In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone #bookreview blog tour @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Michael J Malone’s, In the Absence of Miracles. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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A young man discovers a family secret that turns his world upside down in this dark, emotive, shocking psychological thriller by number-one bestselling author Michael J. Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

MY THOUGHTS

Dark family secrets and the theme of betrayal, haunt Michael J Malone’s latest thriller, In the Absence of Miracles. This is a heart-wrenching tale, and there is such emotional depth to Michael’s writing. I was pulled in by the characters straight away. I wanted to unravel the secrets that were hiding in their past. I also wanted the answers to many questions I had about the characters themselves.

John Docherty’s elderly mother has recently suffered a massive stroke. He knows that he will need to sell the old family home to pay bills to ensure she has the care she needs. It is an uncomfortable decision he has had to make, but he knows his mother’s health must come first. But as he is clearing out items at his family’s property, he uncovers a photograph which sends his world into a spin. He may have once had a brother, a brother who he never knew about. John sets out to try and find out what happened to him. He tries to find out why his family decided to keep his existence a secret from him and his younger brother Chris. But what John discovers is far more shocking than he ever thought possible and it makes him question his own past. Things between them will never be the same again.

I really connected with John as he tried to uncover the truth. What he uncovers is devastating, and John’s emotions came through so strongly in Michael J Malone’s writing as he attempts to come to terms with what he finds. There are some tough themes which Michael explores in this book, such as sexual abuse and trafficking. I did find some parts of the story uncomfortable to read at times, but I was compelled to read on, and Michael deals with these subjects sensitively, not making them over gratuitous. Michael looks at the psychological aspect more, and this is particularly the case with John and his family. Michael examines how past events have affected them in the future. This is also what makes this book a very powerful read.

One of the things which always stand out for me in Michael’s writing is his sense of place and his description. This is something which I can see he thinks a lot about before putting pen to paper as everything he writes about is very vivid. There is tension as well here, as John and Chris come closer to learning the truth, and this is turned up a further notch in the final chapters leading to a heartbreaking and a satisfactory conclusion.

Michael J Malone has written a superb novel, and as I was reading, I felt as though I was in the hands of a very accomplished writer. I have two novels of Michael’s which I still need to catch up on, and I really need to do that very soon. In the Absence of Miracles is a novel, I feel that is best to be savoured and not one to rush. You’ll still be thinking about the characters after you have turned the final page.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th September 2019

Print length: 300 pages

If you would like to purchase In the Absence of Miracles, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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The Bad Place by M.K. Hill #bookreview @markhillwriter @HoZ_Books

Happy publication day to Mark Hill. His latest book The Bad Place is the start of a brand new crime series featuring DI Sasha Dawson and it is published today.

The Bad Place (A Sasha Dawson Thriller Book 1) by [Hill, M.K.]

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The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

Is history repeating itself? Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…

MY THOUGHTS

The Bad Place is an excellent start to a new crime series by M.K. Hill, which I enjoyed reading very much indeed. We witness the kidnapping of six children when their kidnapper hijacks the minibus they are travelling in. He takes them to a remote location which becomes infamously known as The Bad Place to the press. But just what happened there has remained shrouded in mystery, with many people believing that the people directly involved in the kidnapping have not told the full truth. And why did only five of the children escape?

The Bad Place is a thriller where nothing is at it seems. Many years after the terrifying kidnapping took place, the children who were involved, now adults, still meet up and raise a toast to the friend they lost that night. It’s their own way of remembering her, even though some of them no longer see eye to eye. During one evening, when they are hosting a planned get-together, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. It terrifies her into thinking that their kidnapper has returned, but how could it be him when he was killed on the night they were rescued? We are then introduced to DI Sasha Dawson, who was a constable in the police force when the five children were found.

I really liked Sasha. She is determined to put the victims of the crimes first at the forefront of her mind. But her dedication to her work does garner some criticism from her mother. Sasha’s mother fears Sasha is letting her family slip by the wayside and this begins to cause a lot of frictions. Sasha’s mother is quick to let her feelings be known, which does cause some tension between them. Sasha’s home and work life are weaved together very well, and there was a very good balance between the two.

As I was reading this book, I kept thinking that there must be some truth in the speculation that something very dark had yet to be uncovered. After the young girl is kidnapped in the present day I had suspicions about a few people who I thought could be involved. There were quite a few red herrings planted which were skilfully weaved into the story and I didn’t predict the final outcome.

