Tag Archives: crime series

Left for Dead by Caroline Mitchell BookReview @Caroline_writes @BOTBSPUBLICITY @AmazonPub #BlogTour  #thomasandmercer

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell blog tour. This book is one of my most anticipated reads of this year. Before I share my review here’s the book description to pique your interest.

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A victim on display. A detective on the rails.

Shopping with her sister, DI Amy Winter is admiring a Valentine’s Day window display of a perfect bride encrusted in diamonds and resplendent in lace—until she notices blood oozing from the mannequin’s mouth.

This is no stunt. A post-mortem reveals the victim was left to die on her macabre throne for all to see. When a second victim is found, it emerges that both women were ‘Sugar Babes’ arranging dates with older men online—and Amy finds herself hunting an accomplished psychopath.

As she tracks down the killer, Amy’s instincts go into overdrive when the charismatic head of the agency behind the display makes no attempt to hide his fascination with her serial-killer parents. What exactly does he want from Amy? With her own world in freefall as her biological mother, Lillian Grimes, appeals her conviction, Amy pushes the boundaries of police procedure when a third ‘Sugar Babe’ disappears…Is she as much at risk as the killer’s victims?

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At long last it’s time for the third book in the DI Amy Winters series,  Left For Dead. I seem to have been waiting for what seems like forever, as this is one of my favourite crime series and also one of my most anticipated reads of the year. If you haven’t started the series yet it’s one that’s best started from the beginning as Amy has such a fascinating backstory, I promise you it will be time well spent!  If you’re not convinced perhaps knowing that the first book Truth and Lies has been optioned for TV may tempt you. Caroline Mitchell captures the reader’s attention with a picturesque scene a beautiful bride, looking magnificent in her wedding dress, elaborately posed in a shop window, in full public view. Unfortunately the scene takes a macabre turn, the blushing bride isn’t a mannequin, she’s  a murder victim! The victims murder bears similarities to a case twenty years earlier. Are they connected? Is it a copy cat killer? you will just have to buy the book to find out! 

As well as tracking down the murderer, there is a secondary plot that focuses on Amy’s personal life but  rather than distracting from the main plot it compliments it. Amy’s character is evolving as the series progresses and I really like her character, she’s forthright and to all appearances lacks the ‘team player’ gene, which is hardly surprising when you read her back story, but she has empathy for her victims, determined to get justice for them by fair means or foul. Her past is a burden that weighs heavily on Amy, and every action and reaction as a DI is carefully scrutinised by those who know her history. Amy’s past is a big draw for me and it’s one of the reasons I love this series so much, I’m sure we still have so much to learn. 

I always think an author takes a bold step when they reveal the identity of the killer from the start, as part of the enjoyment of reading a crime thriller for me is working out the ‘who dunnit’. Caroline Mitchell uses this ploy to good effect though, because you know the identity of  ‘The Love Heart Killer’,  there are chapters told from their perspective so you get a sense of their personality, but you also get a chilling insight in to the mind of one seriously depraved psychopath. You know exactly what dark thoughts they are  entertaining, and who their next victim will be, adding an element of anticipation as you wait for the killers  next move. 

Caroline Mitchell is one of my favourite authors for a very good reason, I always find her plots imaginative, she knows exactly how to grab the readers attention from the off. Left For Dead is another stellar addition to the series, it’s a fast paced read,  with a fascinating array of characters, some you will love and others will make your skin crawl. The author leaves the reader with a teaser, which has left me incredibly excited for the next book in the series. This is a series I would gladly recommend to crime junkies, the plots veer towards the dark side, which is always an attraction for me, I’m sure a psychiatrist would have something to say about that! Highly recommended 

  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (8 July 2020)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers, Sarah at BOTBSPublicity and the author for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

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An international #1 and New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author, Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time, with over a million books sold.

As well as her crime series, Caroline also writes stand-alone psychological thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim reached the Amazon number 1 spot in the UK, US and Australia and won first place as best psychological thriller in the US Reader’s Favourite Awards. Her previous thriller, Witness, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Awards in New York. She has also been shortlisted for ‘Best Procedural’ in the Killer Nashville awards. Her crime thriller, Truth And Lies recently became a No.1 New York Times best seller and has been optioned for TV. Her works have been translated worldwide and her book, The Silent Twin, has been converted as an interactive app in the Chapters Interactive game.

www.Caroline-Writes.com

F: www.facebook.com/CMitchellauthor

T: www.twitter.com/caroline_writes

 

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Sign up to join her Reader’s club for access to news, updates and exclusive competitions and giveaways. http://eepurl.com/IxsTj

Follow the blog tour……

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All Fall Down by M.J.Arlidge #Review @mjarlidge @orionbooks

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for All Fall Down, the latest book in the Detective Helen Grace series. I have followed this series since the first book and this is one series that never gets stale. Before I share my review here’s  the book description……

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“You have one hour to live.”

Those are the only words on the phone call. Then they hang up. Surely, a prank? A mistake? A wrong number? Anything but the chilling truth… That someone is watching, waiting, working to take your life in one hour.

But why?

The job of finding out falls to DI Helen Grace: a woman with a track record in hunting killers. However, this is A case where the killer seems to always be one step ahead of the police and the victims.

With no motive, no leads, no clues – nothing but pure fear – an hour can last a lifetime…

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I can’t believe I read the first book in the Detective Helen Grace series Eney Meeny way back in 2014 and now here we are at book nine! I used to read many crime series, some I lost interest in over time, others became a chore to read, but this series is one that grabs my attention every time and makes me impatient for the next book in the series. Although All Fall Down could be read as a stand-alone, but it’s worth bearing in mind like any long running series, you will have missed out on the backstories of some of the more established characters. 

Imagine receiving a phone call, and someone declares, “You have one hour to live.” Would you shrug it off? Put it down to a prank call? Or would you run for the hills and hire a bodyguard? That’s the premise for All Fall Down, once the victim gets ‘that’ call it’s all downhill from there! The big question is why? Helen and her team really have their work cut out, there are wrong turns, false leads, and a case of mistaken identity. As to the killer they are one twisted, cruel individual, and as slippery as a snake,  always staying one step ahead of the investigation team. Helen’s private life has also gets complicated, thanks to her relationship with fellow officer DS Joseph Hudson.

One of the things I really appreciated about All Fall Down is the way M.J Arlidge incorporates a book within a book, extracts from ‘One Dark Night’ are peppered throughout the book , I’m not going to reveal what the books about or how it fits into the plot, the less said the better,  as it will make your reading experience all the more thrilling. Its these chilling extracts that heighten the suspense, whilst urging  the reader onwards to unravel the connections. Short,  snappy chapters ensure the reader’s interest doesn’t waiver, and propel the story forward at a speedy pace. As you would expect from M. J. Arlidge there are some jaw dropping twists along the way. Although perhaps not as gruesome as previous books it’s a worthy addition to the series and one that made for an exciting read. 

  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (11 Jun. 2020)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers for my Arc in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

Other books in the series

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The Curator by M.W. Craven #Review @MWCravenUK @BethWright26 @TheCrimeVault #TheCurator #TeamPoe #TeamTilly

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Curator by M.W. Craven the third book in the Washington Poe series, and one of my most anticipated reads of 2020.

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It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetised, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

 And nothing will ever be the same again . . ..

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Woohoo Poe and Tilly are back in one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, The Curator. This has to be one of my favourite British crime series EVER! The Curator opens with a macabre murder scene, it’s gruesome and shocking, but the perfect opening to what I think is the best book in the series so far. Don’t get me wrong each book has been a fantastic read, but the authors writing goes from strength to strength. The plot lines are a work of a genius, they lure you in and keep you gripped until the very last sentence of this compelling series.

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with their most challenging case yet, it’s one that throws up more questions than answers, more suspects than victims. Why is a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria? Why were some victims anaesthetised, while others died in appalling agony? The investigation is such a complex one, that it tests Poe and Tilly investigation skills to the limit. I could rattle on all day about the plot, but in doing so I would giveaway spoilers, so all I will say it’s a cracking plot, modern and fast paced, and seriously twisted! 

The Curator like every other book in this series is as much about the characters as the plot. The relationship between the dynamic duo Poe and Tilly is stronger than ever, their unique personalities compliment each other perfectly. Poe is complex, charismatic, whereas the wonderful Tilly is naïve, painfully honest and just as complex. The dialogue between the couple is endearing, charming and funny, but it’s these moments that add light to the darkness of the plot. They are both such fabulous depicted, compelling characters they are one of the reasons this series is a must read for me.

