October 14

The Angel -Katerina Diamond

THE TRUTH WON’T STAY LOCKED UP FOREVER

When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison?

DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.

When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.

 

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

Imogen Grey and Adrian Miles are back – they are called out to investigate a fire in an abandoned signal box but on arrival at the scene they find that their arson case has had a tragic outcome – the body of a homeless man (who must have been sheltering from the elements) is found under the main signal room where the fire started.

Grey and Miles manage to track down Gabriel Webb, he had been in the signal box with his girlfriend and a couple of other local kids.  Gabriel had started a small fire to keep them warm but had not wanted to be in the signal box and wanted nothing to do with the drugs which he was offered.

When confronted by Grey he confirms he started the fire (for warmth) but he had no idea that it had spread to ignite the whole signal box and he is devastated to learn that someone died.  His world shattered Gabriel finds himself in prison – pending trial.

The Angel keeps us updated on Gabriel’s story while in prison and I loved those scenes. We see how he moved from lonely and uncertain then started to accept his situation and adjust to his new life. What he had not anticipated was Asher – a fellow inmate who has his sights on Gabriel and more than a little power in their confined world.

Elsewhere a brutal murder of an elderly couple commands all the attention of the police. The seemingly unmotivated killings shock Grey and Miles but when they start their investigations they uncover some strange connections which suggest that this random incident may actually be part of something much more sinister.

Although they may not initially be aware – the double murder is going to have a huge impact upon both Miles and Grey. Katerina Diamond expertly spins a story and I was completely hooked on The Angel – Gabriel’s situation was compelling but the personal dramas which her cops encountered lifted this from a “great” book to a “fantastic” book.  I utterly loved it – reading late into the night as I did not want to stop.

The housekeeping bit – The Angel is the 3rd book and there are references to past events. But the good news for new readers or for those (like me) that have “goldfish” memories then The Angel can be enjoyed as a stand alone – really enjoyed, really, really enjoyed.

Katerina Diamond is now firmly established as a must read author, her books are all brilliantly written, paced to perfection and have that dark unpredictability which I always welcome.

The Angel is out in paperback and digital format now – treat yourself, I am going to be recommending this to everyone.

 

The Angel is published by Avon Books and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-shocking-thriller-Imogen-Adrian-ebook/dp/B06XB3R3PV/ref=la_B01C0H1GOE_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507970935&sr=1-1

Follow the Blog Tour

 

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October 5

Quieter Than Killing – Sarah Hilary

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

My thanks to Katie at Headline for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour

 

Quieter Than Killing is the 4th book by Sarah Hilary to feature DI Marnie Rome. Each book can be read as a stand-alone novel but what you need to do is make sure you DO read all four books – they are all fantastic.

We readers are blessed with choice when it comes to police procedurals and crime thrillers, yet – for me – the Marnie Rome books stand head and shoulders above the others. Rome is a determined and focused detective who lives in the constant shadow of personal tragedy and it makes her own story utterly compelling.

In Quieter Than Killing, London is in the grip of a bitter winter and Marnie and DS Noah Jake are on the hunt for a violent offender. Someone has targeted three people for a vicious beating – disfiguring injuries have been inflicted and the only obvious link between the victims is that they have each (in the past) served time in prison for violent attacks of their own.  Are Marnie and Noah looking for a vigilante?  If so then how are they selecting their victims and what possible motive could they have?

Elsewhere the reader gets to see Finn.  He is 10 years old and has been plucked from the street and locked into a house from which there seems no escape.  His captor, dubbed Brady by Finn, has “rules” which Finn must obey…cooking and cleaning is expected and noise or disobedience are not tolerated. Finn is convinced Brady is a pervert who is planning to murder him, but Brady is keeping his distance and has been keeping Finn alive for several weeks. What does he need with the young boy and how much longer must Finn endure his captivity?

I got to enjoy Quieter Than Killing in audio and I need to give a massive thumbs-up to the narrator Imogen Church who voiced Marnie almost exactly how I had imagined her.

As with all of Sarah Hilary’s books the story is gripping, the clues well hidden and the entertainment is to the max. If you are not already reading these books you damn well should be.

