August 2021 Wrap-Up

How are we at the end of August? I know we all say this but it’s crazy to think that there are only four months left of the year. I hope you’ve all had a good summer. I’ve not taken any time off work, apart from going to Harrogate for a long weekend in July for the Theakston Crime Festival. I’ve still got a few days holiday left to take so I think I’ll take some days off in October.

I have finished my new novel, which I started earlier this year, so it has taken me between seven and eight months to complete. It’s had quite a heavy edit since the first draft but I think I’m finally happy with it. It may need a few more minor tweaks but I think it’s nearly there.

I’ve now read 110 books so far this year, and I surpassed my goal to read 100 books in 2021 earlier this month.

I took part in five blog tours this month and I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any.

The Face at the Window by Ruby Speechley

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Ouija by Zoe-Lee O’Farrell

Mother Loves Me by Abby Davies

Lost Angels by Stacy Green

I have four blog tours coming up in September, The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen on the 3rd September, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins on the 5th, The Chateau by Catherine Cooper on the 13th and Safe at Home by Lauren North on the 22nd.

I received some exciting bookpost this month. I received copies of, This Girl, That Girl by Lesley Kara, The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West, The Quiet People by Paul Cleave, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins and The Vacancy by Elisabeth Carpenter.

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That’s all from me this month. What are you reading at the moment? I’m currently reading The Final Child by Fran Dorricott and The Vacancy by Elisabeth Carpenter. Let me know in the comments. I hope you have a great month in September.

WWW Wednesday – 20/01/21

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 only thing the three women had in common was their husband.
And, as of this morning, that they’re each accused of his murder.

Blake Nelson moved into a hidden stretch of land – a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah – where he lived with his three wives:

Rachel, the chief wife, obedient and doting to a fault.
Tina, the other wife, who is everything Rachel isn’t.
And Emily, the youngest wife, who knows little else.

When their husband is found dead under the desert sun, the questions pile up.
But none of the widows know who would want to kill a good man like Blake.

Or, at least, that’s what they’ll tell the police…

Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine

The shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold.

The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?

What have I finished reading?

Deity (Six Stories) by [Matt Wesolowski]

A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

Trust Me: Your next big thriller obsession - from the million copy Sunday Times bestselling author of THE HOLIDAY and THE CATCH by [T.M. Logan]

Two strangers, a child, and a split second choice that will change everything . . .

Ellen was just trying to help a stranger. That was how it started: giving a few minutes respite to a flustered young mother sitting opposite her on the train. A few minutes holding her baby while the mother makes an urgent call. The weight of the child in her arms making Ellen’s heart ache for what she can never have.

Five minutes pass.
Ten.

The train pulls into a station and Ellen is stunned to see the mother hurrying away down the platform, without looking back. Leaving her baby behind. Ellen is about to raise the alarm when she discovers a note in the baby’s bag, three desperate lines scrawled hastily on a piece of paper:

Please protect Mia
Don’t trust the police
Don’t trust anyone

Why would a mother abandon her child to a stranger? Ellen is about to discover that the baby in her arms might hold the key to an unspeakable crime. And doing the right thing might just cost her everything . . .

What will I read next?

Shadow Sands: The heart-racing new Kate Marshall thriller by [Robert Bryndza]

When Kate Marshall finds the body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.

But the details don’t add up: why was he there in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown? As Kate and her assistant Tristan Harper follow the evidence, they make a far darker discovery . . .

This is only the latest victim in a series of bloody murders dating back decades. A mythic serial killer is said to hide in the rolling fog, abducting his victims like a phantom. And when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.

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

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

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

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

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

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse #bookreview #blogtour @SarahVPearse @TransworldBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Sanatorium by [Sarah Pearse]

BLURB

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is one of the most chilling reads I’ve read. It is the perfect book to read in the winter months, maybe not one to take with you though, if you’re going on a skiing trip. The novel is set in an old sanatorium in Switzerland, recently converted into a luxury hotel. The guests who are arriving are among the first to try it out. But the plans for the hotel came under a lot of scrutiny from the locals. It took years to get the plans approved for the development to go ahead.

I absolutely loved the setting in this book. Sarah Pearse opens her novel with such a chilling prologue, which takes place five years before the main events. It is in an isolated location, and the route to the hotel is a dangerous one. I can remember one year going skiing when I was very young and having a bad experience driving to the hotel, which was almost impossible to find. One of the families who were with us nearly slid off the road. It still gives me chills thinking about that. This is what I was picturing as I read Sarah Pearse’s opening chapters.

