October 5

Quieter Than Killing – Sarah Hilary

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

My thanks to Katie at Headline for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour

 

Quieter Than Killing is the 4th book by Sarah Hilary to feature DI Marnie Rome. Each book can be read as a stand-alone novel but what you need to do is make sure you DO read all four books – they are all fantastic.

We readers are blessed with choice when it comes to police procedurals and crime thrillers, yet – for me – the Marnie Rome books stand head and shoulders above the others. Rome is a determined and focused detective who lives in the constant shadow of personal tragedy and it makes her own story utterly compelling.

In Quieter Than Killing, London is in the grip of a bitter winter and Marnie and DS Noah Jake are on the hunt for a violent offender. Someone has targeted three people for a vicious beating – disfiguring injuries have been inflicted and the only obvious link between the victims is that they have each (in the past) served time in prison for violent attacks of their own.  Are Marnie and Noah looking for a vigilante?  If so then how are they selecting their victims and what possible motive could they have?

Elsewhere the reader gets to see Finn.  He is 10 years old and has been plucked from the street and locked into a house from which there seems no escape.  His captor, dubbed Brady by Finn, has “rules” which Finn must obey…cooking and cleaning is expected and noise or disobedience are not tolerated. Finn is convinced Brady is a pervert who is planning to murder him, but Brady is keeping his distance and has been keeping Finn alive for several weeks. What does he need with the young boy and how much longer must Finn endure his captivity?

I got to enjoy Quieter Than Killing in audio and I need to give a massive thumbs-up to the narrator Imogen Church who voiced Marnie almost exactly how I had imagined her.

As with all of Sarah Hilary’s books the story is gripping, the clues well hidden and the entertainment is to the max. If you are not already reading these books you damn well should be.

 

Quieter Than Killing is published by Headline and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quieter-Than-Killing-D-I-Marnie-ebook/dp/B01INGSU68/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507232613&sr=1-1&keywords=sarah+hilary

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March 9

Born Bad – Marnie Riches

Born BadThe battle is on…

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah – I loved it.

 

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

 

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September 3

Reciclador – Joff Sharpe

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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