Book reviews, Court room drama, Thriller

The Curious Case Of Faith & Grace by David B. Lyons – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Pretty… or pretty twisted?

ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO FAITH AND GRACE TIDDLE ARRIVED HOME FROM THEIR USUAL SATURDAY MORNING DANCE CLASS TO FIND BOTH OF THEIR PARENTS FACE DOWN IN POOLS OF BLOOD.

Five days later, the twins — only nine years old at the time — were arrested for the double homicide.

And now, twenty months on, the entire country awaits with bated breath as the jury are dismissed to deliberate their verdict on a case that has become a national phenomenon.

But if Lead Detective Denis Quayle — the man who knows the case better than anybody else — isn’t fully convinced of the twins’ guilt…

Can a twelve-person jury be?

GET READY TO EXPLORE…

 


THE CURIOUS CASE OF FAITH & GRACE

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MY REVIEW 

The Curious Case Of Faith & Grace is the trial of twins Faith and Grace Tiddle. The girls look the picture of innocence……but are they?

The twins have been accused of the murder of their parents….

It tells of the twins early life, a quite strict life with a lot of religion and prayer…..and poor Grebit the frog gives a little idea of something dark…..

It also tells of the murder trial and the jury……one of whom is being blackmailed, all adding to the gloriously creepy tale. Guilty? Or Not Guilty?……….

Thank you to Emma at Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

About David B. Lyons:

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David B. Lyons is an international bestselling author — a writer of psychological thrillers.

He has reached No.1 in charts in Ireland, the UK, Canada and Australia.

David grew up in Dublin – the city his novels are set – but currently spends his time between Birmingham in the UK and the Irish capital. David is married to a Brummie, Kerry, and they have one daughter, Lola.

He has lectured in Creative Writing in colleges and universities in both Ireland and in the UK and coaches people how to write with free tutorials at TheOpenAuthor.com.

 

You can connect with David here:

 

Website: TheOpenAuthor.com

Twitter: @TheOpenAuthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorDavidBLyons

 

Social Media:

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheOpenAuthor

 

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

 

Website: http://theopenauthor.com/

 

Purchase Links:

 

Amazon UK:   https://amzn.to/30ZMCDh 

Amazon US:   https://amzn.to/2YRbhHj

 

Book reviews, Thriller

The Last Sword Maker by Brian Nelson – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease … a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes. The Chinese government says the rumors aren’t true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.

At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It’s a weapons test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person’s genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing “Replication”—a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.

Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation’s top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected … something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined.

With eerie similarities to today’s coronavirus pandemic, The Last Sword Maker is an exciting globe-trotting thriller with unforgettable characters that depicts a haunting vision of the future of warfare.

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MY REVIEW 

#1 in The Course Of The Empire series.

A terrible virus is killing people in Tibet…sounds familiar….except this virus is a weapon. A mix of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetics.

The developer has used Tibet as a testing ground.

The Last Sword Maker is a science based thriller, as the US race to find the secret of this new tech from China before the nano-virus teaches itself to replicate and spread as a natural virus does.

There is lots of science throughout, but the author’s writing explains it so well and has made it understandable to the layman without being patronising.

A very clever thriller that’s full of action. A real page turner that’s terrifying as it feels so, so possible.

Thank you to Michelle at FSB Associates for the eARC of The Last Sword Maker. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Brian Nelson is a former Fulbright Scholar who holds degrees in international relations, economics, and creative writing (fiction). His first book, The Silence and the Scorpion: The Coup against Chávez and the Making of Modern Venezuela, was named one of the Best Books of 2009 by the Economist. His work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Christian Science Monitor, and the Southern Humanities Review, among others. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two children.

