The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton Book Review

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A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

One of Stylist Magazine’s 20 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Harper’s Bazaar’s 10 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Marie Claire, Australia’s 10 Books You Absolutely Have to Read in 2018

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

MY THOUGHTS

Wow, I can only imagine how much plotting went into the creation of this book. This is one hell of a psychological thriller. It is utterly unique with a cast of intriguing characters. This is going to be one of the most talked about books of 2018. Stuart Turton’s novel is a mind-bending piece of work. It’s hard to believe that this is his debut!

As the novel opens, Dr Sebastian Bell finds himself in the grounds of Blackheath house with one word on his lips – Anna, he is screaming into the night. But he has no memory of what has befallen him before he arrived in this place. And as he becomes reacquainted with himself, he is presented with a task. Someone is going to be murdered in the house tonight the daughter of the owner, Evelyn Hardcastle. To escape the house and find out who he truly is our lead character must solve her murder, but he has eight rivals, and only one of them will be freed. And until one of them can discover who kills her, the day will repeat itself over and over again.

Stuart opens the story with plenty of intrigue both for his main character and the reader; I found this such a fascinating idea as his character is finding out information about himself the same time the reader is, it was fascinating to see his reactions to revelations about his own past. Our main character, Aiden Bishop, who has come to Blackheath to solve Evelyn’s murder, becomes attached to one particular character which proves tumultuous for his time at Blackheath. I had no idea where this story was going to go.

When I first started reading this book, I was worried that I was going to find the story hard to follow, particularly as the plot of the novel is so complex, and Stuart packs a lot of information into this book about the characters and their murky pasts. But I really didn’t have any trouble at all in understanding the plot, and I didn’t have any difficulty in keeping track with the character changes.

Stuart’s writing is utterly absorbing as he takes the reader into the heart of Blackheath. There is a race against the clock element to the story as Aiden races to solve the murder ahead of those he is competing against. The difficulty here is that he does not know who he is up against so it isn’t a case where he can work out their weaknesses or even work out the strength of his own position.

The ending of this book has left me wondering if perhaps there is a sequel in the works. I would love to find out more about the characters, and it would be fascinating to see how Stuart would choose to visit this world again if he decides to do so, I don’t think your mind will ever quite leave Blackheath once you have finished reading. Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book to read.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Raven

Publication date: 8th February 2018

Print length: 528 pages

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My Girl by Jack Jordan Book Review

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Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me. From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.

MY THOUGHTS 

Over Christmas I managed to make a dent in my TBR pile and I finally got round to reading My Girl, Jack Jordan’s latest book and I really wish I’d read it sooner, Jack has created an utterly gripping book in his most recent novel and his character’s story had my eyes glued to the page. Jack Jordan is a name I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from in the psychological thriller world.

In My Girl, we follow Paige Dawson who has been left broken after the death of her husband and the disappearance of her daughter, Chloe. Chloe disappeared ten years previously and parts of her body were discovered by the police in a nearby river, her killer was never identified. Paige has never moved on and soon turns to drink, she is also addicted to pain killers which she needs to get herself through the day and she resorts to drastic and shocking measures to acquire them. We meet Paige when she is at her lowest ebb and it seems that there is little hope for her. But with the discovery of a gun in her husband’s study, old questions begin to resurface; is there a possibility, that after all this time, she could find out who killed her daughter?

What I really liked about this book was Jack’s writing, his writing moves along at a fast pace and he held my interest throughout the novel which made it a really quick read, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. The story is primarily told from Paige’s point of view and we see events unfold through her eyes. I felt desperately sad for her as she tried to pick the pieces of her life back together and just as she thinks she’s starting to make the right decisions and to look after herself – wham, and that’s where I won’t talk any more about the plot as I don’t want to spoil it. But I did not see the direction Paige’s story was going to go; Jack totally knocked the socks of my feet with the twist. It’s hard to imagine how families who are in Paige’s situation must feel and as I was reading this book it did bring several recent cases which have been in the news to mind.

This book does deal with some dark themes and some of the revelations are hard hitting. It makes for a seriously twisty read and I’m very excited to see what the author has in store for us next, he is definitely a writer to watch out for. I’m sure I’ll be checking out his debut novel Anything For Her very soon.

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication date: 3rd July 2016

Print length: 248 pages

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The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman Book Review

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‘Enthralling, compelling, mysterious’ Lisa Hall, author of TELL ME NO LIES

* * * * *

AN ATMOSPHERIC NEW CRIME SERIES SET IN THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer Dorey has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.

After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.

But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.

MY THOUGHTS

The Devil’s Claw, by Lara Dearman, is an atmospheric and superbly written debut. In her first novel, Lara takes us to the island of Guernsey where a killer has gone undetected for decades. Now, when the body of a young woman has washed up, journalist Jennifer Dorey and DCI Michael Gilbert, team up to hunt for a killer who has so far managed to evade justice. As Jenny investigates the case she discovers a series of deaths, the victims: all young women with a similar complexion and all suspected of drowning. But what did the police force miss all those years ago and can she and Michael find out what has really been going on?

I loved learning about the location in this book, I have heard little about Guernsey but I was fascinated to hear about the history of the island – particularly about what happened there during the Second World War – as I was reading it often prompted me to Google the places in the book and research the local legends which I was absolutely fascinated by. The inclusion of the local folklore myths (which even Jenny is still unsure if whether she believes in them or not) was a great way of adding to the atmosphere and for me it brought the setting to life.

The relationship between Jennifer and DCI Gilbert is one I’m interested to see develop further. It isn’t often in crime fiction that you see journalists and the police get on well, but in this book they heavily relied upon each other as the investigation progressed. I couldn’t help but think of the possibility of a spark being there between them.

Lara also tells the novel from the viewpoint of the killer. As the book progresses, Lara drip feeds us with information about them as we learn about their past and present history which ultimately leads to a shocking revelation.

This is an excellent start to a series I’m sure that I’ll be keeping an eye on. I can’t wait to read more!

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 30th November 2017

Print length: 368 pages

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My Top Reads of 2017

I can’t believe we’re at that time of the year again, it doesn’t feel that long ago when I was choosing my top ten reads for 2016. I think it can be fair to say that we have seen some incredible books published in 2017, that’s what has made it so hard for me to choose my top ten this year and I already know that there are going to be more exciting releases to come in 2018. Look out for another post before the end of the year where I’ll be talking about some exciting new releases coming in the New Year.

So without any further ado here are my top ten reads of this year and in no particular order:

PERFECT REMAINS BY HELEN FIELDS

This is the first book in the DI Luc Callanch series, I was utterly gripped by this book, Helen Fields has created a strong, new lead character in the crime fiction world, I’m hoping to get round to reading Perfect Prey soon as I have the third book in the series on pre-order which is out next year. You can find the link to purchase Perfect Remains below:

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YESTERDAY BY FELICIA YAP 

I had been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard that it was being published. Yesterday examines the subject of memory. I found the concept of this book to be absolutely fascinating, how do you solve a murder when you only remember yesterday? Click on the link below if you’re interested in finding more about Yesterday. 

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BEHIND HER EYES BY SARAH PINBOROUGH 

I was totally blown away by this incredible book. The twist at the end left me speechless, the moment I had finished I pushed it into the hands of everyone I knew, I wanted to see their reaction to THAT twist and I was so keen to discuss it with them. It really was a #wtf moment. Absolutely brilliant. 

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ALL THE WICKED GIRLS BY CHRIS WHITAKER 

Chris Whitaker is a seriously talented writer. In this book he takes us into the heart of America’s Deep South where in a small town, a young girl, loved by everyone, vanishes. Chris explores the human mind as the town struggles to come to terms with Summer Ryan’s disappearance and what happens when it’s people are pushed to the brink. Highly recommended. 

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THE BINDING SONG BY ELODIE HARPER 

I had this book sitting on my shelf for a while before I managed to find the time to get round to it and I really wish I’d read it sooner. The Binding Song is an atmospheric novel that takes us into the heart of the justice system. Elodie transports us to an isolated prison, Halvergate in Norfolk, where there have been a spate of suicides and reports of a ghostly figure stalking the inmates. This seriously creepy novel really gave me chills, I would warn you however, don’t read this book before you go to sleep. But if you’re after a thrill I would highly recommend this book. 

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THE SILENT COMPANIONS BY LAURA PURCELL

I mean, wow, how can you not be intrigued by that cover? The publishers have done a fantastic job with this book. Although it isn’t a crime novel, I do occasionally enjoy a good ghost story and The Silent Companions is one I’m sure will become a classic in years to come. A haunting, Gothic tale, I was utterly gripped by this book. Click on the link below to purchase.

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QUIETER THAN KILLING BY SARAH HILARY 

Sarah Hilary’s books just keep getting better and better. Sarah continues to prove that she is a writer at the top of her game, I never even have to look at the blurb of Sarah’s books to know that I will enjoy it. A terrific series of London set police procedurals that every crime fan should read. 

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MY LITTLE EYE BY STEPHANIE MARLAND

My Little Eye (Starke & Bell) by [Marland, Stephanie, Broadribb, Stephanie]

I had a couple of books which I was currently reading when this book came out but I put everything aside when My Little Eye uploaded onto my kindle on its release date. I was so excited to read this book. Stephanie Marland has a real talent for creating believable and gripping characters that stay with you long after turning the final page. I absolutely loved it!

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ANYTHING YOU DO SAY BY GILLIAN MCALLISTER 

I really liked the idea behind this book. Gillian McAllister explores two scenarios, one in which her character hands herself into the police and the other in which she turns away and runs. It was really interesting to see how she explored her character’s mind as she was faced with different situations. I often wonder how a character’s life could’ve turned out if they had made another decision so I found this book really fascinating. 

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BAD SISTER BY SAM CARRINGTON 

Bad Sister: 'Tense, convincing... kept me guessing' Caz Frear, bestselling author of Sweet Little Lies by [Carrington, Sam]

I had been looking forward to reading Sam Carrington’s second novel since I finished reading her debut novel Saving Sophie last year. Bad Sister is a gripping, psychological thriller that will have you hooked from the first page. Sam Carrington is a really talented writer.

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Well, I can’t believe that that’s a wrap on another year. I’ve read some brilliant books this year and attended some exciting events. Next year I’m looking forward to attending Crime Fest in Bristol in May and the Theakston’s Crime Festival which takes place in Harrogate in July for the first time, I’m also hoping to start submitting my own book to agents early in the new year, which is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

I hope you’ve had a great 2017 and that you have a great year in 2018.

Wrong Place by Michelle Davies Book Review

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Wrong Place is the second gripping crime novel in the DC Maggie Neville series from Michelle Davies, following her critically acclaimed debut Gone Astray.

Two women lie hospital beds, both subjects of police investigations.

One, a vulnerable old lady, has been assaulted in her own home. Suspected to be the fifth victim of a young couple targeting pensioners, her injuries indicate an escalation in violence from the perpetrators.
The second, a wife, has been attacked by her own husband, who subsequently fails in his own attempt to kill himself.

Whilst there are no obvious parallels between the victims, DC Maggie Neville, the Family Liaison Officer involved in both cases, begins to question what happened.

Is it simply a case of both being in the wrong place at the wrong time or is something far more sinister at play?

MY THOUGHTS

I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to get round to reading Wrong Place. I loved the first book in the DC Maggie Neville series Gone Astray so I was excited to see where Michelle Davies would take Maggie and the rest of the team next and her second book didn’t disappoint. Michelle’s writing is utterly engaging and by the end of the first chapter I was gripped.

The novel opens with an intriguing prologue set in 1999. We see a group of people, making their way out of a forest; one girl is desperately trying to get her friends to turn back, and we can clearly see her distress. But to what – what is it that is so terrible that the rest of her friends are so desperate to get away from? From the first page, Michelle had me hooked; I had to find out what happened all those years ago and what it was they were running from. Fast forward to the present and the police are investigating a series of burglaries. The suspects (dubbed the con-couple by the media) are targeting elderly people in their homes, but when Della’s Grandmother Sadie is brutally attacked and left for dead, the police believe that the con-couple may be behind it. Maggie is assigned as Della’s family liaison officer but she is soon juggling two cases together when across town, a murder suicide takes place. A woman has been rushed to hospital with severe injuries and her husband is barely alive. As Maggie investigates the two cases a link emerges between them, but how could two, very different cases be linked? And is there something there that links them to the events which happened way back in 1999?

Maggie Neville is fast becoming one of my favourite characters in crime fiction. I find the role of her job absolutely fascinating. As a family liaison officer she is there to support the family of the victim, who are going through the most difficult time in their lives, but she is also there as a detective and as such she has to investigate them. The relationship between a family and an FLO is really interesting and you can see in places where tensions develop, this is particularly the case between Della’s boyfriend and Maggie. Maggie is right there at the epicentre of it all and she has to somehow peel back the layers and work out what is going on. I can see how it can be difficult for an FLO not to form an attachment to the family, particularly when all they want to do is comfort them and reassure them that they are doing everything they can to bring them justice. It must be difficult when they can’t do this as they don’t want to give the family false hope.

As well as juggling two cases in this book, Maggie is also trying to take care of her sister, Lou. Lou’s life is starting to fall apart and this begins to put strains on their relationship. To understand what has happened between Lou and Maggie, I would recommend starting with the first book in the series but Wrong Place can be read as a standalone.

Michelle really pulls Maggie through the ranks in this book; it’s hard to see Maggie ever having any time for herself. I feel that what she really needs is a long holiday, but I doubt that Maggie will be getting one any time soon.

The twist towards the end of the book was definitely an OMG moment. I couldn’t believe what I was reading when the truth was revealed. The twist is heart-breaking, but I won’t be saying any more about it here, you’ll have to read the book and find out.

This is an excellent second novel by Michelle Davies and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next, next time I’ll make sure that her book is at the top of my reading list. I almost forgot to mention that Michelle leaves this book on a cliff hanger so once you finish this one, you’ll be desperate to read the next.

Publisher: Pan

Publication date: 5th October 2017

Print length: 448 pages

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Everything Is Lies by Helen Callaghan Book Review

Everything Is Lies by [Callaghan, Helen]

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No-one is who you think they are

Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed.

Everyone has secrets

Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.

Especially those closest to you

The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. As her father is too ill to talk it is up to Sophia to clear her mother’s name. And to do this she needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . .

What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born?

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed reading Helen Callaghan’s debut novel, Dear Amy when it was released last year, so I was excited to hear that her second novel was coming out and what a brilliant follow up to Dear Amy it is! Helen knows how to pull her reader into the story and from the first page I was gripped.

Everything Is Lies starts off with a startling prologue when Sophia Mackenzie returns home to find her mother, hanging from a tree and her father barely alive. The police believe that her parents may have both tried to commit suicide but Sophia can’t understand why they would do this and she sets out to seek answers. The night before her mother’s death, her mother contacted her, begging her to come home, but Sophia ignored her request, what was it her mother wanted to tell her? Was there anything that Sophia could have done to prevent what was about to happen? Sophia begins to unpick her parent’s lives and in the process uncovers surprising details about her mother’s past which she has kept to herself all these years.

Helen Callaghan’s second novel is told from two perspectives: Nina, Sophia’s mother, through her diary extracts and from Sophia’s point of view. The extracts, which Sophia discovers, tell her about the time her mother spent at Morningstar, a major part of the book is told from this perspective. Her mother has been swept in by a spiritualist cult lead by music star, Aaron Kessler who she falls head over heels in love for. Sophia only learns that her mother has written all this down when she speaks to a publisher who is interested in publishing her mother’s story which overwhelms her, particularly at the revelation that her mother has written a book. This immediately had me intrigued, I wanted to find out why a publisher would be interested in her mother’s life. What went on during her time at Morningstar and with Aaron Kessler? This was the main pull of the story, as Sophia raced to find answers and this also is the main source of tension in the novel. Dark secrets soon begin to emerge about her parent’s past.

There is plenty of intrigue here that will keep you turning the pages. Helen created a perfect, eerie atmosphere as she described the scenes during Nina’s time at Morningstar. I always felt as though there was something evil simmering beneath the surface or that something terrible was about to happen; to Nina everything about her life at this point seems perfect and Helen did a brilliant job of giving me the sense that everything about it was about to crack. She also delivers plenty of twists and turns along the way that kept my eyes glued to the page.

Helen Callaghan has done a fantastic job with her second book. She’s a writer who I’m sure I’ll continue to come back to, I love her writing style and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. This is definitely one for you to put on your list in 2018. Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 22nd February 2018

Print length: 400 pages

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Between You And Me by Lisa Hall Book Review

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They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened…

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

MY THOUGHTS

Wow, wow, wow! I can’t rate this book highly enough. Lisa Hall is a genius, I haven’t been this impressed by a twist since I read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. If there is an award for creating high levels of tension, then Lisa rightly deserves it. I could actually feel my chest tightening when I was reading some of the scenes in this book. Brilliant writing!

This book is really hard to talk about without giving anything away, I won’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil it for you but one thing I will say is that I really disliked Charlie, I don’t think I have ever disliked a character so much. But this was what I really liked about this book, both the characters came alive on the page and I was rooting for Sal to get out of the marriage. For me, as well as an engaging plot, you have to have great characters who drive the story, they have to make you care about wanting to read the rest of the book and Lisa definitely has that in Between You And Me with Charlie and Sal.

The book is told from both Sal and Charlie’s perspectives, when I started reading the book I thought I had made my mind up about one of the characters but as I got to know their history my opinion of them did slightly change. Lisa kept me on my toes as I tried to work out what was going on and what was going to happen.

Between You and Me deserves all the praise that it is getting. I have a copy of Lisa Hall’s next book and that has shot straight to the top of my reading pile. I can’t wait to read it!

Publisher: Carina

Publication date: 28th April 2016

Print: 356 pages

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#ClassMurder by Leigh Russell blog tour @noexitpress @LeighRussell

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the Class Murder by Leigh Russell blog tour, the tenth book in the Geraldine Steel series.

Class Murder (A DI Geraldine Steel Thriller Book 10) by [Russell, Leigh]

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‘UNMISSABLE’ – LEE CHILD * ‘A RARE TALENT’ – DAILY MAIL * ‘BRILLIANT’ – JEFFREY DEAVER

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

Geraldine Steel is reunited with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

Look out for more DI Geraldine Steel investigations in Cut ShortRoad ClosedDead EndDeath BedStop DeadFatal Act, Killer PlanMurder Ring and Deadly Alibi

Don’t miss the DI Ian Peterson series: Cold SacrificeRace to Death and Blood Axe

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Leigh Russell author photo 2016_

Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

TEN THINGS I HAVE LEARNED FROM MY RESEARCH

WHILE WRITING THE GERALDINE STEEL SERIES

  1. A body farm had problems because it was visible from the air
  2. If people touch, fabric traces show when the contact took place
  3. One London police station serves homemade banana bread
  4. The bats in the Seychelles are gigantic and noisy
  5. In Jorvik the face on one figure is reconstructed from a Viking
  6. The murder squad in Spain are called Mossos d’Escadros
  7. Analysis can identify exactly where traces of soil originated
  8. Enough gas in the air can catch fire when a light is turned on
  9. Banana boxes are used by market traders as they’re strong
  10. Breath leaves DNA revealing hair and eye colour and gender

MY THOUGHTS

Class Murder is the tenth novel in the Geraldine Steel series by Leigh Russell and I can’t believe that I have only discovered this series now. I started reading this book during my lunch break at work and I did not want to put it down, if I could have stayed reading all afternoon I would have.

Geraldine has recently relocated to York after she was forced into a position to leave the Metropolitan Police in London. She knows that she has no chance of promotion and is now working alongside her old colleague, DI Ian Peterson, but their roles have switched. As she is beginning to adjust to her new life in York, she is thrown into a murder investigation when a young woman is found dead. And soon more bodies begin to turn up, but the suspect continues to evade them and the police come under fire from the media. As the investigation progresses a link emerges that binds the victims together. Could the killer be specifically targeting people, and if so, why? Are there more victims on their hit-list to come?

When I first started reading this book, I really found the reversal of roles between Geraldine and Ian an interesting idea. I was curious to see how this would work out between them and if there would be any tensions from Geraldine’s side, as she is the one who is now taking orders. It left me wondering how Geraldine would get on working up in York and if, whether or not, she would stay to stick it out. I’m intrigued to see where this will go in future books, and I hope that there are still more to come.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book, and I’m sure that I’ll return to previous books in the series as Leigh raised plenty of questions about Geraldine’s life which I want to find out more about. Geraldine is definitely the kind of officer who you would want working on your case, she is determined to see results and she is willing to put all other matters aside, including her own family who become increasingly frustrated with this idea.

The plot of the novel was engaging, although it is primarily told from Geraldine’s viewpoint Leigh also writes from the minds of the characters who are being targeted. She also tells the story from the viewpoint of the killer who remains in the shadows. When it becomes clear that the killer is targeting them they come together to try and work out who it is that is behind this and what they can do to try and protect themselves. This is where the tension in the novel escalates as they begin to fear for their lives. And under immense strain, they begin to make rash decisions.

Leigh’s writing is highly engaging, she pulls you into the story without effort. Class Murder was a really enjoyable read. Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to No Exit Press and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book to read.

Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication date: 7th December 2017

Print length: 320 pages

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The Sister by Louise Jensen Book Review @Fab_fiction @1stMondayCrime

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‘I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me . . .’

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie . . . Or was there?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, I Let You Go and The Girl With No Past.

MY THOUGHTS

The Sister is definitely my kind of psychological thriller. This is Louise Jensen’s debut and wow what a debut it is. Louise skilfully weaves tension into her novel that kept me gripped to the page. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read this book, then you have a real treat in store.

Grace has struggled to cope after the death of her best friend Charlie. Charlie’s death has put a strain on her life and when Grace discovers that Charlie always wanted to find her birth father, she makes it her mission to complete this task for her friend. With the help of her boyfriend, Dan, they create an advert on social media appealing for Charlie’s father to come forward and when Anna turns up on the scene, claiming to be Charlie’s half sister, Grace can’t believe her luck. As she gets to know Anna, they begin to form a friendship, but all is not as it seems with Anna, is she really all that she claims to be?

The tagline on the cover of the book really caught my attention: I did something terrible, Grace. I hope you can forgive me… I was immediately intrigued and I wanted to find out more. As I read the first chapter I became more and more interested in what Charlie had done to her friend, why did she need to ask for her forgiveness? Louise also left me wanting to know what had happened to Charlie, how did she die? Once I was past the first chapter I couldn’t stop reading.

The book flicks back and forth from the present to Grace’s past. I was interested to see how Grace and Charlie’s friendship would develop after their first encounter at school. When Anna first appears in the present, I could see that Grace was using her to fill the hole in her life left by Charlie. Anna is curious about her half sister and she wants to know everything that Grace can tell her. However, Grace’s boyfriend, Dan is hostile towards her and he clearly does not want Anna involved with Grace. It is here where the tension begins to escalate. I could not put this book down and I was desperate to find out the secret of Grace and Charlie’s past.

The Sister is a brilliant debut from Louise. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers; I’m looking forward to catching up with Louise’s next book, The Gift.

Publisher: Sphere

Publication date: 24th August 2017

Print length: 352 pages

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Louise Jensen will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday, 4th December alongside three other brilliant authors: Chris Whitaker, Susi Holliday and Mel McGrath. The panel will be moderated by crime writer, Claire McGowan. 

On the night we also have wine, sponsored by No Exit Press and Pitch an Audience, where top crime writers will pitch their most precious ideas to the audience who will decide the winner. 

First Monday Crime will be held at City University, London and it starts at 6:30 p.m. If you are interested in coming along please follow the link below to reserve your FREE space. I hope to see you there. 

FIRST MONDAY CRIME  

#Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson #blog tour @OrendaBooks @Ragnarjo

BLURB

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thor Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier…

MY THOUGHTS

Wow, what a book. As I was reading I kept thinking that Whiteout would make a fantastic Christmas drama and I can’t believe that I have only just discovered this series. This is a brilliant novel from Ragnar Jonasson which I highly recommend. Once you start reading this book, you won’t be able to stop; it held me captive from the first to the last page.

In Whiteout, detectives Ari Thór and his former work partner, Tómas are investigating the case of the suspicious death of a woman who is found dead at the bottom of the cliffs in Kálfshamarvík in the run up to Christmas. On hand it looks as though the woman has committed suicide, but the two detectives begin to suspect that something more sinister may have occurred. This isn’t the only death to occur in the woman’s family. Her mother and her sister were also found dead, suspected to have thrown themselves off the cliffs years before. This is what Ari Thór finds intriguing about the case and so he begins to believe that there may be more going on here than meets the eye.

After reading my first Ragnar Jonasson thriller, I can definitely label myself a fan. I have a lot of catching up to do on the rest of the Dark Iceland series which I have bumped up to the top of my pile. I really liked Ragnar’s writing style which is brilliantly translated by Quentin Bates; it does have an Agatha Christie element to it which would make this book perfect to sink in to by a roaring fire, if you haven’t got any plans for Christmas Eve, this book would be perfect to keep you company.

I loved the setting of the old house, set in the middle of nowhere, the lighthouse and the cliffs gave the book a very sinister feel and also a sense of foreboding. Although the book takes place in the modern world it gave the sense that they were cut off from the rest of civilisation. This did brilliantly in adding to the tension of the novel, especially as I tried to work out who the culprit was, and if they were amongst the people who were staying the house.

I can’t wait to read more from Ragnar Jonasson and I’m looking forward to catching up on the rest of the Dark Iceland series. Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Orenda

Publication date: 1st November 2017

Print length: 276 pages

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