Child’s Play by Angela Marsons #bookreview @WriteAngie @bookouture

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on book number 11 in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons on my blog today, Child’s Play. If you’re not yet reading this series you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

Child's Play: A totally unputdownable serial killer thriller (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 11) by [Angela Marsons]

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Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

MY THOUGHTS

Whenever Angela Marsons has a new book out, I never have to read the blurb before I press the purchase button. In the eleventh book in the Kim Stone series, Child’s Play, the discovery of a body on a park bench begins a complex investigation. Angela Marsons delves into the psychology of her characters in her latest book. What she shines a light on is how crucial events in a person’s past can have a devastating impact on later moments in their lives.

What Angela Marsons does so well at in her books, is that she manages to bring each character to life, even the characters who aren’t regulars in the series. There’s a chilling opening sequence to this book. As the book begins, the story is told from the point of view of the killer, and it makes for a chilling first scene. I got the feeling straight away that this was someone who was after revenge, and I wanted to know what had happened to drive them towards this devastating decision. And this is what makes Angela’s books so gripping; she makes you want to find out more, and she hooks you right from the start.

When Angela introduces us to Victoria, the sister of the woman who has been found murdered, I knew that there were going to be a lot of obstacles placed in Kim’s way. Victoria doesn’t seem to want to help Kim and her team at all to find the person responsible. As Kim delves further into their relationship and their past, it’s clear that there’s something that Victoria does not want to discuss with them, and it’s going to be very hard for Kim to get the answers from her. From the moment Kim first speaks to Victoria, I wanted to know what was going on in Victoria and her sister’s relationship, and why she was acting the way she was.

I was not expecting this book to go down the path that Angela took the story, and this made me even more intrigued. But this part of the story only becomes clearer as Kim finds out more about what happened in Victoria and her sister’s past, so I don’t want to talk too much more about the plot.

Another character who comes to the forefront in Child’s Play is DS Penn, who is a latecomer to the series. Penn is in the middle of another investigation which is threatening to fall apart at the seams. I liked seeing his character grow in this book, and it’ll be interesting to see how his character develops in future books in the series.

Kim’s friendship with her colleague Bryant is really one of the strong points in this series. I think I may have said this in one of my previous reviews, but my favourite scenes are often when it is Kim and Bryant alone together. But also Stacey is a character who has grown stronger over the last several books, and I’ve enjoyed seeing her go from strength to strength as well. This time around a new character joins Kim’s team, and it’s going to be intriguing to see how she fits in, especially as Kim refers to her as Tinkerbell. It made me laugh a few times as Kim seems to find her cheeriness, especially irritating. But I think she’ll be a good addition to the team.

As always, what you can expect from an Angela Marsons book is a gripping story that will keep you turning those pages. The short snappy chapters keep the pace flying forward, and as ever the plot and the personality of the characters draws you in straight away. Another top read from this series.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 11th July 2019

Print length: 352 pages

Child’s Play is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Previous Reviews

First Blood

Dead Memories

Fatal Promise

Dying Truth

Broken Bones

Dead Souls

 

 

A Knock at the Door by T. W. Ellis #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on A Knock at the Door by T. W. Ellis which is released in e-book today. T. W. Ellis is a pseudonym for bestselling author, Tom Wood, who is known for his Victor novels.

A Knock at the Door by [T.W. Ellis]

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They ask for your husband. They just want to talk. THEY’RE LYING.

Your husband isn’t who he says he is, say the people at your door. Come with us.

Don’t trust them, says a voice on the phone. Run.

Who would you believe?

In this terrifying first psychological thriller by bestselling author T.W. Ellis, one woman goes on the run and is forced to question everything she held dear . . .

MY THOUGHTS

There’s action on every single page in T. W. Ellis’s A Knock at the Door and the pace never slows down. T.W. Ellis is a pseudonym for Tom Wood. I haven’t read any of his boos before, but now I’ll be catching up on his Victor novels. These books have been lingering on my TBR pile for far too long.

Jem Talhoffer’s life is turned upside down when two strange visitors turn up at her house, not long after her husband, Leo has left to travel to England. In a split second, she learns that her husband isn’t the man who she thought she knew and that her whole marriage has been a lie. Now there are some very dangerous individuals who want to kill her for whatever mess her husband has got himself caught up in. Jem must fight for survival.

T. W. Ellis has created a belter of a thriller that had me completely and utterly hooked. I don’t think I’ve ever raced through a book quite so fast. I wanted to know what it was that Leo was involved in, and it seems very clear that his wife can’t trust anyone. This is the real hook of the novel. Jem has to believe that she can trust her husband, but why have these people turned up? Why is she suddenly being targeted when her husband is out of the country?

Jem is in a very perilous situation which is not her fault, and I wanted to see how things were going to pan out for her. It seemed as though Jem was very much on her own, and even the people who she felt she could turn to, I still wasn’t sure if she should trust them. There’s a real sense of time ticking towards an explosive finale as Jem races to find out the truth, and the final scenes bring some shocking reveals that I didn’t see coming.

This is a perfect read if you’re looking for an escape, the writing will pull you into the story and keep you there. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Sphere

Publication date: 7th May 2020 (kindle) 9th July 2020 (hardcover)

Print length: 384 pages

A Knock at the Door is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo

After Dark by Dominic Nolan #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on After Dark, the stunning new novel by Dominic Nolan on my blog today.

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A girl held captive her entire life
After a shocking discovery, the police must unravel a mystery that horrifies the nation.

A detective condemned as a criminal
Violently abducted while searching for a missing woman, D.S. Abigail Boone suffered retrograde amnesia – remembering nothing of her previous life. Defying the law to hunt those responsible, she now languishes behind bars.

A monster hiding in the shadows
In desperation, police turn to Boone – who fears a connection to the disappearance of a child three decades earlier…and a mysterious underworld figure whose name is spoken only in whispers.

Freed from prison, what will Boone sacrifice – and who must she become – to uncover the terrifying truth?

MY THOUGHTS

When I first met Abigail Boone in Dominic Nolan’s previous novel, Past Life, she was one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across in crime fiction. The second book in the series, After Dark, follows on from events in the previous one, so I would recommend that you pick up the first one before diving into the second. Dominic Nolan writes these books so well, and the picturesque Kent landscape brings to life a haunting and atmospheric setting.

Abigail Boone is a former detective, but following a horrific accident during a previous investigation, she now has no memory of anything before that moment. She can’t even remember her own family. Abigail has had to rebuild her life and make the best out of a bad situation. This is what I think makes her character so unique. Abigail has had to start afresh, but you can see how painful this is for her, especially as she feels very little physical connection to her son and her former husband.

But aside from creating intriguing characters, the plot has a strong hook, and it opens with an explosive prologue which drew me into the story from the first page. In the opening chapters, a young girl has been found wandering. But what is shocking to the police and the doctors who examine her, is that she has no identification. She hasn’t developed as other children had, and there are strong suspicions that she has been kept in captivity since birth? But how has she managed to free herself? What sort of person would do something like this?

After the conclusion of the Past Life, Boone has since been in prison, but DI Barbara Brown seeks her help with the investigation as it may be linked to the case Abigail was previously involved in. But Abigail soon finds herself in even murkier waters as another woman seeks her help to find her son who went missing thirty years earlier, and it seems that the cases might be linked.

Boone is such a brilliant character who I am hoping is going to return in future books. I feel that there is a lot more to learn about her, and I’m interested to see how she will develop. I will certainly be returning to find out. After Dark is a gritty crime novel that will keep you invested in the characters and Dominic Nolan weaves together an utterly gripping plot.

Publisher: Headline

Publication date: 5th March 2020

Print length: 448 pages

After Dark is available to buy:

Amazon UK   Kobo   Waterstones

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald #bookreview blog tour @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the latest book by Helen Fitzgerald on my blog today, Ash Mountain. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Ash Mountain by [Helen FitzGerald]

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Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer. As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…

MY THOUGHTS

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald is unlike any other book I’ve read so far this year. This is a fast and furious read that will pull you into the setting and the secrets that are buried in the small town waiting to be unearthed.

Fran Collins has recently returned to her hometown, Ash Mountain, to care for her father, but the town is full of dark memories and a deep sense of injustice. Helen Fitzgerald’s description is vivid as the novel opens with darkening clouds and streaks of orange and red as a fire rages out of control. This scene did bring images back to my mind of the Australian wildfires at the start of the year. Helen then takes the plot back thirty years and in the days leading up to the fire, as we begin to see the true scale of what Fran and the residents the town have been through over the past decades. And Helen’s revelations lead up to a pivotal, heart-pounding moment as the book raced towards its conclusion.

