April 3

Will to Live – Rachel Amphlett

Will to Live Cover MEDIUM WEB(1)Reputation is everything.

When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as ‘Suicide Mile’, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.

As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realises the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer.

With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.

When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realises the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him…

Will to Live is the second book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future…

 

My thanks to Rachel and Emma (Emma Mitchell, Publicity Manager) for a review copy and the chance to join the tour.

 

It has been a while since I read a serial killer story. There have been a few books with multiple victims; but a serial killer story where a murderer stalks his victims, has a “style” which the police can use to identify a single killer and a team of detectives chasing down the clues…well it has been far too long since the last one!

Thank goodness, therefore, for Will to Live. Rachel Amphlett’s 2nd book to feature DS Kay Hunter was a very welcome companion on my daily commute as this was a serial killer story that I could really get my teeth into. As I hadn’t read Hunter’s introduction in Scared to Death I was slightly apprehensive that I may miss some important back story. If I did then it didn’t impact in any way upon my enjoyment of Will to Live, I was wholly consumed by the story and never felt that I had missed something vital through not (yet) reading the first book.

Hunter was immediately likeable as a lead character and her ongoing feud with one of her bosses gave an edge to the scenes in the department. For me, a good police procedural story will feature the squadroom discussions so we get a real feel of the investigation which is ongoing. No solo copper solving all the problems on their own but a team effort to track down a killer. Will to Live delivers this in fine style!  I loved the dynamic which the author has established between Hunter and her team and the mutual respect that the characters show each other really helps ground the characters and gives them authenticity.

What particularly drew me to Will to Live was the way the killer was dispatching his victims. Death by train is particularly gruesome and some of the scenes which take place by railway lines made for chilling and harrowing reading (exactly what I want in a crime thriller).

Away from the murders there is a backdrop of characters who have suffered, or are suffering from, depression or who are dealing with post trauma shock. These aspects of the story were handled with a great deal of sensitivity by Rachel Amphlett, highlighting a very real and often overlooked problem which impacts not just the individual but their family and friends too.

Will to Live – loved it, snatched every possible reading opportunity to keep the pages turning and I got through it in a day. I would be happy if I got into all my books in the way I was absorbed by this one.

 

Will to Live is available in digital format and can be ordered through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Live-Detective-Hunter-thriller-ebook/dp/B06XZHB17C/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491255620&sr=1-13&keywords=rachel+amphlett

 

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March 21

Parallel Lines – Steven Savile

Parallel Lines_high resHow far would you go to provide for your child? Adam Shaw is dying, and knows he’ll leave his disabled son with nothing. His solution? Rob a bank. It’s no surprise that things go wrong. What is surprising is that when another customer is accidentally shot, no one in the bank is in a hurry to hand Adam over to the police. There’s the manager who’s desperate to avoid an audit, the security guard with a serious grudge, and the woman who knows exactly how bad the victim really was… Eight people, twelve hours, one chance to cover up a murder. But it’s not just the police they have to fool. When many lives intersect, the results can be explosive.

 

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

 

Parallel Lines has 8 key characters. At the foot of my review I have a fantastic guest post from Steven Savile which focuses on Richard Rhodes (the Manager of the bank at the centre of events in Parallel Lines).

 

Although I read loads of crime fiction I cannot think of too many stories about a bank robbery. There are books where a bank gets robbed but it is usually only a chapter or two of action then the story moves on. Parallel Lines is all about a robbery, over 80% of the story has the reader in the bank as the crime is taking place and it is a brilliant, brilliant read.

The story opens with a focus on Adam, the robber, and his motivations for holding up a bank.  When things start to go wrong for him (no spoiler, it’s in the cover info) we get to see the other people that were in the bank at the point Adam pulls a gun on the cashier.  From here on Steven Savile will focus on different characters who are also in the bank, we get their backgrounds, their motivations to help or hinder Adam in his predicament and we see how their lives have overlapped prior to the fateful day in the bank.

I cannot get too detailed over how the robbery and subsequent events unfold but I can assure you that Parallel Lives really had me hooked. The author brilliantly set up the different characters – each will act to preserve their own self interest, however, their futures will be linked in a way which they could never have foreseen.

What makes Parallel Lines such a compelling read is that virtually all the characters are required to become a liar at some point in the tale.  For some this comes naturally, but for others they find they are required to play a role which is unfamiliar to them and their discomfort makes for fun and tense moments. But the problem with telling lies is that you cannot keep the lie going forever and, keeping me turning the pages, was the drive to find out which lies would come unstuck and the consequences which may befall the liars.

I am intentionally not giving away much about Parallel Lines – stories told this well deserve to be told in full and I would urge you to seek out this book and discover the fate of Adam and his hostages for yourself. Did I mention that this was a brilliant book?  It is – scroll down and order a copy today via the handy link at the foot of the page.

 

Now as promised, for the blog tour Mr Savile has a few words on one of the key characters in Parallel Lines:

Richard Rhodes

Secrets and lies make the world go around. I’d originally intended to do a short piece now on a few of my favourite liars in crime fiction, the idea of unreliable narrators and purposely misleading the audience as you go along, but as the first name (Frank Abernathy) came to me, I realised that actually this was an opportunity for a little truth. You see there’s a core of lies in Parallel Lines, and people pretending to be someone they aren’t. There’s the Dane, who also calls himself Kage Salisbury, who’s pretending to be a cop, there’s the security guard, Monk, who at one point is pretending to be a dead man, and there’s Richard Rhodes, the bank manager who fancies himself as a bit of a Robin Hood. There’s also a lot of truth in how I see the world wrapped up on their lies.

You see, I come from a line of great liars.

My father was a golden tongued salesman who could charm the birds out of the trees. He ended up featuring in a double page spread in The Sun back in the ‘90s, but that was the end of his story, not the beginning. Back in the day he was one of the leading guys in his field—which was focussed on male vanity, he provided wigs and weaves and hair transplants to the stars. He had all the celebrity clients, members of The Bee Gees and Slade, Crocodile Rockers and footballers. And I remember him telling me once he invented the costs of treatment on the spot, depending upon the wealth of the client across the table. He made a lot of money from sheiks and other men who couldn’t stand the idea of being bald. I used to joke that I was the best advert in the world walking into the clinic and the worst every time I walked out.

But dad was nothing compared with his dad, and you’ll get the Frank Abernathy reference now, if you’ve seen Catch Me if You Can. See, granddad (who I never met) was special.  For years I’ve toyed with writing the novel of his life, I’ve even got a title (The Last of the Great Liars), but the problem is I don’t think anyone would believe it. Here’s my understanding of how it went down. This may or may not be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but, but then, we’re talking about secrets and lies here.

Age 18 he signed up with the Canadian mounted police, and actually seemed to have it all there, beautiful fiancé who became wife, great job and eventually three kids, but wanderlust kicked in and he just picked up and walked off, joined the merchant navy and sailed into my grandmother’s life. He was sunk twice on the way, which always makes me think of him as a bit of an Uncle Albert. Anyway, he pitched up in Somerset, met my gran, married and had three kids, including my dad, and again everything was hunky and dory, you know apart from the one telling detail, the wife and three kids back in Canada… but this was pre-internet, hell, to a large extent it was pre-pretty much everything we think of as common place today.  Now, maybe it was a pathology, maybe he couldn’t stand being happy, but even as he’s got Nan and the kids on one side of the country he’s setting up another family on the other coast, another marriage, more kids. My dad told me recently how his father had taken him out to dinner, given him a five bob note and told him he was the man of the family now and how he had to look after his mum, and then just walked out to join the other family he’d set up. Not that they were enough to keep him. He’d reinvented himself several more times during his life, abandoning his family each time, at one point working on the Trans Siberian Railway, on oil pipelines in Eastern Europe and working his way down eventually to Australia where he ended up working as a cook for gold miners and getting himself adopted as a friendly grandfather for a new family. And, in keeping with his larger than life life, his death was the stuff of legend. He told them he had cancer, got in a car and drove into the outback, lay down at the side of the road and waited to die. Of course, there was no cancer. Pretty much nothing in his life was true. Remarkably, he ended up on children’s tv in Adelaide, where he made elaborate model ships, and something like 2,000 people turned up at his funeral. How do we know all this? He kept a travelling chest and in it was all of the documentation, the birth certificates, marriage certificates, pay slips, everything to track him across continents and through reinvention after reinvention all the way back to the beginning. But here’s the interesting thing, all of it was redacted. The names of the people blacked out to protect them. All of it except for my grandmother and their three children. Meaning that at Nan’s funeral, the priest delivered the eulogy, describing her as the loving mother of David, Wrey, Anthony and John… and everyone’s looking around thinking John? Who the hell is John? Only to discover it was one of the bastard children come following the path of breadcrumbs laid down by the travelling chest.

Now, and this bit kills me, he did all of this under his own name. He’d completely reinvent everything about himself apart from his name. It couldn’t happen today, not in the era of the big brother that is the internet where nothing ever gets forgotten. But it happened back then, and looking at my lineage it doesn’t surprise me that I ended up doing what I do, telling stories, inventing and reinventing things. Telling elaborate lies for a living.

Like I said, Parallel Lines has a core of liars at its heart. But the one I sympathise most with is Richard Rhodes. You see he’s a good man, or at least wants to be a good man. But he wants the glamour, too. He just can’t help himself. He may not be up there on the scale with my grandfather, but he’s certainly caught by the glamour of not being his average ordinary self for a few hours when he walks into Archer’s casino. He can’t help himself. He wants to feel the way those other guys do, the cool ones who have the perfect stubble and the gravelly voice and those melt-the-knickers eyes. So he reinvents himself, just like granddad did, and for just a couple of hours he might even get to be all that he pretends to be. The thing is, once the lie is spoken it is only ever going to end badly for him. Which is good for us, because secrets and lies make the world go around.  And stories would be really dull without them.

 

Parallel Lines is published by Titan Books and is available to order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Parallel-Lines-Steven-Savile/dp/1783297913/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490130680&sr=1-1&keywords=parallel+lines

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March 9

Born Bad – Marnie Riches

Born BadThe battle is on…

When gang leader Paddy O’Brien is stabbed in his brother’s famous nightclub, Manchester’s criminal underworld is shaken to the core. Tensions are running high, and as the body count begins to grow, the O’Brien family must face a tough decision – sell their side of the city to the infamous Boddlington gang or stick it out and risk losing their king.

But war comes easy to the bad boys, and they won’t go down without a fight. So begins a fierce battle for the South Side, with the leading Manchester gangsters taking the law into their own hands – but only the strongest will survive…

 

My thanks to Helena at Avon for my review copy and the chance to join the Born Bad blog tour.

 

One of the reviews where I will cut to the chase…reading Born Bad was a joyous experience, I bloody loved it.

Manchester’s criminal underworld are a volatile crowd and Marnie Riches is going to light the blue touch-paper under these powerful gangs and pit them against each other in a battle for supremacy. It is going to be bloody, the players will be treacherous and, in a world where reputation is everything, nobody can afford to show any weakness.

The story will track multiple characters and their lives will intertwine. At the heart of Born Bad is Paddy O’Brien – he is head of the family and controls one of the gangs.  Paddy gets what he wants and expects obedience, particularly from his wife Sheila. Although a powerful woman in her own right, Sheila cannot stand up to the volatile and aggressive behaviour of her husband and their relationship is somewhat strained. But when the opportunity comes for Paddy to get out and leave his enterprise behind both he and Sheila are eyeing up a new start, a clean break.

Needless to say walking away from the lifestyle which has defined him will not be easy and events will appear to conspire against him. A matter of family honour will lead to bloodshed – a hired killer engaged to avenge a perceived wrongdoing. But a death will demand a retaliation and a peaceful exit for Paddy and Sheila looks a bleak prospect.

The multiple focal points in Born Bad keeps the story flowing at a cracking pace. These are not nice people that we are reading about so you can be sure that something unpleasant will soon befall someone (I had such fun trying to predict who may not make it to the end of the chapter).

In a book of bad guys there are clear distinctions between those we are to root for and the really “evil” people we want to see fail. The character interaction is brilliantly handled, humour and empathy meets anger and irrationality and the reactions and responses are exactly how you would expect. The characters drive the story and they are wonderfully realised, without the depth and development that Marnie Riches bestows upon them the emotional engagement would not have been there for me. I believed in the characters and that gave Born Bad the life and vibrancy that a good book needs.

Yeah – I loved it.

 

Born Bad is published by Avon and is available now in paperback and digital format and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Born-Bad-Marnie-Riches-ebook/dp/B01KTKEX2Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489098471&sr=1-1

 

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February 27

Say Nothing – Brad Parks

Say NothingOn a normal Wednesday afternoon, Judge Scott Sampson is preparing to pick up his six-year-old twins for their weekly swim. His wife Alison texts him with a change of plan: she has to take them to the doctor instead. So Scott heads home early. But when Alison arrives back later, she is alone – no Sam, no Emma – and denies any knowledge of the text . . .
The phone then rings: an anonymous voice tells them that the Judge must do exactly what he is told in an upcoming drug case and, most importantly, they must ‘say nothing’.

So begins this powerful, tense breakout thriller about a close-knit young family plunged into unimaginable horror. As a twisting game of cat and mouse ensues, they know that one false move could lose them their children for ever.
Hugely suspenseful – with its fascinating insight into the US judicial system and its politics of influence and nepotism – Say Nothing is, above all, the poignant story of the terror these parents face, and their stop-at-nothing compulsion to get their children back.

 

My Thanks to Lauren at Faber & Faber for my review copy.

 

When I get asked what book I would recommend, Say Nothing is now my first answer. I have just spent the last two days pouring over this thriller, devouring every word and I cannot say too many good things about it. Let me save you a skip to the foot of the page…Say Nothing gets an epic 5 stars from me.

<And breathe>

We meet Scott Sampson. He is a judge with a good reputation. He has a happy home life, a loving family and life is grand. But things are about to change.  Scott receives a text message from his wife telling him she is taking their young twins to an appointment with the doctor and that he need not collect them from school. No cause for concern, just a change to their normal routine – until Scott’s wife returns home without the kids and they realise something has gone wrong. As the couple try to make sense of their conflicting understanding of the afternoon’s events the phone rings and their world is turned upside down.

Their twins have been kidnapped. Further instruction will follow in due course but in the meantime neither Scott or Alison can let anyone know what has happened – SAY NOTHING.

Scott has to continue going to work and hearing cases so in addition to a tense kidnap story we are treated to an engaging courtroom drama too. I have not read very many legal thrillers of late and I realise that I miss them – Say Nothing handles the switches between courthouse and domestic drama brilliantly and both elements to the story play out fabulously well.

The story zips along at a fast pace and, with the constant worry over what may happen to two helpless kids at the hands of their abductors, you find that you just have to keep reading.

The book asks how far you would go to protect your children and Scott and Alison will be pushed to the limit. Doubts and suspicion of family, friends and colleagues will threaten to overwhelm them and events outwith their control will seem to conspire against them and try to thwart the safe return of the twins.

Gradually it becomes clear exactly why the kidnap was arranged and Scott will become increasingly pressured into following orders to keep his children safe. But if a high profile judge starts behaving erratically then people will start to notice. How long can Scott maintain the façade of normality when someone else is calling the shots and seems to know his every move?

Brilliant, brilliant storytelling which I cannot recommend enough. I mention it was a 5 star read?

 

Say Nothing is published on 2 March 2017 by Faber & Faber and you can order a copy here.

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February 13

The Intrusions – Stav Sherez

The IntrusionsWhen a distressed young woman arrives at their station claiming her friend has been abducted, and that the man threatened to come back and ‘claim her next’, Detectives Carrigan and Miller are thrust into a terrifying new world of stalking and obsession.

Taking them from a Bayswater hostel, where backpackers and foreign students share dorms and failing dreams, to the emerging threat of online intimidation, hacking, and control, The Intrusions explores disturbing contemporary themes with all the skill and dark psychology that Stav Sherez’s work has been so acclaimed for.

Under scrutiny themselves, and with old foes and enmities re-surfacing, how long will Carrigan and Miller have to find out the truth behind what these two women have been subjected to?

 

My thanks to Faber & Faber for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

The Intrusions gripped me. Totally, completely hooked me from the outset. I read it in three sittings and each time I had to put down the book (to go and do the day job) I was counting down the minutes until the time when I could pick it up and begin reading again.

What made matters worse was that when I found out what the Intrusions from the title actually were I became more than a little freaked out. Not only was I dying to get back to reading, I was obsessing slightly about plot threads from the story and looking around my environment wondering if there were reasons to worry!

Cryptic?  Sorry but once you read the book you will understand why…it is a chilling idea but I have no doubt it is happening all around us.

The Intrusions was my first introduction to Stav Sheraz’s books and there were references to previous stories featuring the lead characters (Carrigan and Miller). Sometimes that can be a frustration for a new reader but in this case I found myself on several occasions thinking “I MUST go back and read the earlier books” as the backstory sounds superb.

The Intrusions begins with an abduction but it is not long before events will spiral into a much bigger challenge for the police. I particularly enjoyed how well the investigation was presented by the author, I really felt I was tracking their footsteps as they hunted down leads. Not every police thriller can capture the sense of urgency and pressure of an active investigation but, as I indicated above, I was gripped.

Without doubt one of the best books I have read for many months and a story I am recommending to anyone that will listen. Do not miss The Intrusions.

 

The Intrusions is published by Faber & Faber and is available now. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Intrusions-Carrigan-Miller-Stav-Sherez/0571297250/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486941671&sr=1-1&keywords=stav+sherez

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February 7

The Damselfly – SJI Holliday

the-damselflyAn unsolved murder. A community turned against each other. A killer close to home…

Katie Taylor is the perfect student. She s bright and funny, she has a boyfriend who adores her and there are only a few months left of school before she can swap Banktoun for the bright lights of London. Life gets even better when she has an unexpected win on a scratch card. But then Katie’s luck runs out.

Her tragic death instead becomes the latest in a series of dark mysteries blighting the small town. The new school counsellor Polly McAllister, who has recently returned to Banktoun to make amends in her own personal life, is thrown in at the deep end as the pupils and staff come to terms with Katie s death. And it s not long before she uncovers a multitude of murky secrets. Did Katie have enemies? Is her boyfriend really so squeaky clean? And who is her brothers mysterious friend?

With Banktouns insular community inflamed by gossip and a baying mob stirring itself into a frenzy on social media, DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings must work out who really murdered Katie before someone takes matters into their own hands.

 

My thanks to Thomas at Black & White Publishing for my review copy

The Damselfly, the third book in the Banktoun series is officially my favourite of the three. Although all three books can easily be read as stand-alone novels there is a definite reward for returning readers, Characters from earlier novels will cameo and the town seems to be evolving with each new book too – like in a videogame where deeper exploration into the story will open up new areas of the map to enjoy.  In The Damselfly the local school becomes a key focus for events and the pupils will provide much of the drama. SJI Holliday has made Banktoun a great place for readers to visit – but I wouldn’t want to live there!

I cannot review one of Susi’s novels without commenting (again) on her skill at defining characters. Everyone in the story seems more vibrant and realistic than some authors can achieve with their main character. The realism is a problem in The Damselfly though as in this story we have the nasty problem of cyberbullies. The creeping menace of social media is being used to stir up tension and suspicion and it makes for very uncomfortable reading.

The story opens with Katie, she is a bright student and is seeking to improve her lot in life and hoping to get away from Banktoun and move to the bright lights. Sadly fate has a different idea for Katie and her life abruptly comes to an end leaving a mass of unanswered questions and plenty of candidates for the finger of suspicion to point at.  A murder mystery means we get the police involved and in Banktoun that can only mean a welcome return for fan-favourite Davie Gray.

