Book Review: The Secret, by Katerina Diamond #KeepTheSecret

Publisher:  Avon Books UK (Harper Collins)

Publication date:  20th October 2016

the-secret-my-review

the-secret-by-katerina-diamondAre you familiar with Katerina Diamond’s debut, The Teacher? No? Well, you ought to know that she’s not shy where plot grimness is concerned, pushing her characters beyond the reasonable limits of day-to-day normality. The Secret is no exception, only this time she gives ’em a damn good shove until they’re teetering on the edge.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of the emotionally isolated Miles and Grey, and here they are – the detective duo with more issues than Reader’s Digest. They wear their poker faces 24/7 to ensure their vulnerable sides are never exposed and any relationship they engage in is frenetic, brooding or fractured. They have an endless supply of sarcastic retorts to suit every occasion, and both halves of this exclusive team spot the early warning signs when they have breached each other’s personal space.

Yes indeedy, Miles and Grey are back and I love them to bits for their spectacular faults, wisecracks, and the bad luck fired at them by the bucket load.

The Secret is a tricky bread crumb trail of lies, and it was fab to delve deeper into the dynamics of the latest criminal fraternity VS law ensemble to decide where to place my trust, which wasn’t easy as there’s some serious deviousness going on! The main focus leans toward the enigma that is DI Imogen Grey. During the current investigation to find a missing woman who has links to her old partner, Grey’s past trickles to the surface including the quirks of her mother’s hoarding, the life challenges that made her as hard as nails, and the near fatal hideousness of a previous case forcing a move from Plymouth Constabulary to Exeter touched on in book one. A LOT of stagnant water rushes under the bridge for Grey in this one, dragging the truth with it to rage like a torrent throughout the pages.

This case leads us into the realms of some truly abhorrent crimes. Not only do we hear accounts of the missing woman’s imprisonment in a place where the concept of time and reality has left the building, there’s one hell of a HUMONGOUS revelation for Grey and potential trouble brewing for Miles’s ex-wife too. And I mustn’t forget the intermittent monologues of a depraved and insecure individual. These moments shine a light into their mind as they develop their private recreational activities in the name of twisted gratification. But life just wouldn’t be the same without a creepy oddball living out their dream while discreetly losing their mind, would it?

The Secret rarely strays out of the dark. Pretty much anything goes, and what does go is often explored in lurid detail. It’s extreme, wicked and disturbing – and I’m THOROUGHLY looking forward to the next one…

Rating:  4/5

(I received an advanced digital copy of this title from the publishers via NetGalley with my thanks, and this is my unbiased review.)

the-secret-book-summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

‘Diamond is the master of gripping literature.’ EVENING STANDARD

The Queen of Grip-lit is back… All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ HEAT

‘A web of a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. This formidable debut is a page-turner, but don’t read it before bed if you’re easily spooked!’ SUN

Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

Bridget Reid has a secret, one that could get her killed… If she can escape the man who is keeping her locked in a basement bedroom.

DS Imogen Grey is good at keeping secrets – truths she’d never reveal to her colleagues at Exeter Police. She worked hard to get where she is – she nearly died for it. Now her past is catching up with her…

As DS Grey and her partner DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a terrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder. And they realise that some secrets are better left buried…

BUY THE BOOK

the-secret-author-profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Katerina Diamond was born in Weston in the seventies. She moved to Thessaloniki in Greece and attended Greek school where she learnt Greek in just 6 months. After her parents’ divorce, they relocated to Devon. After school, and working in her uncle’s fish and chip shop, she went (briefly) to university at Derby, where she met her husband and had two children. Katerina now lives in the East Kent Coast with her husband and children.

Her debut novel, The Teacher, was a No.1 bestseller in ebook, and a Sunday Times bestseller in paperback.

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE / BLOG

ALSO AVAILABLE…

The Teacher - Kindle Cover

Book Review: Strangers, by Paul Finch #Strangers

Publisher:  Avon (Harper Collins)

Publication date:   22nd September 2016

strangers-my-review

Strangers by Paul FinchStrangers has a massively satisfying plot which catches light from the first page, and I can genuinely say it made my eyes burn as I was still reading at 2am, and on a work night too (oh, the shame). Any nagging loose ends are cleverly tucked in on route, and it has the right balance of action and snappy dialogue exchange that would make it TV script-worthy. Yep, it’s an exceptional read.

Cocking up on duty was the beginning of the end of PC Lucy Clayburn. After committing career suicide, and still stinking from the whiff of stepping into a nasty situation, she accepts she’ll be plodding along as Constable for the foreseeable. Although her sights remain firmly on becoming a detective, she is content to uphold the law in her uniquely effective manner and reminisce on what might have been.

When the possibility arises for her to turn temporary detective again what follows is a relentless quest to do whatever is required, as she volunteers to go undercover to catch a killer who’s going round mutilating their victim’s bits without a hint of compassion or compromising their identity.

Nick-named “The Ripper Chicks”, Lucy and other female officers mingle on the dimly lit streets hoping to catch the butcher before they strike again.

An outbreak of the plague wouldn’t deter Lucy from this opportunity. But her determination only encourages her borderline recklessness. She’ll sink deeper into a world of vice, surrounding herself with alarmingly untouchable people who keep especially grim company and have to think on her feet to save her skin. Her involvement in this case could make or break her future, yet there’s every chance it’ll have the same effect on her physically.

Clayburn is the perfectly tenacious, Ducati motorcycle riding police officer, with her eye firmly on the prize. And no. She doesn’t want fame she, wants to find the hives of criminals. While she stamps on their nests whenever she can, her single parent mother does her laundry and cooks her tea – such a refreshing change from the stereotypical aging / brooding / recently separated Inspectors normally chosen for the starring role.

There’s also a terrific assortment of fellow cast members, including the unusually supportive ball-breaking Inspectors, and a multitude of shady employers from brutal brothel keepers to obsessively organised crime lords, where the hired muscle takes pride in reprimanding staff and tailoring on-the-job-training accordingly.

With its engrossing, adrenalin-fuelled plot, withholding the perfect pinch of vital information to leave you craving more, Strangers is in another league entirely. I’ve previously read two of Paul Finch’s books in the ‘DS Heckenburg’ series and loved them both, but this one featuring PC Lucy Clayburn is outstanding.

Rating:  5/5

(I received a paperback copy of this title from the Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review, with my huge thanks for a great read.)

strangers-book-summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

“A fast-paced, terrifying journey” RACHEL ABBOTT

Dark, gritty and always edge-of-your-seat: the NO.1 BESTSELLER is back with a standout new heroine…

Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life.

As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is.

But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there’s no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come.

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.

And, unknown to Lucy, she’s already treading it…

Always gripping. Always gruesome. Paul Finch will leave fans of Rachel Abbott and MJ Arlidge gasping for more.

BUY THE BOOK

strangers-author-profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Paul Finch studied History at Goldsmiths, London, before becoming a cop in the north west of England. He then let his passion for writing allow him to follow a career in journalism. Now a full time writer, he first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, THE BILL, and has written extensively in the field of children’s animation. However, he is probably best known for his work in thrillers and horrors.

His crime debut novel, STALKERS, was a no 1 ebook best seller in 2013 and introduced DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg. This was followed last July 2013 by the sequel, SACRIFICE, and May 2014 by the third in the series, THE KILLING CLUB. The fourth, DEAD MAN WALKING, will follow in November 2014, with the fifth, HUNTED, in February 2015. The Heck series is also to be published in Germany, Poland, Turkey, Hungary, and Japan.

In addition to his Heck novels, Paul has had twelve books and nearly 300 stories and novellas published on both sides of the Atlantic. His first collection, AFTER SHOCKS (Ash-Tree Press), won the British Fantasy Award in 2002, while he won the award again in 2007 for his novella, KID. Later in 2007, he won the International Horror Guild Award for his mid-length story, THE OLD NORTH ROAD. His short novel, CAPE WRATH (Telos), was short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award in 2002, and several other collections of his stories and novellas have been published since, all of them well received by fans and readers. His horror novel, STRONGHOLD, was published by Abaddon Books in 2010, and the same year Pendragon Press published his highly rated festive terror tale, SPARROWHAWK. Paul has also written three DR WHO audio dramas for Big Finish – LEVIATHAN, SENTINELS OF THE NEW DAWN and HEXAGORA, and THRESHOLD, the pilot episode for the DR WHO spin-off series, COUNTER MEASURES. Paul’s DR WHO novel, HUNTER’S MOON was published by BBC Books in 2011.

Paul is no stranger to film either, having written scripts for several horror movies. Two of these, SPIRIT TRAP and THE DEVIL’S ROCK, were released in 2005 and 2011 respectively, while his short story THE BELFRIES, is currently being adapted in Hollywood, and his movie script WAR WOLF is under development by Amber Entertainment.

Wearing an editor’s hat, Paul is also responsible for the TERROR TALES series from Gray Friar Press, a collection of ghost and horror anthologies exploring the folklore, history and geography of the various regions of Britain.

Paul Finch lives in Lancashire, UK, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry.

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Book Review: The Missing, by C.L. Taylor #TheMissing

Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins)   |   Publication date: 7th April 2016

My Review - The Missing

The Missing - Kindle CoverAfter reading The Lie I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Cally Taylor’s new book – and what an outstanding performance by the cast in The Missing, from each and every one of them!

These perfectly ordinary folk are going about their perfectly ordinary lives until one day the extraordinary occurs – fifteen year old Billy Wilkinson goes AWOL. Okay, so he’s developed an attitude lately and seems hell-bent on looking for trouble, but the remaining members of his household never expected to be left wondering if he is alive or dead.

After an unsuccessful TV appeal and an ongoing online campaign, the thoughts of those close to Billy are starting to veer toward their worst fears. As the narration continues, you feel the haunting effect his disappearance has on the immediate family – their desperate situation unfolds before your eyes and sees them beginning to fray around the edges.

His mum, Claire, begins to suffer from random blackouts where she finds herself in different parts of town, questioning how she arrived there, scarily without any memory of the event. His father, Mark, projects an almost cold and unfeeling persona, but it’s his method of dealing with varying situations in his life, by ‘compartmentalising’ them in his mind and not really considering the effect of his behaviour on those around him. Billy’s older brother, Jake, is seeking solace at the bottom of a bottle, while Jake’s girlfriend has also been living with the Wilkinsons as she is experiencing difficulties with her own ‘devoid of all emotion’ mother. The only thing they have in common anymore is the fact Billy is missing.

The anguish of waiting for further developments strikes cruel blows throughout as they consider the painful fact: could they have done something differently that day? Well, little things occur to make them realise their life wasn’t as settled as they thought, but how did they miss the signs? Each of them were probably too busy keeping their own secrets safe.

The Wilkinson’s story is hit with the occasional burst of an online chat, which preceded the family’s current torment. The sneak previews of these two-sided and anonymous snippets of conversations are quite revealing, yet still conceal both senders’ identities. They are often graphic, sometimes explicit, but that’s before they morph into something else entirely as time ticks on. My perceptions of the characters changed dramatically, so my suspicions were aimed at just about everyone – and I was way off the mark!

Without a doubt the subject of The Missing is a waking nightmare. Those waiting for news don’t know how long the flickering glimmer of hope will stay alight for, nor can they grieve as the ordeal never ends. The author successfully captures the very essence of this perpetual state of limbo by lacing her words with an unsettling energy that simmers throughout, until they brew to a gobsmacking conclusion.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this title via NetGalley – and also the surprise paperback copy! – in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Summary - The Missing

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

‘The Missing has a delicious sense of foreboding from the first page, luring us into the heart of a family with terrible secrets and making us wait, with pounding hearts for the final, agonizing twist. Loved it’
Fiona Barton, Author of THE WIDOW

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. But should you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?  Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

“I was grabbed by this book from the first page and read the ending with an open mouth. I wish I could unread it so that I could go back and discover it again. Brilliant!”
Angela Marsons, Author of SILENT SCREAM

Author Profile - The Missing

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

CL Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle then moved to London to work in medical publishing as a sales administrator. After two years she moved to Brighton where she worked as a graphic designer, web developer and instructional designer over the course of 13 years. She now writes full time.

CL Taylor’s first psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014 according to The Bookseller. Her second novel, THE LIE, charted at number 5 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers list. Combined sales of both novels have now exceeded half a million copies in the UK alone.

Cally’s third psychological thriller THE MISSING will be published by Avon HarperCollins in April 2016.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

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Book Review: The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows (George McKenzie, Book 3), by Marnie Riches

Publisher: Avon Books (Harper Collins)   |   Publication date: 31st March 2016

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows My Review

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows CoverWell, well, well. The Girl Who series continues and it’s another consistently feisty one, just like it’s heroine.

The story is set two years later from the incident with the psychotic Butcher in Book Two, and not only is Georgina McKenzie back as a trained criminologist she’s now managed to involve her whole family in this case. They make a formidable team – and you wouldn’t want to cross them, that’s for sure!

Their origins and quirky family background helps to lift the oppressive plot of child trafficking, kidnap, and the appearance of a cold-hearted killer called Jack Frost, who settles his scores armed only with an icicle. This murder weapon leaves no clues as to his identity for the authorities, as no finger prints or witnesses remain.

Georgina McKenzie’s expertise stretches only so far, especially as her efforts are being concentrated on making Paul van de Bergen suffer for his non-committal in their relationship. But although he desperately needs George’s mind to help further his existing case, at the front of his own mind is his pregnant daughter, who is the same age as George, making him realise just how odd a crinkled detective and a fresh-faced criminologist must look when they’re together.

Now, not only does this character ‘Jack Frost’ feature heavily, the storyline follows a young couple’s ups and downs in the media spotlight when their two toddlers go missing from their back yard. Like the adverse weather conditions, the plot becomes weighty under several heavy layers until it’s hard to discriminate between the good and the bad guys in a complex investigation stretching between London, Cambridge, and Amsterdam. The inclusion of the three very different locations of this series keeps the flow moving rapidly – it’s never settles, not even for a second, a bit like George’s erratic life and the constant threat to it.

The Girl Who series wouldn’t be the same without its shady characters crawling out of the woodwork, including The Duke, a low life enjoying a high position of power and literally getting away with breaking every moral code you could think of. There are feuds and a long distance relationship to mend (mainly George’s), and deadly confrontations that’ll knock your socks off.

While this may not be my favourite plot of the series (but still a damned fine one, I would add), it is delivered with more precision and barbed wit than all of them put together. Where many people fail, Marnie Riches excels: the magnificent feat of drawing a colourful personality, a distinct odour, or misshapen appearance of one of her creations with only a few choice words has more impact than any photographic still.

I bet I’m not the only one hoping that George will in return in the future. Although the immediate case is wrapped up the rather warped ending has left the door somewhat ajar …

Enticingly gritty crime and as pacy as hell. 

Rating: 5/5

(My thanks to the publishers, Harper Collins – Avon Books – for providing a digital copy of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Romani gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?

BUY THE BOOK

(Amazon kindly informs me I’ve had this on pre-order since 15th January!)

The Girl Who Walkd in the Shadows Author Profile

Marnie RichesMarnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. She learned her way out of the ghetto, all the way to Cambridge University, where she gained a Masters degree in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. Previously a children’s author, now, she writes crime and contemporary women’s fiction.

Marnie Riches is the author of the George McKenzie crime thriller series, published by Maze and Avon at Harper Collins.

In her spare time, Marnie likes to run (more of a long distance shuffle, really) travel, drink and eat all the things (especially if combined with travel) paint portraits, sniff expensive leather shoes (what woman doesn’t?) and renovate old houses. She also adores flowers.

Winner of the Patricia Highsmith award for ‘Most Exotic Location’.

CONNECT WITH MARNIE RICHES:

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Book Review: The Teacher, by Katerina Diamond #DoYouDare?

Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins UK)   |   Publication date:  10th March 2016

The Teacher - My Review

The TeacherYes, yes, that apple on the cover looks intriguing, doesn’t it? But you know what they say about biting off more than you can chew, hmmm? Well that applies more than you would know on this occasion. When this book summary says “not for the faint-hearted” it means it, with absolute sincerity.

The Teacher doesn’t simply contain borderline obscene, graphic and explicit content, it crosses over it into another style of crime read altogether; not quite stomach-churning, horror, yet not your run-of-the-mill police thriller either. Why so unsavoury do you ask? Well, every sadistic act that is committed throughout the narrative possesses a much deeper meaning for the murderer, which you will discover if you actually make it to the end.

The upshot of the story is our anonymous and savage killer is targeting a generation of upstanding members of the community, mainly persons connected to a private educational establishment. The chosen few are subjected to an unthinkable darkness tailored to inflict the most pain, each having absolute precision and attention to detail.

I’ll be honest it took me a while to warm to the investigative team that were on the scene. They have their own share of issues that are more than your usual downtrodden cop angst. The author gives very little away so at first they appear challenged, but unlikeable. Give them a chance, they’ve exceeded their emotional baggage allowance twice over.

Their past is their driving force and has shaped them to become who they are today. Mistakes at previous levels of their careers leaves them vulnerable to being singled-out by the top brass and having to accept their pecking order within the department. The ‘misfit duo’ are thrown together thinking the move will punish them somehow, but unbeknown to those around them their individual suffering will make them more suited to catch a vicious killer than any of their esteemed colleagues with their popularity and ‘unblemished’ records.

DS Adrian ‘Miley’ Miles is one half of the duo. He is told to work leads from behind the scenes, as he previously showed stalker tendencies toward the son of one of the victims. But will the cases be linked without him? Unorthodox methods of policing come into play to push his line of enquiry forward, much to the disapproval of those above. And no partnership would be complete without another sacrificial lamb in the form of DS Imogen Grey, who ‘Miley’ says dresses like the skater Tony Hawks.

As the odd couple accept each others idiosyncrasies, an excellent repartee and witty personal insults evolve to flood the pages. It creates an extremely successful mini-team that goes from strength to strength.

Brutality and degradation continues to feature heavily, even for secondary characters – the good, the bad, and the ugly (and pretty much anyone really), won’t escape attention. The content will surely raise a few eyebrows here and there. It has a wicked pace that might leave you wincing, but it yields an end result that is spot-on for the nature of the plot.

In its defence The Teacher begs the question of what happens when justice can’t be served in the traditional manner we all rely on. Sometimes the only way forward is to fight fire with fire. Despite the heinous nature of their first outing together I’d like to see these firefighters again. Although they are unrefined and bullish one trait they share is being wholly committed, even when the burden of their own demons are doing a terrific job of interfering with their better judgement.

Can they make the right choices to ensure those responsible get what they deserve? Would they recognise who that is any more? This is not an open and shut case for DS Miles and Grey. Don’t say you haven’t been warned…

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the Publisher and Helena Sheffield for providing a digital copy of this book for review, via NetGalley.)

The Teacher Book Summary

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil?

You’re wrong …

The Teacher is a debut crime novel from Katerina DiamondIt will upturn everything you thought you knew …

A LESSON YOU WILL NEVER FORGET … DO YOU DARE?

The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

SMART. GRIPPING. GRUESOME.

This is a psychological crime thriller in a class of its own.

WARNING:  Most definitely *not* for the faint-hearted!

BUY THE BOOK

#DoYouDare?

The Teacher Author Links

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR, KATERINA DIAMOND:

TWITTER     |     AUTHOR’S BLOG / SITE

 

 

 

COVER REVEAL: Mean Sisters, By Lindsay Emory #MeanSisters

Hi, everybody! It’s cover reveal time for Lindsay Emory’s new book, and I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part!

Described as a cross between Mean Girls and Legally Blonde, MEAN SISTERS is published on 17th March 2016 by Maze (Harper Collins UK).

Helena Sheffield of Avon Books (Harper Collins) says:

This book is sassy, sharp, funny and has a killer edge to it.

Well, Helena hasn’t been wrong with her descriptions so far – sounds like one to watch out for!

AAAAAND WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, HERE IT IS!

Mean Sisters

TERRIFIC, HUH?!

*********************************************************

A sassy, hilariously funny murder mystery where the closest bonds of friendship might just kill you…!

Margot Blythe is a twenty-something year old who can’t seem to let her college glory days go. After all, everyone deserves a family of ‘sisters’ like she had. When she’s invited to speak at her alma mater, her homecoming reception isn’t exactly what she expected. Tragedy strikes and Margot has to step up, especially when foul play is suspected.

She’s going to save her fifty frazzled ‘sisters’, keep the suspicious (but dangerously cute) police officer at bay and find out the truth – could a sister have committed such an unimaginable sin as murder?

Margot is going to learn the real bond of sisterhood and maybe, just maybe, discover where she truly belongs.

BUY THE BOOK

(It’s available to pre-order at the time of posting.)

*********************************************************

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

As a Texan and recovering sorority girl, Lindsay Emory has strong opinions on college football, nachos, and wearing white after Labor Day. Lindsay started writing when her first grade teacher put her in a closet and told her to write stories, instead of teaching her math. When she’s not writing, she’s raising two daughters, watching movies with her husband, and reading as many books as possible. She is an active member of the Dallas Area Romance Authors chapter of RWA and a semi-active member of the PTA, which is a whole lot less fun.

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Thanks so much for stopping by, folks!

All the best,

Wendy sig

COVER REVEAL: #TheGirlWho Walked in the Shadows by Marnie Riches

It’s almost time for the next THRILLING instalment of #TheGirlWho, by the marvellous Marnie Richies – it would be criminal to miss it … (erm, sorry about that).

Marnie’s third book in the Georgina McKenzie series, The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, will be published on the 31st March 2016 in E-Book (that’s a Thursday, in case you’re interested, not that I’m counting the days or anything) and I’m OVER THE MOON to be able to share this TREMENDOUS, EYE-CATCHING COVER with you:

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows

Wanna to know more? Well, here’s the book summary for you – it sounds like a good ‘un to me! :

Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Romani gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?

BUY THE BOOK

(My pre-order is IN, people. And I. Can’t. Waaaaait!)

Marnie RichesMarnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. She learned her way out of the ghetto, all the way to Cambridge University, where she gained a Masters degree in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. Previously a children’s author, now, she writes crime and contemporary women’s fiction.

Marnie Riches is the author of the George McKenzie crime thriller series, published by Maze and Avon at Harper Collins.

In her spare time, Marnie likes to run (more of a long distance shuffle, really) travel, drink and eat all the things (especially if combined with travel) paint portraits, sniff expensive leather shoes (what woman doesn’t?) and renovate old houses. She also adores flowers.

Winner of the Patricia Highsmith award for ‘Most Exotic Location’.

CONNECT WITH MARNIE RICHES:

TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   WEBSITE   |   AMAZON

In the meantime, you can read my 5/5 reviews for the first two #TheGirlWho books by clicking the covers below:

The Girl Who Wouldnt Die by Marie Richies    31MayThe Girl Who Broke the Rules

Thanks so much for stopping by, folks!

Wendy sig

 

 

 

Book Review: Follow Me (Social Media Murders 1), by Angela Clarke #AreYouNext?

Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins) | Publication date: Kindle 3rd December 2015, Paperback 31st December 2015 | Edition reviewed: Kindle (NetGalley)

Follow Me My Review

Follow Me is a ballsy, social-media-murder-mystery that strikes a loud fictional chord with the ‘online’ world we live in today. This, and the frenzied attempts to catch a serial killer, creates a punchy and enthralling read.

In a brave journalistic move, the abrasive Freddie soon discovers how a deranged oddball is earning their name as the #Hashtag Murderer. After harnessing the power of social media to its full anonymous advantage, an account, known only as @ Apollyon, tweets a series of short riddles to leave a bread crumb trail to their intended victim.  As very few clues are revealed the police have nothing to go on and no way to trace the elusive tweeter.

It’s always nice to have a mention or a like, but personally I’d give this account a wide berth! Once you’re in Apollyon’s sights your popularity will end abruptly – if you’re unfortunate to be followed back, you can be pretty sure you won’t have a pulse for much longer. And yet, each sporadic tweet sees the number of followers swell.

During the police investigation, Freddie finds herself acting as social media consultant for the case. She also battles demons from her past as she is standing shoulder to shoulder with her old school friend Nasreen, now a police Sergeant. Their friendship was ended eight years ago by hints of a secret they share throughout the book. This past emotional baggage is prodded at intervals but isn’t revealed until much later, which lends an tainted edge to their strained relationship.

Sergeant ‘Naz’ Cudmore is ever the professional, wearing perfect suits and annoyingly sucking up to her superiors to further her career, while reciting the police handbook. Freddie Venton rescues two day old clothes off the floor and writes editorial for free, frustratingly waiting for recognition as a credible journalist – at other times she fills her time being a loose cannon waiting to explode at inopportune moments, much to the dismay of the DCI in charge. Given her boisterous and erratic nature, you’d think Freddie would be the last person trusted to assist with the authorities. The question is, will her off-the-wall nature help or hinder the unsuspecting public before we discover who’s next?!

The concept of a #Hashtag Murderer is unnerving, as this invisible threat has the entire population at their mercy. But this book could easily be a manual for of how not to conduct a police investigation. The amateurish decisions of the higher ranking officers at times made me want to throttle them!

The story has an wicked energy to it, there’s an odd, lively buzz as you read. The chapters have social media acronyms as titles too – like a fictional timeline, keeping the online theme at the front of your mind. Nice touch that.

So, hidden agendas and sinister activity aplenty then – what’s not to like?! Oops, scrub that. Best not ‘like’, just in case…

Are You Next ANIMATED GIF

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the publisher, Avon Books UK, for providing a digital copy of this book via NetGalley for review purposes.)

Follow Me Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …

BUY THE BOOK

(EBOOK PUBLISHED 3rd DECEMBER 2015)

Follow Me Author Links

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Angela Clarke is an author, columnist and playwright. Her debut crime novel Follow Me (Avon) is out December 2015. Follow Me is the first in the Social Media Murders Series.

Her memoir Confessions of a Fashionista (Ebury) is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. Her debut play The Legacy received rave reviews after it’s first run at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. Angela’s journalist contributions include: The Guardian, The Independent Magazine, The Daily Mail, and Cosmopolitan. Now magazine described her as a ‘glitzy outsider’. Angela read English and European Literature at Essex University, and Advances in Scriptwriting at RADA. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing.

She is almost always late or lost, or both.

Find out more at: http://angelaclarke.co.uk

TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   WEBSITE

COVER REVEAL: Follow Me, by Angela Clarke #AreYouNext?

Follow Me Cover Reveal

Follow Me - Cover Reveal copy Medium

Like Share Follow Die

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.
But this is no virtual threat.
As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.
Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?
Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

Online no one can hear you scream

Published by Avon Books UK (An imprint of Harper Collins)

Ebook:  3rd December  |  Paperback 31st December

Pacey, gripping, and so up-to-the-minute you better read it quick!
Claire McGowan, author of The Fall, The Lost and The Dead Ground

FOR MORE INFO OR TO PRE-ORDER CLICK HERE

And you could always follow the author: @TheAngelaClarke  …

~ Well, I think this sounds pretty awesome – CAN’T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON A COPY! ~

Wendy sig

Book Review: A Christmas Cracker, by Trisha Ashley

Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins)  |  Publication date: 22nd October 2015  |  Edition: Kindle (Review copy, via Netgalley)

~ FIRSTLY, A VERY HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY TO TRISHA ASHLEY!!!! ~

A Christmas Cracker My Review

A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Astley Kindle CoverA Christmas Cracker is a cheery little marvel and provided me with a delightful distraction over the recent dismal days. This book has the “F” Factor – that’s Fantastically Festive and Feel good!

The village of Little Mumming in the Hamlet of Godsend and its random selection of quirky residents are such excellent company.  The story has just about everything: from perfectly chosen names of the characters and places, a snobby cat called Pye with human traits, not to mention that Marwood’s Magical Crackers seems the most welcoming workplace in the world – it was an absolute joy to read!

With the owners of the old factory mill being practicing Quakers they have a marvellous reputation for offering second chances to those in need. Yet it seems they could do with one themselves, as the products they sell need a much welcomed facelift, along with most of the staff who aren’t getting any younger! Over time, each employee has become a valued friend of the quirky owners and has their own story to tell, but I’ll let you get to know them for yourself. Let’s just say they’re keen as mustard and happy to leave their past behind them. Much like our main gal, Tabitha…

After being wrongly accused of fraud and losing everything only to gain a custodial sentence, Tabby is desperate to move on. But it seems that the shadows from her past just won’t let her go and they leap out to challenge her at unexpected intervals. You can almost hear her cry, “good grief, what next?!”

Since her mum passed away Tabby is without any family. Her one and only friend has tried to remain supportive but is experiencing difficulties of her own with a jealous husband watching her every move. So Tabby relies on the uncompromising kindness of Mercy Marwood, famed for her good, honest hospitality, plenty of mouth-watering food and an abundance of energy, despite her advancing years.

With Tabby’s artistic eye for design, Mercy hopes to turn her Cracker factory around by dragging it kicking and screaming into a popular attraction, while still retaining its traditional values. But Randal, her nephew, has other ideas for the mill and seems hell bent on making the new house guest and her cantankerous cat as unwelcome as possible. He cannot believe the family business will be profitable again and will take some convincing, but he’s facing a formidable team!

His rudeness is to be expected though, as Tabby recognises Mercy’s nephew from the awful past she’s trying to forget, the one just before she had been arrested. Well, you can gather that things get very interesting indeed as the headstrong battle for the survival of the mill plays out.

So, what did I find in A Christmas Cracker? A WONDERFUL STORY with a great BIG HEART! It reminds you that no matter how bleak things look there’s always hope – okay, you might miss it on the first couple of passes, but it’ll be waiting for you to stumble over it all in good time…

Rating: 4/5

PS. The recipes in the back of the book were a lovely touch too!

(My thanks to the publisher, Avon Books and Helena Sheffield, for providing a digital copy of this book for review via Netgalley.)

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Get into the festive spirit with this heart-warming, funny and simply gorgeous Christmas read.

The eagerly awaited new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author.

This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!

Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.

But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.

But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .

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A Christmas Cracker Author Links

Connect with the author, Trisha Ashley:

TWITTER  |  WEBSITE FACEBOOK