As we begin to go back in time to see what happened in Fran’s childhood, I could feel the tension rising. There is an impending sense of doom as the timeline ticks down to the day of the fire.  Harrowing and dark secrets are unearthed, and even before the flames take hold, it seems as though there is a dark cloud hanging over Ash Mountain and the people who live there. You can feel that everything is about to come apart at the seams and that things may never be the same for the people of the town. This is what keeps the tension turning up a notch as the novel progresses.

Helen Fitzgerald paints a vivid portrayal of the small-town setting and the people who live there. You can see where the hub of the community is and how important it is to the locals. Her writing style pulls you into the story. Helen writes dark humour really well, and as I was reading, I did find myself smiling and sometimes laughing out loud. This is what makes her writing really unique, and it’s what I thought when I read her previous book, Worst Case Scenario, which is equally brilliant.

I flew through the final pages of the book as Helen takes us right back to the beginning again when the residents of the town are trying to protect themselves from the raging fire. As the event unfolded on the page, there were some parts to the finale which had me gripping tightly to my kindle as I waited to see what would happen.

Ash Mountain is a breath-taking book that will keep you hooked right until the last page. Helen Fitzgerald is such a unique voice in the crime fiction field, and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 14th March 2020

Print length: 210 pages

Ash Mountain is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

FINAL Ash Mountain BT Poster

The Cutting Place by Jane Casey #bookreview @JaneCaseyAuthor @1stMondayCrime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the latest Maeve Kerrigan thriller by Jane Casey, The Cutting Place. Of course, First Monday Crime was meant to be taking place tonight but due to the ongoing crisis it has had to be cancelled. Jane was meant to be appearing alongside, Dominic Nolan, Chris Whitaker and Tim Glister so please do check out the other authors who were meant to be on tonight’s panel.

The Cutting Place: The gripping latest new crime thriller from the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author (Maeve Kerrigan, Book 9) by [Jane Casey]

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Everyone’s heard the rumours about elite gentlemen’s clubs, where the champagne flows freely, the parties are the height of decadence . . . and the secrets are darker than you could possibly imagine.

DS Maeve Kerrigan finds herself in an unfamiliar world of wealth, luxury and ruthless behaviour when she investigates the murder of a young journalist, Paige Hargreaves. Paige was working on a story about the Chiron Club, a private society for the richest and most privileged men in London. Then she disappeared.

It’s clear to Maeve that the members have many secrets. But Maeve is hiding secrets of her own – even from her partner DI Josh Derwent. Will she uncover the truth about Paige’s death? Or will time run out for Maeve first?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve long been a fan of Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series, and The Cutting Place is her best yet.  The pace moves fast right from the opening pages when Maeve arrives at a crime scene. The body of a woman, cut up has been discovered on the banks of the River Thames. The victim is later identified as journalist, Paige Hargreaves who up until recently had been investigating a private club. The Chiron Club is exclusive, and not everyone can join. But what gave Paige a reason to investigate it, and why did she have to die? What did she discover? As Maeve and her team investigate it further, it is clear that the club’s members carry dark and disturbing secrets, and they are willing to do anything to make sure that no one finds out the truth.

One of the strongest parts of this series is Maeve’s friendship with her colleague Derwent. Although this can be stretched at times, I think they work together really well, and I am always excited to see them return in a new book. There is always a lot of humour whenever they are together, and it makes for really entertaining reading. This time around Derwent is faced with a new dilemma which I won’t go into any further details about here as I don’t want to spoil it, but it does paint his character in a new light. We also see this as well when he gets involved in a police investigation into a cot death and is briefly taken away from the investigation into Paige’s murder.

There is a really chilling atmosphere inside The Chiron Club. This is a club that is dominated by male masculinity, and Jane Casey explores dark themes as she takes the reader inside. I felt more fearful for the characters as they stepped closer to uncovering the truth about what goes on there. The people who run the club aren’t keen to divulge any information to Maeve and her team. It is going to be tough for them to get to the bottom of what goes on behind the club’s closed doors, but Maeve is determined to make sure that they find out the truth.