 

Praise for The Last Sword Maker:

“A gripping, frighteningly plausible techno-thriller…Nelson’s intriguing scientific predictions and distinctive near-future setting make this sure to please speculative fiction readers as well as thriller fans.”—Publishers Weekly

 

“A terrifying vision of future warfare in the vein of Tom Clancy’s and Michael Crichton’s novels…A powerhouse near-future thriller with explosive action and exciting science.”—Foreword Reviews

 

“An all-too-plausible examination of how emerging technologies could be weaponized to horrible ends. I don’t recommend reading this one right before bedtime—unless you are prepared to stay up very, very late to finish it.”—Lisa Brackmann, New York Times bestselling author

 

“A head-spinning sci-fi-infused military thriller, with China and the United States putting everything they have into developing the perfect weapon, no matter the cost. ”—Francisco Toro, columnist, Washington Post

 

“The danger is unique, and the treachery vast, in this rapid-paced adventure that delivers in equal doses of amazing, yet possible. An intriguing tale that will leave you thinking. ”—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

 

“A compelling thriller…Nelson’s riveting narrative captures the drama of great power competition…This is a terrific debut.”—Patrick Duddy, Duke University, former US Ambassador to Venezuela

 

“An amazing read. The Last Sword Maker has everything”—Moisés Naím, New York Times bestselling author

 

Book reviews, Thriller

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

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

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

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

 

 

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MY REVIEW 

On Addie’s 10th Birthday, her sister Jessie is supposed to take her for pizza, but she’s late…..so not sleeping, Addie here’s her dad come home, he smells meaty! He has blood on his clothes too….

She later finds out there has been a terrorist attack on the tube…..is this where the blood came from….?

Each year on 7 July a woman goes missing, the police finally link these disappearances, but they have no leads…..yet!

Jessie and Addie find a missing woman’s purse in their father’s room …scared what will happen to them if he leaves, they decide to keep it a secret….so many secrets!

The tale is told from Addie’s perspective, with a few small asides by the Magpie and snippets of real events over the years, the various terror attacks in London which build the atmosphere. 

As the story continues, we see Addie grow from a 10 year old to a young adult, with the Magpie in the background all the time….there is an ever present feeling of menace, like something seen in the corner of your eye, building until the marvellously twisty and surprising ending. Original and compelling, definitely one of my favourites this year.

Thank you to Antonia at Headline for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour. This is my honest, unbiased review.

The paperback is published on 25 June…  https://amzn.to/2V269z6

Book reviews, Extract, Thriller

No One Will Hear Your Screams by Thomas O’Callaghan – * EXCERPT*

Here’s an excerpt from the suspense thriller No One Will Hear Your Screams by Thomas O’Callaghan ( my review will follow in a day or so)….

 

Excerpted from No One Will Hear Your Screams. Copyright © 2020 by Thomas

 

O’Callaghan. All rights reserved. Published by WildBlue Press.

Pearsol opened the mortuary cooler and pulled out the stainless steel tray supporting the victim. “Lieutenant, meet Jane Doe,” he said sliding the woman’s bloated body under Driscoll’s gaze. “Harbor Patrol fished her out of the muck.  I’d say she was a feast for the gulls for a day. Maybe two.”
“What’s that smell?  Paint thinner?”
“Phenol.”  
“She was doused in phenol?”
“Injected.”
Driscoll’s eyes narrowed.
“The complete autopsy will fill in the blanks, but I’d bet my pension I already know what killed her.  The who, and the why, I’ll leave to you.”  Pearsol handed the preliminary lab report to Driscoll.  It identifies a mixture of substances inside her vascular system.  
“Phenol, formaldehyde and Chloride of Zinc?”  Driscoll looked perplexed. 
“The same Chloride of Zinc they put in dry cell batteries?” 
Pearsol nodded. “There’s three more.”
“Myrrh, aloe and cassia,” Driscoll read aloud.  “That’s a strange mix.”  He glanced at Pearsol, who nodded.  “Says here you drained 851 milliliters from her circulatory system.  What’s that?  About two pints?”
“Just under.”
“A body contains five to six quarts of blood.  So the rest of this mixture?”
“Still in her.”     
Using his finger, Driscoll pushed back a lock of the victim’s hair. “What could you have done to warrant this?” he whispered, eyes on the corpse.
 
“Right now the unofficial cause of death is phenol poisoning by arterial injection.  Familiar with the German word, ‘abgespritzt’, Lieutenant?”
“No.”
“Abgespritzt was a method of genocide favored by the Nazis in the early 1940s.  Hitler’s henchmen delivered instantaneous death by injecting 15 milliliters of phenol directly into the heart.”
“What kind of syringe injects six quarts?”  
“More than likely he used a centrifugal pump.  And he knew what he was doing.” Pearsol pointed to the side of the victim’s neck, where a semi- translucent latex adhesive covered a two inch stretch of rippled flesh between the carotid artery and the jugular vein.  “An extreme method of murder, Lieutenant.  He arterially embalmed her.”
Driscoll winced.               
“There’s more.”  The M.E. produced a transparent evidence bag containing a locket.  It was an inch in diameter and featured Saint Vitalis of Gaza; his name etched in a half circle below his likeness.  “I found it under her tongue.  Someone apparently placed it there before suturing the tongue to the floor of her mouth.”
“What’s that about?” Driscoll wondered aloud.
“Good question.  I’m not familiar with that saint.  You?”
“She‘s the patron saint of prostitutes.”
“Well, there’s a lead.  Oh, and there’s one other bit of information you’re sure to find intriguing.  The myrrh, aloe, and cassia injected with the embalming fluid were once embalming solutions on their own.  Sort of.”
“Sort of?”
“They were the purifying fragrances applied to the linens that wrapped the crucified Christ before he was laid in his tomb.”

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About the Author:
Thomas O’Callaghan’s work has been translated for publication in Germany, Slovakia, Indonesia, the Czech Republic, China, and Italy. As an internationally acclaimed author, Mr. O’Callaghan is a member of both the Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers associations. A native of New York City and a graduate of Richmond College, Mr. O’Callaghan resides with his lovely wife, Eileen, a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean in beautiful Belle Harbor, New York. 
His debut novel BONE THIEF introduces NYPD Homicide Commander Lieutenant John W. Driscoll. THE SCREAMING ROOM is the second in the John Driscoll series. The third book in the series, NO ONE WILL HEAR YOUR SCREAMS, is now available from WildBlue Press. For more information, please visit https://thomasocallaghan.com

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Book reviews, Thriller

Everything To Lose by Gordon Bickerstaff – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Scientists claim their new sports drug will boost the performance of every athlete in the world. The Lambeth Group send scientist, Gavin Shawlens, to investigate the claim.

The product is stolen, top athletes disappear, and the research team are unaware that their product has a dangerous side effect. Gavin must stop the sports drug launch before more people die.

When Gavin disappears – Zoe Tampsin searches frantically to find him before he becomes the next victim.

As if Zoe hasn’t got enough on her plate. Past events in Gavin’s life catch up with him. A powerful US general decides that Gavin must die to prevent exposure of a 60-year old secret capable of world-changing and power-shifting events.

The chase is on…

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MY REVIEW 

Everything To Lose is #2 in the Gavin Shawlens series and is a Lambeth Group Thriller.

Gavin is recovering from events in Book#1 ‘Deadly Secrets’ and now a new issue is on the horizon. So, he joins with SAS Officer Zoe Tamsin to investigate a new sports performance enhancing drug that claims it will improve any athlete’s performance. but at what cost?

But then athletes begin disappearing and dying Gavin has an idea of what the problem is, but then he goes missing and Zoe and her expert team have to find him before he becomes another victim…..

Everything To Lose is a fast paced, action packed thriller with great characters and a science based, twisty plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat….heart pounding stuff.

Thank you to Damppebbles Tours 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.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. I studied biochemistry, and I’ve worked in several Scottish universities where I did research on enzymes, and taught biochemistry. After thirty years of teaching and research I retired my academic pen, and took of a mightier fiction pen.

I live in central Scotland with my wife and we enjoy reading, writing, and walking in the hills.

The Lambeth Group books follow the secret government investigations of agent Zoe Tampsin. A strong female protagonist with courage, determination, and guile. She is assisted by specialist consultant, Gavin Shawlens.

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GFBickerstaff 

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, Thriller

Fire And Vengeance by Robert McCaw – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 

The story in Fire and Vengeance is propelled by the unthinkable—an elementary school, knowingly built atop a volcanic vent, has now exploded. The subsequent murders of the school’s contractor and architect only add urgency to Koa’s search for the truth. Was it an act of terrorism? Or a result of greed, power, and a forty-year-old conspiracy?

 

As Koa’s investigation heats up, his brother collapses in jail from a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. Using his connections, Koa devises a risky plan to win his brother’s freedom. As Koa gradually unravels the obscure connections between multiple suspects, his investigation suddenly becomes entwined with his brother’s future, forcing Koa to choose between justice for the victims and his brother’s freedom.

