September 23

Secrets in Death – JD Robb (Audiobook)

Lt. Eve Dallas must separate rumors from reality when a woman who traffics in other people’s secrets is silenced.

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally – with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

 

Another audiobook review – this time I thought I would use September’s Audible Subscription Credit to pick up the newest title in JD Robb’s fantastic “in Death” series.

Full disclosure from the start – I LOVE THESE BOOKS. I have ploughed hours of my life into reading and re-reading stories about Eve Dallas – the tough cop who is perpetually (and hilariously) uncomfortable when not chasing down murderers.  Secrets in Death is book 45 in the series – I have read all previous books (often more than once) and I am heavily invested in the lives of the characters.

So did I enjoy Secrets in Death?  Yes!  I thought it was the best new release in this series for a while. Did I like the Audio?  On the whole I did – but Susan Ericksen’s Irish accent was a bit of a shock initially and took a little getting used to. When Dallas is married to an Irishman that’s a bit of an issue, particularly since Roarke features heavily in Secrets.

The story its-self was really strong.  Eve is enduring an awkward meeting in a plush New York bar when tv’s gossip girl (who Eve had previously noticed sitting at a nearby table) stumbles across the floor of the bar and falls to the floor.  She is bleeding heaving and despite the best efforts of Dallas and two medical practitioners also in the bar – Larinda Mars dies at Eve’s feet.

It is a strong start and the pace keeps going.  Larinda has made her fame through sharing the secrets and gossip of the nations celebs. As she climbed the ladder to her success she has upset more than her fair share of people with her exclusive reveals.  But there may be more to Larinda’s investigative powers than a simple nose for the “truth” and it is not long before Eve becomes embroiled in an investigation where potential suspects are very good at keeping secrets.

Book 45 in the series – you do need to have an awareness of the background of the characters to get the most from Secrets. However it can be read as a stand alone as there is a strong murder story at the heart of the book.

A strong entry into the series though a minor quibble was that I did find that identifying the murderer was slightly easier this time around than in some of the other books. However, the story was as sharp as ever and I never fail to enjoy a JD Robb novel.

 

Secrets in Death is published by Piatkus and is available in Hardback, Digital and audiobook format: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Death-J-D-Robb-ebook/dp/B01MSAHS7G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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September 19

Wychwood – George Mann

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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September 4

Wicked Leaks – Matt Bendoris

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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July 28

Her Deadly Secret – Chris Curran

A young girl has been taken. Abducted, never to be seen again.

Joe and Hannah, her traumatized parents, are consumed by grief. But all is not as it seems behind the curtains of their suburban home.

Loretta, the Family Liaison Officer, is sure Hannah is hiding something – a dark and twisted secret from deep in her past.

This terrible memory could be the key to the murder of another girl fifteen years ago. And as links between the two victims emerge, Joe and Hannah learn that in a family built on lies, the truth can destroy everything…

 

A story which unfolds from the point of view of three families. The key players in my eyes were Joe and Hannah, they are in a dark, dark place as their daughter Lily is gone.

The police are investigating Lily’s disappearance and they have Family Liaison Officer, Loretta, working with Joe and Hannah.  Loretta is there to provide support to the family at a difficult time but she is also expected to establish a bond with a view to obtaining information about Lily which could help the investigation.  Unfortunately for Loretta Hannah is virtually catatonic and hardly speaks. Meanwhile Joe is doing what he can to get Hannah to speak with him but he is acutely aware that the police suspect he may even be involved in Lily’s murder. Joe had been away from the house quite frequently prior to Lily’s disappearance so he finds he cannot answer Loretta’s questions about Lily’s behaviour of late.

Unable to gain any significant information from Hannah or Joe we see Loretta coming under increasing pressure from her boss. Not helping her situation is a bullying colleague and, at home, a recent separation from her husband problems with the behaviour of one of her kids.

Two families down and we turn to Rosie.  Years ago Rosie’s sister was murdered and her father was arrested and jailed for killing his eldest daughter. Now Rosie’s father is out of prison and she learns that her mother has allowed him to return home. Having cut off communications with her father years prior to events in the story, Rosie’s mother tries to encourage her to come meet her father – they both believe that someone knows her father is innocent of the killing…he received letters whilst in prison in which the anonymous sender indicated they knew he did not kill his daughter.  Rosie is determined to find out who may have written the letters.

With three narrative threads to keep track of I thought Chris Curran did a great job of keeping each of the families interesting and under pressure.  You want to keep reading to find out how they will overcome their immediate problems, plus you know that there is a reason there are three viewpoints to a single story – at some stage you expect paths to cross, I just didn’t know where that may happen. The only way to satisfy that curiosity was to read more and more chapters.

I read of many murders, kidnapping and violent attacks during the normal blogging year but the suffering of Joe and Hannah troubled me more than I am used to.  Perhaps it is because most tales focus on the killer or the investigation and less so upon the family of the victim?  Sharing Hannah and Joe’s grief and watching them struggle to comprehend the position they are in was unsettling and I put this entirely down to Chris Curran’s sympathetic unpicking of their lives.

I refer to books like Her Deadly Secret as “people stories”.  Now I know that most books are “people stories” but this is a tale which is very much driven by the characters and their lives, we don’t rely upon clever action set pieces. No witchcraft or demons are lurking in the cellar and is unlikely the TARDIS will land to allow The Doctor to put everything to right. This is pure human and emotional drama and it works very well. Highly recommended.

 

Her Deadly Secret is published by Killer Reads and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Deadly-Secret-gripping-psychological-ebook/dp/B06Y5ZFF1Z/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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July 25

I Am Missing – Tim Weaver

When a young man wakes up bruised and beaten, with no memory of who he is or where he came from, the press immediately dub him ‘The Lost Man’.

Naming himself Richard Kite, he spends the next ten months desperately trying to find out who he is. But despite media appeals and the efforts of the police, no one knows him.

Richard’s last hope may be private investigator David Raker – a seasoned locator of missing people. But Raker has more questions than answers.

Who is Richard Kite?

Why does no one know him?

And what links him to the body of a woman found beside a London railway line two years ago?

Could Richard be responsible for her death – or is he next?

 

My thanks to Laura at Penguin for my review copy

 

I will start with the confession – this is the first of Tim Weaver’s novels that I have read. Having seen Tim at Bloody Scotland last September I promised myself that I would introduce his David Raker books to my bookshelves. Spin forward 10 months and I have just finished I am Missing.

Did it whet my appetite and leave me wanting to read more of Mr Weaver’s books? 

Hell Yeah.

Did it matter that I had not read the earlier books? Not one jot – I felt the story was complete and other than a slight suggestion that Raker had ruffled some feathers within the police during the course of his previous adventures I was happy I had a good feel for the character.

So what made me jump into a series without catching up on the earlier volumes?  Well I loved the premise of I Am Missing. Raker has proven that he is an accomplished investigator and can track down missing people but in this story he is approached by Richard Kite who wants Raker to find someone for him. Kite wants Raker to find out who Richard Kite really is – he has amnesia and cannot recall his own life prior to 10 months earlier when he was found washed up on a beach. A great twist on the missing person story and one which I initially found quite sad too.

As I was reading and Kite was explaining how so much of his life was a mystery to him I was very unsettled about his predicament. Tim Weaver dropped a tragic character into my lap and I was willing Raker to succeed even before he had ended his first conversation with Kite. Hooked I was!

What I had not expected was where Raker’s investigations would lead. As I got deeper into I am Missing I began to realise that there were several characters working to a secret agenda and that were hampering Raker at every turn. Soon I was suspicious of everyone and I was utterly engrossed.

I am reluctant to give much more detail regarding the plot for fear of spoilers – the joy of I am Missing was not knowing where the story was leading and having the mysteries teased out and explained as Raker himself pieces the clues together.

