The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks #mustread #recommended #TheStrangerDiaries

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Author : Elly Griffiths
Title : The Stranger Diaries
Pages : 384
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : November 1, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s official! Elly Griffiths can do no wrong in my eyes and has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. You may be familiar with Elly Griffith’s fantastic Ruth Galloway series (which I really need to get caught up on) or her equally brilliant Stephen & Mephisto series (which I also really need to get caught up on) but The Stranger Diaries is a stand-alone gothic mystery thriller type of thing and it’s bloody awesome!

I was in one of the worst reading slumps I can remember ever being in when I picked up The Stranger Diaries. However, from the minute I started reading, I didn’t look back. There is just something about Elly Griffith’s writing that completely draws me in and I was hooked from the first page, as if a spell had been cast upon me.

It all begins when Clare Cassidy’s colleague and friend, Ellie, is found murdered. Clare is a literary teacher who specialises in the works of gothic writer R.M. Holland. His story The Stranger features heavily throughout the book and often made my spine tingle. And because a line from that story is found on a note near Ellie’s body, Clare swiftly finds herself on the list of suspects.

The story is alternately told through Clare, her daughter Georgia and a detective by the name of Harbinder Kaur. Elly Griffiths manages to give all these characters incredibly distinctive voices, which I felt was particularly evident when switching from the slightly creepy The Stranger narrator to Georgia, the teenager. Harbinder is one of those characters I didn’t particularly like for the longest time. But somehow she grew on me along the way and I always love how an author manages to do that.

This gothic mystery is intensely gripping. I wouldn’t necessarily call it creepy in the OMG-I’m-so-freaked-out-I-may-wet-myself kind of way but it is rather chilling and there is a sort of threatening vibe throughout, where you feel in your bones something is coming but you’re not sure what that will be.

Obviously I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice to say The Stranger Diaries is brilliantly written and oozes atmosphere throughout. This story is utterly engrossing and absorbing and I devoured it in one glorious sitting. I absolutely loved this one and whatever is next from Elly Griffiths, myself and my grabby hands will be right there at the head of the queue.

The Stranger Diaries is available to buy in ebook and hardcover format!

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

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup | @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #blogtour #TheChestnutMan #recommended

Absolutely thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup today! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Søren Sveistrup
Title : The Chestnut Man
Pages : 514
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse.

That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby.

When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.

Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over

| MY THOUGHTS |

One year after the disappearance of her daughter, Rosa Hartung returns to work as Minister for Social Affairs. Linus Berger confessed to the daughter’s killing but can apparently not remember what he did with her body, which was never found. On that same day, a young mother is found murdered at her home. The only clue is a chestnut man figure hanging nearby. It becomes clear quite early on that the killer is on a mission but is there a connection to Rosa Hartung and if so, what is it?

Enter Thulin and Hess. Thulin, a single mum, would quite like to leave the murder division behind to focus on cyber crimes. Meanwhile Hess would just rather be somewhere else entirely. He used to work at Europol in The Hague but has been forced to return to Copenhagen under a cloud. What he wants more than anything is to return to his old job, which doesn’t exactly make this investigation a priority on his list.

If you’re one of those readers who is slightly put off by high page counts, try and put that aside. Yes, this novel is more than 500 pages long but it never felt that way to me. Apart from the cramps in my hands from holding it so tightly. This is one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read. The prologue alone sent chills down my spine and had me sitting upright and paying attention from the word “go”. 

Incredibly dark and disturbing, extremely chilling, it’s one of those stories where you’re annoyed when you have to put the book down because your eyes stop cooperating. I couldn’t at all figure out who the killer was and the ultimate reveal left me spinning. But that was nothing compared to the emotions I went through when I discovered why the killer is such a damaged individual. The Chestnut Man has everything. From a fantastic setting, to intriguing characters; from gruesome murders to a rather heartbreaking backstory, it is just intensely engrossing and compelling.

Soren Sveistrup is an acclaimed scriptwriter and I felt that really showed in The Chestnut Man. There’s something about the way he sets a scene that makes it incredibly easy to see it play out right in front of your eyes, as if you were watching a film. The Chestnut Man is his debut novel and, goodness gracious me, what an absolute belter it is. If you like your crime thrillers, this needs to go onto your list right now! I have no doubt you’ll be seeing it again in my “best of” at the end of the year and I’ll be recommending it until I’m blue in the face!

The Chestnut Man is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UKKobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman.

Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski | @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #Changeling #RandomThingsTours #recommended

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the review copy and to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the tour!

Author : Matt Wesolowski
Title : Changeling
Series : Six Stories #3
Pages : 194
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : January 15, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you go out in the woods today …

Bloody hell! Like, seriously! WHAT?! I said it last time and I’ll say it again, Matt Wesolowski’s books are just impossible to review! My vocabulary doesn’t stretch far enough to find the words to describe the sheer level of awesomeness this author comes up with time and time again.

If you’re not familiar with the Six Stories series (OMG WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!), it’s centred around a true crime podcast in which Scott King investigates cold cases. This time around, the focus is on seven year old Alfie Marsden who disappeared thirty years ago and was never found. Alfie was officially declared dead in 1995 but questions remain. Now, via six stories from six different sources, will the answers surrounding Alfie’s disappearance finally be found and will we learn what happened to this little boy all those years ago?

This is one of those stories that worms its way under your skin, one that will just not let you go. Dark, disturbing and chilling, Changeling had my heartbeat racing throughout and I was gripping the pages so tightly that my knuckles turned white! This tremendously addictive page-turner is insanely thought-provoking and also absolutely terrifying, though possibly not in the way you might expect. Monsters are real. Also, I’m never stepping foot into a forest ever again!

With a fantastic plot that kept me on tenterhooks and even managed to leave me with a lump in my throat, Changeling is without a doubt fiction from the top shelf and worthy of all the stars and praise I can possibly shower it with. Matt Wesolowski deftly guides the reader through a realistic and, sadly, believable scenario and if that wasn’t marvellous enough, ends up sucker punching you in the final pages, leaving your head utterly spinning. You, sir, are a genius!

Changeling was one of my most anticipated releases this year. Thank goodness it was published this month or I may have just spontaneously combusted. Matt Wesolowski has most definitely done it again and Changeling is the best one in the series yet. Considering the brilliance of its two predecessors, that’s really saying something. I would undoubtedly like some more, please! In the meantime, you can be sure you’ll be seeing this book again when I compile my list of top books of the year in December.

Changeling is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. 

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015. His subsequent debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017.

‘Six Stories’ has been optioned by a major Hollywood studio.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes | @Elizjhaynes @MyriadEditions | #mustread #recommended

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Author : Elizabeth Haynes
Title : The Murder of Harriet Monckton
Pages : 485
Publisher : Myriad Editions
Publication date : September 27, 2018

aboutthebook

The Murder of Harriet Monckton is based on a true story that shocked and fascinated the nation.

On 7th November 1843, Harriet Monckton, 23 years old and a woman of respectable parentage and religious habits, was found murdered in the privy behind the dissenting chapel she had regularly attended in Bromley, Kent. The community was appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the autopsy revealed that Harriet was six months pregnant.

Drawing on the coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, the novel unfolds from the viewpoints of each of the main characters, each of whom have a reason to want her dead. Harriet Monckton had at least three lovers and several people were suspected of her murder, including her close companion and fellow teacher, Miss Frances Williams. The scandal ripped through the community, the murderer was never found and for years the inhabitants of Bromley slept less soundly.

This rich, robust novel is full of suggestion and suspicion, with the innocent looking guilty and the guilty hiding behind their piety. It is also a novel that exposes the perilous position of unmarried women, the scandal of sex out of wedlock and the hypocrisy of upstanding, church-going folk.

mythoughts

Wow, wow, wow! What an incredible novel this is!

This is one of those books I saw pass by on Twitter one day and, despite knowing very little about it, promptly decided I’d buy myself a copy. It took exactly one page for me to absolutely fall in love with the Victorian era atmosphere and the wonderful writing.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton is based on a true story. In 1843, 23 year old Harriet Monckton was found murdered in a privy behind a chapel she had attended regularly. The autopsy revealed Harriet was six months pregnant and died due to ingesting prussic acid. Elizabeth Haynes compiled coroner’s reports and witness testimonies to tell Harriet’s story. The novel is told from various points of view by characters who all may have had reason to want Harriet gone from their lives. A former lover, a current lover, a wanna-be lover and a vile, despicable man hiding behind the cloak of piety.

This novel oozes atmosphere from the start, bringing not only the Victorian era to life but also delivering characters that are so realistic they almost jump from the page. It had me completely enthralled from start to finish and not only made me remember why I love historical fiction as much as I do but also re-awakened my sheer passion for reading. This is just plainly the kind of novel my inner bookworm dreams of and it delivered on every level.

My only tiny niggle is that I knew from the start that Harriet’s murder has never been solved. Like with any other murder mystery, I would have liked to have had the opportunity to figure things out on my own and decide on a suspect. It felt rather weird not to be quite able to do that since the killer was never caught. However, as luck would have it, I did actually end up with the same conclusion as the author came up with in her story so it’s not all bad. And none of it ruined my enjoyment of this wonderful novel. I have absolute no doubt this novel will end up in my list of favourite books of the year!

The Murder of Harriet Monckton is available to buy!

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

Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture #bookreview #mustread #recommended #FatalPromise #publicationday #NetGalley

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Author : Angela Marsons
Title : Fatal Promise
Series : DI Kim Stone #9
Pages : 385
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 19, 2018

aboutthebook

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, DetectiveKim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

mythoughts

If you’ve been following my reviews, then it should no longer be a secret that I am a massive fan of Angela Marson’s DI Kim Stone series and as soon as the opportunity comes my way to read a new instalment, I immediately drop whatever it is I’m doing and start reading.

But when it comes to writing these reviews, I always find myself at a loss for words because it seems I’ve used them all before. Corker, belter, humdinger, wow, whoa, you have to read this, buy it now! Quite frankly, I’m not sure what more I can add.

In Fatal Promisethe team is dealing with the aftermath of events from the previous book that I won’t mention in case you haven’t read it yet (therapy still available for those who are struggling 😉). The team dynamics are shifting and the arrival of a new colleague, whom despite totally feeling like an intruder I couldn’t help sympathising with, doesn’t exactly go smoothly. But there is work to be done and Kim and her team are going to have to find a way to work together.

There are two cases to solve, which I absolutely love. It feels more realistic somehow. The main case is an exciting race against time. There’s a killer on a mission and once again Angela Marsons somehow manages to put me in the slightly uncomfortable position of almost sympathising with them. Their pain is almost palpable and it made me feel like giving them a big hug. Which is just utterly wrong! Meanwhile, Stacy is devoting every moment of her spare time on investigating a case of a missing girl, which is also completely heartbreaking. This is what I love so much about this series. The opportunity to explore the psychology behind certain characters’ actions is incredibly fascinating and compelling. Apart from loving this team to bits, it’s the complex characters that keep me coming back for more.

I say it with every Kim Stone book and I’m going to say it again this time around. Here comes. Best … one … yet! These characters are like family. They hurt, I hurt. They smile, I smile. They get on my nerves, I want to slap them. But more than anything, I feel Angela Marsons’ writing keeps improving as well. This is the ninth book in a series and it is still as engrossing as the very first one. There are no signs of slacking off or of sticking to some proven formula. Angela Marsons has no qualms whatsoever about taking her team right to the edge. Or over it.

Fatal Promise is a tense, addictive and incredibly compelling serial killer thriller and another absolutely fabulous addition to this series. Like I said at the start : corker, belter, humdinger! In case you wondered, I loved it and you have to read this series now! Bring on book 10!

Bonus points for using the word “discombobulating”. One of my favourite words and a feeling I often end up with when reading a DI Kim Stone book.

My thanks to Bookouture for the review copy!

Fatal Promise is published TODAY! Happy publication day, Angela! xx

Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

 

The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul @GillPaulAUTHOR @headlinepg @annecater #blogtour #TheLostDaughter #mustread #recommended

I am beyond delighted and extremely honoured to kick off the blog tour for The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Gill Paul
Title : The Lost Daughter
Pages : 440
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : October 18, 2018 (UK paperback)

aboutthebook

1918. With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of the Romanov family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria captures the attention of two of the guards, it will lead to the ultimate choice between right and wrong….

Fifty-five years later…

‘I didn’t want to kill her’. With these cryptic words Val’s father dies, leaving her to unravel a mystery which unites two families who have faced unspeakable tragedy and perhaps to finally offer an explanation which has been long overdue.

mythoughts

Gosh, I don’t think I can put into words how much I loved The Lost Daughter. As soon as I finished the final page, I wanted to talk to someone about it, say “Oh my god, this novel, you have to read this now!”. Then I sat down to write my review, and poof, all my words were gone. I couldn’t seem to get past “amazing”, “awesome”, “brilliant” … which are all true but I’m guessing a review should have a few more words, right?

There are a few authors for whom I’d happily drop whatever it is I’m doing or reading and Gill Paul is, without a doubt, one of them. I knew that from the second I discovered her work. Picking up one of her novels always fills me with joy and excitement because I know she will take me on the most delightful journey. High anticipations, you ask? Check! But all of them were met and then some.

In The Secret Wife, Gill Paul already introduced us to the Romanov family and their dramatic circumstances. That story was centred around Tatiana Romanova and if you haven’t yet read it, you most definitely should as it is a brilliant novel. This time around, in The Lost Daughter, the focus is on the middle child of the family, Maria. And it’s an even more brilliant novel! Yes, that’s right, I said it. And used the “brilliant” word again. I must add that I loved how Gill Paul tied these two novels together with little references to Tatiana’s story.

We meet Maria in 1918, a most turbulent time in Russia. There’s been a revolution and people have turned on the royal family. Tsar Nicholas, his wife and children are prisoners of the new regime. Their circumstances are very different from what they’re used to. Maria is nineteen years old and a lovely, bubbly chatterbox who seems to be able to make friends with just about anyone. I warmed to her from the start as she’s a truly likeable character. But what will become of her?

The other thread of The Lost Daughter has us traveling all the way to Australia, where we meet Val. When she gets a phone call from the nursing home where her father is a resident, she decides to visit him although it’s been years since they last talked. But his words “I didn’t want to kill her” leave Val with a mystery to solve and set in motion a lot of changes in her life. Who was her father really? What secrets was he hiding?

From the first page, I found myself transported into the lives of Maria and Val, both extremely realistic and believable characters. I couldn’t quite see how the two threads of the story would come together but the road to get there was just marvellous.

This exquisitely written novel had me utterly engrossed and throughout the story, I often found myself with a lump in my throat. The Lost Daughter is a story across the ages and country borders about love, family, war, loss, survival and hope. But also about the strength of women, in sometimes horrifying circumstances. It is immensely absorbing, moving and powerful and I couldn’t tear myself away. When I flipped the final page, there was a happy sigh, a “wow” and then a little bit of sadness that I had come to the end.

I can’t even begin to imagine the painstaking amount of research Gill Paul must have gone through to come up with this incredibly captivating tale. If you are a fan of this genre, I can honestly not recommend her books enough. This is undoubtedly historical fiction from the top shelf and whenever Gill Paul publishes her next novel, I will be first in line!

The Lost Daughter will be available in paperback on October 18th.

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

abouttheauthor

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history.

She was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #mustread

I’m beyond delighted to join the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech today! Massive thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my gorgeous (and embossed!) copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the tour!

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Author : Louise Beech
Title : The Lion Tamer Who Lost
Pages : 323
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 20, 2018

aboutthebook

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?

mythoughts

Good grief. I need a minute. Or a lie-down. Or maybe a few stiff drinks to get past this huge lump in my throat.

I don’t really consider myself a particularly emotional person (although I did once cry at a diaper commercial but that’s another story), yet somehow Louise Beech always manages to rip out my heart, stomp all over it and leave me a big, unattractive, blubbering mess.

We first meet Ben in the magnificent surroundings of Zimbabwe, where he’s volunteering at a lion sanctuary. It’s rather obvious from the start that Ben is trying to run away from something or someone but the what or the who is only teasingly revealed  and it took me a while to figure it all out. Back in England, we get to know Andrew. He’s a children’s author with a long outstanding wish. But when his wish comes true, he wishes it hadn’t. I’m not telling you any more than that. You need to just jump into this novel and be completely swept away.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a powerful, tragic and incredibly emotional love story. With realistic and believable characters that almost jump from the pages, I quickly found myself utterly invested in their lives. Their pain was my pain, their tears were my tears, their heartache was my heartache. What an incredible talent Louise Beech has to evoke all these emotions.

