I can’t believe it’s been six years to the day since I published my first book review online. I don’t think that back then that I thought I would still be blogging more than half a decade later. Now I can’t imagine my life without my blog and the friends I’ve made as a result of blogging. I think starting this blog has definitely been one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Since I’ve started blogging I’ve found new favourite authors who I don’t think I would have ever read had it not been for my blog.
To celebrate my blog turning six I’m celebrating with a giveaway over on Twitter.
I have one hardback copy of the new thriller by Jack Jordan, Do No Harm to giveaway. The giveaway will run until midnight UK time, Sunday, 5th June 2022. One winner will be chosen at random. I’m afraid this will only be open to UK entries. To enter please see my pinned Tweet on Twitter account @collinsjacob115
On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Lars Kepler, The Mirror Man. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
IF YOU SEE HIS REFLECTION IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE . . .
Five years ago, Jenny Lind was abducted on her way home from school.
Now her lifeless body is found hanging in a playground. But there is no evidence and only one witness – a man who cannot remember what he saw.
With Detective Joona Linna and the police scrambling to find a lead, another girl goes missing. And as they close in on the killer, they discover that the Mirror Man’s crimes are more shocking than they ever could have imagined . . .
I have to admit, The Mirror Man is the first novel by Lars Kepler that I’ve read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve heard a lot of praise for this series over the past few years, and now, I can certainly see why. If you’re new to this series as well, I can definitely say that you can easily read this book as a standalone. If you like dark crime fiction with plenty of tension, you need to give this book a go. It is a very unnerving read, but it is utterly gripping.
The book opens with a scene that throws us headfirst into the story, with the abduction of a young woman, Jenny Lind. The story gets going right away, and the tension is there right from the start. We see this part of the novel through the eyes of the young woman who has been taken, and Lars Kepler does a brilliant job of getting inside her head, as we experience the emotions and the fear that she is experiencing. Fast forward a few years later, and Jenny turns up dead, and the police’s only witness, Martin, who may be able to unlock the whole case, can’t remember anything from the night she was killed.
Lars Kepler knows how to create a tension filled read. I thought the backstory of Martin and his partner was really intriguing and you can see the emotion, the dark event in their past, has caused. They lost their daughter five years earlier while she was ice fishing with Martin, and since then he has suffered with his mental health. It seems almost impossible for the police to get him to reveal what he saw the night Jenny’s body was disposed of. This really made me want to know what he had seen, especially when they resort to using hypnosis.
As the police race to track down Jenny’s killer another young woman, Mia, goes missing and the tension really picks up a pace. You can see that there is a dangerous killer operating here, and it is not yet clear what their motive is. As the novel raced towards its conclusion there were several twists that completely floored me. I thought the ending was really well done and I could feel the emotions the characters were going through as Lars Kepler wraps the story up.
The Mirror Man is a brilliant read. It has definitely made me keen to read more of Lars Kepler’s work. I highly recommend it.
On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by Louise Mangos, The Beaten Track.
She thinks she is safe now that she’s home from her travels… but her nightmare has only just begun.After her stalker takes his life and she’s jilted by a holiday lover, Sandrine comes home from her round-the-world backpacking trip perturbed, penniless and pregnant. She meets handsome Scott who offers her love, security and all she and her new baby could ever wish for.
But their dream is about to turn into a nightmare…
I’ve been a huge fan of Louise Mangos writing for a while now, ever since I read her first short stories published online. When I first read the blurb for her latest novel, The Beaten Track, it sounded really enticing. I was not disappointed. We follow Sandrine, a young woman from Switzerland who has come on a difficult journey recently in her life, during her travels around the world. Now, she believes she has met the man of her dreams, Scott, someone who could be a father to her new born son. This could be the happy ending to the recent troubles she has been through. But she has no idea what danger she is putting herself in.
Louise Mangos creates a chilling atmosphere in The Beaten Track, especially when she takes us back in time over the previous months, when we see Sandrine travelling. I really liked the international aspect to this book, as we get to travel to different locations around the world with Sandrine, and I think it really makes the book come to life. Louise Mangos draws on each setting really well.
Sandrine meets Jake as she is travelling, and he falls head over heels in love with her, but Sandrine doesn’t welcome his feelings for her. There is real tension as Jake gets closer to Sandrine throughout her travels as he stalks her across the globe. We also hear from his point of view and these scenes really draw you into his character, and they are so compelling, and his voice is very creepy. You get a real sense of what is driving Jake throughout this book, and it’s what makes this such a gripping read, as it made me wonder what was going to happen between him and Sandrine. His voice really made me feel terrified for her.