 

Quieter Than Killing is published by Headline and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quieter-Than-Killing-D-I-Marnie-ebook/dp/B01INGSU68/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507232613&sr=1-1&keywords=sarah+hilary

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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 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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September 3

House of Spines – Michael J Malone

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran.

But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman …

A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

 

My thanks to Karen and Anne who allowed me the opportunity to join the House of Spines blog tour

 

This is the type of review I hate writing – the one where I enjoyed a book so much that I don’t think I can put the rights words together to convey how much I lost myself to this story.

Ran McGhie seems to be the luckiest fellow in the West. He has been left a sizeable property on the outskirts of Glasgow (one of the posh bits of town) and charged with looking after the immense book collection that his great uncle amassed during a long and prosperous life.

It transpires that Ran’s mother had fled the family home many years before and turned  her back on her kin. Ran grew up oblivious to his mother’s background but we learn that his (secret) family have not entirely ignored Ran. His great uncle kept an eye on Ran down the years and has come to the conclusion that in a family of odious and self-serving Fitzpatrick’s that Ran McGhie can keep his legacy going. The family solicitor reaches out to Ran and tells him that his crushed wee flat will soon be replaced by the sumptious Newton Hall. He will have a house with a huge number of rooms, a housekeeper and gardener, a private lift, a pool, a gym and most significantly an enormous library but there are conditions attached to the inheritance.

Ran accepts his good fortune and tries to settle in his new home. But something odd seems to happen in Newton Hall and Ran finds his sleep becomes disturbed, he is drawn more than once to a mirror and in the reflections he sees a woman.

What had been a creepy story suddenly ramps it up several notches and I was hooked. A giant mansion house with the promise of a ghost soon gives us a disturbing insight into the dark history of a family where money has been no object and the family members are all too used to getting their own way.

Ran was not the only potential heir to the Fitzgerald estate and it does not take long before “new” family members will make themselves known to Ran – they have their own plans for Newton Hall and are keen to keep Ran onside to help them fulfill their goals. Following Ran through the story I could not help but cheer him on as he learns to stand up for himself in the face of the arrogant elite class. But there was worry too as Ran is out of his depth and fighting more than one battle (no spoilers) things look bleak.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed House of Spines. I love a ghost story, I love a mystery and I love how Michael J Malone delivers such engaging characters. He sure knows how to plot a twisty, pacy tale and he caught me off guard more than once. House of Spines is a belter – you need this in your life.

 

House of Spines is published by Orenda and available from 15 September 2017 in both paperback and digital format – you can get a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Spines-Michael-J-Malone-ebook/dp/B06Y6LSMBS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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August 24

Short Stories and Novellas

I don’t often read short stories (though that will be changing soon…more on that later). Recently, however, I have had the opportunity to snatch some quick reading time and have targeted some short stories and novellas which had caught my eye.

 

First up is The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill

From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black.

In the title story, on a murky evening in a warmly lit club off St James, a bishop listens closely as a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building.

In ‘The Front Room’, a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and when she is dead.

A lonely boy finds a friend in ‘Boy Number 21’, but years later he is forced to question the nature of that friendship, and to ask whether ghosts can perish in fires.

This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically flesh-creeping and startling tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave readers wide-awake long into the night.

 

My thanks to the team at Serpents Tail for the review copy I received through Netgalley

 

A collection of 4 ghostly tales from Susan Hill. Three stories are outlined in the description above – each took me around half an hour to read and the whole book is around 180 pages in length.  I have my favourites, Boy Number 21 and the unmentioned 4thstory (Alice Baker – a chiller set in an office) were the two which gripped me most.

The Front Room is particularly grim reading but I found it didn’t draw me in quite in the way the other stories had done.  I find that Ghost Stories are harder to pitch as a collection – while all the stories can be creepy, different people respond to different types of chills so in any collection there will be elements which impact people in different ways.

I do enjoy a creepy tale and The Travelling Bag was the welcome break from reading crime thrillers that I had hoped it would be.  The physical book looks rather nice too but its relatively short length made me think it may be more likely to be given as a gift than one a reader may seek out on their own.

