Time for the Dead by Lin Anderson blog tour guest post @Lin_Anderson @panmacmillan

I’m delighted to be sharing a guest post by Lin Anderson today, about a day in her life as a writer, as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of her latest book, Time for the Dead. With thanks to Humfrey from Laura Sherlock Publicity for inviting me to take part.

Time for the Dead (Rhona MacLeod) by [Anderson, Lin]

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Time for the Dead is a gripping crime novel by Lin Anderson and sees forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod discover that a terrifying war is unfolding on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

When forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod returns to her roots on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, a chance encounter in the woods behind a nearby activities centre leads her to what seems to be a crime scene, but without a victim. Could this be linked to a group of army medics, who visited the centre while on leave from Afghanistan and can no longer be located on the island?

Enlisting the help of local tracker dog Blaze, Rhona starts searching for a connection.

Two days later a body is found at the base of the famous cliff known as Kilt Rock, face and identity obliterated by the fall, which leads Rhona to suspect the missing medics may be on the island for reasons other than relaxation. Furthermore, elements of the case suggests a link with an ongoing operation in Glasgow, which draws DS Michael McNab into the investigation.

As the island’s unforgiving conditions close in, Rhona must find out what really happened to the group in Afghanistan, as the consequences may be being played out in brutal killings on Skye . . .

GUEST POST

One of the things I love about being a writer is that no two days are the same. When I was a Computing Science teacher my day was very structured. Certainly, different classes provided different experiences, but essentially the days were very similar.

As a writer, I’m never quite sure what the day will bring, and I like that very much. It all depends where you are with your latest book, or your last book, or the other writing projects you have on the go.

My latest outing for forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod, Time for the Dead, is about to hit the shelves. So August is a super busy month, with lots of trips and events and signings, including at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Number 14 in the Rhona series is set on the Isle of Skye and stars a well known and real Skye resident, border collie, Blaze, who has a worldwide twitter following. He becomes Rhona’s forensic assistant in Time for the Dead. So the last couple of days have involved a visit to Skye, a wild swim in a loch with Blaze, plus confirming the launch of the book in Portree Library on the 8th August.

If I’m not travelling to events, then the plan is to spend part of the day working on the next book. I’m around a third of the way through the new one, and my way of working is always to edit what has been written the day before prior to continuing the story.

I never know exactly what will happen next, and don’t do extensive planning. I see Rhona’s investigation as propelling the story, as it would in real life. I start of with a strong visual image which I am compelled to write about, then move on from there.

The idea for Time for the Dead came to me after I visited A.C.E. Target Sports on Skye with Blaze and successfully threw an axe (for the first time) and hit the target spot on. After which Blaze took me a walk up into the birch wood behind the centre, and during that walk I imagined the opening of the book in my head.

I do try to write each day, but  a walk in the nearby woods in my home village of Carrbridge, or a swim in the River Dulnain allows time to think and both often provide me with new ideas for the current book, or a solution to a problem I was having trouble with.

In any given day I might also be working on other projects. I have another crime series set in Cannes in the south of France starring PI Patrick de Courvoisier. I have just completed a first draft of a children’s book, Blaze Dog Detective, and am about to launch a rock musical for which I wrote the Libretto, with John Sinclair (keyboard player with Ozzy Osbourne for 17 years) writing the music. Voice of a Generation is about to hit social media.

One thing is certain, being a writer is never dull.

 

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

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Gone by Leona Deakin #bookreview blog tour @LeonaDeakin1 @TransworldBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Gone by Leona Deakin as part of the blog tour today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

MY THOUGHTS

Gone is a brilliant and a very immersive debut by Leona Deakin which takes the reader on a scary but fascinating journey into the mind of a psychopath. It has a really chilling premise, what if the missing are the people you should be afraid of? Once I read the blurb for this book, I knew it was one I had to read as soon as possible. And you can definitely label me a fan of Leona’s writing.

Four people across the country have disappeared. The one thing that seems to connect them all is a card found where they went missing from, inviting them to play a game. There is also a message on the card wishing them a happy first birthday. Something is going on here behind the scenes, and it is clear that these cases aren’t going to be an easy task for the police to solve. After Dr Augusta Bloom and her colleague, Marcus Jameson, are contacted by a concerned relative of one of the missing, they begin an investigation. What they discover as they peer into the lives of the disappeared is something far more chilling than they ever thought possible.

