July 22

The Art of Fear – Pamela Crane

A life no girl should endure. A father no daughter could love. A twist no one would predict.

From award-winning author Pamela Crane comes a terrifying tale of small-town secrets and murder.

Ari Wilburn’s life ended long ago–the day she watched her little sister die in a tragic accident and did nothing to stop it. Crippled with self-blame and resented by her parents, she stumbles through life … and onto an unexpected clue that casts doubt on whether the death was accidental.

Now a psychological wreck, Ari joins a suicide support group where she meets Tina, a sex-enslaved escapee who finds her long-lost father dead. Suicide, police ruled it. But Tina suspects foul play. As a bond develops between the women in their shared loss, they’re dragged into playing a dangerous game with a killer.

Faced with a murderous wake-up call and two possibly linked deaths, Ari’s investigation puts her next on the killer’s list. But she’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Needing closure, Ari must face her demons and the killer behind them … or lose everything she loves.

 

My thanks to Kate at Thick as Thieves for the opportunity to join the blog tour

 

At a suicide support group Ari meets Tina Alvarez.  Ari is struggling to contend with the guilt associated with the death of her younger sister ten years earlier, however, Tina comes to her group fresh from learning of the suicide of her father. Ari and Tina bond and Tina tells Ari that she does not believe that her father took his own life – the two women begin to investigate the suicide.

As the story develops it becomes clear to Ari that Tina’s father did not take his own life. Yet as Ari becomes drawn deeper into Tina’s life we learn more of the horrific ordeals she has had to suffer. Sold to a sex trafficker by her father, subjected to the worst abuse over a number of years Tina has managed to escape from her captor but he is looking to take her back – claiming that she has not yet earned back the money he paid for her.

Meanwhile Ari is spurred on to reconsider the events surrounding the death of her sister.  Her family firmly placed the blame onto Ari and it drove a wedge between Ari and her parents which could never be broken down.  However, as Ari reconsiders the events which led to her sister’s death she begins to question whether the blame was entirely her own.

As you can tell there are some dark topics holding the narrative together during The Art of Fear; but full credit to Pamela Crane for keeping it engrossing and tacking these difficult subjects with compassion and sympathy. She also writes a cracking story which features some very nasty people and you will get drawn into the lives of Ari and Tina.

One of the most disturbing elements of the story is that Ari has a countdown to her death in the chapter headings. As you read the story will switch timelines to show current events, circumstances from the time Ari’s sister dies and other key points in her (and Tina’s) life. However, when the narrative returns to the current time there are chapters which begin with the number of days that Ari has to live – and it is not many!  The deeper you get into the story and the more you come to like Ari the more worrying the death-clock is – lovely wee touch to keep me hooked.

So in summary – dark themes which are woven into a thrilling and engaging story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

The Art of Fear is published by Tabella House and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fear-Little-Things-That-Kill-ebook/dp/B071R3M2J5/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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July 20

Trust Me – Angela Clarke

YOU SAW IT HAPPEN. DIDN’T YOU?

What do you do if you witness a crime…but no-one believes you?

When Kate sees a horrific attack streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who attacked her.

Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but the trail has gone cold. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

Dark, gripping, and flawlessly paced, Trust Me is the brilliant third novel in the hugely popular social media murderer series.

 

My thanks to Sabah at Avon for my review copy

The third Freddie and Nas thriller in Angela Clarke’s engaging Social Media murder series and this has been my favourite of the three.

First the housekeeping, it is book 3 of a series so there are some references to past events. I have goldfish memory and can never remember character names so I can confirm that Trust Me *can* be read as a stand alone (or out of sequence). The author ensures that new (and forgetful) readers will not be disadvantaged when previous events are discussed as she nicely outlines events from earlier books and ensures you have the pertinent detail to enjoy Trust Me.

To the book…it is generally accepted that you can find anything on the internet but one evening Kate comes across a Periscope feed which is streaming the attack of a young woman.  Kate is compelled to watch the feed as she realises that the woman is initially incapable of refusing the sexual advances of her assailant. When the attack becomes increasingly violent Kate is convinced the girl cannot have survived the incident.

She contacts the police but they seem unable to help – she cannot find the video again, there is no sign of a victim and Kate does not even know where the incident took place. Her frustration eventually leads her to call Freddie who has no doubt that Kate is telling the truth but can  she make her police colleagues believe Kate’s story?

Freddie has her own problems to contend with – her role with the police is in jeopardy due to funding problems. There is a potential solution but Freddie will need to change her role and undergo some training if she is to remain attached to the police. Meanwhile Nas is also battling to recover her status amongst her colleagues as past decisions are still casting a shadow over her place within the squad.

As Trust Me unfolds we are treated to the frustrations of Freddie, the problems with investigating an incident with little evidence and a potentially unreliable witness and we see loyalties tested under extreme circumstances. It makes for gripping reading and fans of Angela’s previous novels are in for a treat with Trust Me.

 

Trust Me is published by Avon and is available now in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trust-Me-Angela-Clarke-ebook/dp/B01MRGTMK6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

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July 17

The Last Place You Look – Kristen Lepionka

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

With echoes of Sue Grafton, Dennis Lehane and the hit podcast Serial, The Last Place You Look is the gripping debut of both a bold new voice and character.

 

My thanks to Lauren at Faber for my review copy and the chance to join the tour.

 

I feel bad when I devour a book in just two sittings.  I know how much time and effort goes into the writing and editing and publication of a novel so to sit down and race through The Last Place You Look in just 4/5 hours of reading – I get a bit guilty. But when I read a book I am enjoying I just want to keep going so The Last Place You Look is a victim of its own success – it was too good to not read.

Roxane Weary is a Private Investigator.  As the book opens she is still reeling from the death of her father, a cop killed in the line of duty. Roxane has a fondness for whisky, a diminishing bank balance and a potential client who wants Roxane to find a missing girl.

But the “missing girl” (Sarah) has been assumed dead for 15 years – her boyfriend of the time (Brad) is on death row, guilty of the murder of his Sarah’s parents and, despite no body being found, of killing Sarah too.  Roxane’s client is Brad’s sister. She believes that she has spotted Sarah and that if Roxanne could find Sarah then it may be possible that Sarah could provide an alibi for Brad which would save him from his impending execution.

Realising that the chances of success are slim Roxane begins her investigation. Happily for readers it is not long before Roxane realises that she has taken on a challenge more complex than just finding a missing person.  Her investigations will overlap with a case her father had been looking into prior to his death and looking back into events which occurred more than 10 years ago will give Roxane the benefit of seeing other, seemingly unconnected, events which may actually have an impact on her case.

At the risk of spoilers I cannot give much more detail, however, I will confirm that Roxane is a fun lead character and she carries the story brilliantly. The investigation is really well structured and kept me guessing where it may lead next. The initial missing person search is never forgotten, however, Roxane’s digging will result in her search branching into unexpected areas and I got hooked.

The Last Place You Look is highly recommended, fun, thrilling and some nasty twists to keep a reader enthralled.  Go get this one!

 

The Last Place You Look is published by Faber & Faber and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Place-You-Look-ebook/dp/B06XCRC4W6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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July 8

Merlin At War – Mark Ellis

Merlin at war

Today I am delighted to host the latest leg of the Merlin at War blog tour.  The new DCI Frank Merlin novel released on 6 July and I have an extract from the book to give you a taste of the action.  First the book description:

War rages across Europe. France is under the Nazi thumb. Britain has its back to the wall. In London, Scotland Yard detective Merlin investigates a series of disturbing events – a young girl killed in a botched abortion, a French emigre shot in a seedy Notting Hill flat, a mysterious letter written by a British officer, gunned down in Crete. With action spanning Buenos Aires, New York, Cairo and Occupied France, Merlin and his team are plunged into a dark world of espionage, murder, love and betrayal.

 

My thanks to Eve at Midas PR for the chance to join the tour.

 

Vichy France, May 1941

The birds were chattering melodiously in the plane trees of the Parc des Sources. The two men, one in uniform and flourishing a white military baton, the other in a baggy but expensive civilian suit, sauntered out of the Hotel Splendide, followed at a distance by a small group of military men and secretaries. The outside tables at the Grand Café were crowded in the balmy late-spring sun. Several of the male customers rose to tip their hats to the strollers while as many ladies, some young, some old, smiled by way of respect.

The civilian, short and dark, with a cowlick of oiled hair and a thick black moustache, acknowledged the signs of deference with a nod of the head and the crinkling of an eye. His stiffly erect companion responded with a raised eyebrow and a baton tap of his kepi. They walked in silence under the café awnings towards Les Halles de Sources before turning into the park. Fifty yards on, they found a park bench in a secluded area of rhododendron bushes and fuchsias and seated themselves. Their attendant party took up position nearby, just out of earshot, beside a small clump of chestnut trees. In the distance, a brass band was playing a selection of military airs.

“So, Admiral, the marshal tells me your trip to Paris was a success.”

Jean Louis Xavier François Darlan, admiral of France and the senior minister in Marshal Philippe Pétain’s Vichy government, stroked his cheek. “Yes, all went as planned, Pierre, although little has been finalised as yet.”

Pierre Laval, former prime minister of France and, until recently, vice-president of Vichy France’s Cabinet of Ministers, chuckled and patted his companion on the knee.

“The marshal mentioned no qualifications. He told me you had got everything he wanted from the Germans. Said you had got the occupation costs to us down from 20 million reichsmarks a day to 15 million, the return of nearly 7,000 of our best people from the German prisoner-of-war camps, and a considerable improvement on the current restrictions in our dealings with the other France.”

“By the other France, Pierre, I take it you mean occupied France?”

“Do not be a pedant, my friend. You know that is what I mean. We need to free up the limitations of our trade so that the French state can benefit to the maximum from our partnership with the Germans.”

The admiral pursed his lips. “You use the word ‘partnership’ Pierre. Others use the word ‘collaboration’, which has a less satisfactory ring.”

Laval rose stiffly to his feet and circumnavigated the bench. When he regained his seat, Darlan noted the unhealthily red flush on his cheeks.

“Partnership or collaboration, what does it matter? We were in a mess and we have found a way for some kind of France to survive. At least Herr Hitler provides us with a bulwark against a worst danger.”

“And, pray, what worst danger is that, Pierre?”

“Why, Bolshevism, of course. The local Bolshevism, which we had to combat before the war, and the greater Bolshevism represented by that maniac Stalin. Hitler is by far the lesser of two evils in that context.”

“Those Frenchmen languishing currently in Hitler’s camps would find it hard to agree with your analysis, I think.”

“But you are gradually getting many of those Frenchmen home, François. That is part of the deal you have just struck, is it not?”

“In return for, among other things, allowing Germany access to our military facilities in Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon and our possessions in west Africa. No doubt ‘access’ will prove a polite substitution for ‘control’.”

Laval stroked his moustache thoughtfully. “And what is so bad about that in the overall scheme of things, if we can recover a much greater level of independence for Vichy France and further the cause of reunification with ‘the other’ France?”

The admiral removed a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and mopped his brow. The May sun was now at its highest point in the heavens and was beating down from a now cloudless sky.

“Perhaps you are right, Pierre, although I somehow doubt that Herr Hitler fails to realise the strength of his negotiating position and the weakness of ours. Dealing with your friend the German ambassador in Paris is one thing but… Of course, Herr Abetz was a fine host and I have to say I was impressed by the restraint with which, under his leadership, the German occupying forces go about their business in Paris.”

The two men sat silently for a while, enjoying the warmth of the day, the mild relieving breeze and the mingled music of birdsong and trombone. For a moment, the heavy burdens on their shoulders lifted and a different France, the old France, took shape around them. Their brief reverie was interrupted by one of the admiral’s men, who ran over to deliver a note. Darlan read it and sighed.

“The marshal wants to see me again at four. When do you think you will be regaining your place in the council, Pierre?”

Laval smoothed some of the creases in his baggy pinstripe trousers and shrugged. “I serve at the marshal’s discretion. As you know, there are voices speaking against me. It is tiresome but I can handle it. Sooner rather than later is the answer to your question, I believe.”

“The marshal still values your advice above all others.”

“Indeed, François. But back to those agreements with Abetz, the Paris Protocols I understand we must now call them. What next?”

Darlan slowly rose to his feet. “They must be ratified by Berlin and by us. Although I have negotiated the protocols myself, I am not completely happy with them. As for Berlin, who knows how long they will take?” The admiral looked up to the sky and sighed. “Such a beautiful day to be discussing these uncomfortable matters.”

Laval stood. “Before we go back, François, have you been briefed recently on the activities of Monsieur de Gaulle and his so-called ‘Free French’ forces in London?”

Darlan looked up, distracted for a moment by what appeared to be a fierce disagreement among the pigeons. He returned his eyes to Laval. “I see the same security reports as you, no doubt, Pierre.”

“And what about the intelligence on the activities of the socalled Resistance here in Vichy and elsewhere in France?”

“I believe I am up to speed. As yet these people appear to pose only a minor threat to us or the occupiers.”

“So the cabinet report says but I have my own sources. I understand from them that the anti-government forces here are going to be receiving direct assistance from abroad.”

“From abroad?”

“From England. In fact, according to my sources, the English secret services have already sent agents over here.”

“Two agents, perhaps three, I understood, Pierre. Is that anything to be particularly concerned about? Naturally, the British will deploy intelligence and counter-intelligence agents as the war proceeds. I would guess that the SS and other German agencies will be well on top of such problems.”

Laval shrugged. “As you say, the Germans should be on top of this. Meanwhile, our own people will be vigilant and I am happy to know that we have our own viable sources here and abroad. Now, my friend, I believe we have time for a quick bite. If we return to my rooms at the hotel, I’m sure my people can rustle up a nice bit of beef and a fine burgundy to accompany it. Shall we?”

The two men retraced their steps to the marshal’s seat of government at the Hotel Splendide, knowledging the renewed greetings of the people again in dignified fashion.

 

Merlin at War by Mark Ellis is out now (hardback £12.99, London Wall Publishing)

You can order a copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merlin-War-DCI-Frank-Novel/dp/0995566712/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

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July 1

Guest Post – Caz Frear (Sweet Little Lies)

Sweet Little LiesJust before Grab This Book begins a summer break and I get a couple of weeks of reading catch-up I have one last post to share.  First – an apology to Kaz Frear as this is a couple of days later than planned…sorry. But as I am not around to post any new features I am delighted that Caz’s guest post will be “front of house” for an extended period as I take a bit of a break.

So with no more delays I leave you in the safe hands of Caz Frear – there is more information on Sweet Little Lies below.

 

KEEPING FAMILY SECRETS

Not wanting to get too, “Eh, back in my day…” but to quote a well known book, and a less well known song (fist pumps to Queens of the Stone Age), there really is a lost art of keeping secrets these days.  There’s almost a negative connotation to the word.  Secrets have become synonymous with repressed emotion, the implication being that our fragile ‘snowflake’ hearts can’t take the weight of responsibility that secrets always carry and therefore we should be loud and we should be proud at all times.  We should expose the secrets of those who do bad things and we should shout about the good folk from the treetops (ok, from Twitter.)

It can’t be denied that speaking your truth is where it’s at now.  The confessional-style interview remains all the rage and if you’re a celebrity, you honestly haven’t made it onto the A-list until you’ve penned an ‘open letter’ where you spill your soul and usually your carefully PR-managed secrets.  And then for the rest of us, all the non-celebrities, Jeremy Kyle still exists (somehow) as a forum through which we can all air our dirty linen in a sweltering studio somewhere in Norwich.

I jest, of course.  But it does make me wonder if there’s no longer a place for secrets in this modern world?  Are we all really itching to offload our baggage, expose our friend’s transgressions, and run down our high-streets belting out, “I am what I am”, free from the weight of the crushing secrets that inevitably turn our insides ugly.

Well, no.

Because everyone has family secrets.  And these secrets are generally kept from the prying eyes of social media, daytime TV at all costs.  People guard family secrets like the crown jewels  And why?  Well sometimes, tragically, it’s for despicably awful reasons – reasons of fear and shame and expectations of ostracisation if they ever broke rank. But usually it’s not that dramatic.  It’s simply the belief that the sins of our father/brother/aunt/cousin/great grandma/niece somehow reflect badly on us too.  So If dodgy cousin Derek once robbed a Budgens with a toy pistol and did 6 months inside, we worry that people might think our whole family is like that too.

‘The apple doesn’t fall from the tree

‘Blood is thicker than water’

Yada-yada-bloody-ya..

In Sweet Little Lies, Cat is saddled with a monster family secret from a young age and it was so important for this to come out in her personality.  How might she behave if she could never give voice to her deepest fears?  Would she have an over-dependence on wine and junk-food – yes.  Would she have trouble sleeping sometimes – yes.  Would she have a slight desire to distance herself from her peers, the ‘nosy’ millennials who love to over-share and want to know every little thing about her – yes.

Caz FrearWould she be a neurotic, hateful, unpredictable ball of unmitigated angst – no.  Absolutely not.  She could have been, of course – she’s arguably got enough reason to be – but I have a firm optimistic belief that human beings are more resilient than that.  Most people manage to blunder along with their pain, trying not to create more as they go, and making the best of the cross they have to bear no matter how heavy that cross can seem at times.

Because we all have painful secrets don’t we?

So be kind.

xx

 

Sweet Little Lies – Caz Frear

WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW

In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW

In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT
Connection?

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone?

Sweet Little Lies is published by  and is available in paperback or for Kindle here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Little-Lies-gripping-suspense-ebook/dp/B01N5WKRUY/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

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June 30

The Boneyard – Mark Sennen

BoneyardMalcolm Kendwick is charming, handsome – and a suspected serial killer.

When the partially clothed body of a woman is discovered on Dartmoor, all eyes are on one man.

There wasn’t enough evidence to convict Kendwick of his suspected crimes in America, but DI Charlotte Savage is determined to bring him to justice. She’s certain the woman’s murder, so soon after Kendwick’s return to Devon, is no coincidence. But Savage hadn’t anticipated one thing: Kendwick has a perfect alibi.

When more human remains are discovered at an isolated dumping ground, a full-scale murder investigation is launched. Savage realises it’s up to her to uncover the truth before the killer strikes again.

She knows Kendwick is hiding something.
Is there a limit to how far she’ll go to find out what?

 

My thanks to Sabah at Avon for my review copy and the chance to join the tour

As I was nearing the middle of The Boneyard I had decided that I really liked Mark Sennen’s writing and Charlotte Savage was a character I could get behind.  Then I hit a twist to the story I’d not expected and I suddenly realised that The Boneyard was going to get really dark – Fan-bloody-tastic. That’s how we like ’em.

Background – I own all the Charlotte Savage books, but this was the first I’d read.  One of the best bits about blogging is seeing what your pals read (and what they enjoy)! I bought the earlier books in the series on recommendations of friends but I just hadn’t found time to start reading them. Now I will need to make time and get caught up, I loved how Mark Sennen built up The Boneyard and he kept me hooked.

A  British man has been released from prison in the United States. He was accused of the murder of a number of young women but released on a legal technicality (his confession was obtained under dubious circumstances).

*no spoilers*

The killer (Kendwick) elects to return to the UK and Savage finds herself on escort duty, bringing him in to settle in her area in the South West. She is far from happy about the situation – particularly when Kenwick displays extreme contempt and arrogance and virtually goads the police about his background and the crimes he seems to have committed.

It is not long before a dead girl is found on the moors and suspicion inevitably points to Kendwick.  Is he so self assured that he believes he can get away with murder right under watchful eyes of the police?  Savage thinks so but proving it will be tricky.

Kendwick leaps off the pages and you cannot help but be repulsed by him. The reader is willing Savage to find the evidence she needs to have him returned to prison, but does she have the right man? The feisty interchanges between K and Savage make for captivating reading. As I eluded to above, this is a dark take on the behaviour of a serial killer and Sennen has spun a brilliant tale.

Got a holiday coming and want a cracking read for the beach?  Take The Boneyard with you, you’ll not be disappointed.

 

The Boneyard is published by Avon and is available now in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boneyard-Mark-Sennen-ebook/dp/B01MFI395K/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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June 27

When I Wake Up – Jessica Jarlvi

When I Wake UpWhen Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife’s secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she’s lying silent in a hospital bed…

 

My thanks to Yasemin at Head of Zeus for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour

 

I am terrible at putting books into classifications but When I Wake Up didn’t strike me as the psychological thriller which the Amazon listing indicates it is.  However, I did think that it was a very strong domestic drama (is that a thing?) which put three households into the spotlight as Jessica Jarlvi shook their respective worlds upside down.

At the centre of the action is Anna.  She is a teacher – married and has two kids. She seems well liked and respected by her colleagues but is facing a bit of a problem at school with a troublesome pupil (Daniel).

Next spotlight family is Iris (a Librarian) and her artist husband Rolf.  They have an open relationship where both are free to sleep with any women they want.  Iris has seduced Lena and the two women have been having clandestine meetings in the library. But Iris wants to move on as Lena has become too dependent upon her – Lena is not so happy at this prospect.

Finally household three…Daniel (the problem pupil) and his drunken mother.  Daniel craves a “real” family and sees his teacher Anna as the ideal person to provide the stability and affection that he believes he is missing. Daniel’s attentions to Anna are both creepy and sinister and this makes for uncomfortable reading at times.

When I Wake Up opens with a violent attack on Anna by person (or persons) unknown. The book will pick up the story of events after Anna is hospitalised. She is in a coma so cannot reveal the identity of her attacker and it is not clear if she will even survive the ordeal.  However, the narrative will also slip back to events prior to the attack and the reader gets to see how the three spot-lit families will interact, where their stories overlap and we get to speculate over which of the cast of characters may have been responsible (directly or indirectly) for Anna’s attack.

Jessica Jarlvi does a great job of juggling her characters, each will fall under suspicion for Anna’s attack and I found it difficult to work out who may have been to blame. One word of caution for those with more prudish reading tastes – there is a fair amount of…let’s call it “nakedness” in this story so if you blush easily you may wish to skim a bit!

Entertaining and engaging story and the characterisation is spot on (which is essential to make a tale like When I Wake Up work for the readers). If you like a domestic drama this is one you should not miss.

 

When I Wake Up is published by Head of Zeus and is available now in digital format (with a Hardback version due for release in September 2017.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Wake-Up-shocking-psychological-ebook/dp/B01N5VJFV3/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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June 26

The Fourth Monkey – J D Barker

The Fourth MonkeyBrilliant. Complicated. Psychopath.

That’s the Four Monkey Killer or ‘4MK’. A murderer with a twisted vision and absolutely no mercy.

Detective Sam Porter has hunted him for five long years, the recipient of box after box of grisly trinkets carved from the bodies of 4MK’s victims.

But now Porter has learnt the killer’s twisted history and is racing to do the seemingly impossible – find 4MK’s latest victim before it’s too late…

 

My thanks to Sahina at Harper Collins for the chance to join the blog tour

 

I love a serial killer story and the majority of the serial killer thrillers that I read and enjoy are really well done. But sometimes a book comes along which just ticks all the right boxes and stands out from the rest – The Fourth Monkey is that book.

For years a Killer has eluded the police and cop, Sam Porter, has long been frustrated in his attempts to track down the Fourth Monkey Killer (4MK). The killer leaves gift wrapped boxes which contain body parts of the victims, an ear, their eyes and then their tongue.

The body parts of each victim are removed over a short period of time which prolongs the suffering and distress of their family. However the killer is delivering more than just body parts – they are leaving a message to someone close to the victim. The ear, eyes and tongue which are removed represent the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil mantra which we all recognise. However there is a fourth monkey and his caution to Do No Evil drives this story.

A lucky break for the police gives them their first real clue in the 4MK murders. A road traffic accident kills the man en-route to posting the ear of his latest victim to their unsuspecting family. With the killer dead, the race is on for the police to locate the victim (where ever they may be hidden) before they perish alone.

The police have a tangible clue that may assist – the killer’s journal. A telling of a childhood incident which forged the path the killer would follow (and show what a twisted childhood he had).  The narrative will switch from present day to the killers childhood diary – both storylines are compelling reading (I am not normally a fan of flashback tales but in this case is is gloriously twisted and grim).

I cannot give away too much of the story as this is a book you really need to read to get the best impact from the reveals. What I will say is that The Fourth Monkey is without doubt one of the best Serial Killer Thrillers I have read for a long, long time. It is June – there is going to have to be a pretty spectacular book lurking in the latter months of 2017 to improve on The Fourth Monkey for sheer reading pleasure.

 

The Fourth Monkey is published by HQ on 27 June 2017 and is available in Hardback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fourth-Monkey-Detective-Sam-Porter/dp/0008216991/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

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Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on The Fourth Monkey – J D Barker
June 25

A Deadly Game – Joanne Griffiths

DeadlyGame Avignon+Book D30000 darkenKate Palmer, an undergraduate student, discovers that she is pregnant and makes the decision to drop out of university. However, on the evening before she returns home, her body is discovered in Aston park. She is the first victim of several murders that will rock the city of Birmingham.

