The Devil Wore Black by Mark Fowler | @MFowlerAuthor

Author : Mark Fowler
Title : The Devil Wore Black
Series : Tyler & Mills #3
Pages : 306
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : March 21, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

November 2003. When a priest is found crucified, following the desecration of local churches, hysterical media coverage focuses on terrorism, and a satanic cult operating out in the wilds of North Staffordshire. Panic grips the city. DCI Tyler and DS Mills are under pressure as the toxic atmosphere deepens.

One line of enquiry, involving historic allegations against the murdered priest, is close to home for Tyler and threatens to tip him over the edge. But Mills has a hunch that could lead the investigation in a different direction, until a serious complaint is made against him. The investigation appears to have stalled, when a second ritual murder is discovered. The pressure to find the killer mounts, and as winter closes in the detectives find themselves pushed to the limits. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Devil Wore Black is the third instalment in the Tyler and Mills series but reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. Things start out rather gruesome in this one when an unsuspecting jogger stumbles across the body of a priest nailed to a cross. The year is 2003. It hasn’t been that long since terrorism invaded the western world and so the media focuses on the terrorist angle but detectives aren’t convinced. There is after all a satanic cult operating in this area that could have something to do with this murder. Or was the priest hiding a dark secret? Plenty of angles for the detectives to investigate but for DCI Tyler, things may start to hit a little too close to home.

Several lines of enquiries then and all of them seemed perfectly plausible to me. But just when I thought I was getting close to figuring things out, another body is found in similar circumstances to the priest and it completely threw me off. I didn’t have a clue as to who was behind these murders or why.

Central to the story are allegations of abuse. Not only do these surround the dead priest in a “did he or did he not” kind of way, but abuse is also a big part of DCI Tyler’s background. Tyler is a difficult character to get to know, always playing things close to the vest, a tough nut to crack. But this investigation allows the reader to get a glimpse behind the facade. Do his experiences cloud his judgment though?

Different as they may be, as a team Tyler and Mills work quite well. Mills is a very different kind of person and often provides some of the comic relief with a witty remark or action, the latter mostly happening when biscuits are in his immediate surroundings. Despite their differences, they get along well. The banter between them covers up a multitude of feelings but also offers some hope that maybe some day there will be a friendship between the two of them.

I can’t deny I struggled a little bit with The Devil Wore Black at the start of the book and for some reason, I kept mixing Tyler and Mills up. That could quite possibly be down to me though as my concentration levels are shot to pieces (as I’m sure applies to many of us) and the pace was a bit too much on the slow side for me. But once the investigation really kicked off, I couldn’t stop until I knew what was going on. For the faint-hearted among you, while the murders sound brutal, none of it plays out on the page. But what I particularly liked is that the investigation isn’t nicely wrapped up in a bow. Maybe that’s something for Tyler and Mills to sink their teeth into in the future.

The Devil Wore Black is a well-plotted and intriguing police procedural with plenty of suspects and complex issues that will undoubtedly please fans of this series.

My thanks to Mark Fowler for the review copy. The Devil Wears Black is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björn Ægisdóttir | @evaaegisdottir @OrendaBooks

Author : Eva Björn Ægisdóttir (trs by Victoria Cribb)
Title : The Creak on the Stairs
Series : Forbidden Iceland #1
Pages : 400
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : March 14, 2020 (ebook)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her collegues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Oh dear. Every time I try to cement my resolve of not getting hooked on a new series, up pops something I can’t possibly resist and the resolve goes right out the window. And of course it’s going to happen with a book published by Orenda because let me tell you, people, in case you haven’t been paying attention here, the Orenda Books authors are on FIRE!

Let me just say, in case you didn’t know this, I absolutely hate the cold and everything that goes with it, from snow to ice and everything in between. Yet, I seem to be spending an awful lot of time in Scandinavia lately. Bookish-wise, that is. And I absolutely love it! There’s a certain je-ne-sais-quoi in the Scandinavian crime fiction genre that always manages to win me over.

The Creak on the Stairs introduces us to Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who after years away living in the bright lights of the big city, returns to the town of Akranes. But if at any time she thought she’d get an opportunity to settle in and put her life back together, she’s quite quickly proven wrong when the body of a woman is found at a lighthouse. Together with her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, Elma starts investigating this mysterious death. Who is this woman and where did she come from? And is her death a suicide, an accident or murder?

Now, I’ve been in a bit of a mood lately where books are concerned, in that way where I need something that pulls me in from the get-go and that allows me to race through the story as if I’m watching some kind of action film. My brain is all over the place! Yet, The Creak on the Stairs isn’t like that and it managed to grab my attention from the first page just fine, thank you very much. I wouldn’t call it fast-paced at all, more slow and steady and boy, does it do the trick. As the reader, you end up getting a real sense of place, a chance to get to know some of these characters and the time to soak up the atmosphere that oozes from the pages.

Throughout the story, we are offered a glimpse into the past when someone’s childhood is laid bare. This young girl’s life is a tough one and these chapters are dark and harrowing. It’s done remarkably different to what I’m used to seeing in the crime fiction genre, though. No disturbing details, no graphic explanations, nothing about it is gratuitous. But you know what happened, you feel what happened somewhere deep down and then you wait and wonder what effect these events will have down the line. Because you know it’s coming, you just don’t know when or how.

The Creak on the Stairs is full of suspense and intrigue. Not only did the mystery surrounding the body of the woman at the lighthouse have me gripped, I also really enjoyed getting to know Elma and her new colleagues. Each and every one of them is hugely engaging and the kind of character you can get behind, you want to root for and you really, really want to see more of. There is bags of potential there. I do so hope there is more to come and that this is the superb beginnings of a series I will gladly and without a second’s hesitation make room for on my shelves. Chilling, absorbing and I absolutely loved it!

Also, shout-out to Victoria Cribb for the seamless translation!

Thanks to the publisher for my early review copy!

The Creak on the Stairs is available to buy in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published in May.

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

The Burning Men by Will Shindler | @WillShindler @HodderBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #blogtour

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Burning Men by Will Shindler today! My thanks to Jenny at Hodder for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Will Shindler
Title : The Burning Men
Series : DI Alex Finn #1
Pages : 352
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date : February 6, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When a development in South London catches fire mid-construction, a close-knit team of fire fighters runs in to save a man spotted at the window.

They come out without a body. They quit the service. They plan never to speak to each other again.

Five years later one of them is set alight at his own wedding. Soon after, a second is found, nothing but a smoking corpse. It appears that someone knows what they did that night. What they chose over their duty. And there are still three men left to burn . . .

DI Alex Finn and his new partner DC Mattie Paulsen are an unlikely pairing, but they need to discover who is behind these killings before the next man faces the fire.

| MY THOUGHTS |

I often have a serious talk with myself about the need for a new crime fiction series in my life. There are so many to keep track of and as we all know, there are only so many hours in the day. There have been times where I have had to make the hard decision of letting a series go and firmly decided that “no”, there is no room in my life or on my book shelves for another series. And then The Burning Men happened and all my good intentions went out the window.

Five years ago, there was a fire at a development site in South London. Four firefighters rush into the building to rescue a person they saw waving at the window. They return without a body and one by one, they quit the service and vow never to speak to each other again. Now, one of the firefighters is set on fire on his wedding day. He is the first, but he won’t be the last. Someone seems to know what happened that day five years ago. But what?

Enter DI Alex Finn. He is more of an academic type than your typical detective inspector. Maybe somewhat lacking social skills, doesn’t seem to have any friends, but he’s fiercely intelligent. Alex really shouldn’t be at work, having just lost his wife but he needs something to sink his teeth into, something that will get him out of his empty flat. With a DI not quite functioning to his full capacity, can this intriguing case be solved though? As if Alex doesn’t have enough to deal with, he’s lumbered with a new partner, DC Mattie Paulsen. They make a most unlikely pairing. She’s damaged, flawed, doesn’t seem to go out of her way to make friends either and to be honest, I found her incredibly unlikeable. Yet, somehow, the partnership between Alex and Mattie works.

This is one of those book descriptions that just grabbed my attention from the get-go. The first chapter introduces the reader to the events from that day five years ago. But if you think you’re going to get the answer to that burning question (see what I did there?) of what actually happened, you’d better think again. That information is revealed along the way, allowing the reader to try and figure things out on their own. The bigger mystery, I thought, was who is responsible for these brutal murders! Needless to say, some of those scenes were a tad gruesome. Try as I might, I had no idea who the culprit was and Will Shindler kept me guessing until the end. And if at any moment I thought THAT part was exceedingly thrilling, which it was, don’t get me wrong … there was more to come and just … whoa!

I had a good feeling about this book from the very beginning and I was definitely not disappointed. Although, admittedly I was quite wary of the whole male/female partnership but Will Shindler soon put a stop to that. The Burning Men is immensely gripping, intense, addictive, a brilliant way to kickstart a new series and a really impressive debut. So, no, I really don’t need a new series in my life but you know what? I’m making room for this one and I can’t wait to spend more time with Alex and Mattie when they investigate their next case.

The Burning Men is available to buy!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Will Shindler has been a Broadcast Journalist for the BBC for over twenty-five years, spending a decade working in television drama as a scriptwriter on Born and Bred, The Bill and Doctors.

You can currently find him every weekday on the radio reading the news headlines, whilst writing crime novels in the afternoon. Will has previously worked as a television presenter for HTV, a sports reporter for BBC Radio Five Live, and one of the stadium presenters at the London Olympics.

Perfect Kill by Helen Fields | @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK | #blogtour

Delighted to join the blog tour for Perfect Kill by Helen Fields today! My thanks to Sanjana at Avon for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy.

Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Kill
Series : DI Luc Callanach #6
Pages : 385
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : February 6, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.

Alone, trapped in the darkness and with no way out, Bart Campbell knows that his chances of being found alive are slim.

Drugged and kidnapped, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container far from his Edinburgh home. But what Bart doesn’t yet know is that he’s now heading for France where his unspeakable fate is already sealed…

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases that soon collide as it becomes clear that the men and women being shipped to France are being traded for women trafficked into Scotland.

With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when Bart and so many others will soon be dead…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Goodness gracious me. Where do I even begin?

In Perfect Kill, the reader gets a double dose of depravity as DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach work separate cases. Ava and her team are up in Scotland, while Luc has joined up with a former colleague at Interpol in France. Soon these cases will collide, with lives at stake on both sides of the Channel.

Few people manage to come up with the most evil and disturbing characters quite the way Helen Fields does. Characters that get under your skin, characters that make you want to take a really long shower, characters that have you glaring at the pages of the book, wishing you could hurt them somehow. They are truly vile and utterly despicable.

The reading experience is elevated by putting the reader right there, in the middle with the potential victims. We meet Bart, who wakes up one morning and realises he isn’t in his cosy bed at his mother’s home. Instead he finds himself chained in a dark and windowless place, location unknown. And then there’s Elenuta from Romania, who came to Scotland with the promise of a better life. Need I say more?

Some of these chapters are immensely uncomfortable to read. I winced, I felt sad and angry, I feared for these characters’ lives. These chapters are upsetting, powerful, raw and brutal. I often needed a moment to recover from the horror and brutality, the absolutely horrendous ways some people treat other people for sheer pleasure and entertainment, for money, and all the while it unfortunately all felt so incredibly realistic and believable. It’s sadly easy to imagine that these things do actually happen and these thoughts will linger on your mind long after you’ve finished the book.

So, not exactly for the faint-hearted, I suppose, but that’s something I’ve become used to from Helen Fields. Perfect Kill has many themes that haunt modern society, which lift this book to a whole other level in the crime fiction genre. The “Perfect” series has always been able to stand out from the crowd but this latest addition is really something else altogether. Gritty and raw, I perversely loved every minute of it. I’m not entirely sure what that says about me.