The opening of Gone was so gripping. We witness an attack on a school caretaker, after a student, Seraphine, stabs him in the neck with a pencil. She claims she acted under self-defence to protect herself and her friend. Now Seraphine was such an intriguing character to explore, and I think she is going to fascinate a lot of readers. I could never be sure if she was telling the truth when she talks about why she committed the act at the school. I also found her to be such an unpredictable character. This is what made her so fascinating. We are also then introduced to Dr Augusta Bloom. Augusta is a psychologist who is trying to get to the bottom of Seraphine’s behaviour and work out why she did what she did. But what develops on from here is something which I never expected at the start of the novel. After I read more and more of the book, I wanted to know if Seraphine’s story was somehow going to connect with those of the missing people.

I really engaged with Dr Augusta Bloom. I could see that she really connected with the cases of the missing people. I liked her determination to get to the bottom of what was going on, even though she wasn’t a police officer. Augusta is such an intriguing individual, and I don’t think that Leona Deakin has revealed everything about her yet. She is a character who I would definitely like to see Leona return to.

There is also Augusta’s friendship with her partner Marcus which I also really liked. Marcus is ex MI6, which makes him another compelling character. Although Marcus is Augusta’s business partner, he is also very much a comfort to her and a friend. She admits in the book that she relies on his company and humour.

Gone is a fascinating, but a very chilling read which will make you think about the people you know a little more carefully. This did feel very fresh and different to recent psychological thrillers I have read, which made it a real winner for me. A top read from Leona Deakin, I’m definitely intrigued to read more.

Publisher: Black Swan

Publication date: 9th August 2019

Print length: 372 pages

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

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Dead Memories by Angela Marsons #bookreview @WriteAngie @bookouture

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She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the death of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

MY THOUGHTS

I can’t believe I’ve fallen behind on one of my favourite crime series. I finally got round to reading the tenth novel in the Kim Stone series, Dead Memories a short while ago and I have to say, I think this is one of Angela Marsons best books in this series to date. It is also, perhaps, her darkest book and once again, Kim certainly isn’t given an easy ride. This case will definitely be one of the most chilling investigations of her career.

Opening the novel with the discovery of two bodies, chained to a radiator in the very same apartment block Kim grew up in, this case is eerily similar to a traumatic event in her childhood. Kim is sure it is coincidence only and is determined to see the case through without having to revisit her past. But as more information is revealed and more crimes take place, it appears that someone is desperate to make Kim pay. But who could hate her so much to want to go to such extreme lengths to punish her? And it’s fair to say that Kim has ruffled a few feathers in recent years, so she certainly isn’t short of enemies.

After the last few books in this series, Kim and her team have certainly experienced a lot of pain and change. Angela Marsons takes the emotional level up another notch in this book. I could see why Kim wanted to keep her past a secret from the rest of her team, and I could understand why she didn’t want to draw on the similarities early on in the book. The tension is there right from the start. I wanted to know who was so desperate to recreate these events from Kim’s childhood and why they were so keen to do this. As the investigation continues, it becomes clear to the team that only Kim knows where the killer may strike next. It did make me wonder how Kim was going to cope with this as these past experiences in her life were extremely traumatic and still have an effect on her.

The people Kim speaks to concerning the crimes that are taking place, really made my skin crawl. You can see the level of hatred they have for Kim, and it is quite scary. With Kim visiting these people, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the crimes that were taking place, it did make me connect with Kim even more, and her plight to see justice prevail.

As it becomes clearer to Kim and the team who is behind the killings, Angela Marsons turns the level of tension up a further notch. I couldn’t stop turning the pages as I couldn’t wait to see how everything would come together. There were even some points where I couldn’t bear to read on, as I could understand what the consequences for Kim and her team were going to be if they didn’t catch the individual responsible in time. The ending of the book did make for a nail-biting finale.

If you are new to this series, I think it would be better for you to go back and start from the beginning with Silent Scream. Especially as this book looks back at the previous cases, Kim and her team have worked on. There is certainly a lot that happens in the last three books, which has had a great effect on Kim and her team, which you will be missing out on.

