September 21

The Ice Shroud – Gordon Ell

When a woman’s body is discovered frozen in the ice of a river near the alpine resort of Queenstown, Detective Sergeant Malcolm Buchan faces both a mystery and a moral dilemma. The identity of the nude woman is critical to the motives and manner of her murder, and Buchan is personally involved. So are a number of locals, from ski bums to multi-millionaire businessman.

Newly appointed to head CIB in the Southern Lakes district, Buchan hunts the killer through the entanglements of corruption and abuse that lie barely below the surface of the tourist towns.

The assistance of a woman traffic sergeant is critical to the hunt but she brings her own dilemmas. The community is practised at keeping its secrets, and finding the truth comes at a price

 

The Ice Shroud has been named on the Best First Novel shortlist for the first ever Ngaio Marsh Awards. I have been invited to join the blog tour for the Awards and I was thrilled to have the chance to read Gordon Ell’s debut novel. My heartfelt thanks to Craig Sisterson for inviting me to join this international blog tour.

 

Wikipedia tells me that Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand – its name comes from the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh (capital city of Scotland) MY capital city.  I knew the origins of the name Dunedin before I read The Ice Shroud so every time Dunedin received a name check in the book I had a happy smile – wee things like this make me absurdly happy!

What also makes me happy is when I have the chance to read a cleverly written and engaging murder mystery and I found The Ice Shroud to be exactly that, I found it utterly compelling. A whodunnit tale set in a small New Zealand town where the police are not prepared to investigate a mysterious death and yet they have to cobble a team together when a badly mutilated corpse is discovered.

Leading the investigation is DS Malcolm Buchan he has completed tours in Afghanistan but returned to New Zealand and now works for the police. He is assisted in his investigations by Magda Hansen – a traffic cop who just happened to be first on scene when a woman’s body was found deep in a ravine and partially submerged in an icy river.

We follow Buchan and Magda as they first meet then try to work out how they can recover the body from its incredibly inaccessible resting place. Once the corpse is finally recovered Buchan will find himself facing a personal dilemma which could have significant implications over how the investigation will proceed.

The victim lived and worked in a Southern resort region on the South Island. There is a high turnover of tourists to the town but the locals have a strong support network and will close ranks against the police who come knocking at their doors.  As Buchan uncovers more details of the life that the victim lived he only uncovers more questions, how could her specialist boutique sustain such heavy losses? Why did  her Bank Manager and her Accountant both offer her personal loans on a loss making business but not seek any security on her borrowing?  Why does the local barman deny knowing the victim, despite her being a frequent visitor at his establishment?

Buchan will have to break down the suspicious defences of the residents, pick out the half-truths and work out why nobody is keen to admit to knowing his victim – despite all indications that they knew her well.  To this end Gordon Ell has penned a wonderfully crafted small town murder mystery. With a relatively small cast of potential suspects, all confined in a small area and all seemingly knowing of each other’s interests The Ice Shroud is also a fascinating study of characters and what may drive them.

Having read a few Ngaio Marsh novels in my younger days I can remember them being cleverly crafted tales which always kept me guessing. The Ice Shroud therefore sits very well on the shortlist for a Ngaio Marsh award, the clever plotting by the author reflects the dogged determination of DS Buchan to find a killer and I could not turn the pages fast enough. Highly recommended, if you are a fan of police procedurals then The Ice Shroud is not a book to miss.

 

The Ice Shroud is published by Bush Press.

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September 19

Wychwood – George Mann

 

After losing her job and her partner in one fell swoop, journalist Elspeth Reeves is back in her mother s house in the sleepy village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, wondering where it all went wrong. Then a body is found in the neighbouring Wychwoods: a woman ritually slaughtered, with cryptic symbols scattered around her corpse. Elspeth recognizes these from a local myth of the Carrion King, a Saxon magician who once held a malevolent court deep in the forest. As more murders follow, Elspeth joins her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw to investigate, and the two discover sinister village secrets harking back decades.

 

My thanks to Phillipa at Titan Books for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour

 

Yesterday evening I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down to start reading Wychwood. Two hours later I finally looked up from my book, it was well past midnight, my coffee was stone cold and I was contemplating “just a few more chapters” before bed. This is a good’un.

Journalist Elspeth Reeves leaves London to return home to her mother in the small village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood. Elspeth needs some familiar comfort as she has lost her job and her marriage has ended but as she nears her mother’s home she has to endure the ordeal of a huge traffic jam – roads into the village are locked down while the police investigate “an incident”.

Elspeth’s family home backs onto the local woods – the police have sealed off access but Elspeth jumps the wall and goes for a snoop. She is shocked to spot the body of a woman – the corpse is carefully laid out on the forest floor and adorned in a cape of swan feathers, head surrounded by dead birds. More shocking for Elspeth is that she recognises the image, this body has been displayed to depict an image from a local myth…that of the Carrion King.

Before she can get away from the body she is discovered by a policeman. DS Peter Shaw was a school-friend of Elspeth and he keeps her presence at the murder scene a secret from his boss.  However when Elspeth turns up at the police station the next day with a book on local myths and shows Shaw an image which appears to mirror the staging of his murder victim he agrees to pool information with Elspeth to track down a killer.

The first body we see is not the only death in the village and there is a sinister killer at work. The small village setting gives the book a suitably sinister/creepy feel which would have been lost in a larger setting. The historic overtures and the suggestion of witchcraft or dark forces at work made this particularly engaging reading.  Elspeth and Shaw are engaging lead characters and I enjoyed their relaxed and companionable relationship.

I am a big fan of George Mann’s writing style, incredibly readable and perfectly paced to keep me flicking the pages.  Wychwood is creepy and very entertaining – I liked it a lot.

 

Wychwood is available in paperback and digital format and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wychwood-1-George-Mann/dp/1783294094/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505771716&sr=1-2

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September 17

37 Hours – JF Kirwan

The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one…

After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

 

My thanks to Noelle and Kate at Thick as Thieves Publicity for the opportunity to host (and close out) the blog tour

 

37 Hours is the follow-up to 66 Metres and the second in the series to feature Nadia Laksheva. Housekeeping first, the story of 37 Hours picks up 2 years after events in 66 Metres. There is clear reference to what has already gone before and I am certain that reading the books in order would be advantageous. However, I have not read the first book and I had a blast reading 37 Hours so while it may be advantageous it is by no means essential – 37 Hours can stand alone as a cracking story.

This was an adventure thriller where events zip around the globe and the stakes felt so high that the tension was ever present. Nadia Laksheva is in prison – two long years of captivity and as 37 Hours opens we see her in her cell contemplating her situation. But the story begins just as Nadia is offered a chance to walk free – assuming she will assist with a mission which is considered to be of vital importance.

Straight into the action from here and I was sucked into a story which kept me hooked. Nuclear missiles lost at sea means Nadia has to dive with a team of “experts” to make them safe. The underwater scenes are brilliantly detailed and had me flashing back to the first time I saw Thunderball – the dark (almost claustrophobic) tension as the hero – in this case Nadia – places her life on the line and faces unexpected challenges.

The story shifts location and there are more underwater scenes to enjoy and a new danger to be faced. No spoilers, however, the underwater cave scenes chilled me. Gotta love when a book does that!

JF Kirwan has done a brilliant job of keeping 37 Hours a tense, tight and wickedly entertaining adventure story. Nadia is a feisty and likeable lead and she faces more than her fair share of peril during the course of events.

I really do not want to give away too much of the story but with a nuclear threat, a sinister “bad guy” calling the shots, exotic locations and Russians, Germans and Brits keeping that global feeling running through the book – this feels like the Summer Blockbuster you don’t want to miss.

 

37 Hours is published by HQ Digital. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hours-Nadia-Laksheva-Thriller-Book-ebook/dp/B01N3KP711/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505680806&sr=1-4&keywords=jf+kirwan

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September 14

Dangerous Crossing – Rachel Rhys

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go …

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done?

 

 

My thanks to Alison at Transworld for my review copy and to Anne for giving me the chance to join the tour.

 

All Aboard – the Dangerous Crossing Blog Tour is about to leave the harbour…

A young woman is leaving England to sail to a new life in Australia. She leaves behind her family and is taking the memory of her beau but a fresh start in a far-off land awaits. But all may not go according to plan as when the boat reaches Australia the police are waiting.