DS James “Jim” Wardell, who has his own issues to contend with, is given the case.

When Eddie Carter, a popular talk show host on Birmingham’s radio station, is contacted by someone claiming to be the killer, it is the start of a cat and mouse game between a deranged killer and the police.

After a second body is discovered the pressure mounts on the police to capture the person responsible.

Who is killing these women and why?

Can Jim apprehend the twisted killer before more innocent women are murdered?

 

My thanks to Sarah Hardy and the team at Bloodhound Books for a review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.

 

A serial killer story where we get to see lots more of the killer than you may normally expect. We see him at home, we watch his rage peak and calm, we see how he treats his family and we see him growing excited with his successes as he plays out A Deadly Game.

The story opens by introducing Kate Palmer, she has been finding life tough but has decided to return home to her parents and try to recover some control of her future. But before Kate can follow through on her plans she encounters a killer – a man who has decided to push his fantasy to the next level and take a life.

What made A Dangerous Game different from many serial killer books is that Joanne Griffiths takes time to focus on the victim, the killer and also the survivors. The family or loved ones of the victims get much more visibility than we may normally expect to see and it really reinforces the horrific nature of the killer’s actions.

After a life is taken we are taken to the killer’s home.  He is married, has a young child but is not satisfied with how the birth of his baby changed his wife – he feels that she is a disappointment to him and he makes her life a misery.  As the killer’s wife is a key character to the story we also get to follow her narrative (and it is not a happy one).

The story switches from the killer, to his wife, to the police and then to a victim – then the cycle begins anew. The stakes are raised each time as the killer gets more cocky, his wife more unhappy and the police more frustrated. A frustrating sense of helplessness for the reader – you want to reach into the book and stop the victims from making the mistake which will place them in danger or to tell the killers wife to get the Hell out of the house.

There were some unexpected twists and plenty of dark moments to keep me reading A Dangerous Game and it is definitely one I enjoyed.

 

A Deadly Game is published by Bloodhound Books and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deadly-Game-Joanne-Griffiths-ebook/dp/B072KN4LZ9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1498346011&sr=1-1

Blog Tour (2)

Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on A Deadly Game – Joanne Griffiths
June 23

Beneath The Ashes – Jane Isaac

Beneath The AshesTHE SECOND DI WILL JACKMAN CRIME THRILLER

The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house has been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

 

My thanks to Legend Press for my review copy

Books are forever,  a permanent treat and if you haven’t yet read a book then it is a new story to enjoy – even if it was published some time ago.  Yup I am reaching back into my bookshelves for a book I have had for some time but not yet reviewed. So with apologies to Jane Isaac for making her wait for this…my thoughts on Beneath The Ashes.

This was the first of Jane’s books I had read and I was struck by the realism of the police investigation which takes place. Beneath The Ashes is a pure police procedural, you feel that you are part of the team and there is an actual process and method being followed by the police. It is hugely satisfying watching Will Jackman chasing down clues, interviewing suspects and eliminating various possibilities. He has his work cut out as there are several characters in this story who seem to have secrets to keep!

A body is found in a burned out barn. Although the victim appears to be easy to identify, once the police start their investigations it soon becomes clear that the person they believe has died may actually have been living a lie. If the dead man in the barn is not who he said he was how will that impact upon his girlfriend – not only has she lost her closest friend she also learns that everything she knew about him was a lie.

What makes Beneath The Ashes work so well is the skill of Jane Isaac at capturing characters and making them believable. The anguish and worry of Nancy as her world crumbles around her, Jackman trying to conduct a complex investigation, juggle career choices and be a family man too. The interaction between the suspects and the police, between Jackman and his daughter and between the whole investigative team makes for engaging reading and was richly rewarding as it drew me into the lives of the characters.

I love when I learn that a character I enjoyed reading about will return/feature in other books.  Now that I have caught up with Beneath The Ashes I am planning to meet up with Will Jackman again soon and I am rather looking forward to that.

 

Beneath The Ashes is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/DI-Will-Jackman-Shocking-Page-Turning-ebook/dp/B01CJPU6LQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Beneath The Ashes – Jane Isaac