Due to lack of time, I often need to make the tough decision to drop a series because I can no longer keep up but I feel quite confident that this series right here will never be one of them. It is just that good and all that’s left for me to say is : bring on book seven!

Perfect Kill is available to buy!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister.

Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag.

Her previous audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition.

Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’.

She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children.

All The Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen | @TitanBooks @Sarah_Mather_15

Author : Joanna Schaffhausen
Title : All The Best Lies
Series : Ellery Hathaway #3
Pages : 385
Publisher : Titan Books
Publication date : February 11, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

| MY THOUGHTS |

FBI agent Reed Markham’s mother, Camilla Flores, was stabbed to death forty years ago, while baby Reed was in his crib in the next room. The case was never solved but recent events have made Reed wonder if the killer is closer to home than he ever thought. Determined to find out what happened to his mother, Reed enlists the help of the only person he feels he can trust right now : his friend Ellery Hathaway.

All The Best Lies is the third book in a series and unfortunately for me, that was something I wasn’t aware of when I picked it up to read. I personally don’t feel this can be read as a stand-alone. There’s a huge history between Reed and Ellery, which has an impact on their relationship, their dynamics and their lives. While there is enough background provided to get the gist of things, I was left to feel like I was missing out on vital information. It’s a fine line for an author to walk in a series as you obviously don’t want to bore readers that have been with you from the start and you don’t want to alienate new readers. What I’m trying to say is that Joanna Schaffhausen did this quite brilliantly but I just needed that little something more to get fully behind the characters and understand how damaged and flawed they are, and why.

That said, this book is an extremely compelling ride. Cold cases always get my blood flowing that little bit quicker. Forty years is a long time. If there were any witnesses, what do they remember after all this time? Are they even still alive? Evidence may have been lost, accidentally or otherwise. On top of that, Reed’s adoptive family is getting nervous about Reed digging into the past like this as Reed’s adoptive father is a politician and worried about the possibility of a scandal. Or could there possibly be more to it than that?

For the longest time, I couldn’t at all figure out who so brutally murdered Camilla. Was it someone she knew? Was it a random attack? Why would anyone have wanted to harm her like that? What kind of person kills a mother while her baby is next door? I did my best to find my way through the forest of red herrings and twists and was ridiculously pleased with myself when I had a lightbulb moment and zeroed in on one suspect.

From the bright lights of Las Vegas to California and back again, All The Best Lies is a gripping crime thriller and police procedural combination. Once I got past that gap in my background knowledge, I actually really started to enjoy it. With complex and multi-layered characters, there is a lot to like about this story. My only niggle, and again this is personal preference, is the romantic angle. There’s no doubt there is an abundance of chemistry between Reed and Ellery and I’m sure plenty of readers are rooting for them but I’m here for the brutal murders, the gore and the mayhem and I often find the “will they, won’t they” extremely distracting. It’s just not something I need in my crime fiction.

All in all though, a thoroughly enjoyable and twisty story that made me wish I’d been with this series from the start. In all honesty, the odds that I’ll ever get caught up with the first two are small (because who has that kind of time?!) but I may just keep an eye out on the next one in the series.

My thanks to Titan Books for the review copy!

All The Best Lies is available to buy!

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This Week in Books (February 12)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Set in London in 1837, The Unseeing is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding.

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

[So, so good!]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now. 

[I’m enjoying this one but I didn’t realise it was the third in a series and I’m struggling a little with the gap in my background knowledge.]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.

Alone, trapped in the darkness and with no way out, Bart Campbell knows that his chances of being found alive are slim.

Drugged and kidnapped, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container far from his Edinburgh home. But what Bart doesn’t yet know is that he’s now heading for France where his unspeakable fate is already sealed…

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases that soon collide as it becomes clear that the men and women being shipped to France are being traded for women trafficked into Scotland.

With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when Bart and so many others will soon be dead…

[One of my favourite series (yes, again) and I’m really looking forward to this latest instalment.]

