Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl #bookreview #blogtour @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Kjell Ola Dahl, Little Drummer. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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When a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage, everyone suspects an overdose … until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered. Oslo Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda discover that the victim’s Kenyan scientist boyfriend has disappeared, and their investigations soon lead them into the shady world of international pharmaceutical deals. 

While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications. 

When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, all three investigators face incalculable danger, spanning two continents. And not everyone will make it out alive…

Exploding the confines of the Nordic Noir genre, Little Drummer is a sophisticated, fast-paced, international thriller with a searingly relevant, shocking premise that will keep you glued to the page.

MY THOUGHTS

Little Drummer is the latest novel in the Oslo Detective series by Kjell Ola Dahl. Gunnarstranda and Frølich are getting to grips with another complex mystery in the latest book, with the discovery of the body of a young woman in a car left behind in a car park. When a Kenyan immigrant disappears, shortly after the discovery of the woman, the police immediately suspect him of murder, especially as he is the victim’s boyfriend. But what is really going on here? This soon turns into a far more complex case than the detectives first realise.

I was really interested in finding out what had happened to the young woman who had been found dead. From the outset I could see that the police’s focus on the woman’s boyfriend seemed to be too narrowly minded. I was sure that there was something more going on here. The mystery element surrounding her death was done very well. It drew me into the plot and it kept me turning the pages.

The investigation soon moves to Kenya, and I really liked this part of the novel. It is Frølich who is sent there to find answers and to try and track the suspect down. I think it’s always interesting when we see authors take their characters out of their comfort zone, and you can feel that there is an imminent threat of danger, after Frølich arrives in Africa. This is where the suspense begins to really build, and although I would describe Little Drummer as more of a slow burner, than a fast paced novel, it is here that the tension begins to pick up. I also thought the scenes between him and the journalist were really well done and I liked the tension that seemed to be there between them.

I’ve read a couple of books in this series, but not all of them, so this can definitely be read as a standalone. I think I definitely need to try and catch up on the books I’ve missed as soon as possible. I really like the friendship that is there between the detectives, Gunnarstranda and Frølich. I could see that they have a lot of respect for each other and it is clear to see that they are good friends. I liked them a lot as I was reading this book, and I am looking forward to reading more books in this series, to see how their personal lives and their careers have developed.

Little Drummer is a gripping thoroughly enjoyable novel. The novel flowed really well and I was kept utterly engaged in the characters and the mystery they were trying to unravel. I flew through it in just a couple of sittings. I highly recommend it. 

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 26th May 2022

Print length: 305 pages

Little Drummer is available to buy:

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Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by Fiona Cummins, Into the Dark.

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THE PLACE: Seawings, a beautiful Art Deco home overlooking the sweep of the bay in Midtown-on-Sea.

THE CRIME: The gilded Holden family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children, Riva and Artie – has vanished from the house without a trace.

THE DETECTIVE: DS Saul Anguish, brilliant but with a dark past, treads the narrow line between light and shade.

One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage. But the house is deserted.

In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:

Make
Them
Stop.


What happens next?

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Fiona Cummins’ novels, so I knew I had to read her latest novel, Into the Dark straight away. I’m also really pleased to see that this is the start of a new series, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come for detective, DS Saul Anguish next.

Fiona Cummins throws us into an intriguing new mystery with the disappearance of the Holden family, and it’s DS Anguish who is called to the scene. But what on earth could have happened to this family, who appeared to have it all? How could they just suddenly vanish, leaving no trace behind? It appears from the outset to Saul, that there is more to what appears to have happened to this family, than what first meets the eye. And as the investigation begins, Fiona takes us back in time and builds up to the moment when the family disappeared, revealing something sinister about this seemingly tightknit family.

I love the foreboding atmosphere Fiona creates in her books and she does this well through her evocative descriptions, which always bring her settings to life. Her descriptions always give me goosebumps as I read them. She creates a real sense of mystery in Into the Dark, and I wanted to find out what was going on in the Holden’s lives before they vanished. The only clue left behind after their disappearance, is a strange message left on a mirror inside the house.

