Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #20BooksOfSummer

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Author : Riley Sager
Title : Last Time I Lied
Pages : 368
Publisher : Ebury
Publication date : July 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…

mythoughts

This one time … at summer camp … three girls went missing. They were never found and nobody knows what happened to them. Now, fifteen years later, Emma returns to Camp Nightingale and hopes to lay old ghosts to rest. Because the events of that summer still haunt her. After all, she lied.

Right off the bat, you’re left to wonder if Emma is a reliable narrator. What did she lie about fifteen years ago? How many times did she lie? And why? Does she know what happened to the three missing girls? The storyline switches between events in the past to the now. Both threads kept me guessing until the very end. I found both threads to be incredibly gripping and was lucky enough to finish the book in one sitting, desperate to know the outcome before bed.

Creating an unsettling and threatening feeling is something Riley Sager does extremely well. Even when it seems there’s little going on, I half expected someone or something to jump out from behind a tree or whatever else creepy hiding place. The setting of the camp and the nearby lagoon lends itself to this perfectly. There’s a constant dark, creepy and chilling atmosphere that had me utterly captivated.

Just like Emma, I tried to follow the clues, got the wrong end of the stick multiple times and just couldn’t figure things out at all. It seemed like just about everyone had a secret they were trying to hide and few characters came across as likeable. And then Riley Sager hit me with the most brilliant epilogue ever! Did NOT see that coming! Fabulous!

I was slightly in the minority where Riley Sagar’s previous book, The Final Girls, was concerned. While I enjoyed it, I wasn’t entirely sure it was as special as the buzz surrounding it made it out to be. Personally, I feel Last Time I Lied was much better. Tense and intriguing, full of suspense and with a deliciously awesome mystery to solve, this is one of those books that is really hard to put down. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Riley Sager’s next book!

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Last Time I Lied is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

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Book 6 from my 20 Books of Summer list

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The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker @jdbarker @HMHbooks #mustread #TheFifthToDie #NetGalley #20BooksOfSummer

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Author : J.D. Barker
Title : The Fifth To Die
Series : 4MK Thriller #2
Pages : 416
Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date : July 10, 2018

aboutthebook

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days.

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

mythoughts

Bloody hell, what a ride! I don’t even know what to say. This series is CRAZY!

The Fifth To Die is the second book in the 4MK Thriller series and no, I’ll tell you right now, you absolutely cannot read this as a stand-alone. Do yourself a favour and read The Fourth Monkey first, not only for the necessary background information but so you can read this second one and fully appreciate the incredibly masterful way J.D. Barker has crafted this series.

There is so much going on in this second instalment. The FBI has taken over the 4MK investigation but Sam Porter is in too deep to let things go and sets out on his own search for Bishop. Meanwhile his colleagues, Nash, Clair and Kloz are investigating the murder of Ella Reynolds, who after having been missing for three weeks, is found under the ice in a lagoon. However, she’s wearing someone else’s clothes, those of a young girl who recently went missing.

I’m not saying any more than that because I’m seriously in danger of giving away something vital. As far as serial killer series go, this is by far one of the best ones out there right now. With chapters switching between the various threads, you’re often struck with the most fabulous cliffhangers that just make you want to flip the pages faster. The tension hit me from the very first page and built up to almost unbearable levels. If this was a movie (which it bloody well should be, to be honest), my non-reader of an other half would be on the edge of his seat. As was I, until the last word.

I absolutely devoured this book. The Fifth To Die is an incredibly addictive page-turner that had me utterly engrossed from start to finish. Brilliantly plotted, expertly crafted, with intriguing and fabulous characters, deliciously disturbing murders and a chilling but genius killer, it firmly stands out in the serial killer genre. I’m not sure how I’ll survive the long wait for the next one but I have no doubt it will be worth it. I can’t recommend this series enough so add it to your TBR right now! I promise you won’t regret it! Be prepared for a deliciously thrilling ride! J.D. Barker is quite frankly one of the best crime thriller writers out there who should be on everyone’s radar!