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MY REVIEW 

Fire And Vengeance is a story of greed and corruption. Set in Hawaii, Chief Detective Koa Kane is investigating a property developer who built a school over a volcanic vent……when this exploded it resulted in the death of 14 children.

Who knew of the dangers? How far will they go to keep their secret?

This is a thriller full of tension and drama, it’s a slow burn which builds to make a thoroughly engrossing, edge of your seat read. 

Thank you to Michelle at FSB Associates for an eARC of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Robert McCaw is the author of Fire and Vengeance, Off the Grid, and Death of a Messenger. McCaw grew up in a military family, traveling the world. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, served as a U.S. Army lieutenant, and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. He was a partner in a major international law firm in Washington, D.C. and New York City, representing major Wall Street clients in complex civil and criminal cases. Having lived on the Big Island of Hawaii, McCaw imbues his writing of the Islands with his more than 2-year love affair with this Pacific paradise. He now ives in New York City with his wife, Calli. 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Thriller

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.

As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…
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MY REVIEW 

Fran has returned home to Ash Mountain, a small town in Australia. She’s caring for her dad, who has had a stroke and needs constant care. She has a teenage daughter, Vonny and an older son, Dante.

Vonny is a typical teen, a bit moody and glued to her phone. Dante however, is happiness personified, cool and satisfied with his life.

The story revolves around a bushfire that heading for the town.

Told in two timelines, 30 years before and the few days leading up to the day of the fire. Mainly from Fran’s perspective but also some chapters from a few of the other characters, such as Rosie and Maz.

This is so full of humour, the everyday humour between friends and family that’s sharp, dark and honest. It also deals with the more serious subjects of abuse, racial and sexual, sexuality and death. Ash Mountain is domestic noir, but also a disaster thriller that literally takes your breath away…..

I love Fran, with her bonker’s humour, irreverent and hilarious and her commitment to her family is unquestionable. Ash Mountain is laugh out loud funny, (Gramps on a Stick!)….dark and tragic too. Full of emotional moments and I loved every fraught minute.  I’ll forever mourn poor Ronnie Corbett. Sheer genius and just  brilliant.

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 LINKS

 

https://amzn.to/3d0sUui

 

https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Helen-FitzGerald/Ash-Mountain/24853306

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband. 

Book reviews, Icelandic noir, Police procedural, Thriller

The Creak On The Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents

When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.
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MY REVIEW 

Set in Iceland, Elma has returned to her hometown of Akranes, after her relationship has broken down. She has joined the local police in CID.

When the body of a woman is found near a lighthouse the investigation begins. Was this an accidental death or murder?

I found The Creak On The Stairs had a creeping tension and an almost claustrophobic atmosphere. The chapters from young Elisabet’s perspective are particularly harrowing.

Elma is a likeable character and I enjoyed her close relationship with her mother and their humour brought some lighter moments to this dark tale. I do hope this is the beginning of a series as I’d love to read more….I loved the useful guide to Icelandic pronunciation too.

A compelling, sometimes emotional, Icelandic Noir Thriller that had me hooked from the first page. Stunning.

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.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Eva-Bjoerg-AEgisdottir/The-Creak-on-the-Stairs/24712304 or here : https://amzn.to/3e88pff 

https://www.goldsborobooks.com/product/the-creak-on-the-stairs-may-book-of-the-month

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.

Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten. 

Book reviews, Police procedural, Thriller

In Plain Sight by Marion Todd – Book Review

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I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for In Plain Sight and am reposting my review.

 


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A child’s life is at stake. Which of the residents of St Andrews is hiding something – and why?

When a baby girl is snatched from the crowd of spectators at a fun run, the local police have a major investigation on their hands. DI Clare Mackay and her team are in a race against the clock when they learn that the child has a potentially fatal medical condition. 

As Clare investigates she realises this victim wasn’t selected at random. Someone knows who took the baby girl, and why. But will they reveal their secrets before it’s too late?

The second instalment from an exciting new Scottish detective series. Perfect for fans of Alex Gray, Rachel Amphlett and D. K. Hood.

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MY REVIEW 

#2 in the Detective Clare Mackay series, but can also easily be read as a stand-alone.