Looks like I’m in for another fab week! What are you reading? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

The Murder House by Michael Wood | @MichaelHWood @0neMoreChapter_

Author : Michael Wood
Title : The Murder House
Series : DCI Matilda Darke #5
Pages : 400
Publisher : One More Chapter
Publication date : January 31, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Blood, guts and gore. Not exactly the aftermath you’d expect the morning following a lovely wedding but there we are. It is exactly the scene DCI Matilda Darke and her team come across when three members of a family are found brutally murdered in their home. Forensics quickly point to a petty criminal, who just happens to be on the run. But things don’t quite seem to add up and DCI Darke must keep her wits about her, while also trying to make sure her team doesn’t fall apart at the seams.

Meanwhile, Sally Meeghan is getting phone calls from someone she believes is her son. Carl went missing years ago. It’s a case that haunts Matilda Darke to this day. Is Carl still alive? Is someone playing a cruel game with his mother? And where on earth will Matilda find the time to deal with this on top of everything else?

I think you can just about get away with reading this one as a stand-alone, although why you would want to is anyone’s guess and obviously my recommendation is always to start from the beginning of a series. This team has gone through so much over the last few years, it’s really not surprising that cracks are starting to show and I truly feared for them.

But they have a job to do and a killer to catch. As to who that killer might be, I didn’t have a clue. By all appearances, this slain family seemed absolutely perfect. Who would want to harm them in such a brutal way and why? With so little information to go on, where do you even start? The tiniest little detail could blow this case right open. And let me tell you, when that happened, my jaw dropped to the floor because that is just a stroke of genius!

The Murder House is the fifth book in the DCI Matilda Darke series. I’ve been with this series from the very beginning and I feel it just isn’t talked about enough, you guys. Michael Wood delivers every single time and every single book has been outstanding but this one? Talk about raising the bar! The Murder House is intensely gripping from the first page and the pace builds up so much, I was wondering when I’d have a moment to come up for air. Deliciously dark, full of red herrings … you know what’s coming, don’t you? Best one in the series yet!

Fans of Matilda Darke will be thrilled with this latest addition, as would anyone who enjoys a solid, fast-paced and incredibly well-plotted police procedural. If Michael Wood isn’t on your radar, he bloody well should be and now is the perfect time to get caught up because there are lots of goodies coming our way from him this year.

The Murder House is available to buy!

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

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst | @OrendaBooks | #recommended

Author : Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst
Translated by : Anne Bruce
Title : Death Deserved
Series : Blix & Ramm #1
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 20, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.
Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Holy flying …. kjøttkaker!!!! (that’d be meatballs) I can’t even begin to think about what to say about Death Deserved. Except … I am making space on my shelves for what will undoubtedly become one of my favourite series.

You may remember my sadness when Thomas Enger’s previous series featuring Henning Juul came to an end. That series was my first introduction to Scandi-Noir and a new love affair was born. But now Thomas Enger has embarked on another adventure, alongside Jørn Lier Horst and as I found myself getting introduced to an entirely new premise and a whole new cast of characters, I quickly realised the dark cloud of sadness had lifted. (dramatic much 😳)

A serial killer is targeting celebrities. They have a plan, they are on a mission and they will not be thwarted. The police is in a race against the clock to stop the killer from striking again but this unsub is smart and detectives have very little, if anything, to go on. And the clues they DO find, all seem like they’re calculated, meant to be found when the killer wants them to be.

And off we go with one of the most gripping crime thrillers EVER! Death Deserved had me hook, line and sinker from the very first page and just did not let go. There are so many things in this story that tick the boxes. Engaging characters, an intricate plot, a well-paced game of cat and mouse and an incredibly intriguing serial killer whose identity I couldn’t even begin to guess at. This extremely thrilling ride kept me glued to the pages until the early hours of the morning and it all led to an explosive ending that left me reeling! 🤯

Just like Alexander and Emma, the driving forces behind them are a (former) investigating officer and a journalist and on top of that, both Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst are incredibly popular Norwegian crime writers. Something told me this collaboration was always going to be successful but I wasn’t at all prepared for exactly how much. If this first instalment is anything to go by, I dare say this will be one of the greatest series out there. As it is, I’m already tempted to say it might be even better than the Henning Juul series and considering how much I loved that one, I wasn’t really expecting that to happen. Or not just yet, anyway.

This serial killer crime thriller meets police procedural equals a pounding heart, clammy hands and a desperate need for more. I can’t wait for book two and I urge you, dear reader, to jump onto this rollercoaster ride right now! This might just be a dream team of crime writers and I firmly believe they are a force to be reckoned with. You wouldn’t want to miss out on that, now would you?

Death Deserved is out tomorrow in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published on February 20th.

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

Alice Teale Is Missing by H.A. Linskey | @HowardLinskey @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Alice Teale Is Missing by Howard Linskey! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Howard Linskey
Title : Alice Teale Is Missing
Pages : 409
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 23, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since.

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

| MY THOUGHTS |

One evening in Spring, seventeen year old Alice Teale leaves the school grounds around 9pm and is never seen again. What happened to her and why? The investigation gets off to quite a slow start until DS Lucas Black takes over with the help from DS Beth Winter.

The small mining town of Collemby hides quite a few secrets. Did Alice stumble upon something she shouldn’t have? Or did she simply run away from a far-from-perfect family home? Quite a few theories floated through my brain at one point or another but I could never quite decide on one to stick with. When someone starts sending the detectives excerpts from Alice’s journal, seemingly taunting them with information, the whole thing became even more complicated in my head and I stopped trying to figure things out. Which was a good thing too because it all turned out a whole lot more dark and disturbing than I bargained for.

I didn’t particularly like Alice, which seemed wrong somehow, considering the fact that she went missing and might possibly be in quite a lot of trouble or worse. But that didn’t stop me from becoming completely invested in her life, wanting to know what happened to her and even hoping for a positive outcome to it all. Her journal entries work really well into giving the reader an insight into the kind of girl Alice is and at the same time they act like pieces of a puzzle to try and fit together.

I did however instantly like both Lucas and Beth. This is Beth’s first big case so obviously she wants to do a good job and impress the powers that be. But Lucas is … well, he’s Lucas. You’ll have to find out more about that yourself. There’s a bit of a dark cloud hanging around him and he’s not exactly popular. Yet somehow, this rather odd pairing works like a charm and while it doesn’t look like this book is the first in a series, I’m kind of hoping that it is because I’d absolutely love to read more stories involving Lucas and Beth.

The pace is spot-on throughout and the plot is full of intrigue, mystery and a red herring or two. Alice Teale Is Missing had me hook, line and sinker from the very first page and didn’t let go. Tense, suspenseful and engrossing, I have no doubt this will appeal to crime fiction fans everywhere. I hadn’t read a Howard Linskey book before, despite seeing the name pass by often enough, but I already know it won’t be my last.

Alice Teale Is Missing is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Howard Linskey is a best-selling author of crime and historical fiction published in seven countries. His debut novel ‘The Drop’ was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of the Year by the Times newspaper and ‘The Damage’ was voted one of its top summer reads. His David Blake series was optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron.

Howard writes a series of north-east set, crime fiction novels for Penguin Random House featuring investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton, as well as Detective Sergeant Ian Bradshaw.

His historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the story of the assassination of Nazi general and architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ follows SOE agent Harry Walsh into occupied France. 

Originally from the north east of England, Howard now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.  

This Week in Books (January 22)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice.

[C.J. Tudor strikes again and this is right up there as a contender for my book of the year. Fa-bu-lous!]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever. 

[About halfway through this one and it’s immensely gripping. Yet I can’t help but feel I may need to reach for a tissue at some point 🤔]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it.

[May just be a teensie-weensie excited about this one]

And that’s my week in books. What does your week look like? Do let me know in the comments! Happy reading! xx