I liked the short chapters and I thought they drove the pace of the novel and kept me turning the pages. I liked as well, that although Saul is going to be the recurring character in this series that we got to hear from the voices of the Holden family. This added to the suspense as we get to see the inner workings of their minds in the lead up to the day they vanish.

I thought the ending to this book was so chilling, and it’s why it’s made me desperate to find out more about Saul, and what is going to come next for him. I also liked the way how Fiona wrapped up the mystery into the disappearance of the Holden family. There is an utterly chilling final note to this book and I thought it was delivered really well.

Into the Dark is another winner from Fiona Cummins. I really enjoyed reading it, and as is always the case whenever I finish one of her books, I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication date: 14th April 2022

Print length: 331 pages

Into the Dark is available to buy:

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Six Graves by Angela Marsons #bookreview #blogtour @WriteAngie @bookouture

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest novel in the brilliant Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Six Graves.

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It’s a typical teenage bedroom with posters covering the walls and clothes littering the floor. But the girl lying on her bed, wearing a delicate chain around her neck, is lifeless. A circle of red stains her white vest top. How had the girl’s mother looked down at her sleeping child and pulled the trigger?

When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene of a house fire, she’s shocked to discover it’s claimed the lives of two teenage children and their parents. But this tragedy is not quite as it seems. Each body is marked by a gunshot wound and the mother, Helen Daynes, is holding the gun.

The case sparks painful childhood memories for Kim who suffered at the hands of her own abusive mother, but it just makes her more determined to uncover the truth. As Kim untangles Helen’s past, she finds a history of clinical depression. But did it drive Helen to murder her loved ones?

Then Kim uncovers a tiny, vital clue in Helen’s bedroom that throws the investigation wide open. Could someone else have killed the Daynes family?

Just as Kim feels she’s making progress, a deadly threat is made to her own life by a dangerous psychopath from her past. Biting back her fear, she keeps digging. And when Kim hits upon a shocking secret that changes everything she thought she knew about Helen, she realises that the remaining family members are in grave danger.

Kim is under pressure like never before, and the monster circling her is getting ever closer. Four bodies already. Four graves fresh in the ground. Who will be next? Can Kim find the killer and save herself before it’s too late?

MY THOUGHTS

Angela Marsons has written another belter of a Kim Stone novel in her latest book, Six Graves. Right from the very first page I knew this was going to be a good one, and Angela Marsons took me on a rollercoaster of a ride. Kim is perhaps faced with her toughest case yet, and the stakes are raised even higher for her in this book.

I really felt for Kim in this book. Although this is a very dark time for her, some of Kim’s dark humour still comes through which makes for some light hearted moments throughout the book. If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, I think it’ll definitely benefit if you have, before you read this book. A highly dangerous, sadistic killer has escaped from prison, a person from Kim’s not too distant past, and he is out for revenge with his mind fixated on Kim.

Angela Marsons really knows how to keep her readers glued to the page, and I was hooked from the moment I learned what was facing Kim in this book. I wanted to know what actions she was going to take following this discovery, and true to her character, she certainly isn’t about to give up her work to go into hiding as her boss suggests. As well as the added tension of the escaped prisoner, Kim is also facing a particularly tough case. A family have been found murdered, in what appears to be a murder-suicide. This is a really twisty investigation for Kim to get to grips with and this case had me hooked as well, as Kim and her team try to get to the bottom of what happened to this family.

The danger is there right from the get-go, and although Kim appears to just throw herself into her work to distract herself from what’s going on, you can feel the tension rising. You can see that she is nervous. She knows just how dangerous the man is who’s escaped from prison. The scenes told from this person’s point of view were so chilling, and Angela Marsons really delves into his state of mind. You can see just how fixated he is on getting revenge on Kim, and it seems that he’ll do absolutely anything to achieve that goal. That’s what makes him so dangerous and frightening. I was rooting for the police to catch him. I feared what was going to come if they didn’t get to him in time.

I’m always in awe of every new book in this series whenever I reach the end. The end of each book always leaves me eagerly anticipating the next, and I think I have to say that Six Graves is my favourite in the series to date. Kim Stone fans, you need to read this book the moment you get your hands on it, you will not be disappointed!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 12th May 2022

Print length: 424 pags

Six Graves is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola #bookreview @1stMondayCrime @Anna_Mazz

On my blog today, I have all the details about this month’s First Monday Crime which is taking place tonight live on their Facebook Page at 19.30 p.m. UK time. But before I reveal more about tonight’s event, I have reviewed The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola who’ll be appearing on tonight’s panel.

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Paris, 1750.

In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.

Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.

For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.

And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…

A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.

MY THOUGHTS

The Clockwork Girl is a stunning novel by Anna Mazzola. I was transported to the streets of eighteenth century Paris. This is actually the first novel I’ve read by Anna Mazzola, but the blurb, and, I have to say, the brilliant cover drew me in, and I’m so pleased I’ve read it. Anna creates such a rich sense of place and atmosphere in her writing, which really made the setting come to life as it is viewed through the eyes of her characters. It’s what makes this book a novel to savour.

There is a haunting quality to this story and Anna Mazzola’s writing draws you effortlessly into the world she has created. Of course this is historical fiction, but there is a real sense of mystery to Anna’s plot, and Anna keeps the suspense ticking up a notch. We meet Madeleine, a young woman who has taken up a position in the household of a famous clockmaker in Paris. But Madeleine is there for an altogether different reason. There have been strange events happening all over Paris, and Madeleine is there to investigate the clockmaker, and see if there is any connection between him and what has been happening.

There are so many fascinating characters in Anna’s novel, and she really delves deep into their personalities, bringing them to life. Madeleine and the clockmaker intrigued me the most. As Madeleine becomes acquainted with her new position, Anna draws on the sense of mystery about the clockmaker, and it certainly feels as though he is hiding something. You can see clearly her determination to get to the bottom of what is going on behind the scenes, and this did make me wonder how much danger she was putting herself in, in her quest to get to the truth.

As the plot progresses, Anna whisks us away to the court of King Louis XV of France. It is here where the tension in the story is really turned up a notch, as Madeleine seeks to uncover what is happening. I really liked how Anna Mazzola used real life historical figures in her novel, and this includes, along with the King, his famous mistress, Madame De Pompadour and they both have significant roles in the story. It does make you feel as though you are reading about real events, even though this is fiction, and that is the brilliance of Anna Mazzola’s plot. It makes you even more invested in the characters and I wanted to see what the outcome was going to be for them at the end of the novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Clockwork Girl and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever Anna Mazzola writes next. It is an utterly immersive read.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 3rd March 2022

Print length: 362 pages

The Clockwork Girl is available to buy:

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First Monday Crime is taking place tonight live on their Facebook at 19.30 p.m. Alongside Anna Mazzola we have Simone Buckholz author of, River Clyde, Lizzie Barber author of Out of Her Depth and Gytha Lodge author of Little Sister. If you would like to watch the event, you can do so by clicking on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook Page.

First Monday Crime

Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald #bookreview #blogtour @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Helen Fitzgerald, Keep Her Sweet. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Penny and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two twenty-something daughters, Asha and Camille.

Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Penny and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.

When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry … and the stress of the family move. 

But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that.

This is a murder, just waiting to happen…

Chilling, vicious and darkly funny, Keep Her Sweet is not just a tense, sinister psychological thriller, but a startling look at sister relationships and they bonds they share … or shatter.

