Cold as the Grave by James Oswald #bookreview

I’ve at last caught up on the books I’ve missed out on in James Oswald’s Inspector McLean series and I don’t think I’ve ever read a series of books this fast. After finishing book nine, Cold as the Grave a few days ago, I’ve nearly finished the tenth book in the series in time for my stop on the blog tour at the end of this week. If you’re not yet reading these books then you really need to be!

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Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

MY THOUGHTS

Cold as the Grave sees Tony McLean investigating the dark and horrific industry of human trafficking, and the horrors refugees face as they flee war-torn countries, in the hope of a better future.  It is a topic which has been widely covered in the news very recently. I think this is perhaps one of the most complex cases Tony has had to investigate. Once again, James Oswald draws nicely on the supernatural elements, which gives this book a slight edginess to it. As Tony McLean becomes more and more wrapped up in the ideas that many wouldn’t give the time a day, it made me wonder just what was going on here. As I have come to expect from these books, nothing is ever as it seems.

During a protest in Edinburgh, Tony accidentally stumbles across the mummified remains of a young girl. The unsettling discovery prompts a series of questions, how long has she been there? Is this a case of foul play or did the young girl become the victim of a tragic accident after somehow becoming trapped? After the discovery of the girl, I began to get a sense of just how harrowing the plot was going to be.

Recently Tony has reluctantly been promoted to Detective Chief Inspector. Now many may welcome promotion, but Tony much prefers to be out in the field, speaking to witnesses and chasing down leads. You can really see just how much he hates the idea of being stuck in an office all day and going over mounds of paperwork. This causes a lot of distress for his immediate superiors, who have to try and locate him every time they need to talk to him, and his boss frequently tells him this. This doesn’t do much to change Tony’s character; he is very much set in his ways.

There is a much more sombre feeling in this novel. A harrowing end to the previous book in the series has left Tony and his girlfriend Emma distraught. You can see just how far they have drifted apart from each other. It has made me wonder if things are ever going to be the same for them again, and I really do hope that they do try and work things out.

The case that Tony is investigating is particularly dark. Out of all the Tony McLean novels that I’ve read, and I’ve read them all, I think Cold as the Grave does have the darkest tone. I did feel as well that it was slower paced in the middle section of the book, but James Oswald always manages to keep the tension turning up a notch. What makes the supernatural elements in these books work so well is that there always seems to be logic to them. It always provides a really creepy and chilling atmosphere that makes for intense reading.

This is another excellent addition to one of my favourite crime series. If you’re a fan of crime novels, particularly with a supernatural touch, then you really are missing out if you haven’t started these books yet.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 7th February 2019

Print length: 432 pages

Cold as the Grave is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Gathering Dark by James Oswald #bookreview

I’ve been sailing through the last four books in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald over the last couple of weeks. I’ve even started book nine straight after finishing book 8. I think The Gathering Dark is the darkest novel in the series yet. I’m sharing my thoughts on my blog today.

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A truck driver loses control in central Edinburgh, ploughing into a crowded bus stop and spilling his vehicle’s toxic load. The consequences are devastating.

DI Tony McLean witnesses the carnage. Taking control of the investigation, he soon realises there is much that is deeply amiss – and everyone involved seems to have something to hide.

But as McLean struggles to uncover who caused the tragedy, a greater crisis develops: the new Chief Superintendent’s son is missing, last seen in the area of the crash…

MY THOUGHTS

The Gathering Dark sees James Oswald return to the more supernatural elements that he started the series off with and I think it’s probably the most harrowing book in the series. I think the title is really apt for this book, as I was reading I really did get the sense that there was a storm gathering and that this didn’t bode well for the characters.