M. W. Craven has written another fabulous addition to this series, throughout The Curator the plot is complex, clever and engrossing, just as you think the dynamic duo have the serial killer in their grips, the author throws in a twist that propels the story in a very different direction. One of the things I enjoy the most in a crime thriller is when the author can write a story that not only keeps you engrossed but one that also keeps you constantly guessing, never revealing too much in one go to spoil the read. For me this crime series has it all brilliant  characters, exceptional writing, twisted plots, gory crime scenes, and the most evil killers. The Curator is now firmly my favourite book in the series until the next book anyway! Highly Recommend.

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (4 Jun. 2020)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to the publishers and the author for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

About the author

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M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

The Puppet Show, the first in a two-book deal he signed with the Little, Brown imprint, Constable in 2017, was released to critical acclaim in hardback in 2018. It has been sold in numerous foreign territories and the production company Studio Lambert, creators of the award-winning Three Girls, have optioned it for TV. The sequel, Black Summer, follows in June 2019.

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

Website: mwcraven.com
Twitter: @MWCravenUK

 

Other books in the series

The book review café book of the month **May 2020**

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Today it’s the first day of June, is it just me? I’m finding all the days, weeks and months are blurring into one! Lockdown and the Corona Virus in general has affected my reading, I’m struggling to read one book a week! I’m finding I’m getting distracted easily.

I hope you are all reading more than me, it’s such a strange time for us all. I’m struggling with not seeing and spending time with my family, as we’re all close. We FaceTime and message each other constantly but it’s not the same but I’m sure most of you can relate to this. I haven’t posted much to my blog the last couple of months, but I have numerous reviews to publish in June, and some of those books have made for a cracking read.

As normal I am digressing from the original point of this post…...my book of the month, this one will definitely be on my top reads of the year, so without further ado and no more ramblings my book for this month is…….

Drum roll

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

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When they are  finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

OMFG’  what have I just finished reading? Only one of the most twisted books I’ve had the pleasure to read. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs is an incredible, intense read, the plot, the twists, the characters, the writing, all blend to create the perfect read for psychological thriller lovers. If you don’t believe me, then perhaps knowing that THE Renee Zellweger’s Big Picture Co/MGM TV have purchased the television rights, will convince you that this book is a ‘MUST’ read. You can read my full review here….What Lies Between Us  

Books I’m hoping to read in June

I’m hoping to read the following books in a June, some are ARC’s others are from my own personal bookshelf.  This list may change or I may just manage to stick to my list and read them all, concentration permitting 😂😂

Binge worthy television

I may not have reading much, but I have been binge watching some series, which I really enjoyed

Non book related

I have noticed since the lockdown not only have I been buying more books than usual, and I have also been buying a lot more bits and bobs for the home on line.
I treated myself to some Becky Bettesworth  prints for my back room. I love these quote prints and they do some lovely prints of Cornwall and other UK holiday spots, if you fancy checking them out follow the link above. Please note this is not an affiliated link.

Killing Mind by Angela Marsons #Review @WriteAngie @bookouture  #KillingMind #KimStone **Blog tour**

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Killing Mind by Angela Marsons. If you follow my blog you will know I’m a huge fan of the Kim Stone series, and couldn’t wait to read this one, did it live up to my expectations? read on for my thoughts, but first the book description….

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It had seemed so simple. Get in, get the information, get out. But now they were getting inside her mind and she didn’t know how to stop them…

When Detective Kim Stone is called to the home of Samantha Brown, she finds the young woman lying in bed with her throat cut and a knife in her hand. With no sign of forced entry or struggle, Kim rules her death a tragic suicide.

But a visit to Samantha’s parents rings alarm bells for Kim – there’s something they’re not telling her. And, when she spots a clue in a photograph, Kim realises she’s made a huge mistake. Samantha didn’t take her own life, she was murdered.

Then a young man’s body is found in a local lake with his throat cut and Kim makes a link between the victim and Samantha. They both spent time at Unity Farm, a retreat for people seeking an alternative way of life.

Beneath the retreat’s cosy façade, Kim and her team uncover a sinister community preying on the emotionally vulnerable.

Sending one of her own undercover into Unity Farm is high risk but it’s Kim’s only hope if she is to catch a killer – someone Kim is convinced the victims knew and trusted.

With Bryant distracted by the emergence of a harrowing case close to his heart, and an undercover officer in way over her head, Kim’s neck is on the line like never before. Can she protect those closest to her before another life is taken?

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Woohoo Angela Marsons is back with yet another cracking read!  It’s a rare author who makes the twelfth book as exciting and compelling as the first book in a series. I’m not certain how Angela Marsons manages it but Killing Mind the latest book in the Kim Stone set, is just as impressive, riveting, and exciting as every other book in this much-loved series.  Another thing that’s worth a mention is the fact the author never fails to deliver a gripping storyline for each and every one of her books, they’re always original and well researched .

Kim Stone is called to what appears to be a routine suicide, but something  doesn’t entirely add up. It soon becomes evident to Kim and her team that the suicide was staged to cover up a murder, and that at every turn leads back to Unity Farm, a retreat for people seeking an alternative way of life. As Kim digs deeper into the Farm, she realises she is looking into a Cult, a subject she knows very little about. Cults are something that have always fascinated me, especially the psychology behind what attracts people to cults. Angela Marsons gives the reader a realistic, spine chilling insight into the world of Cults, the members who prey on peoples’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities and how they manipulate, compliment and flatter victims to reel them in. The author has the extraordinary ability to turn a crime thriller into something more, she’s able to give her victims and their families a voice, she highlights the effects a cult can have on Family members, loved ones and friends, when they lose someone to a cult.

It’s great that the author has brought Tiffany (AKA Tink) back, I love her character, she has a certain innocence about her, that makes her very likeable, as more of her backstory is revealed, I really felt for her. Team member Bryant has a side story of his own in Killing Mind, which adds another yet another layer of intrigue to the story. Kim is as difficult as always, but underneath that cold, brittle exterior is the Kim fans of this series have come to love.

The cult gives the plot a dark and sinister tone that continues to thread its way through the plot, and when one of Kim’s team whose working under cover is placed in danger, a palatable sense of dread fills the pages. There are moments in this book I found gut wrenching, not something you would expect in a crime thriller, but that’s the beauty of the authors writing she never fails to surprise the reader. Once again Angela Marsons has written a taut, fast-paced crime thriller, it’s a cliche but I really ‘couldn’t turn the pages fast enough’ as the body count rises and the investigation intensifies. If you consider yourself a crime thriller lover then this book, hell the whole series is unmissable.

Print Length: 367 pages

  • Publisher: Bookouture (13 May 2020)

Buying links:

My thanks to Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

About the author

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Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 3 million in 3 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.

Many of her books, including Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Fatal Promise and Dead Memories reached the #1 spot on Amazon pre-order alone.

Other books in the Kim Stone series

**First Blood is the prequel to the Kim Stone series**

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Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten #BookReview @nholten40 #BlogTour @KillerReads @0neMoreChapter @BOTBSPublicity @HarperCollins #MustReads

Today I’m over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour for Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten. One of my most anticipated reads of the year, was it worth the wait?  you can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……

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The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

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I have been impatiently awaiting Dead Wrong, the second book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, it seems like forever since I read Dead Inside by author Noelle Holten. The author knows how to draw the reader in from the off, even more so when you realise one of Raven’s victims is named after you! I would forgive you for thinking this could sway my review, but you would be dead wrong! (See what I did there?). Personally I think Dead Wrong is even better than the first book in the series, it’s what I would describe as a ‘heart-pounding, page-turner with a dark, gritty heart’.

Raven, admitted he killed three women and is serving a life sentence for his crimes, but fast forward to present time and body parts of his said victims start turning up, so he must be innocent right? And Raven makes an appeal to the courts to be set free, so begins a nightmare for DC Maggie Jamieson’s, as she attempts to solve the case once and for all. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a crime thriller that features a chilling but intriguing serial killer, and Raven is one such character, he lacks remorse, he’s callous, a master of manipulation, and a pathological liar. The heart of the plot focuses on Raven toying with Maggie, is he lying? Or is he mentally ill? Was he coerced by Maggie, admitting to crimes he didn’t commit? So many questions, but for those of us who love playing the amateur detective, it’s the perfect crime read to get those brain cells working. 

Hallelujah! DC Maggie Jamieson isn’t your standard stereotype you often find in a crime thriller, she’s not an alcoholic, nor is her character bogged down by personal problems or a shady past which makes a refreshing change. That doesn’t mean Maggie lacks depth, on the contrary her character is continuing to develop, she’s relentless in her pursuit for the truth, committed,  and has literally no personal life, I’m sure there are a lot of DC’s who can relate to that!  It’s obvious the author has an incredible insight into the justice system and the way different agencies work together, which adds an authentic feel to the plot, I find some crime thrillers lack this vital ingredient, mostly because authors have relied heavily on research, rather than personal experiences. 

Dismembered victims turning up in pieces made for a gristly read, but these scenes are paramount to the plot, and add a profound sense of tension to the overall plot. Like any good crime thriller there are many read herrings, and well-plotted twists, and that ending! Let’s just say it will leave readers desperate for the next book in the series. Noelle Holten’s writing goes from strength to strength, her writings bold and confident, she has a vivid imagination, her plots are exciting and gripping. If ever there was someone who was born to write crime thrillers, it’s this author. Highly recommended to anyone who loves a crime thriller. 

  •  Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: One More Chapter (14 March 2020)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon USA 🇺🇸

About the author

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast.

Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the book love via her blog. 

Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson. 

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/

Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/

Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

Website: https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk  

Bookbub Author page : https://bit.ly/2LkT4LB

My thanks to the publishers and the author my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Follow the rest of the blog tour…..

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Liar Liar by by Mel Sherratt @writermels @AvonBooksUk #BookReview #BlogTour #LiarLiar

Today I’m thrilled to be opening the blog tour for Liar Liar by Mel Sherratt, alongside my partner in crime (excuse the pun!’) Kaisha, you can find her review at https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com/. 

Liar Liar is published today so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy, just one click and it’s yours. Before I share my thoughts, here’s the book description…..

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The truth can be a dangerous thing…

When a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will only tell the police that it was an accident.

Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined…

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Mel Sherratt’s back! with Liar Liar the third instalment in the DS Grace Allendale series. As the title suggests there are so many lies, and half truths buried within this story, Grace has her work cut out that’s for sure! The book opens with a shocking scene when a young boy called Tyler falls from a balcony in a block of flats. From the start of the investigation it’s apparent the boy’s parents are being evasive, their story doesn’t quite ring true, but why would they lie? Did Tyler fall over the railings? Or is there a far more sinister reason behind his accident? The author leads the reader a merry dance through a tangled web of lies and deceit. As I mentioned this is the third book in the series, however Liar Liar could be read as a standalone, although if you are anything like me I prefer to read books in order! It’s won’t be any hardship as it’s shaping up to be a cracking crime series. 

For the residents of Harrison House there’s a familiar mantra around the investigation ‘I never saw nothing, ‘I never heard anything’ seems to be the favourite. Residents don’t trust the police, hell they don’t even trust their neighbours! Living day in, day out,  alongside crime, the residents have their own code, ‘you never tell the police anything’, after all no criminal wants to be labelled a ‘grass’! The book alternates between chapters that follow one of the main characters past, and the present day investigation, sometimes I find that dual time lines get over complicated, but that wasn’t the case with a Liar Liar, but it’s these past chapters that provide the reader with an insight into one of the characters, and their motivation for the choices they make. 

Liar  Liar’s focus is set firmly On the back story of its characters, Grace has a much smaller part to play in this book, which worked really well, as the main plot wasn’t overshadowed by police procedures and the investigation. Thinking about it Liar Liar felt very different to the last two books in the series, but I mean that in a good way as it’s great to see an author not stick to a specific formula for each book. One of Mel Sherratt’s strengths is her capacity to delve into the darkest corner of the criminal world and create unlikable, violent and authentic ‘shady’ characters. The tension ramps up as the lies begin to unravel, and more crimes are committed. Liar Liar made for a gritty, hard-hitting read, and although I wouldn’t consider this a fast-paced read, there’s plenty to keep the crime lover eagerly turning the pages.

  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (10 Feb. 2020)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

About the author

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I live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with my husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and makes liberal use of my hometown as a backdrop for some of my books.

I’m not sure which I am most proud of – being on the list of Stoke-on-Trent’s top 100 most influential people 2018 or after years of rejection going on to sell over one million books.

Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, my inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes.

I regularly appear at festivals, conferences and events across the country – my favourites being London Book Fair and Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate.

So that’s me in a nutshell. Don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow the blog tour….

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The Murder House by Michael Wood #BookReview @MichaelHWood #CrimeFiction @0neMoreChapter_ #TeamDarke @HarperFiction #MustReads2020

Today I’m sharing my review for The Murder House by Michael Wood, it’s the fifth book in the ‘Matilda Darke’ series, and it’s one of my favourite crime series. Read on for my thoughts….

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They were the perfect family. It was the perfect crime.

The new gripping DCI Matilda Darke crime thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a perfect family. For fans of Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons.

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…

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I have been (im)patiently awaiting the fifth instalment of the Matilda Darke crime series, as hand on heart I can say ‘ I absolutely love this series’. When I  enjoy a series so much I always worry the book won’t be as good as previous books in the series, but I’m delighted to report that any worries I had were unjustified, in fact I would say The Murder House is the author’s best book yet, it’s dark, erring on the gory side with an intriguing plot that will leave you blurry eyed as you forsake sleep for ‘just another chapter or ten!’

Give Michael Wood his due he knows how to get the reader’s attention from the off, the first chapter opens with a wedding and ends in a bloodbath when three members of the same family are murdered in the most appalling way. On first appearance the victims appear to be the ‘perfect’ family, pillars of the local community, they regularly fundraised and contributed to local causes, so why would someone want them dead? What possible motive could they have?  I must admit rather like Matilda and her team I had no idea! 

 For me a crime thriller is never more satisfying, than when you have a list of suspects as long as your arm and the author makes it’s almost impossible to guess the culprit, for me it makes the read that more thrilling as you try to search for clues, hold on to the suspects every word looking for the slightest slip up. I felt like a detective (admittedly an amateur one!) working alongside Matilda to capture the murderer, each character came under scrutiny. 

As for Matilda I love the way her character is evolving, she’s strong and determined and yet she has a sense of vulnerability mostly due to a cold case that haunts her, Matilda feels she failed missing child, Carl Meagan, who was never found. The case is a disturbing one and one which has a big impact on the team, when you add in budget cuts, and personal issues you realise this is a team that could buckle as they are tested to the limits. These are characters with feelings, real emotions, and depth which made the read that more authentic. As the case gains momentum,  the tension intensifies urging the reader onwards, through red herrings and misdirection. 

Although this book could be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to start at the beginning, just because this is such a cracking series, it would be a shame if you missed out on the four previous books. I almost shrieked in frustration at Michael Wood as he winds up the The Murder House with the biggest teaser yet! Such an ingenious ploy as now I’m left counting down the days to the next book in the series.The Murder House is fast-paced read ‘whodunnit’, that I would happily recommend to all crime thriller lovers.  

Publisher: One More Chapter (31 Jan. 2020)

Pages in book: 400

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Other books in the Matilda Darke series

 

The book review café book of the month for **January 2020**

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Here we are in February, thank god for that is all I can say! January wasn’t the best for me I’m afraid I was laid up with flu! and I mean the flu I have never felt so ill or felt so completely worn out it knocked me for six, so I’m hoping this months going to be a better one. Roll on the summer, 😎 I hate the dark nights, and I’m definitely not a lover of the cold.

As usual I’m digressing here in January I read some brilliant books, with a fair few of them belonging to the Orenda family. Can I just say? what fabulous books Karen Sullivan founder of Orenda Books, publishes.  Each books,  highly original, captivating and brilliantly written which brings me to my next dilemma, two books really stood out for me last month, but my rule is ‘one book for one month’ so after much thought, deliberation and tossing and turning, here’s my book of the month……….

The Home by Sarah Stovell

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I’m not sure I can convey just how much this book affected me, The Home by Sarah Stovell is a book that will swallow you up, and then spit you out, your heart will break, you will live and breathe the tragic and horrifying story of three young girls Hope, Lara and Annie. These characters will burrow their way into your heart and mind leaving you bereft as this haunting tale reaches its final pages. The Home is part mystery, part thriller, and yet it’s so much more, it’s an emotive, deeply moving, and tragic tale of those who live amid abuse and poverty. You can read my full review here….The Home by Sarah Stovell @sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks #BookShelfReads #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

You can read my reviews here…..

