#Overkill by Vanda Symon blog tour @OrendaBooks @vandasymon #NewZealandNoir

Overkill Cover

Source: Review Copy

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Book One in the Sam Shephard Series … a tense and atmospheric thriller by one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.
Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast said her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. To find the murderer … and clear her name.
A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.

MY THOUGHTS

Sometimes a book comes along which you just want to shout from the rooftops about, and Overkill for me is that book. I’d heard many great things about it so my expectations were high and they were certainly met. I’m going to be pressing this book into the hands of everyone who I know who loves crime fiction. This is one of the best introductions to a new crime series that I have read. As I was reading the prologue, I was just staring wide-eyed at the page, completely engrossed by the character’s dilemma and what she was facing at that moment. And I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy case for the police to investigate.

What first drew me to Overkill was the book’s setting. The author, Vanda Symon, sets the novel in her home country, New Zealand. I haven’t read any books set in this part of the world before. In her debut novel, Vanda Symon paints a portrait of a friendly, tight knit community and it seems an idyllic place to live, everyone knows each other’s business. The crime rate appears to be low, and nothing untoward seems to happen, which is why the discovery of the body of one of their own, sends the community, and even the police working on the case into shock. I did wonder how the case was going to affect the town in the long run, especially if there wasn’t a quick resolution. I was beginning to imagine that there would be many pointing the finger at each other and playing the blame game.

Detective Constable Sam Shepherd, who is on the team investigating the case, is acquainted with the woman who has been found and with the victim’s husband as well. Her connection to the individuals at the heart of the crime is what makes this case particularly personal and difficult for her, even more so as she still has strong feelings for the victim’s husband. But Sam tries her best to find out what happened, even when there are many obstacles thrown in her way. She certainly isn’t given an easy time with this case, and this is what makes this book tense and exciting, I wanted to see how she was going to get out of the situation she was now in. But to find out what happens to Sam, you’re going to have to pick up the book to find out as I won’t be revealing anything here.

I did have a huge amount of empathy for Sam throughout the book. I think she is a character who fears change, and she is a person who becomes very attached to people who she knows well, particularly her friend Maggie. But when it comes down to the case, she is determined to get to the bottom of what has happened, and she is feisty in her determination to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

I loved Vanda Symon’s writing style. When I started reading the book, I knew that it wouldn’t take me long to finish. I liked that every now and again there was a slice of humour, which really added to Sam’s characterisation and the people around her.

After reading Overkill I’m really excited to read what Vanda writes next. Overkill is an immersive, page-turner that will have you gripped from the chilling opening right through to the heart-pounding conclusion.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours 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: 30th June 2018 (kindle) 7th September 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

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Murder on the Marshes by Clare Chase Book Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture

Murder on the Marshes: An absolutely gripping English murder mystery (A Tara Thorpe Mystery Book 1) by [Chase, Clare]

Source: Netgalley

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As the sun rises, a wealthy young woman – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a deserted Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat.

It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on Tara’s doorstep the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live… or die.

An absolutely gripping page-turner that will keep you hooked until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Faith Martin, LJ Ross and Joy Ellis. The first in a series of unputdownable Cambridge mysteries featuring Thorpe and Blake.

MY THOUGHTS

Murder on the Marshes is an exciting introduction to a new crime series by Clare Chase, set in historic Cambridge. The marshland setting adds a perfectly eerie atmosphere to this book, especially when our lead character, Tara Thorpe, who lives there (in a rather isolated house), is targeted by a killer. I think this is definitely a new series which I will be following. If you enjoy crime novels with a cosy edge, then I would definitely recommend this one.

What I found worked well with this book was that Clare used Tara’s skills as a journalist to help the police in their investigations. Tara has a unique position over the police; the public may feel more comfortable telling Tara information than if they were approached by DI Blake and his team and Blake uses this to the investigations advantage.

The body of Samantha Seabrook is found in the opening pages of this book, Samantha is a wealthy young woman who leaves an impression on everyone she meets, but not everyone may have been overly enamoured with her. But she also appears to be a very caring person as she is particularly interested in helping those who are less fortunate than her. Tara has been receiving threatening messages which the police believe may have been sent by the person who killed Samantha.

Clare kept me asking questions about Samantha and about what might’ve happened in her history that could be the reason as to why she was killed. Her work colleagues at the university are interesting individuals and I did feel that I couldn’t trust any of them as the investigation moved forward. None of them are particularly likeable but this for me is what made them really interesting.

Clare managed to keep me in the dark as to who the murderer was. I thought the prologue was absolutely brilliant and it ticked all the boxes in what I want from a good opening. It had me questioning what was happening and wondering how the story was going to come back to this scene in the end. The pace does drop a little in the middle, but Clare still kept up the intrigue, and I was especially interested in Tara and Samantha’s earlier life which could be the key to the case.

This is the first piece of work that I have read by Clare, and I am looking forward to seeing where she takes the series next. I think there is definitely room for some exciting character development between Tara and DI Blake. Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance review copy.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 31st July 2018

Print length: 346 pages

Murder on the Marshes is available to buy by clicking the link below. Happy Reading!

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The Other Couple by Sarah J Naughton blog tour @SarahJNaughton @TrapezeBooks

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Source: Netgalley

It was meant to be the perfect honeymoon.

A five-star resort in paradise.

White sands, a private villa and world-class cuisine.

A chance for newlyweds Asha and Ollie Graveney to recover from a recent tragedy, and enjoy the holiday of their dreams.

Except someone has other plans…

And paradise has turned into a nightmare.

MY THOUGHTS

This is a fantastic psychological thriller that is highly engaging. I enjoyed Sarah Naughton’s previous novel, Tattletale, but in my opinion, I think her second is even better. It is easily a one-sitting read, and the characters and the plot will keep you gripped right the way through. I loved it.

When we first meet Sarah’s main character, Asha, she is waking up in hospital in Vietnam, unaware of what has happened to her or how she ended up there. I love a novel told across dual time lines, and this was what made this book really gripping as Sarah continued to slowly reveal the truth about what has happened to Asha and her new husband. And as she does this, we begin to see a dark story unfold. It was very well plotted, and I liked how Sarah delved into Asha’s and Ollie’s characters as she unpicked their lives. It definitely kept me turning the pages.

What I thought was done really well was how Sarah managed to capture the honeymoon setting. I could easily picture the tropical scenery and the luxury of the resort. Asha was a character who I connected with straight away, and I think this was because she is very different to the other guests at the hotel and that this world is completely new to her. You understand this when she is referring to previous holidays that she has been on with former boyfriends, but she talks about how they formed some really good memories. Her new husband, Ollie was mysterious, and straight away I was wondering what was going on in his world, what was causing him to be so distant to his new wife? There were a number of different scenarios playing around inside my head, but Sarah took the novel in a completely different direction to what I thought was going to happen. The other guests who are sharing the resort with them were all intriguing, and I don’t think that there will be many readers who will find them likeable at all. It does feel as though they are part of an elite club which Asha will have to work very hard to be a part of. Sarah kept me intrigued as I continued to ask questions about what was happening in their lives.

What I thought was poignant about Sarah’s writing was how she reminded us that just around the corner from the luxury Ollie and Asha are enjoying, was a poverty-stricken country and she also highlights the corruption in the police force which was disturbing to read about.

The Other Couple was an addictive, twisty read with a really satisfying ending. If you’re looking for a thriller that you can quickly sink into, then I highly recommend it. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 22nd March 2018 (Kindle) 9th August 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 304 pages

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Perfect Silence by Helen Fields blog tour @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK

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Source: Review Copy

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When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

MY THOUGHTS

This is a series which I have followed since the beginning. Since the first novel Perfect Remains was released, Helen Fields has always taken her books to the next level. I do think that she is one of the most exciting crime writers out there at the moment who always manages to come up with unique ideas for each book. Her novels are always gruesome, they are certainly not for the faint hearted, but what you can expect from a Helen Fields’ book is an absolutely gripping story and it is always great to catch up with DI Callanch and DCI Ava Turner.

The crimes that take place in Perfect Silence are disturbing, which is something I have come to expect in Helen Fields writing. What I really like about Helen Field’s books is that the detectives, especially DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanch, become emotionally attached to the cases they are investigating and to the victims who are involved in the crimes; this adds a very human touch to their characters. This isn’t something that you always see in crime fiction and this is what makes Turner and Callanch two really likeable characters. In this book I found this particularly the case with Ava. But they are not without their own sets of problems and Helen delves deeper into this in her latest book. They are certainly characters who I want to find out more about and they have continued to keep me invested in this series.

The pace in the novel is fast and it never lets up. The plot is engaging, you really do get the sense in this book that the police are racing against the clock to solve the case. Once again Helen takes us into Edinburgh’s murky underworld. She explores several different strands which may or may not be connected and I kept wondering if the person responsible for the killings was behind the other crimes that were taking place.

This is another fantastic addition to this series which keeps going from strength to strength. I always look forward to a new Helen Fields novel and Perfect Silence didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to see where she takes her characters next. Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 23rd August 2018

Print length: 432 pages

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Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce Book Review @harriet_tyce @Wildfirebks

Blood Orange by [Tyce, Harriet]

Source: Review Copy

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Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

MY THOUGHTS

Blood Orange is a smart, fast-paced thriller by Harriet Tyce; it is a novel that will really keep you gripped. It is definitely one to watch out for in 2019.

I was lucky to pick up a copy of this book at the Theakston Crime Festival in July, and it was one of the books I was most excited about reading, it didn’t disappoint. When I first heard about it, I thought that the title sounded very intriguing and it made the book stand out, which is one of the reasons it jumped right to the top of my TBR pile. I still haven’t forgotten that ending and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting about it any time soon. It has an incredible plot twist that I didn’t see coming.

The protagonist, Alison has just been handed her first murder case, and she is hoping that it will take her career to the next level, but as she is caught up in trying to prove her new client’s innocence, her own family life begins to crumble. Alison is having an affair with one of her colleagues, which she is trying to stop, but she is finding this increasingly hard to do. And she is also under a lot of pressure from her husband who is accusing her of putting her work first before the needs of her own family.

Alison was such a great character. Harriet plays with the reader’s emotions towards her which is what I found particularly captivating as the plot evolved and it was done in a very clever way. As the novel began I felt I didn’t have a lot of empathy for Alison as she was cheating on her husband, but I grew to like her, and I was rooting for her towards the end of the book. The affair was one of the most gripping plot points of the novel as I continued to wonder if they were going to be discovered and what the repercussions were going to be for Alison. And there is also some very interesting character study, particularly, I thought in Alison’s new client. I won’t go into any further detail here as I don’t want to spoil the plot but I do think that Alison is a character who will divide many readers and prompt many discussions in book groups.

There are some tense moments as the story races towards its denouement but the hard truth at the end is what really hit and shocked me, and again I can’t say anything more, only to say that it was done so very well and it is so, so chilling. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough. If you enjoy a mix of legal and psychological drama, then I would definitely recommend Blood Orange, especially if you were a fan of Apple Tree Yard. I will be keeping an eye out for what Harriet writes next.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 21st February 2019

Print length: 336 pages

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