Cry For Mercy by Karen Long #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book in the DI Eleanor Raven series by Karen Long, Cry For Mercy.

Cry for Mercy: An utterly addictive crime thriller with gripping mystery and suspense (Detective Eleanor Raven Book 1) by [Karen Long]

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It should have been the best day of her life. It became the last.

Lydia’s mouth curls into a delighted smile as she spots the man in front of her on the quiet, suburban street. She has been expecting him, and she feels like the luckiest girl alive as she steps into the waiting car.

But Lydia isn’t as lucky as she thought—not when her parents frantically report that she never came home last night.
Not when her body is found, carefully displayed in an abandoned warehouse, miles from home.
And then another woman goes missing. How many more will disappear before her twisted killer is uncovered?

MY THOUGHTS

Cry For Mercy is a really fast-paced thriller. It’s the first book in Karen Long’s Detective Eleanor Raven series, and I loved it. It’s dark, gruesome, and the writing kept me turning the pages. I’ve already bought the second book in the series, and I can’t wait to read it.

Karen Long opens her novel with a really gruesome opening chapter. She sets the tone for what is to come. Straight away, we know that we are dealing with a terrifying killer here. This is a killer who enjoys torturing their victims. But when the body of the woman is located and identified, the police investigation becomes really complicated and Karen Long explores some very dark themes.

If you love a good serial killer thriller, then you really need to add this book to your TBR pile. I liked Eleanor Raven right from the start, she’s a really intriguing police detective. I thought the rest of her team were really likeable characters as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop from here. I loved the fact that a dog was part of the team as well. Eleanor did remind me of the character DI Helen Grace in M.J. Arlidge’s crime series as I was reading. So if you’re a fan of his books, I think you’ll enjoy this one. I also really liked that this book was set in Toronto, Canada, which made it feel very fresh to me as I was reading it.

The tension never drops as the police race to find the killer, and it soon becomes clear that they have DI Eleanor Raven in their sight as well. It’s what keeps the tension turning up a notch as the police race to catch them as the killer sets their plan in motion. You know that they are determined to see their plan through, regardless of what this may mean for them if anything goes wrong, particularly as they are targeting a police officer. I raced through the final chapters; I was desperate to know what was going to happen.

Cry For Mercy is a really exciting start to a new series, and I’m sure that it’s one I’m going to be sticking with. I highly recommend it!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 16th November 2020

Print length: 304 pages

Cry For Mercy is available to buy:

Amazon UK

WWW Wednesday – 17/03/2021

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

The Night Gate: the Razor-Sharp Finale to the Enzo Macleod Investigations (The Enzo Files Book 7) by [Peter May]

In a sleepy French village, the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree. A week later a famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house. The deaths occurred more than seventy years apart.
Asked by a colleague to inspect the site of the former, forensics expert Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter. Two extraordinary narratives are set in train – one historical, unfolding in the treacherous wartime years of Occupied France; the other contemporary, set in the autumn of 2020 as France re-enters Covid lockdown.

And Enzo’s investigations reveal an unexpected link between the murders – the Mona Lisa.

Tasked by the exiled General Charles de Gaulle to keep the world’s most famous painting out of Nazi hands after the fall of France in 1940, 28-year-old Georgette Pignal finds herself swept along by the tide of history. Following in the wake of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as it is moved from château to château by the Louvre, she finds herself just one step ahead of two German art experts sent to steal it for rival patrons – Hitler and Göring.

What none of them know is that the Louvre itself has taken exceptional measures to keep the painting safe, unwittingly setting in train a fatal sequence of events extending over seven decades.

Events that have led to both killings.

The Night Gate spans three generations, taking us from war-torn London, the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Berlin and Vichy France, to the deadly enemy facing the world in 2020. In his latest novel, Peter May shows why he is one of the great contemporary writers of crime fiction.

A TALE OF GLAMOUR, INTRIGUE AND DESIRE ABOUT A YOUNG WOMAN’S ASTONISHING JOURNEY TO A NEW LIFE IN AUSTRALIA AT THE BRINK OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR

**********
England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, long-hidden secrets begin to surface. Her heart beats faster for the attention of handsome Edward, but is his heart already taken?

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and Lily’s desire for Edward is untameable. But something else is awry on this ship and Lily is determined to find out ….

What have I finished reading?

Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.

Cry for Mercy: An utterly addictive crime thriller with gripping mystery and suspense (Detective Eleanor Raven Book 1) by [Karen Long]

It should have been the best day of her life. It became the last.

Lydia’s mouth curls into a delighted smile as she spots the man in front of her on the quiet, suburban street. She has been expecting him, and she feels like the luckiest girl alive as she steps into the waiting car.

But Lydia isn’t as lucky as she thought—not when her parents frantically report that she never came home last night.
Not when her body is found, carefully displayed in an abandoned warehouse, miles from home.
And then another woman goes missing. How many more will disappear before her twisted killer is uncovered?

What will I read next?

The Bone Keeper: An unputdownable thriller; you'll need to sleep with the lights on by [Luca Veste]

What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?
 
He’ll slice your flesh. 
Your bones he’ll keep.
 
Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned. 
 
Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper.  Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood.  But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone. 

The Killing Choice: Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month ‘Riveting’ (DI Alex Finn 2) by [Will Shindler]

‘Leave your daughter with me, or I will kill you both’

It felt like a normal Friday evening before Karl and his daughter Leah were ambushed by a figure in a blank mask. At knife point, Karl is forced to make an impossible choice. Stay and die, or walk away from Leah and take this thug’s word that they both will live.

Should Karl trust a villain and leave his daughter with a knife at her throat? Could he ever live with himself if he did?

It’s not long before more seemingly unconnected and innocent people across London are offered a deal in exchange for their life. More blood is spilled, more families shattered, and more people are left to suffer with the consequences of their decisions.

DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen must hunt for a killer that appears to have no face, no motive and no conscience before more victims are forced to make their choice.

Future Perfect by Felicia Yap #bookreview #blogtour @rararesources @FeliciaMYap @Wildfirebks

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Felicia Yap, Future Perfect. With thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

Future Perfect: The Most Exciting High-Concept Novel of the Year by [Felicia Yap]

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What if today was your last day…

A bomb has exploded during a fashion show, killing a beautiful model on the catwalk. The murderer is still at large… and he may strike again. Yet this is the least of Police Commissioner Christian Verger’s worries. His fiancée Viola has left him. He has to keep his tumultuous past a secret. To make things worse, his voice assistant Alexa is 99.74% sure he will die tomorrow.

Moving from snowy 1980s Montana to chic 1990s Manhattan to a drone-filled 2030s Britain, FUTURE PERFECT is an electrifying race to solve a murder before it’s too late. Yet it is also a love story, a riveting portrait of a couple torn apart by secrets, grief and guilt. A twisted tale of how the past can haunt a person’s future and be used to predict if he will die… or kill.

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Felicia Yap’s debut novel, Yesterday when I read it a few years ago now, and I couldn’t wait to see what she would come up with next. Her second novel, Future Perfect, is an imaginative, immersive and a very fresh psychological thriller.

What would you do if you were told that today was going to be your last day? Future Perfect is set in the year 2030 in Britain. It’s quite scary to think that 2030 is less than a decade from now. In Felicia Yap’s future version of reality, our lives are controlled by apps more than ever. There is even an app called I-Predict, which accurately predicts how your day will pan out. It drives people to the point of obsession as well. They have to make sure they follow everything down to a T, the app says is going to happen, they go out of their way to make its predictions come true. But what happens when you wake up one morning, and it says “chances of dying 99.74%?” How would you react?

This is what happens to Christian, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. It is also the same day, renowned fashion designer, Alexander King, plans to host a fashion show in London. The fashion show follows a catastrophic event when one of his models was killed on stage at an event in New York just the day before. There are concerns that another attack might take place in London. What is even more concerning is that there are several high profile models taking part, including the Prime Ministers daughter.

I loved the concept in Future Perfect. From the moment when Christian sees his prediction on the app, I wanted to know how things were going to plan out for him. What was going to happen at the fashion show? Who had been responsible for the attack in New York? Christian knows that the app’s predictions are highly likely to come true, and so he is on edge from that moment onwards. I could feel this tension growing as the book raced towards its conclusion.

I loved how Felicia Yap went back to two different timelines throughout the book. There are some very disturbing scenes which take place in America in the 1970s and Manhattan in the 1990s. I wanted to know how the events taking place in the past were connected to the events taking place in the future.