A very young child has been abducted while her parents were watching a commotion at a charity fun run.

Detective Clare Mackay was about to take part in the run so was on the scene immediately, but no sign of baby Abi.

When they find out Abi has a heart condition and needs regular medication to keep her alive, this becomes a tense race against time.

Can they find Abi before it’s too late?

This is a clever, well plotted police procedural that’s so much more involved. There’s a missing child, a thorough investigation with plenty of possible suspects, office politics, an overly ambitious senior officer and well developed characters. A truly gripping and thoroughly entertaining read. I’m already looking forward to the next in the series….

Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can preorder a copy here( available from 20 February) : 

https://amzn.to/2GPWsMJ

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Marion grew up in the City of Dundee, now home to the magnificent V&A Museum. Always a keen writer, she has had point-of-view pieces published in the Dundee Courier and short stories in My Weekly magazine. She won first prize in the Family Circle Magazine Short Story for Children Competition in 1987.

More recently, Marion has turned her hand to crime fiction and was one of only six commercial fiction writers selected to pitch to an industry panel at XPONorth in Inverness in 2017. In 2018 Marion was long-listed for the Sunstory Award and the Scottish Arts Council Short Story Award. This year she was short-listed for Dundee Rep’s Stripped programme. She is represented by Northbank Talent Management and her debut novel, See Them Run, will be published as an eBook by Canelo on 31 October 2019.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Marion worked as a lecturer, candle-maker and hotel lounge pianist, a job which provided rich material for her novels. When she isn’t writing, Marion can be found tussling with her jungle-like garden and walking in the beautiful Scotish countryside.

Marion lives in North East Fife overlooking the River Tay and is a sometime babysitter for her daughter’s unruly but lovable dog. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Thriller

Slow Down by Lee Matthew Goldberg – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

How far would you go to make your dreams come true? 

For budding writer and filmmaker Noah Spaeth, being a Production Assistant in director Dominick Bambach’s new avant-garde film isn’t enough. Neither is watching Dominick have an affair with the lead actress, the gorgeous but troubled Nevie Wyeth. For Noah’s dream is to get both the film and Nevie in the end, whatever the cost. And this obsession may soon become a reality once Dominick’s spurned wife Isadora reveals her femme fatale nature with a seductive plot to get rid of her husband for good. 

Slow Down, a cross between the noir styling of James M. Cain and the dark satire of Bret Easton Ellis, is a thrilling page-turner that holds a mirror up to a media-saturated society that is constantly searching for the fastest way to get ahead, regardless of consequences.

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MY REVIEW 

Slow Down is the tale of Noah Spaeth, the man who has everything, but wants more. It’s the story of one upmanship and how far Noah and Dominick will go to get what they want.

A fast paced thriller set in the film industry with all its decadence, drugs and greed.  A gripping, disturbing story of excess, betrayal and corruption. Brilliant.

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

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com. 

 

Website – Leematthewgoldberg.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/leemgol

IG – https://www.instagram.com/leematthewgoldberg/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LeeMatthewG 

 

 

Thriller

Black Blood by Jane Eddie – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Danni was a trainee corporate lawyer before she was forced to flee her life in London. Having escaped a controlling and abusive partner, she now finds herself hiding from another predator – her employer.

Post-Brexit, the U.K. oil industry is on its knees and desperate to turn a profit, but at what cost?

Many companies in Aberdeen have already been forced to sell out to the Russians, but when a prominent CEO is found dead, the number of mysterious deaths offshore have escalated and oil platforms are being targeted by terrorists. But who is actually calling the shots? There is more to these attacks than meets the eye…

As Danni draws ever closer to discovering the truth, she becomes embroiled in a web of secrets and deceit where doing the right thing could cost her life.

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MY REVIEW 

Black Blood is set in Aberdeen and the oil industry.

It starts with a bit of insight into the effect the downturn in the oil industry had on the economy of Aberdeen and how the job losses affected the whole community. This really sets the atmosphere of the tale.

A Russian company takes over and the main character, Danni, works for them but soon feels something is not quite right and is deadly for some.

And so the story begins.

This has a tense and twisty plot to keep you hooked from start to finish. Jane Eddie has great, descriptive writing to the extent I feel I could almost find my way around Aberdeen,  and with well developed, likeable characters it all makes for a fast paced, gripping thriller with real atmosphere. Thoroughly entertaining.

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.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I am a 48-year-old Contracts Manager for a Well Abandonment Company working in the oil industry in Aberdeen. I live in a farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Netherley, Aberdeenshire with my long suffering partner, four horses and two working cocker spaniels. When I’ve not got my head stuck in a book, my time is devoted to my horses, one of which I compete at dressage.

During the last downturn in the oil market I became disillusioned with my job and made a conscious decision to do something that made me happy. That turned out to be writing! I think my partner thought I was having a mid-life crisis when I told him I was quitting my job to write a book. I have been an avid reader from a young age and always have a book on the go. My passion is crime and psychological thrillers. I had the idea for this novel floating about in my head for about a year and decided it was time to unleash my secret desire to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and see if I could turn my notion of a story into reality. The time it took to write and edit my book have been the most enjoyable of my life so far. Unfortunately I have had to return to work to pay the bills but I am working on an idea for Book 2!

 

Twitter @JaneEddie2

 

Paperback: 300 pages

  • Publisher: Book Guild Publishing Ltd (5 Dec. 2019) • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1913208060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1913208066 
Book reviews, Family drama, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Supernatural, Thriller

Draca by Geoffrey Gudgion – Book Review

 

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A war-damaged veteran on a mission to self- destruct…

… a controlling father pushing him ever closer to the edge…

… and a yachtswoman who gives all she has to hold him back.

And between them all, there’s an old boat with dark secrets, and perhaps a mind of its own.
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MY REVIEW

Old Eddie was fascinated by Viking culture and when he dies of cancer, his grandson, Jack,  decides to restore Eddie’s beloved boat, Draca. 

Jack is suffering from PTSD after his experiences in Afghanistan that left him damaged physically and psychologically. He is at odds with his father, Harry and his marriage to Charlotte is struggling too. He meets George, at the boatyard and she sees more than people know and has serious worries about Jack and Draca.

Will Jack give Eddie the send off he wanted, or is he on a different path?

This is a story of grief, not only that for lost family but of friends and the past. It deals with the stresses suffered by those in the armed forces, all set against the atmospheric sea and sailing. Beautifully descriptive, full of tension but with an emotional heart. A 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 my thanks to Geoffrey Gudgion for an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2Lm7207

Draca was released by Unbound on 14th May. Coronavirus logistics issues may result in Amazon being temporarily out of stock of paperback copies until early June. During this period Unbound will accept orders directly and will ship free of UK postage via https://unbound.com/books/draca/

PRAISE FOR DRACA

 

‘A terrific and compelling story which highlights mental and physical challenges that many who have served will recognise.’

General Sir Nick Parker Commander British Forces Afghanistan 2010

 

‘A cracking, believable yarn made even more authentic by the wonderfully descriptive sailing scenes – and by falling in love with the true heroine, the Bristol Channel pilot cutter Draca.’

Ewen Southby-Tailyour OBE, former Yachtsman of the Year

 

‘Tension release, tension release, fear, laughter, fear, lust, so you don’t notice the tightening of the noose … the story sucks you in and won’t let go.

Suzie Wilde, Author of Sea Paths and Obsidian

 

‘A really cracking read about a soldier who attacks his battlefield demons through his passion for sailing – and sadly still needs help’

Sir Peter Wall, President of Combat Stress

 

Author royalties from Draca are shared equally with the veterans’ charity Combat Stress.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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GEOFFREY GUDGION served for over 10 years in the armed forces, and made his first attempts at writing fiction during quiet moments on deployment. He later stepped off the corporate ladder, in the midst of a career in marketing and general management, specifically to release time to write. His first novel, Saxon’s Bane, reached #1 in Amazon Kindle’s ‘Ghost’ category, and he now writes full time. When not crafting words he is an enthusiastic amateur equestrian and a very bad pianist. 

Book reviews, Political thriller, Thriller

The Kompromat Kill by Michael Jenkins – Book Review

 

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down.

When a British Diplomat is kidnapped in the heart of London, followed by a brutal double-assassination in Chelsea, MI5 braces for the threat of deep sleeper cells coming alive.

Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.

As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands…….……..

