Beast by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview blog tour @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Beast, the latest book in the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Beast (Six Stories Book 4) by [Wesolowski, Matt]

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Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’
However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

MY THOUGHTS

Beast by Matt Wesolowski is the fourth book in the Six Stories series, and it is his most terrifying and chilling book to date. After the devastating events for our protagonist, Scott King, which took place in the last book, he is now investigating the death of a young vlogger who died while taking part in a social media challenge.

The social media challenge which features in this book is so disturbing. Elizabeth Barton is taking part in the ‘dead in six days’ challenge, which she is broadcasting to her subscribers via her blog. During the six days, she is spending that time in a gothic, supposedly haunted tower.  Some of the locals believe a vampire inhabits the tower. This is a story which has plagued the town for decades, passed down the generations. But what happens to Elizabeth is devastating. Elizabeth is locked inside the tower. In a sickening turn of events, her body is found with her head missing. With three men arrested for the crime, a prank they say which went wrong, there are still some unanswered questions which Scott King is determined to find the answers to.

Scott King delves deep into the mystery behind Elizabeth Barton’s death and the disturbing local folklore myths. Taking folklore myths and examining them is something that Matt Wesolowski does so well in his books. But he still manages to create a terrifying atmosphere which will have you looking over your shoulders.

Matt’s books can very easily be read in a couple of sittings, and I like the fact that they are short quick reads. They are utterly absorbing. You become wrapped up in the mystery that Scott King is investigating, so much so, that it could almost be a real live case. I’m still thinking of the legend of the vampire several days after I’ve read it. I liked how Matt Wesolowski makes us think about how such ideas can evolve over time. I think this can be said as well about many dark myths and legends.

Beast is another enthralling addition to the Six Stories series, and I can’t wait to see what type of case Scott King will be delving into next. Another riveting read by Matt Wesolowski.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 20th December 2019 (kindle) 6th February 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Previous Reviews

Hydra

Changeling

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The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley #bookreview blog tour @rmorganbentley @Tr4cyF3nt0n @TrapezeBooks

Happy publication day to Robin Morgan-Bentley. His debut novel, The Wreckage is released today and I’m delighted to be sharing my review as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

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Things will never be the same again…

Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to the school where he works.

A day like any other, except for Adam, who in a last despairing act jumps in front of Ben’s car, and in killing himself, turns the teacher’s world upside down.

Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, Ben develops a friendship with Alice, Adam’s widow, and her 7-year-old son Max.

But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could Ben go too far in trying to make amends?

Gripping and sinister, The Wreckage is guaranteed to keep you up all night…

MY THOUGHTS

Robin Morgan-Bentley hits the ground running in his debut thriller, The Wreckage. We are thrown headfirst into a devastating scene as a man launches himself in front of a car on a motorway. A police investigation quickly proves that the man committed suicide, leaving his devastated family and the traumatised man who hit him behind. Robin Morgan-Bentley examines just how much trauma such an event can inflict on a person. And he does this very well with his character, Ben.

The Wreckage is an emotional, hard-hitting page-turner. You can see how much of an effect the man’s suicide has had on his family and particularly on the man who hit him, Ben. This comes through very strongly in Robin’s writing. You can really sense just how painful this is for Ben as he struggles to come to terms with the pain that he has inflicted on Alice and her son.

Ben forms an attachment to the man’s widow, Alice, and for a while, it appears that they may have developed a relationship united by grief. But all is not quite as it seems as Ben is very keen to become a permanent fixture in Alice’s and Max’s lives. Soon Ben’s concern for Alice and her son, Max turns to a dangerous point of obsession. And this frightens Alice. She quickly realises that she has to let Ben go, but Ben isn’t quite ready to forget about her.

Robin Morgan-Bentley’s writing is taut, and it keeps you turning the pages. As Ben grows closer to Alice and her son Robin keeps the tension simmering in the background. As I was reading, I felt that there wasn’t something quite right here. I could sense that the tension was going to fire right up, and this is what kept me reading.

The story is told both through Alice and Ben’s point of views. I had mixed feelings about Alice and Ben. In the first few chapters, I could see that Ben was quite vulnerable and that any decision taken too lightly on Alice’s part might be enough to tip him over the edge. I didn’t quite take to Alice until much later on; I think this was because she seemed to be quite eager to move on from her husband’s suicide. By the end, though, I was rooting for her. Once you get to the end you can certainly see why she decided to take some of the decisions that she did.

I don’t think I quite thought Ben as particularly dangerous as I was reading this book. But it was the simmering tension that was around him that made me feel concerned for Alice. It made me wonder who Ben really was and what his business was in getting involved in them.

Devastating truths that come later on in the book turn everything you thought you knew on its head.

Robin Morgan-Bentley kept me gripped by his writing. This idea really does make you think about the after effects of an incident and how chance happenings can have a big impact on the rest of your life. The Wreckage is a totally immersive read.