The novel opens with one of the worst accidents ever to happen on Scottish soil when a driver of a vehicle carrying toxic waste loses control and ploughs into pedestrians killing and severely injuring people. It is really made difficult for the police and the pathologist even to identify some of the victims. At first, there is speculation among the police force that it is a terrorist attack and politicians are soon breathing down the necks of the police, demanding answers. But as the investigation deepens, Tony McLean uncovers a sinister cover-up and what makes matters worse is that the chief inspector’s son may be one of the casualties leading to even more mounting pressure.

Although at first it may seem that what happened is just a tragic accident, and this is what you may at first believe, but then you would be thinking wrong. As I have come to expect from James Oswald’s books, there is always more to a crime or an event taking place than first meets the eye and Tony McLean is the best man to delve into the heart of the mystery. He is always determined to see a case through to the very end, regardless of the consequences to himself.

I was pleased to see the return of Madame Rose, who has been absent from the last two books in the series, although it did feel as though Tony was a little bit more prickly with her than usual. Tony hasn’t seen her since the last time she descended on him when her home appeared to be targeted by arsonists. She is one of my favourite characters from this series and part of what makes these books unique. Perhaps Tony is beginning to feel the stress of his home life a little more, and I think Madame Rose can sense this. He has always seemed to be very mellow in the past, but there just seemed to be a slight change in his character in this book in the series. Perhaps it’s because he can also sense the oncoming storm as well. I’m not sure now how things are going to pan out for him in future books.

There is a real underlying sense of menace that runs throughout this book. We also hear from a mystery voice. They appear to be the key to unlocking the secrets of what happened the day the vehicle crashed into pedestrians. But we don’t find out more about this individual until much later, and some harrowing truths are unearthed. I wanted to know how this person was going to be linked to the incident which had taken place, and the truth is far more unnerving than you might think. It’s clear that they have suffered in the past, and they are intent on exacting their revenge. I kept thinking that this was going to be someone who wasn’t going to go away quietly.

Aside from the first two books in this series, I think this has to be James Oswald’s darkest book in the series to date. The supernatural elements are really chilling, and I kept turning the pages as the novel reached its climax. The Gathering Dark is harrowing, extremely well written and absolutely addictive. You really don’t want to miss out on this series!

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 28th June 2018

Print length: 464 pages

The Gathering Dark is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Written in Bones by James Oswald #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thought on the seventh book in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald, Written in Bones.

Written in Bones: Inspector McLean 7 by [Oswald, James]

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When a body is found in a tree in The Meadows, Edinburgh’s scenic parkland, the forensics suggest the corpse has fallen from a great height.

Detective Inspector Tony McLean wonders whether it was an accident, or a murder designed to send a chilling message?

The dead man had led quite a life: a disgraced ex-cop turned criminal kingpin who reinvented himself as a celebrated philanthropist.

As McLean traces the victim’s journey, it takes him back to Edinburgh’s past, and through its underworld – crossing paths with some of its most dangerous and most vulnerable people.

And waiting at the end of it all, is the truth behind a crime that cuts to the very heart of the city…

MY THOUGHTS

After I finished reading the previous book in the series, I was eager to pick up the seventh book as soon as possible due to the uncertain predicament Tony McLean had suddenly found himself in. I pretty much started reading this one straight away. The last three books in this series I’ve devoured within three days. James Oswald writes really addictive books; once you start reading one, you need to make sure that you don’t have any plans for the rest of the day.

After a period of extended leave, and with the cold case unit he was assigned to in tatters, Tony is back on the force. And the first case he is assigned to after a few weeks absence is a perplexing one when the body of a man is discovered impaled at the top of a tree. And to top things off the witness who found the body, a young boy, claims it resembled a dragon when it fell out of the sky. Now even though Tony’s belief system in the supernatural has been shaken over the course of this series, he is fairly certain that Police Scotland are not going to be tracking down mythical beasts any time soon. Once the victim is identified, it raises certain questions and puts Tony in an uncomfortable situation as suspicions of corruption begin to appear.