It doesn’t get much more relaxing for the guests when they finally arrive at the hotel. They are there to celebrate the engagement of Isaac and Laure. Isaac’s sister, Elin, is a detective back in the UK. Already there is an uncomfortable atmosphere in the hotel. Some of the guests aren’t too happy with the thought of what the hotel used to be. Then Laure goes missing, which is completely out of character and unexpected. Would she really want to go off on her own when she is celebrating her engagement?

Because of the dangerous weather conditions, the Swiss Police are unable to reach them, and Elin offers to help out. However, as a UK police officer, she has no jurisdiction in Switzerland. This is when the tension begins to rise. I had suspicions about almost everyone in the book, and I really liked how Sarah Pearse wrapped everything up, concluding her story on another utterly chilling note.

The Sanatorium is a brilliant, atmospheric read which will keep you turning the pages. I couldn’t put it down, and I finished it in just two days. I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 391 pages

The Sanatorium is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Sanatarium BT Poster

WWW Wednesday – 06/01/21

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 Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello: A modern cosy mystery with a classic crime feel (The Stonebridge Myseries Book 1) by [Chris McDonald]

Wedding bells are chiming in the idyllic, coastal town of Stonebridge. For Sam and Emily, it should be the happiest day of their lives. But, on the morning of the ceremony, the best man is found dead. The police quickly write his death off as a tragic accident, but something doesn’t seem right to wedding guest and groomsman, Adam Whyte.
Armed with an encyclopedic, but ultimately ridiculous knowledge of television detective shows and an unwarranted confidence in his own abilities, Adam and his best friend (and willing Watson) Colin, set out to uncover what actually happened to Daniel Costello.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What have I finished reading?

An Eye for an Eye (Detective Kate Young Book 1) by [Carol Wyer]

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

What will I read next?

Twenty-five years ago my brother was murdered in my family home.

I was sent to a psychiatric unit for killing him.

The truth is, I didn’t do it.

The whole world believed nine-year-old Cara killed her younger brother on that fateful night. But she blamed it on a paranormal entity she swears was haunting her house.

No one believed her and after two years of treatment in a psychiatric unit for delusional disorder, Cara was shunned by her remaining family and put into foster care.

Now she’s being forced to return to the family home for the first time since her brother’s death, but what if she’s about to re-discover the evil that was lurking inside its walls?

Smoke Screen (Blix & Ramm) by [Thomas Enger, Jørn Lier Horst, Megan Turney]

Oslo, New Year’s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion, and the city is put on terrorist alert.

Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Smeplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier … and never found.

Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia’s disappearance is not all that it seems…

December Wrap-Up

Finally, here we are at the end of 2020. At the start of the New Year I had so many things I was looking forward to this year, which, of course, had to be cancelled or put on hold due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Hopefully things will start getting much more closer to normal at some point in 2021. There are so many people who I want to catch up with. Although Zoom and mobiles makes it easier to keep in contact with people, it certainly isn’t quite the same as meeting up and seeing someone in person.

I have made some more progress on the current novel I am writing and I have now written 58,031 words. It is still only a first draft and I suspect it may change over the coming months. But I’m happy with what I’ve written so far.

With just a day to go until the end of the year I’ve now read 159 books towards my goal of 160. I’ve nearly finished my current read so I should have that finished before the start of 2021.

I had a quieter month on the blog, blog tour wise. I took part in three blog tours this month and I’ve included the links below, in case you missed any.

Body Language by AK Turner

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson

I have a busy month coming up in January and I’m taking part in five blog tours. The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello by Chris McDonald on the 12th, Dishonoured by Jem Tugwell on the 16th, The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse on the 17th, The Captive by Deborah O’Connor on the 21st and The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor on the 26th.

I also received some exciting book post this month. I received a copy of The Last Snow by Stina Jackson, Trust by Chris Hammer, The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, The Locksmith by Linda Calvey and The Appeal by Janice Hallett.

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That’s all from me this month. I hope you have a great year in 2021. At the moment I’m currently reading The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. Let me know what you’re currently reading in the comments. Are there any books which you can’t wait to read in 2021?

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton. I ended up finishing this book on Christmas day. The hardback and kindle edition was published on the 6th January 2020 and the paperback was published on the 20th October 2020 by Penguin.

BLURB

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege.

Pupils and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news.

In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.

MY THOUGHTS

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton is a brilliant, breath-taking and an utterly tense read. It is heart-breaking as well. You won’t be able to stop thinking about this book and the characters within its pages. It is so well done, and it is beautifully written.