MY THOUGHTS

If you enjoy a family drama, then Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald should definitely be your next read. I’ve read Helen’s past two novels, and every time I’ve read something new by her, I’ve recognised her voice straight away, especially in the unique way she creates her characters. I think if you’d given me this book without telling me who it was by, I would have been able to guess that it was written by Helen from the first page.

In her latest psychological thriller, Helen Fitzgerald zooms in on one of the most dysfunctional families I’ve come across in crime fiction. We meet two sisters, Camille and Asha, and immediately we can see the tensions that there are between them. They’ve recently moved back in with their parents, Penny and Andeep, and right from the first few pages, I felt like I was a fly on the wall, listening in, waiting for something catastrophic to happen. It did feel as though the family were discovering more about each other for the first time, especially once a therapist gets involved.

All of Helen’s characters in this book are well rounded and I thought their individual personalities and backstories came through strongly on the page. They are people who you want to find out more about. Camille and Asha’s Dad, Andeep, is a disgraced comic, and his family are the ones who still have to put up with his jokes. The novel is also told from the point of view of their Mum, Penny, and Joy, The Therapist. I think I found the parts told from the therapist’s points of view the most intriguing. I thought it was interesting how Joy peered into the lives of Camille and Asha’s family. I immediately wanted to find out more about her right from the first line, “Unhappy families always cheered her up.” This had me hooked. What had happened to this family?

Asha and Camille’s relationship also kept me invested in the story. Helen Fitzgerald delves deep into their history, although we particularly see this from Camille’s point of view. I really like the scenes which were told through diary extracts as her voice came through really strongly. You can feel Camille’s emotions as she is describing events that have happened between her and Asha in the past. You can see clearly the rivalry that exists between them, especially from Camille’s view point. But you do also get a sense that Asha and Camille do care deeply about each other, particularly when Camille explores their past.

I really could not believe what I was reading as I reached the final closing chapters. It was such a dark and tense finale, and I’m sure I’ll be thinking about what happened at the end of this book for a long time. Helen Fitzgerald explores some tough themes in Keep Her Sweet that bring her characters to life in rich, vivid detail, and it makes for an absorbing and an utterly compelling read. Another excellent novel from Helen Fitzgerald.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 26th May 2022

Print length: 222 pages

Keep Her Sweet is available to buy:

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Tell Me Your Lies by Kate Ruby #bookreview @KateRubyBooks @simonschusterUK @MidasPR

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Kate Ruby, Tell Me Your Lies. With thanks to MIDAS for inviting me to take part.

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You think she wants to help. 
You’re wrong.

 
Lily Appleby will do anything to protect the people she loves. She’s made ruthless choices to make sure their secrets stay buried, and she’s not going to stop now.
 
When her party-animal daughter, Rachel, spins out of control, Lily hires a renowned therapist and healer to help her. Amber is the skilled and intuitive confidante that Rachel desperately needs. But as Rachel falls increasingly under Amber’s spell, she begins to turn against her parents, and Lily grows suspicious.
 
Does Amber really have Rachel’s best interests at heart or is there something darker going on? Only one thing is clear: Rachel is being lied to. Never quite knowing who to believe, her search for the truth will reveal her picture-perfect family as anything but flawless.

MY THOUGHTS

Tell Me Your Lies is a gripping debut by Kate Ruby, exploring the fractured relationship between Lily and her daughter, Rachel. You can see right from the first few pages that this is a family on the brink, and the tension is there right from the beginning. Rachel is an alcoholic, and her mother is desperate to save her daughter from falling further into a deep hole. Lily employs the services of Amber, a psychotherapist, but as Amber reaches out to Rachel and tries to help her understand the root cause of her problems, Rachel’s relationship with her mother worsens.