I think it’s fair to say that Tony hasn’t been the favourite of certain individuals within the police force and in this book, he does rock that boat a little bit more. I knew that Tony wasn’t going to let these claims be forgotten about, but I wondered what this would do for his career. Tony is financially well off, and some do seem to think that it wouldn’t bother him if he lost his job. But McLean isn’t someone who would prefer to sit at home with nothing to do. He enjoys the job he does, and he doesn’t want to give it up.

James Oswald gets the story going right from the moment when the body is found. What I really like about his books, is that nothing is ever quite as it seems, and there is always something strange attached to the cases that Tony McLean is investigating. I think this something he has grown to expect since the first book in the series. There are always many different strands to the investigations that keep up the suspense and the intrigue. James Oswald always manages to weave the plot together in a satisfactory way. I wanted to find out who the man they found in the tree was and how he had got there in the first place.

I thought that the ending of the last book was a bit of a bombshell moment for McLean, but it was nothing compared to the predicament he finds himself in now. Times for Tony McLean are certainly changing. I’m looking forward to catching up with him in the next book, and I’m really enjoying getting back into this series. Written in Bones is really enjoyable.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 23rd February 2017

Print length: 410 pages

Written in Bones is available to buy: 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Damage Done by James Oswald #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the 6th book in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald, The Damage Done.

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No good deed goes unpunished…

When a police raid in Edinburgh goes horribly wrong, the only silver lining for Inspector Tony McLean is a discovery that could lead to a long-lost girl from his early days on the beat.

Haunted by the mystery of what happened to her, McLean begins to dig into a case he thought long buried.

But the shadows of the past are soon eclipsed by crimes in the present as a series of strange and gruesome deaths shock the city.

As McLean’s investigation draws him ever deeper into the upper echelons of Edinburgh society, it will not only be his career on the line – but his life as well…

MY THOUGHTS

I have shamefully fallen behind on this series, so with the tenth book coming out this month, I thought it was high time I caught up. When I picked up the previous book, Prayer for the Dead, it felt as though I had hardly been away at all from these characters. Inspector McLean is one of my favourite detectives in crime fiction. There’s something about his calm demeanour when dealing with a crisis, or even with a particularly difficult person at work which makes him really likeable. This is why many other people in these books seem to go to him with their problems. He is a person who will not easily say no to you and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

I did feel that The Damage Done was slightly slower-paced than previous books in this series, but it is still very immersive, and it took me only a couple of days to finish it. McLean has now been transferred to the sexual crimes unit. At the beginning of the book, a task force is sent to a house in Edinburgh suspected of being used as a brothel. McLean is at the centre of the investigation, and when they discover a man there, who is on the sexual register, but who hasn’t reported himself to the local police that he has moved to the area, more questions are raised. Tony McLean always seems to be a magnet for strange cases, usually with a supernatural element, and this one is no different. But the enquiry soon comes crashing down when it appears that the police may have been misled about the brothel in the first place.

Although McLean is under pressure to wrap the case up and find out what went so horribly wrong, he is immediately drawn into other elements which crop up in the investigation. He is also reminded of an old case he was involved in years ago, when he was still only a junior and haunting memories come back to him, reminding him of a face he shouldn’t have forgotten. It seems that whatever McLean does he can’t help but get on the wrong side of his colleagues, Brookes and Duguid who see him as a menace, always keen to poke his nose in somewhere it isn’t necessary. And this is why I really dislike them. But McLean isn’t doing this just to ruffle a few feathers, he genuinely cares about the people at the heart of an investigation, and he wants to see results.

There are lots of elements to this book, cold cases, McLean’s involvement in the sexual crime unit and another investigation is thrown into the mix, but James Oswald doesn’t over complicate the plot. The story moves along at a steady pace, but all the time, I was kept intrigued.

I was drawn into this book right from the first page. What makes this series so enjoyable is James Oswald’s writing which makes these books so easy to read. And for followers of this series, there is a bombshell moment at the end of this book which made me download and pick up the next book in the series straight away. A really good read.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 14th July 2016

Print length: 464 pages

The Damage Done is available to buy: 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones 

 

Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge #bookreview blog tour

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Ella Watkins from Michael Joseph for inviting me to take part.