Jane Casey’s writing is absorbing from the first page; I’m always drawn right into the plot and into the lives of characters. Every time I come to the end of one of her books, I can’t wait to get my hands on her next. Jane Casey always writes thrilling and gripping police procedurals, and I can’t recommend her novels highly enough.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 3rd April 2020 (kindle) 16th April 2020 (hardcover)

Print length: 390 pages

The Cutting Place is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

April Wrap-Up

April has to have been one of the strangest months of my life; I don’t think the situation we’re now in would have ever crossed anyone’s minds. In the UK we’ve just completed our first full month in lock-down, and we still don’t know when we’re likely to get some element of normality back. But I’m hoping that by June we will have some form of freedom.

April has been quite a busy month on the blog though however, so I have had that to keep me going. I have managed to keep on top of my reading challenge. I have now so far read 54 books out of 160.

I have also managed to make some more progress on my own writing, and I have written over sixty thousand words for the next draft of my book.

I took part in nine blog tours this month, and I have listed the links below in case you missed any.

The Silent House by Nell Pattison

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton

I Am Dust by Louise Beech

Strangers by C.L. Taylor

Silenced for Good by Alex Coombs

The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin

Can You See Her? by S.E. Lynes

The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott

I also managed to catch up on several books that have been on my TBR pile for far too long. I’m hoping to make more of a dent in my TBR pile this month. But these are some of the books I managed to catch up on that have been screaming at me for attention.

The Death Knock by [Elodie Harper]

After Dark: a stunning and unforgettable crime thriller by [Dominic Nolan]

I have a busy month ahead for May as well. I have seven blog tours coming up, Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald on Monday, 4th May. Ground Rules by Richard Whittle and Killing Mind by Angela Marsons on Thursday, 14th May. The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir on the Friday, 15th May, Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten on Sunday 17th May, Winter Rising by Alex Callister on Wednesday 20th May and He Started It by Samantha Downing on Monday, 25th May.

That’s all from me for this month. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of the above titles and what you thought, let me know what you’re reading at the moment as well. Right now I’m currently reading Lethal White by Robert Galbraith.

Happy Reading!

 

Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds #bookreview @Rod_Wr @OrendaBooks

Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and it did not disappoint. I’m sharing my thoughts on my blog today.

Blood Red City by [Rod Reynolds]

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When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless

MY THOUGHTS

I must admit, I’ve still not read Rod Reynolds previous Charlie Yates novels, they have been sat waiting patiently on my TBR pile for far too long. Now that I have read his latest, Blood Red City, I’m determined to get to them as soon as possible. For those of you that like an action-filled book that gets going right from the first page, and doesn’t let up, you will love this one. As I was reading it, the book put me in mind of the recent BBC Drama, The Capture, so if you were a fan of the series, I think you will enjoy this. This book blew me away!

The hook is there right from the start when journalist, Lydia, is shown a video of an apparent assault on a man in the London Underground. More recently Lydia has been covering the show business section which she hates, and she sees this as an opportunity to get back to doing what she loved. But as she investigates the case further, it seems that no one appears to have witnessed anything. In the era of fake news, it’s little wonder that it may seem that the whole video Lydia has seen could be a lie. Whatever the cost, she is determined to find out what happened. Who is the man? What if there has been a cover-up? As Lydia’s investigations get underway, she falls under the eye of some frightening individuals, and it becomes very clear that by investigating this matter to bring out the truth, she is putting her own life at risk.

As the plot of gets underway, we are introduced to another individual who comes across as ruthless and dangerous, a criminal mastermind. Michael Stringer becomes aware of Lydia’s investigations, and he attempts to track her down. But what is his purpose here? What interest does he have in what Lydia is doing? Is he somehow connected to the video?

When Rod Reynolds first introduces us to Michael, he made me feel nervous. I could see that he is someone who is cunning and that he has a lot of power at his fingertips. I feared for Lydia at this point as I could see that she was sailing closer and closer to danger, and I didn’t know what was going to be around the corner for her. I felt this especially when in the scenes when Lydia was under surveillance and Rod captured the sense of the chase well in his writing, and he raised the tension.

Blood Red City has an action fueled plot which will keep you turning the pages as each chapter presents a heart-racing new turn of events. Rod Reynolds wraps the book up really well, and I am hoping that there is going to be another book following this one. This is brilliant, highly, highly recommend!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 11th April 2020 (kindle) 11th June 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

Blood Red City is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Waterstones