I think I say that this is the best book, every time I read a new novel in this series. But it is true that Angela Marsons certainly remains on top form with her plots and especially her characters. Her books are always totally gripping. I already have the next book ready and waiting on my kindle, and I can’t wait to get to it.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 22nd February 2019

Print length: 400 pages

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

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Someone We Know by Shari Lapena #bookreview blog tour @sharilapena @ThomasHill @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Someone We Know by Shari Lapena. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Someone We Know by [Lapena, Shari]

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It can be hard keeping secrets in a tight-knit neighbourhood.

In a tranquil, leafy suburb of ordinary streets – one where everyone is polite and friendly – an anonymous note has been left at some of the houses.

I’m so sorry. My son has been getting into people’s houses. He’s broken into yours.

Who is this boy, and what might he have uncovered? As whispers start to circulate, suspicion mounts.

And when a missing local woman is found murdered, the tension reaches breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their secrets?

Maybe you don’t know your neighbour as well as you thought you did . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Imagine finding out that your teenage son has been breaking into your neighbour’s homes, just for the fun of it. Apparently, he doesn’t take anything, but he enjoys living on a dangerous edge, and sometimes he might take a look at their computers and mess around. I think I’d be mortified if I was in the position of Shari’s characters, Olivia and Paul. Their sixteen-year-old son, Raleigh has been doing just this. I don’t think I’d be able to look my neighbour in the eye again without feeling an incredible sense of guilt. And Olivia certainly feels this and is compelled to write apology letters to their neighbours.

But after Olivia and Paul discover what their son has been doing in his spare time, horrific news hits the neighbourhood. One of their neighbours, Amanda Pierce, is found murdered. Her body has been discovered in the boot of a car, in a lake, miles from her home. Amanda and her husband’s house is one of the properties Raleigh broke into.

Shari Lapena’s latest thriller, Someone We Know is very readable, and the story is very tense. After the discovery of Amanda’s body and after a full-blown murder investigation is launched, it’s clear that the police are going to find Raleigh’s fingerprints. I wasn’t particularly too concerned for Raleigh after he blatantly confessed to committing the crimes, but I felt for his parents, particularly Olivia. It did make me think that Raleigh could potentially be accused of Amanda’s murder. Olivia was, in my opinion, the strongest character in this book, particularly as her feelings came through very well in Shari’s writing.

All the characters, within the vicinity of the local area, fell under my suspicion. Shari Lapena cleverly weaved in the lies and deceit, which, when they came out, had disastrous consequences for the characters involved. There were many dislikeable individuals in this book, and I think the one person who I didn’t get on with from the start was Amanda’s husband, Robert. I could never quite make up my mind about him. All the way through, Shari kept me guessing, as I wondered if he could possibly be responsible for his wife’s murder.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller about a neighbourhood pushed to the brink when shocking secrets emerge. Shari’s writing makes her book very gripping. I devoured half the book on my train travelling home one day. If you’re looking for a psychological thriller that will sweep you in from the first page and keep you hooked, I would definitely recommend it.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 25th July 2019

Print length: 313 pages

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

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Old Bones by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles #bookreview blog tour @blackthornbks

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Old Bones by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles today on my blog. With thanks to Holly at Blackthorn Books for inviting me to take part.

Old Bones (Bill Slider Mysteries Book 19) by [Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia]

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‘You can’t upset anyone looking into old bones.’

DCI Bill Slider’s out of favour in the force – for accusing a senior Met officer of covering up an underage sex ring. As a punishment, he’s given a cold case to keep him busy: some old bones to rake through, found buried in a back garden, from a murder that happened two decades ago, and with most of the principal players already dead.

Surely Bill Slider can’t unearth anything new or shocking with these tired old bones?

MY THOUGHTS

Old Bones by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is a really good police procedural. When I started reading this book, I wasn’t aware that this was the nineteenth book in the DCI Bill Slider series. Although I may have missed out on some character development from the previous books, the story-line was very easy to follow. I had no trouble at all in settling into it.

The discovery of human remains in a back garden re-opens a haunting mystery which has never been solved. It dawns on the police that they may be the remains of fourteen-year-old Amanda Knight, who vanished decades earlier. She has never been seen since. The remains have been found in Amanda’s former home. A murder investigation is launched, and the police go back to square one to try and finally unearth what happened to her. Can they finally uncover the answers to this cold case?

