Secrets Of The Dead by Carol Wyer @carolewyer @bookouture

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Author : Carol Wyer
Pages : 314
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : May 30th, 2017

aboutthebook

Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer?

When a young mother is found drowned in the bath, clutching a receipt saying “all debts paid”, Detective Inspector Robin Carter knows it’s just the beginning of a harrowing case. She recognises the signs of a serial killer, and when a second victim with a receipt is found, her worst fears are confirmed. With the local press whipping the public into a frenzy, Robyn is under pressure to solve the crime yesterday. But her team can’t find a link between the two bodies, and the cracks are starting to show.

mythoughts

After having thoroughly enjoyed Little Girl Lost back in January, I couldn’t wait for the second book in the DI Robyn Carter series so when it became available on Netgalley, I hit that “request” button like my life depended on it. Okay, yes, slight exaggeration but still … excited and also very impatient.

As is always the case with a second instalment, you wonder if it will be as good as the first one was but I’m happy to say that Carol Wyer has hit another home-run with this one.

I won’t divulge too much about the plot. As it is, I feel the blurb already gives away too much information. When the body of a murder victim is found with a receipt saying “all debts paid”, I was immediately intrigued. But when a second victim is found with the same receipt, both Robyn and the reader are sucked into a fabulously disturbing case. This case clearly involves a killer on a mission and he won’t stop until he’s finished.

Secrets of the Dead is another great addition to the DI Robyn Carter series. Not only do I really enjoy the interactions in the team and their diversity, but this is the second case that completely drew me in from the start. This killer displays a whole other level of creepy crazy, which becomes increasingly obvious from his own chapters. What I also like, and slightly hate, is that the author lets you get familiar with a character before having them murdered. Their death just hits you that little bit harder and makes you want to yell out nooooo, why would you do that?!

Gripping and engrossing, this series is quickly becoming another firm favourite for me and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next one to find out about, what I’m sure will be, yet another fascinating case Robyn and her team will be working on.

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

Secrets of the Dead is available now!

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Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton @AuthorSJBolton

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5*

aboutthebook

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .

mythoughts

As a huge Sharon Bolton fan, suffice to say that Dead Woman Walking was one my most anticipated books of the year. I pre-ordered it ages ago and impatiently counted down the days until publication and the moment the postman would finally bring me my goodies. When the first chapter was shared a few weeks ago via a newsletter, I nearly spontaneously combusted. So, having created my own hype and buzz around this book, would I be left disappointed? Read on to find out.

Imagine a beautiful morning in the English countryside. High up in the sky, people are enjoying a hot-air balloon ride. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, not to me. If I’d ever had the inkling to go into one of those flimsy baskets, that desire would definitely be gone after reading this but anyway, you get the picture. Down on the ground, someone commits a murder. The hot-air balloon passengers have seen him but the killer has seen them too and he’ll stop at nothing to shut them up.

And this is where I’m shutting up about the plot too. There’s a lot to discover but you really need to do that on your own. Go in blind, I promise you won’t regret it!

This was such a deliciously tense ride and I stayed up way too late so I could finish the book in one sitting. There are quite a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming at all. My head was spinning so hard, I got confused at some point. But it all became clear in the end and concluded in a most satisfying way.

There’s just something about this author’s writing that instantly grips me. The suspense is almost palpable and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who tells a story like Sharon Bolton does. Highly engrossing and absorbing, taut with tension, an intricate plot  with multiple threads … all of these things make for one fabulous thriller and I quite confidently say this is her best one yet! And there’s your answer to the question at the start : no, I wasn’t disappointed. Not even for one second!

Sharon Bolton remains one of my go-to authors. The one whose books I’ll pre-order the first chance I get, without even reading the description.

Dead Woman Walking was published on April 20th.

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Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater #Blogtour

It’s finally here! The Block 46 blog tour is stopping by my blog and I’m absolutely delighted to be hosting today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater and Karen Sullivan for the opportunity and my copy of this mind-blowing book!

I’ll be sharing my review in a little while but first, take a look at that absolutely brilliant cover! That knife looks so scarily real!

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5*

aboutthebook

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

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

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

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

mythoughts

Don’t ask me why but I am completely fascinated by events from World War II and I’m sure it’s no longer a surprise to know that I enjoy my crime fiction. I had never read French Noir before either and I did say I was trying to broaden my horizon somewhat. So when the opportunity to read, review and join the blog tour for Block 46 presented itself, I jumped so hard at the chance that I pulled a muscle. I’ll tell you right now : it was bloody worth it!