This beautifully written tale is not to be raced through or devoured. Every single word on every single page is to be savoured, to be cherished, to be felt deep down into your very core. It’s so hard to explain but it’s just … special. Original, compelling, emotive, exquisite and in case you weren’t able to tell, it left me lost for words but it is a gem of a book I will treasure forever.

This is the fourth book by Louise Beech I’ve read and I can never find the right words (or any words really) to do them any justice. She is the most amazing storyteller and if you’ve not yet read any of her novels, you’re doing yourself an extremely big disservice. Start with this one, work your way back. I promise you will thank me later! In the meantime, I will (im)patiently sit here and await whatever it is Louise Beech comes up with next because I just know it will be special once again.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice.

Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Author links : Twitter | Website

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Perfect Silence by Helen Fields @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour #PerfectSilence

Good morning from a still glorious but slightly cloudy Tuscany! I’m thrilled to join the blog tour for Perfect Silence by Helen Fields today! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and for the review copy.

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Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Silence
Series : DI Luc Callanach #4
Pages : 432
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : August 23, 2018

aboutthebook

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

mythoughts

Three words : read this NOW! You can thank me later.

If you’re a crime fiction fan, then the DI Luc Callanach series is undoubtedly one you should be reading. I’ve loved and enjoyed this series from the start and anxiously await a new addition every time because I just know I’ll be in for a treat.

That said though, if you’re of the faint-hearted variety, this may not quite be for you as you’ll need a bit of a strong stomach for this one. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve read any of the previous books.

The body of a young woman is found. Her death seems to have been a particularly gruesome one and the silhouette of a doll is carved into her skin. Detectives are having a hard time finding any clues or leads and then the doll made of skin is found near to where another young woman has gone missing. There’s no doubt there’s a serial killer roaming the streets. They’re playing a horrific game and are obviously on a mission. Can DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach find the culprit before another young woman goes missing?

Perfect Silence is dark, chilling and disturbing, as I’ve come to expect from this series. Some chapters are written from the victims’ point of view, which were heartbreaking to read and made me choke up. It felt all too easy to imagine what it would be like to find yourself stuck in such a horrendous situation.

As for the serial killer, Helen Fields kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out their identity, their motivations or how they were selecting their victims in the first place. The race to find this murderer is incredibly tense and the ultimate reveal and somehow rather fascinating reasoning behind it all, left me a little open-mouthed.

I feel it’s also worth mentioning that I’ve been Team Luc from the start but I must say, in this instalment it was Ava who stole the show for me. She’s always been a bit of a character I couldn’t quite put my finger on but this time around she completely won me over. I loved seeing a different side to her, sympathised with her, rooted for her and often got the wrong end of the stick, just like she did. But there is so much to admire about her.

This series has been blowing my mind since the very beginning and I feel it’s only been getting better with each book. Intensely gripping and massively engrossing, this is another belter from Helen Fields and I absolutely can’t wait for book five and more from Luc and Ava. You should all add this series to your TBR’s or shopping baskets right now, as it is indeed quite “perfect”.

Perfect Silence is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

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

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

Author links : Twitter

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The Darkness Around Her by Neil White @neilwhite1965 @BonnierZaffre #TheDarknessAroundHer #NetGalley

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Author : Neil White
Title : The Darkness Around Her
Series : Dan Grant #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : August 9, 2018 (ebook) | August 23, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

See no evil . . .

When Lizzie Barnsley is murdered along a canal after escaping the clutches of her abusive boyfriend, Dan Grant is called in to represent her alleged killer. Peter Box has confessed to Lizzie’s murder, but did he actually do it, or is there some other, darker, force at play?

Hear no evil . . .

When Dan and his investigator, Jayne Brett, begin to look into the case, they discover a number of canalside murders and disappearances, including the brutal killing of fourteen-year-old Rosie Smith ten years earlier. Rosie’s stepfather Sean had been accused, but they discover that somebody else tried to confess – Peter Box.

Speak no evil . . .

With a client who has a habit of confessing to murder, Dan and Jayne have their work cut out for them, but when it becomes clear that Peter Box can’t have been involved with every murder and disappearance along the canal, the two realise that they may have stumbled on to something far more sinister.

But the clock is ticking and time is running out for the next victim . . .

mythoughts

Move over, John Grisham! I’ve found myself a new favourite legal crime thriller author and his name is Neil White. After thoroughly enjoying the first book in the Dan Grant series, From the Shadows, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into its follow-up.

In The Darkness Around Her, Dan Grant is facing the difficult task of defending an alleged killer, Peter Box, in a murder trial. Peter has been accused of the murder of Lizzie Barnsley, who was found along a canal path. But Peter is making things increasingly tough by refusing to talk to the police and to his lawyer. Did he really kill Lizzie or is someone else responsible? After all, Lizzie wasn’t the first victim along this stretch of the canal.

Jayne and Dan have to dig deep to get to the truth, uncovering a whole trail of missing and murdered women along the way. Is Peter Box responsible for all of them? Meanwhile, Dan is also forced to face a future without his boss, Pat, who is considering retirement. As if being solely in charge of a murder defence wasn’t enough to deal with.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series is that it combines the best of two worlds for me. I love legal thrillers and the drama that is played out in a court setting, which is obviously where Dan comes in. But I also get the investigation into a crime with Detective Murdoch but even more so, with private investigator Jayne. I really enjoy the dynamics between Dan and Jayne, even though that will-they/won’t-they thing continues. But just like the characters, I’m struggling to decide if it would be a good thing or not for them to become involved.

The Darkness Around Her is intensely gripping, with intriguing and complex characters. The pace and the action builds up to almost unbearable levels. Neil White kept me guessing for ages as to what was really going on and I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough to see what the outcome would be. This is a cleverly plotted, brilliantly executed, enthralling and insanely addictive thriller. An incredibly tense ride with a few surprises along the way that I found hard to put down and absolutely fantastic addition to the series! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter @SlaughterKarin @HarperCollinsUK #20BooksofSummer #mustread

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Author : Karin Slaughter
Title : Pieces of Her
Pages : 470
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : August 9, 2018

aboutthebook

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . .

mythoughts

I don’t think it’s a secret anymore that I am a massive fan of Karin Slaughter’s work so when Pieces of Her arrived, I had no qualms whatsoever in turning my reading schedule entirely upside down so I could squeeze this one in.

Pieces of Her marks quite a departure from Karin Slaughter’s previous work. If you’re expecting something like her amazing Will Trent series, this is not it. All I can tell you is to please keep an open mind when you pick this one up as there is none of that particular gruesomeness throughout that you may be expecting but it is nonetheless an intensely gripping story and I absolutely loved it!

Andy and her mother, Laura, are enjoying a nice lunch when a young man enters the diner and starts shooting at people. To Andy’s surprise, Laura executes some majorly impressive ninja skills and takes the shooter down but where the heck did she learn how to do that? She’s a normal mother, isn’t she? A speech therapist, for crying out loud. Suddenly Andy is left feeling like she doesn’t know her mother at all.

Laura has been in hiding for years. She has a new identity and lives a quiet life but the events in the diner have now left her exposed and in danger. Laura’s story will be revealed through quite explosive chapters set in the 80’s, bringing to the fore a number of injustices and thus turning this into more than “just” a psychological thriller.

The premise of this story intrigued me from the start. It made me think about how well I knew my own mother, for instance. I’m sure like many of you, I got the little glimpses into what her life was like before I was born but mostly they centred around how she met my father, the jobs she had, what school was like in those days. Does that really tell you what a person is truly like though? Do we ever really know someone through and through? Do we even really need to know all there is to know about our parents?

As with every Karin Slaughter book, Pieces of Her starts with a horrible event. There are more to follow but this book isn’t about that really. This is very much a character-driven and tense thriller that explores relationships between mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters and siblings. And along the way, Andy will not only try to fit the pieces of her mother together, but also find out more about the kind of person she is herself. Because like so many of her generation, Andy is lost and needs to figure out what to do with her life.

Karin Slaughter has written some brilliant stand-alones already and this one is no different. It had me utterly gripped with its fantastic plot and interesting and incredibly multi-layered characters. Pieces of Her is clever and complex and for me it once again proves that Karin Slaughter is one of the best writers and storytellers out there. I love that she doesn’t choose the safe option and stick to what she knows, so to speak, and that she isn’t afraid to try her hand at something completely different, surprising me at every turn. Whatever she decides to do next, wherever she goes, I will follow. I’ll be right there, ready to devour the pages, safe in the knowledge that she will blow me away.

Pieces of Her is available to buy!

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

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Book 19 from my 20 Books of Summer list

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