The book had such a chilling opening, and I was hooked right away. I flicked through the pages as fast as I could to find out how everything was going to come together at the end. When the final revelations were revealed, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

The Bad Place is a brilliant introduction to DI Sasha Dawson, and I am definitely keen to read more books featuring her. You’ll be racking your brains right the way through trying to work out just what is going on here and when the final truth hits, it will be shocking.  Very, very good.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 368 pages

If you would like to purchase The Bad Place, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Endgame by Daniel Cole #bookreview blog tour @Daniel_P_Cole @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Endgame by Daniel Cole on my blog today. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

Endgame: The explosive new thriller from the bestselling author of Ragdoll (A Ragdoll Book) by [Cole, Daniel]

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A locked room. A dead body. A secret that went to the grave.

When retired police officer Finlay Shaw is found dead in a locked room, everyone thinks it’s suicide. But disgraced detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes isn’t so sure.

Together with his former partner Detective Emily Baxter and private detective Edmunds, Wolf’s team begin to dig into Shaw’s early days on the beat. Was Shaw as innocent as he seemed? Or is there more to his past than he’d ever let on?

But not everyone wants Wolf back – and as his investigation draws him ever deeper into police corruption, it will not only be his career on the line – but the lives of those he holds closest as well…

MY THOUGHTS

Wolf is back in Daniel Cole’s third crime thriller, Endgame. After events which took place in Ragdoll, the first book in the series, Wolf is in handcuffs after handing himself into the metropolitan police. But before he is handed a sure to be lengthy prison sentence, he has one final request to make. He wants to oversee the investigation into the death of his friend, Finlay Shaw. The police believe Finlay has committed suicide. Wolf can’t believe that Finlay would do this to them and his partner, Maggie. Wolf is determined to solve the matter once and for all, but as their investigations deepen and as Finlay’s murky past is revisited, they uncover far more than they originally bargained for.

Endgame is a swiftly paced novel which moved along at break-neck speed. I’ve followed this series since the beginning. Daniel Cole continues to write very engaging wit, thoroughly entertaining plots and hugely likeable characters who will keep you coming back for more. My favourite character, who has been since I read the first book, is Baxter. She is the character who I think I have engaged with the most over the course of the three books, probably because of her humour. It was really good to see the team back together in this latest book as, although I enjoyed the second book, this is what I think was missing.

I think what sets Daniel Cole’s books out, in my opinion, is their entertainment value. From the first book, this is what has kept me coming back. I remember so clearly the cliff hanger at the end of the last one, Hangman, which made me so desperate to read Endgame as soon as possible. There is also a very strong cinematic edge to all three books, and I can see them lending so well to the big or small screen. I’m sure I’ll be reading whatever Daniel Cole writes next.

Pacy and addictive this is a series of novels which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a read that you can just sink into right from the very first page.

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 352 pages

If you would like to purchase End Game, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay #bookreview

Elevator Pitch: The gripping new crime thriller from number one Sunday Times bestseller for fans of David Baldacci’s The Winner by [Barclay, Linwood]

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It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world – and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment – is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men and women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers . . .

Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

MY THOUGHTS

Elevator Pitch is a slick page-turner by Linwood Barclay, and the tension ratchets up a further notch with every page. I know a couple of people who are terrified of lifts. Even when I step in one, there’s always a niggling, claustrophobic feeling in my mind as the door shuts and I hate the idea of being trapped. This book will make you think twice about using elevators again in the future. Perhaps you may choose to take the stairs, to be on the safe side.

Across the city of New York, high rise buildings are being targeted by a different kind of criminal. Whoever is behind these attacks is highly intelligent, and they are striking unassuming people as they go about their daily routine. But it becomes increasingly hard for the NYPD and the FBI to track this person down. They are using the cities elevators to carry out their crimes. But they can do so far away from the building and can remain undetected. The mayor of New York, Richard Headley, takes a personal interest in the case as does journalist, Barbara Matheson and their paths cross in more ways than one.

The opening chapter sets the bar high for Linwood Barclay, but he absolutely nails it. There was so much tension in those opening pages, and I just knew that something terrifying was going to happen. Although the characters only appeared in this very short scene, I feared for them, and I didn’t want anything terrible to happen.

The writing is so addictive, and I kept flicking those pages forward as I wanted to know who was behind the crimes and what their motive was. Was terrorism the reason behind the attacks, or was this something much more personal? Was there a reason why these people were being targeted?

There’s high tension and suspense right throughout this gripping read, and there is huge entertainment value here. I would love to see it on the big screen. It is a story that isn’t hard to follow at all, and it doesn’t get over complicated. Great stuff.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase Elevator Pitch, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones