Winterman by Alex Walters blog tour #bookreview @MikeWalters60 @Bloodhoundbook

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Winterman by Alex Walters on my blog today.

Winterman: a tense serial killer thriller by [Walters, Alex]

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The War is Behind Him. But his battle has only just begun…

DI Ivan Winterman is a man with a troubled past. The Blitz has left his young son dead and his wife seriously injured. He has made enemies in high places and, with his career going nowhere, he returns to his home town in East Anglia, seeking to rebuild his life in a country gripped by post-war austerity and the coldest winter on record.

As the first snow begins to fall, a drunken ex-clergyman stumbles on the semi-mummified body of a small child concealed in a ruined cottage. Days later, a second similar child’s body is found in a Fenland dyke. Both bodies have been dead for several years, preserved in the Fens, the cause of death unknown.

Winterman, supported by a small team of assorted misfits, finds himself leading the investigation, uncovering a web of connections and secrets in the small rural community. When a further murder victim is discovered, Winterman discovers that the secrets are darker and the threat far more immediate than he’d ever envisaged.

And, as the snow finally begins to thaw over the Fens, Winterman realises that his worst nightmares are about to come true…

MY THOUGHTS

Winterman by Alex Walters is a dark, dark crime novel, set in the depths of winter just after the Second World War which has devastated Britain and Europe. There is plenty of atmosphere in this book; I could feel the bite that winter had on the residents of the village where the book is set, and there was a really sinister tone that kept me gripped. I think I was looking at about every single one of the characters as I tried to work out who was behind the crimes that had taken place, and there are some disturbing ones.

There’s a really chilling opening scene in which we see rising panic ensue after a young boy disappears just before a blackout. Several years later and DI Ivan Winterman arrives in the town and it isn’t long after his arrival that a child’s mummified body is found. And it isn’t the only body to be discovered. This is a town where crimes very rarely happen, and Winterman knows he has a tough case on his hands as he attempts to piece back evidence that goes back over the years.

I thought that the author conveyed a real sense of place and time in this book. We can see the effects that the war has had on the local community and on the wider country with rationing still in force. Rationing carried on in this country for years after the war, as Great Britain rebuilt itself.

DI Ivan Winterman was a character who I really engaged with. It was fascinating to see how the other members of the police team took to him, and how they worked together, as he has just taken on one of the top jobs in policing. I was wondering if this was going to cause a few issues as no one from the team was promoted to the role. I don’t think I would be too happy if an outsider came in and took the top job.

The structure of the novel was cleverly thought out, and it did have some heartbreaking reveals towards the end which I don’t think I’ll be forgetting about for a while. And there was a heart-pounding conclusion. The ending did give me chills as I wondered if such things did actually occur during the period that the book is set, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if such goings on did actually happen.

The whole plot just kept me gripped. I wanted to find out who the children were who had been uncovered, and especially, as reports came about that children had started to disappear from the area a few years ago. Of course in the time period the book is set, policing was a lot harder than it is today, as they didn’t have the advances in science we have today available to them. It seemed to me that there was something much more going on here, which was hiding in the shadows and I feared that this wasn’t going to be over for the residents of the town any time soon.

If you’re a fan of historical crime fiction then definitely give this book a go. It’s a real page-turner that will chill you and keep you utterly gripped.

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication date: 26th February 2019

Print length: 470 pages

If you would like to purchase Winterman, you can do so by clicking on the following link below.

Amazon UK

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Bad Seed by Heleyne Hammersley blog tour #bookreview @hhammersley66 @Bloodhoundbook

Heleyne Hammersley - Bad Seed_cover

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When the body of a woman is discovered near Doncaster’s red light district, DI Kate Fletcher is called to the scene.

The victim has an abdominal wound that looks like a Caesarean incision, leading the police to believe she may have been pregnant.

Kate’s team establish the woman’s identity but it soon becomes clear that those close to her have something to hide.

The post-mortem reveals the victim wasn’t pregnant and, when a second body is discovered with similar wounds, the police realise they are hunting for a serial killer with a sinister fixation.

Can Kate solve the case before another woman dies?

And can a ruthless, methodical killer be brought to justice?

MY THOUGHTS

Bad Seed opens up with a rather gruesome discovery that sets a dark tone. The body of a young woman is found, and it appears as though someone, the killer, has attempted to perform a Caesarean on her. DI Kate Fletcher and her team face a complex investigation, which isn’t helped when fractions soon start to appear in her team, especially when it turns out that one of them may be leaking information to the press. Kate has a tough case on her hands, and when the body of a second woman is found in similar circumstances, they know that there isn’t going to be a swift resolution.

Heleyne has given Kate a very complex investigation to tackle in the latest book in the DI Kate Fletcher series. From the very start, I just had this feeling that this wasn’t going to be easy for Kate and her team.

The police procedural aspect to this book is very well written, especially the detail that Heleyne puts into discoveries made during the post mortem, and this prompted me to think a lot about what was going on here. Why was someone targeting these women in this way? Parts of the book do make for an uncomfortable read, but this adds to the tension, and I was rooting for the police to catch the individual responsible. I could also feel the frustration that the police were feeling at the lack of leads they had to pursue. This is one of those crime novels where you just have to find out who the culprit is.

I also really liked that we got to learn more about Kate’s colleague, Dan Hollis. We learn a lot more about his upbringing and his family life in this book, and he too, makes some unnerving discoveries about his past which he is keen not to make common knowledge. I’m interested to see how this part of the story will develop in future books. This formed an intriguing back story; there were times when I just felt really sorry for Dan. Heleyne did have me wondering if what he was being told was actually true and as the story took another turn towards the end, I couldn’t help but feel the same as some of the police officers. But I’m not going to go into any detail here as to what I mean by that, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Overall I thought Bad Seed was an enjoyable and an intriguing read. I think there were times when I would have liked for there to have been a little more tension, but I was kept interested in the plot, and I wanted to see how the story was going to unfold at the end. I definitely wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this series to fellow police procedural fans.

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication date: 25th February 2019

Print length: 320 pages

If you would like to purchase Bad Seed, you can do so by clicking on the following link below.

Amazon UK

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The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge blog tour #bookreview @sibelhodge @Bloodhoundbook @damppebbles

Sibel Hodge - The Disappeared_cover

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The Widow. The Secret. The Liar. 

The Disappeared… 

On a routine flight from Africa to England, Dr Mason Palmer is tragically killed when the light aircraft he’s travelling on crashes and disappears in dense bushland.

The Widow…

Ten months later, Nicole Palmer is still trying to block out the grief of her husband’s sudden death. Until one morning she receives a photo of Mason through the post, along with a cryptic message. A message only he could’ve written.

The Secret…

But when Nicole tries to find out if Mason is really alive and what actually happened to him in Africa, everyone she turns to for answers ends up dead.

Determined to find the truth, Nicole uncovers a conspiracy that spans the globe, and discovers there are powerful people who are prepared to kill to keep her silent.

MY THOUGHTS

The Disappeared is a tense roller-coaster of a read from Sibel Hodge. Right from its intriguing opening, I was captivated by Nicole and Mason’s story which is quite a powerful one, and it can also be quite eye-opening. This is a novel that will make you think about what is going on in the world at the moment, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if events in this book were actually happening right now; it does make my blood boil to think that such crimes are being hushed up by corrupt governments across the globe.

In the opening pages, we meet Nicole who is grieving for her late husband Mason ten months after his plane went down, there were no recorded survivors. Nicole has never had closure, as the area in Africa where the plane crashed is in rebel territory making it too dangerous for government officials to go in and investigate and recover the bodies and the wreckage. Nicole fears that she will never be able to bury her husband and that his bones will remain lost in the African wilderness. But she is about to receive startling information that will change everything she thought she knew in a big way.

This is a story with plenty of intrigue and with some callous characters who you will be very happy to see taken down and destroyed. From the start, I had a lot of questions surrounding the mystery that Nicole has now found herself plunged into, what had really happened to her husband and what was he involved in? Like the police officers, I had more than one scenario playing around inside my mind. Nicole is a character who I became invested in, and I really wanted her to succeed in what she is trying to accomplish in this book.

This is quite an emotionally charged read, especially when you begin to learn the truth about what has been going on Mason’s world, prior to the events which are happening now. This plot is very hard to talk about without giving any of it away, so I’m not going to go into any further detail, but be prepared to be shocked and appalled by events which quickly unfold. I flew through The Disappeared as I wanted to see just how everything was going to come together in the end.

The Disappeared is a story about greed, corruption and lies which culminate in a painful truth. Sibel Hodge is a new author to me, and after reading this book, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more novels by her. If you’re looking for a quick, action-packed read, with heroes who you can root for, then I would definitely recommend this book. Thank you to Emma Welton at Damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to read.

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication date: 10th January 2019

Print length: 365 pages

If you would like to purchase The Disappeared you can do so by clicking on the following link below. 

Amazon UK

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In the Silence by M.R. Mackenzie blog tour @landofwhimsy @Bloodhoundbook

inthesilence

Source: Netgalley

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Anna hasn’t set foot in Glasgow for ten years. And for very good reasons…

Anna, a criminology lecturer, returns to Glasgow from Rome during the coldest winter in memory. While out with her best friend from school, Anna has a chance encounter with a former flame, Andrew. Tragedy strikes later that night when Anna discovers Andrew stabbed and dying on a blanket of snow.

Soon Anna finds herself at the centre of the investigation as the star witness for the police, and embarks on investigating the case herself. But Anna doesn’t realise the danger she is in and soon finds herself in trouble.

When another body shows up, who has links to the first victim, it appears that the motive may lie buried in the past.

As Anna gets closer to the truth, the killer starts closing in.

But can she solve the gruesome mystery before the killer strikes again?

MY THOUGHTS

A killer is stalking the streets of Glasgow in the depths of winter, in the run up to the festive season, and they are ticking off their victims, one by one; is there a connection between them or are they striking people at random? In the Silence is M.R. Mackenzie’s debut novel, and I was really impressed. It is a gritty and dark debut thriller, and the time of year that the author chose to set the book was perfect for creating that menacing and eerie atmosphere which he certainly did.

Anna has recently returned to her home city after spending ten years in Rome. It has been a while since she has seen her old friend Zoe, and on her first night back they hit the clubs to celebrate Zoe’s birthday. But things soon take a disturbing turn when the body of a man who Anna knows, who she saw at the club the night before he died, is found. Anna soon becomes a suspect in the eye of the police who are working on the case and to help prove her innocence, Anna decides to investigate what has happened herself.

What I loved most about the book was its setting. Although I have never been to Glasgow, I thought that M.R. Mackenzie captured a strong sense of what some parts of the city must be like, especially the clubs and the people who go there. I got the sense that the killer could be lurking in every corner, waiting for their turn to strike again. As Anna became further involved in the case, I feared what was going to happen to her, particularly as the police seemed to take a dislike towards her and appeared intent on making her life difficult. I was appalled at the treatment Anna was receiving, but this made me keen to read on as I wanted to find out what was going to happen to her and if the killer was going to get away with their crimes. She is a captivating character, and I felt that I could root for her from the beginning.

M.R. Mackenzie slowly reveals details about Anna’s past, and there were some revelations which were shocking. She is a character who you will become invested in as the plot develops. One of my favourite aspects of the novel was her friendship with Zoe, she is the more domineering of the two, but I really liked her sense of humour, and she did add some lightness to the book.

This was a debut that I thought was really engaging. There was a part of the novel at the end which took me completely by surprise, I could see where the plot was going but I was shocked at how everything unfolded, it does make for a powerful ending. I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on what M.R. Mackenzie writes next. Thank you to Sarah Hardy for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Bloodhound Books for the advance review copy.

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication date: 10th September 2018

Print length: 306 pages

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No Place Like Home by Rebecca Muddiman blog tour @RebeccaMuddiman @BloodhoundBook

Rebecca Muddiman - No Place Like Home_cover

Source: Netgalley

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What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house?

This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home. The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her.

What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly?

In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rebecca+muddiman

Rebecca Muddiman was born and raised in the North East and worked in the NHS for many years. She has published four crime novels – Stolen, Gone, Tell Me Lies, and Murder in Slow Motion. Stolen won a Northern Writers Award in 2010 and the Northern Crime Competition in 2012. She is also a screenwriter and was selected for the London Screenwriters Festival Talent Campus in 2016.

Most of her spare time is spent re-watching Game of Thrones, trying to learn Danish, and dealing with two unruly dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.

MY THOUGHTS

No Place Like Home is a thriller that will really get under your skin. Don’t be fooled by what you see, this book will take you by surprise. Rebecca Muddiman’s latest novel explores a terrifying scenario that many people may think about but don’t think will ever happen to them. The thought of someone breaking into my house absolutely terrifies me and this is what Rebecca’s protagonist is faced with when the novel begins.

We are introduced to Polly Clarke who has recently moved into her dream home. One evening she returns to her house to find someone else inside, shattering the façade of the idyllic, perfect home she has worked so hard for and dreamed about for so long. She doesn’t know who this person is or what they are doing. Rebecca captured Polly’s fear in a very real and believable way here and you immediately get a sense of how vulnerable she is, especially as she lives alone. But as Polly is facing this new, terrifying predicament we move back in time to see events in the lead up to this day and it is here that the story really becomes interesting.

Rebecca Muddiman really messes with the readers head as we get to know the characters and this is what I really liked about this book and it is what kept me engaged. The pace does slow down a little after the shocking opening – when we move back in time – but as our lead character started to realise she was being stalked, I wanted to know if this was connected to what had happened in the opening pages and I also wanted to know why this was happening to her. Rebecca kept up the suspense as I waited to find out what was going to be the outcome for Polly and she kept me invested in her character.

I was intrigued by both Polly and her stalker, Jacob and as their characters developed and Rebecca revealed their past history my perception of them both began to change. There was some fascinating character development in this book and I felt as though I connected, in some ways, with both of them. This is where it becomes really tricky not to talk much more about the plot here as I don’t want to give anything away. But the direction in which Rebecca took the story caught me by surprise.

Rebecca controls the atmosphere in her story well and this also worked with the reveals about the characters and their lives, it made me think that there were sinister revelations to come and it kept me flicking the pages as I hurried to get to the end and Rebecca delivers an absolutely chilling ending. This is a book which you will want to be pressing into the hands of friends and family. Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with an advance review copy of the book.

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication date: 6th August 2018

Print length: 271 pages

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