This was a treat and I would suggest a nice jumping in point for the David Raker stories if, like me, you are new to the series.

  

I Am Missing is published by Penguin and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Am-Missing-David-Raker-Persons-ebook/dp/B071F2ZPV5/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1501021302&sr=8-2&keywords=tim+weaver+i+am+missing

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July 25

Marked For Death – Matt Hilton

It should be a routine job. Joe Hunter and his associates are hired to provide security for an elite event in Miami. Wear a tux, stay professional, job done.

But things go wrong.

Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…

Before long this chance encounter has serious repercussions for Hunter and his friends. Good people are being killed. On the run, in the line of fire, the clock is ticking.

 

My thanks to Canelo for my review copy

 

If you want an action movie in a book then Marked For Death should be on your “must read” list.

Matt Hilton has delivered a full adrenaline, breathlessly paced thriller which zip along and places returning hero Joe Hunter firmly in the thick of the action. He will face peril at every turn and it is all his own fault!

Hunter is helping an old friend and providing his services on a security detail at a luxury party. At the end of the evening he overhears one of the guests intimidating his date and, being the chivalrous type, Hunter steps in to ensure the woman is protected from any potential harm. Hunter is aware that confronting a guest will jeopardise future employment opportunities (both for himself and possibly for his friend’s business) however he steps into the fray and when the aggressor refuses to back down from Hunter’s challenge a short but very decisive scuffle breaks out.

Hunter leads the woman away from her date, intending to take her to safety, but it seems that the couple were more than casual acquaintances (as evidenced by a shiny ring). The woman (Trey Shaw) understands that Hunter has possibly saved her from an immediate beating but she makes it quite clear that Hunter has done more harm than good and that her partner will not accept Trey leaving. Nor will the humiliation of being bested by Hunter in a fight be tolerated.

From then on Hunter has to keep himself alive and Trey safe as an irate and slighted crime boss seeks vengeance. As the body count rises amongst the bad guys there is an increasing demand that Hunter is killed.

Action packed page turner is the best way to describe Marked For Death. Matt Hilton knows how to enthral his readers, the bad guys are just that and you want to see them fail.  Hunter is a hero you can get behind – he could have turned a blind eye to someone else’s problems but he stood up to the bullies and you cannot help but will him to succeed.

Lots of fun – perfect holiday reading.

 

Marked For Death is published by Canelo and is available in digital format now.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marked-Death-Joe-Hunter-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B073CGFHBS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500937344&sr=8-1&keywords=marked+for+death+matt

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July 8

Merlin At War – Mark Ellis

Merlin at war

Today I am delighted to host the latest leg of the Merlin at War blog tour.  The new DCI Frank Merlin novel released on 6 July and I have an extract from the book to give you a taste of the action.  First the book description:

War rages across Europe. France is under the Nazi thumb. Britain has its back to the wall. In London, Scotland Yard detective Merlin investigates a series of disturbing events – a young girl killed in a botched abortion, a French emigre shot in a seedy Notting Hill flat, a mysterious letter written by a British officer, gunned down in Crete. With action spanning Buenos Aires, New York, Cairo and Occupied France, Merlin and his team are plunged into a dark world of espionage, murder, love and betrayal.

 

My thanks to Eve at Midas PR for the chance to join the tour.

 

Vichy France, May 1941

The birds were chattering melodiously in the plane trees of the Parc des Sources. The two men, one in uniform and flourishing a white military baton, the other in a baggy but expensive civilian suit, sauntered out of the Hotel Splendide, followed at a distance by a small group of military men and secretaries. The outside tables at the Grand Café were crowded in the balmy late-spring sun. Several of the male customers rose to tip their hats to the strollers while as many ladies, some young, some old, smiled by way of respect.

The civilian, short and dark, with a cowlick of oiled hair and a thick black moustache, acknowledged the signs of deference with a nod of the head and the crinkling of an eye. His stiffly erect companion responded with a raised eyebrow and a baton tap of his kepi. They walked in silence under the café awnings towards Les Halles de Sources before turning into the park. Fifty yards on, they found a park bench in a secluded area of rhododendron bushes and fuchsias and seated themselves. Their attendant party took up position nearby, just out of earshot, beside a small clump of chestnut trees. In the distance, a brass band was playing a selection of military airs.

“So, Admiral, the marshal tells me your trip to Paris was a success.”

Jean Louis Xavier François Darlan, admiral of France and the senior minister in Marshal Philippe Pétain’s Vichy government, stroked his cheek. “Yes, all went as planned, Pierre, although little has been finalised as yet.”

Pierre Laval, former prime minister of France and, until recently, vice-president of Vichy France’s Cabinet of Ministers, chuckled and patted his companion on the knee.

“The marshal mentioned no qualifications. He told me you had got everything he wanted from the Germans. Said you had got the occupation costs to us down from 20 million reichsmarks a day to 15 million, the return of nearly 7,000 of our best people from the German prisoner-of-war camps, and a considerable improvement on the current restrictions in our dealings with the other France.”

“By the other France, Pierre, I take it you mean occupied France?”

“Do not be a pedant, my friend. You know that is what I mean. We need to free up the limitations of our trade so that the French state can benefit to the maximum from our partnership with the Germans.”

The admiral pursed his lips. “You use the word ‘partnership’ Pierre. Others use the word ‘collaboration’, which has a less satisfactory ring.”

Laval rose stiffly to his feet and circumnavigated the bench. When he regained his seat, Darlan noted the unhealthily red flush on his cheeks.

“Partnership or collaboration, what does it matter? We were in a mess and we have found a way for some kind of France to survive. At least Herr Hitler provides us with a bulwark against a worst danger.”

“And, pray, what worst danger is that, Pierre?”

“Why, Bolshevism, of course. The local Bolshevism, which we had to combat before the war, and the greater Bolshevism represented by that maniac Stalin. Hitler is by far the lesser of two evils in that context.”

“Those Frenchmen languishing currently in Hitler’s camps would find it hard to agree with your analysis, I think.”

“But you are gradually getting many of those Frenchmen home, François. That is part of the deal you have just struck, is it not?”

“In return for, among other things, allowing Germany access to our military facilities in Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon and our possessions in west Africa. No doubt ‘access’ will prove a polite substitution for ‘control’.”

Laval stroked his moustache thoughtfully. “And what is so bad about that in the overall scheme of things, if we can recover a much greater level of independence for Vichy France and further the cause of reunification with ‘the other’ France?”

The admiral removed a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and mopped his brow. The May sun was now at its highest point in the heavens and was beating down from a now cloudless sky.

“Perhaps you are right, Pierre, although I somehow doubt that Herr Hitler fails to realise the strength of his negotiating position and the weakness of ours. Dealing with your friend the German ambassador in Paris is one thing but… Of course, Herr Abetz was a fine host and I have to say I was impressed by the restraint with which, under his leadership, the German occupying forces go about their business in Paris.”

The two men sat silently for a while, enjoying the warmth of the day, the mild relieving breeze and the mingled music of birdsong and trombone. For a moment, the heavy burdens on their shoulders lifted and a different France, the old France, took shape around them. Their brief reverie was interrupted by one of the admiral’s men, who ran over to deliver a note. Darlan read it and sighed.

“The marshal wants to see me again at four. When do you think you will be regaining your place in the council, Pierre?”

Laval smoothed some of the creases in his baggy pinstripe trousers and shrugged. “I serve at the marshal’s discretion. As you know, there are voices speaking against me. It is tiresome but I can handle it. Sooner rather than later is the answer to your question, I believe.”

“The marshal still values your advice above all others.”

“Indeed, François. But back to those agreements with Abetz, the Paris Protocols I understand we must now call them. What next?”

Darlan slowly rose to his feet. “They must be ratified by Berlin and by us. Although I have negotiated the protocols myself, I am not completely happy with them. As for Berlin, who knows how long they will take?” The admiral looked up to the sky and sighed. “Such a beautiful day to be discussing these uncomfortable matters.”

Laval stood. “Before we go back, François, have you been briefed recently on the activities of Monsieur de Gaulle and his so-called ‘Free French’ forces in London?”

Darlan looked up, distracted for a moment by what appeared to be a fierce disagreement among the pigeons. He returned his eyes to Laval. “I see the same security reports as you, no doubt, Pierre.”

“And what about the intelligence on the activities of the socalled Resistance here in Vichy and elsewhere in France?”

“I believe I am up to speed. As yet these people appear to pose only a minor threat to us or the occupiers.”

“So the cabinet report says but I have my own sources. I understand from them that the anti-government forces here are going to be receiving direct assistance from abroad.”

“From abroad?”

“From England. In fact, according to my sources, the English secret services have already sent agents over here.”

“Two agents, perhaps three, I understood, Pierre. Is that anything to be particularly concerned about? Naturally, the British will deploy intelligence and counter-intelligence agents as the war proceeds. I would guess that the SS and other German agencies will be well on top of such problems.”

Laval shrugged. “As you say, the Germans should be on top of this. Meanwhile, our own people will be vigilant and I am happy to know that we have our own viable sources here and abroad. Now, my friend, I believe we have time for a quick bite. If we return to my rooms at the hotel, I’m sure my people can rustle up a nice bit of beef and a fine burgundy to accompany it. Shall we?”

The two men retraced their steps to the marshal’s seat of government at the Hotel Splendide, knowledging the renewed greetings of the people again in dignified fashion.

 

Merlin at War by Mark Ellis is out now (hardback £12.99, London Wall Publishing)

You can order a copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merlin-War-DCI-Frank-Novel/dp/0995566712/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

Merlin at War Blog Tour Banner Final

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July 1

Guest Post – Caz Frear (Sweet Little Lies)

Sweet Little LiesJust before Grab This Book begins a summer break and I get a couple of weeks of reading catch-up I have one last post to share.  First – an apology to Kaz Frear as this is a couple of days later than planned…sorry. But as I am not around to post any new features I am delighted that Caz’s guest post will be “front of house” for an extended period as I take a bit of a break.

So with no more delays I leave you in the safe hands of Caz Frear – there is more information on Sweet Little Lies below.

 

KEEPING FAMILY SECRETS

Not wanting to get too, “Eh, back in my day…” but to quote a well known book, and a less well known song (fist pumps to Queens of the Stone Age), there really is a lost art of keeping secrets these days.  There’s almost a negative connotation to the word.  Secrets have become synonymous with repressed emotion, the implication being that our fragile ‘snowflake’ hearts can’t take the weight of responsibility that secrets always carry and therefore we should be loud and we should be proud at all times.  We should expose the secrets of those who do bad things and we should shout about the good folk from the treetops (ok, from Twitter.)

It can’t be denied that speaking your truth is where it’s at now.  The confessional-style interview remains all the rage and if you’re a celebrity, you honestly haven’t made it onto the A-list until you’ve penned an ‘open letter’ where you spill your soul and usually your carefully PR-managed secrets.  And then for the rest of us, all the non-celebrities, Jeremy Kyle still exists (somehow) as a forum through which we can all air our dirty linen in a sweltering studio somewhere in Norwich.

I jest, of course.  But it does make me wonder if there’s no longer a place for secrets in this modern world?  Are we all really itching to offload our baggage, expose our friend’s transgressions, and run down our high-streets belting out, “I am what I am”, free from the weight of the crushing secrets that inevitably turn our insides ugly.

Well, no.

Because everyone has family secrets.  And these secrets are generally kept from the prying eyes of social media, daytime TV at all costs.  People guard family secrets like the crown jewels  And why?  Well sometimes, tragically, it’s for despicably awful reasons – reasons of fear and shame and expectations of ostracisation if they ever broke rank. But usually it’s not that dramatic.  It’s simply the belief that the sins of our father/brother/aunt/cousin/great grandma/niece somehow reflect badly on us too.  So If dodgy cousin Derek once robbed a Budgens with a toy pistol and did 6 months inside, we worry that people might think our whole family is like that too.

‘The apple doesn’t fall from the tree

‘Blood is thicker than water’

Yada-yada-bloody-ya..

In Sweet Little Lies, Cat is saddled with a monster family secret from a young age and it was so important for this to come out in her personality.  How might she behave if she could never give voice to her deepest fears?  Would she have an over-dependence on wine and junk-food – yes.  Would she have trouble sleeping sometimes – yes.  Would she have a slight desire to distance herself from her peers, the ‘nosy’ millennials who love to over-share and want to know every little thing about her – yes.

Caz FrearWould she be a neurotic, hateful, unpredictable ball of unmitigated angst – no.  Absolutely not.  She could have been, of course – she’s arguably got enough reason to be – but I have a firm optimistic belief that human beings are more resilient than that.  Most people manage to blunder along with their pain, trying not to create more as they go, and making the best of the cross they have to bear no matter how heavy that cross can seem at times.

Because we all have painful secrets don’t we?

So be kind.

xx

 

Sweet Little Lies – Caz Frear

WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW

In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW

In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT
Connection?

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone?

Sweet Little Lies is published by  and is available in paperback or for Kindle here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Little-Lies-gripping-suspense-ebook/dp/B01N5WKRUY/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

Category: Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf, Guests | Comments Off on Guest Post – Caz Frear (Sweet Little Lies)
June 25

A Deadly Game – Joanne Griffiths

DeadlyGame Avignon+Book D30000 darkenKate Palmer, an undergraduate student, discovers that she is pregnant and makes the decision to drop out of university. However, on the evening before she returns home, her body is discovered in Aston park. She is the first victim of several murders that will rock the city of Birmingham.

DS James “Jim” Wardell, who has his own issues to contend with, is given the case.

When Eddie Carter, a popular talk show host on Birmingham’s radio station, is contacted by someone claiming to be the killer, it is the start of a cat and mouse game between a deranged killer and the police.

After a second body is discovered the pressure mounts on the police to capture the person responsible.

Who is killing these women and why?

Can Jim apprehend the twisted killer before more innocent women are murdered?

 

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

 

A serial killer story where we get to see lots more of the killer than you may normally expect. We see him at home, we watch his rage peak and calm, we see how he treats his family and we see him growing excited with his successes as he plays out A Deadly Game.

The story opens by introducing Kate Palmer, she has been finding life tough but has decided to return home to her parents and try to recover some control of her future. But before Kate can follow through on her plans she encounters a killer – a man who has decided to push his fantasy to the next level and take a life.

What made A Dangerous Game different from many serial killer books is that Joanne Griffiths takes time to focus on the victim, the killer and also the survivors. The family or loved ones of the victims get much more visibility than we may normally expect to see and it really reinforces the horrific nature of the killer’s actions.

After a life is taken we are taken to the killer’s home.  He is married, has a young child but is not satisfied with how the birth of his baby changed his wife – he feels that she is a disappointment to him and he makes her life a misery.  As the killer’s wife is a key character to the story we also get to follow her narrative (and it is not a happy one).

The story switches from the killer, to his wife, to the police and then to a victim – then the cycle begins anew. The stakes are raised each time as the killer gets more cocky, his wife more unhappy and the police more frustrated. A frustrating sense of helplessness for the reader – you want to reach into the book and stop the victims from making the mistake which will place them in danger or to tell the killers wife to get the Hell out of the house.

There were some unexpected twists and plenty of dark moments to keep me reading A Dangerous Game and it is definitely one I enjoyed.

 

A Deadly Game is published by Bloodhound Books and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deadly-Game-Joanne-Griffiths-ebook/dp/B072KN4LZ9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1498346011&sr=1-1

Blog Tour (2)

Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on A Deadly Game – Joanne Griffiths