Dangerous Crossing opens with the promise to the readers that something unpleasant has happened on the long voyage. But we learn no more at that stage as Rachel Rhys takes us from one harbour (in the Southern Hemisphere) back to 5 weeks earlier when the same ship is leaving England and we meet Lily saying her farewells to her family.

The scenes are set brilliantly with Rachel Rhys capturing the feeling of the time and the mood of the passengers. It is 1939, the world is on the cusp of war but Mr Chamberlain has promised peace and as the crowds on the harbour-side wave off their friends the feeling of optimism and excitement flows from the pages.

As we join the travelers and get drawn into the story we discover more about the key characters. Lily and her new cabin-mates are all heading south to enter domestic service. Their fees have been paid but their cabin is of cattle class standard and functional at best. However, there are opportunities to meet the first class travelers too and one family in particular are breaking ranks and not mixing in the ‘better class circles’. Why they choose to mix outwith their social groups is one of the mysteries we need to discover as we read.

The story unfolds at a pace I found perfectly suited a cruise liner making its way through the oceans. Life on board is wonderfully depicted: finding a 4th for cards, bouts of sea-sickness, dining in polite company and the irritations of living in the pockets of strangers. Throw into the mix the political tension with a war brewing, some who believe Mr Hitler is a positive force who are sailing beside people they know to be Jewish. We have stops in Gibraltar and Italy (where the Italians cause outrage by not behaving in the way a Brit finds acceptable) and you can feel that you are very much taking part in the Dangerous Journey too.

Oh yes – don’t forget the name of the book…as nice as things may seem on the surface there is trouble ahead. Once you are deep into the pages you will want to keep reading as Rachel Rhys weaves her world around you.

This is not a high octane thriller but it doesn’t need to be – it is hugely engaging and wonderfully written. It gave off an Agatha Christie vibe and was every bit entertaining as any of Dame Agatha’s tales. I very much enjoyed Dangerous Crossing and would not hesitate to recommend it.

 

Dangerous Crossing is published by Black Swan and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dangerous-Crossing-captivating-Richard-page-turner-ebook/dp/B01IW4A22Q/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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September 13

The Kindred Killers – Graham Smith

Jake Boulder’s help is requested by his best friend, Alfonse, when his cousin is crucified and burned alive along with his wife and children.

As Boulder tries to track the heinous killer, a young woman is abducted. Soon her body is discovered and Boulder realises both murders have something unusual in common.

With virtually no leads for Boulder to follow, he strives to find a way to get a clue as to the killer’s identity. But is he hunting for one killer or more?

After a young couple are snatched in the middle of the night the case takes a brutal turn. When the FBI is invited to help with the case, Boulder finds himself warned off the investigation.

When gruesome, and incendiary, footage from a mobile phone is sent to all the major US News outlets and the pressure to find those responsible for the crimes mounts.  But with the authorities against him can Boulder catch the killer before it’s too late?

 

My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for my review copy and the chance to join the tour

We were first introduced to Scot in exile, Jake Boulder, in Watching the Bodies and from the off I loved the new character introduced by Graham Smith.  So when I discovered Boulder was returning in The Kindred Killers I was more than a little excited – I always favour recurring characters and I love to watch their story build across multiple titles.

The Kindred Killers takes a much darker tone than Watching the Bodies – for a start we have murder victims with a very close link to Boulder. Boulder’s best friend, Alphonse, tracks Jake down after Jake has had a heavy night. Too drunk to recall what has happened Jake wakes to find a strange girl in his bed, his knuckles bruised from fighting and his best friend banging on the door of his room (angry with Jake for failing to come to his assistance the previous night). Jake would do anything for Alphonse so his sense of remorse at letting his friend down will drive him into action.

Alphonse explains that his cousin is missing (along with his cousin’s family) but when Jake and Alphonse reach the family home it is clear that there has been a struggle and that the family have not left willingly.  It is not long before 4 bodies are found…all four family members have been tied to a cross and set on fire.  The killings appear racially motivated and their murders have all the hallmarks of a Klan killing, but Jake is not convinced as something about where the bodies are found does not seem typical of the KKK.

Knowing the local police are not capable of conducting a murder investigation on this scale (and not wishing to be kept on the sidelines) Alphonse and Jake are on the trail of the killers. But we readers get to see that the murder of a single family is just the start of things and there are more potential victims unknowingly facing a grizzly fate.

