#TheChalkMan by C J Tudor Book Review @cjtudor

The Chalk Man is coming….

Source: Review Copy

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We all have fears we hide from. But in the end they will find us . . .

The Chalk Man is coming . . .

———————

None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.

Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?

Was it the terrible accident?

Or when they found the first body?

MY THOUGHTS

Now, The Chalk Man is a book that everyone is going to be talking about in the coming months. It is going to be one of the biggest book launches of 2018. This was an ingenious debut novel about a childhood game that goes horribly wrong. Even as I read the title of the book and when I saw the cover, which is so eye catching, I could hear creepy music playing in my head, I knew that this was a book I was desperate to read and CJ Tudor’s writing definitely lived up to my expectations.

The book is told over two different time periods, in the 1980s and in the present day. In the 1980s Ed is twelve-years-old and hangs out with his group of mates: Hoppo, Mickey, Fat Gav and Nicky. But not everything is plain sailing for them and on the day of the terrible accident at the fair, when a young girl known to Ed as Waltzer girl has a horrific accident on a Waltzer cart and is rushed to hospital, things really do begin to take a dark turn for the group and they are never quite the same again. One summer, they use chalk men as secrets codes, as a way of messaging each other, but one day the chalk men leads them to a dead body and a horrific crime scene. In 2016, Ed is in his forties and lives alone with his lodger, a girl in her twenties called Chloe. It is in the present day that the truth about what really happened when they were kids begins to unravel. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for readers but it has to be a contender for one of my top reads of this year. C. J. Tudor delivers a stomach flipping twist at the end of this book which I did not see coming.

I really liked the characters in this book and C.J. Tudor made them all feel real. For me, a book has to have great and compelling characters to pull you into the story and this book certainly does. Once I finished the book I really wanted to know what happened to them after the final chapter and I’m still thinking about them all months after I read it.

The author also explores some interesting themes in this book, some of them are quite dark and there are some scenes in the book which are a little gory. C. J. Tudor writes these scenes really well and she really makes you feel for her characters as they find themselves in new predicaments.

Once you read the prologue in this book, you won’t be able to stop reading, I can envisage many people picking this book up in a bookshop and heading straight to the counter with it.

The Chalk Man is released today and you can purchase a copy by clicking on the link below, you won’t be disappointed.

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication date: 11th January 2018

Print length: 352 pages

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A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis Blog Tour

Today it’s my pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis, which is a gripping start to a new series.

Source: Review Copy

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A girl missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning…

A thrilling new FBI series for fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter. 

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.

MY THOUGHTS

This was a very fast paced read. Over the Christmas period, I found myself sneaking away at times to read a couple of chapters. And once I had more time for reading I raced through the final pages. A Map of the Dark is an absorbing and an exciting start to a new series which I will certainly be keeping an eye on.

When I started reading this book I was expecting it to be more of a straightforward police procedure; however it became a more character driven book. Not that I found anything wrong with that, it was an excellent way to introduce Elsa and the trials that she has gone through in her life. Elsa’s character development is set against the backdrop of an investigation. Teenager, Ruby has vanished. Her disappearance sparks a frenzy in her local area as everyone is desperate to get involved or do something to help find her, which causes a hindrance to the investigation as much as it helps. The case pulls at Elsa’s past, and she begins to revisit her childhood, we see snatches of flashbacks from the time when she was a young girl living with her parents.  This creates an element of mystery about her and as the book progressed I wanted to find out what had happened to her in her childhood. And as the investigation pushes forward, Elsa realises that Ruby’s case may be linked to other missing girls, all kidnapped by the same person who may have been operating for years.

Elsa was a fascinating character to explore, it is clear that she has been marked by her past and we see this as she struggles to come to terms with the impending death of her father, Roy who has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. She has a great relationship with her niece, Mel, and I thought that this was a nice touch to her character as the author explored her human side. She has a good relationship with her colleagues who she works with on the case, and I am interested to see how this will evolve in future books. It is clear that the author has spent a lot of time working out her character arc and pinning down her different faults and traits.

The second half of the novel focuses more on the investigation, and it does pick up pace. The author uses vivid imagery as she describes the final confrontation and we can see Elsa’s determination to apprehend the suspect. I absolutely loved her use of language in her description which made the setting and the action happening in the scenes feel very real.

This is a really good start to a new series which I am keen to follow. Thank you to Louise Swannell at Mullholland Books for sending me a copy of the book to review and to Jenni Leech for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Publication date: 11th January 2018

Print length: 320 pages

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#TurnABlindEye by Vicky Newham Book Review

Turn a Blind Eye (DI Maya Rahman, Book 1) by [Newham, Vicky]

Source: Review Copy

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A dead girl.

A wall of silence.

DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.

MY THOUGHTS 

Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham is an intelligent and confident debut and DI Maya Rahman is a character who will keep crime fans coming back for more. Vicky has created a complex case for her character to get to grips with in her first novel. This book is perfect for fans of Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome series.

In her first novel, Vicky Newham introduces us to Bangladeshi-born Maya Rahman who is a detective inspector working in the metropolitan police. Set in East London, Maya and her team are called in when the body of a well-known and beloved headmistress is discovered at Mile End High School which also happens to be Maya’s old school. The school has been praised for opening its doors to the wider community in East London, so what has gone so disastrously wrong? But what is all the more perplexing to Maya is the murder’s links to the Buddhist community and the cryptic clues left by the killer. Is the headmistress’s murder also linked to the suicide of a young girl from the school, which took place months before and are there more murders about to take place? What can Maya do to prevent another one from happening?

After reading Turn A Blind Eye, I know I am going to be putting Vicky Newham’s next novel straight to the top of my reading pile. There is a real sense of authenticity that she gives to her characters and to the setting, an area that she appears to know impeccably well. There were some strong, vivid images in this book, which really gave me the feeling as though I was there; I could see the streets and the characters forming around me so clearly. I’m a huge fan of writing that draws you into the setting and Vicky Newham definitely succeeds at this.

Maya was a fascinating character to get to know. Vicky has given Maya an intriguing backstory which has made me want to find out more about her roots, it’ll be interesting to see how Vicky develops this plot line in future books. Maya’s sidekick, Dan Maguire is also a character who I would like to find out more about. I really liked his personality in the book; there were times when he lightened up the prose and I really liked his humour.

I’m really excited to see what Vicky Newham comes up with next for Maya and her team. This is a really promising debut which will thrill crime lovers. Thank you to Lucy Richardson at HQ for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 5th April 2018

Print length: 384 pages

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#DeepBlueTrouble #review by Steph Broadribb #blogtour @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks

I’m so excited that I can finally share my review of Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb today, the second book in the Lori Anderson series as part of the blog tour.

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Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT – Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything – alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row. Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher, and JT walks free. Teaming up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor threatens to put the whole job in danger. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything…

MY THOUGHTS

Finally, Lori Anderson is back in Steph Broadribb’s highly anticipated second novel Deep Blue Trouble. And what an explosive return to the series it is. If you’re a fan of Lori Anderson and JT, then you are in for a real treat. And if you haven’t read this series yet, you do not want to be missing out. I would recommend starting with the first book in the series before reading Deep Blue Trouble as you will learn a lot about Lori and JT’s relationship; it also follows on from events in the first book.

After the events of the previous novel, Lori’s trainer, and father of her nine-year-old daughter Dakota, JT, is facing a prison sentence and possibly the death penalty. Lori can’t let that happen, she has her daughter’s future to think about and if at any time in her life, her cancer returns, her father will be the best option there is for a successful bone marrow transplant. Lori can’t afford to lose him. She signs a deal with her boss, that if she brings in an escaped fugitive, then the charges that JT is facing will disappear. The man she is sent out to find is Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher. But why is Monroe interested in Gibson, what makes him any different to any other fugitive out there? What dealings has Monroe had with Gibson in the past?

In this book, Lori teams up with Dez McGregor and his team in California. Used to working independently there are undoubtedly tensions between her and Dez who seems to take an immediate dislike to her and Lori, likewise, takes a dislike to him. But Lori has no choice but to work with him if she wants JT released from prison, everything for Lori hangs in the balance, and if she doesn’t succeed, she faces an uncertain future. Lori is also aware that she is being followed and is on edge throughout the book, especially when she begins to receive threatening messages.

The Lori Anderson books are shaping up to be a fine, eagerly anticipated new crime series. Steph Broadribb has a real talent for creating highly engaging and believable characters. I’m excited to see where Steph will take us next with Lori and JT. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review and Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Orenda

Publication date: 5th January 2018

Print length: 320 pages

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Deep Blue blog poster 2018