Louise Mangos ups the tension as she takes us back to the present, and I was racing through the final chapters. You can really sense the danger Sandrine is in, and I had to know what she was going to do to protect herself and her son. Louise Mangos wraps everything up in a satisfactory way and she delivers a chilling final note. You’ll be on the edge of your seat.
I really enjoyed The Beaten Track. I know I’ll pick up anything Louise Mangos writes as I absolutely love her voice and her writing, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. If you haven’t yet discovered her books, you need to add them to your TBR pile as soon as possible.
On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by Jack Jordan, Do No Harm.
My child has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice… Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see my son again.
The man lies on the table in front of me. As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him. As a mother, I know I must kill him. You might think that I’m a monster. But there really is only one choice. I must get away with murder. Or I will never see my son again.
I’VE SAVED MANY LIVES. WOULD YOU TRUST ME WITH YOURS?
I was really looking forward to reading Do No Harm by Jack Jordan. I’m a huge fan of his writing and I think his latest is his best yet. It’s entertaining, utterly gripping and it will keep you invested in the story and the characters from page one.
There is a really intriguing premise here. Dr Anna Jones is faced with an impossible task. She is about to perform an operation on a prominent, well liked MP, tipped one day to become Prime Minister. But when her son is kidnapped, she has one choice to make if she ever wants to see her son alive again. For the kidnappers to release him, she must kill her patient, which goes against every fibre of her being. But will she do it to protect her son?
You can feel the emotion that Dr Anna Jones is experiencing as she comes to terms with what is happening to her. The choice she must make overwhelms her. I really wanted to know what she was going to do. It kept me turning those pages to see how she was going to respond to the kidnapper’s demands. This will make your heart pound as you’re reading it and Jack Jordan continues to turn the tension up a notch as it comes closer to the moment when Anna must make her decision.
Do No Harm really is a rollercoaster of a read. It takes you on a wild ride and it made me think what I would do if I was in Anna’s position. I couldn’t come up with a clear answer to that. It’s what makes this idea so scary as well, especially as we put all of our trust in medical staff when we are in their care. The idea that Jack Jordan explores could potentially happen in the world today. And things go from bad to worse for Anna as she tries to work out what is the best way forward for her and her son.
I’m certain that Do No Harm will be a huge hit. It kept me hooked right from the first page and I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to Anna. I really enjoyed it. This is a thriller not to be missed.
On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Kjell Ola Dahl, Little Drummer. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
When a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage, everyone suspects an overdose … until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered. Oslo Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda discover that the victim’s Kenyan scientist boyfriend has disappeared, and their investigations soon lead them into the shady world of international pharmaceutical deals.
While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications.
When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, all three investigators face incalculable danger, spanning two continents. And not everyone will make it out alive…
Exploding the confines of the Nordic Noir genre, Little Drummer is a sophisticated, fast-paced, international thriller with a searingly relevant, shocking premise that will keep you glued to the page.
Little Drummer is the latest novel in the Oslo Detective series by Kjell Ola Dahl. Gunnarstranda and Frølich are getting to grips with another complex mystery in the latest book, with the discovery of the body of a young woman in a car left behind in a car park. When a Kenyan immigrant disappears, shortly after the discovery of the woman, the police immediately suspect him of murder, especially as he is the victim’s boyfriend. But what is really going on here? This soon turns into a far more complex case than the detectives first realise.
I was really interested in finding out what had happened to the young woman who had been found dead. From the outset I could see that the police’s focus on the woman’s boyfriend seemed to be too narrowly minded. I was sure that there was something more going on here. The mystery element surrounding her death was done very well. It drew me into the plot and it kept me turning the pages.
The investigation soon moves to Kenya, and I really liked this part of the novel. It is Frølich who is sent there to find answers and to try and track the suspect down. I think it’s always interesting when we see authors take their characters out of their comfort zone, and you can feel that there is an imminent threat of danger, after Frølich arrives in Africa. This is where the suspense begins to really build, and although I would describe Little Drummer as more of a slow burner, than a fast paced novel, it is here that the tension begins to pick up. I also thought the scenes between him and the journalist were really well done and I liked the tension that seemed to be there between them.
I’ve read a couple of books in this series, but not all of them, so this can definitely be read as a standalone. I think I definitely need to try and catch up on the books I’ve missed as soon as possible. I really like the friendship that is there between the detectives, Gunnarstranda and Frølich. I could see that they have a lot of respect for each other and it is clear to see that they are good friends. I liked them a lot as I was reading this book, and I am looking forward to reading more books in this series, to see how their personal lives and their careers have developed.