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Aidan Poole logs onto his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. But to his horror, he realizes she is not alone.

Completely helpless, all he can do is listen to the sounds of a violent struggle. And then a chilling silence.

He’s desperate to find out if she is OK. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police?

When his messages finally reach them, DCI Jonah Sheens and his team take the case – and discover the body. . .

Watching from the Dark is a spellbinding thriller that you won’t want to miss.

MY THOUGHTS

Watching from the Dark is a brilliant addition to the DCI Jonah Sheens series by Gytha Lodge. I really liked the sense of atmosphere in her last book, and I thought it was a really good introduction to a new crime series. The mystery here in her latest kept my eyes glued to the page. This is a really fast and an addictive read. I barely lifted my eyes as I was reading.

When 39-year-old Aiden Poole witnesses the suspected murder of his 26-year-old girlfriend through a video link, he is suddenly put in an uncertain and terrifying situation. He desperately wants to know if Zoe is okay, but he doesn’t want to speak to the police. He doesn’t want to be dragged into an investigation which will put his relationship with his wife and his reputation at risk.

Gytha Lodge really hits the ground running with the opening of this book. It felt as though I was sitting there watching everything unfold from Aiden’s point of view. I could feel his frustration that he couldn’t see the full picture of what was going on in Zoe’s flat. All he knows is that she is in potential danger and that someone else, uninvited, entered her home. From this point on, I wanted to know what his next steps were going to be. Was he going to inform the police? How could he not? At this point, I really didn’t know how things were going to pan out for him, and this is what gets the tension going.

Gytha Lodge also takes us back in time in the months leading up to Zoe’s murder. We see the beginnings of her relationship with Aiden and what direction it was going in. I really like a dual timeline in a novel, and Gytha Lodge has done a really good job with creating one here.

I think I had suspicions about just about every character in this book, particularly those who were close to Zoe. I kept changing my opinions as Gytha Lodge unpicked the layers of Zoe’s relationship with Aiden and her close friends. Gytha Lodge kept me thinking about every potential suspect, but I was never able to totally nail down, who it was, who was responsible for Zoe’s murder. I think this is what Gytha Lodge does really well at in this book and makes this book the perfect ‘whodunnit’. I had quite a few theories going around inside my head, so it was really intriguing to see if I was right.

This is a clever novel, and Gytha Lodge keeps the suspense running right the way through. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for what she writes next.

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication date: 6th February 2020

Print length: 384 pages

Watching from the Dark is available from: 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

 

Knock Knock by Chris Merritt cover reveal @DrCJMerritt @bookouture

I’m delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for Chris Merritt’s new crime novel, Knock Knock.

I’ve been a fan of Chris’s previous series, so I’m excited to find out what he’s got in store for us in his next book. But before I reveal the cover, let’s take a look at the blurb.

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Natasha Mayston wasn’t expecting anyone to knock on her door so late at night and she has no idea that the face staring back at her is the last one she’ll ever see…

As Detective Dan Lockhart is called to a wealthy London street to investigate Natasha’s death, he’s startled by the similarity to another case. Noticing the cable-tie restraints and the tiny scratches on Natasha’s wedding finger, Dan already knows what he will find if he looks in her throat – the small metal ball which choked her to death. He knows for sure that this isn’t the killer’s first victim and that he will strike again.

Months earlier, Kim Hardy was found in the same position in a hotel across the city – the same cable ties around her wrists, lacerations on her left hand and the same silver ball in her throat. But Kim’s murderer was caught and sent to prison – did they arrest the wrong man? Fearing that he’s dealing with a serial killer, Dan calls in psychologist Lexi Green to help with the case.

Then another body is discovered just days later, just as Lexi finds a clue online leading to the killer. Dan and his team aren’t convinced she’s found the right man, but Lexi reaches out to the suspect, putting herself in unthinkable danger. Dan thinks he knows who’s next on the killer’s list. But can he reach her before it’s too late?

 

So without any further ado let’s take a look at the cover!

 

 

 

 

Knock-Knock-Kindle

Knock Knock is publishing on the 17th March 2020 and it is available to pre-order now!

 

Hold Your Tongue by Deborah Masson #bookreview @deborah_masson

Hold Your Tongue is a debut I was really looking forward to reading and I was glad I managed to find the time to do so over Christmas.

Hold Your Tongue: This addictive crime novel will be your new obsession (DI Eve Hunter Book 1) by [Masson, Deborah]

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In the run up to Christmas, a serial killer stalks the streets of Aberdeen . . .

On Detective Eve Hunter’s first Monday back at work following enforced leave, she is called to the scene of a gruesome crime. A young woman’s body has been discovered in a hotel room, her face mutilated and her tongue cut out. A newspaper headline about the victim’s burgeoning modeling career is pinned to the body.

Hunter and her team spend the week chasing leads, until the following Tuesday, another body is discovered in similar circumstances. Again, a newspaper headline about the victim is found on the scene.

When a breakthrough with the newspaper clippings leads them to a clue about the killer’s pattern, they realize the countdown is on until the next victim is found. Battling against a team who has lost respect for her and her own personal demons, Hunter must put herself inside the mind of a depraved killer if she is to prevent another terrible death . . .

Introducing DI Eve Hunter, HOLD YOUR TONGUE is your new obsession.

MY THOUGHTS

When I first read the blurb for Hold Your Tongue, I knew this was going to be a book for me. For me, it was the premise of this novel that drew me to it, and I found the idea really chilling.  It also introduces us to a new police team in Aberdeen, Scotland, and a lead detective who has an intriguing backstory that will hook you in from the first few pages.

Serial killers have been known to take items from their victims, a sort of trophy to remind themselves of the crime they have committed, their victims, and as well, perhaps, to taunt the police. Deborah Masson’s killer takes this up an even more disturbing notch. The killer in her book chooses to remove the tongues from their victims. Detective Inspector Eve Hunter has recently returned to work and is faced with the horrific case; she isn’t in the best stable mind herself. A few months ago she was considered by many on her team to be responsible for a serious attack on one of her colleagues which left her paralysed. Eve has never been able to forgive herself for her part in what happened.

It did feel as though Eve was very much on her own in this book. Many of her colleagues seemed to be against her return to the force. Eve feels incredible guilty herself about what happened. The investigation which Eve and the team are faced with is complex. Along the way, there are some hard-hitting truths which make it very disturbing for the team to investigate. I really connected with Eve, and I wanted things to get better for her, especially in her team. I wanted someone to tell her that what had happened wasn’t her fault.

For me, I felt that the pace did slow down quite a bit after the discovery of the first body, but it does pick up again. Deborah Masson maintains the tension well as the investigation picks up new leads. All the time though I kept wondering, who was carrying out these crimes? Who would be so sick to remove their victim’s tongues? What purpose did this serve to the killer? If this is the idea that Deborah Masson has brought us in her first book, it does make me wonder what she has in store for us next.

Hold Your Tongue is a very gritty debut by Deborah Masson which will chill you to the bone. Deborah Masson is a strong new talent who I will be keeping an eye out for. I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this series, and I’m intrigued to know where Deborah will take Eve and the rest of her team next.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 20th November 2019 (kindle) 26th December 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 414 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham #bookreview @AlisonBelsham

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the second book in one of my favourite new crime series by Alison Belsham, Her Last Breath.

Her Last Breath: The new crime thriller from the international bestseller by [Belsham, Alison]

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The body count is rising…and the clock is ticking.

When a young woman is attacked and left fighting to survive in hospital, the police are pulled into a race against time to save her life. But just 24 hours later, she dies and a deadly tattoo is discovered on her body.

