August 3

Perfect Prey – Helen Fields

Welcome to Edinburgh. Murder capital of Europe.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

One day.

A single day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Follow the tour

 

 

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June 30

The Boneyard – Mark Sennen

BoneyardMalcolm Kendwick is charming, handsome – and a suspected serial killer.

When the partially clothed body of a woman is discovered on Dartmoor, all eyes are on one man.

There wasn’t enough evidence to convict Kendwick of his suspected crimes in America, but DI Charlotte Savage is determined to bring him to justice. She’s certain the woman’s murder, so soon after Kendwick’s return to Devon, is no coincidence. But Savage hadn’t anticipated one thing: Kendwick has a perfect alibi.

When more human remains are discovered at an isolated dumping ground, a full-scale murder investigation is launched. Savage realises it’s up to her to uncover the truth before the killer strikes again.

She knows Kendwick is hiding something.
Is there a limit to how far she’ll go to find out what?

 

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

As I was nearing the middle of The Boneyard I had decided that I really liked Mark Sennen’s writing and Charlotte Savage was a character I could get behind.  Then I hit a twist to the story I’d not expected and I suddenly realised that The Boneyard was going to get really dark – Fan-bloody-tastic. That’s how we like ’em.

Background – I own all the Charlotte Savage books, but this was the first I’d read.  One of the best bits about blogging is seeing what your pals read (and what they enjoy)! I bought the earlier books in the series on recommendations of friends but I just hadn’t found time to start reading them. Now I will need to make time and get caught up, I loved how Mark Sennen built up The Boneyard and he kept me hooked.

A  British man has been released from prison in the United States. He was accused of the murder of a number of young women but released on a legal technicality (his confession was obtained under dubious circumstances).

*no spoilers*

The killer (Kendwick) elects to return to the UK and Savage finds herself on escort duty, bringing him in to settle in her area in the South West. She is far from happy about the situation – particularly when Kenwick displays extreme contempt and arrogance and virtually goads the police about his background and the crimes he seems to have committed.

It is not long before a dead girl is found on the moors and suspicion inevitably points to Kendwick.  Is he so self assured that he believes he can get away with murder right under watchful eyes of the police?  Savage thinks so but proving it will be tricky.

Kendwick leaps off the pages and you cannot help but be repulsed by him. The reader is willing Savage to find the evidence she needs to have him returned to prison, but does she have the right man? The feisty interchanges between K and Savage make for captivating reading. As I eluded to above, this is a dark take on the behaviour of a serial killer and Sennen has spun a brilliant tale.

Got a holiday coming and want a cracking read for the beach?  Take The Boneyard with you, you’ll not be disappointed.

 

The Boneyard is published by Avon and is available now in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boneyard-Mark-Sennen-ebook/dp/B01MFI395K/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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November 22

The Girl Who Had No Fear – Marnie Riches

the-girl-who-had-no-fearAmsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?

Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

 

My thanks to Avon, Harper Collins for my review copy which I received through Netgalley.

 

After a cliff-hanger ending at the end of The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, Marnie Riches returns with the 4th George McKenzie thriller: The Girl Who Had No Fear. I was more than ready to pick this book up and re-unite with my favourite criminologist.

The housekeeping first – it is the 4th in the series and The Girl Who Had No Fear does pick up on quite a few plot threads from the previous books (not least that cliff-hanger). However, the author does ensure that the reader is kept informed of the past events. So if you were to pick up the series for the first time on book 4 then you would not find it too tricky to keep up. That said, I would urge you to read the first three books – they are brilliant!

In The Girl Who Had No Fear we are back in Amsterdam with Chief Inspector Van den Bergen who has an unwelcome problem on his hands. Dead bodies are turning up in the canals with an alarming frequency. Initially investigations had been hampered by the length of time the bodies had been in the water, however, a newly discovered body reveals that a contaminated batch of crystal-meth may have found its way into Amsterdam.

Van den Bergen recruits George and his colleague “Elvis”  to work in the clubs of Amsterdam to see if either of them are able to identify the source of the drugs – one name keeps cropping up and it will take George and Van den Bergen across Europe and over to Central America.

Aside from this investigation we are in Central America where we follow the exploits of the big-bad of this story, a human trafficker and drug dealer known as el cocodrilo. He is a particularly nasty individual and brought a really dark edge to the story, always nice to have such a despicable villain in a story as you know that at some point your heroes are going to cross his path. If you have read the previous books you know that there is no guarantee Marnie Riches will allow all her key players to come through any such confrontation unscathed!

I found the pacing of The Girl Who Had No Fear to be perfectly judged, the story had me hooked and I found that I was reluctant to stop reading at the end of each chapter – I had to keep going to see what may happen next.  I particularly enjoyed the extra focus on Van den Bergen’s younger colleague, Elvis. With no spoilers allowed in my review, Elvis does not have the best of times in this story and in a book with many standout moments, his scenes were probably my favourites.

Just so I can be clear – reading The Girl Who Had No Fear was an absolute treat. It is dark, enthralling and delivers shocks a-plenty. Another belter from Marnie Riches who is going from strength to strength.

 

The Girl Who Had No Fear is released on 1st December 2016 and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Fear-George-McKenzie-Book-ebook/dp/B01GNSR5M8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479755287&sr=8-1&keywords=the+girl+who+had+no+fear

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November 27

Follow Me – Angela Clarke

Follow MeLIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …

 

My thanks to Avon Books for my review copy.

Having already read and enjoyed two Twitter/Social Media murder stories earlier this year (Haterz and DM For Murder) I was keen to read another murder story that turned Twitter into the playground of a killer.

Freddie has aspirations to be a journalist but her regular weekly column is not paying her well so she is having to work for a coffee chain to ensure she can eat. One morning she spots an old friend from school, Nasreen.  Freddie knows that Nasreen has joined the police and when it appears Nasreen is on her way to a crime scene Freddie decides to follow her.

On arriving at a murder scene Freddie manages to slip through the police cordon and gets into the room beside the body – only to be recognised by Nasreen. Though Nasreen tries to cover for her old friend Freddie is facing potential criminal charges. Only by providing some expert knowledge at a critical time (an adept knowledge of Twitter) is Freddie able to avoid prosecution. However, the trade-off is that she has to assist the police and make use of her media skills as it seems the murder victim may have known his killer through Twitter.

What follows next is a clever murder story whereby Freddie helps the police to track a killer through Twitter. A killer that seems intent to taunt Freddie and the police by leaving clues as to who the next victim may be.  As all the clues are revealed via open tweets the public and media are all over the messages and, as you may expect, there are jokers and armchair detectives also trying to decipher the clues and mock potential victims. All very amusing…until the next body is found.

In addition to the ongoing murder story we also have Freddie and Nasreen re-united for the first time in years. The friends have not seen each other since school  and the suggestion is that something in their past drove the two apart – their friendship is explored through the story and the deeper we get into their past the more we look to learn about what may have happened to end their friendship. Freddie is keen to build bridges, Nasreen wants to keep Freddie at arms length lest she ruins her professional reputation (Freddie is somewhat of a liability).

The two stories combine well and build into a dramatic finale which will keep readers frantically flicking the pages.

I have read lots of reviews from fellow bloggers who have loved Follow Me and I suspect it will do really well on release (I really hope it does).  Personally, however, it just did not click for me.  I struggled to like the main characters, Freddie’s usefulness to the police required a fair amount of ‘just go with it’ acceptance and something that arose near the end of the book left me flicking back through the pages to see what I had missed (but to avoid spoilers I cannot share that part).

Last year a novel called Station 11 received rave reviews and seemed universally enjoyed by all that read it. Except me.  This year it looks like I will be in the minority for Follow Me – I can see why everyone is loving it but I am afraid it just didn’t resonate with me.

 

Follow Me is published by Avon Books and is available on Kindle from 3rd December 2015 and in paperback from December 31st.

 

 

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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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April 1

A Wanted Man – Paul Finch

A Wanted Man

 

It’s 1997 and PC Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is patrolling the rain-lashed streets of Manchester. In the quiet hours of the early morning, nothing stirs.

Until the crackle of Heck’s police radio signals that all isn’t well out there in the darkness…

‘The Spider’ – a housebreaker notorious for his violent, vicious assaults – has come out to play. And it looks like Heck’s about to become his prey…

 

This was an essential purchase for me as I am fully signed up member of the Paul Finch ‘Heckenburg’ Fan Club. A Wanted Man is a short story and when you download your digital copy you also get a sneak peak at the forthcoming Hunted (due in May).

It is worth highlighting that the split between A Wanted Man and Hunted is 50/50; which is to say that half of the book you purchase is a trailer for the next Heck novel. It meant I finished A Wanted Man slightly earlier than I had anticipated (as I believed I still had quite a bit of reading still to go). But when I pay less than £1 for a book that I really want to read I am not going to quibble too much about the length of the story. Especially when I thoroughly enjoy the story I bought.

A Wanted Man is set in the early days of Heck’s Police career and pits him against wanted felon ‘The Spider’. We get a nice glimpse into the mind of a young Heck and learn of his frustration over a run in with a senior officer. His frustration has taken him out of the Police Station and places him in prime position to uncover a suspicious incident taking place. Naturally Heck has to investigate and that is where the fun begins.

No more clues, hints or spoilers. A Wanted Man is great fun and if you enjoy Paul Finch’s books you will enjoy this one too.

I cannot comment on the Hunted teaser. There is over a month until Hunted is released and I don’t want to put myself through the torment of starting one of my most anticipated books of the year only to have to take a 5 week break to see how the story develops. I will wait for Hunted in its entirety (and probably spend the next few weeks stalking the publishers for a review copy).

 

Paul Finch is on Twitter: @paulfinchauthor

And can be found at: http://www.paulfinch-writer.blogspot.co.uk/

 

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