WWW Wednesday – 16/12/2020

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?

What You Pay For: Shortlisted for McIlvanney and CWA Awards (DI Birch) by [Claire Askew]

DI Helen Birch faces a terrible choice – family or justice? – in the gripping second novel from the author of All the Hidden Truths

DI Birch joined the police to find her little brother, who walked out of his life one day and was never seen again. She stayed to help others, determined to seek justice where she could.

On the fourteenth anniversary of Charlie’s disappearance, Birch takes part in a raid on one of Scotland’s most feared criminal organisations. It’s a good day’s work – a chance to get a dangerous man off the streets.

Two days later, Charlie comes back. It’s not a coincidence. When Birch finds out exactly what he’s been doing all those years, she faces a terrible choice: save the case, or save her brother. But how can you do the right thing when all the consequences are bad?

As she interrogates Charlie, he tells his story: of how one wrong turn leads to a world in which the normal rules no longer apply, and you do what you must to survive.

From one of the most acclaimed new voices in crime fiction, What You Pay For is a brilliantly tense and moving novel about the terrible disruption caused by violence and the lines people will cross to protect those they love..

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.

What have I finished reading?

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

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.

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

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?

What will I read next?

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way #bookreview

I’ve finally caught up on Camilla Way’s book, The Lies We Told, I’m sharing my thoughts on my blog today.

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DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL?

A DAUGHTER
Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behaviour, the apparent delight in hurting others… sometimes Beth is scared of her, and what she could be capable of.

A SON
Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without trace, and his girlfriend Clara is left desperate to discover what has happened to him.

A LIFE BUILT ON LIES
As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke’s long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke’s life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can she find him before it’s too late?

MY THOUGHTS

The Lies We Told has been on my TBR pile for a long time. I loved Camilla Way’s novel, Watching Edie, which I read a few years back now, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to catch up on her books. This novel is a dark, twisty and a creepy psychological thriller.

Camilla Way cleverly weaves together several strands which kept me invested in the plot. In 1986, we meet Beth and Doug who have just welcomed home their new, longed for daughter, Hannah. But not everything is as it seems. Beth notices something odd about her daughter very early on. Things begin to get even more concerning when Hannah becomes violent. But what is the root cause of this behaviour? Fast forward to 2017 and Clara’s boyfriend, Luke goes missing, and there is evidence that foul play may have been committed. But how are the different strands linked? What secrets have been buried for so long? 

I thought the flashback scenes to when Hannah was a young girl were really taut and utterly terrifying. You could see the discontent she has for her parents, especially for her mother, Beth. She does have a better relationship with her father, but that is because he isn’t around all the time to see what she is like. This is when I felt frustrated for Beth. Beth is at her wit’s end, trying to work out what is wrong with Hannah. She desperately wants to know what she should do to make things better between them. Hannah really stole the scenes here. She was so unpredictable.

When we move forward to the scenes in 2017, when Clara’s boyfriend, Luke, disappears, I could instantly see that something was very wrong. His parents are extremely worried, and this makes Clara nervous. What are Luke’s parents hiding from her? Soon she begins to learn devastating secrets which Luke has kept from her. But that is nothing compared to the hard-hitting truths that are about to come.

Camilla Way keeps the twists coming. Just when I thought everything had all been wrapped up, she delivered another twist which knocked me for six. I loved how she brought everything together. It was plotted out so well, and everything made sense as both strands in the story came together. Early on in the book, I had no idea how they would cross paths, but Camilla Way pulled them together in a very clever way.

The Lies We Told is disturbing, dark and chilling. Hannah is one of the most complex, thought-provoking characters I’ve come across in a long while. Now all I need to do is catch up on Camilla Way’s latest book, which I am planning to do as soon as possible.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 3rd May 2018

Print length: 384 pages

The Lies We Told is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

Little White Lies by Philippa East #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut thriller by Philippa East, Little White Lies.

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She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…

MY THOUGHTS

Little White Lies is a breath-taking debut by Philippa East which I managed to finish in just a couple of days. The tension is on every page, and I found it very difficult to put down. If I had, had the time, I could have quite happily finished it in one sitting.

At the beginning of the novel, Anne White receives a phone call from the police that she thought she would never receive. Her daughter, Abigail, has been found, seven years after she went missing. At last, the nightmare is over. But is it? Anne imagined that there would be an instant bond between them, but there isn’t. Why is there this disconnected feeling? What does Abigail remember about the day she went missing?

You can feel the tension permeating the atmosphere of Anne’s home after Abigail comes back. It seems as though they are walking on eggshells around each other a lot of the time. I wanted to know why there was this frosty atmosphere between them. I had heard of the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ before. When people have suffered from abuse, or who have been kidnapped, they have bonded with their abusers or kidnappers. If you are in their position for a great deal of time, you become wholly dependent on the abuser, especially if you have been kidnapped. You rely on them for food, water and just about everything you require to live. It is a deep psychological trauma that I can imagine must take years of therapy to work on. I wondered if this was what was happening with Abigail. She had been with her kidnapper for eight years.

The fearful thing for Anne and her family is that Abigail’s kidnapper is still at large. Until he is caught, he still poses a threat to Abigail.

Anne was a really interesting character. Although she is grateful and thrilled to have her daughter back after so long, she is also apprehensive. I wanted to know what it was Anne thought Abigail might know about the day she went missing. Anne can’t confront her daughter about what she might know. This is what raises the tension between them as they try to reconnect.

Philippa East raps up the tension in the final chapters, especially during the court scenes. You know that a dark secret is about to be revealed and I couldn’t wait to find out what that was. There are some taut scenes as the book races towards its conclusion, and I couldn’t stop reading until I had turned the final page.

Little White Lies is a well written, extremely tense debut thriller. Philippa East’s writing engaged me right from the start. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 6th February 2020

Print length: 352 pages

Little White Lies is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Black Summer by M.W. Craven #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Black Summer by M.W. Craven on my blog today, the second book in the Washing Poe crime series.

Black Summer (Washington Poe) by [M. W. Craven]

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After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

MY THOUGHTS

Well, if you’re planning on visiting a Michelin star restaurant any time soon, I wouldn’t suggest reading this book before that visit. But if you are more of a traditional pub food kind of person, like me, then read on. I finally got round to catching up on M.W. Craven’s second book in his Washington Poe series, Black Summer over the last couple of days, and I can’t believe that again, I’ve waited this long to read one of his books. It gripped me from the start. I couldn’t wait to see how things would unfold for Poe this time around, and M.W. Craven certainly doesn’t give him an easy time.

M.W. Craven opens the book with a jaw-dropping opening. Poe is dining at a posh restaurant when the building is stormed with police officers, and he is arrested. Fast forward to a few weeks earlier, and Poe is haunted by one of the biggest investigations of his career. Six years ago, he helped to put killer, celebrity chef Jared Keaton, behind bars. Jared was convicted for the murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found. But now, a young woman, who looks remarkably like Elizabeth turns up at the police station claiming to be here. This young woman’s appearance is about to put Poe’s career and his reputation into jeopardy. Is it possible that he got it wrong all those years ago and that he sent an innocent man to prison? But Poe knows that something is not right here, even when DNA test results reveal that the young woman is Elizabeth. He can’t live with the fact that he may potentially have made a mistake, and Poe believes wholeheartedly that he was right six years ago, and that this woman isn’t Elizabeth. But how can he prove this when this irrefutable evidence saying that she is?

M.W. Craven hooked me in right away with the shocking opening chapter. From that moment, I wanted to know what had happened prior to that point and how things were going to pan out. I really didn’t know how Poe was going to be able to get out of this situation. But knowing him, and knowing his friend Tilly Bradshaw as well, I knew he’d find a way if there was one to be found.

What I have grown to love about this series is the friendship between Poe and Tilly. Many reviewers have already commented on their relationship, so I’m not going to say much more here, other than it’s one of the best things about these books.

Black Summer is a creative, highly addictive, first rate crime novel. I can’t wait to get my hands on book three and to start reading. This is a series I know now, I’ll definitely be sticking with.

Publisher: Constable

Publication date: 20th June 2019

Print length: 343 pages

Black Summer is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons #bookreview #booksontour @WriteAngie @bookouture

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the latest book in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons on my blog today, Deadly Cry. With thanks to Kim Nash from Bookouture for inviting me to take part.

Deadly Cry: An absolutely gripping crime thriller packed with suspense (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Book 13) by [Angela  Marsons]

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You have to stop me from hurting anyone else. I don’t want to do these horrible things. Help me before I’m forced to do it again. And I will do it again because I have no choice. I’ve never had a choice.

In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional kill. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

With her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

With the support of a handwriting analyst and profiler, Kim and the team begin to get inside the mind of the killer and make a shocking discovery.

Some of the victims have scratch marks on their wrists.

But these are no random scratches. The killer is using them to communicate with someone. The question is… with whom?

And if Kim doesn’t find them soon, another innocent soul will die.

MY THOUGHTS

There’s something about reading a Kim Stone book that’s like meeting up with old friends. Deadly Cry is the latest addition in this series, and it is another winner. If you’re a fan of this series, then you are in for a treat.

Kim Stone is once again thrust back into a new case, and it really does become a race against time. Never once did the pace slow down as I was reading. You can sense time ticking away, and Kim knows that any wrong move could have disastrous consequences. Kim and her team are investigating the murder of a woman and also the abduction of her son. Stacey, meanwhile, is revisiting an old case, even though a man was convicted for the crimes years earlier. But there is something about what happened that prompts Stacey to think that the man might be innocent.

I thought the two different storylines in this book gelled together really well. Stacey’s determination comes through once again as she fights to get to the real truth. As Kim’s investigation gets going, the killer starts sending her letters. In the letters, they are begging her to catch them, so they don’t kill again. I was never sure as I was reading this part if the killer was just simply playing games. But as investigations deepen and as it becomes a race against time to find the missing boy, they notice certain parallels with other crimes that have taken place over the years. But what is even more perplexing is if the killer wants to be found why don’t they stop what they are doing themselves? What is prompting them to carry out these attacks?

I really liked how the team got into the mind of the killer in this book. Angela Marsons peers into the psychology behind the killings, and it is here where Kim and her team have to tread carefully. They know if they make a mistake in their next approach, it could mean that the killer may escalate their plans. I thought some of the ideas which Angela Marsons explored in this section were really chilling. It may make you look at relationships in your own family a little more closely. It’s here I won’t say any more as I don’t want to give anything away.

Kim and her team certainly aren’t given an easy ride in this book. There is a lot of frustration amongst her team as they try to think of the best way to approach this. Kim again isn’t one to back down and will fight her corner with her superiors. This is a trait that Kim has carried throughout the course of the series, and it is what makes her a brilliant police officer.

Angela Marsons has written another winner here. Stacey is a character who has really become one of my favourites in this series, and she particularly shines in Deadly Cry. As always, I am now waiting with bated breath to see what Angela Marsons comes up with for Kim and her team next. This is top crime fiction!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 13th November 2020

Print length: 415 pages

Deadly Cry is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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