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

The Fifth To Die is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

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Book 5 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman @DanFesperman @AAKnopf @crimebythebook #blogtour #extract

It’s a pleasure to join the blog tour for Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman today! My thanks to Abby Endler at Knopf for the invitation to join and for providing the fab extract I’ll be sharing with you, right after I tell you what Safe Houses is all about.

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Author : Dan Fesperman
Title : Safe Houses
Pages : 416
Publisher : Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date : July 3, 2018

aboutthebook

West Berlin, 1979. Helen Abell oversees the CIA’s network of safe houses, rare havens for field agents and case officers amidst the dangerous milieu of a city in the grips of the Cold War. Helen’s world is upended when, during her routine inspection of an agency property, she overhears a meeting between two people unfamiliar to her speaking a coded language that hints at shadowy realities far beyond her comprehension. Before the day is out, she witnesses a second unauthorized encounter, one that will place her in the sightlines of the most ruthless and powerful man at the agency. Her attempts to expose the dark truths about what she has witnessed will bring about repercussions that reach across decades and continents into the present day, when, in a farm town in Maryland, a young man is arrested for the double murder of his parents, and his sister takes it upon herself to find out why he did it.

extract

Chapter 1

Berlin, 1979

The older man sat down at the kitchen table in the back of the safe house and recited the words for a second time. His monotone made it sound like a lesson, or maybe an incantation— some spell he was trying to cast over his listener:

“To swim the pond you must forsake the bay. You may touch the lake, but you must never submerge, and you must always return to the pond.”

The younger man, with his arms crossed, nodded.

“And the zoo?”
“Dry. To all of us, anyway. The pond is also dry, to the zookeeper.”

A pause, a wheezing intake of breath. “All of their people believe it to be long since drained, and its waters shall forever be invisible. Except of course to those of us with special eyewear. And that’s what we’re offering, if you’re interested.”

“Eyewear?”
“So to speak. A new way of seeing. And access, opportunity. More than you’ve ever dreamed of.”

The older man poured some whiskey. He swallowed and set down the glass sharply, like he was knocking for entry.

“You don’t understand a word of it, do you?”
“Some of it. Not all.”
“We’re inviting you in. But before that can happen we have to dry you off.”
“From my swim in the bay?”
“Of course.”

The younger man frowned and shuffled his feet. But the tilt of his head, the narrowing of his eyes, betrayed heightened interest. He uncrossed his arms and spoke again.

“First you have to tell me more.”
“No. First you have to tell me the route you took to get here.”
“Just like you said.”
“You were alone? No shadows, start to finish?”
“You saw the finish. There was no one at the start, either.”
“Positive? Even on the S- Bahn?”
“I took every precaution. The route was clean. I have done this before, you know.”

A long pause, followed by another gurgle of whiskey, a second knock of the glass.

“Come here, then.” The wheeze, yet again. “Sit down.”

The younger man took a step forward and then stopped, as if something else had just occurred to him.

“What if it’s no sale? This isn’t one of those things where if you tell me then you have to kill me, is it?”

The older man laughed, choppy notes from an old accordion.

“Come. Have a drink.”
“Was that a yes or no?”

“It wasn’t a yes-no question. Sit down and I’ll explain. People are dying out there, Lewis. They’re drowning with no one in the whole damn bay to save them, and you can change that overnight. As that Polish girl of yours likes to say, time’s a- wasting.”

“How do you know about her?”
“Rule one, Lewis. Always assume we know more than you think.”

Upstairs, in the room with the equipment, Helen Abell took note of the name “Lewis” as she leaned forward on stocking feet, straining to listen through the headset. A cryptonym, no doubt, but something about it was familiar. He wasn’t part of Berlin station— or, as the old-timers still called it, the Berlin Operations Base, or BOB—but maybe she had come across his name in a memo, or the cable traffic.

For the next few seconds all she heard was the sound of the younger man’s footsteps crossing the kitchen floor—clop, clop, clop, as loud as a Clydesdale— and the scrape of a chair as he sat at the table. It made her recall his polished black shoes, clunky, like the ones the East Germans wore.

The men had arrived a few minutes earlier. Helen had peeked out the window the moment she heard the rattle of a key in the lock, and she’d spotted them on the doorstep out front. Unexpected visitors, and neither looked familiar. But the mention of “Lewis” was a thread she could work with.

The wheels of the tape recorder kept turning, twin planets in rotation, absorbing every word. She was afraid to move lest the floor creak, giving her away. Too late to announce her presence. Was she wrong to leave the recorder on? To be listening at all? Probably. Undoubtedly. The whole thing was almost certainly way above her clearance. But she’d never heard any conversation like it.

From her brief observation she’d discerned that both men carried themselves with an air of competence and seniority—experienced hands in a special order, one which she aspired to join. It was like eavesdropping on a conversation of the gods. Nonetheless, she was off-limits and it was time to bow out. She should switch off the recorder, remove the headphones, and quietly wait for them to leave.

With a sigh, she reached for the off switch.

Then the needles flicked on the dials as the younger man spoke, and her hand stopped in midair. He’d lowered his voice, and Helen, unable to help herself, squinted in concentration to make out the words.

“Do the effies know?”
“Not a thing, or not since Jack kicked the bucket in ’72.”
“Jack? You mean . . . ?”
“Of course.”
“He was a friend?”
“Of a sort. The enemy of my enemy, that whole business. Last of his kind. Here, drink up.”

A splash of whiskey, then silence.

Helen was transfixed. What in the hell were they talking about? The effies. The zoo. The pond, the bay, and the lake. And now a reference to a former power figure named Jack— probably another cryptonym. Everything about the conversation was baffling, and not just because she didn’t know the lingo.

For starters, why speak in code? The whole point of a safe house was to make you feel secure enough to dispense with the mumbo jumbo. You kicked back, put your feet up, traded all the secrets you wanted in the plainest possible language. Safely, and with absolute confidence. That’s how she’d rigged these houses, four of them in all across the zones and neighborhoods of West Berlin, available at any given moment for privileged access and secret consultation. Each house was clean, unobtrusive, and practically soundproofed against the curiosity of neighbors, due mostly to her own efforts during the past year.

She was particularly proud of the job she’d done at this location, a crumbling brick townhouse a block south of Alt-Moabit. She had labored zealously to craft the most secure possible environment for the Company’s case officers and their agents, or for whoever else among their friends might temporarily need shelter from the cold and lonely hazards of their profession.

Why, then, this strange collection of buzzwords? Unless it wasn’t so much a code as a special language— and, yes, there was a difference—an exclusive lexicon for some obscure fraternity of operatives. Perhaps for someone with a higher security clearance this would be no mystery at all.

She also wondered how the men had gotten a key. Helen knew the identities of all six key holders for this house. Someone had given them a key without telling her. That in itself was a serious breach of security.

In addition, the meeting was unscheduled. When people wanted to use one of her facilities—okay, one of the Agency’s facilities—the rules said they were supposed to provide at least six hours’ notice, so she could ensure that no one else would barge in on them, and that conditions would be welcoming and ready. Before she took over, embarrassing run-ins and overlaps had been infrequent but not at all unheard of, a state of affairs that the chief of station had seemed to accept as an occupational hazard. Helen had taken pains to eliminate such snafus. It was all in the details— controlling the leaseholders, managing traffic, making the places easy to use, clean, and functional.

She had carefully vetted the current cover tenant for this house, a Pan Am stewardess with Agency connections whose work schedule meant she was home only on Wednesdays and Sundays, and even on those days could clear the premises at a moment’s notice.

There were contingencies for unannounced meetings, of course, and also for use by operatives and agents who weren’t regular customers. Espionage emergencies were hardly uncommon in Berlin. But the meeting Helen was hearing downstairs had none of the snap or crackle of an urgent rendezvous.

This chat was unrushed, collegial, and despite the age difference she suspected that these men were on roughly equal footing, meaning it probably wasn’t a meeting between a case officer and his local agent. Their English was flawless, no trace of a foreign accent. They were either American or very practiced at pretending to be American.

Of course, technically speaking, Helen wasn’t supposed to be there, either. That was the rub, and the reason for her deathly silence. Unbeknownst to the Agency, she had begun making surprise weekly inspections of her four properties. It was the most efficient way to uncover shabby upkeep and lax practices. She kept the visits off the books or they wouldn’t have worked. Yet another way in which she went the extra mile, a trait she’d become known for since her arrival in Berlin fourteen months earlier.

The job certainly hadn’t been her top choice. Not even close. She’d always suspected that the chief of station, a randy old mossback named Ladd Herrington, made the assignment to demean her, to put her in her place.

“You’re only twenty-three?” he’d said on that first day, peeping above the frames of reading glasses as he pawed through her file. His eyes wandered quickly from her face to her breasts, where he let them rest long enough to make her uncomfortable.

“You do know you’d be happier as an analyst, don’t you? In the long term, anyway. Much better prospects for advancement. For marriage, too, although perhaps that doesn’t interest you. Here, on the other hand . . .”

He flapped a hand dismissively, as if they were assessing her chances of discovering a new comet, or of recruiting Leonid Brezhnev as a double agent. Analyst. The default assignment for any Agency female, except the ones exiled to records, or to some other “special branch” of this or that department as long as it was well behind the scenes.

Hardly any made it into the field. Nonetheless, there she’d been, arriving on Herrington’s doorstep with only two years of experience for a posting to the city that had defined the Cold War, and he’d responded by slotting her in a position that until then had been largely clerical, staffed by someone two steps below her pay grade. To make it sound less offensive, or perhaps to heighten the joke, he’d come up with a new title: Chief of Administration for Logistics, Property and Personnel Branch, Berlin Station.

Helen had sulked for a week before deciding to make the most of it. She explored and then exploited the job’s opportunities, which turned out to be more expansive than anyone had realized. She revetted the tenants, rescouted the locations. Finding all of them lacking, she replaced them several months ahead of the usual rotation. She tightened hiring practices for support staff, upgraded the facilities at minimal cost, and instituted greater accountability among users. Overlaps and screwups disappeared, as did the mice and bedbugs. Complaints from field men dwindled. She made connections, widened her niche, found a lover, and settled in to Berlin’s cold, grim majesty with a sardonic viewpoint worthy of a lifer.

And now, here she was, caught in the middle of one of her surprise inspections, silent and still and, for the moment, trapped upstairs on a gray October Monday at mid- afternoon as she wondered what the hell she’d stumbled onto.

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Well, I don’t know about you but I’m very intrigued! If you are as well and you’d like to read more, Safe Houses is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Dan Fesperman’s travels as a writer have taken him to thirty countries and three war zones. Lie in the Dark won the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first crime novel, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows won their Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller, and The Prisoner of Guantánamo won the Dashiell Hammett Award from the International Association of Crime Writers. He lives in Baltimore.

Author links : Twitter

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Into the Darkness by Sibel Hodge @sibelhodge @AmazonPub #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Sibel Hodge
Title : Into the Darkness
Pages : 296
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : July 3, 2018

aboutthebook

The Missing…

In a hidden basement, eighteen-year-old Toni is held captive and no one can hear her screams. She’s been abducted after investigating unspeakable things in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The Vigilante…

Fearing the worst, Toni’s mother turns to ex-SAS operative Mitchell to help find her missing daughter. And when Mitchell discovers Toni’s fate rests in the hands of pure evil, he races against the clock to find Toni and bring her out alive. But even that might not be enough to save her.

The Detective…

DS Warren Carter is looking forward to a new job and a simpler life. But when he’s called in to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly normal couple, he becomes entangled in lives that are anything but simple. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a crime more twisted than he could ever have imagined.

mythoughts

And Sibel Hodge strikes again! Bloody hell!

Vigilante Mitchell is called in by the wife of a former SAS buddy when her eighteen year old daughter Toni goes missing. The police regard Toni as a runaway and are no help at all. Being ex-military, Mitchell has access to resources the police can only dream about but as he sets out trying to find Toni, he quickly discovers Toni’s fasciation with all things evil may just have landed her in incredible danger. Will Mitchell find Toni before the clock runs out?

Meanwhile, Detective Carter is finding himself more and more disillusioned and troubled, with life and with his job. Two weeks from retirement, he has the choice to effectively retire or sell his house and move onto another job. But first he must solve the murder of two pensioners, shot to death in their farmhouse. With no motives to establish and little clues to find, Carter is frustrated when he goes from one dead end to the next. Will he be able to solve this case?

There are a few characters in Into the Darkness you may recognise from previous books by Sibel Hodge but if you are not familiar with them or their background, fear not! This reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. The chapters switch between the Detective (Carter) and the Vigilante (Mitchell), sometimes interspersed with Toni’s. This ensures a brilliantly crafted plot with tiny clues here and there for the reader to pick up on and some well placed cliffhangers to keep you hooked.

Once again, Sibel Hodge delivers a cracking thriller that gets under my skin and chills me to the bone. I’m hard pressed to name someone who does dark and disturbing as she does and it’s all the more terrifying because it sadly feels all too realistic and believable. With excellent pace throughout and full of suspense, this is one of those books that is insanely hard to put down and I was extremely miffed every time I was interrupted.

After having read Untouchable last year and having had my mind blown to smithereens, I didn’t think anything could top that. I was wrong. So very, very wrong and I will never underestimate Sibel Hodge again. Into the Darkness is just as gripping, addictive and unforgettable. If you’re not reading the books by this author, you’re doing yourself an immensely massive disservice. Go forth and fix the error of your ways immediately!

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Into the Darkness is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Book 4 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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Throwback Thursday : The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme originally created by Renee at It’s Book Talk. It’s designed as an opportunity to share old favourites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago.

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Author : J.D. Barker
Title : The Fourth Monkey
Pages : 416
Publisher : Mariner Books
Publication date : June 27, 2017

aboutthebook

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

mythoughts

I actually read The Fourth Monkey back in January after succumbing to some blogger peer pressure but never got around to reviewing it. I was soon kicking myself for not picking this one up sooner because it’s a serial killer story at its best.

The Fourth Monkey is utterly gripping from the very beginning. With a tense game of cat and mouse and a fast-paced race to catch the killer and attempt to save his latest target, I dare you not go get completely hooked. There were incredibly harrowing chapters taken from a diary and curveballs that left me spinning

This first instalment in the 4MK Thriller series is intense, suspenseful and immensely exciting! I’ve been rather impatiently awaiting the second book but it’s almost here. So if you haven’t yet read this one, now is your chance to do so before The Fifth To Die is published in July.

The Fourth Monkey is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

To Die in Vienna by Kevin Wignall @AmazonPub @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for To Die in Vienna By Kevin Wignall. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Keith Wignall
Title : To Die in Vienna
Pages : 270
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : June 14, 2018

aboutthebook

Freddie Makin is a spy for hire. For a year he’s been watching Jiang Cheng, an academic whose life seems suspiciously normal. To Freddie it’s just a job: he never asks who’s paying him and why—until the day someone is sent to kill him, and suddenly the watcher becomes the watched.

On the run from whoever wants him dead, Freddie knows he must have seen something incriminating. The only trouble is, he has no idea what. Is the CIA behind all this—or does it go higher than that? Have his trackers uncovered his own murky past?

As he’s forced into a lethal dance across Vienna, Freddie knows one thing for sure: his only hope for survival is keeping the truth from the other side, and making sure the secrets from his past stay hidden.

mythoughts

Set in the wonderful city of Vienna, we are introduced to a rather unlikely spy. Freddie Makin has been watching a Chinese academic, Jiang Cheng, for the past year and thinks he knows everything there is to know about him. Until one day, someone is sent to kill Freddie, his equipment is removed and Cheng disappears. Freddie must have seen something he wasn’t supposed to but what? And who is after him?

Not that I’m an expert on spy thrillers because I’ve not read that many of them, but as far as this one goes, it was a tad on the slow side for the majority of the book. Now, that’s not a bad thing as the tension and action does build up along the way and you get a good feeling about the kind of person Freddie is. He’s quite the likeable character, someone to sympathise with and to root for as he tries to find a way out of this sticky web he’s found himself in. But if you’re looking for fast-paced action, nifty gadgets, car chases and explosions, you won’t find those here. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this change of pace.

Things are slightly tricky for Freddie. After a failed mission in Yemen, he left a covert CIA unit five years ago and so he lacks experience, confidence and doubts his abilities. On top of that, he’s also suffering from nightmares and has trouble sleeping. Not the best combination when you need all your wits about you. And so we get that most classic of stories about an innocent person finding himself outside of his comfort zone and desperately trying to make it out alive. But Freddie has no resources to dig into, no fancy gadgets and no idea who to trust.

To Die in Vienna is an intelligently plotted, intriguing and suspenseful spy thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Freddie, who’s so far removed from the cliché spy we usually get and there are also a few wonderful supporting characters, none of which I trusted at all. This is an entertaining and engaging read that made for quite the fun afternoon. Will Freddie be able to bury the demons of his past? Will he survive this ordeal? That’s for me to know and for you to find out.

By the way, this will soon be a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal so look out for that! But, as always, read the book first 😉

To Die in Vienna is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Kevin Wignall is a British writer, born in Brussels in 1967. He spent many years as an army child in different parts of Europe, and went on to study politics and international relations at Lancaster University. He became a full-time writer after the publication of his first book, People Die (2001). His other novels are Among the Dead (2002); Who Is Conrad Hirst? (2007), shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award; and Dark Flag (2010). The Hunter’s Prayer was originally titled For the Dogs in the USA. The film The Hunter’s Prayer, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Sam Worthington and Odeya Rush, will be released worldwide in 2015.

Author link : Website

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The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke @phoebe_locke @Wildfirebks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

I’m so excited to host the blog tour for The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke today! My thanks to  Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

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Author : Phoebe Locke
Title : The Tall Man
Pages : 362
Publisher : Wildfire Books / Headline
Publication date : June 14, 2018

aboutthebook

1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…

mythoughts

Have you met the Tall Man? Be afraid. Be very afraid!

This is one of those reviews where I’m being deliberately vague. I’m not telling you anything about the plot for fear of giving something away. All you really need to know is right there in the book description.

The Tall Man is a slow-burner of a thriller that packs quite the punch. For the longest time, I couldn’t at all get a handle on things, wasn’t quite sure what to make of it and felt a little confused. Yet I was constantly intrigued enough to keep reading.

Phoebe Locke does an absolutely brilliant job of giving just the right amount of teasers while all the while slowly building up to some incredible reveals. During the latter part of the novel, I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough, desperate to know what had actually happened. When the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place, it was just the most deliciously shocking moment.

None of these characters are particularly likeable for all sorts of reasons that become clear throughout the story. I especially had a hard time dealing with the relentlessness of the true crime crew and the depths they’ll go to in pursuit of those all-important viewer ratings. It’s harsh and cruel and goes to show how little they care about the person behind the story, forgetting this isn’t just someone’s story but someone’s life.

This is a dark, haunting and chilling story about urban legends and murder. It’s about redemption, revenge and motherhood and it comes with a delightfully high creepiness factor. Utterly addictive, brilliantly plotted and highly suspenseful, this debut thriller by Phoebe Locke should probably better not be read in the dark. Loved it!

The Tall Man is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in London. THE TALL MAN is Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller.

Author links : Twitter

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Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh @SSCav @orion_crime @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour #ThatBookThatHook

Thrilled to bits to have the opportunity to repost my review for Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh today on the blog tour to celebrate the paperback launch! Huge thanks to the publisher and Tracy Fention for the invitation to join!

If you missed it, I bought and enjoyed the ebook back in January which is when this review was originally written. I still stand by every word and Thirteen is still waaaay at the top of my list of books of the year!

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Author : Steve Cavanagh
Title : Thirteen
Series : Eddie Flynn #4
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : January 25, 2018 (ebook) | June 14, 2018 (UK paperback)

aboutthebook

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

mythoughts

The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.

Okay, seriously? Best tagline ever!!! Ever since I saw it, I had my eye on this book and just like that it shot up my list of most anticipated books of the year. How could it not? How can anyone resist? It’s safe to say my anticipations were incredibly high.

Now, I didn’t know this is actually the fourth book in a series since I’d never heard of Steve Cavanagh before, so I accidentally broke my own rule of never ever starting a series anywhere else but at the beginning. Luckily for me, this reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. There’s enough information to get to grips with the character of Eddie Flynn and where he comes from. Yet it’s also intriguing enough to make you want to pick up the previous books. Which I’ve already bought, in case you wondered.