Fans of Susan Hill and readers who soak up ghost stories this is one to seek out.

 

 

The Paper Cell – Louise Hutcheson

The first in a new series of distinctive, standalone crime stories, each with a literary bent. In 1950s London, a literary agent finds fame when he secretly steals a young woman’s brilliant novel manuscript and publishes it under his own name, Lewis Carson. Two days after their meeting, the woman is found strangled on Peckham Rye Common: did Lewis purloin the manuscript as an act of callous opportunism, or as the spoils of a calculated murder?

 

My thanks to Sara at Contraband for my review copy

The Paper Cell is a novella from the new Pocket Crime Selection from Contraband Books. It is a beautifully crafted tale of life in the literary circles of 1950’s London.  We begin in the modern day, an author meeting with a journalist after the author grants a rare interview. It becomes clear that there are reasons the author has been reluctant to speak with the press – once we are transported back to recollections of the author’s life as a young man in London the shocking truths start to spill out.

Of the three books covered in this post The Paper Cell was by far the one I enjoyed the most. Louise Hutcheson keeps the story slick, her characters leap off the page and you can easily imagine the smoke filled reading rooms and fussy publishers office meetings.

There is a darkness running through The Paper Cell and the reader gets a fly on the wall view of some terrible behaviours and sinister actions. Yet those dark scenes are in the background as much of the story follows young writers pursing their dreams or and young lovers enjoying their blossoming relationship.

Louise Hutcheson can tell knows how to tell a good story and this had me captivated.

 

 

A Rare Book of Cunning Device – Ben Aaronovich

Exclusive to Audio! Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss – and we’re not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn’t looking forward to finding out….

Still working my way through audiobooks and this was my introduction to PC Peter Grant – popular protagonist of the Ben Aaronovich Rivers of London series.  At 30 minutes running length this free audiobook is a must listen for fans of the series.  I can say this only from the position of a new reader as I have not read Rivers (or any of the other Grant books) but I loved A Rare Book of Cunning Device.

The narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has a very listenable voice and the feedback on his performance from other readers is extremely positive as fans of the series have expressed their approval at how he handles their beloved characters.

Deep within the British Library, Peter Grant, comes up against the most formidable of opponents – a Librarian.  Oh there may also be a poltergeist but Grant knows better…doesn’t he?

 

 

 

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August 17

Block 46 – Johana Gustawsson – Audio

Evil remembers…

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

 

Another from my unexpected (but very enjoyable) Audiobook Season – today I get to rave about Block 46.

First the audiobook experience.  Very positive!  The narration duties are split for Block 46 – the majority of the book is delivered by Patricia Rodriguez with the “historical” elements (which I shall come to shortly) picked up by Mark Meadows. The two voices work wonderfully – both actors are to be commended for bringing the story to life around me.

Block 46 is a modern day murder mystery but it holds a link to 1944 and a concentration camp in Germany (the aforementioned Historical element of the tale). In London Alexis Castells attends the launch of a new jewellery collection designed by her friend Linnea Blix – despite the importance of the night Linnea does not appear. Alexis travels to Sweden where Linnea would often stay “on retreat” but as she arrives in snowy Falkenberg Linnea’s body is found.

While Alexis gets swept up in the investigation into Linnea’s murder – kept in the loop through a friendship with criminal profiler Emily Roy – the reader gets to slip back in time where we encounter Erich Hebner.  A German national in a German concentration camp.  Erich is doing what he can to survive but when Johana Gustawsson begins to outline some of the terrors which Erich, and the other prisoners, endure each day it becomes impossible to see how he will escape from this Hell.

Narrative swings to present day, the murder investigation reveals some unexpected connections to London. Then we are back in wartime Germany and Erich’s story moves on…he has been granted a rare opportunity to contribute to the German “war effort” but how will he feel about helping when he learns he is going to Block 46. Nobody every comes out of Block 46 alive.

I cannot praise this book enough – at times harrowing but always compelling. It threw up the classic reading dilemma – so good I want to reach the end to find out what happened. But I don’t want to reach the end as I was enjoying it so much.

 

Block 46 is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback, digital and audiobook.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Block-Roy-Castells-Johana-Gustawsson/dp/1910633704/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502917618&sr=1-1

 

 

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August 9

The Girl in the Ice – Robert Bryndza – Audio

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound, and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong…resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

 

My thanks to Kim at Bookouture for the opportunity to listen to this book.

 

The variable nature of my day job sprang a recent surprise…gone is my daily train journey and my hour of peaceful reading on the train. Say hello to 3 or 4 hours in the car each day. Say hello to a series of audiobook reviews here at Grab This Book.

Audiobooks live and die on one crucial element – the narrator. It really does not matter how good the underlying story is, if the narration is jarring then listening to that voice for 10+ hours is not going to be a fun or relaxing experience.

Fortunately for Robert Bryndza’s The Girl in the Ice the listener is in very good hands. Jan Cramer narrates throughout and she does a fantastic job. Erika Foster’s voice is now firmly fixed into my mind and Cramer’s narration has brought a character to life for me more vividly than would have been the case had I read a paper copy of the book.

As for the story – I loved it. A society rich girl (and seemingly an extremely shallow young woman) is found dead in the waters of London. She has been bound and brutally attacked prior to death and Erika Foster is put in charge of the investigation. Foster is taking on a new role in London, relocating from Manchester following the death of her husband (a fellow police officer) when a police operation went badly wrong.

Thrown in at the deep end – Foster must establish her authority over a new team, overcome racial prejudices when dealing with the dead girl’s parents and contend with factions within the police who are determined to undermine her investigation to keep a politically sensitive murder investigation “acceptable” in the media.

The juggle and pressure which Foster faces will take its toll and I felt myself getting frustrated that she was being thwarted at pursing the leads she felt needed tackled. Robert Bryndza presents us with a string of red herrings and a suspect pool which is sufficiently broad and unlikeable (for various reasons) that it will keep you guessing to the identity of the killer – right until the shocking endgame.

Fans of police procedurals and gripping serial killer thrillers – this is a book for you. I cannot listen as fast as I can read – but I grudged every second that I had to remove my earbuds whilst listening to The Girl in the Ice.

 

The Girl in the Ice is available as a paperback, digital book and (obviously) as an audiobook. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Ice-gripping-thriller-Detective-ebook/dp/B019G6DSDE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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August 3

Perfect Prey – Helen Fields

Welcome to Edinburgh. Murder capital of Europe.

In the middle of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker.

The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf.

D.I. Ava Turner and D.I. Luc Callanach have no leads and no motive – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim.

It’s only when they realise the words are being written before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.

 

My thanks to Sabah at Avon for a review copy of Perfect Prey and the chance to join the tour.

 

One day.

A single day.

I started Perfect Prey at 8.30am this morning in a Starbucks coffee shop and at 11.58pm this evening (well now yesterday evening) I finished the last chapter. It was fantastic. I am enjoying a summer where I seem to be only choosing great books to read but Perfect Prey has been a wonderful high point.

Luc Callanach was first introduced in Perfect Remains – he arrived in Edinburgh from France where he had worked for Interpol. Luc now works for Police Scotland, his arrival and the problems which forced his move to Scotland are covered in Perfect Remains – reading the books in order is recommended but not essential.

If you are a fan of crime fiction then reading both books IS essential. Helen Fields is making Edinburgh a very nasty place to be and I am loving her work. Her tales are dark, the crimes that Callanach is called to investigate are both graphic and disturbing and I found both Perfect books utterly gripping.

In Perfect Prey Edinburgh is rocked by a series of high profile brutal killings. Over a very short space of time 3 vicious deaths have shocked the residents of the capital and the reputation of the city world-wide is suffering. Pressure is placed on Callanach and his colleague, Ava Turner, to come up with results (and fast). What is not helping is the presence of an old flame of Ava’s. He is also a cop – up from London to work on a high profile tech/internet operation, his presence unsettles Callanach as the two do not hit it off. It also disrupts the effective working relationship that Callanach and Turner had established.  With the two at loggerheads the investigations stutter – they are reliant upon their colleagues to keep communications flowing.

With little progress being made and more lives in danger, Callanach reaches out to two contacts from outwith the Police. By going off radar and involving civilians he risks his career but who can he really trust when vital information from the investigations is leaking to the press?

I want to tell you about evil murderers. I want to discuss Luc and Ava. I want to share all the great twists and that terrible thing that happened….but they would all be spoilers and you really need to find them out for yourself. What I really need is for it to be January 2018 so I can read the next book.

Perfect Prey is a must read. The Callanach books are already firmly established as a series I want to follow. Don’t let these books pass you by – brilliant, brilliant stories.

 

Perfect Prey is published by Avon and is available now in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Prey-DI-Callanach-Thriller/dp/0008181586/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501715565&sr=8-1&keywords=helen+fields

Follow the tour

 

 

Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours | Comments Off on Perfect Prey – Helen Fields
July 22

In The Still – Jacqueline Chadwick

When Ali Dalglish immigrated to Canada she left behind her career as Britain’s most in-demand forensic pathologist & criminal psychologist. Now, eight years later, Ali feels alone, and bored, and full of resentment. Suffocated and frustrated by her circumstances and in an increasingly love-starved marriage, Ali finds herself embroiled in a murder case that forces her to call upon her dormant investigative skills.

As she’s pulled deeper into the case of ‘The Alder Beach Girl’ and into the mind of a true psychopath, Ali is forced to confront her fears and to finally embrace her own history of mental illness. In an increasingly febrile atmosphere Ali must fight hard to protect those she loves from the wrath of a determined and vicious predator and to ultimately allow the woman she once was to breathe again.

 

My thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit Press for my review copy

 

Lets start with an important word for this review:

benchmark
noun
noun: benchmark; plural noun: benchmarks
  1. a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared.

 

In The Still is the book that all my forthcoming reads will be compared to for the considerable future. I absolutely-bloody-loved it. Ali Dalglish is the smart, in-your-face protagonist who made me want to keep turning the pages.

Having left Britain 8 years prior to events in In The Still, Ali has left a successful career and emigrated to Canada with her family.  Her husband works for the local fire service but Ali is home schooling her son and seems to be living a reasonably unfulfilling life. Home tensions will come to the fore during the telling of the story and it helps make Ali and her family appear much more authentic and gives some break from her pursuit of a killer.

Oh yes there is a killer at loose and Ali (along with her irritating neighbour) have found the body. Ali’s initial exposure to the corpse gives her the opportunity to consider the victim – her previous training as a forensic pathologist kicks in and Ali begins to formulate some ideas as to what may have happened to the unfortunate young woman who would become known as The Alder Beach Girl. Ali is not convinced that the local police have the skill (or competence) to investigate the murder and pushes for a reliable investigator to become involved.

It needs to be noted that In The Still is quite graphic in places and as far from “cozy crime” as you could hope to be. Exactly how I like them.

Jacqueline Chadwick provides great detail on Ali’s profiling rationale. The technical and background information which is considered during Ali’s investigations gives a depth to the story and established Ali’s status and her ability to push the investigation forward. But Ali doesn’t suffer fools gladly so there are some fabulous conversations to enjoy as an angry Scottish woman vents at the world around her.

In The Still totally grabbed me, I couldn’t put it down and it was one of those brilliant reading experiences where everything just worked for me. The killer is sadistic and deploys horrible methodology, the investigation to track down the killer is well paced, fun to read and extremely gripping. The lead character won me over from virtually the first page and the suspicion as to the identity of the killer swings between different contenders as the story unfolds – it kept me guessing and I am not ashamed to admit I called it wrong.

Every time I pick up a new book to read I hope it will be a story which enthrals, entertains and excites. I want it to be the book I will recommend to all my friends and I want it to be a story I will return to (and know I will enjoy reading it more than once). In The Still is that book.

 

In The Still is published by Fahrenheit Press and is available now in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Still-1-Ali-Dalglish/dp/1548611956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500741390&sr=1-1

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on In The Still – Jacqueline Chadwick