And when another young woman disappears, Detective Francis Sullivan and his team fear a serial killer walks the streets of Brighton.

His team identify a suspect, Alex Mullins, son of Francis’s lover, Marni. Can Francis forget their shared past and save the next victim before it is too late?

MY THOUGHTS

I really like the characters in this series. When I read Alison Belsham’s debut novel, The Tattoo Thief, I thought it was one of the most original crime novels I’d read in a long time. When I read her last book, it made me think that I would definitely never get a tattoo. It was such a chilling read, and she has done it again with her second book, Her Last Breath. I did wonder how Alison was going to carry this series on, and she has created an absolute belter.

There are some particularly gruesome scenes in this book, and once again Alison has created a terrifying serial killer who is terrorising the streets of Brighton. Tattoo artist Marni Mullins is once again at the centre of this new investigation. When her son’s girlfriend is attacked, he is put firmly in the spotlight of the police probe leaving Marni exasperated. She desperately seeks her friend’s help, Detective Francis Sullivan, who is in charge of the case. But suspicions raise when more people who Alex is acquainted with are attacked and especially when the attacks turn to murder.

This is a really tense read. I really felt Marni’s exasperation as she tried to clear her son’s name of any involvement in the attacks. It did make me feel angry as well when some of the detectives on the case seemed utterly convinced right from the start that he was responsible, even though there was little evidence to support their claims. It did make me wonder how Marni was going to get her son out of it.

You really do get the sense of a race against time as the police try to find the person responsible for the crimes before they strike again. Alison Belsham kept me turning the pages as the book reached its conclusion. I literally could not put it down.

Her Last Breath is a really gripping and an intense read. I can’t wait to read the next book.

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 19th September 2019 (kindle) 6th February 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 416 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Deadland by William Shaw #bookreview

Over the Christmas break I finally found the time to catch up with one of my favourite police procedural series.

Deadland is the second book in William Shaw’s Alexander Cupidi series and it is really good.

Deadland: the second ingeniously unguessable thriller in the D S Cupidi series (DS Alexandra Cupidi Book 2) by [Shaw, William]

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YOU CAN RUN

The two boys never fitted in. Seventeen, the worst age, nothing to do but smoke weed; at least they have each other. The day they speed off on a moped with a stolen mobile, they’re ready to celebrate their luck at last. Until their victim comes looking for what’s his – and ready to kill for it.

YOU CAN HIDE

On the other side of Kent’s wealth divide, DS Alexandra Cupidi faces the strangest murder investigation of her career. A severed limb, hidden inside a modern sculpture in Margate’s Turner Contemporary. No one takes it seriously – not even the artwork’s owners, celebrity dealers who act like they’re above the law.

YOU CAN DIE

But as Cupidi’s case becomes ever more sinister, as she wrangles with police politics and personal dilemmas, she can’t help worrying about those runaway boys. Seventeen, the same age as her own headstrong daughter. Alone, on the marshes, they’re pawns in someone else’s game. Two worlds are about to collide.

Kent and its social divisions are brilliantly captured in Deadland, a crime thriller that’s as ingeniously unguessable as it is moving and powerful.

MY THOUGHTS

DS Alexander Cupidi is back in William Shaw’s latest novel, Deadland. This is a series which keeps going from strength to strength, and I have been captivated since Alexander Cupidi made her first appearance in The Birdwatcher.

What I really liked about the latest book in this series is that we see the return of former police officer, William South. When we last saw him, Alexander Cupidi had handed him in to the police after discovering the truth about his dark past. When I read The Birdwatcher I thought he was one of the best characters in crime fiction which I’ve come across, so I was really pleased to see him return in this book, but he is slightly different in his latest appearance. He seems to be struggling to re-adapt to life outside of prison. He’s never going to be viewed in quite the same way, particularly by his old friends. Alexander is keen to keep an eye on him. This is not least because she thinks that by having William around it might stop her daughter, Zoe, from going down a slippery path.