A single bullet being fired sets off a chain of events that will keep you gripped. It’s a striking image. Rosamund Lupton sets her novel in a school in Somerset, during a snowstorm, which has become a target for terrorists. The students and teachers within the school have become hostages. The headmaster has been shot and needs urgent medical attention if he is to survive. The characters have no idea how the next couple of hours are going to pan out. The hostages have no idea if they are going to live or die. Their families have no idea if they will see them again.

I felt as though I had stepped into the character’s lives as I was reading this book. The fear and tension is on every page. When I started reading it, and when I read the blurb, I thought it sounded similar to Fierce Kingdom, which I read a few years ago. But Rosamund Lupton makes her story so unique in the voices and stories of her characters. They all feel very real, and I could imagine reading about the event, Rosamund Lupton portrays, in a newspaper or seeing it unfold on the news. It scarily feels very real.

Rosamund Lupton also peers into the psychology behind the terrorists reasons for targeting the school. The school has embraced diversity. And that is the reason why the terrorists have made it a target. It makes you angry to think that there are people actually like this, who exist in the world today. When you hear about a terrorist incident on the news, you think how awful it is, but there is often a voice in the back of your mind saying it will never happen to you. By using a school, in a rural part of the country, Rosamund Lupton shows that this can happen anywhere. It’s what makes the idea even scarier.

The image of the teachers trying to make everything appear as normal as possible for the children is very powerful. They are rehearsing the play Macbeth for the Drama class’s latest production. During these scenes, I kept thinking how scared the teachers themselves must be at the thought of a gunman, potentially multiple gunmen, patrolling the school. It’s what makes them exceptionally brave as well as they try to keep the children safe, by drawing their attention away from the danger lurking around them.

Another powerful story told in the book comes from two brothers, Rafi and Basi, who have escaped war-torn Syria and have made a home in Britain. Their stories are heart-breaking, and the flashback scenes back to when they were fleeing Syria were very strong.

I can imagine that this will be a tough read for some people. You can feel the emotion from the characters within the pages, particularly from the parents who are desperate for news of their children. I don’t have children, so I can only imagine what that fear must be like. It is an emotional roller coaster of a read that will pull at the heartstrings. I imagine I’ll be thinking about it for a very long time to come, and I’m sure it will stick in your mind too, once you have read it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 6th January 2020

Print length: 306 pages

Three Hours is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Dark Angel by Russell Panter #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Russell Panter, Dark Angel.

**In my review I have mentioned there were issues with proofreading. Russell has since confirmed with me that a version I read, which I bought from Amazon, was an early one and the wrong edition had been sold by Amazon. A more up to date version of the book has since been uploaded with the errors corrected.**

BLURB

Tom has the perfect life. Great marriage, successful job and a beautiful home. That is until things start happening that he can’t explain. Strange coincidences that start to make him question his sanity. Suddenly plunged into a situation out of his control and realising he is in danger, he spirals into a dark, brutal world of life and death. He finds he can trust no one and nowhere is safe. Alone, confused and desperately searching for answers; all whilst trying to escape unknown assailants.When suddenly contacted out of the blue by someone claiming he can help, Tom learns that his life has not been all that it seems, and a secret organisation is now hunting him. And with the help of his new ally and using his instinct and tenacity, he fights for his life and ultimately comes to terms with who, and what, he really is. Dark Angel is a dark, gritty, suspense story of loss, redemption and survival, set across some of America’s most iconic cities.

MY THOUGHTS

Dark Angel by Russell Panter is the first self-published novel I’ve read in a while. It was a good start to what I think could potentially be a new series, which I am definitely keen to follow. I thought the plot and the characters were engaging, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen to the lead character, Tom. Some things did, however, hold the book back, but I’m glad that I continued reading as I did enjoy the story.  

Tom has a successful career, and he is the company’s star employee. He also has a happy marriage. Things have been on the up for Tom for a while. But the good times are about to come to an abrupt end. What happens next will make Tom question everything about his life. When strange things start happening around him, the sudden deaths of people he knows, as well as the sudden breakdown of his marriage, he has no idea just how much things are about to change.

I was intrigued by the set-up. In a maternity ward, back in 1983, a father is anxiously awaiting the birth of his son, but a stranger is lurking in the background. But what is his purpose? Why is this man interested? As we fast forward to the present day, I wanted to know how this scene was going to be connected to Tom.

After the prologue, the story is a little slow to get going, but once the main action starts to take place, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Things begin to get really crazy for Tom, which leaves him utterly bewildered and unsure of what to believe or who he can trust anymore. I thought the ideas Russell Panter had were very original and it made the book a very entertaining read.