Future Perfect is very cleverly plotted. I loved how Felicia Yap weaved everything together. It makes for a very entertaining read. This is a high-concept read which I would highly recommend if you’re looking for something a bit different in the psychological thriller genre. It is also scary to think how some of the futuristic ideas Felicia Yap explores are very close to becoming a real possibility. I really enjoyed it!

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 18th March 2021

Print length: 343 pages

Future Perfect is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

If I Fall by Merilyn Davies #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Merilyn Davies, If I Fall.

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A gritty, heart-stopping crime thriller that will have you utterly obsessed.

We were told to meet at a rooftop bar.

Four friends, bound by one terrible secret.

No one knew why we were there.

Then we saw a woman, watched as she fell from the edge and plunged to her death.

The police think it’s suicide, but I know better.

Someone is sending a message.

Now they’re coming for us.

MY THOUGHTS

I think I’ve definitely found a new favourite crime series. If I Fall is the second book in Merilyn Davies’s new series featuring Carla Brown, a civilian crime analyst. You don’t need to have read the first book in the series to enjoy the second one, but I am definitely going to be catching up.

There is a really intriguing set-up when someone sends out invitations for a reunion, but that person remains anonymous. The invitations are sent out to four people via Facebook. They are all intrigued as to who has sent out the invites and what it’s all about. But there is also a sinister note to the invitations. When the reunion occurs on a rooftop bar in Oxford, a woman falls to her death. But that isn’t the end of it.

From the beginning, I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on here. The way in which the invitations were sent out to the group was so intriguing. You know you have to read on to find out what is going to happen to the group at this reunion and I wanted to know who had organised it. The police initially suspect that the girl who falls to her death committed suicide. However, Carla suspects that there is more at play here than what first meets the eye.

Merilyn Davies builds a very gripping and a cleverly constructed plot. As Carla begins to understand more about the group and who Alice was, a very dark picture begins to emerge. It is clear that the group who are at the reunion are keen to keep secrets to themselves.

I thought Carla’s character was really fresh, and I found the aspect of her job really intriguing. It’s not something I’ve seen before in crime fiction. I also really liked her partnership with DS Nell Jackson, who is a really interesting character. Merilyn Davies’s writing is so engaging, and I flew through her book. The dialogue keeps the pace flying forward. I was rooting for Carla to get to the bottom of what was going on.

My eyes were kept glued to the page as everything unravelled, and I thought it was done so well. Merilyn Davies is a writer who I know now I’ll be reading more of. If you haven’t yet discovered this series, and if you’re a fan of police procedurals, then you really need to. It’s a very original read. I can’t wait to read more from this series.

Publisher: Arrow

Publication date: 4th March 2021

Print length: 384 pages

If I Fall is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

WWW Wednesday – 10/03/2021

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

We were told to meet at a rooftop bar.

Four friends, bound by one terrible secret.

No one knew why we were there.

Then we saw a woman, watched as she fell from the edge and plunged to her death.

The police think it’s suicide, but I know better.

Someone is sending a message.

Now they’re coming for us.

Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.

What have I finished reading?

THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. With a trail of bodies in his wake and the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that he can drop down into all the other houses through the shared attic space.

That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing is playing games with his victims – the lonely old woman, the bickering couple, the tempting young newlyweds. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.

Every marriage has its secrets…

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

What will I read next?

In a sleepy French village, the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree. A week later a famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house. The deaths occurred more than seventy years apart.Asked by a colleague to inspect the site of the former, forensics expert Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter. Two extraordinary narratives are set in train – one historical, unfolding in the treacherous wartime years of Occupied France; the other contemporary, set in the autumn of 2020 as France re-enters Covid lockdown.And Enzo’s investigations reveal an unexpected link between the murders – the Mona Lisa.Tasked by the exiled General Charles de Gaulle to keep the world’s most famous painting out of Nazi hands after the fall of France in 1940, 28-year-old Georgette Pignal finds herself swept along by the tide of history. Following in the wake of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as it is moved from chateau to chateau by the Louvre, she finds herself just one step ahead of two German art experts sent to steal it for rival patrons – Hitler and Goring.What none of them know is that the Louvre itself has taken exceptional measures to keep the painting safe, unwittingly setting in train a fatal sequence of events extending over seven decades.Events that have led to both killings.The Night Gate spans three generations, taking us from war-torn London, the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Berlin and Vichy France, to the deadly enemy facing the world in 2020. In his latest novel, Peter May shows why he is one of the great contemporary writers of crime fiction.