Actor Robert Solomon is charged with the murder of his wife and his security guard. All the evidence points to Robert being guilty as sin but then things start to happen that don’t seem all too coincidental anymore and Eddie Flynn feels there may be something far more sinister going on.

I am a huge fan of legal thrillers and court drama. For the longest time, I got my fix by way of John Grisham. But well, let’s just say, I’ve felt like he’s been losing his touch for quite a while now. Enter Steve Cavanagh and all is well again in my legal thriller world. Especially as Thirteen combines all the things I love in a story. A great hook, crime fiction, fabulous characters, a serial killer and a bunch of murders, lawyers and their shenanigans, involving the FBI … I could go on.

This original premise makes for one insanely gripping and addictive tale. Not only is the court case fabulously compelling but the serial killer is one of the most fascinating and intriguing characters I’ve ever met. He’s meticulous, organised, adapts easily to various circumstances. Quite frankly, a bit of a genius, but in the psycho kind of way. And as for our main character, Eddie Flynn, I warmed to him from the start.

What more can I say? I absolutely loved this one and I can’t recommend it enough. Another one to add to my list of top books of the year and I can’t wait to get stuck into the other books in this series.

Thirteen is available to buy! Run! Don’t walk!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Steve Cavanagh was born and raised in Belfast before leaving for Dublin at the age of eighteen to study Law. He currently practices civil rights law and has been involved in several high profile cases. Selected for the Amazon Rising Stars programme 2015. ACES award winner 2015 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The Defence is his debut novel.

Author link : Twitter

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Rogue by J.B. Turner @AmazonPub @EmmaFinnigan @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #Rogue

It is a pleasure to join the blog tour for Rogue by J.B. Turner today! My thanks to the publisher for my review copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join.

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Author : J.B. Turner
Title : Rogue
Series : American Ghost Thriller #1
Pages : 290
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : June 7, 2018

aboutthebook

Nathan Stone was killed in action while serving as a covert CIA operative. Or so everyone thought. In reality he’s become a ghost, a black-ops asset with a new identity and controlled by a secret government organization. The Commission has one aim: to hunt down and assassinate anti-establishment enemies of the state.

Its number-one target is Senator Brad Crichton, an ambitious politician with growing support. Stone is ready to take him out, but his plan is soon compromised when the Commission’s kill list is leaked to a journalist—whose own name is on the list too. And when the journalist tries to alert the senator, he is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Stone is closing in on Crichton, but must act swiftly to reach him before the truth does.

He knows that one wrong foot will put him in the firing line. But where national security is at stake, the hunter can quickly become the hunted.

mythoughts

Rogue features an outrageous and quite frightening scenario, yet it’s also believable and easy to imagine things like this happening somewhere.

A secret government committee has a list of people they want to have eliminated. A kill list, if you will. This list is mostly comprised of names of politicians and journalists who are deemed anti-establishment. People who are raising their voices about the current state of the country.

One such man is Senator Brad Crichton, a man who tells things as they are, whose voice is growing louder and whose support is growing. So it is decided he must be stopped. Permanently. But he’s not the only one.

Bring on, Nathan Stone. Nathan is basically a killing machine in the vain of Jason Bourne. Brainwashed, programmed, cold as ice, not showing feelings or emotions. Or at least that’s how Nathan used to be. After an accident which everyone believes left him dead, he’s been given a new identity and a new face. He’s endured years of training to restore him to his previous self. But as Nathan will discover, one wrong move and loyalty means absolutely nothing.

While the story is centred around American events, it is actually set in the glorious landscape of Scotland where Senator Crichton is attending a conference and I found the mountains and forests truly added to the atmosphere. It just wouldn’t have been the same on the streets of whatever big city, to be honest.

Rogue is intensely gripping and intriguing from the very first page. This is a well-paced, intelligently plotted and action-packed political thriller full of games and deceit with a host of unlikeable characters who only see missions and end results, without a care in the world about casualties. A quick read that makes for an enjoyable afternoon with an ending that, although maybe not entirely surprising, does set things up nicely for any follow-ups.

Rogue is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UKGoodreads

abouttheauthor

J.B. Turner is a former journalist and author of the bestselling Jon Reznick™ action thriller series: Hard Road, Hard Kill, Hard Wired & Hard Way (Thomas & Mercer). The fifth book in the series, Hard Fall, is published on 8 February 2018. He is also the author of the forthcoming American Ghost™ thriller series. The first book in the series, Rogue (Thomas & Mercer), out 7 June 2018. The follow-up is Reckoning (Thomas & Mercer), out 2 August 2018.

He penned the Jon Reznick novella, Gone Bad (No Way Back Press), and the Deborah Jones crime thrillers, Miami Requiem (No Way Back Press) and Dark Waters (No Way Back Press).

He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is married with two children.

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Carpenter Road by N.M. Brown @normthewriter @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz

It’s a real pleasure to be hosting one of the stops on the blog blitz for Carpenter Road by N.M. Brown today! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : N.M. Brown
Title : Carpenter Road
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : June 7, 2018

aboutthebook

When a young woman swaps coats with a prostitute then vanishes, it marks the start of a mystifying case for Leighton Jones.

After traffic officer Leighton is called to an altercation in a used car lot he is confronted by a prostitute rambling on about a girl who stole her coat. He thinks nothing off it. That is until the body of a Jane Doe shows up, matching the prostitute’s description.

What is the link between the fight in the car lot and the dead woman?

Leighton proceeds to gather evidence, which he attempts to pass onto the lead Homicide detective, Slater. However, Slater tells Leighton to back off, and that a suspect has been arrested.

Fearing there is more to the case than he first thought, Leighton is driven to keep digging and soon ends up on the trail of a serial killer.

But Leighton might be out of his depth this time..

mythoughts

If you read N.M. Brown’s previous book, The Girl on the Bus, then you will no doubt remember Leighton Jones. In this story, the reader is taken ten years back into the past so it really doesn’t matter if you’ve not read the previous book. Leighton is working in the Traffic department, a job which quite frankly sounds incredibly boring to me.

Leighton is called out to a used car lot where he is confronted by a prostitute who’s making a big deal about her coat being stolen by a girl outside a diner. Leighton doesn’t make much of it until a girl, who matches the description of the “thief” perfectly, is found dead. Is there a connection?

Technically, it’s not at all up to Leighton to figure this out but his colleagues in the murder division don’t seem to take many things seriously. The investigation moves at a snail’s place. These are “only” working girls after all.  The captain is far more interested in giving Leighton a hard time.

But Leighton just can’t help himself. This says so much about him. It’s not about taking the credit, getting his face in the papers for solving a big case. Leighton genuinely cares about people, wants to help them in any way he can, even if it means putting himself in danger. He is just such a wonderful and likeable character with a heart of gold.

Meanwhile he’s also dealing with an increasingly declining relationship with his seventeen year old daughter. Again, if you read the previous book, you’ll know more about this but to be able to have a look back and be witness to how things developed is really intriguing.

Carpenter Road is a gripping and compelling serial killer mystery. It has a well-executed plot with great characters to root for and sympathise with. At times, the story even pulled at my heartstrings when the author delved into the background of some of the working girls. There was a surprise or two for me, which is always a bonus and the investigation into the murder spree was captivating,

There was a bit of a wait between the previous book and this one but it was well worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Leighton Jones and I hope there’s more to come from him and N.M. Brown.

Carpenter Road is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Norman has enjoyed writing for more than two decades. He has always believed a combination of decent fiction and good coffee provides the best way to unwind and slip out of ordinary life for a while.

Having grown up Central Scotland, he studied English at Stirling University, where he began penning poetry, drama scripts and short stories. However, his real commitment to writing resulted from spending a snowy winter attending a series of fireside writing workshops in Perth.

More recently, Norman’s love of crime fiction led him to create the weary detective Leighton Jones. Having based his debut novel – The Girl on the Bus -around this character, Norman felt so intrigued by him that he decided to give Jonesy at least two more outings. Carpenter Road is the second novel to feature this protagonist.

Aside from his family, and travelling, Norman’s other passion is cooking, which may explain why many culinary elements always seem to creep out of his kitchen and into his fiction.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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