Queenie by Kimberly Chambers @kimbochambers @fictionpubteam @flisssity #BookReview #Queenie #BookHangoverAward

All The Rage by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks #AllTheRage @DIAdamFawley @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell #BookReview @Caroline_writes @BOTBSPUBLICITY @AmazonPub #BlogTour #thriller #thomasandmercer

#Beast by at Matt Wesolowski #SixStories @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken #HangoverAward

Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward #BlogTour

Mine by Case Kelleher @CaseyKelleher #Mine #psychologicalthriller #MustReads2020

When Stars Will Shine compiled by Emma Mitchell @emmamitchelfpr #BookPromo #WhenStarsWillShine #HelpForHeroes

Books I’m hoping to read in February

As you know I have cut right back on the blog tours, which gives me plenty of freedom to read ‘what ever takes my fancy’ so here are just a few of the books I may or may not read depending on my mood 😂 some of them are ARC’s but I’m determined to read more books off my own personal bookshelf this year too.

Which books that you read in January would you recommend? Did you have a favourite? Please feel free to leave a comment I’m always looking for new books to add to my TBR pile 🤣

All The Rage by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks #AllTheRage @DIAdamFawley @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for one of my favourite crime series. All The Rage by Cara Hunter, but first the book description…….

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History doesn’t repeat itself. Does it?

A distressed teenage girl is found on the outskirts of Oxford. The story she tells is terrifying: grabbed off the street, a plastic bag forced over her head, then driven somewhere remote and subjected to an assault.

DI Adam Fawley is doing the best he can to investigate, but the teenager refuses to press charges. All he can do is try to ignore the sickening feeling he’s seen something like this before…

But when another girl goes missing, Fawley knows his time is running out.

Because if he ignores the past any longer, this girl may not be coming back.

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I have eagerly been waiting to get my hands on a copy of All The Rage by Cara Hunter, as it’s definitely one of my all-time favourite police procedure/crime thriller series. The author has a unique way of presenting her story (more about that in a while) which make her books such an exciting read. Although All The Rage could be read as a stand-alone, I would urge you to start at the beginning because this really is an addictive crime series, and you will have a better understanding of the history of the characters.  

The book description doesn’t give much away, and I’m not going to spend time on rehashing or expanding on the plot details. One of the strengths of this book is DI Fawley and his merry band of team members, each one has grown as the series has evolved. As with any good team, the team members are a diverse bunch, their focus is set firmly on solving the case.  As the investigation intensifies  Fawley and his team seem no nearer  to obtaining a breakthrough in the case, the team’s frustration is obvious. In this book Fawley is pivotal to the investigation, and we see a different side to the DI as the plot evolves. 

Unusual in a book, there are no chapters which some readers may find strange, but as there are no lulls or breaks in the story, it keeps the reader’s attention firmly on the investigation. One of the things that make this series such an original read, is the author’s use of social media, we are privy to the chat rooms on the dark web, and the poison they spout (which made for an uncomfortable read). There are also tweets, from key board warriors and sympathetic members of the public, which serve to make the story feel current. Cara Hunter also incorporates eye witnesses’ statements, psychiatric reports, court transcripts, and suspect interviews to make the investigation even more authentic.

Some of the crimes committed, coupled with certain subject matters, made this book a disquieting read but I appreciated the author’s sensitive handling of the plot lines. Like every book in the series so far the plot is packed full of twists which made it impossible to predict what would come next, in fact at one point I had one of those  ‘I never saw that coming’ moments’, I love it when an author manages to shock me. Red herrings are perfectly placed, tension increases tenfold, and remains that way, right up to the shocking conclusion. Cara Hunter has away of writing that immediately draws you in, when you add to this her unique way of including various media’s to tell a story,  and Voila,  you have another cracking read from Cara Hunter. Highly recommended and a MUST read for crime thriller lovers. 

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (23 Jan. 2020) Kindle (19 Dec.2019)

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My thanks to fellow book blogger Jen at https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/ for sending me her spare ARC.