What did, unfortunately, let the book down was the proofreading, as I did spot a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes. If you can see past this, then it does make for an enjoyable read. Russell Panter is a talented writer, and I am certainly interested in seeing what he comes up with next. After finishing this book, I do believe there is the potential for a sequel. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the characters next.

Publisher: Independently Published

Publication date: 21st May 2020

Print length: 398 pages

Dark Angel is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Top Ten Reads of 2020

Well, here we are, at that time of the year again. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one hell of a mad year. It seems to have flown by and dragged at the same time, but I can’t wait to see the back end of it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that book events can start to happen again at some point in the New Year. But the one thing the pandemic hasn’t stopped, is some brilliant books from being published. Once again it’s been really hard to narrow the books I’ve read this year down to a top ten, but these are the books which stood out for me.

I have managed to read 153 books so far this year. I’m still hoping I’ll make my goal of 160 books by the end of the year, just a few more days to go.

So without any further ado, here are my top ten reads for 2020.

10.

Firewatching by Russ Thomas, is one of the most engaging debut crime novels I’ve read. I read this way back in January and I knew then that this would be featuring in my top ten reads of the year, that’s how good I thought it was. You can read my review of Firewatching by clicking here.

9.

Death Deserved is a brilliant start to a new series featuring, Detective Alexandra Blix. I flew through it and I can’t wait to read the second book in the series, Smoke Screen, which is published early in 2021. If you’d like to read my review of Death Deserved, you can do so by clicking here.

8.

When I read Blood Red City, it put me in mind of the BBC series The Capture, which I watched on BBC One back in 2019. This is a really fast paced, gritty thriller. I couldn’t put it down. If you’d like to read my review of Blood Red City, you can do so by clicking here.

7.

It was a long wait for me to finally read Amer Anwar’s second book in his Zaq and Jags series, Stone Cold Trouble. I raced through this book in just a couple of sittings. It’s very different to what I usually read in the crime fiction market. It’s action packed and highly entertaining. If you’d like to read my review of Stone Cold Trouble, you can do so by clicking here.

6.

Body Language: 'Spellbinding storytelling' Val McDermid by [A. K. Turner]

This was quite a late read in the year for me. Body Language is the first book in a new series by A. K. Turner. It felt very original when I was reading it and her main character, Cassie Raven felt like a breath of fresh air. If you’d like to read my review of Body Language, you can do so by clicking here.

5.

All in Her Head: 'Tense and moving' (Harriet Tyce) - the new must-read thriller of 2020 by [Nikki Smith]

All in her Head by Nikki Smith is a masterclass in plotting and suspense. This is a brilliant debut from a talented new writer and I can’t wait to read what she writes next. If you’d like to read my review of All in her Head, you can do so by clicking here.

4.

Mine is actually the first book by Clare Empson which I’ve read, although I’ve still got her first novel, Him, on my TBR pile to read. Again this is a novel which felt very different to what I usually read, which is why I enjoyed it so much. I actually read this right at the start of the year as well. If you’d like to read my review of Mine you can do so by clicking here.

3.

Curse the Day: The Conspiracy Thriller that Reads Like a Bond Movie (A Michael North Thriller) by [Judith O'Reilly]

Curse the Day is the second book in Judith O’Reilly’s Michael North series. This is a high-octane read and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings. If you’d like to read my review of Curse the Day, you can do so by clicking here.

2.

I Am Dust by [Louise Beech]

I Am Dust, is only the second book by Louise Beech which I’ve read and she has since become one of my favourite writers. If you’d like to read my review of I Am Dust, you can do so by clicking here.

1.

We Begin at the End: 'A beautifully written mystery, packed with unforgettable characters' Jane Harper by [Chris Whitaker]

I knew from the moment I read We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker that it would be my book of the year. This is one of the best crime novels I’ve read and Chris Whitaker is a hugely talented writer. If you’d like to read my review can do so by clicking here.

That’s it for 2020. I have seen some books already being published early in the new year which I am hugely excited about, I’ve already got my pre-orders in.

I hope you have a great year in 2021 and I hope it’s a much better one for all of us.

The Appeal by Janice Hallett #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Janice Hallett, The Appeal, on my blog today. With thanks to Viper Books for sending me a copy to review.

The Appeal: The thriller you'll become obsessed with by [Janice Hallett]

BLURB

In a town full of secrets…
Someone was murdered.
Someone went to prison.
And everyone’s a suspect.
Can you uncover the truth?

Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

MY THOUGHTS

The Appeal by Janice Hallett is one of the most original crime novels I’ve read in a long while. It’s told in a unique way, and it invites the reader to see if they can solve a mystery. If you’re looking for something that is different in the crime fiction genre, you definitely need to read this. Someone was murdered. Someone was erroneously imprisoned. Who is the guilty party?

When I did start reading, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure how I would get on with the style in which the book was written. But after the first couple of pages had passed, I was utterly gripped, and I thought the story was told in a really clever and creative way.

A Drama group, run by a man named Martin Hayward, is setting up to stage a production of All My Sons. But this is soon thrown into chaos when he receives the devastating news that his granddaughter, Poppy, has a rare form of cancer. The Haywards, with the help of the members of the drama group, launch an appeal to raise money for treatment, which Poppy’s family believe is the best hope for her survival. The treatment is currently going through trials in America and is not available in the UK and won’t be for years, perhaps ever. But raising the much needed funds, the family need isn’t going to be easy. As the group starts exchanging their thoughts over email and text, the true colours of some group members are revealed.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot, as it is best to go into this book with very little information, but there are some devious and compelling characters. The dialogue between the members of the group was very believable. Even though we don’t get any descriptions of the characters, I managed to picture them in my mind as I was reading. Their voices were also very distinct. As I said, this book invites you to solve the mystery. I didn’t guess who would be murdered and who the culprit was, but I had some idea as to where the plot was heading. This is one of those novels which you’ll want to discuss once you have read it. It’ll make the perfect book club read.  

I also think that when you have finished reading this book, you’ll want to go back to the beginning again and see where Janice Hallett planted all her clues. I had suspicions about quite a few characters. This is one of those novels which will really get you thinking.

The Appeal grips you very early on and you’ll be desperate to find out who the person is who gets murdered and who the culprit is. The clues are all there. You definitely need to add this to your TBR pile; there’s going to be a lot of people talking about this book in the coming months. I loved it.

Publisher: Viper

Publication date: 14th January 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Appeal is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson #bookreview #blogtour @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Winterkill (Dark Iceland Book 6) by [Ragnar Jónasson, David Warriner]

BLURB

A blizzard is approaching Siglufjörður, and that can only mean one thing…

When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill is a startling addition to the multi-million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting and acclaimed authors in crime fiction.

MY THOUGHTS

Ragnar Jonasson’s books are always the perfect read for this time of year, and it is something I have come to look forward to as the winter approaches. Atmospheric, addictive, and very easy to sink into. Winterkill is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a book to read over the festive period. I have heard this is the last in this series and I am sad to see it draw to a close. But don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous novels as it can be read as a standalone. You’ll definitely want to read the first five books once you read this one.

Detective Inspector Ari Thór Arason is called to a horrific scene where a teenage girl has plunged to her death from a high-rise building. On the basis, it looks as though the girl has committed suicide, but Ari Thór believes there is something else at play here. What was going on in her life to prompt her to throw herself from the top of a building? Was it really just an accident? As Ari Thór continues to investigate, he begins to sense that something prompted the young girl to take this course of action. But what was so terrible that made her decide that this was her only way out?

The novel is told over the course of the Easter weekend. Siglufjörður is facing a horrific snowstorm, causing blackouts and severe disruption. It isn’t the best weather to be conducting a murder investigation, but Ari Thór pushes on. The threatening blizzard creates a dark and foreboding atmosphere; it gives you the sense that it could cause many things to go wrong with the investigation. But this isn’t something that the residents of Siglufjörður aren’t used to. Apart from those who haven’t spent all their lives there. The weather can catch them off guard. Ari Thór is still fairly new to the area as well, having come from the capital, Reykjavík. The locals have come to slowly accept him after proving that he can stick around after surviving the harsh winters. This is something always seen as a test to newcomers who are not used to the climate.

Ragnar Jonasson builds on the atmosphere as the novel progresses. I love the way how the writing takes us into the Icelandic landscape. Once again it has been expertly translated by David Warriner. The writing flows beautifully, and it hooked me right away from the opening chapters. You get a clear sense of the dominating fjord. It made me want to google images of the town, and the scenery is stunning.

The crime which takes place in this book isn’t an overly complicated one. You get the sense that Ari Thór is on the cusp of discovering something big and even the revelations that come are a shock to him. Ragnar wraps everything up really well and delivers the perfect ending which sent shivers down my spine as I was reading it.

As I have come to expect from Ragnar Jonasson’s books, Winterkill is utterly chilling and unputdownable. It took me no time at all to finish this book. This is a series which I highly recommend. Once you read one book by Ragnar Jonasson, you’ll want to read everything he’s ever written. Top stuff!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 10th December 2020

Print length: 240 pages

Winterkill is available to buy:

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