Book Review: Blood Lines (DI Kim Stone Book 5) , by Angela Marsons

Publisher:  Bookouture

Publication date: 3rd November 2016 (Version – Kindle)

blood-lines-my-review

blood-lines-by-angela-marsonsDon’t you just love it when a book is completely flawless? The ones that tick ALL the boxes for an incredible read are a rare find, but Blood Lines should strut to the front of the stage and take a well-deserved bow.

DI Kim Stone is one of my absolute favourite characters in ANY genre. The trials in her own background determines how she responds to individuals is rated on the varying degrees on her personal ‘don’t muck me about Stoneometer’: the vulnerable ones have her full and immediate attention, her close knit team know how she works especially when they’re testing the little patience she possesses, and throw in the odd psychopath now and then and it’s a challenge she will rise to.

Stone’s frosty attitude is a stark contrast of how she fights the corner of the victims in the cases she works. In this case, two unrelated victims from entirely different backgrounds are discovered with a single fatal stab wound and, as ever, she is determined to get justice for them – thank heavens for Bryant, her trusty side-kick, who has ample diplomacy for the both of them when dealing with the general public and oddly uncooperative family members!

During the investigation Bryant senses a shift for the worse in the DI’s usual testy mood and realises something is amiss, but as his boss rarely lets her guard down its difficult to determine the reason why. But, we know that Dr Alexandra Thorne is attempting to wheedle her way back into the detective’s life via ways she know will breech the DI’s tough exterior and cause her to lose control – inviting someone with the merciless supremacy of Alex Thorne into the driving seat of your life is not something you would want given her track record, believe me!

After her first appearance in Evil Games Thorne was SO wickedly sinister it was difficult to believe the author, Angela Marsons, could achieve that level of awesome villainy again. Well, she ruddy well has and Blood Lines is equal if not better than book two of the series (that is hard to live up to as I rated it a 6/5!).

There’s something about Alex Thorne as Kim Stone’s adversary that you just can’t top. Let’s face it, she may be safely behind bars but that doesn’t mean to say that everyone else stop looking over their shoulder! Her puppet mastery skills have an incredibly looong reach. The events she orchestrates are taken to a whole new level of devious manipulation and vengefulness, and she will stop at nothing until she antagonises ‘Kimmy’, her irritating pet name for the DI, just enough to provoke  the reaction she desires.

There are many, many, many other character’s traits I love too, like Barney the dog (yes, a dog), Keats the pathologist, and Stacey’s broad Black Country accent. Not to mention the absence of Stone’s culinary skills and her minimalistic, solitary lifestyle – I think we can safely assume that she won’t appear on Come Dine with Me any time soon!

Take it from someone who very rarely continues to read a series when I say this collection is tremendous. It’s a series that never fails to deliver just the right amount of compassion, credibility, action, wit and suspense. This is crime fiction at its finest.

Rating:  5/5

(Source: My own purchased copy.)

My reviews for the series so far:

Book 1:  Silent Scream

Book 2:  Evil Games

Book 3:  Lost Girls

Book 4:  Play Dead

blood-lines-book-summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.

As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them…

A totally gripping thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page to the final, dramatic twist.

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blood-lines-author-profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK – Author photograph courtesy of Publisher)

Angela Marsons photo

Angela Marsons is the author of Amazon #1 Bestseller SILENT SCREAM.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador 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 (My Name Is and The Middle Child) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

The second, third and fourth books in the Kim Stone series, EVIL GAMES, LOST GIRLS and PLAY DEAD are also now available.

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OTHER BOOKS IN THE DI KIM STONE SERIES

DI Kim Stone Series 4

Book Review: Rattle, By Fiona Cummins #Rattle

Publisher:  Pan Macmillan

Publication date: 26th January 2017

rattle-my-review

rattle-by-fiona-cummins-coverThere is a distinctive, malevolent streak in Rattle that is not to be missed. It’s the kind of book that cackles with delight as it confidently struts passed the realm of crime thriller and into a territory where only the darkest mind can thrive, ominously gathering pace with the rustle of every page turn.

Still haunted by the unsolved mystery of what became of little Grace Rodriguez over a year ago, the daunting task of detecting falls with a thud onto Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy.

As her personal life discreetly implodes, Clara Foyle vanishes from the school gates. Elsewhere Clara’s mother was having her nails done, abandoning the responsibility of her child to someone else, and not for the first time. Her vanity quickly disappears as her perfect world caves in and is soaked liberally in alcohol.

Meanwhile, Erdman and Lilian Frith’s son, Jakey, is being wrapped in parental cotton wool to prevent his bones from taking a knock due to an exceedingly rare and painful medical condition. Time is already ticking for the boy to have a ‘normal’ life before it is cruelly stolen, and they only wish to protect him from the little things that can hurt him until that day finally comes. You’d think they’d have enough to contend with during frequent trips to A&E, but their worst nightmare hasn’t even begun.

Damn, this is fiendishly good! Vulnerabilities are exploited and hope is crushed as meticulous planning is rewarded with success, and all because a curator of a macabre private collection is obsessed with expanding his inexplicable legacy. But his own desire to enhance his life’s work will inevitably cost others their lives, others who you get to know in a dreadful waiting game, as an ordinary man with a select dress sense stalks the hosts who are of specific interest to him.

I must commend the author for portraying such salivating professionalism during his labours. He’s a wicked operator able to merge with the hordes, unseen, unchecked, unwavering. Once his ‘suit’ is on its hanger he switches persona to become a simple man with an ironic responsibility.

The story is told during the period of a little over a week. The days in which devastating crimes are committed have time stamps indicating the stage of the investigation and how it’s progressing, offering a fly on the wall  perspective as to who’s bearing up under the weight of their tremendous private anxieties: the Erdman’s, the Foyle’s, the Rodriguez’s, the Fitzroy’s and, of course, the Collector himself.

The situations the individuals find themselves in are perfectly perceptive and their existing domestics serve as fuel the already roaring fire. It’s emotionally crushing in just the right places before sweeping you along in a blaze of dazzlingly sharp dialogue. With its detestable villain, relatable detective and a common link that will bind the victims’ anguish for all eternity, the suspense in Rattle is so fierce it’s a physical wrench to put the book down – and believe me, you won’t want to.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Rating:          5/5

(I received a copy of this title courtesy of the publisherFrancesca Pearce – and the author with my thanks, and this is my unbiased review.)

JUST MOMENTS AFTER I’D FINISHED THIS GEM ANOTHER ARRIVED, AS THIS UNEXPECTED LITTLE HALLOWEEN GIFT FROM THE PUBLSHER FOUND ITS WAY TO MY DOOR WITH PRECISION TIMING! (MOST GRATEFUL, THANK YOU)

rattle-halloween-gift

rattle-book-summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

A serial killer to chill your bones.

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

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rattle-author-profile

(Courtesy of publisher’s ARC)

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror show business journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

TWITTER   |   PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

Book Review: The Bird Tribunal, by Agnes Ravatn (Translated by Rosie Hedger)

Publisher:  Orenda Books

Publication date:  1st September 2016 (Paperback)

the-bird-tribunal-my-review

the-bird-tribunalAn eerie vibe grumbles throughout The Bird Tribunal and its creeping uncertainty has a surreal allure that I simply can’t explain.

The rolling prose is uninterrupted by speech marks creating disturbingly magical scenes of curt dialogue, so all of your senses are amplified waiting for the baffling relationship between a recent fugitive from life and an emotionally remote stickler for routine to thaw.

Sigurd Bagge’s isolated cottage feels like the coldest place on earth at times, and not just because of the weather. Still, Allis Hagtorn is attracted to the hypnotic bleakness as it allows her to disappear and leave her messy affairs behind. All she had to do to earn this privilege was to apply to Bagge’s advert for someone to carry out various household tasks and tend to the garden while his wife was away.

His wife hadn’t been home for some time judging by the state of the garden which Allis has to tackle with a scythe. He must be desperate too as Allis has very little horticultural experience. Applying strict attention to detail at all times as instructed by her employer she finds the lonely, backbreaking chores oddly gratifying and Allis’s self-imposed banishment will serve as punishment and character eraser all in one. This may be precisely what she craves, but considering she’s a presenter on TV it’s clear she has something she wishes to hide, or forget.

As Allis settles into restless oblivion she discovers life can be unpredictable behind  the cottage’s white picket fence, as Bagge may change his regimental routine to include unscheduled conversation or invite her to sit at the table to eat with him at a moment’s notice. The only constant is an indefinable foreboding until an intriguing metamorphosis is complete for the both of them.

I’m always mightily impressed when an author can effortlessly create arresting drama and suspense when most of the activity occurs in one central location – so much freedom surrounds the oppressive stage and yet the imposing rock face, an army of trees, and exactly one hundred steps leading to a wooden jetty leading out to the mysterious water provide a peculiar spiritual imprisonment. Oh, how easily the days are shattered by the occasional visit to a malevolent shop keeper who needs to pay more attention to restocking the shelves than sharing her random venomous thoughts with Allis. Still, this distracts the inexperienced housekeeper’s mind from fantasies she toys with involving her elusive employer which could be enough to drive anyone to despair…

The Bird Tribunal is heaving with a detached dreamlike quality that edges under your skin and lingers there causing time to stand absolutely still. My only wish would be that there was some way I could unread the pages so I could have the pleasure of devouring them all over again.

Rating:  5/5

(I received a copy of this title from the publisher with my thanks, and this is my unbiased review.)

the-bird-tribunal-book-summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough.

Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.

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the-bird-tribunal-author-profile

(Courtesy of Publisher’s press release)

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is an author and columnist. She made her literary debut with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjoldisiplin), 2014. In these works Ravatn shows her unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), 2013, is a strange and captivating story about shame, guilt and atonement. Ravatn received The cultural radio P2’s listener’s prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to The Youth’s Critic’s Prize. The Bird Tribunal was also made into a successful play, which premièred in Oslo in 2015.

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

TRANSLATOR, ROSIE HEDGER

Book Review: Saving Sophie, by Sam Carrington #SaveHer

Publication date:  12th August 2016

Publisher: Avon / Harper Collins

Saving Sophie - My Review

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington - CoverAn agoraphobic mother, a rebellious teenager and a disinterested park ranger husband must brace themselves to play emotional Jenga in this exhilarating and intense thriller, as the nest of the Finch family is on the verge of crashing to the ground.

If your seventeen year old daughter staggered in one night, incoherent and in a complete and utter state, you’d certainly be angry and most definitely disturbed by her behaviour. But what if she was accompanied by a police escort? Those concerns would grow into blind panic as anything could have happened to her. Anything.

A drunken night out can be memorable for all the wrong reasons, sparking repercussions beyond anyone’s control. But chastising their daughter will pale into insignificance when they learn one of her friends did not return home. The situation looks decidedly grimmer as knowledge surfaces that a young girl’s body was discovered not far from where Sophie was found wandering around, semi-comatose.

And so the questions begin: was the inebriated teen simply in the wrong place, is she a potential witness or is something more sinister afoot? The frustration is agonising as Sophie can’t provide the answers demanded by her parents’ interrogation. She has no recollection of the evening’s proceedings and only knows that it will turn out to be the worst night out of her life. The missing pieces of a cruel riddle are spoon fed over the forthcoming days – a vague recollection, a snippet of conversation, and a nightmare that has only just begun.

How did another other girl end up dead and why does Sophie feel uncharacteristically nervous when she ventures out of the house? Despite her fears she has no intention of becoming her mother who hasn’t left the house for over two years, much to the disgust of her husband and select friends, who are clearly getting a little brassed off with her ‘lack of improvement’.

The alternating chapters of Sophie, Karen (Sophie’s mum), and DI Lyndsey Wade build a picture of a family that is unravelling. Karen’s debilitating condition lends itself perfectly to an electrifying suspense throughout – the world beyond the front door might be outside her reach but a door can’t shut out the entire world, not even what’s happening to her daughter. Similarly, Sophie is unable to seek her mother’s help and becomes increasingly isolated by a fear and guilt so overwhelming that it threatens to consume her too.

This is not your typical police procedural. Any ‘official’ lines of enquiry are provided in the background while the main activity revolves around the escalating domestic situation of the family and their regular haunts. Karen must find the courage to help those close to her and this certainly leads to a dramatic crescendo, but not in the way I was expecting! There’s an odd little clutch of suspects too, all irritatingly unhelpful and utterly selfish.

Saving Sophie is doused with so much drama that it would take just one spark to raze this family to the ground. As someone has unwittingly struck the match their decision may come back to haunt them all, and it’s pretty tense stuff.

Rating:  4/5

(I received a digital copy of this title via NetGalley by invitation of the publishers and Helena Sheffield, with my thanks.)

Saving Sophie - Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

‘I DEVOURED THIS STORY IN ONE SITTING’ Louise Jensen, author of The Sister

A teenage girl is missing. Is your daughter involved, or is she next?

Your daughter is in danger. But can you trust her?

When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.

Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.

Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.

As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie.

A taut psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and I Let You Go.

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Saving Sophie - Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist. SAVING SOPHIE is her debut psychological thriller novel.

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Book Review: Last To Die, by Arlene Hunt

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 24th June 2016

Last to Die My Review

Last To Die by Arlene Hunt - Kindle CoverLast To Die had me reading by the seat of my pants. Take several deep breaths before you start this book because you’ll be holding the last one until you’ve finished.

From the initial introduction to ordinary school teacher’s day, to the horrendous interruption in her routine where intruders started to open fire indiscriminately, Jessie Conway draws strength from some miraculous place when all seemed lost. You’d think that this nightmarish episode would be enough plot line, but oh no, life has more hellish turns in store.

Despite being hailed a hero by the locals for her intervention on the day of the shooting, the personal fallout she suffers as a result is humongous. Jessie cannot shake the guilt, the flashbacks, or the bloodied yellow sundress of a colleague and cocoons herself indoors.

It doesn’t help that the local rag is determined to interview the most revered person in Rocksville, but Jessie refuses to play the game. So, what’s the next best thing to hearing the story from the source? A story about the source. A despicable newshound digs and digs until she uncovers what she wants about Saint Jessie’s past, which sets the town’s jungle drums beating and could well turn her in-laws against her.

With SO much turmoil you wouldn’t think there’s no room for any more – WRONG – the cruel hand of fate is relentless. Sandwiched between chapters of Jessie’s endeavours to salvage what’s left of her life after the vultures have picked it clean, is the Caleb Switch, your local sociopath and helpful helpline switchboard volunteer. He listens, he manipulates, and he evaluates the callers based on their strengths and weaknesses. The help line is more a gold mine to him, as he’s prospecting for elite targets hoping to find a hidden gem to pit his wits and skills against.

He’s practiced at the sport he invented and although everyone is fair game the greater the challenge they present, the more Caleb can put his warped abilities to the test.  After the boredom of his last hunt, a celebrity who seems immune to life-and-death situations is just what he needs.

After its shocking opening pages, the book sets the scene before the next wave hits (and the next), so you get to know their traits and how you’d expect them the react in grim situations. And it’s the little things in desperate situations that only a few authors get completely right. Even though these ordinary fictional people were placed under extraordinary pressures, their actions were entirely plausible. They didn’t develop super human abilities, or make me feel like I wanted to repeatedly strike them (except for Sherriff Earl Dubray), and that ‘self-defence bra incident’ was quite superb.

You know something, I’m utterly ashamed to say I have not come across this author before. And THAT is a complete tragedy, as this is an astonishing thriller of mammoth proportions and I cannot praise it highly enough!

Rating: 5/5

(Mahoosive  thanks to the publisher for allowing me to download a digital copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.)

Last to Die Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

When Jessie Conway survives a horrific mass high school shooting, in the aftermath she finds herself thrust into the media spotlight, drawing all kinds of attention. But some of it is the wrong kind.

Caleb Switch, a sadistic serial killer, has been watching her every move. A skilled hunter, he likes his victims to be a challenge. Jessie is strong, fearless, a survivor, and now… she is his ultimate prey.

As Caleb picks off his current victims one by one, chasing, killing and butchering them with his crossbow, he’s closing in on Jessie… But will Jessie defy the odds and escape with her life? Or will she be Caleb’s final sacrifice …

A clever, dangerously twisted thriller that will have fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter gripped until the very last page.

Praise for Last to Die:
‘A taut, sharp, gripping reimagining of the serial-killer novel.’ Tana French

(Previously published as ‘The Chosen’)

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Last to Die Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Arlene Hunt is one of Ireland s most highly regarded crime writers. She has published 6 novels, including five in the popular Quick detective series. Undertow (2008) was nominated as Best Crime Novel in the 2009 Irish Book Awards. The Chosen is the first book set outside Ireland, taking place in the mountainous border region of Tennessee and North Carolina, United States. Arlene lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.

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Book Review: Little Bones (A Cat Connolly Thriller), by Sam Blake

Publisher:  Bonnier Zaffre   |   Publication date: 17th May 2016

Little Bones My Review

Little Bones - Kindle CoverLittle Bones is an intriguing crime novel that grabbed my attention from the off. It features the varied locations of Ireland, London, and Las Vegas, which kept things bubbling along very nicely.

The catalyst for this story is the chance discovery of tiny bones that are carefully sewn into the hem of an antique wedding dress (how creepy is that?!). The mystery of the eerie find continues throughout, as there’s little assistance forthcoming from the owner of the frock, who claims to be as much in the dark as the authorities investigating the case of a reported break in at her home.

Zoe Grant, an artist about to launch her career at a show, and granddaughter of the Lavinia Grant retail empire, is taken aback when the police call her back from preparations for her new exhibition. She appears unable or reluctant to co-operate, while the police crawl all over her home looking for solutions to identify the little person’s bones that have found their way into her possession.

My curiosity was immediately piqued as to why anyone would knowingly keep incriminating evidence in their house, especially if it could draw a swarm of media attention to the famous family name. It’s not until an unresolved private family saga raises its head revealing decades of manipulation that you see the clearer picture. Lavinia’s friend, Trish, has a particularly nasty streak (imagine a vengeful Patsy from Ab Fab).

Another story emerges in London when Emily Cox’s job alerts her to a confused, elderly lady. Mary, as she is known, shows signs of Dementia and her living conditions are dire. So, Emily unprofessionally takes her under her wing much to the surprise of her psychologist husband. I truly felt for them and their current predicament, as caring for Mary cannot fill the hole in their lives. It’s only by chance that the mystery of Mary’s mind is unraveled until we find she’s not the person Emily thought she was. Well, her story starts to get very, very interesting…

And who is that awful Angel Hierra character? He’s skulks around the edge of the story for the most part and left me thinking “what’s he got to do with anything?” While his true motives aren’t shown until later, we know he’s left trouble in his wake in Las Vegas and is intent on causing much, much more as there’s a very personal score in Ireland he needs to settle.

The ongoing investigation could be potentially hindered by the domestic life of one of our leads, twenty four year old Detective Garda Cathy Connolly. To say she’s mortified by current events would be an understatement, and our author handles the subject well, even if our lead doesn’t! It’s clear this particular case is taking its toll – she might have ample courage in the kickboxing arena, but not to face facts about her own life.

Little Bones has suspense, mystery, suspicious death, festering families, a brilliantly executed plot, PLUS characters with plenty of flavour … aaand breathe. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better in the next book – and after THAT totally unexpected cliff hanger there MUST be another one, I can’t wait to see what happens next! Just one thing, I’d recommend giving it your undivided attention, there’s so much to keep you occupied it’s quite easy to lose your thread in this intricate investigative tapestry.

Rating: 4/5

(My sincere thanks to the publisher for permitting me to download this title from NetGalley.)

Little Bones Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

For fans of Alex Barclay and Niamh O’Connor, Little Bones introduces Cathy Connolly, a bright young heroine set to take the world of crime fiction by storm. Attending what seems to be a routine break-in, troubled Detective Garda Cathy Connolly makes a grisly discovery: an old wedding dress – and, concealed in its hem, a baby’s bones. And then the dress’s original owner, Lavinia Grant, is found dead in a Dublin suburb. Searching for answers, Cathy is drawn deep into a complex web of secrets and lies spun by three generations of women.

Meanwhile, a fugitive killer has already left two dead in execution style killings across the Atlantic – and now he’s in Dublin with old scores to settle. Will the team track him down before he kills again? Struggling with her own secrets, Cathy doesn’t know dangerous – and personal – this case is about to become…

‘Instantly gripping, perfectly paced, and filled with a brilliant cast of characters, led by the utterly likeable and relatable Detective Cathy Connolly …from the murky depths of these buried secrets comes an ending that truly shines.’Alex Barclay

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Little Bones Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the hugely popular national writing resources website Writing.ie. She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication. Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book.

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COVER REVEAL: The Teacher, by Katerina Diamond #DoYouDare?

The Teacher Cover Reveal

You think you know who to trust?

You think you know the difference between good and evil?

You’re wrong …

The Teacher

The Teacher is a debut crime novel from Katerina Diamond

It will upturn everything you thought you knew …

… DO YOU DARE?

 

The Teacher Book Summary

Published by Avon (Harper Collins UK)    Publication date, March 2016

~ A LESSON YOU WILL NEVER FORGET ~

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?

The Teacher Tag Line

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

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

AMAZON UK LINK

The Teacher Author Links

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR, KATERINA DIAMOND:

TWITTER     |     AUTHOR’S BLOG / SITE

Well, all I can think after that is like, “whoa, that got my attention! How ’bout you …?!”

Thanks for taking five to stop by,

Wendy sig

 

Book Review: Nowhere Girl, by Ruth Dugdall

Publisher:  Legend Press  |  Publication date:  31st October 2015  |  Edition: Kindle (Review Copy, via Netgalley)

Nowhere Girl - Review

Nowhere Girl by Ruth DugdallNowhere Girl is tale of many threads, interweaving to make one hell of a turbulent thriller.

Immediately you will notice the lack of chapter headings, which are replaced by the sequential number of days that pass as the story progresses. For me this is an excellent idea. It offered a rolling reality to the circumstances that unfolded; the torment isn’t left behind at the end of a chapter, as the unique voice of each character is begging to tell you more, and you will be compelled to listen.

Told over a ten day period we follow the disappearance of a ‘wild child’ from a busy fair in Luxembourg. Ellie has a brief history of going A.W.O.L. and for that reason the authorities don’t appear overly bothered when her family reports her missing and simply treat her case like that of a teenage runaway. A ‘problem at home’ doesn’t warrant press coverage and besides, there’s no point in releasing the whiff of something nasty in the air unless it’s absolutely necessary.

But there were more shadowy figures lurking at that fair than the Ghost Train could conjure in a lifetime. It was clear from the offset that Ellie would not evade them all.

Fraught with worry, her mother waits for news. In a bid to cope with her grief of losing her daughter, Ellie, she begins to write heartfelt letters sharing her inner-most feelings, including the reasons for any harsh decisions she may have made and her past as a nurse in war torn countries. It becomes clear that the effects of her previous occupation still resonates today and has struck a mental chord. Something is certainly out of tune in their domestic situation.

Recently relocated to Luxembourg is ex-probation Officer, Cate who is trying to look out for Ellie’s mum. This is more difficult as is sounds, as her partner is also in charge of investigating the missing person’s case. Her loyalties are torn between her boyfriend’s wishes and his frustrating aloofness at times, and worrying that not enough is being done to trace the poor young girl. Cate forges ahead and does a little discreet digging of her own. Before long she discovers she’s in waaaay too deep.

Running alongside Ellie’s plight is the journey of Amina and Jodie, whose families have arranged for them to ‘have a better life’. The young teens are looking forward to an adventure, gaining an education and most of all the freedom – yet they are blissfully unaware that their fate was sealed the moment they stepped foot in the van that would take them away from their villages. But among their tragedy there is a fragment of hope when one of the girls befriends a poorly, little lad.

The individual events make for a shocking and tense story of survival on every level, as secrets and lies ooze from the pages like open wounds. This may be the first book I have read by Ruth Dugdall, but it certainly won’t be my last. THIS is cracking fiction, yet has the power to feel disturbingly real.

Rating: 5/5

(My thanks to Legend Press and Jessica Reid for inviting me to review this title and providing a digital copy of the book via Netgalley. It’s much appreciated.)

Nowhere Girl - Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

When Ellie goes missing on the first day of Schueberfouer, the police are dismissive, keen not to attract negative attention of one of Luxembourg’s most important events. Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself. She discovers Luxembourg has a dark hear. With its geographical position, could is be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home.

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Nowhere Girl - Author Links

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Ruth Dugdall worked as a Probation Officer for almost a decade in high security prisons in the Suffolk area. Now living in Luxembourg, she is currently working at a local prison. Ruth has years of experience working with children who have been convicted of murder, having been based at one of the UK’s 3 prisons that specialise in this area. Ruth’s writing is heavily influenced by her professional background, providing authenticity and credibility to the crime genre.

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BOOK TOUR REVIEW: The Girl Who Broke The Rules (George McKenzie, Book 2), By Marnie Riches #TheGirlWho

Publisher:  Avon Books UK (Maze)  |  Publication date: 20th August 2015  |  Edition: PDF (Review copy) – although I also pre-ordered my own Kindle copy too, as this series is just SO GOOD!

the girl who review

31MayThe Girl Who Broke the RulesThe Girl Who Broke the Rules, AKA Georgina McKenzie, resides in a harsh world where a different breed of criminal roams free. Welcome, to the murky world of sex workers, extreme decaying morals and close encounters of the eviscerating kind.

While I believe you could easily read this book without having clapped eyes on The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die, you may appreciate much of the backstory a little more if you did. Let’s be honest it’s a cracking book anyway, so I’d recommended you read it first, as you genuinely come to care about each and every one of the peeps and their undeniably unique traits.

Anyhow, back to book two. After her experience with the ‘Firestarter’ in book one, George is currently studying for her PHD in Criminal Psychology in Cambridge, while her boyfriend, Ad, stays in Amsterdam. As a result she gets the rare task of interviewing psychopath and expertly portrayed, all-round creepily-perverted bloke, Dr Silas Holm, from whom she hopes to gain insightful knowledge about what makes sexually motivated serial killers tick. Unbeknown to George and co, Psycho Silas will really relish his nice, comfortable back seat role in her research project…pulling people’s strings is a happy pastime for him inside the isolated walls of Broadmoor.

Her education means travelling to locations between Amsterdam and Cambridge is a must for the young student, and it does allow us to revisit her not so ‘charming’ family again, while still keeping a foothold on her old haunts across the channel. Yet, long distance relationships can start to lose their vital signs and she has to fight to revive hers with Ad. Especially when her old friend, Paul Van De Berg, sends her an intriguing message inviting her to be part of a current investigation; this experienced copper, who is old enough to be her father, has come to truly respect the ballsy twenty-four year old.

Be warned, book two REALLY cranks criminology up a level. It doesn’t skimp on the graphic nature of the crime scenes, but it’s all in context with the shady criminal undercurrents Marnie Riches has wickedly created. And don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all shock and no substance, there’s lots of ingenious detective work to be had with fingers being pointed in the wrong direction (not to mention other extremities on occasion).

Even with such killer-thriller storylines as these it’s a series that still manages to keep its feet on the ground, as every single character is spirited enough to keep pace, despite battling their own broken lives. There’s much more to discover about Van De Berg and McKenzie during this outing, and nothing is held in reserve. What I love is that the author isn’t afraid to cause grief, or push any boundary, regardless of whether you consider your favourite player to be out of bounds.

Okay. I admit it, damn it. I am HOPELESSLY ADDICTED to #TheGirlWho series: the pristine plot is laced with dry wit, and the sharpest dialogue lends its edge to slice through the darkest of subject matter, leaving other books quaking on their shelves.

After THAT epically, cruel cliffhanger I’m bracing myself for Book 3, The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows.  I CAN’T RUDDY WAIT! 

Rating: 5/5

My thanks to @AvonBooksUK for providing a copy of this book for review and offering a place on the book tour. Much appreciated. With thanks also to @cmwoods1993.

the girl who character profile

So you can see what you’re letting yourself in for:

George ‘Georgina’ McKenzie, feisty, takes chances, except with cleaning – closet OCD’er. Given her background you’d assume she have packed in any shred of optimism by now. Yet bad times only seem to irritate her and strengthen her resolve. Also on the breadline, and thoroughly confused about her current relationship with Ad, from book 1 The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die.

Paul Van De Bergen, a towering, divorced detective, secret worrier, close to a financial breadline and solitary member of the hate campaign against his daughter’s fiancé, “numb nuts”. We learn a thing or three about VDB in this instalment.

Ad, Georgina’s Boyfriend and all-round wet lettuce. Okay, he survived an attack on his life in book one, and he *might* have lost a finger, but lawdy, man up a little or you’ll be no match for George, mate.

George’s study subject, Silas Holm. Creepy dude extraordinaire. Exceedingly odd, with some bizarre ideas of recreation. Resides at Broadmoor. Erm, not really a bloke you’d like to find yourself in a dark room with (or indeed a well lit one), especially if there’s a spare roll of Gaffa tape and sharp things lying around. Well, you get the gist.

Many other vile residents, waaay too many to mention. All of whom could do with being incarcerated forthwith. Failing that, I’d certainly encourage you to run in the opposite direction upon meeting them – and quickly.

the girl who book Summary

The Girl Who…Broke The Rules

The pulse-pounding new thriller from Marnie Riches. For anyone who loves Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson, this book is for you!

When the mutilated bodies of two sex-workers are found in Amsterdam, Chief Inspector van den Bergen must find a brutal murderer before the red-light-district erupts into panic.

Georgina McKenzie is conducting research into pornography among the UK’s most violent sex-offenders but once van den Bergen calls on her criminology expertise, she is only too happy to come running.

The rising death toll forces George and van den Bergen to navigate the labyrinthine worlds of Soho strip-club sleaze and trans-national human trafficking. And with the case growing ever more complicated, George must walk the halls of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, seeking advice from the brilliant serial murderer, Dr. Silas Holm…

the girl who author links

Connect with Award Winning Marnie Riches, or buy the book:

Marnie Riches

Twitter    |    Website    |    Amazon UK

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Be sure to join GRAB THIS BOOK for the next stop on 6th September!

Thanks for stopping by  x

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The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die (George McKenzie, Book 1), by Marnie Riches

Publisher:  Maze (Harper Collins)  |  Publication date:  2nd April 2015  |  Edition: Kindle

The Girl Who Wouldnt Die by Marie Riches

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die will keep you on your toes.

I have one word for this suspense in this book – unrelenting. It’s meaty, gritty and raw. In fact, it has everything you want from a crime thriller.

Meet George (Georgina) McKenzie. Fiesty. Ballsy. Conceals an OCD side. She’s a young woman who thinks she’s in charge of her life, but as we will see it’s a life that is not entirely her own. She’s a complicated character, with a past she can’t forget.

There’s been an explosion. Due to the unusual circumstances, suspicions are pointing to a terror attack and the police need help to draw out the culprit. They ask George to write a controversial post on her student blog and wait for the comments to come flooding in, but the consequences are nothing like she or the authorities could ever imagine.

‘Creaking’ Paul van der Bergen is the officer on the case. He’s aloof and slightly touched by hypochondria, but like George he has a yearning for the truth. He now dwells among some of the best fictional people I’ve met in a book – Marnie Riches has achieved an incredible feat with her carefully placed, subtle descriptions of him. The conversation exchange he has with George is utterly brilliant.

Despite several warnings, George’s personality traits mean that she’s a meddler, when she should leave well alone (I do like a good meddler). More carnage later, a breadcrumb trail being left by a watcher in the shadows is starting to emerge, and the end of the road will have a massive impact for George and those around her.

From Amsterdam to Cambridge, circling the mean streets of London and back again, the story rages along – it stops to breathe periodically, but even then your mind’s ticking over and contemplating the ever changing plot.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die shows much of the seedier side of life – drugs, human trafficking, and prostitution – along with the good, the bad and the very ugly people involved in these activities (not to mention the incredibly unstable).

There’s plenty to keep even the most hardened crime fan occupied – its punchy twist is fan-bleeding-tastic.

Highly recommended, and in this case I mean VERY highly.

Rating: 5/5


You can follow the author on Twitter: @Marnie_Riches

Want to see what Marnie Riches is up to next? You can visit her website here:  http://marnieriches.com/