I totally lost myself in The Damselfly. From the early shocking murder of Katie Taylor we see how her death will impact on different characters in the town. Her family torn apart by the tragedy, her classmates believing they know who must be involved and trying to take the law into their own hands, her teachers coping with the shock and trying to support Katie’s former classmates. And, of course, the police who need to unpick Katie’s secrets when nobody seems to want to help them.

The Damselfly is a murder mystery which leaves you wondering who you should trust…A five-star page-turner, I loved it.

 

The Damselfly is published by Black & White Publishing and is available now in paperback and digital format. Order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Damselfly-gripping-unnerving-crime-thriller-ebook/dp/B01M7RBU7W/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Damselfly Blog Tour

 

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January 21

Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

Behind her eyesDon’t Trust This Book

Don’t Trust These People

Don’t Trust Yourself

And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…

 

Louise

Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…

David

Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…

Adele

Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?

 

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

 

Today I am thrilled to host the first leg of the Behind Her Eyes blog tour and I immediately have a problem. I need to be VERY careful about what I say!

You see Behind Her Eyes is the “Fight Club” of the 2017 new releases – you can’t talk about Behind Her Eyes, because you must keep the secret. The secret?  Well this book is responsible for the social media hashtag #WTFthatending so as you read you know that something big/unexpected/unusual/gobsmacking is going to happen. You just don’t know what (and it will be on your mind the whole time you are reading).

But there is much more to Behind Her Eyes than the ending. The story follows Louise, a single mum who is low on confidence as her ex-husband  and his new partner are expecting their first child. They want to take Louise’s young son Adam to France for a month’s vacation and Louise is uncomfortable with the thought of Adam being away so long.

But Louise has another distraction, she met a charming and good looking guy in a bar and they hit it off. But the evening ended unexpectedly when the guy got uncomfortable and fled only to turn up the next morning at Louise’s work and to their mutual horror they learn that he is her new boss.

The mutual attraction does not fade though and Louise and her boss, David, are going to find it difficult to keep their relationship platonic.

Enter David’s beautiful wife Adele.  She provides the second narrative to the story and Behind Her Eyes unfolds as Louise and Adele drive the story forward. They meet by chance and become friends. Louise realises that Adele is David’s wife but chooses to keep their friendship a secret from David as she is not sure how he may react to his wife and his lover being friends.

Readers soon become to realise that Adele is fully aware of Louise and David’s relationship but she seems to be playing a game of her own. Adele has a plan and bringing Louise and David together just seems a small part of it. But to what end? Adele has a history of mental illness and there is a third narrative thread recounting time she has spent in a care home receiving psychological treatment. Does Adele become an unreliable narrator or is Louise’s narrative misleading us over how fragile David and Adele’s marriage may actually be?

Behind Her Eyes is an engaging and tense read and the promise of the #WTFthatending will keep you hooked. I love Sarah Pinborough’s stories, she is not afraid to put her characters through an emotional wringer so I know that no-one is safe and that anything could happen. That unpredictability is a treat for a reader and Behind Her Eyes does not disappoint.

Read it (and avoid spoilers).

 

Behind Her Eyes is published by Harper Collins and releases on 26 January. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behind-Her-Eyes-Sarah-Pinborough/dp/0008131961/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484992145&sr=8-1&keywords=behind+her+eyes

 

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January 7

Deep Down Dead – Steph Broadribb

deep-down-deadLori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong.

The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

 

My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy and the opportunity to join the blog tour.

 

There has been a real buzz of anticipation around Deep Down Dead. Early reviews were glowing and a glance at the back cover of the book lets us see over 2 dozen authors singing the praises of Steph Broadribb and her debut thriller.

I now know why – it is an absolute corker of a read.

Perfectly paced. Edgy. Tense and with a lead character you will want to root for. Deep Down Dead delivers the thrills and keeps you reading, it will grip you as it has that elusive “one more chapter” magic.

Deep Down Dead introduces Lori Anderson.  She is a bounty hunter working out of Florida. She is also mother to 9 year old Dakota who is recovering from serious illness and has accrued some sizeable medical bills for her mother to contend with.

Lori needs work but the only bounty available is going to be challenging – if she accepts the job then she needs to bring in a fugitive called JT (the man that trained her). Lori is successful as she has followed the lessons that JT taught her, but it is a shock to her to learn that he has broken his own personal code and fallen foul of the law. Can she outfox her tutor, track him down and bring him to the police?  If she does then she needs to do it with Dakota in tow as her baby-sitter has just left town. Taking a child to track down a fugitive should be a no-no but Lori knows JT of old and knows that he would never harm her daughter. Would he?

Lori’s trip to recover JT is going to be fraught with danger. She will need to be at her kick-ass best to keep one step ahead of the enemy that she doesn’t even know is looking for her. But Lori is smart, feisty and packs a taser which will drop anyone in their tracks…you just know it is going to get messy.

Deep Down Dead was practically inhaled once I started reading. I usually juggle 3 or 4 books at once but when I began to read this nothing else got a look-in until I had finished. Utterly captivated. Nice work Steph, I am ready for more from Lori when you get a chance…

 

Deep Down Dead is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and digital format now.  You can order copies by clicking here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-Down-Dead-Lori-Anderson/dp/1910633550/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483750394&sr=8-1&keywords=deep+down+dead

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Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Deep Down Dead – Steph Broadribb
December 15

Lone Wolf – Sara Driscoll

lone-wolf-2Meg and Hawk are part of the FBI s elite K-9 unit. Hawk can sniff out bodies anywhere living or dead whether it s tracking a criminal or finding a missing person. When a bomb rips apart a government building on the National Mall in Washington D.C., it takes all of the team s extensive search-and-rescue training to locate and save the workers and visitors buried beneath the rubble.
But even as the duo are hailed as heroes, a mad bomber remains at large, striking terror across the Eastern seaboard in a ruthless pursuit of retribution. As more bombs are detonated and the body count escalates, Meg and Hawk are brought in to a task force dedicated to stopping the unseen killer. But when the attacks spiral wide and any number of locations could be the next target, it will come down to a battle of wits and survival skills between Meg, Hawk, and the bomber they re tracking to rescue a nation from the brink of chaos.

 

My thanks Kensington Books for my review copy which I received through Netgalley.

 

A serial bomber is a terrifying notion and Sara Driscoll paints a terrifying picture of how simple it could be to place a bomb in our midst. In Lone Wolf Government buildings are being targeted by a killer who is holding a long standing grudge.

When a bomb explodes in a busy Government building the FBI K-9 team are called into action – they are to enter the ruins of the building and search for survivors.  It is a harrowing scene and it really highlighted the importance of the work that a K-9 unit undertakes. Sara Driscoll does a fantastic job of describing the chaos and the carnage of the working conditions that the dog and its handler have to operate, the relationship between the two and the ability of the dogs to obey every command.  I was totally engrossed.

Away from the bomb sites we see how Meg and her dog, Hawk, are an inseparable unit. We learn a little of Meg’s background in law enforcement, how quit her job when an arrest went wrong and what finally brought her to the FBI. The relationship and the bond between Hawk and Meg is something rather special and their partnership one of the strongest I have read for a long time. I loved discovering their story and really hope that Lone Wolf will be the first of many FBI K-9 stories.

Sara Driscoll has brought us a chilling thriller with wonderful lead characters and a bad guy that we will all want to see brought to justice.  The story flows at a fast and exciting pace and has that important “just one more chapter” feel about it as you read.

Dog lovers will adore it. Thriller fans should grab it. Lone Wolf is highly recommended.

 

Lone Wolf was published on 29 November by Kensington Books.  You can order a copy here:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lone-Wolf-F-B-I-K-9-Novel/dp/149670441X/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480371068&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=loan+wolf+sara+driscoll

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Lone Wolf – Sara Driscoll
December 11

Top Ten Reads of 2016

Time to wrap up another year. Before I get to my selections I need to thank the authors and publishers who have entrusted me with their books, invited me to join blog tours and shared my reviews. Their ongoing support keeps this blog running and I am eternally grateful. I would also like to thank my fellow bloggers who help my reviews reach a wider audience, provide guidance and helpful encouragement (seemingly at any time of the day or night) and who understand my overwhelming need to talk about amazing books.

20161211_202549The books I have selected are the titles which had the most memorable impact. They had a punch or a twist which stood out. They are the stories I still think about months after returning the book to the shelf or they are the books I put into the hands of friends who ask me to recommend something to read. My first “short list” had over 30 titles and I had to narrow that down, I feel bad for leaving some out and I hope that my reviews through the year have reflected how many brilliant books I have had the opportunity to read this year.

 

Sleeping Giants10 – Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

“This book is just WOW. Sleeping Giants was an absolute gem, it made me laugh, it kept me hooked, I had no idea where it was heading and some scenes actually made me stop reading and double back thinking ‘Wait! What just happened’?”

My original review: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1552   and you can order the book here.

 

 

 

Killer Instincts9 – Killer Instincts – Linden Chase

 

Drop a journalist onto a prison island inhabited only by murderers and task him with finding out who runs the facility and how it operates.

He is more concerned about surviving.

 

My original review: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1951  and you can order the book here.

 

 

 

My Best Friend's Exorcism8 – My Best Friends Exorcism – Grady Hendrix

It’s an 80’s horror tale. I was not prepared for how dark this tale of two high-school friends would become but it totally captivated me and had some really nasty twists.

My original review:  http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1944  and you can order the book here.

 

 

 

a-suitable-lie

 

 

7 -A Suitable Lie – Michael J Malone

A Suitable Lie is an intense read which is highlighting a topic which is a far bigger issue than most realise. It is a story that will stick with you for a long time to come and it is important that it does. Not to be missed.”

 

My original review: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=2130 and you can order the book here.

 

 

Stasi Child6 – Stasi Child – David Young

Delightfully different. David Young takes us into 1970’s East Berlin, a time I normally associated with spy novels.  But this is a gripping police thriller and shows how life may have been “behind the Wall.”  Karen Muller is tasked with investigating a murder but may have her work cut-out as there is political pressure on her to find the “right” outcome.

My original review http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1336 and you can order the book here.

 

 

 

Exposure5 – Exposure – Ava Marsh

I loved Exposure. It’s not going to be for everyone as there are frank and graphic descriptions of porn shoots. But if you go into the story knowing it tackles real life issues and avoids sensationalising porn or making it seem that Kitty is living a 24/7 glamourous existence then you will get the best of Exposure.

This is a “must read” book

 

My original review  http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1772 and you can order the book here.

 

 

Hex4 – Hex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Another horror tale and this one is a belter. The town of Black Spring are hiding a secret – a Witch lives in their midst.  A 17th century woman, her eyes and mouth are sewn shut and she can appear in the middle of the night by your bedside. Disaster will befall the town should someone open her eyes – you can guess what happens next!

Terrifying reading.

My original review http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1668 and you can order the book here.

 

 

Jonathan Dark

 

 

3 – Jonathan Dark and the Evidence of Ghosts – A K Benedict

A crime thriller and a clever ghost story too.  I loved AK Benedict’s approach to this story and I long to read more Jonathan Dark stories. When I first reviewed it I said: I wish that every book I read was as enjoyable as Jonathan Dark and the Evidence of Ghosts

My original review http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1415 and you can order the book here.

 

Streets of Darkness

2  – Streets of Darkness – A A Dhand

Back in June I got the chance to read Streets of Darkness and it blew me away. I couldn’t put it down and I am desperate to read more from AA Dhand.

In my original review I said: it is a debut of some note.  An absolute cert for a 5/5 review score, I tore through it and felt drained at the end.

My original review: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1762 and you can order the book here.

 

 

Epiphany Jones A/W.indd1 – Epiphany Jones – Michael Grothaus

 

Disturbing, hilarious, tragic and utterly compelling. I never quite knew where Michael Grothaus was taking us next when I read Epiphany Jones but I loved every step of the journey.

My original review:  http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1748 and you can order the book here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: 5* Reviews | Comments Off on Top Ten Reads of 2016