Little Drummer is a gripping thoroughly enjoyable novel. The novel flowed really well and I was kept utterly engaged in the characters and the mystery they were trying to unravel. I flew through it in just a couple of sittings. I highly recommend it.
On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by Fiona Cummins, Into the Dark.
THE PLACE: Seawings, a beautiful Art Deco home overlooking the sweep of the bay in Midtown-on-Sea.
THE CRIME: The gilded Holden family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children, Riva and Artie – has vanished from the house without a trace.
THE DETECTIVE: DS Saul Anguish, brilliant but with a dark past, treads the narrow line between light and shade.
One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage. But the house is deserted.
In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:
Make Them Stop.
What happens next?
I’m a huge fan of Fiona Cummins’ novels, so I knew I had to read her latest novel, Into the Dark straight away. I’m also really pleased to see that this is the start of a new series, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come for detective, DS Saul Anguish next.
Fiona Cummins throws us into an intriguing new mystery with the disappearance of the Holden family, and it’s DS Anguish who is called to the scene. But what on earth could have happened to this family, who appeared to have it all? How could they just suddenly vanish, leaving no trace behind? It appears from the outset to Saul, that there is more to what appears to have happened to this family, than what first meets the eye. And as the investigation begins, Fiona takes us back in time and builds up to the moment when the family disappeared, revealing something sinister about this seemingly tightknit family.
I love the foreboding atmosphere Fiona creates in her books and she does this well through her evocative descriptions, which always bring her settings to life. Her descriptions always give me goosebumps as I read them. She creates a real sense of mystery in Into the Dark, and I wanted to find out what was going on in the Holden’s lives before they vanished. The only clue left behind after their disappearance, is a strange message left on a mirror inside the house.
I liked the short chapters and I thought they drove the pace of the novel and kept me turning the pages. I liked as well, that although Saul is going to be the recurring character in this series that we got to hear from the voices of the Holden family. This added to the suspense as we get to see the inner workings of their minds in the lead up to the day they vanish.
I thought the ending to this book was so chilling, and it’s why it’s made me desperate to find out more about Saul, and what is going to come next for him. I also liked the way how Fiona wrapped up the mystery into the disappearance of the Holden family. There is an utterly chilling final note to this book and I thought it was delivered really well.
Into the Dark is another winner from Fiona Cummins. I really enjoyed reading it, and as is always the case whenever I finish one of her books, I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest novel in the brilliant Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Six Graves.
It’s a typical teenage bedroom with posters covering the walls and clothes littering the floor. But the girl lying on her bed, wearing a delicate chain around her neck, is lifeless. A circle of red stains her white vest top. How had the girl’s mother looked down at her sleeping child and pulled the trigger?
When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene of a house fire, she’s shocked to discover it’s claimed the lives of two teenage children and their parents. But this tragedy is not quite as it seems. Each body is marked by a gunshot wound and the mother, Helen Daynes, is holding the gun.
The case sparks painful childhood memories for Kim who suffered at the hands of her own abusive mother, but it just makes her more determined to uncover the truth. As Kim untangles Helen’s past, she finds a history of clinical depression. But did it drive Helen to murder her loved ones?
Then Kim uncovers a tiny, vital clue in Helen’s bedroom that throws the investigation wide open. Could someone else have killed the Daynes family?
Just as Kim feels she’s making progress, a deadly threat is made to her own life by a dangerous psychopath from her past. Biting back her fear, she keeps digging. And when Kim hits upon a shocking secret that changes everything she thought she knew about Helen, she realises that the remaining family members are in grave danger.
Kim is under pressure like never before, and the monster circling her is getting ever closer. Four bodies already. Four graves fresh in the ground. Who will be next? Can Kim find the killer and save herself before it’s too late?
Angela Marsons has written another belter of a Kim Stone novel in her latest book, Six Graves. Right from the very first page I knew this was going to be a good one, and Angela Marsons took me on a rollercoaster of a ride. Kim is perhaps faced with her toughest case yet, and the stakes are raised even higher for her in this book.
I really felt for Kim in this book. Although this is a very dark time for her, some of Kim’s dark humour still comes through which makes for some light hearted moments throughout the book. If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, I think it’ll definitely benefit if you have, before you read this book. A highly dangerous, sadistic killer has escaped from prison, a person from Kim’s not too distant past, and he is out for revenge with his mind fixated on Kim.