Tense, absorbing, and insightful, The Kompromat Kill is a gripping thriller leaving you breathless at the pace of intrigue, cleverly unravelled in a dramatic finale.

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MY REVIEW 

Sean is in trouble , he has a price on his head, a ruined career and a certain way of doing things…..his way!

His latest exploit is helping his former employer locate someone and find out just who they are working for…..

He finds out more secrets than expected and his safety is in danger again and again. 

The British Secret Service call on Sean for help on other cases….but are these linked?

Lots of action, espionage, Russians and danger. This is edge of your seat excitement from start to finish….if you like an action packed spy thriller, you’ll love this.

Thank you to Emma at Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour. 

 

Originally posted on 23 July.

 

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Book reviews, Mystery, Thriller

Overboard by Ivy Ngeow – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Thailand. An epic storm. A shipwreck. A white man has been found alive.

But who is he? Suffering horrific injuries and burns, he is taken to a local hospital. He is mute. Everything is a blank. They tell him his name. That is all he knows. When his Chinese wife arrives, he has no choice but to return to London to her family. He starts getting better with care and more surgery until one day… he’s assaulted. And he knows why.

The blow brings back a dangerous memory. But he’s crippled, disfigured and penniless… and he’s living the life of the man they think he is. What will he risk to uncover the truth?

If you like a compelling, suspenseful thriller with witty dialogue and taut, dark storytelling, you’ll love Ivy Ngeow’s Overboard. Discover today what it means to go Overboard… jump off and start your adventure now.

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MY REVIEW 

Overboard starts with a shipwreck and there’s only one survivor. A man with amnesia.

Phoebe is told her husband is alive, but horrifically injured and disfigured.

Dominique is told her husband died in a boating accident.

Przemek is working for both women.

and then there is You…telling their side of the story.

I can’t say much more for fear of spoilers, but I can say this is a compelling thriller, told from four very different characters and their perspectives. It builds gradually as it all starts to link together towards the final reveal.

Overboard is a masterpiece of character building and plotting. It’s sharp, witty dialogue mixed with a tension filled tale makes this a stunning, almost poetic thriller. I love Ivy Ngeow’s writing and her use of language just sparkles. I loved it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a special thank you to Ivy Ngeow for a copy of the book (and the sparkly cloud!). This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Overboard-compelling-modern- suspense-novel/dp/1913584003

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Ivy Ngeow was born and raised in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. A graduate of the Middlesex University Writing MA programme, Ivy won the 2005 Middlesex University Literary Prize out of almost 1500 entrants worldwide. 

She has written non-fiction for Marie Claire, The Star, The New Straits Times, South London Society of Architects’ Newsletter and Wimbledon magazine. Her fiction has appeared in Silverfish New Writing anthologies twice, The New Writer and on the BBC World Service. Most recently, her story was published by Fixi Novo in an anthology.

Ivy won first prize in the Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition 1994, first prize in the Barnes and Noble Career Essay Writing competition 1998 and was shortlisted for the David T K Wong Fellowship 1998 and the Ian St James Award 1999.

Ivy has been a highly-accomplished multi-instrumental musician since childhood and won fifth prize (out of 850 entrants) in the 2006 1-MIC (Music Industry Charts) UK Award for her original song – Celebrity, when she formed her own band, Satsuma (2005-07). Her songs are funky, modern and eclectic, with strong urban grooves and

lyrics. Satsuma has played headlining gigs at top London venues such as: The Marquee Club, The Troubadour Club, The Water Rats, The Betsey Trotwood, Plan B and Clockwork.

 

Website : http://www.writengeow.com/ Twitter: @ivyngeow
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Paperback: 388 pages

  • Publisher: Leopard Print Publishing (24 Jan. 2020) • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1913584003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1913584009

 

Book reviews, Political thriller, Thriller

The F*ck It List by John Niven – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You are dying. Who do you kill? 

Set in a near-future America, an America that has borne two terms of a Trump Presidency and is now in the first term of Donald’s daughter as president, Frank Brill, a retired small-town newspaper editor, lives in a world where the populist policies Trump is currently so keen to pursue have been a reality for some years and are getting even more extreme – an erosion of abortion rights, less and less gun control, xenophobic immigration policies.

Frank, a good man, has just been given a terminal diagnosis. Rather than compile a bucket list of all the things he’s ever wanted to do in his life, he instead has at the ready his ‘fuck-it list’. Because Frank has had to endure more than his fair share of personal misfortune. And he has the names of those who are to blame for all of the tragedies that have befallen him.

But eventually, as he becomes more accustomed to dishing out cold revenge and the stakes get higher and higher, and with a rogue county sheriff on his tail, there only remains one name left at the bottom of his fuck-it list.

Part political satire, part compulsive thriller, The F*ck-it List is John Niven at his coruscating best.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in 2026, America and Frank’s Doctor tells him he has cancer, but he knew this already….it’s time to get out the list,

This is a tale of politics and hatred, the consequences of these on lives in the real world and a man with nothing left to lose.

The F*ck It List tells of a dystopian America ruled by the Trump family! It’s terrifying in that the US seems to be only one very small step away from the events in this story.

It’s a dark, road trip that’s racing toward a tragic end. Frank is a man who has messed up his personal life more than once, but just when it’s settled and he is actually sober and happy the rug is pulled out from under him, over and over. He’s flawed but likeable and you have every sympathy for him….

This cautionary tale is full of dark humour, it’s tragic, fierce and disturbing and I loved every 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://www.hive.co.uk/Product/John-Niven/The-Fck-it-List/24883550

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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John Niven was born in Irvine, Ayrshire. He is the author of the novella Music From The Big Pink and the novels, Kill Your Friends, The Amateurs, The Second Coming, Cold Hands, Straight White Male, The Sunshine Cruise, No Good Deeds and Kill ‘Em All.

 

Book reviews, Legal drama, Thriller

No Truth Left To Tell by Michael McAuliffe – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

February 1994—Lynwood, Louisiana: Flaming crosses light up the night and terrorize the southern town. The resurgent Klan wants a new race war, and the Klansmen will start it here. As federal civil rights prosecutor Adrien Rush is about to discover, the ugly roots of the past run deep in Lynwood.

For Nettie Wynn, a victim of the cross burnings and lifelong resident of the town’s segregated neighborhood, the hate crimes summon frightful memories of her youth, when she witnessed white townspeople lynch a black man. Her granddaughter Nicole DuBose, a successful journalist in New York City, returns to Lynwood to care for her grandmother. Rush arrives from DC and investigates the crimes with Lee Mercer, a seasoned local FBI special agent. Their partnership is tested as they clash over how far to go to catch the racists before the violence escalates. Rush’s role in the case becomes even more complicated after he falls for DuBose. When crucial evidence becomes compromisethreatening to upend what should be a celebrated conviction—the lines between right and wrong, black and white, collide with deadly consequences.

No Truth Left to Tell is a smart legal thriller that pulls readers into a compelling courtroom drama and an illusive search for justice in a troubled community.

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MY REVIEW 

This is a mix of legal thriller and courtroom drama which deals with the subjects of racism and civil rights.

It revolves around the horrific acts perpetrated by the kkk, the cross burnings, the hatred they encourage and the consequences of these acts.

It is an emotive read in many ways and will induce feelings of anger at those responsible and of empathy for the victims.

A clever plot and well developed characters make this a compelling thriller from start to finish.

Thank you to Anna at FSB Associates for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Michael McAuliffe has been a practicing lawyer for thirty years. He was a federal prosecutor serving both as a supervisory assistant US attorney in the Southern District of Florida and a trial attorney in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. 

In 2008, Michael was elected and served as the state attorney for Palm Beach County, leading an office of approximately 125 prosecutors. He was  known for leading the ethics reform movement in county that resulted in the creation of a permanent inspector general, an ethics commission, and new ethics code.

He also has been a partner at a major law firm, a global company general counsel, a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University’s School of Law, and an adjunct professor at William & Mary’s School of Law. Early in his career, Mr. McAuliffe was a Civic Education Project fellow and visiting professor of law in the Czech Republic.

Aside from the law, Mr. McAuliffe is an alpine mountaineer, having climbed and reached the summits of Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro (with his daughter), Island Peak in the Himalayas, and many other mountains.

He received his JD from the College of William & Mary’s Law School and his BBA from the Business Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Michael and his wife Robin Rosenberg, a US district judge, have three children, and live in Florida and Massachusetts.

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, 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, 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.