Publication date: 6th February 2020

Print length: 336 pages

Publisher: Trapeze

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

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

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January Round-up

That’s the first month of the year done and dusted. I feel like I’ve made a good dent in my 2020 reading target so far. I’ve so far managed to read a total of 12 books out of my reading target of 160 books. We’ll see how close I am to meeting that goal in a few months time.

Blogging-wise this month, a little bit quieter on the reviewing side. I’ve reviewed 9 titles this month on the blog and I’ve included the links to my reviews below.

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone

Deadland by William Shaw

The Mothers by Sarah J Naughton

Someone You Know by Olivia Isaac-Henry

Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham

Hold Your Tongue by Deborah Masson

The Home by Sarah Stovell

Die For Me by Jesper Stein

Firewatching by Russ Thomas 

I’ve attended two bookish events so far this year. On the 14th January 2020 I went to Waterstones Piccadilly where I met up with Karen from My Reading Corner and Meggy from Chocolate’n’Waffles. This was to listen to Harriet Tyce author of Blood Orange, Lucie Whitehouse author of Critical Incidents and Louise Candlish author of Those People.

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On the 29th January I traveled back into London, this time to The News Building at London Bridge for the HQ Fiction New Voices evening. Listening to the authors pitch their books definitely made me want to pick some of them up and start reading straight away. They only had sixty seconds to do this. One I do have an eye on is The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson which is crime novel coming out in February 2021. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet some new faces for the first time as well.

With Sarah Swan, Linda Hill & Louise Jensen

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At the News Building 

I’ve got a few blog tours coming up in February, the first being Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst on the 1st. The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley on the 6th, Watching From the Dark by Gytha Lodge on the 13th, Liar Liar by Mel Sherratt on the 18th, The Holdout by Graham Moore on the 25th, Blood Will Be Born by Gary Donnelly on the 27th and Bury Them Deep by James Oswald right at the end of the month on the 28th.

Aside from reading books for blog tours, I’ve also managed to read a couple of books that weren’t part of my schedule. I raced through Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain which I started on the night I bought it and by the end of the evening I’d devoured the first 100 pages. I’ve also been reading Prayer for the Dead which is the fifth book in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald. I’ve actually fallen a bit behind on this series and I’m hoping to catch up before I read the 10th book for the blog tour.

Six Wicked Reasons: A gripping new thriller with a breathtaking twist from the number one bestseller by [Spain, Jo]     

That’s about everything for this month. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of the books I’ve featured and what you think of them.

Happy Reading!

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst #bookreview blog tour @EngerThomas @LierHorst @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Police officer Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm join forces to track down a serial killer with a thirst for attention and high-profile murders, in the first episode of a gripping new Nordic Noir series…

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.
Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

MY THOUGHTS

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst is one of the most gripping crime novels I’ve read. I was a huge fan of Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series, so I was really interested to see what he had in store for us with this book. Enger and Horst deliver with a high tension and an action-packed read that will keep your eyes glued to the page.

The novel opens with a horrifying scene when Detective Alexander Blix is called to a domestic dispute which ends in catastrophe. There is a high level of tension in this opening scene, paving the way for what is to follow. At this point in time, Alexander has no idea how much of an effect this night will have on events which are to follow.

Fast forward to the present, and the police are handed a high profile case when Sonja Nordstrøm, a local celebrity, goes missing after she fails to turn up for a television interview to promote her latest book. The case takes a dark and terrifying turn, which sees Blix and his team racing against the clock to track down the person behind Sonja’s disappearance before they murder her. And it soon appears that she isn’t the only person in her kidnapper’s sight.

I really liked the element of mystery to this book. Enger and Horst kept me totally gripped as I tried to work out what had happened to Sonja. It really seemed that the police were fighting a losing battle, and the book kept me wondering how they were going to track down the person responsible and find Sonja. You really do get the sense that they’re running out of time to achieve this.

I also liked Blix’s relationship with journalist, Emma Ramn. We begin to see this develop throughout the course of the book, although it doesn’t always look good on Blix’s part when Emma publishes elements of the police investigation. This causes some frictions between him and his superiors who see him as the cause of the leaks. I could see that Blix and Emma genuinely did like each other and that Blix cared for her. He wants to make sure she’s safe, but Emma is keen to be involved in the investigation, and she sails close to danger. This did make me wonder if their friendship would eventually fizzle out. But I think I would like to see it carried forward in future books. And I’m hoping that we’re not going to have to wait too long for the next book.

I’m always intrigued at how two different people can write the same book, but the writing flows seamlessly here. Each character sprang from the page, and the plot was very well executed.

This is an absolutely brilliant book that I would highly recommend. I can’t wait to read more from this series. Very satisfying and extremely well written!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 31st January 2020 (kindle) 20th February 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Death Deserved is available to buy by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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