July 20

Trust Me – Angela Clarke

YOU SAW IT HAPPEN. DIDN’T YOU?

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

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

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

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

 

My thanks to Sabah at Avon for my review copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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June 26

The Fourth Monkey – J D Barker

The Fourth MonkeyBrilliant. Complicated. Psychopath.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

The Fourth Monkey - Blog Tour Banner

 

 

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June 12

The Last Night at Tremore Beach – Mikel Santiago

Last Night at Tremore BeachHe’d seen the danger coming. And now it’s here…

When Peter Harper, a gifted musician whose career and personal life are in trouble, comes to northwest Ireland and rents a remote cottage on beautiful, windswept Tremore Beach, he thinks he has found a refuge, a tranquil place in a time of crisis. His only neighbours for miles around are a retired American couple, Leo and Marie Kogan, who sense his difficulties and take him under their wing. But there’s something strange about the pair that he can’t quite figure out.

One night during one of the dramatic storms that pummel the coast, Peter is struck by lightning. Though he survives, he begins to experience a series of terrifying, lucid and bloody nightmares that frame him, the Kogans and his visiting children in mortal danger. The Harper family legend of second sight suddenly takes on a sinister twist. What if his horrifying visions came true, could tonight be his last…?

 

My thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for my review copy

Musician Peter Harper is living in rural seclusion on the Irish coast. His life has been in turmoil and his confidence is shot – a world renowned composer he now cannot capture a simple tune and he is seeking solitude to try and rediscover his love of music.

Harper is renting a cottage on Tremore Beach, he is becoming a known face around the nearby village and his only neighbours (an American couple who have also sought a peaceful life) have tried to make him feel welcome and are keeping an almost paternal eye on him. While his days seem idyllic, Peter is increasingly frustrated by his inability to compose anything worthy of recording – a problem exacerbated by unsubtle approaches of his agent who is looking for Peter to return to work soon.

When we first meet Peter we learn that the mother of all storms is due to hit the Irish Coast. Against all advice Peter decides not to shelter safely at home for the evening and takes up an invitation to join his American neighbours (the Kogans) for dinner.  At the end of the evening and with the storm raging Peter tries to drive home.  He is forced out of his car and while exposed to the elements he is struck by lightning.  Badly scorched, Peter survives but he now finds he is plagued by horrific nightmares or visions.  Each incident feels real to Peter and he is certain he is awake when the occur, however, the things he sees are chilling and all seem to foretell an event which is yet to unfold.

The Last Night at Tremore Beach is a delightfully dark supernatural tale.  Peter’s visions lead him to believe that his friends and family may be in danger and the terror  at the prospect of the incidents leads him to seek professional help. But is he really seeing the future or has the lightning strike aggravated a medical condition?

Rural locations, terrifying visions, the prospect of death and danger and a potentially unreliable narrator – they all combine well to create a creepy page turner.  As Peter faces his fears he realises that there are secrets at Tremore Beach and uncovering the truth may be the worst thing that Peter could do.

Tense supernatural read which strikes a nice balance between thriller and terror, an enjoyable read and definitely one to seek out if you like a spooky twist to your books.

 

Last Night at Tremore Beach is published by Simon & Schuster and is available in hardback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Night-Tremore-Beach/dp/1471150135/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497216373&sr=8-1&keywords=last+night+at+tremore+beach

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June 5

Kill The Next One – Federico Axat

Kill The Next OneTed has it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after he is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger. That’s when the doorbell rings.

A stranger makes him a proposition: kill two deserving men before dying. The first is a criminal, and the second is, like Ted, terminally ill, and wants to die. If Ted kills these men he will then become a target himself in a kind of suicidal daisy chain—and won’t it be easier for his family if he’s a murder victim?

Kill The Next One is an audacious, immersive psychological thriller in which nothing is what it seems.

 

My thanks to Sophie Goodfellow for my review copy

Cards on the table here – I have no idea how to review Kill The Next One. Read the description above and I will pick up from here when you jump back down.

Okay – The book opens with Ted preparing to kill himself.  He has a brain tumour and while his wife and kids are away on a trip he plans to lock himself in his study, leave a note for his wife warning her to keep the kids away then shoot himself in the head. As you can see Ted has not had the best of times.

But just before he can squeeze the trigger someone comes knocking at his front door. The man is shouting through the house to Ted that he knows what Ted is planning and he has a better offer.  Unable to carry on until he finds out what this person may be offering (and how he knew what Ted was planning) Ted opens his door.

The stranger suggests that Ted can do one last good deed and kill a criminal who has escaped justice on a legal technicality. Ted will then kill a second man who (like Ted) is looking to die…at that point Ted will become the next potential victim of another person who also wants to die.  A chain of suicides – rather than take their own life they will be killed by a stranger. The theory being that a “terrible accident” is easier for surviving families to deal with and it could also mean insurance policies pay out (that is possibly not in the book but I work in insurance so I may have mentally added that).

At this point (and we are only a few chapters into the book by this stage) everything went in a totally different direction to what I was expecting.  I had anticipated Ted would hunt down the criminal, eventually bump him off, kill the second person and set himself up to be the next victim in the chain and then we wait to see how his death happens.  Nope. That’s not the story. Am I going to tell you what DOES happen? Nope, well not in much detail.

How about I say that Ted decides the offer has some merit and he looks into the possibility of killing the criminal?  But can he be sure that the criminal has actually done the crime that the stranger at Ted’s door has accused him of?  Also Ted seems like a good, decent and honourable man – can he really take on a killer and expect to have the nerve to end a life?

Federico Axat has made Ted into one of the most troubled and complex characters that I think I have ever read about.  His story is complicated and makes for difficult/troubling reading at times. But his story is important and it really got me thinking about the importance of life choices.

Go back to the book description and focus on the end of that last sentence: “nothing is what it seems” I have alluded to the fact the book did not take the direction I had anticipated, well for Ted it may just be that not everyone is being entirely honest with him – or is Federico Axat not being entirely honest with the reader and keeping secrets from us?   Only one way to find out – purchase link is below.

 

Kill The Next One is published by Text Publishing and is available in paperback and digital format. Order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kill-Next-One-Federico-Axat-ebook/dp/B01KEBZP40/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1496696318&sr=1-1&keywords=kill+the+next+one

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June 2

Bitter Moon – Alexandra Sokoloff

Bitter MoonThe Huntress/FBI Thrillers: Book 4

FBI agent Matthew Roarke has been on leave, and in seclusion, since the capture of mass killer Cara Lindstrom—the victim turned avenger who preys on predators. Torn between devotion to the law and a powerful attraction to Cara and her lethal brand of justice, Roarke has retreated from both to search his soul. But Cara’s escape from custody and a police detective’s cryptic challenge soon draw him out of exile—into the California desert and deep into Cara’s past—to probe an unsolved murder that could be the key to her long and deadly career.

Following young Cara’s trail, Roarke uncovers a horrifying attack on a schoolgirl, the shocking suicide of another, and a human monster stalking Cara’s old high school. Separated by sixteen years, crossing paths in the present and past, Roarke and fourteen-year-old Cara must race to find and stop the sadistic sexual predator before more young women are brutalized.

 

I received a review copy through Netgalley

Cara Lindstrom is a killer. Matthew Roarke is an FBI agent (though in Bitter Moon he is on leave). Their paths have crossed and it has had a profound impact upon Roarke’s life and his career.  Bitter Moon is the 4th book in Alexandra Sokoloff’s Huntress/FBI Thrillers series and reading the first three books in the series (Huntress Moon, Blood Moon and Cold Moon) will ensure you get the best reading experience for Bitter Moon.

So the book…it’s a corker.

Roarke is on leave of absence from the FBI but a call from an angry law enforcement officer wanting to know why Roarke doesn’t want to catch Cara Lindstrom, sees him hitting the road and heading to Riverside County, California. On meeting the angry cop face-to-face, Roarke is puzzled why the officer is so irate over Cara being on the run. Roarke knows that Lindstrom spent time in Riverside County shortly after the “incident” (spoilers) which determined the path her life would take.  He elects to stick around and do a big of digging into the background of the town.

What I loved about the direction Bitter Moon takes is that we follow Roarke trying to piece together what Cara may have been doing in Riverside County, the places she visited and the people she crossed paths with.  But between the sections of the narrative which follow Roarke we get a Cara narrative.  A Cara narrative from when she was a schoolgirl, trying to fit into her new school, her new social care house and trying to contend with the monsters she has faced and must continue to battle. The shifting timeframe of the book is wonderfully worked and makes Bitter Moon stand out in the series as the tone feels so different.

What really makes these stories resonate with me is the fact Roarke is still torn over the crimes Cara commits. She kills sexual predators, killers, men who prey upon young vulnerable girls. Cara is looking to protect those innocent victims by killing the host of the EVIL within the predators. Roarke as a law enforcement officer knows she is a killer yet also knows that her victims are committing crimes which bring Cara’s judgement upon themselves. In Bitter Moon he almost seems bewildered that Cara could be killing at such a young age (and with such ruthless efficiency).  The reader gets to see Cara identifying the threat and we watch how she deals with it. Alexandra Sokoloff paints an unflinching picture of all the crimes and the series is all the more powerful for the anger and energy which drive the stories.

Bitter Moon can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novel but this series is so damn good I really would recommend picking up Huntress Moon and working your way through the 4 books in order. Bitter Moon is a 5 star read for me. I loved it and I cannot wait to see where the Cara/Roarke story goes next.

 

Bitter Moon is published by Thomas & Mercer and is available in paperback, digital and audiobook formats.  You can order a copy through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bitter-Moon-Huntress-Thrillers-Book-ebook/dp/B01F8PWUY0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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May 28

Watch Me – Angela Clarke

Watch MeYOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

Today’s review for Watch Me is the first to be written by my book-reading, coffee-loving buddy Lou.

For some time it has pained me that I just don’t have enough hours in the day to read all the books I am given the chance to review – Blogger Guilt is a thing!  So Lou has kindly offered to help me out by sharing her thoughts on some of the books I have just not had the chance to get to yet.  As Angela’s new novel, Trust Me, is just a few weeks away from publication it was time Watch Me got a long overdue review.   Over to Lou…

I have to admit, when I see a book blurb with “compelling!” or “page-turner!” my cynicism kicks in and I assume PR hyperbole; Watch Me fully deserves the accolades. Shorter than I would’ve liked but much better than I expected, Angela Clarke is steadily producing a series based on the concept of social media as a tool for murder.

It starts with the victim of schoolyard bullies, introduces the reader to the idea of Snapchat as a suicide note, then progresses the story’s timeline through the chapter headings (Tuesday 16th March, Wednesday 17th March), speeding up until we are counting down the hours, then the minutes.

As a way to build momentum this was somewhat lost on me as I was eagerly flipping the pages already, but for those with a more leisured approach to a new book I can only suppose it would help to ratchet up the tension. (It could also be seen as a nod to social media’s inbuilt time-stamping function, but I have no idea if this was planned or simply a fitting coincidence).

Nevertheless, the story is slick and convincing and I was drawn in by the mystery of DS Nasreen Cudmore’s Big Secret. I was less invested in Freddie Venton’s personal dramas, but if that’s because I’d rather go for a drink with Cudmore than Freddie, I can’t quite decide.

Which, in a nutshell, is the beauty of Watch Me. Relatable characters, a fast-moving plot, and a disturbing imagining of the dangerous potential of a medium deigned for fun.

Watch Me is published by Avon and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Watch-Me-Angela-Clarke-ebook/dp/B01D4WO2Y0/ref=pd_sim_351_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=61PYMCEH5AY81EZJ8K2D

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April 29

Watching You – J.A. Schneider

Watching YouA serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.

 

My thanks to Joyce for sending me a review copy of Watching You and for the chance to join the blog tour.

 

Last year I read Her Last Breath and was introduced to Detective Kerri Blasco. You can read my review here but to save you a click…I absolutely loved it.

Now Blasco returns in JA Schneider’s new thriller Watching You and this is another cracking read.

A young woman, working at a local homeless shelter has received a text message which she found very unsettling.  The message simply read WATCHING YOU.  As Leda walks through the city in the evening the readers get to see that she is being followed, as she walks through the narrow streets she is jumped and her assailant shoots her in the back of the head – a note is pinned to her body (driven into her flesh) which read WATCHING YOU.

The police are shocked by the clinical dispassionate manner in which Leda was killed and there does not appear to be any obvious motive for someone wanting to kill Leda, were it not for the messages it would likely have been considered a random incident.

Kerri Blasco is on the investigative team and we follow her progress as interviews of Leda’s family and friends begin. Watching You is a police procedural and the author does a great job of balancing Kerri’s investigations whilst also switching to the viewpoint of the killer. Yup we get a murderer’s POV as to how they plan to select the next victim – the text message warning: WATCHING YOU is an important part of the game that they are playing. The fear the prospective victim will experience is very important to the killer and sticking the same message to a victim’s body will taunt the police.

What Kerri does not realise but the killer has set their sights on her as a potential victim. Although a plan is in place it is now being adapted and Kerri is being brought into a game that she does not even know is being played. With Kerri’s life at risk it becomes imperative that she makes progress with her investigation, she just doesn’t know the implications of failure.

I loved the balance of police procedural and serial killer thriller.  Joyce Schneider knows how to grab a reader’s attention and Watching You is another slick, gripping read. The Kerri Blasco series is highly recommended – she is an engaging and likeable lead character and if you are a fan of fast pace crime thrillers then these books are highly recommended.

 

You can order a copy of Watching You via this link: http://getBook.at/watchingyou 

 

Website: http://jaschneiderauthor.net

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832782.J_A_Schneider

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyceSchneider1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.schneider.142?fref=ts

WatchingYou-Update1-BlogTour-Medium

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April 27

Watching The Bodies – Graham Smith

Watching The BodiesWhen Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.

 

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

 

Having enjoyed Graham Smith’s previous books, Cumbrian crime thrillers featuring DI Harry Evans of the Major Crime Teams, I was already keenly awaiting his next venture. I was not expecting Smith to make a jump to the US for Watching the Bodies. Nor was I expecting his new protagonist (Jake Boulder) to rocket into my list of favourite characters. But he did. And he did.

First up – Jake Boulder, living and working in Utah but a Scottish Brawler. Fast with his fists, peacemaker (in that he ends the fights other people start) and living a simple single life (much to the frustration of his mother!)

Watching the Bodies, dumps you straight into the action.  I say “dumps” as this is exactly where we begin…at a spot where a killer has dumped his victim. We (and the killer) witness the discovery of the body. Great intro and I had to know more but there was to be no let up as we switch straight to Jake Boulder. We meet him for the first time as he is about to get into a fight and we soon realise that our lead character is not one to be messed with.

Boulder’s friend is a PI. He wants Jake to help him track down the killer, the victim’s father is an influential figure in the town and has no faith in the local police to find out who killed his daughter. This will not be an easy assignment for Boulder as he and the victim, Kira, had been friends and as they begin the investigation into her death Jake will realise that he actually knew very little about the lifestyle Kira had chosen for herself.

Before Boulder’s investigations yield much progress another body is found and it becomes increasingly clear to him that there is a serial killer at work. But there appear to be too many inconsistencies between the crimes for it to be the work of a single killer and, even if it were to be a single killer, how were the victims selected? As Jake digs deeper he will uncover more than he could have ever anticipated.

I have always been a sucker for a serial killer story and in Watching the Bodies I have found one of the best serial killer tales that I have read for a long, long time. I loved this. The killer’s motivation and clues to their identity are gently teased out through the story so that by the time you are approaching the endgame you know exactly what is at stake and how much peril certain characters will be in. It works fabulously well and I was utterly hooked.

A thumpingly good first outing for Jake Boulder and I really, really hope that there will be more to come. If you like a dark and twisty serial killer story then Watching the Bodies is a book you simply must read.

 

Watching the Bodies is published by Bloodhound Books and is available now. The links you need are below:

Links:

Graham on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor/?fref=ts

Graham’s Website: https://www.grahamsmithauthor.com/

Here on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972?lang=en-gb

And the all important link to order the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491159376&sr=8-1

 

 

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. 

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009.

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, WATCHING THE BODIES in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

 

 

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April 15

The Restless Dead – Simon Beckett

The Restless Dead‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

With its eerie, claustrophobic sense of place, viscerally authentic detail and explosive heart-in-mouth moments, The Restless Dead offers a masterclass in crime fiction and marks the stunning return of one of the genre’s best.

 

My thanks to Hannah at Penguin Random House for my review copy and the chance to join the tour.

 

No beating about the bush on this review – The Restless Dead was a brilliant read. It gets a 5* score and I want to go back and read the previous David Hunter novels right now…I seriously love these books.

It has been a few years since Dr Hunter last appeared but when we are first reunited with him it seems his past adventures may have gained him the tag of troublemaker. Opportunities for police consultation work have dried up and without the prestige of high profile police investigations his current residency is in jeopardy.
So when a call comes in to assist Essex Police with the recovery and identification of a body found in coastal mudflats, Hunter cannot refuse. Thus begins The Restless Dead – a book which shall take Hunter to the remote villages of costal Essex where everyone knows all their neighbours and secrets have to be preciously guarded as the normal “goldfish bowl” of village life means everyone knows your history.

When the body has been recovered Hunter finds himself unable to return to London and he is temporarily stranded at the rural Essex coastline.  He finds a temporary accommodation but in doing so unwittingly becomes drawn into the lives of one of the families who are anxiously waiting for news on a missing woman. They want to know if the body recovered from the marshes is that of the wife/sister they have been missing. Hunter, initially oblivious to their plight and not understanding who they are, just wants a warm bed and a change of clothes.

Although the body is quickly identified Hunter is not wholly convinced over the timeline of the story as it has been described to him.  If the missing person vanished six weeks prior to the recovery of the body then why does the body only seem to have been in the water for a month at most?  Returning to the scene Hunter finds another clue which casts further doubt on the identity of the corpse and this creates problems for the local police.

In The Restless Dead there are feuds, misunderstandings and hostile characters – Beckett has done a marvellous job of keeping Hunter in the midst of all the tension and hostility and making the reader uncomfortable and edgy as they read.  Having read the previous David Hunter books I know what a tough time he has had previously and you just want something to go right for him. Reading the previous books gives you the background you need to get the most from The Restless Dead but it reads well as a stand-alone novel too as the author provides any background info which you may need.

Simon Beckett is a wonderful storyteller. He gives the detail and explanations which make forensic thrillers engaging reads, his characters are always well defined and wholly believable. Did I mention that The Restless Dead is a 5* read?  It is.

 

The Restless Dead is published by Bantam Press and is currently available in Hardback and digital formats. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Restless-Dead-Simon-Beckett/dp/0593063473/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492242215&sr=1-1&keywords=the+restless+dead+simon+beckett

 

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Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on The Restless Dead – Simon Beckett
April 14

The Contract – JM Gulvin

The ContractIn New Orleans, Texas Ranger John Q is out of his jurisdiction, and possibly out of his depth. It seems everyone in Louisiana wants to send him home, and every time he asks questions there’s trouble: from the pharmacist to the detective running scared to the pimp who turned to him as a last resort. Before John Q knows it, he looks the only link between a series of murders.

So who could be trying to set him up, and why, and who can he turn to in a city where Southern tradition and family ties rule?

Infused with the rhythms of its iconic setting, The Contract is a thriller to keep even the most seasoned crime readers gripped and guessing all the way to its endgame.

 

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

 

America in the latter half of the 1960’s is the setting for JM Gulvin’s second John Q thriller. Texas Ranger, John Quarrie, is a great lead character – cool under pressure, a sharp shooter and displays a logical and rational intelligence where we see him puzzling out the evidence he finds to unveil the bigger mysteries.

Evidence?  Well, The Contract opens with an armed robber.  John Q is not far from where the incident takes place and gives chase. Being a Texas Ranger, John Q knows the area well and he manages to pin down the robbers – a confrontation is inevitable and the reader gets to see early-on the unflappable nature of John Q as a gun fight ensues.

In the aftermath of the chase (and the subsequent arrest) John Q tries to uncover the motive behind the robbery and his investigations take him to New Orleans. I love reading about New Orleans, a seemingly sleepy town where old families run things behind the scenes and there is always the feeling that there is sinister undertone to every conversation.

Quarrie tracks down Gigi, a singer who is oblivious to the events back in Texas but is unwittingly linked to the death of a man. If Gigi is to be of any help to Quarrie in his investigations he needs to keep her safe but in a town where John Q is a stranger who does he trust?

The Contract is written with perfect pacing and tone for the deep South setting and the author has perfectly captured that feeling of 1960’s life. Reading The Contract it is so very easy to slip into the story and ignore everything else which is going on around you. JM Gulvin has penned a wonderful tale with conspiracy, murder and corruption and I heartily recommend it.

 

The Contract is published by Faber and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Contract-John-Q-Mystery-JM-Gulvin/0571323812/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492158749&sr=1-1&keywords=the+contract+jm+gulvin

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