As previously stated, The Kindred Killers is much darker in tone this time around. I found the murders (and their methods) to be quite unsettling. I deeply dislike bullies in stories and I also dislike people being singled out because someone may feel that they do not “fit in” – as such there were elements of this story which greatly rankled with me. This should reflect well on the author, creating the characters which will anger me as a reader, drawing me into the story and making me will the bad guys to fail. I wanted them to change their ways or to be brought to their knees.  I shouldn’t get angry at made up people but I did! Boulder is on the case but how many will have to suffer before he can track down the guilty and see that justice is brought down upon them.

If you enjoy a vigilante story, enjoy tales of the investigator who is not restricted by the rules of the police and a hero that will swing a punch to end a disagreement with the bad guys – Jake Boulder is the guy you need to discover.

 

The Kindred Killers is published by Bloodhound Books and is available in Digital and Paperback format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kindred-Killers-Jake-Boulder-Book-ebook/dp/B0759FD5ZH/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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September 10

Copycat – Alex Lake

Imitation is the most terrifying form of flattery…

Which Sarah Havenant is you?

When an old friend gets in touch, Sarah Havenant discovers that there are two Facebook profiles in her name. One is hers. The other, she has never seen.

But everything in it is accurate. Photos of her friends, her husband, her kids. Photos from the day before. Photos of her new kitchen. Photos taken inside her house.

And this is just the beginning. Because whoever has set up the second profile has been waiting for Sarah to find it. And now that she has, her life will no longer be her own…

 

My thanks to Felicity at Harper Collins for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour

I always enjoy when I pick up a new thriller and find that it unsettles me.  Not that I enjoy being unsettled – but if a book can give me pause for thought and make me feel nervous or apprehensive for the characters within, then I know it’s going to be a good book!

Copycat did just that.  We first meet Sarah Havenant and an old friend returns to town and tries to catch-up through Facebook. But a curious question to Sarah causes some confusion – which Facebook profile was hers?  She only operates one account on Facebook so why should their be confusion over which may be the correct profile for her?  A Google search reveals that there ARE two Facebook accounts for Sarah Havenant. Not two people sharing the same name – two people sharing the same life, the posts on the second account show Sarah’s home, her family and have updates which reflect things Sarah has actually done.  But Sarah did not post any of this information so where did this second account come from?

She speaks with her husband and friends about this strange discovery but nobody seems to give it too much concern and most believe it may be a prank.

The reader then gets a sneaky look into the events through the eyes of a watcher – we know that Sarah is now a target. We can see that someone has a plan and that the future for Sarah is going to be unpleasant as this mysterious watcher is looking to ruin Sarah’s life.  You don’t know who this may be and you don’t know why Sarah has been chosen for this malicious attack – but you WANT to know and you will keep reading.

As you get further into Copycat you become more involved in Sarah’s life.  We see how her paranoia increases as it becomes clear that the Facebook account was just the start of the problem.  Someone is impersonating Sarah online. They are sending messages to her friends and pretending that they are Sarah, meetings are arranged or cancelled without Sarah’s knowledge and her friends start to query whether Sarah may be imagining everything.  It does not take long before everyone notices a change in her behaviour and it starts to have a detrimental impact on her relationship with her family and friends.

Copycat is a chilling read which sees the gradual attempt to unpick somebody’s life and shatter everything they have worked hard to build. Sarah comes under intense pressure and then Alex Lake raises the stakes even higher. A brilliant, tense read where your natural curiosity will compel you to keep reading to find how Sarah can fight back against this unseen menace – but can she fight back or will she lose everything?

Thriller fans, Copycat is a proper treat and absolutely a book that you should be looking to read.

 

 

Copycat is published by Harper Collins and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Copycat-unputdownable-thriller-bestselling-author-ebook/dp/B06XK848QD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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September 8

Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett (Audiobook)

To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork – a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This being Ankh-Morpork, it’s soon drawing astonished crowds, some of whom caught the zeitgeist early and arrive armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear.

Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work – as master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank his input is, of course, vital…but largely dependent on words, which are fortunately not very heavy and don’t always need greasing. However, he does enjoy being alive, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse….

Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mister Simnel, the man wi’ t’flat cap and sliding rule who has an interesting arrangement with the sine and cosine. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs and some very angry dwarfs if he’s going to stop it all going off the rails….

 

Still doing the very long daily commute so it was time to bring some Terry Pratchett into my journey. I have been a fan of the Discworld books since the late 1980’s, I have read and re-read each title multiple times – mostly.

Even my favourite authors (and Sir Terry has been my favourite for many a long year) do not always hit the mark with their books.  Although Mort, Wyrd Sisters and Nightwatch are virtually imprinted onto my brain – I am less fond of Pyramids, Eric and Monstrous Regiment.  Raising Steam had fallen into the latter category, I bought the book on first release but never really got into it and it remained unfinished (a state previously unheard of for a Discworld novel). So when I wanted a Discworld book for my car journey – Raising Steam was getting a second chance.

Happy I am to report that I got much more involved with the story this time around and I enjoyed it a lot more as an audio experience than I had when I tried to read it.

Raising Steam sees the return of Moist von Lipwig, saviour of the Post Office and Vice-Chairman of the bank (with a small snuffly dog as the actual Chairman). I have loved both the previous Moist novels and this time around we see him coming to the fore as an industrial revolution blooms and the railways spring up.

Once again Pratchett has perfectly captured the best bits of our history and lampooned it perfectly.  We have the luddites (represented by Deep Down Dwarves) and the innovators – an engineer who gets a cracking Yorkshire accent from the narrator, the Patrician oversees the development using Moist as his conduit.  But Raising Steam is much more than an industrial revolution as there is a Political Revolution going on too. Dwarf’s are revolting (as in rising against their King) but stability and progress is the more desirable outcome for The Patrician, the King, The City Watch and also the Trolls (long time enemy of all Dwarf people). Tensions will rise and it will take a cast of many of our favourite characters to sort this mess out.

Raising Steam highlights again that there are few that can hold a torch to Terry Pratchett – his work is the stuff of legend and I sorely miss having the opportunity to enjoy new adventures with characters I have loved for all my adult life.

As for the audio – well Stephen Briggs does an admirable job and brings life to the whole cast. He gives accents to all the races (and characters) and Yorkshire, Wales, South-West and Cockney all shine through.  My only quibble is that the bad dwarf was Scottish and so was one of my most loved characters – “Spike”.  My mental image of Ms Dearheart were slightly tarnished by Mr Briggs making her sound like Supergran.

All in it was a great few hours of listening – with minor quibbles over Scottish accents – but only a Scot would pick up on that I feel!

 

Raising Steam is available in paperback, digital and audiobook. Terry Pratchett remains a legend.

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September 7

Lost in the Lake – A. J. Waines

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

A stand alone novel (and the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series), Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder.

 

My heartfelt thanks to Alison for my review copy

Last year A.J. Waines introduced us to Dr Samantha (Sam) Willerby in a brilliant and thought provoking thriller called Inside the Whispers.  I really enjoyed that book and so I was delighted to learn that Sam was going to return for Lost in the Lake.

Sam is a clinical psychologist and she has helped patients recover lost memories. It is through this skill that she encounters Rosie – a young woman who has narrowly survived a terrible ordeal and is reaching out to Sam to help her recall the events leading up to the accident which she had been involved in. Rosie hopes that by recovering her memories of the event she may understand what happened to her friends that were in the van she was traveling in. All she can recall is that the van left the road and Rosie managed to get out but her friends do not appear to have been so lucky.

Lost in the Lake begins with Rosie’s near death experience then spins forward to her first encounter with Sam. From the very first meeting of the two women it becomes clear to the reader that Rosie is a deeply troubled person and has experienced more than one terrible ordeal. However, we also get a hint that she is not being entirely honest with Sam and that she is keeping things back.

We also spend time with Sam. Events from Inside the Whispers have cast a bit of a shadow over her current personal situation (nb reading Whispers is not essential as the author deftly provides all the relevant information). Sam appears at a bit of a low ebb, her oldest and dearest friend may soon be moving away and there is a suggestion that Sam is lonely. But she is throwing herself into her work and the chance to assist Rosie is a compelling motivator.

Once the pattern of visits is established we come to see that Rosie is not behaving normally and that her dependency upon Sam is spilling out of control. Sam too is becoming aware that Rosie is becoming too needy for Sam’s attentions and she begins to wonder if she should end Rosie’s sessions.

The relationship between the two becomes a tense and intricate dance. While their conversations are professional and aimed at helping Rosie we also know how each woman is also trying to control the nature and extent of the relationship they have with each other – it is brilliantly conveyed by the author and I was gnawing at my fingernails in horrified frustration.

I cannot share too much detail over how the “dance” unfolds, however, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers and books which ramp up the tension as the characters reveal more and more of their driving forces, then you will not go far wrong with Lost in the Lake.

I read the whole book in two sittings as I had to know how events were going to play out – I was not disappointed. Lost in the Lake is available now and I urge you to read it.

 

Lost in the Lake released on 7 September 2017 and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Lake-Samantha-Willerby-Book-ebook/dp/B073W8X17W/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

 

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September 4

Wicked Leaks – Matt Bendoris

A Wickedly Funny Thriller about a Website Leaking Government Secrets, a Man Who Claims to Have Killed Princess Diana, and a Nurse on the Run for Her Life

Assigned to care for a terminally-ill patient who claims to have killed Princess Diana, nurse Kelly Carter dismisses him as nothing more than a delusional fantasist. But Monahan has proof, and directs Kelly to an abandoned garage, where she discovers a beaten-up white Fiat Uno with French license plates matching the description of the vehicle that has eluded the British and French authorities for decades. When the garage goes up in flames minutes after her visit, Kelly realizes that she’s involved in something more dangerous than just caring for a patient.

Meanwhile, mismatched journalists April Lavender and Connor Presley are involved in the investigation of a shadowy website leaking nasty government secrets on a daily basis. When beastshamer.com threatens to reveal the truth about Diana’s death, April and Connor begin to investigate in hopes of finding their next front-page story. After two deadly explosions lead them right to Kelly, all three set out to uncover the truth surrounding the death of the beloved princess―before Kelly becomes the next victim in a deadly cover-up that goes all the way up to England’s MI5.

 

My thanks to Matt and to Alexandra Hess of Skyhorse Publishing for my review copy

Wicked Leaks hits the shelves in the US in the week that marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. I am sure that the timing is no fluke as events in Wicked Leaks will take readers back to that fateful August night in Paris and we get an insight into what may have occurred.

But how do events from 1997 come to the attention of a nurse from Glasgow in 2016? Could her latest patient – receiving end of life care for terminal cancer – really have lived the dangerous life he hints at? It all starts from a chance headline splashed by the papers as they revel in the latest scandal revealed by the website beastshamer.com. The nurse, Kelly Carter, cannot believe that her patient may know something about Diana’s death, but when he sends her to a Glasgow lock-up garage and she sees a white Fiat Uno (like the one that went missing after that night in Paris) she starts to worry. When the car explodes in a fireball she becomes caught up in a deadly game.

Wicked Leaks is a brilliant thriller which keeps a frenetic pace from the time that Kelly realises that her life and that of her family is in grave peril. The body count will rise and the reader cannot help but be gripped by her predicament.

Away from Kelly’s drama the Reader gets to reunite with the returning journalistic duo of Connor Presley and April Lavender – the odd couple of the print world.  Connor and April are great characters to read about, the young and savvy Connor trying to keep April calm in the face of change as the older woman remains too set in her ways to cope with the changes her employers keep forcing upon them. The dialogue between the two had me laughing aloud in places – it is a hard act to balance tension in one chapter yet keep a companionable humour running through the next scene but Matt Bendoris handles it with apparent ease.

I am in the fortunate position that I get to read many great books each year – Wicked Leaks is one that stood out this summer.  I love how the has author mirrored actual events into his story, the scandal reveals, the conspiracy theories and the brilliant, brilliant conclusion which still makes me….well I can’t tell you as “SPOILERS”.  But for a book called Wicked Leaks am I allowed to blab?

So very readable, so much fun and then quite suddenly dark and shocking – everything that a good thriller should be.  Highly recommended.

 

Wicked Leaks is available now in the US and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Leaks-Thriller-Matt-Bendoris/dp/1510725784/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1504552728&sr=8-1

 

 

 

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