Jewellery designer Linnea Blix is found murdered in Sweden. Meanwhile in London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds. These murder victims don’t have anything in common which makes the investigation quite hard for the police. Emily Roy, a profiler, joins forces with true-crime writer Alexis Castells to investigate.

Are these cases in any way connected to the disturbing events of WWII in Buchenwald Concentration Camp? We learn more about the atrocities there through the eyes of Erich Ebner, a medical student. These chapters alone still haunt me, days after finishing the book. Such vivid descriptions, stupendously realistic and believable, they almost broke me.

Block 46 is really something special. To combine a devastating account of life in a concentration camp with a current murder investigation, takes the words “compelling read” to a completely different level. The multi-layered plot is amazingly constructed and the pure evilness of this killer will get under your skin.

This is one dark and gritty book. It’s disturbing, stomach-churning and incredibly thought-provoking. Spread over two countries, and combining the present and the past, it grabs your attention and holds you down like a vice. And as if all the dark and disconcerting events weren’t enough to leave you reeling for days, the author delivers a punch to the stomach with a massive and absolutely genius twist!

For me, Block 46 is sheer perfection and I can’t recommend it enough. If I could, I’d give it more than five stars and I have no doubt that it will stay with me forever. As it is, I’m convinced it’ll be in my list of “books of the year”! Johana Gustawsson is one to keep your eye on! Also, a well deserved shout-out to translator Maxim Jakubowski, who did an outstanding job!

Many, many thanks to Karen at Orenda and Anne Cater for my advanced copy and for the opportunity to join this tour!

Block 46 is available as an e-book now. The paperback will be published in the UK on May 15th.

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abouttheauthor

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

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The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village. Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home. Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger.

mythoughts

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know psychological thrillers and I have had a bit of a rocky relationship lately. But then something like this comes along and my faith in the genre is restored.

Melanie’s thirteen year old daughter Beth doesn’t come home one day. During a search, she’s found in a freezing creak, left to die. Melanie and her family live in a small village so whoever attacked Beth, must be someone they know. As Melanie feels the police aren’t doing enough, she sets off to investigate on her own, alienating both her family and the villagers.

The Darkest Lies hooked me from the very first page and didn’t let go. A psychological thriller this may be, but it was also highly emotional. Most of the story is told through Melanie’s point of view and those really hit their mark with me. Her daily struggle to adjust to a life she didn’t bargain for and her sheer determination to find the truth and justice for Beth was heartbreaking.

The small village and its residents hold a lot of secrets and nobody is who they seem to be. Can Melanie even trust anyone else but herself when everyone around her could be a suspect? There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing, leading all the way to a jaw-dropping ending that left me spinning.

A highly engrossing and gripping psychological thriller that shows there are still some gems to be discovered in this tricky genre.

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

The Darkest Lies will be published on May 12th.

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Dead Souls by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

The truth was dead and buried … until now.

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone. As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps. Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

mythoughts

First of all, let me say I’m incredibly excited to be around for this on publication day after having caught up on the series in the previous weeks! (edit : well, I was until WordPress decided to throw a temper tantrum and not post my scheduled review yesterday. I’m shaking my fist in anger!)

I’m not sure I can find the words to describe how this book made me feel. It left me reeling, feeling angry and sad at the despicable way some people are treated.

Dead Souls, the sixth book in the Detective Kim Stone series, is on a different level than the previous ones. While the pace is a tad slower until the final chapters, there’s a depth to it that had me gripped. So many revelations, so much heartache.

The book starts with the suicide of a teenaged boy, which has a profound effect on Stacy, for reasons you’ll have to discover yourself. Somewhere in the middle of a field, Doctor A is on a routine archaeological dig with her students, when she discovers skeletal remains. It quickly becomes clear there is more than one victim. Who are they and what happened to them?

Angela Marsons is mixing things up a little bit this time as the team, and I thankyouverymuch, are pulled from their comfort zone. Kim is forced to work with Detective Travis on this case and boy, is she thrilled about that! Meanwhile her team must solve a case without her help. I admit this scenario had me worried at the start and I was all set to start throwing things because I don’t normally like it when a team I love is split up. But it actually worked. Watching the dynamics shift really held my attention. And as has been the case so far with the previous instalments as well, the reader learns so much more about the characters as secrets are revealed and questions are answered.