While keeping an eye on William and her daughter, Alex is up to her eyeballs in a new investigation. A severed arm has been discovered at an art gallery, and it proves very difficult for Alexander and her team to get identified. But that’s not all that she is faced with. There is also the disappearance of two teenagers who Alex believes could be in grave danger. It soon becomes clear to Alex and her team that the cases could be connected.

What I think is really good about William Shaw’s writing is how he makes us care for the characters. In the opening chapters, he introduces us to two teenagers who are targeting people so that they can steal their phones and sell them on. This is something which is quite frequently spoken about on the news as well. It is quite frightening to think about how easy this can be done and how easily people can get away with this crime. It does make you think about how careful you have to be when you’re out in public. I think this was why I didn’t think much of them towards the beginning of the book, but as the novel progressed, I felt quite sorry for them. William Shaw makes you realise that there are deeper root causes which have lead them to do this. It’s only when they pick on the wrong person do the tables finally turn for them, and their luck runs out.

Once again William Shaw also brings the setting of the Kent coastline to life, creating an atmospheric landscape. If you haven’t yet read this series and if you’re a fan of police procedurals then you really need to move William Shaw’s books to the top of your list. Deadland is cleverly constructed, and it grips you from the first page. Excellent from start to finish.

Publisher: riverrun

Publication date: 2nd May 2019

Print length: 480 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Previous reviews

Salt Lane

On My Life by Angela Clarke #bookreview

I featured On My Life in my most anticipated reads post earlier in the year and I’m kicking myself that I’ve taken this long to read it and I’m pleased to say that it’s a real corker.

On My Life: the gripping fast-paced thriller with a killer twist by [Clarke, Angela]

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Jenna knows she didn’t do it. But she is running out of time to prove it . . .
A heartbreaking, compulsive thriller with a killer twist!

Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant. 

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it . . .

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

MY THOUGHTS

On My Life by Angela Clarke is a powerful read that will pull at the heartstrings. There’s action right from the get-go when we find our protagonist, Jenna being escorted in a prison van towards her new life. Jenna knows she is innocent of the crime she has been accused of, and Jenna knows she has a fight on her hands to prove her innocence, especially when the whole country and the justice system is against her.

Angela Clarke’s latest novel is really taut. Right from the first page, you’re thrown into the action, and you are fighting with Jenna as she attempts to prove her innocence. What she has been accused of is a heinous crime which makes her a target among certain prison inmates, who are out to cause her harm. At the same time, she is trying to keep it a secret from everyone else inside. You feel as though she is walking on eggshells. It seems that at any moment her secret is going to come out and everyone will know what she has been accused of. As the reader, you know that once this does happen, everyone will turn against her.

Angela Clarke’s writing kept me furiously turning those pages as I waited to see how Jenna was going to be able to prove her innocence when it seemed that so much evidence was stacked against her. You can sense the walls closing in on her, but she is determined not to let this happen. I felt really angry for her. She has to try and grow accustomed to her new life before her trial, but a spanner is thrown into the works when she finds out that she is expecting her fiancés baby. Her fiancé has disappeared, and she has been accused of having a hand in his disappearance. But she has also been accused of killing his teenage daughter.

I really liked the friendship Jenna had with the woman she shares a cell with, Kelly. Kelly is inside for a much lesser offence, but the two women form a bond, and Kelly seems to be the only source of solace Jenna has. Kelly is also pregnant, and this strengthens their friendship. You can tell that Angela Clarke has put in a lot of research into this subject within the prison system. You can’t help but feel sorry for Jenna, and I was just hoping that she was going to be able to get out of the situation she was in.

On My Life is really tense and thought-provoking; I’m still thinking about the ending days after I’ve read it. You will be rooting for Jenna right from the first page.

It’s one of my top reads of the year.

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 384 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones