Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Crime thriller

Three-Fifths by John Vercher – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

Pittsburgh, 1995. Twenty-two year old Bobby Saraceno is a biracial black man, passing for white. Bobby has hidden his identity from everyone, even his best friend and fellow comic-book geek, Aaron, who has just returned from prison a newly radicalized white supremacist.

During the night of their reunion, Bobby witnesses Aaron mercilessly assault a young black man with a brick. In the wake of this horrifying act of violence, Bobby must conceal his unwitting involvement in the crime from the police, as well as battle with his own personal demons. A harrowing story about racism and brutality that is more urgent now than ever.

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MY REVIEW 

Firstly, Three-Fifths is a must read, it’s a timely tale of race, identity and fear.

Bobby is a young man who works hard in a restaurant, bussing tables to help his alcoholic mother meet the rent payments on time. He is biracial with pale skin, so everyone treats him as a white man……he doesn’t put them right as he knows he would be treated very differently.

His best friend Aaron has just been released from prison, he’s now covered in tattoos, a swastika and cobwebs and is a member of the brotherhood, a white supremacist…..

When Aaron sees a couple of young black men, a confrontation takes place, ending with Aaron beating one of them in the face with a brick…..Bobby, in shock and terror, drives Aaron away from the scene.

When his mother, Isobel tells him the truth about his father Robert, Bobby is at odds with himself….he has decisions to make.

What follows is a mix of crime fiction and a heartbreaking tale of Bobby’s life and fears. It also tells of the inherent racism in society, from the police, the white supremacists and gang culture to the everyday casual racism people of colour experience every single day……

John Vercher has written an honest, thought provoking and absolutely heartbreaking story that’s a read in one sitting book…..I literally couldn’t put it down and was left in tears more than once. Eye opening and a must read. 

Thank you to Poppy at Pushkin Press for my copy of Three-Fifths. This is my honest and unbiased review.

Three-Fifths is available from Pushkin Press from October 2020…..PREORDER it now:    https://amzn.to/2ZHwRP6

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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John Vercher is a writer currently living in the Philadelphia area with his wife and two sons. He holds a Bachelors in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Mountainview Master Of Fine Arts program.

His fiction has appeared on Akashic Books’ Monday’s are Murder and Fri-Sci-Fi and he is a contributing writer for Cognoscenti, the thoughts and opinion page of WBUR Boston. Two of his essays published there on race, identity and parenting were picked up by NPR, and he has appeared on WBUR’s Weekend Edition. His non-fiction has also appeared in Entropy Magazine.

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller

Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in London, Lydia is a journalist, bored with the showbiz gossip she’s currently working on, when a friend sends her a video clip showing a man being attacked and possibly murdered on a tube train…..she needs to know more.

As a result she meets Michael Springer, a ‘fixer’ with dubious methods of getting what is needed for his clients. Together they uncover far reaching financial wrongdoings involving some very nasty people. (I really can’t say much more for fear of spoiling the marvellously complex plot)……violent, tense and twisty.

Blood Red City is a fast paced gritty thriller with some great characters and a plot that really keeps you gripped from start to finish…..and that end…Brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase links : http://orendabooks.co.uk/ebookstore/?/Blood+Red+City/&bid=9781913193256

 

https://amzn.to/38oTdsz 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Rod Reynolds was born in London and, after a successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, he decided to get serious about writing. He recently completed City University’s two-year Crime Writing Masters course and THE DARK INSIDE is his first novel. He lives in London with his wife and daughter. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Psychlogical thriller

The Bone Jar by S W Kane – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Two murders. 

An abandoned asylum. Will a mysterious former patient help untangle the dark truth?

The body of an elderly woman is found in the grounds of a derelict asylum on the banks of the Thames.As Detective Lew Kirby and his partner begin their investigation, another body is discovered in the river nearby. Gradually, the secrets of Blackwater Asylum begin to reveal themselves; there are rumours of secret rooms, unspeakable psychological experimentation and a dark force that haunts the ruins. Urban explorer Connie Darke has her own interest in the asylum; it’s where her sister died in a freak accident and she’s determined to help Kirby expose its grisly past. 

Meanwhile Kirby discovers a devastating family secret that threatens to turn his life upside down. As his world crumbles around him, Kirby must put the pieces of the puzzle together to keep the killer from striking again. Only an eccentric former patient knows the truth—but will he reveal it to Kirby or Connie before it’s too late?
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MY REVIEW 

The Bone Jar begins with the discovery of the body of an elderly woman in the derelict Blackwater Asylum….she had been murdered. 

DI Lew Kirby begins the investigation. He speaks to an urban explorer, Connie Darke who has reported her friend, Ed, missing. Her sister, Sarah had died in an accident some time before…..at the asylum. 

Are these events linked? Does Raymond and his creepy bone jar know more than anyone realises?

I really enjoyed this creepy thriller. It has great characters in Kirby and Connie (and a 3 legged stuffed fox). I really felt for poor Raymond too, such a troubled soul. With its clever plot, this dark and twisted tale keeps you guessing. Gripping from start to finish.

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

 

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/31zisa6

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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SW Kane studied History of Design and worked at the RIBA before taking on a series of totally unrelated jobs in radio and the music industry, where she still works as a freelance music PR. She has an MA in Creative (Crime) Writing from City University. She began reading crime fiction from an early age and developed an obsession with crime set in cold places. A chance encounter with a derelict fort in rural Pembrokeshire led to a fascination with urban exploration, which in turn became the inspiration for her crime novels. She lives London.

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Finnish Noir

Deep As Death by Katja Ivar – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The second in a three-book series featuring Hella Mauzer, to follow on the success of Evil Things.

 

  • A Nordic Noir of the first-order set in Helsinki in 1953. A dark psychological thriller about ruthless ambition, unrequited love and the lies we tell others and ourselves to avoid facing what has become of our lives.

 

  • A woman author and a female heroine. A misunderstood, flawed, whip-smart detective, now a P.I, fighting against both prejudice and crime. Hella finds herself at the centre of an investigation of multiple murders that threaten to destroy the reputations of the rich and powerful. Ivar has again succeeded in telling an incredibly gripping story with some of the cast of characters that we fell in love with in Evil Things.

 

Hella Mauzer has just been fired by the police and is now a reluctant private investigator. Escaping the mind-numbing routine of shadowing unfaithful spouses, Hella finds herself at the centre of an investigation of multiple murders.

It all begins when a prostitute is found floating upside down in Helsinki Harbour. Not exactly a high priority case for the Helsinki police, so homicide chief Jokela passes the job to his former colleague Hella. It’s beginning to look like a serial killer is at work when another lady of the night narrowly escapes being driven into the harbour, handcuffed to the car by her client. What begins like a taut whodunit turns into something more tantalizing as Hella turns her attention to different suspects, often to the consternation of the fascinating Inspector Mustonen, charismatic, ambitious and trying desperately to live up to the standards of his high-maintenance wife.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in Helsinki in 1953. Hella is a private investigator after being dismissed from the police force.

When a woman’s body is found in the harbour, Hella begins an investigation. The police aren’t interest as the woman was a sex worker. 

When more women either disappear or their bodies are found Hella believes a serial killer is responsible. Hella is also dealing with her messy personal life as she’s having an affair with a married man, who has promised to leave his wife for her, but she’s still waiting and now has other suspicions about him. 

Deep As Death has great characters and a clever, twisty plot. It’s a dark and chilling murder mystery with a real sense of atmosphere, you can almost feel the chill of a cold winter coming off the page. I’ll certainly be looking for more by Katja Ivar.

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

 

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2Zm4yoZ 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Katja Ivar grew up in Russia and the U.S. She travelled the world extensively, from Almaty to Ushuaia, from Karelia to Kyushu, before finally settling in Paris where she lives with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. in Linguistics and a master’s degree in Contemporary History from Sorbonne University. Evil Things was her debut novel. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Murder mystery, Police procedural

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Atlanta, Georgia. Present day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognises the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner’s always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof.

 

The killer is still out there.

 

As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But when the past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake.

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MY REVIEW 

#10 in the Will Trent Series, it can be read as a stand-alone (but you’ll be missing out on a fantastic series).

Will is called to investigate the murder of a prison inmate after a prison riot….Sara is there to examine the body. Daryl Nesbit, convicted of owning child pornography (and attacking a custody officer) says he has information to trade, he says he was framed by corrupt cops, one of whom was Sara’s murdered husband, Jeffrey.

He also claims he wasn’t responsible for the rape, mutilation and murder of women…..as there have been new murders since his incarceration it couldn’t be him…..is it a copycat?

Told in two timelines, it tells Jeffrey’s story up to Daryl’s arrest, how Lena may not have been the most honest of cops and Jeffrey’s investigation and relationship with Sara. It also tells of Will’s investigation into the new murders and the old case. It is an in depth investigation with so much happening, there’s Will and Sara’s, now troubled, relationship, Faith and her family, and the details of the brutal rapes, mutilations and murder of the women.

