling the complex case means finding the connection between Mark’s death and a series of child murders in Yorkshire over twenty years ago. Father of two, Rodney Walker, has spent years in prison after being convicted of killing of 6-year-old William and 7-year-old Ruby back in 1997.

| MY THOUGHTS |

A legal thriller combined with some courtroom action and an investigation into an old case? Holy cow, where do I sign up? Right here, that’s where! The Dan Grant trilogy has all that awesomeness and then some. This is one of those series that got me incredibly excited right from the start. (See how excited by catching up on my reviews from the previous two books here and here)

I think you could probably get away with treating The Innocent Ones as a stand-alone but quite frankly, I don’t know why you’d want to. Dan and Jayne are such brilliant characters and I really enjoyed going on this journey with them, watching their characters and relationship develop along the way.

In The Innocent Ones, Dan finds himself defending a client of the murder of journalist/writer Nick Roberts. But when Nick’s mother shows up and claims Dan’s client is innocent, the whole case is thrown into turmoil. Dan calls in the help of his former investigator, Jayne, and they soon discover a trail leading to the murders of two young children way back in 1997. But what is the connection? And why is someone trying to stop them from finding out the truth?

Once again, Neil White comes up with the most intricate and intense plot. Danger lurks around every corner and while every step Dan and Jayne take brings them closer to the truth, someone is trying to stop them at every turn. With quite a few twists and turns, I found it impossible to figure out what was what and Neil White kept me guessing until the end. If for one second I thought I would be able to pick up on clues in the chapters set in 1997, I was quickly proven wrong. But they do turn into quite the dark and disturbing storyline.

There’s so much to love about The Innocent Ones and this series in general : the brilliant pace, the fantastic writing, the intriguing characters, the wonderful setting and the delightful combination between lawyer and detective work, which quite frankly is just the best of two worlds for me.

This third and final instalment in the Dan Grant series is as tense, compelling and gripping as its predecessors. Of course I am sad to see this series come to an end, yet the ending also feels extremely fitting. This entire trilogy has been the most fantastic and thrilling ride and I very much look forward to what’s in store next from Neil White.

The Innocent Ones is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Neil White (b. 1965) is a British freelance criminal lawyer and a full-time crime writer.

The Passengers by John Marrs | @johnmarrs1 @EburyPublishing @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #bookreview #ThePassengers

Author : John Marrs
Title : The Passengers
Pages : 400
Publisher : Ebury Publishing
Publication date : April 1, 2019 (ebook)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Bloody hell, what the frickety-frack was that?! 😱

Welcome to the world of autonomous cars. Get in, tell your car where you want to go and sit back, relax, have breakfast, read a newspaper or have a nap. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Until, someone somewhere takes control of your car and there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s no steering wheel, no pedals and no manual override and suddenly this relaxing journey turns into a wet-your-knickers one.

This is what happens to eight passengers when their car systems are hacked. The cars are set on a fatal collision course. But hey, there’s good news too! Because the wonderful (ahem) people on social media get to play and decide which one of these passengers should survive this harrowing journey. As a reader, I myself found myself so utterly engrossed that I couldn’t help but think about what I would do, who I would choose. But boy, did that make me feel bad about myself.

This entire premise scared the crap out of me! Not only the idea of autonomous cars, which in my mind is just preposterous. But also the power of social media, the way they’re so quick to judge and the hacker plays into that brilliantly. It’s clear he’s holding back information, manipulating viewers by not giving them the full story. But there’s a reason for that and all shall be revealed.

The Passengers is by far one of the most original thrillers I’ve ever read! It is insanely on-the-edge-of-your-seat tense, brilliantly paced, immensely thought-provoking and massively addictive! It had me glued to the pages from the very beginning and I just couldn’t put it down. This would quite frankly make a fantastic film!

John Marrs is an author whose name I’ve seen pop up quite a lot and yet, this is the first time I’ve picked up one of his books. It definitely won’t be the last time though because I’ve quite obviously been missing out here. If you’re a fan, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. If like me you’re only just getting introduced to his work, this is a fabulous one to start with!

Strap in for the ride of your life! Bring clean underwear. 😉

The Passengers is available to buy in ebook format with the paperback coming soon!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

John Marrs is the author of The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Her Last Move and Welcome to Wherever You Are. 

A former freelance journalist based in London, England, he spent twenty-five years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines until becoming a full-time author in 2018.

He has written for publications including the Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online, Total Film, Huffington Post, Empire, Q, GT, the Independent, S Magazine and Company.

His books have been translated into twenty different languages and The One is soon to be a major new Netflix series.

55 by James Delargy | @JDelargyAuthor @simonschusterUK | #whoisfiftyfive #RandomThingsTours

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for “55” by James Delargy today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

Author : James Delargy
Title : 55
Pages : 432
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.

He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim.

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

| MY THOUGHTS |

When I first spotted this book on Twitter, I just knew it was one I had to read. The fascinating and intriguing premise caught my eye instantly. Who is fifty-five indeed?! My expectations were high but as soon as I started reading the first page, I was already convinced James Delargy was going to live up to them. And then some.

Welcome to the sleepy town of Wilbrook, Western Australia. A town so remote, it’s almost falling off the map. A town surrounded by stunning landscapes and beautiful Mother Nature and yet, it feels oddly claustrophobic. Nothing much ever happens in Wilbrook. It’s the kind of town you leave behind in a trail of dust on your way to the bright lights of the big cities.

The small police department mostly deals with domestic disputes, noise complaints, maybe a drunken fight here and there. But all that changes when a blood-soaked Gabriel enters the station. He says he was kidnapped by a serial killer called Heath, who told him he was going to be his fifty-fifth victim. Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins quickly launches a manhunt for this Heath but to his surprise, Heath walks into the police station himself, telling the exact same story. Two suspects or two victims?

Yes, good luck trying to figure that one out. Every time I thought I had it figured out, something would happen to make me doubt myself and my opinion shifted. These characters are so immensely intriguing and one or two are also awfully unlikeable. Somehow whatever is going on draws parallels with events from the past, which at some point led me to having one of those exciting eureka moments. But for the most part, my theories kept changing throughout the story as the author kept me guessing until the end, unable to predict the outcome.

Speaking of outcomes, I normally make it a point not to mention endings but I can’t wrap this review up without it this time. It is just extremely shocking and it left me so immensely flabbergasted, I had to read it three times. Only to spend the next ten minutes gazing into the distance wondering what the hell I just read. Fa-bu-lous!

This isn’t an easy one to review. Obviously I don’t want to give anything away and all you really need to know is right there in the book description. I will say “55” is brilliantly plotted, extremely clever, delightfully atmospheric and an incredibly addictive page-turner. I found it so intensely gripping that I just couldn’t put it down and devoured it in one glorious reading session. I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing this book again in my end-of-year wrap up. Loved it!

“55” is an incredible debut and I can’t wait to see what James Delargy comes up with next. In the meantime, I’ll be recommending “55” until I’m blue in the face.

“55” is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives. He incorporates his diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. 

55 is his first novel, which has been sold in 19 countries so far and optioned for film by Zucker Productions in partnership with Prodigy Pictures.

Run Away by Harlan Coben | @HarlanCoben @PenguinUKBooks

Author : Harlan Coben
Title : Run Away
Pages : 384
Publisher : Penguin UK
Publication date : March 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, quite by chance, you see her busking in New York’s Central Park.

But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is wasted, frightened and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Where criminal gangs rule, where drugs are the main currency, and murder is commonplace.

Now it’s your life on the line. And nowhere and no one is safe.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Harlan Coben is one of those authors who slipped off my radar for a couple of years but I’ve been trying to correct that mistake the last few weeks by reading “The Stranger” (soon to be a Netflix series), by watching “Safe” (currently on Netflix and it’s brilliant!), by buying some of his older books and by getting my hands on his latest release, Run Away. (sprayed edges! 😍)

Simon’s eldest daughter is a drug addict and has gone missing. Until one day, Simon spots her busking in Central Park. When he approaches her and begs her to come home, she runs off. Simon’s daughter is nothing like he remembered her. Drugs have wreaked havoc on her body and she’s quite obviously in trouble so what’s a parent to do? Simon will not rest until his daughter is safe but he soon finds himself in a dark and dangerous world. And that’s all I’m saying because it’s really all you need to know and also, I can’t possibly begin to explain.

It’s safe to say this story went in a completely different direction than I was expecting. Alongside the thread that follows Simon, there’s another one whose purpose I couldn’t figure out at all. When the pieces of the puzzle finally started to fit, I was in awe of how masterfully this entire plot came together.

Run Away grabbed me by the throat so fiercely from the very first chapter that I was immediately kicking myself for losing track of Harlan Coben’s work. I’m hard pressed to think of any other author out there who writes this kind of suspenseful thriller, taking a realistic scenario and then completely turning it onto its head. Simon is just your regular parent, not some kind of action hero and I’m sure anyone with children can relate to his situation. Is there anything he could have done differently? Is he to blame for the downward spiral his daughter has found herself in? Is there ever a time when you completely give up on them?

There’s something quite cinematic about the way Harlan Coben writes, in that way that you can see scenes play out right in front of your eyes as if you’re watching them on a screen, and if that doesn’t make for an incredibly immersive reading experience, I don’t know what will. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if this too finds its way onto Netflix some time soon.

Run Away is full of twists and turns, lies and deceit and few things or characters are what they seem. This well paced and cleverly plotted story makes for one addictive page-turner. There is just no way to stop reading once you’ve started. Let that be a warning to you! Above all, it has put Harlan Coben firmly back onto my radar and I will not lose sight of him again.

Run Away is available to buy!

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