The case is a brutal one but since the blurb doesn’t mention it, I won’t either. Suffice to say it’s incredibly dark, gritty and disturbing with some sickening events that really got to me because it sadly sounds all too realistic.

Dead Souls is …. wait for it … you know it’s coming, don’t you? … the absolute best in the series yet! There. I said it again. If you love the Kim Stone series, you will undoubtedly love this one too! If you haven’t been reading this series, you’re missing out!

Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my advanced copy which I chose to review.

Dead Souls is published on April 28th. That was yesterday, people! I’m sure you’ve all got your copy by now! 😉

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Blood Lines by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

31820148

5*

aboutthebook

How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?

A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up. When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother, her own mother.

mythoughts

Oh, yes! I did it! Thank you book pimp 😉 for the wee nudge and the encouragement along the way. Couldn’t have done it without you!

In case you didn’t know, I set myself the challenge to get caught up on the Kim Stone series before book 6 is published and I totally nailed it! No applause, please. Oh, okay, go on, a little bit. I’ll wait.

Before you ask, yes, I know I haven’t posted the previous review that long ago but after everything, you didn’t really think I wouldn’t try my hardest to be around for the publication day of book 6, did you? (spoiler : I will be.)

So Blood Lines, the fifth in the series and really, I’m running out of words to describe the awesomeness that is Detective Kim Stone and her creator Angela Marsons. There was a part of me that wondered if the author could keep up the level I’ve now become accustomed to. Would there be a blip? Would I think Angela Marsons had lost her writing mojo? Would I, with pain in my heart, be inclined to hand out four stars instead of five? (Who knew I was this good at drama?)

The answer is : heck no!

A woman is found stabbed to death in her car. It looks like a robbery gone wrong. But when a second body is found with the exact same wound, Kim knows she’s dealing with the same killer. The victims don’t seem to have anything in common so what’s the connection? And who is lurking in the shadows?

Meanwhile Alex and her fabulously manipulative talent are providing a huge distraction, forcing Kim to face her past head-on.

Since we last saw Alex in Evil Games, I always felt that a silly inconvenience of being incarcerated wouldn’t stop her from trying to get into Kim’s head. So as soon as I realised she was making a comeback, I was on the edge of my seat! Her evil games know no limits. She may just be my favourite baddie and even behind bars, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

So again, I’ll say, this one is the best one yet in the series. Angela Marsons raises the bar every single time. I know I’m repeating myself but it’s true. This series just goes from strength to strength and book 5 is another cracking addition. I’m so looking forward to reading the next one and I will never lose track of this series again!

Blood Lines was published in November 2016.

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Play Dead by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

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

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

mythoughts

A procrastinator I may be but when I set myself a challenge, I’m like a dog with a bone. Competitive streak? Me? Nah! So there was no playing dead for me, or very little sleep as it goes (thank you insomnia), and I made it to book 4 in the Kim Stone series. I may have patted myself on the shoulder but you can’t prove it.

Things get a tad gruesome as we find ourselves on a body farm. Having read a lot of Kathy Reich’s books (which to my delight was mentioned), I knew what that was but still … gross.

The fresh body of a young woman is found on a body farm of not-so-fresh bodies. She’s been badly beaten and her mouth has been stuffed full of dirt. Well hey, if you’re going to dump a body, why not hide it in plain sight?

Meanwhile, Tracy Frost is trying to solve the mysterious murder of “Bob” whose body was found without his hands. Could the two cases be connected somehow?

This series just keeps going from strength to strength and this is another cracking read! The prologue already hooked me and it remains haunting as you carry on reading and realise the devastating effects of a damaged childhood. While the “why” may be clear at some point, the “who” is a whole different matter and the author kept me guessing until the end.

Not only do we get to know Kim better every time, the same goes for other characters which is just another thing to love about this series. Doctor A may quickly become a firm favourite of mine and I really enjoyed the involvement of Tracy Frost.

Another brilliant addition to a most excellent series. Now to find the time to move on to the next one!

Play Dead was published in May 2016.

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A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride @StuartMacBride

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5*

aboutthebook

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

mythoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cursed by Thomas Enger @OrendaBooks

33638884

5*

aboutthebook

 What secret would you kill to protect?

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

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

mythoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cursed by Thomas Enger was published in January 2017.

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Lost Girls by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

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

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

mythoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lost Girls was published in November 2015.

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