I loved Cynthia Harrod-Eagle’s writing. Her description is what made her writing stand-out for me, and it pulled me into the story. The mystery here is really engaging as well. I kept thinking, as I was reading, that it was someone close to the girl’s family who knew the full truth. Cynthia had me peering a little more closely at all the characters directly linked to the crime, to see if they could be involved. I really enjoyed trying to work the mystery out.

After the discovery of the remains, the police have to go back to square one, and this means re-interviewing people, who were witnesses to the crime. Although this does prove tricky for the police as many have either moved on or passed away. It seemed to be painstaking work for the police as they had to sift through old information. But as they managed to trace people and after speaking to them, little details begin to emerge about what may have happened. There were some chilling revelations.

As the plot began to come together, I was able to guess the direction it was going to go, but I would never have thought of it right at the beginning of the book. As everything began to become clearer, I just had to read on to find out what was going to happen.

If you haven’t yet tried a book by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, I would definitely recommend giving this book a go.

Publisher: Blackthorn

Publication date: 1st August 2019

Print length: 256 pages

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

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The Holiday by T.M. Logan #bookreview blog tour @TMLoganAuthor @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Holiday by T.M. Logan on my blog today.  With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

The Holiday: This summer take a trip you won't forget . . . by [Logan, T.M.]

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Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence.

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends.

One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

MY THOUGHTS

Picture this scene, a picturesque, luxurious holiday retreat in France under a blazing summer’s sun. There’s a group of friends, tensions rise between then, secrets rise to the surface. Then a dead body is found.

T.M. Logan’s The Holiday is a riveting read and the perfect book to take away with you this summer. The scene is set perfectly. I was there among the characters at the luxurious villa, I could visualise so crisply the surrounding scenery, the rooms within the house and the infinity pool.

This book did feel very different from T.M. Logan’s first two books, both of which I found really gripping and I turned the pages as fast as I could. The Holiday is more of a slow-burner, but the suspense builds as tensions between the characters grow. We know that something bad is going to happen to one of the characters while they are away. I wanted to know who was going to be affected and what was going to happen. Would they all make it home?

Kate is the first person to start experiencing troubles when they arrive at the villa. They have been invited there by their friends, to celebrate a fortieth birthday. After spotting text messages popping up on her husband’s phone, Kate is convinced that he is having an affair. The texts insinuate that it is with someone who is part of their group. The idea is soul-crushing for Kate, but she has to put on a brave face and try and do some background digging on her own to find more evidence. She is the character who I originally felt for. I could see how hurt she was by the idea that her husband was having an affair, and I could sense her building frustration as she tried to get to the bottom of it. You can just see how fragile the relationships in the group are as the holiday gets going, and it does make for some very tense reading.

As the story builds T.M. Logan expertly reveals details about his characters. I could see that these are people who he has spent a lot of time thinking about and developing. There’s a real sense of growing unease, particularly as Kate tries to find out who her husband is having an affair with and everything comes together to form a devastating finale. While I found parts of the novel a little slow, I was gripped to the final chapters, and I was desperate to know what the final outcome was going to be.

The Holiday is a book that you can so very easily sink into and just become lost in the world within the pages. You’ll be whisked away in this well written and very absorbing book.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 25th July 2019

Print length: 496 pages

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

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Life Ruins by Danuta Kot #bookreview blog tour @DanutaJR @simonschusteruk @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Life Ruins by Danuta Kot on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Life Ruins by [Kot, Danuta]

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This is Broadchurch meets The Missing – hard-hitting, pacey and with modern social issues at its heart.

In a small northern town, girls are disappearing.
You won’t see it in the papers and the police aren’t taking any notice, but the clues are there if you know where to look.

Becca sees that something is wrong, but she’s been labelled ‘difficult’ thanks to her troubled past. So when a girl is so savagely beaten she can’t be identified, and Becca claims she knows who she is, no one will believe her.

With the police refusing to listen, Becca digs for evidence that will prove what she is saying. But her search for justice will put herself and those closest to her in danger – and once she finds the truth, will anyone even listen?

MY THOUGHTS

Life Ruins is a superbly written novel by Danuta Kot. With some very engaging writing and characters, this is an atmospheric story that will draw you effortlessly into the pages.

I think what Danuta Kot succeeds at most in this book, is the setting and her characters. Set in Whitby, and along the East Yorkshire coast, you really do get a sense of the seaside town, with its cliffs and the old mines left to crumble away. I could imagine the dark, twisty roads and the abandoned caravan site very crisply in my mind. It created a very spooky atmosphere. I could sense that dangerous people were lurking in the shadows. From that moment on, I wanted to know what was going on here.

I found the two lead characters, Jared Godwin and Becca Armitage very engaging. Both come from totally different backgrounds. Becca grew up in foster care and now works at a café which provides food and shelter to the homeless after being thrown out of university. She has a very close relationship with her foster parent, Kay, who lives alone after being recently made widowed, with her dog, Milo.

Jared, meanwhile, is a risk-taker. He enjoys living life on the edge, particularly by exploring abandoned mines and pushing himself even further to get that buzz of brushing close with death. But several years earlier he was involved in a devastating accident when his friend drowned which he holds himself personally responsible for. You can see just how much this affects him.

This is the kind of book which made me think, oh I’ll just read one more chapter, and then another, and another. As I mentioned, for me, it was the atmosphere and the characters that made this book particularly engaging. I was rooting for Becca and Jared. At first, you can’t see how their lives are going to come together. Danuta Kot does so in a very intriguing way when Jared witnesses a horrifying attack on a young girl who Becca believes is her friend. And from this point on a very dark story begins to emerge which puts Becca, Jared and Kay in very grave danger.

This is a very enjoyable and an engaging mystery. I would say that this book is more character-driven, but I was kept asking questions as the plot darkened. A lot of the time, it does feel that Jared and Becca are on their own in their quest to find answers. This is especially when the police didn’t seem to want to listen to what they had to say. Life Ruins is very well done.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 7th February 2019

Print length: 480 pages

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The Closer I Get by Paul Burston #bookreview blog tour @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Closer I Get by [Burston, Paul]

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Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

MY THOUGHTS

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston is a powerful and chilling look at the dark side of social media. Trolling and stalking seems to be an ever real threat in today’s world. The explosion of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites, over the last decade or so has benefited us hugely, by bringing the world closer together. But it can also come at a cost. Anyone can now find out information about you. Where you visit for a cup of coffee each day, what your favourite meal is and where you work. All from the click of a button. It’s quite scary to think about. This is what happens to Paul’s main character, Tom.

Tom, who is a writer, wrote a bestseller which was released a few years ago and became a major Hollywood film. Although he hasn’t hit the bestseller charts in recent years, he still has a good relationship with his agent. She seems to be a source of encouragement and comfort to Tom. She is always egging him on to finish his latest book. But Tom’s own world starts to crumble when he becomes the victim of a stalker. Tom then has to resort to drastic measures to get the person to stop.

Paul Burston’s writing is very readable, and I quickly became drawn into the story. What I thought made this book really work and what made it so fascinating, was telling the story both from Tom and Evie’s point of view. Evie is the woman who he accuses of stalking him. Tom is eventually forced to take her to court in the hope that a restraining order will solve his problems and that after that point, she will finally leave him alone. From what I could begin to see as the story unfolded, was that here were two very conflicting accounts. I could never be sure who was telling the truth about what was really going on. It was probably the characters in this book that made it so gripping for me as I tried to work out which version was the correct one.

I really liked how Paul brought everything together at the conclusion, which gave the ending a very satisfactory feel. It was a very surprising finale that really chilled me.

This is an incredibly tense piece of fiction which races towards an uncertain denouement as the two lead characters collide. It will also, perhaps, make you think again about the people who you follow on social media and who follows you back.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 11th May 2019

Print length: 276 pages

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

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The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid #bookreview

Val McDermid has been on my must-read author list for a while and I was excited to finally start the first book in her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, The Mermaids Singing. With the latest book in this series being released soon, I thought it was high time I caught up.

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You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder…

Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one’s different – this one’s on the loose.

Four men have been found mutilated and tortured. As fear grips the city, the police turn to clinical psychologist Tony Hill for a profile of the killer. But soon Tony becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional nerve to survive.

A tense, beautifully written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.

MY THOUGHTS

Val McDermid is an author I’ve long wanted to try, and I finally got round to reading the first book in her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series a couple of weeks ago, well I listened to the audiobook. The Mermaids Singing is a gritty police procedural with some very graphic scenes, so perhaps this isn’t for you if you’re a little squeamish. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book in this series. Although I found it predictable and I guessed who the killer was very early on I found Val’s writing very gripping.

The killer in this book is absolutely terrifying. You do get the sense that they will go to any means possible to achieve their satisfaction. They’re determined to be recognised for their crimes. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan recognise this, which makes them even more determined to catch them before the killer kills again. As I mentioned, I did have my suspicions early on as to who the killer was, which proved to be correct, but I was excited to see if I was right and what the final outcome was going to be.

I really liked the developing relationship between Tony and Carol, and I am interested to see how Val will continue this when I get round to reading the rest of the books in this series. Tony is a fascinating character. I struggled to understand him at first but by the end of the book I really connected with his character and I was rooting for him, especially in the final scenes as the book drew towards its conclusion.

The first book in this series is set in the 90s in Bradfield and what is highlighted is how old fashioned some police officers thinking methods were. This was where I wanted Tony Hill to succeed as I felt that they really needed to be shaken up. There was one police officer who I particularly detested as he seemed to want to brush the crimes that were taking place under the carpet. I really hated his way of thinking. You will know who I mean if you have, or when you read the book.

This is the first book I have read by Val, and it certainly will not be my last. If you like your crime fiction dark and with plenty of suspense, then I would definitely recommend it.  I’m looking forward to reading more from this series.

Publisher: Harper

Publication date: 5th November 2015

Print length: 464 pages

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

Amazon UK  Waterstones

Stop at Nothing by Tammy Cohen #bookreview blog tour @MsTamarCohen @alisonbarrow @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Stop at Nothing by Tammy Cohen on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Stop At Nothing by [Cohen, Tammy]

BLURB

A mother’s job is to keep her children safe.

Tess has always tried to be a good mother. Of course, there are things she wishes she’d done differently, but doesn’t everyone feel that way?

Then Emma, her youngest, is attacked on her way home from a party, plunging them into a living nightmare which only gets worse when the man responsible is set free

But what if she fails?

So when Tess sees the attacker in the street near their home, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. But blinded by her need to protect her daughter at any cost, might she end up putting her family in even greater danger?

There’s nothing she wouldn’t do to make it right . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Stop at Nothing is a dark psychological thriller by Tammy Cohen about a mother’s quest to get justice for her teenage daughter after she was attacked on her way home from a party. It is also a story about trust and obsession. I’ve loved Tammy Cohen’s previous books so I couldn’t wait to start reading her latest. It took a very different direction to what I originally thought it would, and this is what made the story feel very original, especially the twist which came towards the end.

I was hooked right from the intense opening when Tess’s daughter, Emma, is at the police station after the police have called her in to try and identify her attacker. I really connected with Tess and her quest to get justice for Emma. It did feel like she was at the end of a tether as she attempted to try and make people listen. It seemed that people were trying to push her back all the time. There were times when I wanted someone to step in and help Tess, and I feared what was going to happen to her as she continued to try and get justice. And there were times when I wanted her to stop, to prevent anything bad happening to her and her family.

Tammy Cohen’s writing is very easy to get into. She always creates hugely engaging characters. The emotion in Tammy’s characters comes through very strongly in this book, especially in Tess as she is still struggling to come to terms with what has happened to her daughter. She is a character who I really felt for. I wanted her to get justice for her daughter. But there is also something else that has happened. She has an estranged relationship with her eldest daughter, and it is clear that something has happened in their past that has caused a rift between them. I was really interested in this part of the plot, and I wanted to know what had happened between them to cause this strain in their relationship.

There is a lot of tension in this book as Tess continues to investigate what happened to her daughter, and as she becomes infatuated with a man who she believes is the person responsible for what happened. Now, this was a part of the story which I was never quite sure about, and Tammy Cohen kept me on my toes as I kept wondering if this person was the culprit. I couldn’t believe some of the lengths that Tess was going to here, to try and bring this person to justice.

This is a book that certainly, for me, kept its secrets under wraps until the final pages. There’s a very sinister tone that made me think that all was not quite as it seems. There are some very dark characters who will keep you hooked and intrigued. Stop at Nothing is another top psychological thriller by Tammy Cohen. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 18th July 2019

Print length: 430 pages

If you would like to purchase Stop at Nothing, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Stop At Nothing blog tour poster