Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. | @damppebbles

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. I have an extract to share with you today but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : N. Lombardi Jr
Title : Justice Gone
Pages : 336
Publisher : Roundfire Books
Publication date : February 22, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

| EXTRACT |

Another session was called to collate, coordinate, and brainstorm, but this one was held in the mayor’s office, at his honor’s insistence that he not be kept out of the loop. To say that he was distressed was like calling Mount Everest a molehill. The citizens were in nothing less than an uproar, and he was supposed to be the man in charge. When he had campaigned for mayor he hadn’t foreseen a challenge like this. Never knew that his blood pressure could rise so high that he had to consult his cardiologist, or that his ulcer would act up after all these years. And the pain in his gut only increased when he realized he was helpless to rescue the situation. This thing has fucking gone global now, worldwide coverage for heaven’s sake, he had decried to the city attorney Burns just hours before.

The same law enforcement officials that attended the first meeting were there at this one, except for Agent Crawford of the FBI, who was more than spoken for by his bare-headed partner. Everyone around the conference table looked glum, and this alarmed the mayor.“I would like Chief Peterson to give me the introductory summary… you know…the quick and dirty, and then I would like to hear from all of you.” The mayor turned his head. “Len?” “First of all, I would like to thank the FBI and the New Jersey State Police Investigations Branch, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office, for their assistance in this investigation.” Peterson cleared his throat. “On September 23 we received a 911 request to proceed to the home of Victor Fratollini, possible homicide. That was about five-fifteen. Then, some forty minutes later, there was another 911 call directing us to the home of John Fox…”

“Is this the quick and dirty, Len?” the mayor asked.
Peterson looked up, embarrassed. “Within two, two-and-a-half hours, three of the officers involved in the Felson incident were shot dead. The autopsy report was consistent with the crime scene assessment that only one fatal bullet was fired in each case, all of them exiting the bodies and recovered at each of the scenes. Caliber .308, most probably used with a Remington 700 model, which is consistent with military rifles of at least two branches of the armed services, the Army and the Marines. Marshal Felson was picked up for questioning…”

“Hold it right there. I’ve heard about that, more than I care to, and his lawyer contacted our lawyer, Burns, and threatened yet another civil suit, malicious prosecution. What the hell was that all about?”
Gerhard intervened. “We had a no-knock warrant, sir.” “So you just busted in? Is he a principal suspect?”
Peterson interjected. “We consider him a person of interest at this time. But he has an alibi. His sister claims she slept over that night and attests that Felson was home from the afternoon until the time of the killings.”
“Well, can we rule him out then?’ “She could be lying,” Gerhard stated.
“What makes you say that?’
Peterson answered. “She refuses to come down and make a statement without her lawyer, and the same for her commitment to testify in case of a trial.”
“Actually,” Detective Cavaluzzi broke in, “her exact words were”—he read from his notepad—”I would be reluctant to give any formal statement regarding my brother, let alone testify, without consulting my lawyer.”
“We should be applying more pressure on that woman!” Gerhard said loudly. “Forensics showed his gun was recently discharged, and ballistics show a significant amount of consistency with the recovered bullets.”

The direction the conversation was going distressed Peterson, and he sought to divert it. “I think it’s time to give the results of the autopsy and ballistics reports, and our analysis based on these.” He shuffled some papers he had been keeping on the table before him, then read it verbatim using the coroner’s technical language, which more than annoyed the mayor.

“So what is all that anatomical jargon come to for Chrissake?”
“It means,” Gerhard announced from his end of the table, “that this killer is not only clever, calculating, and precise, but sadistic as well. With just one bullet, he inflicted the maximum amount of pain a single gunshot wound could inflict, aiming at the edges of bones to cause maximum deflection with minimum loss of kinetic energy. In other words he deliberately shot them in a way that would rip them apart. And he went so far as to modify the bullets to ensure this.”
“What do you mean, modify the bullets?” the mayor asked.

The bald FBI man, Agent Dirksen, explained. “There are indentations machined on the bullets. They didn’t come from the manufacturer that way. Increases the wobble to the spin.”
The mayor raised his eyebrows. “Wobble? Spin?”
“The reason rifles are called rifles,” Gerhard broke in, “is because there’s rifling inside the barrels, grooves that cause the bullet to spin for more accurate trajectories, like how a quarterback throws a football. In this case, with these custom- made bullets, the indentations we found on them are at right angles to the rifling, causing them to vibrate as well, and this vibration amplifies when they encounter soft tissue. Sick, yes, but that’s the kind of person we’re dealing with here.”

“But it’s not Felson!” Peterson insisted.
Agent Dirksen, spoke up again. “I don’t think so either. After a thorough search, a footprint has been found in the woods behind Puente’s house. It’s clear that the gunman started his killing binge at the most exposed place, Fratollini’s suburban neighborhood, then on to Fox’s dead end lane nearby, and finishing at a place that verges on forest. We think that was his escape route, and that’s why he wasn’t intercepted on any road. He might still be in the woods.”
“Don’t tell me…” the mayor protested.
But Agent Dirksen continued, “We recommend a full-scale manhunt in the wooded areas from the south of Asarn County up to the Delaware Water Gap to the north.”
The mayor threw up his hands. “Well, hell’s bells! What else is coming to put yet another nail on my goddamn cross! Hunting season has just opened!”
“Looks like it’ll have to be postponed for a while,” Gerhard said with a hint of gloating.

If this extract has left you wanting to find out more, then you can grab yourself a copy of Justice Gone now!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Sins of the Fathers by Les Cowan | @LionHudson @MidasPR | #LesCowan #SinsOfTheFathers #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sins Of The Fathers by Les Cowan. Today, I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : Les Cowan
Title : Sins Of The Fathers
Series : David Hidalgo #3
Pages : 300
Publisher : Lion Fiction
Publication date : October 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Father Ramón was a priest with a problem. How can a normal healthy young man cope with both the demands of the priesthood and his attraction to women? Appealing to the bishop doesn’t help. Do what you must but make sure I don’t find out, was the astonishing reply.

Fifteen years later, Ramón comes out of prison. Instead of feeling guilt and remorse, he is now bent on revenge against those who testified against his shocking exploitation of children. Most are easy to find but there is one last piece missing in his puzzle: Andrea has moved to Edinburgh.

David Hidalgo continues to pastor his church. Nowadays, this includes an English chat group for the many young people leaving Spain and looking for work in Edinburgh, people like Andrea. As Andrea slowly realises her past has terrifyingly become her present, once again David Hidalgo finds himself in the middle of a problem he wasn’t looking for. Can David help halt Ramón’s revenge or will there be further casualties.

| EXTRACT |

Chapter 1
CAFÉ CÓRDOBA – FOLLOWING SPRING

Andrea Suaráz Morán did not like the way the guy at the corner table was looking at her. She carefully set down the tapas he had ordered – sardinas a la plancha, pinchos morunos, albóndigas, chorizo en vino – and a bottle of San Miguel and headed back to the safety of the bar.
“¿Piensas que ese tío parece un poco raro o solo es mi imaginación?” she asked José as she wiped the tray and slipped it back with the others. “Hey, speak English, chica,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
She rolled her eyes but knew he was right. Her English had improved enormously in the six weeks she’d been in Edinburgh, but it still needed more mental effort, particularly if she was worried or tired.
“Ok,” she tried again. “Do you think that guy is a bit weird or is it just my imagination?”
“It’s not your imagination,” José confirmed, stealing a glance from under thick black brows as he dried a glass. “He comes in twice a week, orders exactly the same, always on his own, never smiles, no tip. Definitely weird.”
“And he only ever speaks Spanish. There’s something familiar about him but I don’t know where from.”
“I’ll mention it to Martin so we keep an eye on him. When do you finish tonight?”
“Ten.”
“Ok. I’m on till eleven. Just wait in the kitchen till I’m done and I’ll see you home.” “Would you?”
“Sin duda. ¡No hay problema, guapa!”
“Hey, speak English dude – that’s what we’re here for!”
She gave him a playful punch on the shoulder and glanced round, laughing. The guy in the corner was watching, not laughing, and that took the smile off her face.

In the kitchen, while she waited for José to finish his shift, Andrea pulled out a secondhand copy of Sons and Lovers she was trying to plough her way through. The language was a struggle; she’d expected that. What she couldn’t work out was why the British seemed to get so worked up – was that the right expression? – why they got so worked up about sex. Well, maybe that was just the mystery and also the fun about other cultures. People just see things differently, that’s all. Es lo que hay – that’s just how it is. She’d read that in Britain it was polite to keep your hands off the table at meals. In Spain just the opposite. If your hands weren’t in view, maybe you had a dagger under the cloth you were just about to stab your host with. Total opposites for random reasons. Attitudes to sex, religion, politics, humour, physical contact, even greeting friends and strangers – all different. Why? Because that’s just how it is.

She couldn’t concentrate with all the orders being shouted through, pots and dishes clattering, and onions sizzling, so she put her book down, leaned back against the slightly sticky wall, and dropped her mind into neutral. Having a real job, earning real money, and being independent again had all come in a bit of a rush but she was loving the sensation. It made her mind spin that so much could change in such a short time. It seemed incredible that it had only been six weeks ago she’d kissed and hugged Mama and Papa at security at Barajas Airport Madrid and got on the easyJet to Edimburgo – “Edinburgh”, as she now had to call it.
Less than a year before had been the monumental three-day end-of-degree party which, looking back, now felt like an official farewell to youth and a welcome to the real world. That had been as long-drawn-out a group goodbye as they had been able to manage.

Four years together at Complutense University of Madrid in the leafy suburbs to the north-west of the city had made them more than friends and closer than family – a few had even become lovers. Now they were simultaneously ecstatic at the thought of no more lectures and exams, terrified at landing directly on the unemployment scrapheap in the midst of the crisis, and heartbroken at the thought of losing each other. So they drank for three days straight and swore the current fate of 52 per cent of Spanish youth would not be theirs. They toasted their successful futures to come, cursed Prime Minister Rajoy and his infernal Partido Popular, blessed the new indignados protest movement, and prayed to San Isidro, La Macarena or any other god, saint or virgin open for business for good results and a real job. On the final evening, after many riojas too many, she and Jorge had slept together one last time for old times’ sake even though they’d broken up more than a year before. It seemed the generous thing to do. They kissed and swore they’d keep in touch, all the time knowing they wouldn’t. The morning after, she had packed the last of her stuff, took her Beatles, Dylan, and Lorca posters down, gathered up bits of discarded clothing from round the flat, left the pot plants for the new tenants, and took the metro from Moncloa to Atocha, changing at Sol. Finally, easing into her seat on the AVE train to Sevilla, she exhaled slowly, looked out the window, and dabbed away a tear.

If this extract has left you wanting to read more, Sins Of The Fathers is now available for preorder!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Les Cowan is a crime and thriller novelist from Scotland. He graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in English Language and Literature and has worked in the criminal justice system. Currently based in Orkney, Les has lived in Madrid, Edinburgh and Galicia, all of which are locations brought to life in his writing. His previous novels featuring David Hidalgo include Benefit of the Doubt and All That Glitters.

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard | @cathryanhoward @AtlanticBooks @theotherkirsty | #20BooksOfSummer #recommended

Author : Catherine Ryan Howard
Title : Rewind
Pages : 327
Publisher : Atlantic Books / Corvus
Publication date : August 22, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Say “hello” to Catherine Ryan Howard’s best book yet! Yes, I said it!

Instagram influencer Natalie seems to have it all. Fab house, handsome husband, easy and cushy “job”. But behind the pretty filtered pictures, things are not what they seem. Natalie is on a mission, which leads her to the tiny isolated village of Shanamore. Will she find what she is looking for?

A creepy manager with Norman Bates vibes watches a murder caught on camera. Who is the victim? Who is the killer? Why is there a camera in the room to begin with and how did the killer know it was there? Creepy to the nth degree!

The way the plot is set out in this book is just sheer genius. Even though the rewind/foreward/play/pause chapters tied my brain into knots at the beginning, I can honestly say I’ve never been this ecstatic about being confused before and I loved every minute of trying to figure out how the whole thing fit together. It is just such an original take on a past and present storyline and what is basically a whodunnit murder mystery.

Despite the fact I had quite a few things figured out early on, that didn’t matter at all because Rewind remains compelling and totally creepy throughout. I am never staying at a hotel, B&B, whatever again! Brilliantly paced with intriguing characters and a mystery to solve, this is one of those books I found impossible to put down.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Catherine Ryan Howard’s previous books but with this one, she knocked it right out of the park. Gripping and tense, I absolutely devoured Rewind and if you’re a crime fiction fan who’s looking for that little something different, ta-da! Here it is! I so can’t wait to see what’s next from Catherine Ryan Howard.

My thanks to Kirsty Doole at Atlantic for my review copy!

Rewind is available to buy!

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Book 19 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | @RuthWareWriter @HarvillSecker | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ruth Ware
Title : The Turn of the Key
Pages : 340
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Publication date : August 8, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Ruth Ware’s previous book, The Death of Mrs Westaway, was one of my top books last year. So to say I had high expectations for her next offering would be somewhat of an understatement. I couldn’t wait to pick up The Turn of the Key and as soon as I started reading, I just knew this one was going to be another extra special treat.

Rowan Caine answered an ad for a nanny position in the Scottish Highlands. But it’s obvious from the start that things did not go well. A child is dead and Rowan is in prison awaiting trial for murder. What on earth happened and how did Rowan get here?

Oh, what a twisted tale this is. I feel like I didn’t breathe for 340 pages, it’s that tense. The modern gadgetry alone already freaked me out, never mind all the shenanigans that could possibly be caused by ghosts because hey, isolated house in a remote location where a death or two has occurred , it’s bound to be haunted, right? Hugely atmospheric? Check! I mean, there’s even a poison garden! Yikes! And what of Rowan? Reliable narrator or not? I couldn’t quite decide for most of the story and yet, at every turn, I found myself firmly on her side.

Creepy and chilling throughout, I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened and the conclusion left me reeling. Or at least my interpretation of it, which obviously means you should read this novel right now so we can discuss it! Wow. I mean, really, just WOW. I absolutely devoured this novel and as tends to happen with books I loved as much as this one, the words to describe my experience with it just will not come. Also because I’m way too worried I’ll give anything away.

Brilliantly written, immensely engrossing, extremely addictive …. WOW! 😉 This is most definitely Ruth Ware at her best and I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this, because did I mention how utterly brilliant The Death of Mrs Westaway was? The Turn of the Key, you guys, is even better and it shoots right up my list of favourite books of the year! I’ll be recommending this one left, right and centre until I’m blue in the face and I am already eagerly awaiting Ruth Ware’s next book.

The Turn of The Key is available to buy!

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Book 17 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Chris McGeorge
Title : Now You See Me
Pages : 302
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Six people went in. Only one came out…

Introducing Standedge Tunnel: the longest canal tunnel in England.

Last year six students went in, and two and a half hours later, the boat reappeared on the other side with only one of the students, unconscious, and the dog.

The case of the Standedge Six was largely kept from the national media. The police investigation concluded that the only remaining student, Matthew, killed his friends, hid the bodies on the boat and returned later to move them to an undisclosed location.

Matthew is in prison . . . but maintains he is innocent.

Robert Ferringham is grieving for his missing wife, Sam. So when Matthew contacts him for help with his case, promising information on Sam, Robert has no choice but to help. But can he trust Matthew?

And how will he solve the insolvable case? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Raise your hand if you love a good mystery! Me! I do! And this one is mind-boggling for sure.

Six friends and a dog travel through a canal tunnel on a boat. But when the boat reaches the other end, only one friend (who’s unconscious) and the dog (who’s absolutely fine) remain. The other five, now known as the Standedge Five, have disappeared. The community is able to keep this mysterious disappearance out of the national media and quickly moves to arrest the remaining friend, Matthew, for murder. Police is convinced he killed his friends and moved their bodies to an undisclosed location.

While awaiting trial in prison, Matthew contacts author Robin Ferringham. Robin’s wife went missing three years ago and Matthew claims to have information about her disappearance but he won’t divulge any of it unless Robin helps him prove his innocence. Can Matthew be trusted? Is he truly innocent? And how will Robin solve a case that looks utterly unsolvable?

Now You See Me isn’t just a whodunnit, it’s also a “how-dunnit” and it genuinely made my head hurt trying to figure it out. I have the frown lines to prove it. How do five people vanish from a canal tunnel?! Were they thrown overboard? Did they pull a Houdini? Did Scotty beam them up? What the hell happened?! I thought I had it all worked out but I was only half right and it was such a thrilling journey to go on.

Chris McGeorge has come up with an extremely clever plot here. Full of untrustworthy and not always likeable characters, the mystery surrounding the Standedge Five had me hooked from start to finish. This is such an addictive page-turner and there was no way I was going to put this book down until I knew what had actually happened. There were a few surprises I didn’t quite see coming, some of them quite shocking and devastating, and it all added up to a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and a truly compelling read.

Now You See Me is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 13 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Adrian McKinty
Title : The Chain
Pages : 352
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : July 9, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger.

The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered.

You are now part of The Chain. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you’ve not heard mention of this book before, you must be living under a rock. The buzz has been buzzing like a big buzzing thing for ages. Now, I’m often wary of books that are being hyped up like this one has been, because my expectations tend to go where no expectations have gone before. But I also suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) so I decided to give The Chain a go anyway.

It’s a normal morning. Kylie is waiting at the bus stop for the bus that will take her to school, when suddenly a man in a ski mask approaches her, points a gun at her and kidnaps her in broad daylight. Shortly afterwards, Kylie’s mother, Rachel, receives a phone call from a panicked stranger. The only way Rachel can get her daughter back is to kidnap another child. Rachel is now part of the chain and the chain cannot be broken.

As far as terrifying and chilling premises go, this one is right up there! And yet. The book is split into two parts. Part one is phenomenal. Super tense, it sucked me in from the get-go, wondering what I would do or where to even start. Part two, on the other hand, lost me. I frequently checked to see how many pages I still had left to read and that’s never a good thing. The level of tension dropped quite remarkably, I felt things started to drag somewhat and worse than that, le gasp, I sort of stopped caring.

All in all, I’m feeling rather conflicted and somewhat disappointed. Part of me feels I should have listened to my gut and let this one go, but the other part is glad I read it. If The Chain had stopped before the second half, it would have been a hugely successful read for me. On the other hand, this is movie material right here and I can absolutely see the appeal. From what I’ve seen, I’m in the minority with my opinion so don’t let that sway you. If you do decide to read The Chain, I’d be very interested to know what you make of it.

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Book 12 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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.