Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson #bookreview blog tour @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater

It’s my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Blood Song (Roy & Castells) by [Gustawsson, Johana]

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The action swings from London to Sweden, and then back into the past, to Franco’s Spain, as Roy & Castells hunt a monstrous killer … in the lastest instalment of Johana Gustawsson’s award-winning series

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning installment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.

MY THOUGHTS

Johana Gustawssson never ceases to amaze me with her plots. Her books are very different to what is out there in the mainstream crime fiction market at the moment, and this is what makes them so appealing and so fresh. So if you are looking for a crime series that is different and will keep you gripped, I would highly recommend that you read these books.

As was the case in her last two books, there is a historical element to her latest novel, Blood Song. And this is what I really like about her books. This time Johana takes us back to 1930s Spain during the reign of the dictator, Francisco Franco and she shines a light on this brutal time period in Spanish history. But how exactly does this part of history have a bearing on what is happening in the present, when a prestigious Swedish family are brutally murdered?

Although I travel to Spain on holiday every year, I have remained completely unaware of what happened during the period when Franco ruled the country. I don’t think I was ever taught about it at school. I often hear references to him, but I have never thought to ask for more details on what happened during this time. Johana paints a vivid portrayal here of what happened, and some parts do make for a tough read, and she doesn’t shy away from the brutality inflicted upon the Spanish people. But it is enlightening and important to the story. The scenes where Johana takes us to Spain are very dark and sinister.

What I’ve really liked about Johana’s books is how she puts her own spin on historical events. Her previous book, Keeper, was based on the Jack the Ripper murders and her debut, Block 46, was partly based in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. The historical accuracy is all there, and it feels very authentic. Johana then uses her imagination to shape how the past has an effect on the future. This is what makes her writing and her plots unique and fascinating.

The plot pulls together in a very clever way. When I start Johana’s books, I always wonder, how she’ll tighten everything up and make the plot feel realistic, but it works very well. When you get to the end of her books, everything does make so much sense, and that’s what makes it feel very satisfactory as well. The structure of the story flows well and never once did I feel lost. I often feel that sometimes, this can be the case when stories jump through multiple time zones.

Blood Song is an intelligent, captivating and an original piece of writing. It’s very well written and expertly translated by David Warriner. This is a series which is very evocative, haunting and skilfully written.

I’m looking forward to reading what Johana writes next.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th July 2019

Print length: 300 pages

If you would like to purchase Blood Song, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey #bookreview @dianefjeffrey @HQDigitalUK

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey, her third psychological thriller. I’ve also reviewed her previous novel, He Will Find You on my blog and you can find my review by clicking here.

The Guilty Mother: A new gripping and emotional psychological thriller for 2019 which asks: who would you believe? by [Jeffrey, Diane]

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She says she’s innocent.
DO YOU BELIEVE HER?

2013

Melissa Slade had it all: beauty, money, a successful husband and beautiful twin babies. But, in the blink of an eye, her perfect life became a nightmare – when she found herself on trial for the murder of her little girls.

PRESENT DAY

Jonathan Hunt covered the original Slade Babies case for the local newspaper. Now that new evidence has come to light, Jon’s boss wants him back on the story to uncover the truth.

With Melissa’s appeal date looming, time is running out. And, as Jon gets drawn deeper into a case he’d wanted to forget, he starts to question Melissa’s guilt.

Is Melissa manipulating Jon or telling him the truth? Is she a murderer, or the victim of a miscarriage of justice?

And if Melissa Slade is innocent, what really happened to Ellie and Amber Slade?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve been a fan of Diane Jeffrey’s work since I read her debut and I think The Guilty Mother is her best yet. The plot is intriguing. Former police officer, Melissa Slade is serving a prison sentence for the murder of her baby daughter. This occurred a few years after her youngest died from cot death. But Melissa’s family, particularly her ex-husband, is certain of her innocence and they have been campaigning for her release. Now they may finally have a chance to get her out after new evidence comes to light which may help prove her innocence.

Melissa is a character who I could never be sure about. I think my thoughts were influenced by Jonathan, a journalist for the local paper, who is asked to report on Melissa’s case. From very early on, Jonathan appears to decide that Melissa is guilty and he doesn’t seem to be very willing to report on her case. He fears that he may help a convicted murderer go free. This is what put an interesting spin on the story as I could see just how deeply this decision affected Jonathan.

The story gets going right from the first page when we see Melissa being escorted in a police van to court. There was so much tension in this scene. I felt as though I was there, watching everything unfold before my eyes. I wanted to know who this woman was and what the outcome of her trial was going to be. I wanted to know what she had done.  It makes for a very gripping opening.

Jonathan was a great character. I was interested in his own story as well as he has suffered his own devastating loss. I wondered if this was what influenced his own thoughts about Melissa’s case, and why he suspected she was guilty. I could certainly see why he didn’t want to be drawn into Melissa’s story. I also liked Jonathan’s colleague, Kelly. I’d definitely like to see her story explored further, Diane certainly leaves the ending open to that possibility.

There were many characters here who kept me thinking about what could have happened the night Melissa’s daughter died. I didn’t like her new husband, who gave me an icy feeling right from the moment Diane first introduces him. And I was also interested in who else had been in their home that fateful night. Diane kept me thinking about who was and who wasn’t telling the truth about that night.

The suspense and tension carries right the way through this book. I’m still thinking about those final scenes a few days after I finished reading it. The Guilty Mother is chilling, unpredictable and totally gripping. Diane’s writing will keep your eyes glued to the page. This is a brilliant read!

Publisher: HQ Digital

Publication date: 2nd August 2019

Print length: 384 pages

If you would like to purchase The Guilty Mother, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Dead Flowers by Nicola Monaghan #bookreview blog tour @nicolanovelist @Verve_Books

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Dead Flowers by Nicola Monaghan as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Clare at Verve Books for inviting me to take part.

Dead Flowers by [Monaghan, Nicola]

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She doesn’t trust the police. She used to be one of them.

Hardened by ten years on the murder squad, DNA analyst Doctor Sian Love has seen it all. So when she finds human remains in the basement of her new home, she knows the drill.

Except this time it’s different. This time, it’s personal…

MY THOUGHTS

Dead Flowers by Nicola Monaghan was such an intriguing read. Steeped in family secrets, this is a book that will keep you on your toes.

We are introduced to forensic scientist, Dr Sian Love who has just inherited a property, an old pub from her uncle once known as The Loggerheads in Newark. But within a short time after moving into her new home, Sian makes an unsettling discovery in the basement. Two skeletal remains have been abandoned there many years before. But after Sian and her partner, Kris reports the grisly find to the police, Sian finds that she can’t trust them. She sets out trying to identify the remains herself. This is despite Sian being an ex-police officer herself. Why doesn’t Sian trust her former colleagues? What discovery is she afraid they will make before she has a chance to find out the truth herself.

Finding the remains of two decaying human bodies is certainly not the welcome you would want when you move into your new home. I think if this ever happens to me, I would want to sell the place and move on. I couldn’t bear the thought of something dreadful that may once have occured there. I had a feeling right from the opening pages that Sian was going to uncover something very dark in her family history. But I couldn’t work out why she wanted to go about finding answers herself, rather than leave it to the police to deal with. Why would she want to risk her reputation and potentially do something illegal and especially Kris’s reputation as well, who is still a police officer? This is what gave the book an edgy feel as I wanted to see if there was any chance that Sian would be able to crack the case herself. Was she doing this to try and protect someone?

Both timelines which Nicola explores here are fascinating. Nicola takes us back to 1971 when The Loggerheads was a vibrant, busy pub at the heart of the local community. There were some very edgy characters in these scenes. They kept me on my toes as I waited to see how events between them were going to unfold. I knew something drastic was going to happen, and I wanted to see who was going to cause it and who would end up being the victim. Would any of them turn out to be the remains discovered many years later?

From the opening page, I wanted to see what dark secrets were going to be uncovered and what sort of an impact this would end up having on Sian. The edginess is there right from the start as Sian gets closer and closer to the truth, and ultimately she puts herself in grave danger. I wanted to see just how she was going to get out of this. Dark and suspenseful Dead Flowers is a very gripping read. I would definitely recommend it.

Publisher: Verve Books

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length:

If you would like to purchase Dead Flowers, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone #bookreview blog tour @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Michael J Malone’s, In the Absence of Miracles. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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A young man discovers a family secret that turns his world upside down in this dark, emotive, shocking psychological thriller by number-one bestselling author Michael J. Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

MY THOUGHTS

Dark family secrets and the theme of betrayal, haunt Michael J Malone’s latest thriller, In the Absence of Miracles. This is a heart-wrenching tale, and there is such emotional depth to Michael’s writing. I was pulled in by the characters straight away. I wanted to unravel the secrets that were hiding in their past. I also wanted the answers to many questions I had about the characters themselves.

John Docherty’s elderly mother has recently suffered a massive stroke. He knows that he will need to sell the old family home to pay bills to ensure she has the care she needs. It is an uncomfortable decision he has had to make, but he knows his mother’s health must come first. But as he is clearing out items at his family’s property, he uncovers a photograph which sends his world into a spin. He may have once had a brother, a brother who he never knew about. John sets out to try and find out what happened to him. He tries to find out why his family decided to keep his existence a secret from him and his younger brother Chris. But what John discovers is far more shocking than he ever thought possible and it makes him question his own past. Things between them will never be the same again.

I really connected with John as he tried to uncover the truth. What he uncovers is devastating, and John’s emotions came through so strongly in Michael J Malone’s writing as he attempts to come to terms with what he finds. There are some tough themes which Michael explores in this book, such as sexual abuse and trafficking. I did find some parts of the story uncomfortable to read at times, but I was compelled to read on, and Michael deals with these subjects sensitively, not making them over gratuitous. Michael looks at the psychological aspect more, and this is particularly the case with John and his family. Michael examines how past events have affected them in the future. This is also what makes this book a very powerful read.

One of the things which always stand out for me in Michael’s writing is his sense of place and his description. This is something which I can see he thinks a lot about before putting pen to paper as everything he writes about is very vivid. There is tension as well here, as John and Chris come closer to learning the truth, and this is turned up a further notch in the final chapters leading to a heartbreaking and a satisfactory conclusion.

Michael J Malone has written a superb novel, and as I was reading, I felt as though I was in the hands of a very accomplished writer. I have two novels of Michael’s which I still need to catch up on, and I really need to do that very soon. In the Absence of Miracles is a novel, I feel that is best to be savoured and not one to rush. You’ll still be thinking about the characters after you have turned the final page.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th September 2019

Print length: 300 pages

If you would like to purchase In the Absence of Miracles, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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The Bad Place by M.K. Hill #bookreview @markhillwriter @HoZ_Books

Happy publication day to Mark Hill. His latest book The Bad Place is the start of a brand new crime series featuring DI Sasha Dawson and it is published today.

The Bad Place (A Sasha Dawson Thriller Book 1) by [Hill, M.K.]

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The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

Is history repeating itself? Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…

MY THOUGHTS

The Bad Place is an excellent start to a new crime series by M.K. Hill, which I enjoyed reading very much indeed. We witness the kidnapping of six children when their kidnapper hijacks the minibus they are travelling in. He takes them to a remote location which becomes infamously known as The Bad Place to the press. But just what happened there has remained shrouded in mystery, with many people believing that the people directly involved in the kidnapping have not told the full truth. And why did only five of the children escape?

The Bad Place is a thriller where nothing is at it seems. Many years after the terrifying kidnapping took place, the children who were involved, now adults, still meet up and raise a toast to the friend they lost that night. It’s their own way of remembering her, even though some of them no longer see eye to eye. During one evening, when they are hosting a planned get-together, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. It terrifies her into thinking that their kidnapper has returned, but how could it be him when he was killed on the night they were rescued? We are then introduced to DI Sasha Dawson, who was a constable in the police force when the five children were found.

I really liked Sasha. She is determined to put the victims of the crimes first at the forefront of her mind. But her dedication to her work does garner some criticism from her mother. Sasha’s mother fears Sasha is letting her family slip by the wayside and this begins to cause a lot of frictions. Sasha’s mother is quick to let her feelings be known, which does cause some tension between them. Sasha’s home and work life are weaved together very well, and there was a very good balance between the two.

As I was reading this book, I kept thinking that there must be some truth in the speculation that something very dark had yet to be uncovered. After the young girl is kidnapped in the present day I had suspicions about a few people who I thought could be involved. There were quite a few red herrings planted which were skilfully weaved into the story and I didn’t predict the final outcome.

The book had such a chilling opening, and I was hooked right away. I flicked through the pages as fast as I could to find out how everything was going to come together at the end. When the final revelations were revealed, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

The Bad Place is a brilliant introduction to DI Sasha Dawson, and I am definitely keen to read more books featuring her. You’ll be racking your brains right the way through trying to work out just what is going on here and when the final truth hits, it will be shocking.  Very, very good.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 368 pages

If you would like to purchase The Bad Place, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Endgame by Daniel Cole #bookreview blog tour @Daniel_P_Cole @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Endgame by Daniel Cole on my blog today. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

Endgame: The explosive new thriller from the bestselling author of Ragdoll (A Ragdoll Book) by [Cole, Daniel]

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A locked room. A dead body. A secret that went to the grave.

When retired police officer Finlay Shaw is found dead in a locked room, everyone thinks it’s suicide. But disgraced detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes isn’t so sure.

Together with his former partner Detective Emily Baxter and private detective Edmunds, Wolf’s team begin to dig into Shaw’s early days on the beat. Was Shaw as innocent as he seemed? Or is there more to his past than he’d ever let on?

But not everyone wants Wolf back – and as his investigation draws him ever deeper into police corruption, it will not only be his career on the line – but the lives of those he holds closest as well…

MY THOUGHTS

Wolf is back in Daniel Cole’s third crime thriller, Endgame. After events which took place in Ragdoll, the first book in the series, Wolf is in handcuffs after handing himself into the metropolitan police. But before he is handed a sure to be lengthy prison sentence, he has one final request to make. He wants to oversee the investigation into the death of his friend, Finlay Shaw. The police believe Finlay has committed suicide. Wolf can’t believe that Finlay would do this to them and his partner, Maggie. Wolf is determined to solve the matter once and for all, but as their investigations deepen and as Finlay’s murky past is revisited, they uncover far more than they originally bargained for.

Endgame is a swiftly paced novel which moved along at break-neck speed. I’ve followed this series since the beginning. Daniel Cole continues to write very engaging wit, thoroughly entertaining plots and hugely likeable characters who will keep you coming back for more. My favourite character, who has been since I read the first book, is Baxter. She is the character who I think I have engaged with the most over the course of the three books, probably because of her humour. It was really good to see the team back together in this latest book as, although I enjoyed the second book, this is what I think was missing.

I think what sets Daniel Cole’s books out, in my opinion, is their entertainment value. From the first book, this is what has kept me coming back. I remember so clearly the cliff hanger at the end of the last one, Hangman, which made me so desperate to read Endgame as soon as possible. There is also a very strong cinematic edge to all three books, and I can see them lending so well to the big or small screen. I’m sure I’ll be reading whatever Daniel Cole writes next.

Pacy and addictive this is a series of novels which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a read that you can just sink into right from the very first page.

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 352 pages

If you would like to purchase End Game, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay #bookreview

Elevator Pitch: The gripping new crime thriller from number one Sunday Times bestseller for fans of David Baldacci’s The Winner by [Barclay, Linwood]

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It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world – and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment – is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men and women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers . . .

Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

MY THOUGHTS

Elevator Pitch is a slick page-turner by Linwood Barclay, and the tension ratchets up a further notch with every page. I know a couple of people who are terrified of lifts. Even when I step in one, there’s always a niggling, claustrophobic feeling in my mind as the door shuts and I hate the idea of being trapped. This book will make you think twice about using elevators again in the future. Perhaps you may choose to take the stairs, to be on the safe side.

Across the city of New York, high rise buildings are being targeted by a different kind of criminal. Whoever is behind these attacks is highly intelligent, and they are striking unassuming people as they go about their daily routine. But it becomes increasingly hard for the NYPD and the FBI to track this person down. They are using the cities elevators to carry out their crimes. But they can do so far away from the building and can remain undetected. The mayor of New York, Richard Headley, takes a personal interest in the case as does journalist, Barbara Matheson and their paths cross in more ways than one.

The opening chapter sets the bar high for Linwood Barclay, but he absolutely nails it. There was so much tension in those opening pages, and I just knew that something terrifying was going to happen. Although the characters only appeared in this very short scene, I feared for them, and I didn’t want anything terrible to happen.

The writing is so addictive, and I kept flicking those pages forward as I wanted to know who was behind the crimes and what their motive was. Was terrorism the reason behind the attacks, or was this something much more personal? Was there a reason why these people were being targeted?

There’s high tension and suspense right throughout this gripping read, and there is huge entertainment value here. I would love to see it on the big screen. It is a story that isn’t hard to follow at all, and it doesn’t get over complicated. Great stuff.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase Elevator Pitch, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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A Place to Lie by Rebecca Griffiths #bookreview blog tour @rebeccagriffit7 @annecater @BooksSphere

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for A Place to Lie by Rebecca Griffiths on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

A Place to Lie by [Griffiths, Rebecca]

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In a dark, dark wood

In Summer 1990, Caroline and Joanna are sent to stay with their great aunt, Dora, to spend their holidays in a sunlit village near the Forest of Dean. The countryside is a welcome change from the trauma they know back home in the city; a chance to make the world a joyful playground again. But in the shadowy woods at the edge of the forest hide secrets that will bring their innocence to a distressing end and make this a summer they will never forget.

There was a dark, dark house

Years later, a shocking act of violence sends Joanna back to Witchwood. In her great aunt’s lonely and dilapidating cottage, she will attempt to unearth the secrets of that terrifying summer and come to terms with the haunting effects it has left on her life. But in her quest to find answers, who can she trust? And will she be able to survive the impending danger from those trying to bury the truth?

MY THOUGHTS

This is the first book by Rebecca Griffiths, which I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s a sense of menace which runs right throughout A Place to Lie which made it so gripping and this darkens as the novel progresses. I wanted to unravel the secrets within the pages, and I became very engaged by the lead characters. It is a book which you can quite quickly become lost in. This is all down to Rebecca’s wonderful, immersive writing.

Once I read the first few pages of this book, I knew I had to read on. There’s a very captivating scene right at the beginning where someone appears to be in very grave danger. The adrenaline is there right from the get-go. At this moment I had to know who she was and who she was running from and why. Why was she so scared? After the opening, the novel does slow down a little as Rebecca introduces us to our lead character, Joanna, a famous pianist whose sister, Caroline has just died. Joanna is distraught to learn of her sister’s death and sets out trying to find answers. Joanna is even more intrigued when Caroline’s death appears to have a connection to a dark summer which took place many moons ago.

Rebecca Griffiths has an expert eye for developing characters. As she takes us back to a pivotal time in Caroline and Joanna’s life, the summer in 1990, I began to understand just how events in the past affected the two girls in the present. The world which Rebecca built around them had so much detail. I loved the name of the village where they grew up, Witchwood. It gave the story a very haunting feel which I particularly liked about this book, and for me it made it stand out. Rebecca made the setting here feel so, so eerie, and it drew me effortlessly into the world she had created.

A Place to Lie is a very dark novel, and there are some haunting secrets to uncover which bind everything together. I’ve read a few reviews where others have noted how it has reminded them of folklore tales and fairy stories. I can certainly see why and I think this is what gave the novel that extra slice of darkness and why I felt so drawn into the sleepy village of Witchwood.

Publisher: Sphere

Publication date: 6th December 2018

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase A Place to Lie, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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Dead Inside by Noelle Holten #bookreview blog tour @nholten40 @BOTBSPublicity @0neMoreChapter_

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour to celebrate the paperback release of Noelle Holten’s superb debut crime thriller, Dead Inside. With thanks to Sarah Hardy at Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

Dead Inside: A totally gripping and terrifying serial killer thriller (Maggie Jamieson Crime Thriller, Book 1) by [Holten, Noelle]

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A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning series – from a huge new talent.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

MY THOUGHTS

When I first heard that Noelle Holten was bringing out her debut crime novel, I was very excited, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Needless to say, it went straight to the top of my TBR pile, and after the chilling and powerful opening, I was hooked. Being an avid crime fiction reader and reviewer herself, I was very interested to see what Noelle would come up with.

Dead Inside is a well-crafted debut; I just know that I’m going to be reading every book that follows on in this series. Noelle draws on her own experience of working as a probation officer, and this adds a ring of authenticity to her book. The fact that one of her main characters is a probation officer really interested me, and it caught my attention. It’s not often that stories are told from their point of view, so it was exciting to read a crime novel from a different viewpoint and to learn about another side of the world of law and order.

This is Lucy Sherwood’s story, a probation officer who is currently handling cases of domestic abuse. Lucy speaks to men daily who abuse their partners, and for her, this begins to hit far too close to home.

Then we have DC Maggie Jamieson who has just been handed the toughest case of her career when the body of a man connected to a case of domestic abuse is discovered. As the book progresses, two more bodies are found. And soon everything draws back to Lucy. But what is really going on?

Dead Inside can be quite a tough read at times; you can see where Noelle’s own personal experience from her line of work has fed into her novel, and the emotion in her writing comes through so strongly, particularly in the first chapter. The emotions of the team working on the cases of the murdered victims come through very well, particularly as none of the victims are likeable, and many of the police officers feel they have got their just deserves. It must be so hard to try and not let your mind be clouded by judgement. When you look at similar cases that have happened in the news, such as when vigilantes take action into their own hands, you hear many people talk about how these people are doing the public a favour.

The pace in this novel never drops, and Noelle kept me on my toes as I tried to work out what was going on and who was behind the murders that were taking place. When everything started to come together towards the end, I thought I could see everything clearly, but Noelle still had one clever twist up her sleeve which threw me, and it was one I didn’t expect.

Noelle sets the scene perfectly for book two in the series, and I for one can’t wait to find out what happens next, and it looks as though there is going to be a tough case to come. If you’re a crime fiction lover, you have to give this a try. Dead Inside wins a very easy five stars from me. Excellent from start to finish.

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: 31st May 2019 (kindle) 22nd August 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 352 pages

If you would like to purchase Dead Inside, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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Gone by Leona Deakin #bookreview blog tour @LeonaDeakin1 @TransworldBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Gone by Leona Deakin as part of the blog tour today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

MY THOUGHTS

Gone is a brilliant and a very immersive debut by Leona Deakin which takes the reader on a scary but fascinating journey into the mind of a psychopath. It has a really chilling premise, what if the missing are the people you should be afraid of? Once I read the blurb for this book, I knew it was one I had to read as soon as possible. And you can definitely label me a fan of Leona’s writing.

Four people across the country have disappeared. The one thing that seems to connect them all is a card found where they went missing from, inviting them to play a game. There is also a message on the card wishing them a happy first birthday. Something is going on here behind the scenes, and it is clear that these cases aren’t going to be an easy task for the police to solve. After Dr Augusta Bloom and her colleague, Marcus Jameson, are contacted by a concerned relative of one of the missing, they begin an investigation. What they discover as they peer into the lives of the disappeared is something far more chilling than they ever thought possible.

The opening of Gone was so gripping. We witness an attack on a school caretaker, after a student, Seraphine, stabs him in the neck with a pencil. She claims she acted under self-defence to protect herself and her friend. Now Seraphine was such an intriguing character to explore, and I think she is going to fascinate a lot of readers. I could never be sure if she was telling the truth when she talks about why she committed the act at the school. I also found her to be such an unpredictable character. This is what made her so fascinating. We are also then introduced to Dr Augusta Bloom. Augusta is a psychologist who is trying to get to the bottom of Seraphine’s behaviour and work out why she did what she did. But what develops on from here is something which I never expected at the start of the novel. After I read more and more of the book, I wanted to know if Seraphine’s story was somehow going to connect with those of the missing people.

I really engaged with Dr Augusta Bloom. I could see that she really connected with the cases of the missing people. I liked her determination to get to the bottom of what was going on, even though she wasn’t a police officer. Augusta is such an intriguing individual, and I don’t think that Leona Deakin has revealed everything about her yet. She is a character who I would definitely like to see Leona return to.

There is also Augusta’s friendship with her partner Marcus which I also really liked. Marcus is ex MI6, which makes him another compelling character. Although Marcus is Augusta’s business partner, he is also very much a comfort to her and a friend. She admits in the book that she relies on his company and humour.

Gone is a fascinating, but a very chilling read which will make you think about the people you know a little more carefully. This did feel very fresh and different to recent psychological thrillers I have read, which made it a real winner for me. A top read from Leona Deakin, I’m definitely intrigued to read more.

Publisher: Black Swan

Publication date: 9th August 2019

Print length: 372 pages

If you would like to purchase Gone, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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