February 11

Gallery of the Dead – Chris Carter

Thirty-seven years in the force, and if I was allowed to choose just one thing to erase from my mind, what’s inside that room would be it.

That’s what a LAPD Lieutenant tells Detectives Hunter and Garcia of the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit as they arrive at one of the most shocking crime scenes they have ever attended.

In a completely unexpected turn of events, the detectives find themselves joining forces with the FBI to track down a serial killer whose hunting ground sees no borders; a psychopath who loves what he does because to him murder is much more than just killing – it’s an art form.

Welcome to The Gallery of the Dead.

 

My thanks to Rhiannon at Simon & Schuster for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.

 

I can only say good things about Gallery of the Dead as I absolutely loved it. It’s a dark but totally gripping read in which Robert Hunter finds himself attending a murder scene and believing that the killer has been too efficient for this to have been his first kill.

From the opening chapter I was hooked – a woman arrives home, she potters through the rooms whilst chatting to her cat. It seemed all too normal, too domesticated and so I expected something nasty was about to happen.  Reading on my mind was whirring with possibilities over what Chris Carter could have in store…would she find something horrible? Is there someone in her house?  Will she receive a terrifying phone call?  From the very first paragraphs you are drawn in and you want to keep reading as you are sure something bad (really bad) is about to happen.

And it does.

Boom – he got me. And for the next few hundred pages Chris Carter was not letting me go – Gallery of the Dead is one of those rare gems where you don’t want to stop reading and the action and twists and shocks just keep coming. “One more chapter?” Hell no…I can give it another hour – at least.

Hunter is back in top form too (this is book 9 in the series).  Gallery of the Dead can be read entirely on its own, wholly self contained and easy to enjoy without knowing the back story.  His analytical mind and sharp eye quickly identifies “marks” left on the body of the victim (no spoilers here) and using the police database to search for similar occurrences he alerts the FBI to the murder he is investigating.

The FBI have already been aware of the killer (this is not his first murder) and they propose a liaison with the police.  The agent heading up the FBI taskforce is aware of Hunter’s skills and is keen to have him on board – but if you get Hunter you get his partner too and with that comes a wisecracking cop who will rub up the FBI agents in the wrong way. I loved the friction and rivalry between police and FBI and it was only made better by Hunter’s reaction to the sniping around him!

If you like a serial killer story, one which will not hold back on the grim detail and the sadistic nature of a murderous mind then you need to seek out Chris Carter’s books.  Gallery of the Dead is a brilliant read – entertainment to the max.

 

Gallery of the Dead is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now in hardback, audiobook and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gallery-Dead-Robert-Hunter-9/dp/1471156346/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1518307286&sr=8-1

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May 22

Baby Doll – Hollie Overton

Baby DollYou’ve been held captive in one room, mentally and physically abused every day, since you were sixteen years old.

Then, one night, you realize your captor has left the door to your cell unlocked.

For the first time in eight years, you’re free.

This is about what happens next …

Lily knows that she must bring the man who nearly ruined her life – her good-looking high-school teacher – to justice. But she never imagined that reconnecting with her family would be just as difficult. Reclaiming her relationship with her twin sister, her mother, and her high school sweetheart who is in love with her sister may be Lily’s greatest challenge. After all they’ve been through, can Lily and her family find their way back after this life-altering trauma?

Impossible not to read in one sitting, Baby Doll is a taut psychological thriller that focuses on family entanglements and the evil that can hide behind a benign facade.

 

My thanks to the publishers for the review copy I received through Netgalley

So many crime stories that we read feature a kidnap or abduction and we follow the police or the central character in their quest to rescue the abductee before harm can befall them.  Sometimes the hero arrives in the nick of time, other times the abductee is not so lucky the hero will do some soul searching and vow to save the next person (as there is nearly always a next person).

Baby Doll doesn’t follow this pattern.

In Baby Doll the story begins with the abducted girl (Lily) realising that the door to her prison has been left unlocked. She has been a captive for over 8 years, beaten, raped, terrorised and left broken by a man she once thought she could trust. The story begins after all these things have occurred. There is no hero coming to the rescue, no flashback of an investigation to track her down – just a mistake by the man that took her captive which offers Lily a chance of freedom. If she can take it!

Hollie Overton has taken one of the most neglected part of crime fiction – the aftermath.  Lily comes home to her family after 8 years but so much has changed.  Her twin has felt her loss most terribly, that strong bond stretched to a breaking point for the sister left at home.  Lily’s parents took her disappearance hard and for Lily there will be some horrible truths to face as she tries to pick up her life again.

But most chilling of all is the fact the man that kidnapped Lily and turned her into a victim over such a long period of time is not going to surrender quietly.  He is a master manipulator and will use any means possible to deflect any possible blame or suspicion from himself.  Although this may seem a pointless task there will be unpleasant confrontations for Lily and her family – nothing will ever be the same again.

I have to say that Baby Doll was, at times, quite a harrowing read but it is a really well told story. The fallout of Lily’s ordeal impacts upon the whole community and there are some heart-warming moments and some shocking revelations too.  I can honestly say that I had no idea where Hollie Overton was taking the story, how it could reach an ‘end’ or if Lily would find peace.  I cannot tell you how any of those questions pan out but I was not disappointed when I turned that last page.

Don’t be fooled by the light tone of the title as there is a sinister undertone to that phrase. This is a strong debut from Hollie Overton, which I hope will cause a buzz when it is released as this is a dark tale of survival. One to watch.

 

Baby Doll is published by Century and is available from 30 June 2016 in Hardback and Digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-Doll-Hollie-Overton/dp/1780895062/ref=sr_1_1_twi_har_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463951109&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+doll+hollie+overton

 

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