Angela Marsons really knows how to keep her readers glued to the page, and I was hooked from the moment I learned what was facing Kim in this book. I wanted to know what actions she was going to take following this discovery, and true to her character, she certainly isn’t about to give up her work to go into hiding as her boss suggests. As well as the added tension of the escaped prisoner, Kim is also facing a particularly tough case. A family have been found murdered, in what appears to be a murder-suicide. This is a really twisty investigation for Kim to get to grips with and this case had me hooked as well, as Kim and her team try to get to the bottom of what happened to this family.
The danger is there right from the get-go, and although Kim appears to just throw herself into her work to distract herself from what’s going on, you can feel the tension rising. You can see that she is nervous. She knows just how dangerous the man is who’s escaped from prison. The scenes told from this person’s point of view were so chilling, and Angela Marsons really delves into his state of mind. You can see just how fixated he is on getting revenge on Kim, and it seems that he’ll do absolutely anything to achieve that goal. That’s what makes him so dangerous and frightening. I was rooting for the police to catch him. I feared what was going to come if they didn’t get to him in time.
I’m always in awe of every new book in this series whenever I reach the end. The end of each book always leaves me eagerly anticipating the next, and I think I have to say that Six Graves is my favourite in the series to date. Kim Stone fans, you need to read this book the moment you get your hands on it, you will not be disappointed!
On my blog today, I have all the details about this month’s First Monday Crime which is taking place tonight live on their Facebook Page at 19.30 p.m. UK time. But before I reveal more about tonight’s event, I have reviewed The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola who’ll be appearing on tonight’s panel.
In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.
Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.
For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.
And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…
A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.
The Clockwork Girl is a stunning novel by Anna Mazzola. I was transported to the streets of eighteenth century Paris. This is actually the first novel I’ve read by Anna Mazzola, but the blurb, and, I have to say, the brilliant cover drew me in, and I’m so pleased I’ve read it. Anna creates such a rich sense of place and atmosphere in her writing, which really made the setting come to life as it is viewed through the eyes of her characters. It’s what makes this book a novel to savour.
There is a haunting quality to this story and Anna Mazzola’s writing draws you effortlessly into the world she has created. Of course this is historical fiction, but there is a real sense of mystery to Anna’s plot, and Anna keeps the suspense ticking up a notch. We meet Madeleine, a young woman who has taken up a position in the household of a famous clockmaker in Paris. But Madeleine is there for an altogether different reason. There have been strange events happening all over Paris, and Madeleine is there to investigate the clockmaker, and see if there is any connection between him and what has been happening.
There are so many fascinating characters in Anna’s novel, and she really delves deep into their personalities, bringing them to life. Madeleine and the clockmaker intrigued me the most. As Madeleine becomes acquainted with her new position, Anna draws on the sense of mystery about the clockmaker, and it certainly feels as though he is hiding something. You can see clearly her determination to get to the bottom of what is going on behind the scenes, and this did make me wonder how much danger she was putting herself in, in her quest to get to the truth.
As the plot progresses, Anna whisks us away to the court of King Louis XV of France. It is here where the tension in the story is really turned up a notch, as Madeleine seeks to uncover what is happening. I really liked how Anna Mazzola used real life historical figures in her novel, and this includes, along with the King, his famous mistress, Madame De Pompadour and they both have significant roles in the story. It does make you feel as though you are reading about real events, even though this is fiction, and that is the brilliance of Anna Mazzola’s plot. It makes you even more invested in the characters and I wanted to see what the outcome was going to be for them at the end of the novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Clockwork Girl and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever Anna Mazzola writes next. It is an utterly immersive read.
First Monday Crime is taking place tonight live on their Facebook at 19.30 p.m. Alongside Anna Mazzola we have Simone Buckholz author of, River Clyde, Lizzie Barber author of Out of Her Depth and Gytha Lodge author of Little Sister. If you would like to watch the event, you can do so by clicking on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook Page.
On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Kate Ruby, Tell Me Your Lies. With thanks to MIDAS for inviting me to take part.
You think she wants to help. You’re wrong.
Lily Appleby will do anything to protect the people she loves. She’s made ruthless choices to make sure their secrets stay buried, and she’s not going to stop now.
When her party-animal daughter, Rachel, spins out of control, Lily hires a renowned therapist and healer to help her. Amber is the skilled and intuitive confidante that Rachel desperately needs. But as Rachel falls increasingly under Amber’s spell, she begins to turn against her parents, and Lily grows suspicious.
Does Amber really have Rachel’s best interests at heart or is there something darker going on? Only one thing is clear: Rachel is being lied to. Never quite knowing who to believe, her search for the truth will reveal her picture-perfect family as anything but flawless.
Tell Me Your Lies is a gripping debut by Kate Ruby, exploring the fractured relationship between Lily and her daughter, Rachel. You can see right from the first few pages that this is a family on the brink, and the tension is there right from the beginning. Rachel is an alcoholic, and her mother is desperate to save her daughter from falling further into a deep hole. Lily employs the services of Amber, a psychotherapist, but as Amber reaches out to Rachel and tries to help her understand the root cause of her problems, Rachel’s relationship with her mother worsens.
I really liked how Kate Ruby delved into Rachel and Lily’s relationship. You can see just how determined Lily is to protect Rachel, but you can also see that she is at the end of a tether and that she can’t take much more. The step of employing Amber’s services seems to be the last throw of the dice for them. Kate Ruby has really built on the backstory of their relationship, but whose side can we trust? You can see just how Amber begins to manipulate Rachel and this really drove the tension, especially as Lily tries to win her daughter back. Lily has a very strong personality. I could see that she is a person who will not give up easily when she has a goal in mind, especially when it comes to her family.
Amber is a really fascinating character and I wanted to get to the bottom of what her goal was here, especially as she takes more than a professional interest in Rachel’s wellbeing. I felt that there was something more going on here and I wanted to know what that was. This was the point when I began to fear that something terrible might happen to Rachel, and I could understand why her mother was desperate to bring her back into their family.
As we get to know Rachel and Lily further, I wanted to know the reasons why Rachel was in the position she was now in. Was there something traumatic that happened in her past? I wanted to know if Amber would be able to get to the causes of Rachel’s problems and what impact that would have if she got to the truth.
Tell Me Your Lies is a clever and an utterly gripping debut by Kate Ruby. There were some really surprising twists as Kate delved deeper into her character’s lives that I did not see coming. I will definitely be looking out to see what she writes next.
On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping debut novel by Sam Holland, The Echo Man.
The murders have begun… Across England, a string of murders is taking place. Each different in method, but each horrifying and brutal.
But the killer is just getting started… Jess Ambrose is plunged into the investigation when her house is set ablaze. With her husband dead and the police pointing at her, she runs. Her only hope is disgraced detective Nate Griffin, who is convinced Jess is innocent.
And he’s going to shock the world… Soon, Jess and Griffin discover the unthinkable; this murderer is copying the world’s most notorious serial killers. And now, imitation isn’t enough. The killer dubbed The Echo Man is ready to create his own masterpiece, and it will be more terrifying than anything that has come before…
Sam Holland has exploded onto the crime fiction scene with her debut novel, The Echo Man. If you enjoy fast paced, gritty and very dark crime thrillers, then you definitely need to check it out, if you haven’t done so already. I would add as a warning though, that I don’t think this book is for the faint hearted as it is very gruesome. It’s one of the darkest crime fiction novels I’ve read.
Sam Holland certainly does not shy away from the darkness. Sam really delves deep here and she has created a complex, well thought out plot. Jess is a really intriguing character. She is plunged into a nightmare right away at the start of the book, when her husband is killed following a fire at her house. She and her daughter escape by the skin of their teeth. But Jess immediately is considered a suspect by the police in her husband’s death. Without sticking around to clear her name, Jess decides to go on the run.
Following the shocking opening, Jess teams up with disgraced detective Nate Griffin who also has a dark past. I thought their pairing was really interesting, especially when they begin to get to grips with the case together. You can feel the emotional turmoil Jess is going through following her husband’s murder. I had to know why she had taken the path of running, rather than cooperating with the police and their investigation. Surely this would be the best thing for her, and her daughter, who she is leaving alone at the most horrific time in her life. I had so many questions about this that I wanted answered.
The detectives and Jess know they are facing a sadistic serial killer, who is taking it upon themselves to recreate famous serial killings. This killer is one of the most chilling I have come across in this genre, and there were definitely quite a few scenes which made me want to sleep with the light on after reading them. I wanted to know what their motive was in carrying out these crimes. This kept me turning the pages as Jess and Nate Griffin raced to find the answers.
The Echo Man is a highly entertaining, dark read that had me flying through the pages. The final scenes were so chilling. My eyes were glued to the page as I was reading them. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sam Holland writes next.