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, long-hidden secrets begin to surface. Her heart beats faster for the attention of handsome Edward, but is his heart already taken?

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and Lily’s desire for Edward is untameable. But something else is awry on this ship and Lily is determined to find out ….

The Resident by David Jackson #bookreview #FearTheResident

I finally got round to reading The Resident by David Jackson this weekend. I’m sharing my thoughts on my blog today.

BLURB

THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. With a trail of bodies in his wake and the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that he can drop down into all the other houses through the shared attic space.

That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing is playing games with his victims – the lonely old woman, the bickering couple, the tempting young newlyweds. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.

MY THOUGHTS

The Resident by David Jackson is a seriously creepy read, and it’s one of the most gripping thrillers I’ve read. As I was reading this book, I kept looking up every time I heard the house creak. And just a warning, you may never want to go into the attic again once you’ve read it.

We meet serial killer Thomas Brogan who is on the run from the police. He seeks refuge in an abandoned house and quickly discovers something alarming. Through the attic of this abandoned house, he can easily access the lofts of the other homes along the street. And Thomas Brogan can’t resist going and having a look to see who the residents are and what they are up to. And soon his new neighbours begin to realise that something is not quite right. With a manhunt underway for Brogan, how long can he keep this up?

The moment I read the premise for this book, I wanted to read it. It’s so clever, and it hooks you in straight away. I can imagine that many people, once they have read this book, will be looking over their shoulder and listening to the sounds in their house a little more closely.

Brogan is a really intriguing character. Although you can see that he has sadistic thoughts about killing people, there is also a vulnerability to him, and I liked how David Jackson explored this side to him. This is particularly the case as he gets to know one of the more elderly residents of the street, but I don’t want to reveal much more detail here. You can see how he is battling with his demons, and it makes for very gripping reading.

The novel darkens as Brogan begins to learn more about the residents of the street. He becomes particularly fixated on one couple. I found myself wanting to shout at them that someone was listening to everything they were saying and watching what they were doing. I wanted to know if they, and the other residents, would find out that Brogan was there and who he really was. I really couldn’t predict what Brogan’s next actions were going to be. You can see how much he is enjoying being a fly on the wall.

The characters David Jackson has created here will make you feel something about all of them. David Jackson keeps the tension turning up a notch, and I had to know how things were going to pan out for Brogan and his new neighbours. I did not want to put this book down. The short, pacy chapters keep you reading on.

The Resident is an utterly chilling and a gripping read. I can’t wait to read what David Jackson writes next.

Publisher: Viper

Publication date: 16th July 2020 (kindle & hardcover) 4th February 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 368 pages

The Resident is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

If Looks Could Kill by Olivia Kiernan #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on book three in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan, If Looks Could Kill.

If Looks Could Kill: Innocence is nothing. Appearance is everything. (Frankie Sheehan 3) by [Olivia Kiernan]

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DCS Frankie Sheehan is experiencing a crisis of confidence – having become wary of the instincts that have led her face-to-face with a twisted killer and brought those she loves into direct jeopardy.

She is summoned to the rural Wicklow mountains, where local mother of two, Debbie Nugent, has been reported missing. A bloody crime scene is discovered at Debbie’s home, yet no body. Not only is foul play suspected, but Debbie’s daughter, Margot, has been living with the scene for three days.

Aware her team cannot convict Margot on appearances alone, Sheehan launches a full investigation into Debbie Nugent’s life. And, before long, the discrepancies within Debbie’s disappearance suggest that some families are built on dangerous deceptions, with ultimately murderous consequences.

MY THOUGHTS

If Looks Could Kill is the third book in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan. I raced through this book, and now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s going to be really interesting to see where Frankie and her team go from here.

There is a complex investigation for Frankie and her team to get to grips with. A woman has gone missing, but early signs show that it isn’t likely she’ll turn up alive. Her disappearance is treated almost from the off as a murder investigation. Her daughter is immediately a suspect in the eyes of the police. She acts strangely when Frankie interviews her. But what is the bigger picture here? It’s clear that Frankie thinks that something is not quite right, but she has no idea where her thoughts will take her.

Frankie is a detective who will see things through to the very end, no matter what the consequences might be. That is certainly true in If Looks Could Kill. It’s been fascinating watching her character grow over the last three books. It is hard to see where things will go from here for Frankie and her team, but I am certainly interested to find out; book four can’t come soon enough.

As things began to heat up in the investigation, when Frankie realises what might be at stake here, the darkness really begins to deepen. You get the feeling that she is walking around on eggshells and that any wrong move could have disastrous consequences. I wanted to know what was really the reason behind Debbie’s disappearance. Could it be possible that her daughter was responsible? The writing is taut as the novel races towards its conclusion, and my eyes were glued to the page.

Olivia Kiernan’s books are partly slow-burners, but Olivia Kiernan knows how to keep her readers hooked, and the tension and race to the finish really pick up. There is atmosphere on every single page, and she makes the Irish setting come to life in her writing. The opening chapter sets the scene for what is to come, and that final line made me want to race through the book right at that moment. I was hooked.

If Looks Could Kill is so cleverly plotted. Crime fiction fans, if you’re not yet reading this series, then you’re really missing out. I’ll be waiting as patiently as I can for the next book in the series, which will be going straight to the top of my TBR pile when it’s released.

Publisher: riverrun

Publication date: 23rd July 2020

Print length: 320 pages

If Looks Could Kill is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

The Woman in the Wood by M.K. Hill #bookreview #crimefiction

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book in the DI Sasha Dawson series by M.K. Hill, The Woman in the Wood.

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A reality TV star becomes a suspect in an Essex murder case in the sharp, funny and moving new thriller from M.K. Hill

Three years ago, Danny ‘Abs’ Cruikshank, star of reality show Laid in Essex!, was living the dream. And then, on the night of the party, everything changed.

It was supposed to be an intimate weekend gathering. Just a few close friends in a remote cottage in Wales. But after a night of heavy drinking in the village pub, a local girl was reported missing, presumed dead. Abs and his friends had been the last to see her alive.

No-one was ever charged, but the controversy destroyed Abs’s career. So now, three years later, the celebrity who once captured the heart of millions is opening Southend’s new branch of Quidstore. And then one of Abs’s mates is murdered. Does someone know what really happened that night in Wales? DI Sasha Dawson and her team must race against the clock to find the killer before they strike again – but first she must discover what happened to Rhiannon Jenkins on the night she vanished. Will the truth set Abs free? Or bury him?

MY THOUGHTS

I loved the first book in the DI Sasha Dawson series by M.K. Hill, and I couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series. M.K. Hill’s writing is very engaging, and this time round, in The Woman in the Wood, he delves into the scene of reality TV. Reality TV has seen a huge boom in popularity in recent years, with shows such as Love Island and The Only Way is Essex. It made for an intriguing backdrop to the story, and it gave the book a unique hook.

I personally have never seen the appeal of reality television. The show which M.K. Hill has created in his book, is called Laid in Essex and I can definitely imagine a show such as this existing. A former star of the show, Abs, is one of the central characters in the book. He has been in the limelight for several years now; people recognise him in the street and feel as though they know him, even though they haven’t met him before. M.K. Hill takes you into that world, especially as Abs tries to make a comeback.

Abs was a character who I didn’t really warm to. I thought he was quite unpleasant at times, particularly in the way how he revelled in his fame and how he tried to flirt with women, but that is part of who he is. He can’t talk to someone without a complimentary, cheesy chat-up line. He is haunted by what happened three years ago, when a young woman disappeared while he was in Wales, he was once labelled a suspect in the disappearance, but no evidence could be found against him. And when one of his friends who was with him at the time is killed, it sends him into a panic frenzy. He fears that because of what happened in Wales they are now being targeted.

M.K. Hill’s writing made this book a very addictive read. I really wanted to know what Abs and his friends were hiding about what happened three years earlier. I also wanted to know who was targeting them, and M.K. Hill throws in several twists, which will keep you turning the pages. The final chapters were very chilling as the truth was revealed.

You don’t need to have read The Bad Place to enjoy this book, but I would highly recommend that you do so. DI Sasha Dawson is a great character, and this is turning into an exciting, must-read crime series. I hope that there are going to be many more books in the series to come.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 4th March 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Woman in the Wood is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by S.K. Sharp, I Know What I Saw.

I Know What I Saw: A perfect memory. A perfect murder. by [S K Sharp]

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She remembers everything.
She understands nothing.

Only a handful of people in the world have a truly perfect memory. Nicola is one of them. It’s more of a curse than a blessing – every moment of sadness, embarrassment and unhappiness is burned into her mind forever – so she plays it down, and tries to live a quiet life.

But a body has been found, a discovery that threatens to tear her community apart – and reopen old wounds from decades ago.

Nicola was a child, but she remembers the night with perfect clarity. Despite that, she never discovered the truth of what happened.

Now she must use her unique memory to solve the murder, or watch the man she loved be wrongly convicted of the crime…

MY THOUGHTS

Imagine being able to remember every single day of your life, the good and the bad ones. This is the remarkable condition Nicola has in I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp. I’ve read about people having this condition before, and it makes me wonder if this is a blessing or a curse. Would you like to be able to remember every single day of your life? I’m not sure if I would or not, although I would have loved to have had a photographic memory at school to help out in exams.

When Nicola receives a bolt out of the blue phone call from the police, it rakes up old memories. Her former partner, Declan, has been arrested for the murder of his father. His father’s body has been found thirty years after he went missing on his fiftieth birthday in 1985. He makes contact with Nicola because he knows she has vital information that might help clear his name. But doing that will be no easy task.

This was a really pacy read. The dialogue between the characters is engaging, and it propels the novel forwards. I wanted to know what information Nicola could have that might help clear her former partner’s name. Would she be willing to help him, given that he cheated on her in the past?

The race to get answers keeps the tension turning up a notch as Nicola fights to clear her Declan’s name. Even though their relationship broke down many years ago, you can see that they still care for each other.

S.K. Sharp keeps turning the tension up a notch as the picture becomes clearer, and Nicola realises who was really responsible for the murder of Declan’s father. The frustrating thing for Nicola is that although she can remember Declan’s father was murdered clearly in her mind, she can’t quite piece together the full picture. But her ability to be able to remember everything certainly helps to fill in some of the gaps.

I Know What I Saw quickly pulled me into the story, and I was keen to find out what happened all those years ago in 1985 to Declan’s father and who was responsible. It’s a gripping read which I would definitely recommend to lovers of psychological thrillers.

Publisher: Arrow

Publication date: 28th January 2021

Print length: 400 pages

I Know What I Saw is available to buy:

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Bound by Vanda Symon #bookreview #blogtour @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the latest novel in the Sam Shephard series by Vanda Symon, Bound. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Bound (Sam Shephard Book 4) by [Vanda Symon]

BLURB

The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.

The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation. And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect… 

MY THOUGHTS

Bound is the fourth book in the Sam Shephard series by Vanda Symon, and I think it’s the best book in the series yet. Vanda Symon knows how to create a really chilling opening, and she has created another gripping first few pages here. I wanted to know what had happened from the first page, and Vanda Symon kept me turning the pages. I raced through this book in just a couple of days.

A teenage boy returns home to a shocking scene that will be forever imprinted on his memory. His father, a local businessman, is dead, and his mother is seriously injured. What happened here, and who attacked his parents? What have they got themselves involved in?

This is such a gripping crime novel. The chapters are short and pacy, and they always left me thinking, I’ll just read one more. It’s what makes Vanda Symon’s books so addictive, and I love her writing. I had to know what was going on here and who was responsible for the crime. But this isn’t the only thing Sam is having to deal with. Her father is dying. Sam is struggling to come to terms with what is inevitably going to happen. She tries to distract herself by throwing herself into her work.

There are some shocking reveals as Sam Shephard comes closer to unravelling the truth, and there is a jaw-dropping twist that I did not see coming. Sam knows that there is more here to what meets the eye, but she seems to be the only person who can see this. It seems that the rest of the team are keen to brush the case under the carpet. I really liked how Sam fought for the victims.

Sam Shephard is such a great character, and she is one of my favourite detectives in crime fiction. She is a character you can root for right the way through, and I hope there will be many more books featuring her to come. I thought the scenes in which she was dealing with her father’s illness were really emotional, and you can see how she is struggling to accept it.

Bound is so cleverly well plotted. I loved how Vanda Symon kept the tension turning up a notch and how she kept me asking questions. Vanda’s writing is taut and so pacy. It made for such a compelling read, and I loved it.

If you’re not yet reading this series, then you really need to be. It’s a fast paced, highly engaging police procedural. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 4th January 2021 (kindle) 18th March 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

Bound is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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