I loved The Silent Wife, with its mix of police procedural and the hunt for a serial killer, it tells of violence towards women in many forms, but it’s also a love story. I loved every gripping, chilling minute and it’s my favourite of the series so far….

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

 

Purchase link: https://amzn.to/2NBorDh

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 19 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant Sunday Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her.

The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television and Pieces of Her is soon to be an eight- part Netflix adaptation, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men), and produced by Charlotte Stoudt (Homeland) and Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies).

Karin is the founder of the Save the Libraries project- a non- profit organisation established to support libraries and library programming.

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Karin Slaughter

THE SILENT WIFE

 ‘One of the boldest thriller writers working today’ TESS GERRITSEN 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Final Verdict by Sally Rigby – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The judge has spoken……everyone must die.

When a killer starts murdering lawyers in a prestigious law firm, and every lead takes them to a dead end, Detective Chief Inspector Whitney Walker finds herself grappling for a motive.

What links these deaths, and why use a lethal injection?

Alongside forensic psychologist, Dr Georgina Cavendish, they close in on the killer, while all the time trying to not let their personal lives get in the way of the investigation.

For fans of Rachel Abbott, Mark Dawson and M A Comley, Final Verdict is the sixth in the Cavendish & Walker series. A fast paced murder mystery which will keep you guessing.

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MY REVIEW 

#6 in the Cavendish and Walker series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

A member of a law firm has died of a suspected heart attack, but this was found to have been caused by an injection of potassium chloride, so the investigation begins.

DCI Whitney Walker and her team search for suspects and helped as always by George Cavendish, a forensic psychologist.

Both women are also dealing with difficult circumstances in their personal lives too. Whitney’s mum has dementia and is now being tested for possible breast cancer, while George’s boyfriend has just proposed and she’s in a dilemma and her ex is now her boss.

When another member of the law firm is murdered in the same way, it becomes a race to find the killer before anyone else dies.

Final Verdict is a well paced, gripping thriller with great, well developed characters who are likeable and some not likeable. A clever plot too that keeps you hooked from start to finish.

Thank you to Emma of damppebbles blog tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Final Verdict. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Purchase link : https://amzn.to/2NeEHKh

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Sally Rigby was born in Northampton, in the UK. She has always had the travel bug, and after living in both Manchester and London, eventually moved overseas. From 2001 she has lived with her family in New Zealand (apart from five years in Australia), which she considers to be the most beautiful place in the world. After writing young adult fiction for many years, under a pen name, Sally decided to move into crime fiction. Her Cavendish & Walker series brings together two headstrong, and very different, women – DCI Whitney Walker, and forensic psychologist Dr Georgina Cavendish. Sally has a background in education, and has always loved crime fiction books, films and TV programmes. She has a particular fascination with the psychology of serial killers.

 

Check out her website for a FREE prequel story….. http://www.sallyrigby.com

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SallyRigby4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Sally-Rigby- 131414630527848/posts/?ref=page_internal

 

Website: https://sallyrigby.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sally.rigby.author/ 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural, post-apocalyptic

All Fall Down by M.J. Arlidge – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

“You have one hour to live.”

 

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

 

But why?

 

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

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

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MY REVIEW 

All Fall Down starts with a phone call….

Justin takes the call, but the caller says “You Have One Hour To Live”….he’s rattled but heads home in a chauffeur driven car. As he starts to relax he notices his driver has missed the turn.

Justin’s body is later found….he’d been strangled.

When another call is received things begin to get dark.

Helen Grace and her team begin the investigation, there are links to a group of friends captured and tortured years before. They had managed to escape, but one of them had died at the hands of the man who held them captive. 

It becomes a race against time to find why these people are being targeted and to stop a killer before anyone else dies.

All the while, Helen is dealing with a messy personal life with a reckless colleague, and heavily pregnant Charlie is adamant she will stay and help with the investigation.

I love the relationships between the characters, good and bad, and the marvellously twisty plot keeps you guessing. Another brilliant, dark thriller from M.J. Arlidge and I’m already waiting for book 10…

Thank you to Tracy of Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of All Fall Down. This is my honest and unbiased review.

Purchase linkhttps://amzn.to/37Jiltz 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural, Psychlogical thriller

Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

What if you knew the truth but couldn’t remember?

Over a decade ago, Heidi was the victim of a brutal attack that left her hospitalised, her younger sister missing, and her best friend dead. But Heidi doesn’t remember any of that. She’s lived her life since then with little memory of her friends and family and no recollection of the crime.

Now, it’s all starting to come back.

As Heidi begins retracing the events that lead to the assault, she is forced to confront the pain and guilt she’s long kept buried. But Heidi isn’t the only one digging up the past, and the closer she gets to remembering the truth, the more danger she’s in.

When the truth is worse than fiction, is the past worth reliving?

An addictive thriller about a case gone cold and the dangers lurking on our doorsteps, Monstrous Souls will have you gripped to the very end.

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MY REVIEW 

In 2001 Heidi and her friend Nina had been attacked, only Heidi survived and her younger sister, Anna went missing.

Heidi’s injuries were severe but she recovered except she had lost all memories of that time.

Detective Denise Gilzeen had kept in contact with Heidi and now 15 years later her memory is starting to return. As a result of information she had given to Denise, the case is reopened.

Will they find who killed Nina? And what happened to Anna and other missing girls?

Monstrous Souls is an utterly gripping read, it’s dark, gritty and full of emotion. There are great characters, some likeable and some truly reprehensible and evil. The subject matter is horrific but Rebecca Kelly tells you all you need to know without being graphic or gratuitous. It’s full of an incredible tension and is a tale of horrific events, tragedy, guilt and is anger inducing at times too. A dark thriller that you really cannot put down. 

Thank you to Peyton at Agora Books for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Monstrous Souls. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Preorder link : https://amzn.to/2N9JhZY

Ebook from 25 June and paperback 23 July 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rebecca Kelly was brought up with books but denied the pleasure of a television. Although she hated this at the time, she now considers it to have contributed to a life-long passion for reading and writing.

After a misspent education, Rebecca had a variety of jobs. She’s spent the last years raising her children but has lately returned to her first love – writing.

Rebecca lives in the UK with her husband and youngest son and an over-enthusiastic black Labrador, who gives her writing tips. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Thriller

Singapore Killer by Murray Bailey – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 

A helicopter crash and burned bodies.

 

A faceless corpse.

 

A mysterious town.

 

Carter is drawn into a dark case from which there seems no escape.

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MY REVIEW 

#5 in the Ash Carter series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

Wow….the action starts from the off and really doesn’t stop in this heart pounding thriller.

Set in 1950’s Singapore, a devastating helicopter crash turns out to be a deliberate act…..and so the story begins.

Ash Carter is on the hunt for the killer, Black Jack.

This is so well written with a real sense of time and place. Full of atmosphere, it has a brutal serial killer, plenty of great characters and a twisty, violent and action packed plot to keep every thriller fan on the edge of their seats. A fantastic read.

Thank you to Murray Bailey for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for an eARC of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Murder mystery

The Split by Sharon Bolton – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The nail-biting new crime thriller from Sharon Bolton, author of Sunday

Times Bestseller The Craftsman.

 

SHE’S GOT NOWHERE LEFT TO HIDE.

 

A year ago, in desperation, Felicity Lloyd signed up for a lengthy research trip to the remote island of South Georgia.

 

It was her only way to escape.

 

AND NOW HE’S COMING FOR HER.

 

Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder. Out at last, he’s on her trail. And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.

 

BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW FAR YOU RUN, SOME SECRETS WILL ALWAYS CATCH UP WITH YOU…

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MY REVIEW 

The Split is mainly set in South Georgia, a small, isolated island in the Atlantic Ocean.

Felicity is a specialist in ice, she has come to Georgia to work, but also to hide.

But Freddie has found her!

Will Felicity be able to escape before Freddie arrives?

The story is told in two timelines, Felicity’s present and past. It builds her story and you slowly learn why she is hiding……

This is a murder mystery with a really unique edge, there are the murders of rough sleepers, home invasion and yet it also deals with abuse, mental illness, homelessness and fear. There’s a clever, complex plot with some really creepy moments too…..my windows are all shut and locked that’s for sure….! Dark, tension filled and a thoroughly chilling read. I loved every minute.

Thank you to Alex at Orion Publishing for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eCopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Purchase link : https://amzn.to/2yEdxZo

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Sharon (formerly S J) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career in marketing and public relations. She gave it up in 2000 to become a mother and a writer. Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark Award (part of the prestigious Edgars) in the US. 

She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, the Theakston’s Prize for Best Thriller, the International Thriller Writers’ Best First Novel award, the Prix Du Polar in France and the Martin Beck award in Sweden. Sharon is available for interview and feature pieces.

 

Audiobook, Book reviews, Crime thriller

Fair Warning by Michael Connelly – AUDIOBOOK Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The hero of The Poet and The Scarecrow is back in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly. Jack McEvoy, the journalist who never backs down, tracks a serial killer who has been operating completely under the radar–until now.

Veteran reporter Jack McEvoy has taken down killers before, but when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered in a particularly brutal way, McEvoy realises he might be facing a criminal mind unlike any he’s ever encountered.

McEvoy investigates—against the warnings of the police and his own editor—and makes a shocking discovery that connects the crime to other mysterious deaths across the country. But his inquiry hits a snag when he himself becomes a suspect.

As he races to clear his name, McEvoy’s findings point to a serial killer working under the radar of law enforcement for years, and using personal data shared by the victims themselves to select and hunt his targets.

Called “the Raymond Chandler of this generation” (Associated Press), Michael Connelly once again delivers an unputdownable thriller that reveals a predator operating from the darkest corners of human nature—and one man courageous and determined enough to stand in his way.

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MY AUDIOBOOK REVIEW 

#3 In the Jack McEvoy series and is a 10 hours 20 minutes listen.

In Fair Warning, Jack is working for a news website when he becomes a suspect in the murder of a woman he spent a night with many months before.

So he begins his own investigation and the detectives in charge of the case are really not pleased.

Jack finds out a DNA testing company are selling their customers DNA results to third parties for huge sums. 

Who wants these DNA analysis results and why? A truly terrifying thought….

This is an absolutely compelling thriller, with a complex plot and great characters. I loved Peter Giles’ narration too he really brought the tale to life.

Thank you to Alex at Orion Publishing for a copy of the audiobook. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Michael Connelly decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing — a curriculum in which one of his teachers was novelist Harry Crews.

After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, primarily specializing in the crime beat. In Fort Lauderdale he wrote about police and crime during the height of the murder and violence wave that rolled over South Florida during the so-called cocaine wars. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of a major airline crash. They wrote a magazine story on the crash and the survivors which was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The magazine story also moved Connelly into the upper levels of journalism, landing him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest papers in the country, and bringing him to the city of which his literary hero, Chandler, had written.

After three years on the crime beat in L.A., Connelly began writing his first novel to feature LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. The novel, The Black Echo, based in part on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles, was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Connelly has followed that up with 26 more novels. 

 

Audiobook, Book reviews, Crime thriller, Family drama

What’s Left Of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott – Audiobook Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the “wakaresaseya” (literally “breaker-upper”), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings.

When Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō’s job is to do exactly that–until he does it too well. 

While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter’s life. As Rina’s daughter, Sumiko, fills in the gaps of her mother’s story and her own memory, Scott probes the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.
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MY REVIEW 

Sumiko is telling the story of her mother’s life.

Sumiko’s father, Satō, used the services of an wakaresaseya, to seduce his wife, Rina, so he could then divorce her for adultery. But his plan goes awry with consequences that echo through all their lives and lead to a tragic crime.

Sumiko had been unaware of this history until a phone call brings these secrets to light. She decides to find the truth of what happened to her mother.

This is an incredible and beautifully written tale of love and betrayal, of loss and grief all set in the stunning backdrop of Japan and its unique culture.

I listened to this as an audiobook and found the narration by Hanako Footman to be mesmerising, she has such a soothing voice and the emotions come across so perfectly. A stunning, tragic love story beautifully told. Haunting and unforgettable.

Thank you to Kate at Orion Books for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook from Audible for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Available from Audible.co.uk :  

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

The Sideman by Caro Ramsay – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Inside a beautiful Victorian family home in Glasgow’s West End, a mother and her young son are found brutally murdered. DI Costello is furious and knows exactly who did it, George Haggerty, the husband and father. The only problem is that Haggerty has a cast-iron alibi – the police themselves caught him speeding on the A9 at the time of the murders. But Costello can’t let it go. Determined to expose Haggerty as a ruthless killer, she’s gone solo.

DCI Colin Anderson has no time to ponder his partner of twenty years going rogue, as his own cases are piling up. But Costello’s absence becomes increasingly worrying. Has she completely disappeared following the tracks of a dangerous man?
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MY REVIEW

This starts with Costello’s letter of resignation. She is troubled by the murders of Abigail and her son, Malcolm. She knows, George Haggerty, Abigail’s husband and Malcolm’s father is responsible, but he’s got away with it.

Costello’s partner, Anderson is upset she didn’t tell him of her plans, after 20 working together he thought he knew her. He’s worried about her, but is busy with events in his personal life and at work with new cases.

But then Costello disappears……is this linked to the new cases or something else?

The Sideman is an absolutely compelling read, the plot is complex and twisty, but gradually builds to a thoroughly satisfying ending. As always there are great, well rounded characters with all their flaws and a nail biting tension from start to finish. A fantastic addition to the series.

Thank you to Amber at Midas PR 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. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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CARO RAMSAY is the Glaswegian author of the critically acclaimed Anderson and Costello series, the first of which, Absolution, was shortlisted for the CWA’s New Blood Dagger for best debut of the year. The ninth book in the series, The Suffering of Strangers, was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize 2018.

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, humour, Murder mystery

Death Of A Painter by Matthew Ross – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

IN THE BUILDING GAME TIME IS MONEY AND MONEY IS EVERYTHING. UNFORTUNATELY FOR MARK POYNTER, HE’S RUN OUT OF MONEY AND HE’S FAST RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

When Mark Poynter discovers a murder on his worksite all of his financial problems suddenly seem a lot closer to home: was this a warning his debts are overdue?

Suspected of being the killer and worried at being the intended victim, the murder only makes Mark’s money problems worse, leading him to turn to the local villain, Hamlet, who has his own unique repayment plan in mind for Mark.

When two more deaths plunge him even further into debt, Mark finds himself faced with a choice – help the police and clear his name or help the villain and clear his debt.

Set in the Medway Towns on the grey margins of criminality, where no job’s too big, no dodge’s too small …

Death Of A Painter is the first in a new series of darkly comic crime fiction novels featuring the beleaguered builder Mark Poynter, aided and hindered in equal measure by his trusted crew of slackers, idlers and gossips, and the lengths they go to just to earn a living.

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MY REVIEW

Death Of A Painter is #1 in the new Mark Poynter series.

Mark owes money, but as Chapman has robbed him and disappeared, he is unable to pay. He’s listing all his possessions to try to raise the money but falls far short.

When his friend and colleague, Tommy,  is murdered, Mark wonders if this was a message to him or maybe it was meant to have been him instead.

As Tommy was killed with one of Mark’s hammers the police think him a suspect.

With his money troubles, a local villain who wants Mark’s ‘help’, his life gets difficult to say the least, but can Mark find the killer ?

This is such a fun read, full of humour and banter between the characters, it also deals with loss and a murder mystery. Poynter is a complex, troubled but likeable character who really just wants to do the right thing while dealing with everything life throws at him. I found this a thoroughly entertaining read and I’m already looking forward to book 2.

Thank you to Red Dog Press for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a ARC of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

The buy link to use for all formats is  mybook.to/DOAP  for amazon (it’s case sensitive) or buy direct from RedDog at http://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Matthew Ross was born and raised in the Medway Towns, England. He still lives in Kent with his Kiwi wife, his children and a very old cat.

He was immersed in the building industry from a very early age helping out on his father’s sites during school holidays before launching into his own career at 17. He’s worked on projects ranging from the smallest domestic repair to £billion+ infrastructure, and probably everything in between.

A lifelong comedy nerd, he ticked off a bucket-list ambition and tried his hand at stand-up comedy. Whilst being an experience probably best forgotten (for both him and audiences alike) it ignited a love for writing, leading to various commissions including for material broadcast on BBC Radio 4 comedy shows.

Matthew moved into the longer format of novel writing after graduating from the Faber Academy in London in 2017.

‘Death Of A Painter’ is his first novel and the first in a planned series of stories featuring Mark Poynter and his associates.

Matthew enjoys reading all manner of books – especially crime and mystery; 80s music; and travelling and can’t wait for the next trip to New Zealand to spend time with family and friends.    

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Play by C.S. Barnes – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

How do you solve a case when there isn’t a crime scene?

When DI Melanie Watton and her team are called in to investigate a video recording that surfaces in a local school, they realise that they have a complex case on their hands.

When the recording is studied by the Medical Examiner, it becomes apparent the team are now faced with a gruesome recording of a murder. Over the course of several minutes, the killer administers drugs before suffocating a man on camera.  With no known crime scene, the team have nothing more than the video evidence in front of them and face a challenge to identify both the victim and the killer.

But when a suspect is discovered Melanie and her team are up against a killer who is more evil than anyone could have imagined…

Play can be read as the sequel to C.S. Barnes’ mystery thriller, Copycat or as an unmissable stand-alone. If you are a fan of detective stories by authors such as Helen H. Durrant and Angela Marsons, then you’ll love this unmissable police series.

C.S. Barnes is also the author of the critically-acclaimed psychological thriller, Intention.
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MY REVIEW

This is the second book to feature DI Melanie Watton, but can also easily be read as a stand-alone.

Play starts with a video being passed around pupils in a school, but when a teacher sees it he realises this may show a murder and so calls the police.

DI Melanie Watton and her team begin the investigation by trying to identify the man in the video, but things get dark when this is identified as real, a snuff movie. This takes them to the dark web and worry that this may not be an isolated murder.

Wow….this is a police procedural with a really dark edge, it has up to date tech, great likeable characters and a twisted, complex plot to keep you gripped from start to finish. Dark, disturbing and utterly engrossing and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

Thank you to C.S Barnes for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Psychlogical thriller

The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The dark and breathtakingly tense new novel from the queen of psychological thrillers

A year ago today, we all gathered for Lucas’ wedding at his glorious Cornish home overlooking the sea.

But no one was married that day.

Now Lucas has invited us back to celebrate the anniversary. But the anniversary of what? The wedding that never happened, or the tragedy that occurred just hours before the ceremony was due to begin?

He’s told us that tonight he has planned a game. We have our costumes, we have our parts, and everyone must play. The game, he tells us, is about to begin.

What does Lucas want from us? What are we not being told? And what’s going to happen when this terrible game is over?

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MY REVIEW

Jemma and Matt had been invited to the wedding of Lucas and Nina at the beautiful Polskirran in Cornwall. But after a tragedy the wedding is cancelled. But now on the anniversary Lucas has invited everyone back…..but why?

Lucas tells everyone they are going to play a game…..but things take a nasty turn…

The police arrive and Stephanie King begins her investigation.

This is such a gripping read, with great characters, a twisty involved plot that really keeps you guessing and so much tension from start to finish. A thoroughly entertaining 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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Rachel Abbott began her career as an independent author in 2011, with Only the Innocent, which became a No.1 bestseller on Kindle, topping the chart for four weeks. Since then, she has published eight further psychological thrillers and sold over 3 million copies. She is one of the top-selling authors of all time in the UK Kindle store, and her novels have been translated into 21 languages.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction.

 

#TheMurderGame

Twitter: @RachelAbbott

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RachelAbbott1Writer

Book reviews, Crime thriller

Bitter Wash Road by Garry Disher – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Hirsch is a whistle-blower. Formerly a promising metropolitan detective, now hated and despised, he’s been exiled to a one-cop station in South Australia’s wheatbelt. Threats. Pistol cartridge in the mailbox.

So when he heads up Bitter Wash Road to investigate gunfire and finds himself cut off without backup, there are two possibilities. Either he’s found the fugitive killers thought to be in the area. Or his ‘backup’ is about to put a bullet in him.

He’s wrong on both counts. But Tiverton when the next call-out takes him to the body of a sixteen-year-old girl, his investigation has disturbing echoes of the past he’s trying to leave behind…

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MY REVIEW 

#1 in the Paul Hirschhausen series.

Set in Australia, Constable Paul Hirschhausen, known as Hirsch, is now working in the Single Officer Police station after being moved to the remote town for whistleblowing. He in a small town where other cops make his life difficult to say the least.

So when reports of gunfire on the Bitter Wash Road, Hirsch is sent to investigate, he finds it’s just kids target shooting, but then finds the body of a hit and run victim on the roadside. Soon after there is another death, a suicide ?. Hirsch starts to wonder if there’s a link between the deaths but his odious boss doesn’t want them investigated…..why?

A tale of murder and corruption in a small town with a mix of suspects and plenty of twists to keep you guessing. With its clever plot and atmospheric setting this is a gripping, engrossing thriller.

Thank you to Rachel at Viper books for the opportunity to read Bitter Wash Road for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Garry Disher was born in 1949 and grew up on his parents’ farm in South Australia.

He gained post graduate degrees from Adelaide and Melbourne Universities. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first short story collection. He travelled widely overseas, before returning to Australia, where he taught creative writing, finally becoming a full time writer in 1988. He has written more than 40 titles, including general and crime fiction, children’s books, textbooks, and books about the craft of writing

Book reviews, Crime thriller

Threadbare by Malcolm Hollingdrake – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The team is seeing changes. Cyril is away and for the second time, Owen finds himself in charge of the investigation. An elderly gentleman dies of a snake bite and unfortunately his carer is also attacked. The second murder is a shooting, an unusual weapon being used, again an elderly victim.

A photograph of four friends celebrating a win at the Great St Wilfred’s Stakes at Ripon races in 1986 seems to be significant, but the relevance, at first, is lost in the investigation.

Another victim, one of the friends in the photograph, is found dead in his home. Only one of the friends remains alive and Owen and his team fight against time to prevent his murder.

The investigation is hampered by two siblings, the Bostock brothers, who have a history of rivalry and hatred; one of them is in the Ripon races photograph.

DS April Richmond’s biblical knowledge proves critical in solving the crime. The snake, Lilith, conjures the Garden of Eden. Two more fatalities occur before the crimes are solved and the motive is revealed.

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MY REVIEW 

#9 in The Harrogate Crime series.

This starts with Cyril proposing and so has now stepped back a little on cases while on honeymoon. His team carry on as usual though, so there is more about them and their backgrounds which I felt makes the characters more rounded. 

They begin investigating a death and find it was caused by snake venom…..as the body count grows they find more secrets and it becomes a race to catch the killer before any more deaths…

This is a well paced thriller with the tension building as the story progresses, ending with a marvellous final twist that I really didn’t see coming. A thoroughly engrossing read.

Thank you to Caroline Vincent at CazVin Books 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. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller

Spider Games by K.J. McGillick – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Kate O’Brien is pure dedication; she believes in the justice system. This feisty, no-nonsense attorney works herself to the bone every day, tirelessly building her reputation and career. She is on the path to being a legal star. That is until her corrupt law partner, Bill Brown, a criminal defense attorney, achieves a degree of notoriety which attracts the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

When the inconceivable happens, Bill is arrested, charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking and money laundering leaving the law firm in chaos. As Kate slowly digs her way out, what she finds sends her down a dark path that could lead to her imprisonment or death. Bill has meticulously set her up to pay for his malevolent crimes. His cohorts, fearing she knows too much, have marked her for death. Can she stay ahead of the FBI and unravel crimes that reach as far as China and Russia? Or will she need to assume a new identity to save her own life?

A fast-paced thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Suspenseful crime fiction with twists and turns throughout this masterfully plotted novel keeps you on the edge of your seat. It may be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the series, A Conspiracy of Betrayal.

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MY REVIEW

#1 in The Conspiracy Of Betrayal series.

Kate O’Brien is a lawyer whose life and career are put in danger after her law partner, Bill,  is investigated by the DEA.

All the while she is still working cases but then finds links to Bill and his plans to implicate her in his crimes. Can she prove the truth before it’s too late ?

This is so well plotted that it keeps you on your toes with its twists and secrets. A tense and intriguing tale. Thoroughly entertaining.

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.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Kathleen McGillick is an author of fast paced mystery, suspense and thriller novels. Her fascination with the genre reaches back to her childhood when she read every Nancy Drew book she could find. This, one could say, laid the foundation for her future love of all things mystery and who dun it’s.

Although she has lived in Georgia for over thirty-five years and is practicing attorney in the Metro Atlanta, she will always call New York her home.

When writing her novels she draws from her extensive experience in the medical and legal field to weave her twisted plot lines. Kathleen counts herself an ardent student of art history which allows her to add a dash of art to her novels adding to the mystery of the story.

As a young person her dream was to become an English literature teacher. Although life took her on a different path, one might say she found her way back to her early love of books by spending her time now writing them.

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Book reviews, Crime thriller

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to be saved . . .’

For some people, trouble just finds them.

Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer. 

Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.

Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town. 

Murder, revenge, retribution.

How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?
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MY REVIEW 

30 years ago, 5 year old Sissy Radley died. A 15 year old boy, Vincent King was convicted of being responsible for her death.

King has just been released from jail and has returned home to the small town of Cape Haven.

We Begin At The End is a tale set in a small American town, where everyone knows each other’s business. There is a marvellous mix of characters, Chief Walker, a police officer addicted to pills, Star, Sissy’s sister, who is a mess of drink and men, and young Duchess, 13 years old and parent to her little brother and carer to her mother, Star. Duchess is a little obsessed with an old outlaw ancestor and she is as unpredictable as he was, but also she will protect her family at all costs.

This captures the claustrophobia of a small town, it shows people at their best, their worst and their most low. It is a thriller with an emotional heart.

Beautifully written in a way that reminded me of the writing of Harper Lee and John Steinbeck, it’s about the characters and their lives. Heart rending, utterly compelling and unforgettable, a must read.

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.

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/3aNxI4X

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city. 

His debut novel, Tall Oaks, won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger. 

Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.