No Place Like Home by Rebecca Muddiman blog tour @RebeccaMuddiman @BloodhoundBook

Rebecca Muddiman - No Place Like Home_cover

Source: Netgalley

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What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house?

This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home. The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her.

What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly?

In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rebecca+muddiman

Rebecca Muddiman was born and raised in the North East and worked in the NHS for many years. She has published four crime novels – Stolen, Gone, Tell Me Lies, and Murder in Slow Motion. Stolen won a Northern Writers Award in 2010 and the Northern Crime Competition in 2012. She is also a screenwriter and was selected for the London Screenwriters Festival Talent Campus in 2016.

Most of her spare time is spent re-watching Game of Thrones, trying to learn Danish, and dealing with two unruly dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.

MY THOUGHTS

No Place Like Home is a thriller that will really get under your skin. Don’t be fooled by what you see, this book will take you by surprise. Rebecca Muddiman’s latest novel explores a terrifying scenario that many people may think about but don’t think will ever happen to them. The thought of someone breaking into my house absolutely terrifies me and this is what Rebecca’s protagonist is faced with when the novel begins.

We are introduced to Polly Clarke who has recently moved into her dream home. One evening she returns to her house to find someone else inside, shattering the façade of the idyllic, perfect home she has worked so hard for and dreamed about for so long. She doesn’t know who this person is or what they are doing. Rebecca captured Polly’s fear in a very real and believable way here and you immediately get a sense of how vulnerable she is, especially as she lives alone. But as Polly is facing this new, terrifying predicament we move back in time to see events in the lead up to this day and it is here that the story really becomes interesting.

Rebecca Muddiman really messes with the readers head as we get to know the characters and this is what I really liked about this book and it is what kept me engaged. The pace does slow down a little after the shocking opening – when we move back in time – but as our lead character started to realise she was being stalked, I wanted to know if this was connected to what had happened in the opening pages and I also wanted to know why this was happening to her. Rebecca kept up the suspense as I waited to find out what was going to be the outcome for Polly and she kept me invested in her character.

I was intrigued by both Polly and her stalker, Jacob and as their characters developed and Rebecca revealed their past history my perception of them both began to change. There was some fascinating character development in this book and I felt as though I connected, in some ways, with both of them. This is where it becomes really tricky not to talk much more about the plot here as I don’t want to give anything away. But the direction in which Rebecca took the story caught me by surprise.

Rebecca controls the atmosphere in her story well and this also worked with the reveals about the characters and their lives, it made me think that there were sinister revelations to come and it kept me flicking the pages as I hurried to get to the end and Rebecca delivers an absolutely chilling ending. This is a book which you will want to be pressing into the hands of friends and family. Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with an advance review copy of the book.

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication date: 6th August 2018

Print length: 271 pages

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All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew Book Review @OneNightStanzas @HodderBooks #AllTheHiddenTruths

All the Hidden Truths (Three Rivers) by [Askew, Claire]

Source: Netgalley

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Raw, powerful, compassionate and deeply moving, with page-turning tension to the end. A stunning debut. – Karen Robinson, Sunday Times Crime Club

This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself.

But no one can say why.

The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.

A stunningly moving novel from an exciting new voice in crime, ALL THE HIDDEN TRUTHS will cause you to question your assumptions about the people you love, and reconsider how the world reacts to tragedy.

MY THOUGHTS

All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew is a powerful psychological drama and it focuses on a very topical subject which has sadly been in the news very recently. I read this novel shortly after the school shootings in America earlier this year which was still very fresh in my mind as I was reading.

We meet three characters in this book: Moira Summers, Ishbel Hodgekiss and DI Helen Birch and the novel is told from their perspectives. The three women whose voices we hear from are very different and until the events that take place at the start of this novel occur, they have never come across each other. But beyond the pages, the lives of two of the women will be linked forever by the tragedy they are scarred by.

No one knows why Ryan Summers took it upon himself to enter the Three Rivers college campus and murder thirteen young women and then turn the gun on himself before the police had the chance to apprehend him. What could drive someone to commit such an abhorrent, cowardly act? DI Helen Birch has recently been promoted and she is handed the complex case. She knows that the weeks ahead aren’t going to be easy for her community, especially for the families of the victims, and the angry public, who desperately need answers.

The characterisation in this book is superb; the author takes us to some very dark places in the minds of some of the individuals in this book which made it a compelling page-turner. It is very much a whydunnit as the police and the families of the victims try to work out what caused Ryan to murder so many of his fellow pupils. Claire Askew explores some interesting themes, including the dangers of social media and freedom of the press. It also examines the public’s perception of tragedy and what happens when people willingly express their feelings and opinions online. One journalist in particular really got under my skin, his character brought to mind the Leveson enquiry which took place in the UK several years ago and it made me angry to think that this is the way how some members of the press behave.

I was interested in the fact that Claire chose to set the novel in Edinburgh as gun crime, particularly on a mass scale is rare, even un-heard of in the UK. Choosing to set her novel here in this country must’ve required a great deal of research, it would be fascinating to find out more about why she decided to write about this particular crime and how she went about her research.

This was a gripping debut which introduces an exciting new voice in crime fiction. If you’re looking for a psychological thriller which leaves plenty of room for thought then I highly recommend this book. Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing an advance review copy.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 9th August 2018

Print length: 384 pages

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Duck Egg Blues by Martin Ungless blog tour @rararesources @UnglessM

Duck Egg Blues Cover

Source: Review Copy

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When the daughter of a rich and powerful businesswoman goes missing from a country house estate, Detective Don is paid to track her down. Rugged and irascible, Don is an ex-cop who has set up shop in a fast-urbanising Essex countryside. He is also the unwilling owner of a robot butler, and this unlikely duo are forced together as they investigate the disappearance, battling with criminal gangs, corrupt police, MI6, and international cybercrime.

Action-packed and full of twists, the tale is told by PArdew, a kind and unassuming robot. He yearns simply to perform his butler duties but soon finds himself solving crimes, avoiding kidnap, and trying to keep his Master safe from sundry surreptitious folk, who for security reasons cannot here be named …and yes, there are plastic ducks and eggs which cause the blues …and yes, for blues read murder. Lucky for PArdew he’s connected to the Internet of Things.

As the investigation gathers pace Don discovers that behind one mystery there lurks a greater threat. No one is safe, not even PArdew…

MY THOUGHTS

Duck Egg Blues by Martin Ungless is a quirky and imaginative piece of crime fiction. I’m always on the lookout for fresh ideas in this genre and Martin definitely delivers the goods in this book.

What immediately intrigued me when I read the blurb was that the story is told from a robot’s point of view. I have to admit the idea did put me off a little bit at first and I wasn’t sure if this was a novel I was going to enjoy, but the plot and the lead character kept me engaged from the first page. I think it was the lead character’s voice that really drew me in. You do get the essence of a Holmes and Watson type of relationship but this is a detective duo with a difference.

In the opening scene we are introduced to PArdrew, a robot butler, who has been purchased by Detective Don, a retired police officer. Although PArdrew is a machine, as he keeps reminding fellow humans and that he is only there to serve; he was a character who I really connected with and I often felt sorry for him for the way he was sometimes treated by Don. Now feeling sorry for a robot is a first, I feel more frustrated when I try to get an answer out of Siri. As PArdrew is becoming acquainted with his new master and his new surroundings he and Don are thrust into a new, perplexing mystery when he is employed by the mayor to find her missing daughter. But as they begin to understand the world that she has become messed up in, they realise that no one is safe and things soon become much more dangerous for both of them.

I did find it interesting that Martin chose to tell his story from the robot’s point of view. Some human traits do slip into the robots narrative, I found this to be the case when he is sometimes describing his feelings but I found that this made him all the more likeable. Martin also drips some humour into the book, this was especially when PAdrew is trying to make sense of humans and the world around him. Don was a character who I couldn’t make my mind up about. As I mentioned earlier I often didn’t like the way how he treated his robot and how he spoke of him but I was rooting for them both to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Duck Eggs Blues is a highly entertaining, action packed novel and I loved it. I’m looking forward to seeing what Martin writes next. Thank you to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing a copy of the book to read.

Publisher: Limes Publishing

Publication date: 25th May 2017

Print length: 351 pages

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The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan blog tour @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress #LanguageOfSecrets

The Language of Secrets Cover

Source: Review Copy

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A terrorist cell is planning an attack on New Year’s Day. For months, Mohsin Dar has been undercover, feeding information back to the national security team. Now he’s dead.

Detective Esa Khattak, compromised by his friendship with the murdered agent, sends his partner Rachel Getty into the unsuspecting cell. As Rachel delves deeper into the unfamiliar world of Islam and the group’s circle of trust, she discovers Mohsin’s murder may not be politically motivated after all. Now she’s the only one who can stop the most devastating attack the country has ever faced.

The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity.

MY THOUGHTS

This is a novel I can easily give five stars to. The Language of Secrets is the first novel by Ausma Zehanat Khan, which I have read. I still have her first novel The Unquiet Dead sitting on my kindle, and I am bumping it up to the top of my TBR pile. Although her second book is part of a series featuring the same characters, it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

In The Language of Secrets, Ausma tells a powerful and absorbing tale which is very relevant to what is going on around the world today. The plot centres on the murder of a young Muslim man who has been working for the Canadian police as part of an undercover operation to expose a terrorist cell at a nearby mosque. Inspector Esa Khattak investigates the case. His partner, Rachel Getty goes undercover to try and expose a killer who may be among the congregation who worship at the mosque.

As I was reading, I thought it would be interesting to see how Esa’s relationship with the Muslim community would be affected. Many of them appear abhorred by what has happened, and they can’t speak highly enough of the victim. I imagined that some relationships he has would turn sour because of this.

There are some thought-provoking scenes in this book; I thought this particularly when Rachel was becoming acquainted with the members at the mosque. There is one scene in particular, which struck with me when they are discussing terrorism in all of its different forms. I think it is true that we associate acts of terrorism more with certain groups of people when it has happened throughout history. I thought Rachel’s undercover operation was one of the most gripping aspects of the story. You can see the worry that Khattak has for her as she becomes more absorbed in what has been happening at the mosque. There is tension here as you begin to fear that Rachel’s true identity will be discovered and you are fearful about what will happen to her.

There are some dramatic final scenes in this book which I thought gave the novel a satisfying ending. I was constantly wondering if the police were going to manage to stop the attack the terrorists were planning.

Although it is a heavy read at times, and it does tackle a difficult subject matter, I found The Language of Secrets to be utterly absorbing. It is a dark and engaging story that I’m sure will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication date: 26th October 2017

Print length: 336 pages

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Unrest by Jesper Stein blog tour @jesper_stein @TheMirrorBooks

UNREST_HIGH (1)

Source: Review Copy

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When the bound, hooded corpse of an unidentified man is found propped up against a gravestone in the central cemetery, Axel Steen is assigned the case.

Rogue camera footage soon suggests police involvement and links to the demolition of the nearby Youth House, teeming with militant far-left radicals. But Axel soon discovers that many people, both inside and out of the force, have an unusual interest in the case and in preventing its resolution.

With a rapidly worsening heart condition, an estranged ex-wife and beloved five-year-old daughter to contend with, Axel will not stop until the killer is caught, whatever the consequences. But the consequences turn out to be greater than expected – especially for Axel himself.

Assured, innovative storytelling for fans of Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell and Lee Child.

MY THOUGHTS

Jesper Stein emerges as an exciting new voice in Nordic Noir. When the novel opens, the city of Copenhagen in Denmark is on lockdown as riots break out. For me, it did bring back memories of the London riots, which took place in 2011, and I thought the scenes were very well written and very vivid. Detective Superintendent Axel Steen enters the picture, and as the situation comes under control, a body is discovered in a nearby cemetery. And what’s more, a young man who was involved in the riots has disappeared with vital CCTV footage that could be pivotal to the investigation as it could show the face of the killer(s).

What immediately intrigued me was how the body had been left in the cemetery. It was clear that the victim had suffered horrific abuse before being killed and I wanted to know who he was and what he had done to deserve the fate inflicted upon him, or if indeed there was any reason at all. We immediately get a sense that the police face huge levels of mistrust in the city, and you can see how it is going to be difficult for Axel to understand what has happened. Journalists are also keen to paint the police in a bad light after their response to the riots, which doesn’t make things easy for them.

Axel is an intriguing character. The opening scene allows you a glimpse into the workings of his mind, and it does make you think about what has gone wrong in his life. I was interested to see how his character would develop further as the novel progressed, particularly his relationship with his ex-wife. He still has strong feelings for her, and at times I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him as it seems he is struggling to move on from their split. He certainly isn’t a character who always plays by the rules, and this is what made him exciting to follow, even though some of the decisions he makes don’t make him particularly likeable.

Jesper Stein is a writer who I will be keeping an eye out for. Unrest is an exciting debut novel, and I would definitely recommend it for Nordic Noir fans.

Thank you to Melaine Sambells at Mirror Books for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Mirror Books

Publication date: 19th July 2018

Print length: 400 pages

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The Secret by K.L. Slater blog tour @KimLSlater @bookouture

The-Secret-Kindle

Source: Netgalley

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You think you can trust the ones you love most. 

But what if one secret could make you question everything?

Every day, a woman like Louise passes you in the street: elegant, confident, determined. But underneath, she’s struggling.

She doesn’t know her sister, Alice, has been scared of leaving the house since their mother died.
She doesn’t know when Alice babysits her little boy, Archie, he sometimes sees things he shouldn’t.
She doesn’t know Archie has a secret.

A secret that could send cracks through the heart of Louise’s carefully constructed life…

The most gripping psychological thriller you’ll read this year from the Kindle top five bestselling author K.L. Slater. If you love The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, you’ll be absolutely hooked.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

K. L. Slater FullSizeRender

Kim is the bestselling author of psychological crime thrillers ‘Safe With Me,’ ‘Blink,’ ‘Liar,’ ‘The Mistake’ and ‘The Visitor.’ Her latest thriller, ‘The Secret’ will be published by Bookouture on 27th July 2018 and is now available for pre-order.

Kim’s titles are soon to be published in paperback by Sphere in the UK and Grand Central in the USA.

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents and a book deal which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer, has one grown-up daughter, Francesca, and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

She also writes award-winning YA fiction for Macmillan Children’s Books, writing as Kim Slater.

MY THOUGHTS

The Secret is an absolutely gripping psychological thriller from K.L. Slater. I haven’t read a K.L. Slater novel since I read Blink early last year and now I’m thumping myself on the head with regret that I haven’t caught up on her work since. She is a writer who knows how to hook her readers really early on and you won’t stop turning the pages until the end.

Louise and Alice were two captivating characters. Louise is a businesswoman; she has a young son, a husband and a high flying career. Her sister, Alice however lives on her own; it has been a long time since she has had a relationship and she doesn’t have any friends, she spends a lot of her time staying on her own in her flat. They are both very different to each other but it is clear from the beginning that there is something in their past that is haunting them and tensions between the two soon begin to spill over. We also know that Louise’s son, Archie is harbouring a big secret and this fuels the suspense as the plot develops.

I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I was reading this book. I was very interested in the lives of both of the characters and what it was in their past that had gone wrong. One of the most enjoyable parts of the novel I found was seeing the relationship grow between Archie and Alice. Louise begins to leave him with her sister in the mornings and in the evenings due to her work commitments. Instantly I was struck by her attitude towards her son and placing her job above her family. I immediately disliked her and this for me didn’t change. The more Archie is left with Alice, the more you begin to see the effects their relationship has had on them as they have grown up. It is in these moments, between Archie and Alice, that really gets Alice thinking about her sister and what is going on in her life.

The story also flicks back to when the two girls were growing up. K.L. Slater gradually unpicks their relationship as the story moves forward and I did find that I began to see a different picture than the one which I thought was the case. The revelations that come towards the end are surprising, especially when we finally learn the truth from Archie about what he has been hiding since the beginning.

There is some strong character development in this book, especially in Alice and Louise, I thought the way in which K.L. Slater explored their relationship was done really well and it kept me intrigued. If you enjoy twisty, character-driven psychological thrillers, then I highly recommend The Secret, you won’t be able to put it down until you have finished. Thank you to Kim Nash at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 27th July 2018

Print length: 331 pages

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