September 3

Reciclador – Joff Sharpe

RecicladorMedical school drop-out Yessica Sanchez opens a restaurant in her home town of Medellin, the most dangerous city in the world. She falls in love with a Swiss backpacker and together they enjoy a simple, idyllic lifestyle. But the traveller, Marcus Hamm, carries a dark secret and when a man is killed outside the restaurant it triggers a series of events that threaten their lives and will test their relationship to its limits.

Soon other interested parties like the CIA, mercenaries and Colombian police are competing to secure the huge financial prize that they believe to be at stake. Only Yessica’s father, an unassuming but cunning professor of anthropology, can save his family from a terrible fate. He’ll stop at nothing to do so.

The backdrop to the story includes some of the more colorful aspects of Medellin, such as its spectacular festival of flowers and Young Women’s Talent Competition, and a host of interesting characters from every part of Colombian society.

 

My thanks to Emma at Busy Bee for my review copy.

 

One of the reasons I started to blog was that I wanted to make readers aware of books that I had read which I thought other people would also enjoy. I also set myself a personal challenge of reading new authors and also books which are suitably different from my normal go-to titles. This brings me nicely to Reciclador by Joff Sharpe – a debut novel set in Columbia’s roughest suburbs.  Did I enjoy it and do I want lots of people to read it?  Damn right!

The problem that I am going to have in explaining why you should read Reciclador is that if I enthuse about what I loved about the story then I need to include spoilers and spoilers are banned on these pages.

Reciclador tells the story of Marcus and Yessica. They run a restaurant in Medellin, Columbia (the most dangerous city in the world).  Life seems simple for the couple and the restaurant is doing well but readers soon learn that Marcus cuts a somewhat mysterious figure. Yessica, however, is much more open and is invited, as a successful local businesswoman, to help the younger women of Medellin to show their skills and talents through a Young Women’s Talent Competition.  In a city where drawing attention to your successes can be a dangerous idea Yessica soon finds her restaurant is receiving some unwanted attention.

Although Yessica and Marcus are the main characters in Reciclador we also get to spend time with a variety of characters from very different social backgrounds. Corrupt policemen, savvy politicians, street kids scrapping for status and their peers who are looking to lift themselves out of their impoverished existence. Reciclador was an eye-opening read and although it is a work of fiction the story is grounded in fact which makes some of the events so much more disconcerting. I urge you to read my chat with author Joff Sharpe where he discusses how much of the story was influenced by actual events. Full interview can be found here: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=983

If you are looking for a gripping thriller which offers something a little different from the norm then Reciclador should be right up at the top of your list. The dynamics of Columbian society essentially mean that anything goes, everyone has a price, nobody is above intimidation and violence is commonplace. Drop in two people trying to live a quiet life (who find themselves with a dead body on their property) and you know that things are going to go wrong fairly quickly.

When I consider the titles I have covered on my blog I cannot think of any book which is comparable to Reciclador. A fresh reading experience which I devoured – a book I wanted to read in one sitting yet a book I did not want to end. I hope that Joff Sharpe decides to return to Medellin as this is a city which offers so much potential for more thrilling tales. 5 star thrills – loved this!

 

Reciclador is the debut novel from author Joff Sharpe, who has written about financial fugitives for Newsweek, Huffington Post and Hong Kong’s largest circulation English-speaking newspaper, The South China Morning Post.

He has previously published a non-fiction book ‘Who Dares Wins in Business’ which combined wisdom from his early career as an SAS Special Forces officer and his role today as an executive in a £17 billion real estate investment company.

Other entries on Joff’s CV include: a year living amongst the Iban headhunters of Borneo, running an internet company for Rupert Murdoch and being Piers Morgan’s HR director.

 

Reciclador is available now through Amazon in paperback and digital format: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reciclador-Recycler-Mr-Joff-Sharpe/dp/1512269387/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441233935&sr=1-1&keywords=reciclador

 

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August 14

Ava Marsh – Untouchable Q&A

Untouchable coverToday I am delighted to welcome Ava Marsh to Grab This Book.  Ava’s novel Untouchable released earlier this year in digital format and instantly became one of my favourite books that I have discussed on this blog (review link below).  This week Untouchable receives a paperback release and Ava has kindly taken some time to answer a few of my questions:

 

Shall we start with an easy one? Tell me about Untouchable and who is Stella?

Untouchable is the story of a high-class escort, Stella, who finds herself uncovering a top-level conspiracy after the murder of friend and fellow call girl Elisa. But as she becomes more deeply enmired in Elisa’s death, Stella’s own shadowy past starts to catch up with her.

Can you outline Untouchable for me in a single sentence?

Oh goodness, I’m so rubbish at summing things up neatly. How about ‘call girl revenge saga’? Hmm, no. Okay, what about ‘Gone Girl meets 50 Shades’? Perhaps not. I think I’ll go with ‘a compelling story about one woman’s fight for justice against a powerful and corrupt elite.’

You will probably be aware that there was considerable Twitter speculation over how you researched the lifestyle of an escort. Is there a balance of research and author imagination or did you actually base Stella’s routine on recounted events?

You’re right, I have been asked that question a few times! The truth is it’s a combination of both. I know several intelligent, professional women who have gone into escorting, for various reasons, and some of the scenes in Untouchable reflect their experiences. But there’s also a wealth of stuff on the internet; many escorts have blogged about their lifestyle, and how they feel about it, so it’s not hard to research.

And yes, I just made a lot up.

As Stella/Grace is the hero of the story does that make her clients default villains?  At no time while I read Untouchable did I feel that the reader was asked to make judgment on prostitutes or their clients.

I’m pleased you didn’t. I get tired of the widely-held stereotypes and general demonization of prostitution. Not all prostitutes are alike, just as not all writers are alike either – there is a world of difference between a woman with a drug habit working in Kings Cross to someone operating at Stella’s level, just as there is all the difference between being a hack writer for the Daily Mail and writing 1,000 page literary novels a la Donna Tartt or Haruki Murakami. The idea that all escorts are downtrodden or degraded by their work just isn’t true, as Brooke Magnanti (Belle de Jour) has amply illustrated.

The same holds for punters. Men have myriad reasons for paying for sex, and many of those reasons are perfectly understandable. It’s not uncommon for men to find themselves stranded in sexless marriages, for instance, and rather than leave their wife or have an affair, some decide that discreet, paid-for physical companionship is the lesser of several evils. Which is entirely fair enough, in my opinion.

Did you ever consider that you were taking a risk making your lead character a prostitute? I cannot imagine everyone will respond sympathetically to a character that has chosen this lifestyle.

I did consider it. I think there’s still a huge taboo around sex work, and there’s always the danger of being tainted by association. But I wanted to tell Stella’s story, as well as undermine some of the popular mythology around escorting.

This may be a bit of a chicken/egg question: as Untouchable developed did you start with the idea of building a story around escorts? Or was the basis of the story in your head and the characters (and their profession) subsequently fell into place?

Untouchable started when I realised that high-end escorts can find themselves in a unique position of interacting with sometimes very powerful men, in a situation where those men might well let down their guard. That led me to start wondering what might happen if an escort heard or discovered something significant or dangerous. What might she do with that information? How might she react?

I know that Untouchable has been available digitally for some time – does holding a paperback of your novel make it feel more special or real?

There’s nothing quite like holding your book for the first time. Especially when it has a lovely velvety-feel cover like Untouchable.

You were one third of the Femmes Fatales panel during the Brit Crime online book festival.  As a reader I found the whole event an absolute joy, how was it from the author viewpoint?  

Oh, such fun. I love interacting with other writers and with readers, and will debate anything almost endlessly. Just wind me up and watch me go!

A few years ago I was at the Aye Write festival in Glasgow and I got to hear Mark Billingham and Jo Nesbo compare their ‘journey’ to publication.  How long did it take you to get Untouchable from concept to a finished article that readers could enjoy?

Untouchable got its fair share of rejections. A number of agents and editors seemed unsure how to peg the book, especially as it’s fairly explicit. In terms of the time it took to write, that was about six months, then another six or so to find an agent and publisher. After that came the long slog of editing and tweaking and waiting for publication, which in this case was about 18 months after acceptance. You need patience to survive in this industry.

On a more personal level, what do you enjoy reading? Who do you consider to be your favourite authors?

When I was younger I tackled many of the classics with enthusiasm, and I still read quite a few literary novels. I particularly love Haruki Murakami, Anne Tyler, Kate Atkinson and Donna Tartt. In recent years I’ve been drawn more to genre fiction – hard to pick favourites, but Gillian Flynn is a fabulous prose stylist, while Elizabeth Haynes, Sarah Ward, Mark Edwards, Eva Dolan, and SJI Holliday are all up there on my must-read list.

When do you find time to write?

Whenever I can find the energy. I tend to fit it in around whatever else I’m doing, though I’m trying to prioritise it more these days.

Can you give us any clues as to what you are working on now?

Certainly. My next book, currently in the first round of structural edits, is called Exposure and kicks off with a porn star in prison for double murder. The rest of the story essentially explores how she landed up there.

When not writing how do you enjoy spending your downtime?

Downtime? What’s that? On my rare days off I like to get out and get active – running and kayaking both help me work off a head of steam. I read, obviously, and go to the cinema as often as I can. I also watch a lot of news and documentaries.

These days it’s the ordinary stuff that pleases me more and more. Too much drama puts me off my writing stride. I save it for my novels.

 

My thanks to Ava for joining me today.  As promised my review can be found here: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=773

 

The Untouchable blog tour continues on Monday 17th with @crimethrillgirl

UntouchableBlogTour (2) [77433]

Untouchable is available in paperback and digital format.

Ava Marsh is on Twitter: @MsAvaMarsh

And online at:  http://www.avamarsh.co.uk/

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August 12

Blood Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers) – Alexandra Sokoloff

BloodMoon_TM_CVRTwenty-five years have passed since a savage killer terrorized California, massacring three ordinary families before disappearing without a trace. The only surviving victim of his rampage was a child…who is now wanted by the FBI for brutal crimes of her own.

Special Agent Matthew Roarke is on an interstate manhunt to track her down, despite feeling torn between his dedication to duty and his sympathy for her horrific history and motives. But when Roarke’s search unearths evidence of new family slayings, the dangerous woman he seeks—and secretly wants—may be his only hope of preventing another bloodbath. He just has to find her first.

The pulse-pounding sequel to Huntress Moon is sure to leave readers on the edges of their seats.

 

Review copy provided through Netgalley by Thomas & Mercer.

The second book in the Huntress/FBI Thriller series by Alexandra Sokoloff picks up after events of Huntress Moon. Reading Huntress Moon before Blood Moon is not essential but is highly recommended!

At the age of 5 Cara Lindstrom was the sole survivor of an attack on her family by a serial killer known only as The Reaper. Moved through the system throughout her childhood Cara ‘disappeared’ when she reached maturity and gained access to a substantial trust fund. Cara believes she was touched by ‘evil’ during her encounter with The Reaper and now is on a one-woman retribution campaign, killing those that she considers need to die. In killing her victims she kills the ‘evil’ within them and temporarily tames the Evil within herself.

The complexity of Cara’s character is such a pull while reading these books.  As a killer she should be the character the reader wants to see captured. Yet are her killings justified?  In killing pimps, killers and men responsible for the sale and prostitution of children does that make her the heroic character?  Having grown up as an avid reader of Marvel Comics I have a mental image of Cara playing the role of The Punisher yet she is the embodiment of Electra (the ninja assassin).

Although Cara was very visible during Huntress Moon I felt that in Blood Moon she was much more in the background. That said her presence is very much at the forefront of the story and the reader gets to experience Agent Rourke’s obsession to track her down.

There are many threads woven together during Blood Moon which make it an absorbing read. Roarke’s historical fascination with The Reaper, the influence of the moon over Cara’s actions, Rourke’s increasing obsession with Cara creating issues within his team and there are others that will reward the returning reader.

Blood Moon is book 2 of what is expected to be a 5 book series.  So far so…brilliant. I need more Huntress stories and soon! A 5/5 read.

AlexandraSokoloff.com

The Huntress/FBI Thrillers: Out now!

UK  Huntress Moon  http://amzn.to/1wEwxZo

UK Blood Moon  http://amzn.to/1CPG4Uw

UK Cold Moon  http://amzn.to/1xBtA2U

US Huntress Moon  http://amzn.to/1z3pSh5

US Blood Moon  http://amzn.to/1EqoKax

US Cold Moon  http://amzn.to/1ymNA6b

 

Alexandra Sokoloff is the bestselling, Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker and Anthony Award-nominated author of eleven supernatural, paranormal and crime thrillers. The New York Times has called her “a daughter of Mary Shelley” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”

As a screenwriter she has sold original suspense and horror scripts and written novel adaptations for numerous Hollywood studios. She is also the workshop leader of the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops, based on her Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks and blog.

Her Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series, following a haunted FBI agent on the hunt for a female serial killer, is out now from Thomas & Mercer.

Website: http://alexandrasokoloff.com

Twitter: @alexsokoloff

 

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July 28

Blue Wicked – Alan Jones

Blue wicked 2Blue Wicked is Alan Jones’ second gritty Glasgow crime novel. The tortured corpses of young alcoholics and drug addicts are turning up in Glasgow and only unlikely investigator Eddie Henderson seems to know why. When he tries to tell the police, his information is ridiculed and he’s told to stop wasting their time. One officer, junior detective Catherine Douglas, believes him, and together they set out to discover why the dregs of Glasgow’s underbelly are being found, dead and mutilated.

 

My thanks to Alan for providing a review copy of Blue Wicked.

 

Blue Wicked is dark. It is graphic and it is a brilliant read.

The lead character, Eddie Henderson, is a vet – he is a bit awkward, very career focussed and on hand at the opening of the book as the corpse is discovered. The initial description of violence was graphic and it sets out the expectation for what is to follow.

Eddie is convinced he has found a link between a series of animal attacks and wants to raise his concerns with the police. Sadly for Eddie attacks on animals are not high on the list of priorities for his local police force. He is assigned to work alongside Catherine Douglas (a young detective) who notes his concerns and warms to Eddie’s passion to protect animals but with no solid leads to follow it does not appear that the police can be of much assistance. Frustrated with their lack of support Eddie’s frustration seems to be getting the better of him.

In Glasgow’s quieter areas someone is isolating drug users and feeding them Blue Wicked – a lethal concoction which will render them unconscious and vulnerable to attack. In their weakened state the debilitated users are tortured and put to a prolonged and painful death.

Eddie hears of the deaths and believes he sees a link between the animal attacks and the murders but can he make the police take him seriously.

Blue Wicked can be quite nasty reading in places – there are some not very nice people in this book and it made for compulsive reading. Alan Jones built up the mystery and kept me guessing as to how matters may resolve themselves. The dual narrative of the killer and the police investigation was well executed and the endgame played out brilliantly, an exhilarating race against time with a couple of unexpected twists.

At the back of the book was a glossary of Glaswegian slang – lovely touch as there is a lot of Glasgow’s colourful language in Blue Wicked.

I would urge all readers that enjoy gritty crime fiction to treat themselves to Blue Wicked – one of the best I have read for quite some time.

 

Blue Wicked is available in paperback from Ailsa Publishing and is also available in digital format.

 

 

 

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June 12

Hunted – Paul Finch

hunted2Heck needs to watch his back. Because someone’s watching him…

Across the south of England, a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. So when a local businessman survives a near-drowning but is found burnt alive in his car just weeks later, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is brought in to investigate.

Soon it appears that other recent deaths might be linked: two thieves that were bitten to death by poisonous spiders, and a driver impaled through the chest with scaffolding.

Accidents do happen but as the body count rises it’s clear that something far more sinister is at play, and it’s coming for Heck too…

 

Thanks to Avon for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

 

If you follow me on Twitter (@grabthisbook) then you may have noticed me counting down the days to the release of the latest Paul Finch novel Hunted, the fifth book in the fantastic Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg series. There are lots of books I am looking forward to reading, there are few I will countdown to release. The Heckenburg novels are standout reads for me and each new release is highly anticipated – Paul Finch never fails to deliver the excitement and enjoyment I seek.

In Hunted we see Heck return to fold of the Serial Crimes Unit after his brief posting to the North (as depicted in his last full outing Dead Man Walking). A series of rather bizarre deaths across the south of England has captured Heck’s attention. The roving remit of the SCU gives him scope to relocate into a new environment to investigate further. The presence of an outsider does not sit well with the investigating officers and soon Heck finds that he is having to gain the trust of his temporary colleagues while also needing to rely upon their support to progress his investigations.

Heck tries to convince his cynical colleagues there are dark forces at work and that the seemingly unfortunate deaths he is investigating are more than just odd accidents. Meanwhile the reader is fully aware that Heck’s suspicions are right. We have had the opportunity to view the deaths from the viewpoint of the victims and we know that there are two killers at large, working as a team, and that their methods are somewhat unorthodox.

My ‘No Spoilers’ rule is fully in force here. Suffice to say that Paul Finch continues to deliver some of the most gruesome and inventive death scenes in British crime fiction. I love the warped ideas he comes up with and shudder to think what may follow.

I cannot say enough good things about Hunted. I waited patiently on it being released and I devoured it as soon as I possibly could – then immediately started to pine for the next book. If you have missed out on the Mark Heckenburg novels you have missed a real treat. Hunted is creepy, thrilling fun and I score it 5/5. This is what I read books for.

 

Hunted is available now in paperback and digital formats.

Paul Finch is on Twitter as: @paulfinchauthor
He also has a busy corner of the internet at : http://www.paulfinch-writer.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

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June 7

Lullaby Girl – Aly Sidgwick

lullaby girl coverWho is the Lullaby Girl?

Found washed up on the banks of a remote loch, a mysterious girl is taken into the care of a psychiatric home in the Highlands of Scotland. Mute and covered in bruises, she has no memory of who she is or how she got there. The only clue to her identity is the Danish lullaby she sings…

Inside the care home, she should be safe. But, harassed by the media and treated as a nuisance by under-pressure staff, she finds the home is far from a haven. And as her memories slowly surface, the Lullaby Girl does her best to submerge them again. Some things are too terrible to remember… but unless she confronts her fear, how can she find out who she really is?

Taut, tense and mesmerizing, Lullaby Girl is a shining debut from an exciting and very talented new author.

 

Thanks to Black and White Publishing for my review copy and for the chance to join the Lullaby Girl Blog Tour. I had the pleasure of interviewing Aly Sigwick about her debut novel, you can read our conversation here: Q&A.

 

Lullaby Girl was a traumatic read. Aly Sigwick puts her heroine, Kathy, through the wringer and despite the fact the book should be about Kathy’s recovery from a life changing episode it is far from a smooth ride.

Kathy is found on a beach, she was on the brink of death yet is discovered just in time and ultimately finds herself in secluded convalescence home Gille Dubh in the remote Scottish Highlands. Kathy has amnesia, she cannot recall her name, her family or how she came to be washed up on a beach, however, in her dreams is the memory of a dark figure who Kathy knows she is terrified of and she is adamant that this figure must not find her.

When she is first brought to Gille Dubh Kathy will not speak but she does sing a mysterious song which is soon identified as a Scandinavian lullaby. The media are very interested in this mysterious girl and desperate for information they latch onto any morsels of gossip they can glean and, when word of Kathy’s singing leaks, the Press dub her the Lullaby Girl.

As Kathy begins the long road towards recovery we share her journey. She struggles to accept that the staff at Gille Dubh are working in her best interest. Kathy places her absolute trust in Rhona, one of the carers, and mistrusts almost everyone else. Unfortunately for Kathy, Rhona is facing issues in her personal life and she cannot devote the full time care to Kathy which both women would benefit from. This leaves Kathy also having to rely upon Rhona’s colleague Joyce. To say that Kathy and Joyce do not get on is something of an understatement and as a reader I was physically wincing at some of the scenes where the two clashed.

I am reluctant to discuss the story in too much detail as I am going to urge you to read Kathy’s story for yourself.

I loved Lullaby Girl as it evoked so many different responses and emotions as I read it. I feared for Kathy, anguished for her situation and then got frustrated with her when she fought those looking to help her – and that could all happen in just a single chapter. An intense and memorable book which I have to score 5/5. You have to read this – it is stunning.

Lullaby Girl is published by Black and White Publishing.  It is available now in digital format and in paperback.

Aly Sidgwick is on Twitter as: @Menacegrrl

 

 

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May 20

Tenacity – J.S. Law

Tenacity 2Suicide must be investigated.

Especially when a Royal Navy sailor kills himself on a nuclear submarine, only days after his wife’s brutal murder.

Now Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, the Navy’s finest Special Branch investigator, must interrogate the tight-knit, male crew of HMS Tenacity to determine if there’s a link.

Isolated, and standing alone in the face of extreme hostility, Dan soon realises that she may have to choose between the truth and her own survival.

Justice must be served, but with a possible killer on board the pressure is rising and her time is running out…

 

My thanks to Headline for my review copy.

 

From its shocking opening scenes to the tense finale Tenacity was a gripping read. Scenes play out in the claustrophobic confines of a submarine and James Law captures the tension on every page.

Lieutenant Danielle (Dan) Lewis is one of the Navy’s best investigators, however, as Tenacity opens we find Dan has placed herself into extreme peril by acting on her own initiative and has not waited for back-up from her colleagues to pursue her lead. The fallout of her actions have repercussions, Dan loses the trust of her peers and her judgement is questioned.

The story jumps forward a few months and Dan is called in to investigate a suicide on board submarine nuclear submarine Tenacity. Dan is concerned to learn that the wife of the dead submariner was brutally murdered just days before he chose to take his own life. Her orders, however, are that she is only to investigate the suicide and this is not sitting well with Dan.

Investigations are just beginning when Tenacity receive orders to return to sea – Dan’s impulsive nature takes over again and she finds herself joining the crew of Tenacity so that she may continue her quest to uncover the truth. She finds herself in a hostile environment which is ill-equipped to contend with a female investigator on board and facing a crew who are not happy with her presence or the nature of her investigation.

The scenes on Tenacity literally had me tightly gripping the book as I read. I felt that Dan was in constant danger while she was on board the submarine and my ire was stoked as she was bullied by crew members who were hindering her investigation and even restricting her access to meals. Brilliant writing from JS Law – institutional bullying of a vulnerable female lead character, you cannot help but root for Dan to overcome all the obstacles ‘they’ try to place in her way.

I don’t remember being this captivated by a debut novel since Lee Child published Killing Floor. I read Killing Floor about a month after publication and the wait for Die Trying was eternal. Reading Tenacity before publication is already making me anxious as to how long I may need to wait to see what happens next for Danielle Lewis. I cannot think of a better recommendation for a novel than the urge to immediately pick up the next book and keep the story going.

Tenacity has been a stand out read. A review score of 5/5 is a given, if I scored in stars they would need to be gold ones.

 

Tenacity is published on 30 July by Headline

JS Law is on Twitter: @JSLawBooks

 

 

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May 10

Untouchable – Ava Marsh

UntouchableIf you start feeling anything for a client – and it does happen – count the money. That always brings you back down to earth.’

Stella is an escort, immersed in a world of desire, betrayal and secrets. It’s exactly where she wants to be. Stella used to be someone else: respectable, loved, safe. But one mistake changed all that.

When a fellow call girl is murdered, Stella has a choice: forget what she’s seen, or risk everything to get justice for her friend. In her line of work, she’s never far from the edge, but pursuing the truth could take her past the point of no return.

Nothing is off limits. Not for her – and not for them.

But no one is truly untouchable.

 

My thanks to Random House/Transworld for my Netgalley Review copy

 

I am trying to think of a novel I have read which I can compare to Ava Marsh’s Untouchable. Nothing is springing to mind and this may be one of the reasons that I found Untouchable such a brilliant read.

The lead character is Stella – she is an escort who seems to have been working for several years as one of London’s high class call girls. No street corners or violent pimp’s in play here as Stella works from home, liaises with her clients through discrete internet communications and can command several hundred pounds for a few hours of her time.

It needs to made clear very early on in this review that Ava Marsh is not drawing a discrete veil over Stella’s work. Untouchable is frequently graphic and quite explicit, nothing too extreme but it may not be ideal for the more prudish. That said, it is fascinating and frank without being crude or seedy for the sake of shock value. I was also amused to see SJI Holliday (author of the brilliant Black Wood) asking the same question I had – how did the author do her research?

Stella is shocked to learn that one of her friends, a fellow call girl, has been murdered. The police are assuming that she was killed by a client but Stella has her suspicions and starts to question the official story. She takes her suspicions to the police and discusses her concerns with friends but it is not long before her curiosity starts to place her life in danger.

Throughout the book we are made aware that there are demons in Stella’s past which have helped shape her life bringing her to her current situation. Over the course of the story there are reveals and snippets of Stella’s back story which I found made the character even more remarkable than I had first expected.

Untouchable comes highly recommended – a memorable lead character who is embroiled in an affair that has far reaching consequences. I can only score Untouchable a full 5/5 as it was so well written and quite unlike anything I have encountered: a must read!

 

Ava Marsh is on Twitter: @MsAvaMarsh

And online at:  http://www.avamarsh.co.uk/

 

 

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May 3

The Jackdaw – Luke Delaney

The JackdawGuilty or not guilty?

A lone vigilante is abducting wealthy Londoners and putting their fate in the hands of the public. Within hours of disappearing, the victims appear on the internet, bound to a chair in a white room.

Revenge or mercy?

Their crimes of greed and incompetence are broadcast to the watching thousands who make up the jury. Once the verdict is cast, the man who calls himself ‘The Jackdaw’ will be judge and executioner.

Live or die?

DI Sean Corrigan and his Special Investigations Unit are under pressure to solve this case fast. But as The Jackdaw’s popularity grows, Corrigan realizes he’s hunting a dangerously clever and elusive adversary – one who won’t stop until his mission is complete.

 

Thanks to Harper Collins for my Netgalley review copy

 

It is nice to have an easy review to write. I have nothing but good things to say about The Jackdaw, it is a clever and well-structured thriller and I was gutted when it ended.

This is the fourth book which features central character DI Sean Corrigan. I have not read the first three novels (I shall) but the story picks up and references past events so there are potential spoilers. I do need to make it clear that not having read the earlier stories in no way ruined my enjoyment of The Jackdaw, everything I needed to know was covered simply and seamlessly blended into the plot.

I loved the plot of The Jackdaw, a masked man is abducting workers from The City. He is placing them on public trial over the internet and inviting people to vote on their fate – their crimes centre around making personal gain during the financial crisis. An emotive topic and the author does set up the ‘crimes’ in such a way that the reader will find that they too will form their own judgement as to whether the masked man is making a valid case for judging his targets.

Corrigan is forced to form an uneasy alliance with a journalist which provided an entertaining side story – I really enjoyed that we get to see how both parties to the agreement are playing off each other to achieve their own goals. As the narrative switches between the police, the masked man and the journalist we get to see how the investigation is progressing and but also learn that there is a plan being followed and that more ‘judgements’ are to follow.

My first introduction to Luke Delaney’s books and I am regretting waiting so long to start reading them. Corrigan is a complex character and the supporting cast are well utilised in showing how his approach and methods are unorthodox. The Jackdaw has been a stand out read for me this year – easily scooping a review score of 5/5.

 

The Jackdaw is published by Harper Collins and is available in Hardback and Digital Editions.

Luke Delaney is on Twitter: @lukedelaneyuk

Also online at http://www.luke-delaney.com/

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on The Jackdaw – Luke Delaney
April 21

Huntress Moon – Alexandra Sokoloff

The Huntress/FBI Thrillers Book 1

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal Huntress_Moon_TM_CVR-FTorganization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

Roarke’s hunt for her takes him across three states…while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.

 

My thanks to Alexandra Sokoloff for giving me the chance to read Huntress Moon.

 

I think I will need a thesaurus for this review. I would open it to the word ‘Brilliant’ and then apply a number of superlatives to Huntress Moon. It was that good!

FBI Special Agent Roarke is witness to a colleague’s sudden and unexpected death. The deceased agent had been working undercover and was due to rendezvous with Roarke but was killed by a speeding vehicle. Just before the incident Roarke spotted a woman standing beside his colleague she vanished when Roarke’s line of sight was broken but her presence unsettled him.

The reader then gets to join the woman. She is on the run, not that she fears capture – she is escaping a crime scene and has a code to follow. She has clearly done this many times in the past. At a truck stop the woman is confronted by a trucker, it ends badly for him but the woman leaves an unavoidable mess.

We now have a fabulous set up. We follow Roarke and his investigations into the mystery woman. We follow the killer as she tries to blend in and establish a cover story. As the story develops we learn more about our mysterious killer and see how she constantly lives on the fine edge between fight and flight. The FBI investigations also progress and it becomes clear that the mystery woman will not be able to remain a mystery for long.

I found Huntress Moon to be a compelling read. I enjoy reading FBI ‘manhunt’ novels and the added bonus of seeing how the hunt unfolded from the point of view of the killer was a nice twist. By the time the story was entering the Endgame I was genuinely torn as to how I wanted events to unfold.

LACMA.best.DSC_6246-2There are moral implications to consider in Huntress Moon. If a killer is targeting victims who they perceive as immoral, or if the victim was engaging in criminal activities, can their death be justified? One for the reader to consider and one of the reasons I was torn over how I wanted the book to end. I don’t have an answer to that question.

Huntress Moon is a stand out book for me. I liked Roarke and his FBI colleagues (who were all well developed and made to feel real). I found the killer to be fascinating, her motives are clear to her but what triggered her obsession was disturbing.

Huntress Moon is the best crime thriller I have read for many months and it easily scoops a review score of 5/5. I am now lining up the next book: Blood Moon

 

Huntress Moon is just £1 on Kindle through April 2015.

Alexandra Sokoloff recently visited the blog to discuss Serial Killers. The interview can be found here: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=696

 

Visit the author’s website at AlexandraSokoloff.com

Follow Alexandra on Twitter at @alexsokoloff

Huntress Moon:  http://amzn.to/1wEwxZo

 

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Huntress Moon – Alexandra Sokoloff