The Art of Death by David Fennell #bookreview #blogtour @DavyFennell @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Art of Death by David Fennell on my blog today. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

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London’s latest art installation is a real killer . . .

An underground artist leaves three glass cabinets in Trafalgar Square that contain a gruesome installation: the corpses of three homeless men.

With the artist promising more to follow, newly-promoted Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must race against time to follow what few clues have been left by a savvy killer.

As more bodies are exhibited at London landmarks and live streamed on social media, Archer and Quinn’s pursuit of the elusive killer becomes a desperate search.

But when Archer discovers that the killer might be closer than she originally thought – she realises that he has his sights set firmly on her . . .

He is creating a masterpiece. And she will be the star of his show.

MY THOUGHTS

The Art of Death is a fantastic start to a new crime series, and David Fennell is a new crime writer to watch out for. This book utterly gripped me, and I read it really quickly. If you’re a fan of serial killer thrillers, then you need to read this book.

Grace Archer is a fascinating new detective on the crime fiction scene. In David Fennell’s first book, she faces a sadistic serial killer, and it becomes a race against time to catch him. He is a deranged individual who creates art out of his victims. He puts Grace’s entire team on edge when they discover his first victims, and they know he isn’t finished. He has already gained a following on social media, and he is keen to show more of his work. He also has a star victim in sight. I wanted to know if he would succeed in carrying out his plans, and I was rooting for the police to catch him.

The tension in this book never lets up. The chapters are short and snappy, and the dialogue keeps the pace flowing forward. There is tension on every page as Grace and her team race to find the killer. There are also chapters told from his point of view. We get to see how he chooses his victims, and it makes for terrifying, but utterly gripping reading as he carries out his plans. I found myself wanting to scream at the characters he was targeting. I wanted them to see him for who he really was.

I liked the team Grace worked with as well. There is a lot of wit in their conversation. You can see that they all get on with each other. I’m looking forward to seeing how their friendships develop in future books. We are aware that Grace has gone through something terrible in her past, but David Fennell doesn’t go into a lot of details regarding this. One part I really liked was Grace’s relationship with her grandfather, which makes her a really likeable character.

David Fennell certainly doesn’t shy away from gruesome details, and there are some quite graphic scenes. You get a real sense of how insane the killer is and how keen he is to carry out his crimes. The only way he is going to be stopped is if the police catch him first. As the novel drew closer to its conclusion, I was able to guess who the killer was, but I wanted to see how things were going to pan out.

The Art of Death is an exciting, gripping start to a new series, introducing a fresh new voice in the crime fiction market. I loved it, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Art of Death is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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The Art of Death 20.11

Out in the Cold by Stuart Johnstone #bookreview @story_stuart @AllisonandBusby

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the chilling novel by Stuart Johnstone, Out in the Cold.

Out in the Cold: The thrillingly authentic Scottish crime debut (Sergeant Don Colyear Book 1) by [Stuart Johnstone]

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Intuition is everything in the police force, something that Sergeant Don Colyear knows better than most.

When a superior officer’s decision not to respond to a routine disturbance has fatal consequences, Colyear finds himself sent away from Glasgow to work in a remote Highlands town.

Despite not wanting to be there, a feeling shared by his commander, Colyear soon settles into life investigating petty crimes. But it isn’t long before he discovers something strange about the town. A string of teenage disappearances seems to have been ignored by the authorities. And when a groundsman from the local sporting estate is gruesomely murdered, Colyear suspects that long-held secrets could be coming to the surface.

As he delves further into the town’s history, it isn’t long before his own life is at risk.

MY THOUGHTS

I loved Out in the Cold by Stuart Johnstone. If you’re a fan of Paul Finch’s DS Mark Heckenburg series, then you need to give this a go. It’s pacy, addictive and really atmospheric.

When Don Colyear arrives in a remote Highlands town, after being transferred there from Glasgow, he isn’t exactly given a warm reception. In fact, his new boss tells him from the start that he didn’t want him there, and his placement in the town does seem strange as well. The police station is due to close within weeks, so what will happen to him after then? But there is a disturbing reason why he isn’t made to feel particularly welcome. Soon, Don finds himself very close to danger.

I love a crime novel set in an isolated location. There is tension right from the moment Don arrives in the town, and the setting made me feel very uncomfortable. I wanted to know why there was so much animosity towards Don when he first arrived. If I was in his position, I would have wanted to leave on the first day, particularly as the station was closing down soon anyway. There are times as well when Don himself questions why he stays.

But Don immediately feels that there isn’t something right about the town. Soon he becomes aware of reports of teenagers going missing. It is presumed they have run off to get out the town where there isn’t much going on. But Don thinks there is something more going on here. He also seems to be the only person interested in the disappearance, apart from the teenager’s parents. This I found really disturbing. I wanted to know what was going on here and I was rooting for Don to get to the truth. It’s what makes him stay as he knows that there is something here which he needs to get to the bottom of.

The pace in this novel flowed really well, and I loved the dialogue. I wouldn’t say it was, on the whole, a fast-paced read, but there are some taut scenes which had me on the edge of my seat. Stuart Johnstone describes these moments in the book really well, and the writing makes it feel as though the action is happening right in front of you. We also learn some intriguing things about Don as well, which does, in a way, give the novel a hint of a supernatural element to it as well.

Out in the Cold is a must-read for police procedural fans. I’m hoping that there are going to many more books to come in this series.

Publisher: Allison & Busby

Publication date: 19th November 2020

Print length: 320 pages

Out in the Cold is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Girl A by Abigail Dean #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Abigail Dean, Girl A.

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‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

MY THOUGHTS

There has been such a buzz surrounding Girl A by Abigail Dean, I knew I had to bump it right to the top of my TBR pile. This is a very dark read. It’s haunting and powerful, and in fact, as I was so immersed in the story, I didn’t want it to end.

We meet Lex, who has been dubbed ‘Girl A,’ by the press following her escape from her parents ‘house of horrors,’ when she was young. Now a successful lawyer living in New York, she has to come back to the UK, following her mother’s death, who has died in prison. Her mother has left the house they grew up in, to her and her siblings in her will. And now, coming back home, Lex once again has to face her past.

Abigail Dean’s writing draws you into her story right from the very first page. It’s not a fast paced read, but I found myself utterly gripped by the story and the characters. Lex was a character who I wanted to find out more about, and I wanted to know the full details of what had happened in her childhood. You can see just how uncomfortable she is about the idea of coming back home. She just wants the visit to be over and done with and to be allowed to get on with the rest of her life, and I couldn’t really blame her for thinking this way. She doesn’t want to hear anything about her mother’s final days. Some of the prison staff try to persuade her to think of her mother in a different light. They also, try to tell her how much they believe she has changed.

Abigail Dean gradually begins to reveal more information. In the flashback scenes, I found Abigail’s writing very intense as she explores the relationship between Lexie and her parents. In the present, we can see just how much the years spent with their parents have affected the children as adults.

I found I did struggle to feel any sympathy for Lex. She came across as very cold as I was reading the book. I felt this, especially when it seemed that she wasn’t too keen to spend time with the rest of her family.

Girl A is such a compelling read. I deliberately slowed down so that I could savour it and that doesn’t happen very often when I’m reading. I’m sure this is a book which I’ll keep returning to from time to time, and I can’t wait to see what Abigail Dean comes up with next. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 21st January 2021

Print length: 336 pages

Girl A is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones