Tag Archives: Crime

Gone by Leona Deakin #BookReview #Gone @LeonaDeakin1 @HJ_Barnes @PenguinUKBooks #MustReads

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Gone, a debut Psychological  thriller from Leona Deakin.

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Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.

DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear? 

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I was sent a card in the post wishing me a “happy first birthday’ which immediately had me intrigued, but then reading the greeting inside YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.DARE TO PLAY? I must admit intrigue turned to excitement, like a fool I’m always the first to volunteer for a ‘dare’ but as they normally end in tears, I had my reservations about this one! That’s not the case for the four missing strangers in Gone by Leona Deakin, they jump in feet first with no thought of the consequences of playing a game they know nothing about! Despite my initial reservations Gone turned out to be a dark, psychological thriller, with lashings of intrigue and suspense.   

I must admit to begin with I wasn’t certain that Gone was a book I would enjoy as there are two simultaneous stories that run alongside each other, the first focuses on the missing persons, the other on a disturbed child called Seraphine. There are also several characters that are introduced to the reader fairly early on in the book, but once I had them sorted in my head, I found it a difficult book to put down as curiosity got the better of me. This isn’t your ‘typical’ missing person case, no one’s  been kidnapped or taken against their will, in fact the people who have disappeared seem to have gone voluntarily, leaving behind families, friends and family, without a backward glance. Why? How are they connected? How are they singled out? Are they victims or are they something far more sinister? What are the rules of the sick, twisted game? Are all questions Dr. Augusta Bloom a Psychologist who frequently works with the police and Marcus Jameson who worked for MI6 are intent on finding the answers too. 

I did feel the author barely scratched the surface of the main protagonists characters, but to be honest it didn’t matter one iota as my interest very much lay with the missing people and their story’s. Although in main the story is a hunt for the missing people, I found the most intriguing part revolved around the people who were invited to play.  It came as no surprise to find out the author is a psychologist, her knowledge shines through as she explains the psychological aspects of the game, and gets inside the heads of those playing. These are the characters I found this most intriguing, the most disturbing, and yet the most fascinating. 

With an imaginative plot and a fascinating psychologist-cum-private detective Gone made a refreshing change from most books in the genre, and although some may not enjoy the slower pace of this book, I would urge you to give it a go especially if you enjoy books featuring psychopaths that involve profiling (I found these bits a fascinating read). Although I guessed the ‘twist’ by the halfway mark, I still enjoyed how the author brought all the threads together.  A word of advice to those who fill out those inconsequential social media questionaries, Gone will definitely make you think twice about filling them out in the future, however harmless they may seem! Despite the slow start Gone turns into an accomplished first novel, and I’m looking forward to reading further books by Leona Deakin. 

  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (9 Aug. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to Penguin publishing for my Arc of a Gone in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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THE JULY GIRLS BY PHOEBE LOCKE @PHOEBE_LOCKE @WILDFIREBKS #REVIEW #TheJulyGirls #SummerMustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke, I have a feeling this book is going to be one of this summers top reads. You can read on for my thoughts……….

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Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. 

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .

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I’m not going to beat about the bush here, I absolutely loved The July Girls by Phoebe Locke, this is the first book I’ve read by the author, although I have since bought her debut novel The Tall Man. If from the book description you thought this was a run of the mill ‘serial killer thriller’ you couldn’t be more wrong. This book has so much more to offer the crime thriller lover, it’s a book that’s superbly written, an extraordinary and highly original tale, told through the eyes of a brilliantly drawn character, ten-year-old Addie.

Set in London, The July Girls tells the story of two sisters, Jessie and Addie, whose lives become unintentionally entangled with a serial killer. Every year, on the 7th of July, a young girl is snatched from the streets of London by the killer, leaving behind no clues or forensic evidence. The story begins with The devastating event of 07/07 terrorist attacks, for many, lives will never be the same, and unfortunately for Jessica and Addie so begins their worse nightmare, as on the same night their dad comes home covered in blood and when they find items in their home belonging to a missing woman believed to one of the victims of the ‘Magpie’ killer. Addie’s sense of confusion, distress and loss are palatable throughout The July Girls, making for a disquieting read.

The reason I enjoyed this book is very much down to the innocent narrative of Addie, which compliments the sinister undertone that runs through the book’s pages.  The relationship between the two sisters is superbly depicted, by the author it’s impossible not to become involved in the lives of her characters. Jessica is thrown into the position of surrogate mother, she adores Addie and will do anything to protect her, even if that means lying to hide the shocking truths hidden beneath the surface of their dysfunctional family. You can’t help but admire Addie from a young age through to her teens she retains Addies her integrity, her sense of ‘right from wrong’ even though this will cause her stress and upset. Addie is a troubled ten-year-old, there are things she has seen that she can’t forget, they keep her awake at night, they are things that niggle at her conscious and force her to question the very person who she should be able to trust, her own father. Is everything at it seems? or does Addie have a over active imagination like many a ten-year-old? I’m not saying as you really need to read the book to find out! 

Phoebe Locke shows that you don’t need to write graphic crime scenes to capture the reader’s imagination, it’s a disturbing story but subtle, leaving the reader to summon up their own vivid scenarios! Although I wouldn’t consider this to be a fast paced read, the beauty of The July Girls is the author’s incredible ability to build on the tension and suspense, whilst giving the reader an incredible insight into the life of her characters. The author takes familiar subjects such as family dynamics, relationships and turns them into a compelling, extraordinary read, and one that’s impossible to put down even for a few minutes. I’m still not sure I have conveyed just how good this book is, but it’s definitely one of my top read this summer. So on that note if you only buy one book this summer, you should definitely consider The July Girls,  it’s a book I will be happily  recommending to anyone and everyone.

And yes I’m giving The July Girls my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wildfire (27 Jun. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Take It Back by Kia Abdullah #BookReview #SummerReads @HQstories @KiaAbdullah

Today I’m sharing my review for Take It Back by Kia Abdullah, a powerful and emotional court drama. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description……

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The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Whose side would you take?

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a glittering career at the Bar. All before hanging up her barrister’s wig to help the victims who needed her most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

Jodie’s own best friend doesn’t even believe her claims that their classmates carried out such a crime. But Zara does. And Zara is determined to fight for her.

Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price?

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Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a modern day story that explores some pretty tough but current themes, sexual assault, racial tensions, prejudice, and poverty. Some readers may give this book a wide berth because of the subjects mentioned, personally I would ask you to think again, its one of those books that offers so much more, it’s a book that’s thought provoking, a relevant if not disturbing tale of our times. This is one of those books that would make the perfect book club read, it explores current and relevant topics that will make for lively, thought-provoking discussions.

Sixteen-year-old Jodie Wolfe enters a sexual referral centre, wanting to share her story,  she reveals an appalling tale to lawyer Zara Kaleel, a horrific crime has been committed and Jodie firmly points the finger at four Muslim boys. This sets the scene for an explosive courtroom thriller, where no one could foresee the far-reaching consequences for Jodie, Zara, four teenage boys, their families and the local Muslim community. It’s very much a case of ‘she said’ versus ‘they said’ but whose to be believed? Jodie a young girl who is bullied and tormented for her facial deformities, dragged up by an alcoholic mother? Or the four teenage boys, handsome, popular and from decent hardworking families? The odds aren’t stacked in Jodie’s favour that’s for sure! 

Jodie Wolfe couldn’t foresee her case would develop into a high profile one,  steeped in controversy, where everyone has an opinion, and sides are taken. Kia Abdullah ensures the reader is kept captivated, with a cast of unreliable characters,  it’s nigh on impossible to know who to believe. Truth and lies become blurred, the opinions of professionals, the evidence from witnesses, I found my thoughts constantly changing throughout the court scenes, making for a tense and unpredictable read. 

Characters are such an essential part of a well-told story, and the author has created some exceptional ones, Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds appears strong and determined but look under the flawless, public front and you will find a woman burdened with guilt at not being the perfect ‘Muslim girl’ that her family want her to be. Then you have Jodie who will pull at your heartstrings, dragged up by a mother who resents her, bullied and ridiculed by her peers for being disfigured, her story is desperately sad and yet very credible. There are other characters that will make your blood boil, or rouse sympathy but one thing I can guarantee you, you will question each one’s variation of the truth!  

The author keeps the reader on tenterhooks almost to the very last page, there were many surprises hidden within the pages that were unexpected but added to the over all tension. I have seen reviews that compare Zara Kaleel‘s writing to that of best seller Jodi Picoult, in many ways I would have to agree, the format feels the same, but I think the author has created her own style, the court scenes felt far more tense and hard-hitting, and I found the characters to be more relatable, the plot to be far from predictable.  Take It Back is a touching and powerful novel that makes for a disquieting read but it’s one I would highly recommend to those who appreciate a count drama, with a challenging storyline. 

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (8 Aug. 2019)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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**Cover reveal** Torment by Mark Tilbury #Torment @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

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Today I’m so excited to be revealing the cover for Torment by Mark Tilbury. Expected publication day is August 5th 2019. I have read an ARC of this book, and all I can say is ‘Mark Tilbury fans new or old, or in for a real treat’. Before I share the cover here’s the book description to pique your interest…….

Who can you really trust?
Beth Cruikshank couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house.
And then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events.
But who would want Beth dead?
Can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?
Torment is a story of misplaced loyalty, revenge and sacrifice.

Without further ado here’s the cover for Torment in all its glory

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What do you think? Personally I really like the cover and love the tag line.

About the author

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Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had six novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, You Belong To Me.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Social Media Links:

Author website: http://www.marktilbury.com

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Tilbury/e/B00X7R10I4/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/marktilburyauthor/

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/MTilburyAuthor@MTilburyAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marktilburyauthor/@marktilburyauthor

 

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza #BookTrailer #MustReads @RobertBryndza @TheCrimeVault @kirsteenastor

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing something that I’m really, really excited about, it’s a trailer for the awesome Robert Bryndza’s latest book Nine Elms. In case you don’t follow my blog I’m a huuuuuuuge fan of the author’s books and I can’t wait to read this one, of course I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! This is the first book in a brand new series featuring Kate Marshall, and as I mentioned it’s available for pre-order right now links included below Here’s the very intriguing book description first…….

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Robert Bryndza is ready to take the world by bestselling storm again with the introduction of Kate Marshall, a woman with a dark secret and a powerful sense of justice.

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

Now, years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Nov. 2019)

pre-order links:   Ebook published 1st November 2019 Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Hardback:  published 9th January 2020 Amazon UK 🇬🇧

About the author

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Robert Bryndza is a crime writer and his books have sold 3 million copies, and they’ve been translated into 28 languages. He’s British and lives in Slovakia. In addition to writing crime fiction, he has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels.

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller THE GIRL IN THE ICE, which is the first in my Detective Erika Foster series, and to date, it has sold over one million copies. There are six books (so far) in the Erika Foster series, and they can be read as a series, and also work as stand-alone books, so can be read in any order;

THE GIRL IN THE ICE
THE NIGHT STALKER
DARK WATER
LAST BREATH
COLD BLOOD
DEADLY SECRETS

NINE ELMS, the first book in new crime thriller private detective series, is now available to pre-order, and it will be published in the USA and UK on November 5th 2019.

You can find out more about him at www.robertbryndza.com

and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

Sign up to his New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

And now what you’ve all been waiting for

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Here you go click on the link below to watch the trailer ⬇️⬇️

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza trailer

Well what did you think? I 🖤🖤this trailer it literally gave me goosebumps and now I’m even more eager to read Nine Elms. And don’t forget ⬇️⬇️

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The closer I get by Paul Burston #Review @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks #MustReads

Today I’m sharing my review for The Closer I Get By Paul Burston, this book has been sat patiently on my TBR shelf for far too long, but it’s one that was definitely worth the wait. Before I share my review here’s the book description…

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Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

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When I was young, many moons ago, trolls were cute plastic dolls with sticking up hair, and social media was unheard of it, fast forward a decade or three! and social media is something we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t do without. In someways I embrace social media but I have had always had reservations about the negative side of social media, the trolls, the vicious comments, it goes on and on.  After reading The Closer I get by Paul Burston I find I’m even more  paranoid about my own use of Twitter,  in fact it made me want to delete all my accounts! The author explores online relationships and how the most innocent interactions can turn into something far more disturbing. We are privy to the characters turmoil as we get pulled into a living, breathing nightmare, where fragile online friendships turn to an all consuming obsession. The Closer I get is a powerful, dark tale, brimming with raw emotion and  malice, but oh such a compelling read. 

Tom Hunter is a successful novelist, well his first book was a major hit anyway. His fame comes at a cost and he finds himself being stalked by Evie, a young woman who he met at a book signing and befriended. As the stalking escalates, Evie finds herself in court, and is given a restraining order. The Closer We Get is told in both past and present we learn how Tom and Evie’s relationship turned from innocent tweets into something far more disturbing, and the chapters told in the present explore the impact on Tom and Evie after the court case. Told from both Tom’s and Evie’s points of view the reader is given the opportunity to delve deeper into both characters psyche, which alone makes for a very disquieting read. 

There’s nothing I like I more than an unreliable narrator, but when you get two unreliable characters for the price of one, it’s difficult to know who to believe, or to distinguish the truth from the lies. For me I also felt the lines between the hunter (Evie) and the hunted (Tom) were hazy, is Tom really innocent of any wrong doings? Is Evie as much a victim? I can’t say I particularly liked either of the characters, without a doubt Tom is a victim, but  I found  him to be arrogant and pompous, where as poor Evie is clearly deranged, unstable, and unable to separate fact from fiction, but strangely enough this made the read all the more enjoyable! the author has created two unforgettable characters, which in my mind is testament to Paul Burston’s writing. 

Don’t think for one minute this is your typical ‘stalker’ Psychological thriller, it’s anything but! after all we’re talking Orenda Books here whose books are never, ever, predictable. As the story reached its hugely satisfying but unpredictable conclusion, the tension becomes unbearable as a growing sense of foreboding radiated at the turn of every page.  This is a story that Is highly relevant to today’s society, it’s shockingly credible, unsettling, and brilliantly executed. The Closer I Get has all the ingredients I enjoy in a psychological thriller, unreliable characters, an unpredictable plot, it’s one that encourages you to ponder the perils of social media, which reminds me I need to go and deactivate my accounts! Highly recommended 

  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (11 May 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan for my review copy in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. 

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The book review café book of the month **June 2019**

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Well here we are in July, can you believe it? At last summer seems to have arrived😎 I’m just wondering how long it will last. Before I share my book of the month I thought I would give you an update on my lack of posts lately.  Earlier this year I got admitted to hospital, and to cut along story short it made me realise I needed to slow down, so for the next few months I will be posting as and when. I have no schedule,  well apart from one cover reveal and a blog tour I’m really excited about (my lips are sealed for now 🤐).

You may have noticed I’ve updated my blog photo, do you like it?or hate it? feel free to leave a comment I won’t be offended honesty! I wanted something that instantly shows that I mostly read and review crime thrillers.  I’m still in two minds about the cover but it will do for now anyway.

And now the real reason for my post it’s time to choose my book of the month for June. How do I choose my book  of the month? I go for a book that I find particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page. So without further ado here’s my book of the month for June and it’s a cracker……..

The Whisper Man by Alex North

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With a synopsis that grabbed my attention and a promise from the publishers ‘GET READY FOR THE BIGGEST THRILLER OF 2019’ there was no way on earth I was going to miss reading The Whisper Man by Alex North. There is nothing more terrifying than a child being murdered, and the author expertly plays on these fears, creating a dark, creepy, and haunting read. Be prepared for a few sleepless nights, it takes a lot to unnerve me, but this book actually scared me silly in parts! (In the best possible way). Oh, and a word of warning make sure your bedroom doors are closed at night or beware ** If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken** You can read my full review here…..The Whisper Man by Alex North @writer_north @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #TheWhisperMan #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

Links to my reviews……..

TheJourney by Conrad Jones @ConradJones #BlogTour #BookReview @BOTBSPublicity

Black Summer by M.W.Craven #BookReview @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault #WashingtonPoe #BlackSummer #BookHangoverAward

Someone Is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst #Review @JennyBlackhurst @Annecater #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @headlinepg #SomeoneIsLying #ButWho

Books I’m hoping to read this month

Depending on my mood of course 😂🙈

 

Black Summer by M.W.Craven #BookReview @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault #WashingtonPoe #BlackSummer #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing my review for Black Summer by M.W.Craven the second book in the Washington Poe series, and one of my most anticipated reads for summer 2019. You can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……

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After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

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Ever since I reached the last page The Puppet Show  I have been (in)patiently waiting for Black Summer by M.W. Craven, the second book in the Washington Poe series. One of my favourite things about picking up a new book is when a crime author grabs your attention with a dramatic opening, as soon as I read the first page I just knew that this was a book I knew I would savour. Although Black Summer could be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to read both books in order, not doing so would be like ordering a dessert without the main course! Where’s the pleasure in that? This book is perfectly paced, with engaging characters, it’s definitely one of this year’s summer unmissable crime reads. 

Black Summer is the perfect title for this book, there’s a storm brewing with Poe planted firmly in the eye of the storm!  M.W. Craven puts our hero Poe through the wringer as he finds himself on the wrong side of a crime investigation, one that will question his integrity, and potential end his career.  A case from his past dramatically takes centre stage when Elizabeth Keaton staggers into a police station, nothing wrong with that you might think, but Poe helped to convict her father Jared Keaton, chef to the stars for her murder! A conviction  based mainly on forensic evidence. So it doesn’t bode well for Poe, aided by his colleagues, computer, science and maths genius, Tilly Bradshaw, Poe is in a race against time to prove his innocence. There’s nothing Tilly loves more than a complex the puzzle, if anything she embraces them, and M.J. Craven delivers a deliciously complex  case, one that allows Tilly to showcase her skills in helping to solve a bewildering case. 

There is so much I could say about Poe and Tilly the dynamic duo, they are both such fabulous depicted, compelling characters. Poe is complex & charismatic, complex, whereas the wonderful Tilly is still socially awkward, some of her comments need fine tuning, tact definitely isn’t her strong point but she’s a hell of a character all the same. The dialogue between the couple is endearing, charming and funny, but it’s these moments that add light to the darkness of the plot. There is an array of brilliant characters in Black Summer that are worthy of a mention. We are introduced to forensic pathologist, Estelle Doyle another quirky character, and one I hope will reappear in future books. As for the charming, charismatic Jared Keaton, without giving away spoilers, he’s the definition of a psychopath, chilling but so brilliantly depicted!  The author has a knack for creating characters that are multidimensional, quirky and unforgettable, always a definite plus. 

I loved how the author brought all the threads together culminating in a jaw dropping, but very satisfying and clever conclusion. Black Summer isn’t as dark or gory as The Puppet Show, but OMG if anything I probably enjoyed this book more, there’s so many questions, intrigue, and mystery, my perfect kind of crime read. This is one book that will definitely be on my top reads of 2019, I’m only sorry that we will have to wait another year for the next book in the series, but I will definitely read it and the one after that, and the one……… Black Summer is a book I would recommend without hesitation,  and for those of you who love a crime thriller that’s taut and brilliantly twisted it’s a ‘must read’

  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (20 Jun. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

And yes I’m giving a Black Summer my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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#NoWayOut by Cara Hunter #CrimeSeries #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @PenguinUKBooks

Today I’m sharing my review for the latest book in the DI Fawley series, No Way Out by Cara Hunter if you are a fan of crime/police procedures then this is an unmissable series. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……..

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DID YOU SEE ANYTHING ON THE NIGHT THE ESMOND FAMILY WERE MURDERED? 

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME and IN THE DARK comes the third pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked. 

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder. 

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Woohoo Cara Hunter is back with No Way Out the third novel in the D I Adam Fawley series, in case you haven’t guessed this is one of my favourite crime series ever, in fact I didn’t even bother reading the book description, I picked up the book and dived right in. After reading No Way Out in a day it’s safe to say this crime thriller turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. The author pulls out all the stops, No Way Out is a nail biting, complex tale of arson, child murder and family intrigue. 

No Way Out opens with the chilling discovery of two children, burned in a fire in their family home. Initially, there’s no sign of their parents. The police are not only dealing with arson, but possibly murder. Who would want this seemingly “normal family” dead? Where are the parents? Enter Di Fawley and his team whose job it is to piece the clues together. No Way Out begins in the present but gradually reveals events in the families past that led to the devastating house fire. With so much going on you would be forgiven if you thought this novel may be difficult to follow, but it’s really not, Cara Hunter has a knack of blending past and present timelines, and other mediums into a seamless read that’s nigh on impossible to put down.  

Although No Way Out can be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to read the whole series in order, it’s no hardship I promise. In this novel we learn more about DI Fawley and his team, although the author doesn’t overwhelm the plot with details of their woes or personal life’s, which I find can often happen with a crime series. We just know enough about each of the characters to satisfy our curiosity and make each character all the more intriguing. As you can see from the book description a child dies, which although upsetting the author handles the subject with sensitivity. 

If there’s one thing I love about Cara Hunter’s books it her attention to detail, not only does she provide the reader with a gripping story line, but she adds newspaper reports, transcriptions from witness statements and fire statement reports. An original concept which adds a touch of authenticity to the read, but it’s also one that make you feel part of the investigation rather than a bystander, you’re there sifting through the mountains of evidence, poring over witness statements looking for the clue that will finally “crack” the case. As I expected Cara Hunter has woven an intricate plot, bound together in red herrings and misdirection at every turn, the most satisfying thing about a crime read is not working out the intricate plot before the big reveal,  and Cara Hunter kept me in the dark until the shocking but very satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended by me.

  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (22 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Links to my reviews for the Close To Home and In The Dark by Cara Hunter…….

Close To Home by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks

In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

DEGREES OF GUILT BY HS Chandler @HSCINKPEN #BookReview #DegreesOfGuilt @OrionBooks #MustReads @Helen_Fields

Good morning today I’m sharing my review for Degrees Of Guilt by H S Chandler aka crime thriller writer Helen Fields. If you love a legal thriller this book is unmissable. Read on for my thoughts……..

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When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

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Nothing in life is ever black and white, there are shades of grey that blur our opinions, our thoughts, it’s one thing hearing the facts, but what about the untold story? What hidden truths could change a guilty verdict around or vice versa? Degrees Of Guilt by H.S. Chandler is a thrilling book where your opinion of the guilty, in this case Marie who freely admits to killing her husband, will sway at almost every chapter. This has to be one of the most exciting, complex, and compelling legal thrillers I’ve read for a long time, it’s the definition of a page turner. Rather like the jury, you find yourself living and breathing Marie’s trial, separating the layers of fact from fiction and hoping you make the right decision, guilty or not guilty? It’s up to you to decide.  

With a stellar of an opening chapter Degrees Of Guilt pulls you in to Maries’s story at first she appears cold and rational, But then as the story deftly unfolds we learn more about Marie’s complex life with Edward, nothing is as it first appears, is Marie telling the truth? or is her story one that’s been fabricated to gain sympathy for her wrongdoing’s? I couldn’t help but feel some empathy for her character, even though at times I had my doubts if she really was as innocent as she claimed to be.  The novel is an intricate web of lies, secrets, manipulations, and deceit which make this story a constant, head spinning guessing game, right up until the last chapter you are never sure where the truth really lies. 

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide Marie’s fate, at first she’s a reluctant participate, she’s nervous, timid, her life is very different to Marie’s she’s a wife and mother who life centres on her family, but as Marie’s trial reveals shocking details of her marriage she realises she has far more in common with her than she first thought. I found it fascinating to see how the mixed bunch of jurors first assumptions of Marie changed throughout the story, their opinions and feelings constantly shift, so you are never sure which verdict they will choose. Marie’s story is intense, alarming and uncomfortable,  which some readers find upsetting.  The author depicts the claustrophobic feel of the courtroom and the animosity of the jury towards the accused and their peers perfectly. 

The setting of a courtroom for most of the novel adds a palatable sense of claustrophobia and trepidation, a ploy that’s guaranteed to keep you reading and will make you reluctant to put this novel down even for a few minutes. Degrees of guilt is part domestic noir infused with a believable and heart wrenching courtroom drama, oozing with tension and mystery. HS Chandler knows how to keep the reader’s attention with a complex plot, intriguing characters, and a couple of curveballs I never saw coming until they hit me in the face! A superb book that I would highly recommend to those who love domestic noir wrapped up in a courtroom drama.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Trapeze (16 May 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Meggy over at https://chocolatenwaffles.com/, for her fabulous review that convinced me to read this book. 

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