I really liked how Kate Ruby delved into Rachel and Lily’s relationship. You can see just how determined Lily is to protect Rachel, but you can also see that she is at the end of a tether and that she can’t take much more. The step of employing Amber’s services seems to be the last throw of the dice for them. Kate Ruby has really built on the backstory of their relationship, but whose side can we trust? You can see just how Amber begins to manipulate Rachel and this really drove the tension, especially as Lily tries to win her daughter back. Lily has a very strong personality. I could see that she is a person who will not give up easily when she has a goal in mind, especially when it comes to her family.

Amber is a really fascinating character and I wanted to get to the bottom of what her goal was here, especially as she takes more than a professional interest in Rachel’s wellbeing. I felt that there was something more going on here and I wanted to know what that was. This was the point when I began to fear that something terrible might happen to Rachel, and I could understand why her mother was desperate to bring her back into their family.

As we get to know Rachel and Lily further, I wanted to know the reasons why Rachel was in the position she was now in. Was there something traumatic that happened in her past? I wanted to know if Amber would be able to get to the causes of Rachel’s problems and what impact that would have if she got to the truth.

Tell Me Your Lies is a clever and an utterly gripping debut by Kate Ruby. There were some really surprising twists as Kate delved deeper into her character’s lives that I did not see coming. I will definitely be looking out to see what she writes next.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 28th April 2022

Print length: 400 pages

Tell Me Your Lies is available to buy:

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The Echo Man by Sam Holland #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping debut novel by Sam Holland, The Echo Man.

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The murders have begun…
Across England, a string of murders is taking place. Each different in method, but each horrifying and brutal.

But the killer is just getting started…
Jess Ambrose is plunged into the investigation when her house is set ablaze. With her husband dead and the police pointing at her, she runs. Her only hope is disgraced detective Nate Griffin, who is convinced Jess is innocent.

And he’s going to shock the world…
Soon, Jess and Griffin discover the unthinkable; this murderer is copying the world’s most notorious serial killers. And now, imitation isn’t enough. The killer dubbed The Echo Man is ready to create his own masterpiece, and it will be more terrifying than anything that has come before…

MY THOUGHTS

Sam Holland has exploded onto the crime fiction scene with her debut novel, The Echo Man. If you enjoy fast paced, gritty and very dark crime thrillers, then you definitely need to check it out, if you haven’t done so already. I would add as a warning though, that I don’t think this book is for the faint hearted as it is very gruesome. It’s one of the darkest crime fiction novels I’ve read.

Sam Holland certainly does not shy away from the darkness. Sam really delves deep here and she has created a complex, well thought out plot. Jess is a really intriguing character. She is plunged into a nightmare right away at the start of the book, when her husband is killed following a fire at her house. She and her daughter escape by the skin of their teeth. But Jess immediately is considered a suspect by the police in her husband’s death. Without sticking around to clear her name, Jess decides to go on the run.

Following the shocking opening, Jess teams up with disgraced detective Nate Griffin who also has a dark past. I thought their pairing was really interesting, especially when they begin to get to grips with the case together. You can feel the emotional turmoil Jess is going through following her husband’s murder. I had to know why she had taken the path of running, rather than cooperating with the police and their investigation. Surely this would be the best thing for her, and her daughter, who she is leaving alone at the most horrific time in her life. I had so many questions about this that I wanted answered.

The detectives and Jess know they are facing a sadistic serial killer, who is taking it upon themselves to recreate famous serial killings. This killer is one of the most chilling I have come across in this genre, and there were definitely quite a few scenes which made me want to sleep with the light on after reading them. I wanted to know what their motive was in carrying out these crimes. This kept me turning the pages as Jess and Nate Griffin raced to find the answers.

The Echo Man is a highly entertaining, dark read that had me flying through the pages. The final scenes were so chilling. My eyes were glued to the page as I was reading them. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sam Holland writes next.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 14th April 2022

Print length: 458 pages

The Echo Man is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

See No Evil by David Fennell #bookreview #blogtour @DavyFennell @ZaffreBooks

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by David Fennell, See No Evil. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

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Two men are found dead in London’s Battersea Park. One of the bodies has been laid out like a crucifix – with his eyes removed and placed on his open palms.

Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, lead the investigation. But when more bodies turn up in a similar fashion, they find themselves in a race against time to find the sadistic killer.

The hunt leads them to Ladywell Playtower in Southeast London, the home to a religious commune lead by the enigmatic Aaron Cronin. Archer and Quinn suspect Cronin’s involvement but his alibis are watertight, and the truth seemingly buried. If Archer is to find the killer, she must first battle her way through religious fanatics, London gangsters – and her own demons . . .

MY THOUGHTS

If you enjoy fast paced, gripping police procedurals, then you need to read David Fennel’s Detective Grace Archer series. I loved the first book so I couldn’t wait to start reading the second book in the series, See No Evil. Grace Archer is such a fascinating character with a dark and mysterious past. This time around she and her team are on the hunt for another sadistic killer, following the discovery of two mutilated bodies of two men in Battersea Park. Do they have another serial killer on their hands?

The pace in David Fennell’s books is spot on and I’ve raced through both of his books. He knows how to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and as Grace’s investigation into the brutal killings moves forward, I had to know who was behind them. Throughout the book I was constantly questioning the motives behind the killings, and I could never quite work out the real truth behind the motives. This was what made it such a tense and intriguing read and it kept me turning the pages. I really wanted to know why the victim’s had been killed, and if they’d done anything in their past, which meant that someone wanted to do this to them.

David Fennell explores some intriguing themes in this book, including religious cults, which adds to the depth and mystery of the case Grace is investigating. The sense of danger is there as Grace attempts to find out more behind one particular cult, which has links to a series of murders that took place several years earlier. David Fennell raises the stakes as the book progresses and we can see just how much danger Grace is putting herself in, especially with more revelations about her past are brought to light, which is very intriguing.

You know right from the very first pages that you are in for a nail biting read, and David Fennell does not disappoint. I thought the reveals which came towards the end were clever and they were very satisfactory. The final chapter in this book ends on such a chilling note. It has made me desperate to get my hands on the next book in the series as soon as possible.

See No Evil is an addictive and a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you love a good police procedural series then you need to give David Fennell’s books a go. I highly recommend them.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 28th April 2022

Print length: 400 pages

See No Evil is available to buy:

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See No Evil - David Fennell 4.2

The Shot by Sarah Sultoon #bookreview #blogtour @SultoonSarah @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new thriller by Sarah Sultoon, The Shot as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Samira is an up-and-coming TV journalist, working the nightshift at a major news channel and yearning for greater things. So when she’s offered a trip to the Middle East, with Kris, the station’s brilliant but impetuous star photographer, she leaps at the chance

In the field together, Sami and Kris feel invincible, shining a light into the darkest of corners … except the newsroom, and the rest of the world, doesn’t seem to care as much as they do. Until Kris takes the photograph.

With a single image of young Sudanese mother, injured in a raid on her camp, Sami and the genocide in Darfur are catapulted into the limelight. But everything is not as it seems, and the shots taken by Kris reveal something deeper and much darker … something that puts not only their careers but their lives in mortal danger.

Sarah Sultoon brings all her experience as a CNN news executive to bear on this shocking, searingly authentic thriller, which asks immense questions about the world we live in. You’ll never look at a news report in the same way again…  

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed Sarah Sultoon’s debut novel, The Source, so I was excited to read her next book The Shot. This time Sarah focuses on journalists covering a devastating war in the Middle East. It is a very powerful read and the action gets going from the first page and it never lets up.

I loved the sense of place that Sarah Sultoon created in this novel. She manages to re-create the horror of war in her writing, especially for the innocent, who are caught up in a crisis that is not of their making. It made me feel as though I was there in the moment, and I could see the scenery so clearly around me as I was reading. It makes for heart breaking reading in places, especially with what is going on in the world today, with the war happening in Ukraine. Her novel also highlights the dangers that journalists put themselves in to bring the truth to millions around the world, and we can see this clearly in news reports today.  

I really grew to like our main protagonist, Sami, who is just starting out in her career in journalism. You can see that she is determined to make her mark, and I could really see her empathy for the people who were caught up in the conflict she was reporting on. This isn’t just a job to her. She can see what people are going through every day of their life and the emotion comes through strongly on the page. She is also desperate to bring stories to the world, which has been given little air time, and she wants to make individual stories of people affected by these atrocities heard. But there is one story in particular that she wants to tell to the world, but it will end up having devastating consequences in ways she couldn’t have imagined.

We also meet Kris, who Sami has travelled to the Middle East with to report on the war. Kris has a lot more experience than Sami in the field of journalism, but I found him more difficult to like and a more perplexing character. I had more questions about him as I was reading the book. I thought he was a really interesting character to see develop. It does feel that he is running from something, and I felt sorry for his family who he is always leaving behind in the UK, in pursuit of following what he wants to do with his life. I wanted to find out more about him and what was making him make this decision. It did make me wonder why he wanted to keep returning war torn countries when he could be out of the danger zone with his family back home.

The Shot is an engaging, powerful and a very relevant thriller that I was utterly gripped by. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 2nd April 2022

Print length: 290 pages

The Shot is available to buy:

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Little Sister by Gytha Lodge #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel in the DCI Jonah Sheens series by Gytha Lodge, Little Sister.

BLURB

A teenage girl wanders out of the woods.

She’s striking, with flame-red hair and a pale complexion. She’s also covered in blood.

Detective Jonah Sheens quickly discovers that Keely and her sister, Nina, disappeared from a children’s home a week ago. Now, Keely is here – but Nina’s still missing.

Keely knows where her sister is – but before she tells, she wants Jonah’s full attention . . .

Is she killer, witness, or victim?

And will Jonah find out what Keely’s hiding, in time to save Nina?

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Gytha Lodge’s Jonah Sheen series, and I think Little Sister is the best book in the series to date. If you love crime novels where you are heavily invested in the characters, then you need to pick up this book. The characters which Gytha Lodge focuses her new novel on are very complex, and you’ll have different opinions on them as the book progress, and this is what made it so intriguing. I wanted to follow their journey and I wanted to see how they’d become the people they are in the present.

Although Gytha’s novels are police procedurals, what I like about her books, is that she really delves deep into the characters that are at the centre of the crime being investigated. You can see just how much Gytha knows her characters and this comes through in her writing. Keely is such a fascinating person and a real puzzle to work out, and this is what made Little Sister all the more gripping. You get a sense that something dark has happened in her past, that has led up to this moment, when her sister Nina goes missing. But why isn’t Keely telling Jonah everything that happened? It is here that you get a real sense of what’s happened, and a real sense of darkness creeps through into the story.

I really liked the way how Gytha Lodge slowly revealed the truth behind what was happening in the present. It’s so difficult to discuss in any more detail without giving the plot away and I think it’s best to go into this book with as little information as possible.

Gytha Lodge also develops DCI Jonah Sheens’ character further in this book and we see a more emotional side to him, especially as he is dealing with issues in his personal life. You can see just how frustrated he is by Keely when he is interviewing her. Keely wants to make sure that he hears everything she has to say, but she appears to be talking in riddles, and does not give a straight answer to his questions. This is what really drives the tension in the book, as I never felt that I could entirely trust Keely, and you can see just how much she infuriates people.

I felt a real sense of justice as we got to the end of this book, and Gytha Lodge delivered it so, so well. There is a tough journey for Gytha’s characters to get to this point and I was desperate to know how things were going to pan out for them. It was so satisfactory and I thought Gytha Lodge wrapped everything up really well. If you haven’t yet started this series then you’re really missing out on some of the best crime fiction novels out there.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 28th April 2022

Print length: 406 pages

Little Sister is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones