Balkan noir, Book reviews, Crime thriller

Living Candles by Teodora Matei – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The discovery of a woman close to death in a city basement sends Bucharest police officers Anton Iordan and Sorin Matache on a complex chase through the city as they seek to identify the victim. As they try to track down the would-be murderer, they find a macabre trail of missing women and they realise that this isn’t the first time the killer has struck. Iordan and Matache hit one dead end after another, until they decide they’ll have to take a chance that could prove deadly.

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/2HT6MnD

 

 

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MY REVIEW

This is a murder mystery set in Romania. 

When a red haired woman’s body is found hanging upside down an investigation begins. She miraculously survives, but is she the only victim?

Commissioner Anton Iordan and Chief Inspector Matache find details of other missing women, but what links them?

This is a fast paced, relatively quick read with a very clever plot that keeps you guessing. I read this in one sitting and was completely engrossed from start to finish. 

Thank you to Kelly at Love Book Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free ecopy of Living Candles. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Corylus Books

 

Corylus Book is a new venture aiming to publish fiction translated into English. The people behind the company have very different backgrounds, but what brings us together is a deep appreciation of crime fiction and a strong interest in books from countries that so have been under-represented in English.

 

It took a while before it turned out that everyone’s thoughts had been on similar lines – that we wanted to take a chance on presenting some of the great European crime fiction that wouldn’t normally make its way into English. With a mixture of language, translation and other skills between the four of us, it seemed the logical next step to take.

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Buried by Lynda La Plante – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down.

In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes.

Jack’s search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld – a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him?

In BURIED, it’s time to meet DC Jack Warr as he digs up the deadly secrets of the past . . .

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MY REVIEW 

This is the first in a new series that introduces DC Jack Warr.

When a body is found after a fire at Rose Cottage, a pile of burnt cash is also found. Is this linked to the cold case, a train robbery in 1995?

So the investigation begins with DCI Ridley in charge, but the real focus is on his team, DC Jack Warr, Ds Laura Wade and DC Anik Joshi.

This has a gritty and twisty plot which is so engrossing, but for me the real marvel is the characters. They are all so well developed and their personal lives and stories are heartbreaking at times, so well written you forget this is fiction.

With its tight plot and great characters this really makes for another fantastic read from Lynda La Plante.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller

Virgin & Child by Maggie Hamand – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Literary Thriller ‘merges Crime with Catholicism’

Patrick, the first Irish Pope, discovers he is intersex and finds himself pregnant. 

Maggie Hamand’s Virgin & Child grips onto this wild premise and runs from there.

This isn’t a book about miracles. Maggie is a journalist, has a science degree, and what happens in the novel is within the realm of the possible. Virgin & Child is alternate history, that lets the reader expand their sense of what is credible.

What gives this novel true bite is how real it feels. Maggie grew up as what her era called a tomboy, and gave birth to three sons. She worked and campaigned for women’s fertility rights. She has also studied theology and this book began as a PhD in that subject, before she changed to creative writing.

‘I found the theology PhD too constricting, and felt that only by writing fiction could I fully explore the issues I wanted to tackle,’ says Hamand. ‘I felt that only through an imagined direct and bodily experience could a celibate Pope understand a

woman’s experience. I hope that by reading the novel others will identify with the character and be shocked into a new understanding.”

Like works by Brian Moore, Graham Greene, Robert Harris and Piers Paul Reed, the novel reads as a gripping thriller while at the same time tackling questions of religion, faith and gender. What makes Virgin & Child different is that it’s not written by a man. Did a mother conceive the notion of a virgin birth? Probably not. Mothers know the act of creation is all too human and messy.

This novel takes a Pope, God’s elect on Earth who tradition says has to be a man, and feminizes the whole concept. How would that alter a male worldview? Virgin & Child gives an answer as an act of searing storytelling.

 

‘Strangely touching… written with great elegance and authority. It tackles “head on” some of the most challenging issues for the Roman Catholic Church around gender and sexuality’ Sara Maitland

 

‘Cleverly merges crime with Catholicism and piety with a dangerous love… wonderfully original and absorbing.’ Mary Flanagan

 

Virgin & Child tied in with Maggie Hamand’s earlier fiction as a dangerous play on the Christian story. Praise for The Resurrection of the Body:

 

‘This extraordinary little book is thoughtful, perceptive, and subtle…’ Laura Wilson, The Guardian

 

‘Maggie Hamand is a writer possessed of that rare gift: an utterly individual voice’ Barry Forshaw, The Independent

 

‘A compelling, impressive tale’ The Times

 

‘An assured tone and decidedly bold denouement – a talent to watch’ Financial Times

‘More than a tricksy re-telling of an old tale… miracle and science, truth and myth, clash and interweave in the raw glare of modernity’ Catholic Herald

 

‘Exquisitely well-constructed… an extraordinary achievement.’ Brighton Argus

‘Ingenious and provocative’ Hampstead & Highgate Express

 

‘This is just one of those books you don’t want to put down’ Lancashire Evening Telegraph

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MY REVIEW 

Pope Patrick, the first Irish born Pope is already upsetting the apple art that is the Roman Catholic Church. 

He feels there should be a discussion about the souls of lost, unborn foetus’, they should have meaning and others vehemently disagree.

Patrick is attacked and after medical checks he is found to be pregnant…….he now has a choice to make! 

While this is a crime thriller. It also deals with issues of gender, sexuality and faith. It’s not about sensationalism but of real life in is messy, complicated glory,

Beautifully written, it’s articulate and compassionate. It is only a relatively short novel at 280 pages but it packs a punch. Thought provoking and unputdownable.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Maggie Hamand is a journalist, novelist, and creative writing lecturer. She was the first winner of the World One-Day Novel Cup and her novel, The Resurrection of the Body, was published by Penguin and has been optioned for film and television. She was founder and director of the award-winning independent publisher Maia Press. Maggie has a degree in biochemistry, a Masters in theology, and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Hull. She has taught in a range of institutions including Holloway Prison and is author of the best-selling Creative Writing For Dummies. She lives in East London. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Thriller

30 Days In June by Chris Westlake – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

On the 1st day of June 1988, the residents of south Wales were thrown into a state of panic when a married couple were brutally murdered in their own home. The killer, nicknamed Spartacus by the media, did not flee the scene immediately; instead, he stayed to carve Roman Numerals onto his victims’ chests.

This was the beginning of a month-long killing spree, each murder taking a step closer to home.

Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Allen was to be the final victim, on the final day of the month. Instead, he became the only survivor, and the only real witness. The killings ended as suddenly as they began. Jeffrey relocated to London, changing his name, and his identity, to Marcus Clancy. His past life became merely a dark secret.

On 1st June 2018, 30 years to the day since the first killing, a mysterious figure refers to Marcus by his old name, through closing lift doors.

Is Spartacus back? If so, has he returned to finish what he failed to do thirty years ago?

And so begins 30 days of terror for Marcus Clancy, culminating in dramatic fashion on the final day of June.

30 DAYS IN JUNE is Chris Westlake’s third novel, and his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second crime thriller and is on schedule to have it completed in 2020.

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MY REVIEW 

This is the tale of Spartacus, a serial killer at his height of notoriety in 1988.

Now, 30 years later, the sole survivor of this reign of terror, Marcus, has heard someone call his old name. He’d changed it to protect himself and had a life and family using his new name. Has Spartacus found him?

Told in the two timelines, it really concentrates on Marcus, his state of mind, his previous trauma and subsequent therapy. 

This is incredibly tense at times as Marcus starts to unravel under the pressure, this tension continues to build making this a truly compelling thriller, a real nail biter.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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After completing a Creative Writing course in 2010, Chris Westlake’s short story, Welsh Lessons, was awarded 1st place in the Global Short Story Award (not bad for the first writing competition he had entered). He followed this up with 1st place in the Stringybark Erotic Fiction Award and 2nd place in the HASSRA Literary Award.

Chris has written three novels. 30 DAYS IN JUNE is his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second thriller, on schedule to be completed in 2020. He is determined to write many, many more – his main regret is that he didn’t start writing earlier.

Chris considers himself to be a developing author. He is always looking to improve, to make his next novel even better than the last. He is continuously experimenting with different styles, different genres.

 

You can contact Chris at chriswestlakeauthor@hotmail.co.uk . He would love to hear from you.

 

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisWestlake2

Website: http://www.chriswestlakeauthor.co.uk

 

 

Purchase Links:

 

Amazon UK: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/30-DAYS-JUNE-Serial-Thriller ebook/dp/B08283SZBZ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0_encoding=UTF8&qid=1584367251&sr=8-1

 

Amazon US: 

 

https://www.amazon.com/30-DAYS-JUNE-Serial-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08283SZBZ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=30+days+in+june+chris+westlake&qid=1584367779&sr=8-1

 

Blackwells: 

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/30-Days-in-June-by-Chris-Westlake-author/9781712581353?a_aid=WhisperingStories 

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child. 

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet. 

Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in 1580’s Warwickshire and tells the tale of Agnes.

Agnes is a bit of a unique woman, she kept a Kestrel when she was young, she uses herbs for health, keeps bees and knows things about people, just by touching their hands. She has three children. Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Her husband works in London, so he is as far away from his brutal father as he can be.

Young Hamnet tragically dies at only 11 years old in the time of plague.

Four years later his father writes a play, Hamlet.

Oh my, this is a beautifully written tale of loss, of grief, the heartbreak at the loss of a child. The language used is gentle and flows perfectly, giving a real sense of time and place, the emotion is palpable.

This really is historical fiction at its finest and is sure to be a classic in the making and Book clubs everywhere will adore it. A truly stunning read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Maggie O’Farrell (born 1972, Coleraine Northern Ireland) is a British author of contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones’ 25 Authors for the Future. It is possible to identify several common themes in her novels – the relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters.

 

Book reviews, Fantasy, Gothic horror

The Die Of Death by Kenneth B. Andersen – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Philip’s adventures as the Devil’s apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life. 

But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death’s Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe. 

Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way.

The Die of Death is volume 2 in The Great Devil War-series and winner of the ORLA-Award.

The Great Devil War-series is a humorous and gripping tale about good and evil, filled with biblical and historical characters, such as Judas, Goliath, and Pontius Pilate, as well as modern figures such as Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and many more. 

The Great Devil War-series is a Danish bestseller, topping library and school reading lists among teens and young adults. The books have been published in more than ten countries and have won numerous awards.
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MY REVIEW 

Set in Hell, this is the tale of Philip, a young boy who is learning to be the Devil’s successor. He had been taken by mistake, but the Devil decided he’d do.

When Death’s die goes missing ( How can Death decide who’s time it is to die without it?) So, the Devil tasks Philip with finding it….

This is such a fun read, it has everything. There’s menace, fear, the macabre and humour all in a marvellously dark world. I loved it and can’t wait for book 3.

Thank you to The Write Reads for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Kenneth B. Andersen (1976) is an award-winning Danish writer. He has published more than forty books for children and young adults, including both fantasy, horror, and science fiction. 

His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and his hit-series about the superhero Antboy has been turned into three movies. A musical adaptation of The Devil’s Apprentice, the first book in The Great Devil War series, opened in the fall 2018 and film rights for the series have been optioned.

Kenneth lives in Copenhagen with his wife, two boys, a dog named Milo, and spiders in the basement.

 

 

Website http://www.kennethbandersen.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterKennethBAndersen/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kenneth_b_andersen/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/K_B_Andersen

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kenneth-b-andersen

 

Book reviews, Noir

Zodiac by Anamaria Ionescu – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When investigator Sergiu Manta is handed the investigation into a series of bizarre murders, he can’t sure what he’s getting involved in as he has to work with regular detective Marius Stanescu, who has his own suspicions about the biker he has been told to work with, and wants to get to the truth. The twists and turns of their investigation takes them from the city of Bucharest to the mountains of rural Romania, and back.
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MY REVIEW 

#2 in the series featuring Sergiu Manta. It can also be read as a stand-alone.

Set in Romania this is in Bucharest and a small town of Voineasa. 

Four bodies are found, in different locations though, all with similar marks on their bodies. Is a serial killer at work and what is the link to Voineasa?

Sergiu is the investigator and is tasked with working alongside a cop, Marius. They are both wary of each other’s motives but both want the truth. Can a secret agent and a cop work together?

This is a quick, fast paced read with a clever plot with plenty of intrigue and twists to keep your attention from start to finish.

Thank you to Kelly at Love Book Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/32pjB2s

 

Corylus Books

 

Corylus Book is a new venture aiming to publish fiction translated into English. The people behind the company have very different backgrounds, but what brings us together is a deep appreciation of crime fiction and a strong interest in books from countries that so have been under-represented in English.

 

It took a while before it turned out that everyone’s thoughts had been on similar lines – that we wanted to take a chance on presenting some of the great European crime fiction that wouldn’t normally make its way into English. With a mixture of language, translation and other skills between the four of us, it seemed the logical next step to take.

 

The first Corylus books are a pair of Romanian crime novellas, Living Candles by Teodora Matei and Zodiac by Anamaria Ionescu.

 

There’s more to come in 2020 – starting with Romanian novelist’s Bogdan Teodorescu’s Sword, a powerful political thriller that has already been a bestseller in Romania and in its French translation. Sword will be available in May and will be followed later in the year by the first of two books by Icelandic crime writer Sólveig Pálsdóttir. The Fox will be available in the second half of this year, followed by Shackles in 2021.

 

And there’s more to come, with a novel by Bogdan Hrib set partly in Romania and partly in the north-east of England, a second novel from Teodora Matei, and we’re talking to more exciting writers from across Europe about what we can do together…

 

Important – Tagging 

It is really important that the author, publisher and Love Books Tours can find and share your blog features with ease. The point of the feature is promotion.  We encourage tagging the author, publisher and Love Books Tours Twitter handles.

 

@ami2ro @CorylusB @Lovebookgroup #Lovebookstours 

 

If you are posting your feature on Instagram, please tag us there too so we can share – https://www.instagram.com/lovebookstours/

Book reviews, Chinese Fiction, Contemporary fiction, Short story

Two Lives: Tales of Life, Love & Crime by A Yi – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

Seven stories, seven whispers into the ears of life: A Yi’s unexpected twists of crime burst from the everyday, with glimpses of romance distorted by the weaknesses of human motive. A Yi employs his forensic skills to offer a series of portraits of modern life, both uniquely Chinese, and universal in their themes.

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MY REVIEW 

Two Lives is a collection of 7 short stories, a mix of tales about life, death and the character of people.

I feel there is a real sense of place in these stories and a definite quirk to them. There’s a man who walks away from home,  missing for many years, only to return but not tell the woman where he’s been, a tale an anti-aging process that’s pure science fiction to tales of violence, rape and suicide. All dealing with the human psyche in all its glory, good, bad and indifferent.

At times this is not an easy read, but it’s always compelling, to watch these lives as a bystander. I found the general feeling of disdain for women uncomfortable at times and causes a visceral reaction….which is the point I think.

Two Lives may not be to everyone’s taste but it’s well written, unique and original. Disturbing and challenging at times, but definitely unforgettable.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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A Yi (author) is a celebrated Chinese writer living in Beijing. He worked as a police officer before becoming editor-in- chief of Chutzpah, an avant garde literary magazine. He is the author of several collections of short stories and has published fiction in Granta and the Guardian. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the People’s Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future. A Perfect Crime, his first book in English was published by Oneworld in 2015. He is noted for his unsentimental worldview, and challenging literary style.

 

Alex Woodend (Translator) is a writer/translator whose fascination with Spanish and Chinese began at Franklin & Marshall College. He continued his studies at Columbia University where he wrote his Masters on early post-Mao literature. Translator of The Captain Riley Adventures , Murder in Dragon City, and other works, he currently lives in New York.

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched recently in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, YA fiction

Cynetic Wolf by Matt Ward – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

It’s 2096, sixty years after ninety percent died from a man-made Bioplague. Humanity has splintered into four unequal subspecies: immortals, cyborgs, enhancers, and subservient half-human, half-animal hybrids. 

The world is anything but equal. Hybrids everywhere are suffering, but sixteen-year-old Raek Mekorian, a wolfish with a nose for trouble, doesn’t see an alternative. Except the Resistance, who don’t stand a chance against the world government. His mom always said, “Keep your head down.”

And he does, until his sister is murdered by a pair of cyborgs. Overnight, his simple life is shattered, fracturing the rigid governmental caste as he is thrust into the dangerous world of superhuman hit squads, Resistance uprisings, and secrets better left unsaid.

With only built-in blasters and the advice of a mysterious professor, Raek must navigate crushing betrayal, self-doubt, and a limitless enemy whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Raek unify his people and free them from tyranny? The fate of mankind may rest in his hands.

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MY REVIEW

Cynetic Wolf is #1 of the Wolfish series. 

Set in 2096, this is a post apocalyptic YA fantasy tale in which Raek,16 and a wolf hybrid lives a quiet life.

But then his sister is murdered and his parents are abducted,

People are now routinely a mix of human and animal genes and the world is a very different place to live.

This is a coming of age fantasy tale as Raek has to grow up quickly and deal with life and its many challenges. The pressure on him is immense. Can he rise to the challenge and help save the world?

This is action packed and so fast paced it will leave you breathless. A fantastic mix of characters, creatures and even cyborgs. Brilliantly entertaining.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

I’m an entrepreneur, blogger, startup advisor and futurist (actually ranked #24 worldwide), and I run Disruptors.FM, a podcast on exponential tech and where we’re headed. I wrote this book because I see humanity diverging in the coming years as genetic engineering and self-enhancement change our very essence and hope to safeguard against the big challenges I see facing all of us.

 

My website is mattwardwrites.com. You can also find me on Twitter @mattwardwrites and Instagram @mattwardwrites

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Psychlogical thriller

Mine by Clare Empson – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Who am I? Why am I here? Why did my mother give me away?’

On the surface, Luke and his girlfriend Hannah seem to have a perfect life. He’s an A&R man, she’s an arts correspondent and they are devoted to their new-born son Samuel.

But beneath the gloss Luke has always felt like an outsider. So when he finds his birth mother Alice, the instant connection with her is a little like falling in love.

When Hannah goes back to work, Luke asks Alice to look after their son. But Alice – fuelled with grief from when her baby was taken from her 27 years ago – starts to fall in love with Samuel. And Luke won’t settle for his mother pushing him aside once again…

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MY REVIEW 

This is a psychological thriller with an emotional edge.

Luke had been adopted when very young and he now has a family of his own. He has a young son, Samuel with his partner Hannah.

He is newly reunited with his birth mother, Alice who helps take care of Samuel so Hannah can go back to work.

Told in two distinct times lines, Alice’s from the past and Luke’s in the present and set in the world of art and music.

Without spoiling the plot, this is a beautifully written story with a slowly building tension, a family drama with a twist that’s gripping as you watch someone fall apart.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Murder mystery, Thriller

A Conspiracy Of Bones by Kathy Reichs – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Number One New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her nineteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and why the dead man had her phone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.

To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue. With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.

But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes …

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MY REVIEW 

This is #19 in the Temperance Brennan series, it can be read as a stand-alone but I would say you should also read more in this excellent series.

Tempe is recovering from surgery for an aneurysm, she has headaches, nightmares and hallucinations. 

When she is sent anonymous pictures, to her phone, of a maimed corpse, predated by feral pigs (I’ll just leave that image with you for a minute), Tempe needs to know who the victim is, who sent the pictures and why.

As Temperance is persona non grata with her new ‘boss’, she decides to do her own investigation, taking samples and detail as of the body without the relevant authority. With the help of the brusque Slidell they begin the investigation. What they find is horrific, but I won’t say much more of the plot for fear of spoiling it.

I am a fan of Kathy Reichs’ books and this is a favourite. Tempe is a bit vulnerable, doubting herself and struggling to know what is real at times. But her determination and incredible knowledge it put to work to find the truth. She will not give in.

A masterpiece of plotting, the twists and revelations make this a must read thriller. I loved every dark minute.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2QHiaYv

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead was a number one bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. A Conspiracy of Bones is Kathy’s nineteenth entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

Dr. Reichs is one of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and as a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She divides her time between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Québec. 

Book reviews, Mystery, Short story

Five Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes by Maurice Barkley – Book Review

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MY REVIEW

This is a collection of five new stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

I am a big fan of Conan-Doyle’s Creation and found these stories by Maurice Barkley capture the essence of the Sherlock Holmes original tales.

The atmosphere and characters are truly spot on and the tales of mystery are well plotted and engaging. They also have some unique and refreshing tweaks too, all of which make this collection thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to The Write Reads for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Maurice Barkley lives with his wife Marie in a suburb of Rochester, New York. Retired from a career as a commercial artist and builder of tree houses, he is WRITING and busy reinforcing the stereotype of a pesky househusband. Favorite relaxation is throwing peanuts to squirrels, blue jays, cardinals and chipmunks from his porch. Once he built a doll hair-making machine using an old sewing machine. It worked, but his wife got tired of making Raggedy Ann dolls, so it sits in the garage.

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/ADVENTURES-SHERLOCK-HOLMES-Maurice-Barkley-ebook/dp/B079YX6KD2/ref=sr_1_5 keywords=maurice+barkley&qid=1576672024&sr=8-5

 

@MauriceBarkley 

Book reviews, Noir, Science fiction

Vulcan’s Forge by Robert Mitchell Evans – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

Jason Kessler doesn’t fit in the society of Nocturnia, the sole colony that survived the Earth’s destruction. Between the colony’s dedication to a distorted vision of mid-twentieth century Americana, its sexually repressive culture, and the expectation that his most important duty is marriage and children Jason rebels, throwing himself into an illicit and dangerous affair with Pamela Guest, but Pamela harbors a secret. 

Soon the lovers are engaged in a lethal game of cat and mouse with the colony’s underworld head and the secrets Jason unlocks upend everything he knew, exposing dangers far beyond Nocturnia and its obsessions.

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MY REVIEW

This is Sci-Fi Noir, it’s the tale of Jason Kessler who is bored, bored of the committee approved life, from what movies to watch to the expectation that you will marry and have children and not endanger colonial morals!

Nocturnia is mankind’s new home, but Jason wants a life, so when he sees a beautiful woman he decides to risk an illicit affair.

But was it a coincidence she came into his life? Or does Pamela have a secret?

“You have never known a normal life “

Wow…..the world building in Vulcan’s Forge is just so well done, the feeling of almost claustrophobic tension is felt throughout. There’s also the frustration of being under strict control but what is the cost of rebelling?

Jason is about to find out.

This has a mix of crime, lies, betrayals and death all in a twisty and compelling plot. Engaging and entertaining from the first to last pages. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can preorder a copy here: https://amzn.to/3984dJp

Available from 26 March 2020

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Robert Mitchell Evans was born in North Carolina but split his early life between that state and sunny Florida before a brief and ultimately unsuccessful tour in the United States Navy.

A life-long enthusiastic fan of film and genre fiction Robert’s interests include all form of science, history, and politics. He has played role-playing games since the early 80s and enjoys a wide array of board and card games as well. He haunts local conventions and his favorite Shakespearean play is Macbeth. Like so many ex-sailors he lives in San Diego with his sweetie-wife and an ever-growing film library

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched recently in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Upon discovering her fifteen-year-old sister’s body sprawled in a pool of blood at the bottom of their apartment block, Nga-Yee vows to serve justice to the internet troll she blames for her sister’s suicide.

Hiring an anti-establishment, maverick tech-savvy detective, Nga-Yee discovers the dark side of social media, the smokescreen of online privacy and the inner workings of the hacker’s mind.

Determined to find out the truth about why her sister Siu-Man killed herself, Nga-Yee cannot rest until she finds out whose inflammatory social media post went viral and pushed her sister to her death. Along the way, Nga-Yee makes unsavoury discoveries about her sister’s life and the dark underbelly of the digital world.

Perfect for fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Second Sister is part detective novel, part revenge thriller. It explores timely themes of sexual harassment, online trolling, victim blaming, fake news and data privacy scandals, vividly capturing the zeitgeist of Hong Kong and the world today.

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MY REVIEW 

Nga-Yee’s younger sister, Siu-Man jumped from an apartment window, she could no longer cope with life after attack by internet trolls.

She had been assaulted on a train and the accused man was caught, convicted and imprisoned. Then his nephew posts online that it was all a lie, Siu-Man had made false allegations after a row with him earlier that day.

She was constantly bullied online.

Nga-Yee wants revenge, she wants someone to suffer like her sister. So she makes contact with N, a hacker and a plan is formed. But how far do you go before you become the person you despised ?

“This was merely fighting evil with evil, turning them all into feral animals”

This is a stunning tale of sexual harassment and exploitation, of heartbreak and revenge.  It’s timely and very apt in these days of social media and how some people feel the need to constantly belittle and bully others in anonymity. But at what cost to those affected?..Tragedy is never far away.

Beautifully written with a clever plot, insights into the world of technology and hacking, but also a tale of loss and grief and how it affects us all. A fantastic and compelling read. 

Thank you to Bei Guo at Midas Public Relations for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for a free copy of Second Sister. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

 

 

About the Author

 

Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He has worked as a software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan wrote made his debut as a writer in 2008 at the age of thirty-three, with the short story The Case of Jack and the Beanstalk which was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan re-entered the following year and won the award for his short story The Locked Room of Bluebeard.

Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011 with his novel, The Man who Sold the World which won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.

In 2014, Chan’s crime thriller The Borrowed was published in Taiwan. It has sold rights in thirteen countries, and the book will be adapted into a film by acclaimed Chinese art film director Wong Kar-Wai.

Second Sister has acquired a six-figure film deal with Linmon Pictures in China. The book will be published in the US in 2020 and rights have been sold to China, Korea and Japan.

 

About the Translator

 

Jeremy Tiang’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He has written four plays and translated more than ten books from the Chinese. Tiang lives in New York. 

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Murder mystery

A Prison In The Sun by Isobel Blackthorn – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A Prison in the Sun

After millennial ghostwriter Trevor Moore rents an old farmhouse in Fuerteventura, he moves in to find his muse.

Instead, he discovers a rucksack filled with cash. Who does it belong to – and should he hand it in… or keep it?

Struggling to make up his mind, Trevor unravels the harrowing true story of a little-known concentration camp that incarcerated gay men in the 1950s and 60s.
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MY REVIEW 

 

#3 in the Canary Islands mysteries series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

This is a slow paced, beautifully written mystery, one to take your time over. It tells of historic and modern day events all cleverly woven together to give a real sense of time and place.

The mystery aspects are well plotted with plenty of twists to keep you guessing.

A tale of a man coming to terms with his sexuality, to find his place in the world while dealing with the horrors of a ‘concentration’ camp for gay men in the past, solving the mystery of a dead body on the beach and a rucksack packed with cash. Storytelling at its best.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/prisonsun

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes dark psychological thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary and literary fiction. Isobel was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019 for her biographical short story, ‘Nothing to Declare’. The Legacy of Old Gran Parks is the winner of the Raven Awards 2019. Isobel holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’ She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

 

Social Media Links – 

https://isobelblackthorn.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768657.Isobel_Blackthorn

https://twitter.com/IBlackthorn

https://www.instagram.com/isobelblackthorn/

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural, Thriller

Containment by Vanda Symon – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

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MY REVIEW 

#3 in the Sam Shephard series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

Set in the Small town of Dunedin, New Zealand, (which the author describes so well I feel I know it)…A cargo ship has run aground and shipping containers are strewn across the beach, so obviously people see this as an opportunity to loot. The police arrive amid the mayhem and DC Sam Shephard arrives only to be assaulted by one of the looters. 

A skull is found on the beach and an investigation begins, for there only then to be found a divers body in a nasty state. Sam is heavily concussed, but with just a few days rest she’s back and searching for the truth….

I loved Sam, with her messy personal life, her family and her dogged determination at work. She’s strong, feisty, full of a dark humour and stubborn to say the least.

The amazing plot will keep you guessing, with plenty of twists and red herrings that all come together in a perfect and satisfying end. A marvel of creative writing by Vanda Symon and I was hooked from start to finish in this refreshingly original and totally compelling crime thriller. Brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/39ZQfe1

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

 

Praise for Vanda Symon

Vanda Symon’s fast-paced crime novels are as good as anything the US has to offer – a sassy heroine, fabulous sense of place, and rip- roaring stories with a twist. Perfect curl-up-on-the-sofa reading’

 

 Kate Mosse 

 

‘Symon’s talent for creating well-rounded characters permeates throughout’ Crimewatch • ‘A plot that grabs the reader’s attention with a heart-stopping opening and doesn’t let go’ 

 

Sunday Times Crime Club 

 

‘Powerful, cooly assured, and an absolute belter of a read’ 

 

Liz Robinson, LoveReading 

 

‘It is Symon’s copper Sam, self- deprecating and very human, who represents the writer’s real achievement’ 

 

Barry Forshaw, The Guardian • 

 

‘This one’s a cracker’

 

 Liam McIlvanney 

 

‘Reads like the polished effort of a genre veteran. More, please’ 

 

David Pitt, Booklist

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

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

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

Three missing women running out of time…

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

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

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

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

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

#2 in the Maggie Jamieson thriller series but can also be read as a stand-alone.

DC Maggie Jamieson, is single, has her brother living with her after she bailed him out due to his gambling debts and her work colleague and friend, Nathan who was her partner is now her boss…..

A case she worked on previously is now under review as the convicted serial killer, Bill Raven has raised an appeal……when the dismembered body of one of his victims is found, only recently murdered, Maggie’s investigation is under question.

She knows Raven has something to do with this but how can she prove it? When another body turns up more questions than answers are raised.

This is an intense, gripping police procedural with a fantastically well developed character in Maggie. She’s tough, determined and really dogged in her search for the truth. It’s dark, compelling and a real nail biter of a thriller. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/3d5CoF1

 

Author Bio:

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. 

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

 

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

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

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

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

Instagram: @crimebookjunkie 

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

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

 

Book reviews, Romance, Womens fiction

Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In Swallowtail bay the birds are singing, the sun is shining and the locals are welcoming – but Stella’s new beginning might be over before it’s begun…

Licking her wounds from her divorce, Stella impulsively buys a gift shop and two holiday lets in glorious Swallowtail Bay, hoping for a fresh start with her King Charles Spaniel Frank.

When the neighbours meet her with a warm welcome, Stella knows she’s found the new home she was looking for. Even gorgeous but grumpy local Miles can’t take the shine off things. But then her ex-husband announces he’s getting married again, and someone in the village starts gossiping about Stella…

Is Stella’s dream over already? Or, with her new friends behind her, can Stella fight back and save her new life – and find the happy ever after she’s been waiting for?

Fans of Cathy Bramley, Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan will fall in love with Swallowtail Bay!

 

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MY REVIEW 

This is the story of Stella. She has used her divorce settlement to buy a gift shop and holiday lets in the idyllic Swallowtail Bay.

She makes a new friend in Lexi, and meets a grouchy, miserable neighbour, Miles. He is put out by Stella buying the gift shop before he could.

With wary locals, an ex husband about to remarry, Stella has a tough start, but with her friends behind her will she succeed and find some happiness?

I found this to be an absolutely charming read. A tale of love and friendship, something much needed these days. Pure escapism and a warm cuddle of a read.

Thank you to Sian at HQ Stories for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Readers LOVE Katie Ginger!

‘This book is every sort of wonderful, with gorgeous characters, a stunning town and a friendship that turns in to a romance you’re not going to want to miss out on’ 5 stars

‘Does jumping up and down, cuddling my Kindle and grinning from ear to ear count as a review?!…Katie writes with such warmth and humour and I could feel every word’ 5 stars

‘Loved it!’ 5 stars

‘A fantastic chick-lit page turner’ 5 stars

‘Sweet, heart-warming, and very enjoyable. This book is like a warm chocolate chip cookie, you feel better for eating it, get a bite of exciting chocolate now and again all while just enjoying the experience. Love the book!’ 5 stars

‘The perfect book to enjoy in a few days of quiet downtime’ 5 stars

‘Absolutely loved this book. Couldn’t put it down. Wonderful uplifting storyline. Can’t wait to see what’s next from this author!’ 5 stars

 

Book reviews, Horror, Science fiction, Short story

Crazy-Ass Stories for Crazy-Ass People by Andy Rausch – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

This quirky collection of short stories (and one novella) by Andy Rausch contains something for readers of every stripe. Rausch touches on a variety of genres, including horror, comedy, crime, and even Western, but every story features his unique, offbeat wit, superb writing, and razor-sharp dialogue, all delivered from a decidedly off-kilter perspective. 

His work has been praised by the likes of Cape Fear screenwriter Wesley Strick and Fort Apache the Bronx author Heywood Gould. Author Peter Leonard once compared his writing style to that of his father, Elmore Leonard. Storylines include a naive little boy mistaking a burglar for Santa Claus, bumbling white supremacists attempting to resurrect the dead body of Adolf Hitler, a man who develops an unexplainable craving for the taste of human flesh, a would-be author summoning the spirit of dead novelist Charles Bukowski to assist him writing, a showdown between legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and a deadly serial killer on the dusty streets of Tombstone, and many more. 

So ask yourself: are you a little bit crazy, and if so, are you up to the task of reading these twenty-two wild and crazy tales of darkness, wackiness, and outright debauchery?

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MY REVIEW 

This is a diverse collection of short stories, dark and certainly quirky.

Each of these tales are unique, set in different locations such as cities, in space and even the sea.

There is comedy, crime and horror with a dark wit and a certain warped skew to each story. Decidedly Crazy-Ass and such great fun.

Thank you to Blackthorn Tours for the opportunity to read Crazy-Ass Stories for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Andy Rausch is an American film journalist, author, screenwriter, film producer, and actor.

He is the author of several novels and novellas including Elvis Presley, CIA Assassin. He also wrote the screenplay for Dahmer versus Gacy and is the author of some twenty non-fiction books on popular culture.

 Books: Riding Shotgun, Bloody Sheets, A Time for Violence, Layla’s Score

 You can usually find Andy on Twitter @writerrausch1, and he maintains a blog at https://authorandyrausch.wordpress.com/ 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Endless Silent Scream by Tony J. Forder – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime series comes another gripping police procedural thriller that will have readers hooked from the stunning first page to the very last.

He saved her once. Can he do it again?

When DI Bliss prevents fifteen-year-old Molly from jumping from a hotel roof, hehas no idea their paths will cross again. A county lines mule, Molly is questioned by the drugs squad, but Bliss becomes convinced she is in danger and attempts to have her relocated. A local drug dealer and a London-based enforcer have other ideas.

Meanwhile, the remains of a freelance journalist are discovered alongside an archaeological find, which brings an old flame back into Bliss’s life. It’s only a matter of time before reports emerge linking the murdered journalist with the police, putting pressure on the Major Crimes team to find the killer.

Bliss is torn between the two investigations. Desperate to move Molly to safety before she can be reached by those who want her silenced, he is blinded to other dangers.

The stunning DI Bliss series of fast-paced police thrillers will appeal to fans of authors like Michael Connelly, Joy Ellis, Peter James, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons. Tony J Forder is also the bestselling author of Degrees of Darkness, Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun.

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MY REVIEW

#6 in the DI Bliss series and yes, it can be read as a stand-alone, but you are missing out on a great series.

Endless Silent Scream starts with Bliss stopping a potential suicide. He manages to stop Molly jumping off a bridge. He feels an affinity with the young woman and really wants to help her (showing his softer side), but is there more going on in her life that’s putting her in danger? Can Bliss save her from more harm?

This is so fast paced you’ll need to take a breather now and then! Mixed with the camaraderie of Bliss and his team, their banter and humour adds lighter moments to this tense tale.

A complex plot, superb writing and great characters will have you hooked from the first page. Brilliant.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

Author Bio:

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Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first four books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, and The Reach of Shadows, were joined by The Death of Justice, on 9 September 2019. Book number six, Endless Silent Scream, will be published on 9 March 2020.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Scream Blue Murder, an action-adventure thriller, was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, was published in November 2018.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #7, Slow Slicing.

 

Links

 

Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/

 

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

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyJForder @TonyJForder

 

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01N4BPT65

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16166122.Tony_J_Forder

 

Fantastic Fiction: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/f/tony-j-forder/

 

Tony can also be found on Instagram.