Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons #bookreview #booksontour @WriteAngie @bookouture

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel in the DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Twisted Lies.

Twisted Lies: An absolutely gripping mystery and suspense thriller (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Book 14) by [Angela Marsons]

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Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

MY THOUGHTS

Wow. Wow. Wow. This book! If you’ve followed the Kim Stone series from the beginning, then you’ll have exactly the same reaction when you read it, and I can’t believe that ending. Those last few lines of Twisted Lies have left me desperate to get my hands on the next book in the series as soon as possible. It’s going to leave fans in a frenzy when they realise what is coming next! Once you do, you’ll want to discuss it with other fans of the series as soon as possible!

It amazes me how Angela Marsons manages to develop fresh and exciting plots with each new book. She always manages to breathe new life into her characters, and each new book in the series has always left me desperate for more. That’s why every time a new Kim Stone book is published, it shoots straight to the top of my TBR pile.

My heart was in my mouth from the very beginning, right to the very end. Once again, Kim and her team have a very complicated case to solve. One of the elements I really liked about Twisted Lies is that we get to see a different side to reporter Tracy Frost to what we have seen before. At the beginning of the book, Kim is appointed as her chaperone for the day by her boss, something which she isn’t particularly pleased with. It made me smile as I read the early scenes, but Tracy’s day out with Kim is cut short when Kim is called to a particularly gruesome murder scene. From this very moment, I needed to know who could have killed and someone like this. What was their motivation?

Angela Marsons always explores fascinating themes in her books. It’s very difficult to talk more about this without giving details of the plot away, but the subject she covers in Twisted Lies is really interesting. It’s what makes this investigation so difficult for Kim and her team to crack. Once they realise just what is going on here, the realisation of what they’ve now uncovered is horrifying, and the team soon find themselves in a very precarious situation.

It’s also been really good getting to catch up with Kim and her team again. I always like the banter between them, particularly between Penn and Stacey in this book.

As the investigation progresses, Angela Marsons begins to ramp up the tension, and it becomes a race against time for Kim and her team to find the killer before it is too late. As always, with Angela Marsons books, I was never able to guess who was behind the crimes that were taking place. She always manages to surprise me.

I know I’ll probably be saying this when I read the next book, but this is my favourite in the Kim Stone series to date. The books keep getting better and better, and Angela Marsons continues to prove that she is a crime writer at the top of my game. I loved this book!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 414 pages

Twisted Lies is available to buy:

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The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl #bookreview #blogtour @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; there’s a civil war in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy.

When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity.

But all is not what it seems, and when Jack is accused of murder, the trail leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret.

MY THOUGHTS

In Kjell Ola Dahl’s latest novel, The Assistant, he whisks us to Europe in 1938, when the continent is on the brink of war. There is tension simmering in the air with talks about what Hitler and his regime are doing. We are introduced to former a police detective, turned private investigator, Ludvig Paaske, who is now working with his one time, arch-nemesis, Jack Rivers. But what has drawn them to work together?

I thought the partnership of Jack Rivers and Ludvig Paaske was really intriguing. I wanted to find out more about it and what had prompted them to form this new alliance. Would this have any implications for Ludvig, particularly as he swore to put Jack behind bars during the prohibition era in Norway in the 1920s?

The case which they are investigating is an interesting one, very simple at first, when a woman asks them to spy on her husband, who she suspects is having an affair. But very soon, Ludvig begins to see that there is much more at play here than what first meets the eye.

Jack Rivers comes across as very likeable, even though he is a criminal. You can see that he is a passionate man when it comes to love and women, but you also get the sense that he is in control of the situation, especially when things get tense. I was really interested in the scenes set in the 1920s when Jack played on the wrong side of the law by smuggling alcohol. This was a part of history that, until I read this book, I didn’t know much about, particularly about the prohibition in Norway. It was fascinating to find out more about what was happening in the world at this time. After I finished reading the book, I wanted to find out more about this time period.

Kjell Ola Dahl builds on the atmosphere in this book, and there is a real sense of mystery. This is especially as Jack and Ludvig begin to understand more about the case and people they are investigating. I could feel the tensions simmering as the plot began to build, especially with the threat of war lingering in the background.

Ludvig’s character took longer to grow on me, and I think some readers may struggle to like him at first, but I would definitely like to read another novel where he and Jack feature again.

The Assistant is a compelling mystery novel; the writing pulls you into the story from the very first page. If you’re a fan of wartime thrillers, then you definitely need to give this book a go.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 276 pages

The Assistant is available to buy:

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All My Lies by Sophie Flynn #bookreview #blogtour @sophielflynn @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the debut novel by Sophie Flynn on my blog today, All My Lies. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

All My Lies by [Sophie Flynn]

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Anna wants to escape.
She doesn’t know when her marriage to James began to feel like a trap or when he became so controlling. All she knows is that she needs to leave before it’s too late.
 
And she has a plan.
When Anna reconnects with her childhood sweetheart, Sam, she sees it as the answer to her problems. Finally, they’ll have a life together, like they’d always planned – the life she was meant to have.
 
But the lies are catching up with her . . .

On the morning of their escape, Sam goes missing. Anna knows he wouldn’t leave her, that something must have happened to him.
Her search for answers will force her to confront her past, something that she has been running from for a very long time . . .

MY THOUGHTS

All My Lies is a twisty and gripping psychological thriller by Sophie Flynn. I read this novel really fast, and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings.

My intrigue was piqued right from the beginning when we meet Anna, who is desperate to escape her controlling boyfriend, James. She has recently got back in touch with her childhood sweetheart, Sam, and as they discuss the potential for a life together, Anna starts making plans to make this a reality. But everything is about to come crashing down for Anna. The secrets hidden in her past are about to resurface.

What I loved about this book was that I felt that I couldn’t trust any of the characters, particularly Sam’s family, to who Anna was once very close to. I also felt really scared for her. I didn’t want her husband to find out what was going on in her life as I had no idea how he would react. The early scenes in which he and Anna are together were so tense and chilling. I was rooting for Anna to get out of the marriage. When you start reading this book, you may think that this is a story that has been told before, but Sophie Flynn took the story in a completely different direction from what I was expecting. It’s what made it all the more exciting to read.

There are many different elements to this book, which makes it such an action packed and fast-paced read. I wanted to know more about Anna’s past as she struggles to come to terms with what is happening in the present. I also wanted to know more about her former boyfriend, Sam. Why suddenly was he behaving in this way towards Anna when they had talked about building a future together? I could sense her frustration as everything she had been working towards began to tumble down. Sophie Flynn is a writer who knows how to keep the tension turning up a notch and how to keep her reader hooked.

All My Lies grips you from the first page and keeps you utterly invested in the plot and the characters. I really enjoyed it. Sophie Flynn is an exciting new writer to watch, and I can’t wait to read more from her.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 23rd April 2021

Print length: 271 pages

All My Lies is available to buy:

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The Rapunzel Act by Abi Silver #bookreview #blogtour @abisilver16 @amberachoudhary @EyeAndLightning

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Rapunzel Act by Abi Silver on my blog today, with thanks to Amber Choudhary from Midas PR for inviting me to take part.

The Rapunzel Act: A Burton & Lamb Case (Burton and Lamb Thrillers Book 4) by [Abi Silver]

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CAN YOU FIND JUSTICE… WHEN THE WORLD IS WATCHING?

When breakfast TV host and nation’s darling, Rosie Harper, is found brutally murdered at home, suspicion falls on her spouse, formerly international football star, Danny ‘walks on water’ Mallard, now living out of the public eye as trans woman, Debbie.

Not only must Debbie challenge the hard evidence against her, including her blood-drenched glove at the scene of the crime, she must also contend with the nation’s prejudices, as the trial is broadcast live, turning it into a public spectacle. For someone trying to live their life without judgment, it might just be too much to bear.

Legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb are subjected to unyielding scrutiny as they strive to defend their most famous client yet.

MY THOUGHTS

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover Abi Silver’s Burton and Lamb series. The Rapunzel Act is a gripping courtroom drama. It’s the first book in this series that I’ve read, but I will definitely be catching up on the previous books. It’s pacy and very addictive, and I’m sure I’ll keep coming back to this series.

Abi Silver opens her novel with a really intriguing set-up. Debbie is horrified when the police inform her that her ex-wife, Rosie, has been found dead in her home. Debbie, formerly known as Danny, a professional footballer, had a sex change three years earlier after feeling for years that he was trapped in the wrong body. But when Debbie runs from the police, she is immediately seen as the number one suspect in her ex-wife’s murder. But why did Debbie run if she had nothing to do with what happened? It falls to Constance and Judith to prove Debbie’s innocence, which will be no mean feat.

Abi Silver really captured the energy and the intrigue of the court case as Debbie’s trial began. I wanted to know what had happened to her wife. What I thought made this really tense was that I could never be sure if she was responsible for the murder or not. Debbie was the last person to see her wife before she was found dead. If she wasn’t the killer, I wanted to know the motive behind the killing and who did it.

What I thought was intriguing about this book was that a television crew is let in to film the court proceedings. It’s something that not everyone agrees with when the idea is first propositioned. It’s not very common in Britain, and it’s what makes this case particularly fascinating.

There is a real sense of authenticity in Abi Silver’s writing as she takes us into the courtroom and as the trial proceeds. It becomes really intriguing when Constance and Judith get closer to understanding what happened to Debbie. I thought Abi Silver wrapped the plot up really well, and it made for a very satisfactory ending.  

The Rapunzel Act is a really immersive read, and I would highly recommend it if you’re a fan of courtroom dramas. Although it is book four in the series, it can definitely be read as a standalone, but I’m sure, like me, if you’re new to the series, you’ll want to read the previous books to catch up. I can’t wait to read more from this series.

Publisher: Lightning Books

Publication date: 25th January 2021 (kindle) 15th April 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

The Rapunzel Act is available to buy:

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The House of Hidden Secrets by C E Rose #bookreview #blogtour @CazEngland @HeraBooks @rararesources

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The House of Hidden Secrets by C E Rose on my blog today. With thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

The House of Hidden Secrets: A twisty psychological thriller that will have you gripped by [CE Rose]

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The imposing gates of Ramsay Hall yawned open. As Serena and 4-year-old Lana walked up the long driveway, little did they know the dark secrets that lay within.

When Serena Green accepted the role of housekeeper for wealthy widower Hayden Ramsay, she never imagined her new home would be Ramsay Hall, an ancient, sprawling mansion in Northern England.

Serena quickly becomes an integral part of the household, making friends with Hayden’s younger son Hugh, despite Jack, his older brother’s, coldness towards her and Lana.

But the hall’s beautiful exterior hides many ugly secrets. Though Serena and Jack begin to grow closer, she’s
confused by his behaviour around Lana. What is he guilty of? And is there more to their mother’s death than the Ramsay men will admit, even to themselves?

As the harrowing past of Ramsay Hall unravels, Serena fresh start becomes a fresh horror. She fears for her and Lana’s safety, but what are the bleak secrets in Serena’s own past?

This house is built on a lifetime of
lies… and the truth might just bring the walls crashing down.

MY THOUGHTS

The House of Hidden Secrets is a dark, compelling read by C E Rose. It is a slow-burner, but I was really intrigued by the characters, and there are some shocking reveals as the plot unfolds. Part romance and part psychological thriller; this is an engrossing read that kept me captivated from start to finish.

We meet Serena and her daughter Lana; Serena has just applied for a position at a manor house in the country. She is offered the job by Hayden, the owner, on the spot. But as Serena and her daughter Lana settle into their new home, she discovers that things are not quite as they seem. The owner’s son is hostile towards her, and he can’t believe that his father employed her. But why is he so worried about her employment, and what secrets is he desperate to make sure Serena doesn’t uncover?

I thought C E Rose developed Serena’s character really well. There is an air of mystery about her as she arrives at the property. It is as if she has arrived like a bolt out of the blue. I wondered if there was more to her than what first meets the eye. The owner of the house, Hayden, intrigued me as well. From the beginning, he appeared to be very trustworthy of Serena, even though he has no evidence that she is. The only person in the household who is worried about her presence there is his son, Jack. He doesn’t exactly give her a warm welcome when he first meets her.

As I was reading, I wanted to find out what secrets the residents of the house were hiding. It was clear that something had happened in their past and that Jack doesn’t want Lana poking around. But Lana begins to grow close to Jack’s brother, Hayden, and as Hayden begins to gradually reveal more about the family’s secrets to Lana, she is shocked by what she learns.

What I really liked about this book was how C E Rose developed Serena and Hayden’s relationship. You can see there is a spark between them from the beginning, but C E Rose paints Hayden as a troubled and vulnerable character. I wanted their relationship to develop further, and I could see that Hayden wanted to be with Serena.

The writing is very engaging, and I did not want to put this book down as I was reading. There are some very intense scenes as C E Rose wraps her story up, and the ending was very chilling. The House of Hidden Secrets is a dark, utterly absorbing read. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Hera

Publication date: 14th April 2021

Print length: 288 pages

The House of Hidden Secrets is available to buy:

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Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone #bookreview #blogtour @C_L_Johnstone @BoroughPress @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut thriller by Carole Johnstone on my blog today, Mirrorland. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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No. 36 Westeryk Road: an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A place of curving shadows and crumbling grandeur. But it’s what lies under the house that is extraordinary – Mirrorland. A vivid make-believe world that twin sisters Cat and El created as children. A place of escape, but from what?

Now in her thirties, Cat has turned her back on her past. But when she receives news that one sunny morning, El left harbour in her sailboat and never came back, she is forced to return to Westeryk Road; to re-enter a forgotten world of lies, betrayal and danger.
 
Because El had a plan. She’s left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth long-buried secrets. And to discover the truth, Cat must first confront the reality of her childhood – a childhood that wasn’t nearly as idyllic as she remembers…

MY THOUGHTS

When I read the blurb for Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone, I knew straight away that I had to read it. It sounded so intriguing and different from what I had read before in crime fiction. But I was slightly worried, would the book itself live up to the exciting premise? I needn’t have worried. Carole Johnstone has written a brilliant debut novel, and I really enjoyed reading it.

Cat hasn’t returned to her home in Edinburgh since she moved to America. The reason she has returned is because her twin sister, El, has disappeared. El’s husband is distraught and desperate for news, but Cat appears cold. She believes El is seeking attention and faking her disappearance. But things soon take a shocking turn for the worse. Is there a link between El’s disappearance and the game they used to play as children to help cover up a dark secret?

I was intrigued by the idea of Mirrorland,and I thought it was very creative. I wanted to learn more about the world El and Cat had created for themselves and what it really meant. What were they trying to cover up? When we are first introduced to Cat, I struggled to like her, initially. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t taking her sister’s disappearance more seriously. It made me wonder what she knew about El that El’s husband and the police didn’t.

The mystery in this book becomes quite a complex one as Carole Johnstone unravels the secrets behind the game El and Cat used to play when they were children. There are some dark secrets which come to light as the novel reaches its climax. This is what makes this book such a sinister and twisted read. Carole also explores what families will do to protect one another and what they are willing to do to make sure their loved ones survive. It makes for some very intense reading as more more information about El and Cat is revealed.

Mirrorland is an intriguing, original thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. If you’re looking for something that is a bit different in the crime fiction genre, definitely give this book a go! 

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 416 pages

Mirrorland is available to buy:

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Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith #bookreview #blogtour @Mrssmithmunday @orionbooks

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Nikki Smith on my blog today, Look What You Made Me Do. With thanks to Alex Layt from Orion Books for inviting me to take part.

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Two people can keep a secret . . . if one of them is dead.

Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.

Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.

But just how far will she go to get it?

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Nikki Smith’s debut novel, All In Her Head, and I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with next. Look What You Made Me Do is a gripping, character-driven psychological thriller. Nikki Smith explores the simmering tensions within a family through the eyes of sisters Jo and Caroline. This is as they come to terms with the loss of their dad. Tensions especially heighten when it is revealed that their dad has left his business entirely to Jo.

Nikki Smith expertly peeled back the layers of each family member, and I thought they were all very well developed. I thought both Jo and Caroline were really intriguing characters. I liked how Nikki explored the dynamics of their relationship, especially the sibling rivalry. It made me wonder just how far they were prepared to go to achieve what they wanted. I really didn’t like their mother, who seemed to prefer one of her daughters over the other. I really couldn’t understand how she could openly show this in front of them.

Nikki Smith builds on the tension as the story progresses, and I was surprised with the direction in which she took the story, especially with the more domestic issues she explored. I wanted to know just how things were going to pan out for the family as they begin to understand what has happened and what this will mean for them when it is revealed that Jo and Caroline’s dad has left everything to Jo. There is a growing sense of dislike and mistrust building between them, and there are some shocking revelations as they come head to head with each other.

There were plenty of characters who I really didn’t like in this book. I really didn’t like Caroline’s husband, Rob. There were some scenes at the beginning in which he and Caroline were together, which made me feel very uncomfortable. He came across as very controlling, and it made me fear for Caroline as I was reading these early scenes. He was a really nasty character.

I thought Nikki Smith’s writing was very immersive, and I was pulled into the story. I did not want to put this book down. Nikki Smith delivers a very powerful twist that I did not see coming. Look What You Made Me Do felt like a very fresh psychological thriller, and I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t yet discovered Nikki Smith’s books, then you really need to read them.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 1st April 2021

Print length: 336 pages

Look What You Made Me Do is available to buy:

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Trust Me by T.M. Logan #bookreview #blogtour @TMLoganAuthor @bonnierbooks_uk @Tr4cyF3nt0n

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

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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 . . .

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of T.M. Logan’s thrillers, so I jumped at the chance to read his latest, and I moved it right to the top of my TBR pile. Trust Me is filled with suspense, and the tension is there on every single page. Right from the very start, I had to know what was going on here and I raced through it to find the answers. It is very addictive!

At the beginning of the novel, we meet Ellen, who is just boarding a train. She has no idea how what should have been a simple journey will impact the rest of her life. When the woman she is sitting next to asks if she wouldn’t mind looking after her baby, Mia, while she makes a phone call, Ellen expects her to be back any moment. But she doesn’t return. All Ellen finds is a note warning her not to trust the police.

Ellen is a great lead character. Straight away, she feels a bond between her and Mia, and she is willing to do anything to protect her. But Ellen doesn’t know who it is she needs to protect Mia from. Why did her mother abandon her? Why can’t she trust the police? I wanted to know what was really going on here as the situation Ellen finds herself in, begins to unfold. Who would want to target an innocent young girl? This is what Ellen can’t quite bring herself to believe. Mia has done nothing wrong; why is she in danger? What can Ellen do to protect her when the police can’t be trusted?

Ellen is a character who I connected with very early on. I felt sorry for her as I began to learn more about her life. She has just recently split up with her husband, and she is devastated that she hasn’t been able to have children. She knows now that it is very unlikely to happen to her. Her husband then announces to her that he and his new partner are expecting a baby, which comes as a real blow. When Ellen first comes into contact with Mia, there was a part of me hoping that perhaps, Ellen might be able to adopt her.

I was on the edge of my seat right the way through this book. T.M. Logan is an author who knows how to keep his readers turning the page, and I was utterly gripped. There were tense scenes which were packed with action. It made me feel as though I was there, watching everything unfold around me.

If you’re a fan of high octane novels, and if you haven’t read anything by T.M. Logan before, then you’re definitely missing out. I’m always really impressed with what he has managed to come up with, and I know I’ll be adding whatever he writes next to my TBR pile right away. Trust Me is a thriller not to be missed.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 18th March 2021

Print length: 432 pages

Trust Me is available to buy:

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Last Seen by Joy Kluver #blogtour #bookreview @JoyKluver @bookouture

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Joy Kluver on my blog today, Last Seen. With thanks to Noelle Holten from Bookouture for inviting me to take part.

Last Seen: An absolutely gripping missing child crime thriller (Detective Bernadette Noel Book 1) by [Joy Kluver]

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‘A little girl is missing from under her mother’s nose. She’ll be scared and vulnerable – if she’s still alive. But no one is helping us search. No one wants to give us information. No one even seems surprised. What’s going on?’

Detective Bernadette Noel came to this quiet rural corner of south-west England from London to lie low after a high-profile prosecution led to death threats against her family. But she has barely settled in when the call comes. A woman’s voice, shrill with terror and thick with tears: ‘Help – it’s my daughter, Molly – I only had my back turned for a minute… She’s gone!’

A child abduction is about as far from lying low as it gets, and her boss wants to assign a different detective. But there’s no way Bernie’s not taking the case – she can’t miss this chance to prove herself.

Five-year-old Molly Reynolds has been snatched from the playground in the village where she lives. Normally in cases like this the community is an asset – eager to help search and full of local knowledge. But although Molly’s mother Jessica is in anguish, the other villagers don’t seem to want to know.

As details emerge, Bernie discovers a possible link to a shocking crime that has never been solved, and which the locals have never forgotten. But what exactly is the connection to Molly’s abduction? Cracking a cold case is the only way to find out – and meanwhile time is running out for Molly.

MY THOUGHTS

Last Seen is the debut novel by Joy Kluver, and it’s a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while now. It is the start of what I hope will be a long-running series featuring Detective Bernadette Noel.

Detective Bernadette Noel has recently been appointed to a town in Wiltshire under something of a cloud. She was previously working with the Metropolitan Police, so what was the reason behind her move to Wiltshire? Not long after she is reassigned, she is thrown into a high profile investigation when five-year-old Molly disappears. But why do none of the locals want to help in the search?

Joy Kluver has created such an intriguing premise in her debut novel. Usually, and especially in the case of a missing child, the public wants to help. There are searches organised, and people are ringing the police hotline constantly with sightings to report. But in this case, the police aren’t getting anything. When they carry out house to house enquiries, they are met with hostility, with the door practically being slammed in their faces. People are also very reluctant to put up missing posters. What is going on here? It made me really dislike the residents of their town. Couldn’t they see that this was about bringing Molly, an innocent girl home?

The investigation is a complex one, and Joy Kluver cleverly weaves everything together. The investigation does start off quite slow, particularly when people are unwilling to help, but it gradually gathers pace. There are some shocking reveals as the police look into the past of the victim’s family. It’s then that they begin to understand why the locals don’t want to know. I really wanted to find out the reason behind this.

I liked the friendships between Bernie and her team, and I think Joy Kluver builds on this really well as the novel progresses. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops as the series moves on from here.

This is a fantastic start to a new series, which I’m sure will keep readers coming back for more.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 26th March 2021

Print length: 358 pages

Last Seen is available to buy:

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Nighthawking by Russ Thomas #bookreview #blogtour @thevoiceofruss @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

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

BLURB

Sheffield’s beautiful Botanical Gardens – an oasis of peace in a world filled with sorrow, confusion and pain. And then, one morning, a body is found in the Gardens. A young woman, dead from a stab wound, buried in a quiet corner. Police quickly determine that the body’s been there for months. It would have gone undiscovered for years – but someone just sneaked into the Gardens and dug it up.
 
Who is the victim? Who killed her and hid her body? Who dug her up? And who left a macabre marker on the body?
 
In his quest to find her murderer, DS Adam Tyler will find himself drawn into the secretive world of nighthawkers: treasure-hunters who operate under cover of darkness, seeking the lost and valuable… and willing to kill to keep what they find.
 
That which was lost… will always be found again

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Russ Thomas’s debut, Firewatching, which made my top ten books of 2020, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. Nighthawking is a brilliant follow up, and Russ Thomas has created a complex mystery which kept me hooked, and it had a really intriguing premise.

I really liked DS Adam Tyler when Russ Thomas first introduced him in the first book. This time around, he is slipping away from the police investigation that is taking place. Tyler is also struggling with his relationship with Paul, as well. His actions did make me feel sorry for his colleague, DC Amina Rabbini. She is constantly trying to locate him and is always having to cover up for him as well. They both work for the cold case unit, which is under threat as it is, of being disbanded, due to budget cuts.

DS Tyler and DC Rabbini soon find themselves thrown into an investigation when a young woman’s body is found in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens. It appears that the body has been there for months. The case is soon matched up with the disappearance of a Chinese woman eight months earlier. But it appears that not much was done to trace her, and the case was quickly wrapped up.  

In this book, Russ Thomas delves into the world of nighthawkers, which gives the book a very sinister feeling. Nighthawkers are treasure hunters, and it’s the nickname given to people who don’t have a licence to hunt for treasure, particularly at sites with a historical value. This part of the plot gave the book a very sinister feeling. It made me wonder if it had a wider connection to the discovery of the young girl’s body.

The plot was cleverly constructed, and I liked the different elements that Russ Thomas brought to it. I thought this, particularly when we begin to learn more about what was going on in the life of the murdered girl.  

The tension gathers pace as the truth begins to unfold, and it was a jaw dropping moment when Russ Thomas revealed his secrets. And then Russ Thomas leaves us with a cliff hanger. The ending has left me wanting to get my hands on the next book as soon as possible. I know this is a series that I’ll be sticking with.

Nighthawking is another excellent book by Russ Thomas, and I can’t wait to see how things progress from here.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication date: 29th April 2021

Print length: 445 pages

Nighthawking is available to buy:

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