The Home by Sarah Stovell #bookreview blog tour @sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the brilliant new novel by Sarah Stovell, The Home. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Home by [Stovell, Sarah]

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One more little secret … one more little lie…

When the body of a pregnant fifteen-year-old is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away…

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

A gritty, dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also an emotive drama and a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve long been awaiting the second novel by Sarah Stovell, ever since I read her debut, Exquisite. Her latest book, The Home, is utterly gripping and heart-breaking. Although parts of this book are hard to read I found Sarah’s writing to be so addictive; I devoured the first hundred pages in one gulp. The writing here is purely brilliant!

Sarah’s second book opens with the devastating discovery of the body of a young girl, Hope, on Christmas Eve in a churchyard. Hope’s fate is intricately tied with the lives of three girls, Hope, Annie and Lara, who have all come from troubled backgrounds. They all live in a children’s home in a residence called, The Home. But they are all harbouring secrets. What really happened the night Hope was killed? What was really going on in the days leading up to her death?

Sarah Stovell really drew me into the lives of her characters; their personal stories are what make this book quite painful to read at times and we learn some quite unsettling truths about their childhoods. As we get to learn more about Hope and her best friend, Annie, we begin to see that there is a lot of mystery here. As I kept reading, I kept asking myself what would prompt the killer to kill Hope, and I could never quite get to the truth myself until Sarah revealed the devastating details in the final chapters. A few weeks after I’ve read it and I’m still thinking about it. The ending really blew me away.

I found Hope and Annie to be very complex characters. Annie I could never quite make my mind up about, this is especially as she is faced with Hope’s death in the present. To me she came across as very cold, especially in the opening chapters, but as Sarah Stovell reveals more about her background, we can see that this isn’t quite the case.

As we discovered more details about Hope’s past I couldn’t help but feel a lot of anger. I felt that the situation she was in was so unfair and I couldn’t believe what she was having to go through. This is where Sarah Stovell’s talent shines through. I was utterly absorbed by the lives of her characters. You can really feel what they are going through.

I was instantly intrigued by Lara. Although we do hear about her, we don’t get to know more about her until much later on. Her continued silence made me even keener to find out more about her and what her individual story was. This is what I really liked about this book, the added mystery that made it clear that there were more secrets about the characters to be unearthed.

Sarah Stovell does a brilliant job of creating characters who you really care about and I’m sure that her book will stay with many readers for a long while.

The Home is a dark, addictive read that will pull you in from the very first line. It’s beautifully written with a haunting atmosphere. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 28th November 2019 (kindle) 23rd January 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

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

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A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone #bookreview blog tour @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater

Happy New Year!

Welcome to my first post of 2020 and I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

A Dark Matter (The Skelfs) by [Johnstone, Doug]

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Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators…

When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

A compelling, tense and shocking thriller and a darkly funny and warm portrait of a family in turmoil, A Dark Matter introduces a cast of unforgettable characters, marking the start of an addictive new series.

MY THOUGHTS

Doug Johnstone is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. His previous book, Breakers, was one of my top reads of 2019 and he has pulled it off again with A Dark Matter.

I think this book has one of the most original openings I’ve read in a long while. I did have to go over the first two sentences a couple of times as it dawned on me what was happening. Doug Johnstone pulls you into his story with a somewhat disturbing opening as a corpse is being fried. This opening scene grabbed my attention, and I wanted to know what the hell was going on here. But the opening scene isn’t quite as sinister as you might think; there are a lot more sinister scenes to come.

In Doug’s last book, I loved the raw, authentic voice he gave to his characters. In this book, we meet a family who own a funeral home, the Skelfs, which also operates as a private detective agency. I really liked this idea. It did give the book a Miss Marple and an Inspector Poirot kind of feeling.

Hannah, who is the granddaughter of Dorothy, who now solely owns the business after the death of her husband, Jim, is distraught when her friend Mel disappears. She begins investigating Mel’s disappearance on her own and takes matters into her own hands when it appears that the police show little interest. Hannah is tough and is absolutely determined to find out what has happened to her Mel. But meanwhile, another mystery is taking up her mother’s time.  Hannah’s mother, Jenny, has found out that the business is still paying money to the wife of a former employee who also strangely disappeared. She can’t understand why the business is still paying this money and begins to suspect that her father, Jim, may have had a hand in his disappearance. Did he reach an agreement with his former employee’s wife to keep her silent on the matter?

I did think that A Dark Matter didn’t have the same, quite high level of tension as Breakers did, but I did become utterly immersed in the story. It is quite a different book, and it does stand out, it’s hard to place it into just one genre. Doug really captures Hannah’s anger as she searches for answers behind Mel’s disappearance, and also in Jenny’s despair, as she tries to work out what has been going on behind her back within the business. Doug Johnstone has a real talent for giving his characters strong, emotional depth which really brings them to life and makes them feel like real people.

You will be rooting for the characters to reach the answers that they are desperately craving. A Dark Matter is a totally original novel that will have you begging for the next chapter in the series. Fantastic writing!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 23rd November 2019 (kindle) 23rd January 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

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

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Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen #bookreview blog tour @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Little Siberia by [Tuomainen, Antti]

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The arrival of a meteorite in a small Finnish town causes chaos and crime in this poignant, chilling and hilarious new thriller from the King of Helsinki Noir

A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.

But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.

Transporting the reader to the culture, landscape and mores of northern Finland Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker-than-black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue – both literal and figurative – turn your life upside down.

MY THOUGHTS

A simple lump of rock, travelling for billions of years across the universe finally makes its mark on Planet Earth, choosing to make icy cold Finland its destination. But this simple lump of rock is about to cause a storm among the locals. With an estimated worth of one million euros, it catches the eye of more than a few crooks, who are desperate to get their hands on it before it makes its journey to London. Charged with protecting the meteorite is Pastor Joel Huhta, a former soldier who takes up the duty of night watchman. And this simple lump of rock is about to turn his life on its hinges.

What I loved about this book was how fresh the story felt. Antti Tuomainen has a real talent for putting a different spin on a thriller, and he does this here by choosing a hero who you wouldn’t expect, and this is what I like about his writing. It certainly is never predictable.

The language is very poetic, and once again, I was drawn into the icy, Finnish landscape. The last book I read by Antti Tuomainen was The Man Who Died. The writing makes you experience the cold, the chill coming off the frozen lakes and the deep drifts of snow.

Little Siberia does appear to have a darker, more sinister edge to it, in my opinion, and this is what drew me into the story. Antti Tuomainen is a writer known for his humour, and while this is still here, I thought that the darkness came through much stronger. Pastor Joel goes through a lot in this book, I really was wondering how he had the ability to keep going, but this was what I admired about his character. He isn’t a character who will very easily back down.

I thought Pastor Joel was such a brilliant character to explore, and there are so many aspects about him that make him interesting. He is a former soldier and has experience of fighting in the field. This part of his life intrigued me. He came from a deeply religious family, and I wanted to know what prompted him to join the army. Not only does he have to worry about crooks who are attempting to get their hands on the meteorite, but his wife has suddenly announced that she’s pregnant. He has so far neglected to tell her that he can’t have children, so he knows the baby can’t be his.

Little Siberia is a deeply chilling novel with a cast of brilliant, well-formed characters to follow. With atmospheric and gripping writing, what more could you want from a novel? This book definitely comes highly recommended from me. One of my favourite reads of the year.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th August 2019

Print length: 300 pages

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

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Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir #bookreview blog tour @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue in Iceland rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noir trilogy…

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

MY THOUGHTS

Cage is the third and final book in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy by Lilja Sigurdardottir and another superb translation by Quentin Bates. It is a satisfying end to a series of books which I have really grown to enjoy. It’s been fascinating getting to know Agla throughout the three books, and I feel sad that this will be the last book to feature her. I do think though that it is a good place to end the series.

This time around the tables have turned for Agla. Currently Agla is in prison. She has also lost touch with her lover, Sonja who appears to have abandoned her.

While Agla is in prison, she is approached by investigative journalist, Marie, who is from a local paper called, The Squirrel. Marie was once Agla’s nemesis, but she is now seeking her help to investigate a company called, Meteorite, who are exporting aluminium out of Iceland. Marie is convinced something dodgy is going on here. As she gets closer to what is going on behind the scenes, Marie closes in on some very dangerous people. These people would wish to see her harmed if she ever got to the truth, but she is determined to expose them.

What this series highlights so well, is what can go on inside powerful groups, people who are involved in business deals and exporting vast sums of money out of the country. This is something which isn’t outside the realms of possibility. There is a terrifying world out there which ordinary people can become so easily swept up in, and this is what initially happened to Agla. This is why she is in this position today.

Agla seems to be a lot more detached in this book than she was in the previous books in the series. You can feel that the doors have closed on her and that she is now firmly trapped. She seems to have accepted her fate and is keen to do her time and then try to build a new life.

I think one of the things I missed in this book was her relationship with her son, Tomas, which Lilja previously built on so well. I did also miss her relationship with Sonja, and I felt sorry for Agla that she no longer could share her company. We do still see Sonja in Cage, but it isn’t quite in the same way.

The novel races towards a heart-pounding climax as everything comes to a head for Lilja’s characters. Lilja’s writing will have you furiously turning those pages.

This has been a brilliant series to follow, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what Lilja Sigurdardottir writes next. Chilling and totally gripping right the way through, this is a series of books you need to read if you haven’t done so already.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th October 2019

Print length: 276 pages

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

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The Closer I Get by Paul Burston #bookreview blog tour @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Closer I Get by [Burston, Paul]

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Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

MY THOUGHTS

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston is a powerful and chilling look at the dark side of social media. Trolling and stalking seems to be an ever real threat in today’s world. The explosion of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites, over the last decade or so has benefited us hugely, by bringing the world closer together. But it can also come at a cost. Anyone can now find out information about you. Where you visit for a cup of coffee each day, what your favourite meal is and where you work. All from the click of a button. It’s quite scary to think about. This is what happens to Paul’s main character, Tom.

Tom, who is a writer, wrote a bestseller which was released a few years ago and became a major Hollywood film. Although he hasn’t hit the bestseller charts in recent years, he still has a good relationship with his agent. She seems to be a source of encouragement and comfort to Tom. She is always egging him on to finish his latest book. But Tom’s own world starts to crumble when he becomes the victim of a stalker. Tom then has to resort to drastic measures to get the person to stop.

Paul Burston’s writing is very readable, and I quickly became drawn into the story. What I thought made this book really work and what made it so fascinating, was telling the story both from Tom and Evie’s point of view. Evie is the woman who he accuses of stalking him. Tom is eventually forced to take her to court in the hope that a restraining order will solve his problems and that after that point, she will finally leave him alone. From what I could begin to see as the story unfolded, was that here were two very conflicting accounts. I could never be sure who was telling the truth about what was really going on. It was probably the characters in this book that made it so gripping for me as I tried to work out which version was the correct one.

I really liked how Paul brought everything together at the conclusion, which gave the ending a very satisfactory feel. It was a very surprising finale that really chilled me.

This is an incredibly tense piece of fiction which races towards an uncertain denouement as the two lead characters collide. It will also, perhaps, make you think again about the people who you follow on social media and who follows you back.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 11th May 2019

Print length: 276 pages

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

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Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald blog tour #bookreview @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Helen Fitzgerald’s latest crime novel, Worst Case Scenario.

Worst Case Scenario by [FitzGerald, Helen]

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Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line. Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

A heart-pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour, Worst Case Scenario is also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

MY THOUGHTS

Helen Fitzgerald opens Worst Case Scenario with such a startling line that it threw me, for just a second. I remember a couple of years ago when everyone was talking about her opening line in Viral, which I still haven’t forgotten, after hearing several people mention it. I think this book is going to get the same type of reaction from readers. I must admit that I haven’t read one of Helen’s books before, and I have to say that I found her writing so fresh and entertaining. This is definitely one of the most original novels I’ve read this year.

There is a lot of dark humour in her latest book, which may not appeal to some readers; there are some moments which did leave me cringing a little. Helen tackles some dark subject matters, but this is also such an entertaining story, and her lead protagonist, Mary Shields really stood out.

As a probation officer its Mary Shields job to imagine the worst case scenario when the parole board are considering releasing a convict back into the outside world. She has to think of all the possibilities that could happen upon their release and if they are still a danger to society. You can see how this is a job that can bring many people down, and it must be quite tough, having to be the person who makes that decision. Mary deals with people who have committed horrific acts, many, who some people would argue, don’t deserve a second chance. Mary struck me as a damaged individual, you can see just how her job has had an effect on her, and she is just about ready to pack it all in. I could certainly see why she wanted to.

The pace never drops, and I found myself flying through the pages, never once was there a dull or a particularly slow moment. Some readers may struggle to like Mary as she can come across as quite sharp and grumpy, but I really engaged with her, and her character made this book so unique and original. Mary herself is struggling with the menopause, which adds another unique subject matter to this book as it’s a topic that I haven’t come across in crime fiction before.

With some laugh out loud funny moments and a thoroughly entertaining plot which held my attention all the way through, I would, of course, recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for something that is a little different. Helen Fitzgerald is a real talent, I can’t wait to read more from her.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 16th March 2019

Print length: 276 pages

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

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Breakers by Doug Johnstone #bookreview blog tour @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Doug Johnstone’s brilliant new novel, Breakers. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Breakers by [Johnstone, Doug]

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A toxic family … a fight for survival…

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation … unless he drags her down too.

A pulsatingly tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland’s finest crime writers.

MY THOUGHTS

Oh. My. God. This book. Breakers was nothing like I expected it to be, I’ve read Doug Johnstone’s previous novel Faultlines, but I think this book takes his writing up to another level. There’s no mistake that this is a dark, dark book but it also pulls at the heartstrings. It has characters that will get under your skin and a tension fuelled plot that will keep you turning those pages.

This is a book about family. It asks the question, just how far are we prepared to go to protect the ones we love. Tyler Wallace hasn’t had the best start in life. He has never known who his father is, and his mother, Angela is a drug addict. The main person who Tyler cares about in his life is his younger sister, Bethany or Bean, as he calls her. He has two half siblings, Barry and Kelly and the three of them make their money by burgling posh houses in Edinburgh. But when one of their jobs goes badly wrong, it sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

There are so many things I want to talk about this book. One of the parts which I really liked was Tyler’s relationship with his sister. I could clearly see that he is desperate to give them a better chance in life and for Bean to have a better start than he did, and this shines through in his character, making him stand out next to Barry and Kelly. His brother, Barry, is a very different person. It seems that not even the threat from a very dangerous family will stop him in getting what he wants; I absolutely hated him, he is such a scary and unpredictable character. He made me even keener to see Tyler and Bean get out and make a fresh start.

Tyler’s friendship with Flick was another aspect of the novel I really liked. I couldn’t be sure where Doug Johnstone was heading with this after they first met. She is a girl from a different, more affluent part of the town and you would think that a relationship between them wouldn’t work, but here it really does.

I think the characters within the pages of this book will all stay with me long after finishing. Some parts of this book I did find hard to read, but this isn’t a criticism, far from it, it was because I connected so much with Tyler and Bean that I didn’t want anything bad to happen to them.

One of the points which Doug had me thinking about as I was reading, was what drives people to a life of crime? Their background, where they’re from or how they are brought up? If Tyler and his family had been brought up in a different area would things have worked out as badly for them as they have?

Breakers is a very good book, one that will draw you into the dark side of Edinburgh which Doug Johnstone describes so, so well making his writing very immersive. If you enjoy books that keep you on edge and transfixed to what is happening on the page, then I highly recommend that you give this book a go.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 16th March 2019

Print length: 300 pages

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

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The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon #bookreview blog tour @vandasymon @OrendaBooks

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the second novel in the Sam Shepherd series by Vanda Symon, The Ringmaster.

The Ringmaster (Sam Shephard Book 2) by [Symon, Vanda]

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Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand

Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the deaths are linked to a visiting circus…

Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…

Rich with atmosphere, humour and a dark, shocking plot, The Ringmaster marks the return of passionate, headstrong police officer, Sam Shephard, in the next instalment of Vanda Symon’s bestselling series.

MY THOUGHTS

DC Sam Shepherd is back in the second book in Vanda Symon’s riveting crime series set in New Zealand, The Ringmaster. I remember when I read the last book I was totally gripped by the opening prologue which was so chilling, and Vanda Symon has created another brilliant opening here.

After the devastating events which took place in Overkill, Sam has relocated to Dunedin and has joined the local police force as a detective constable. Sam is desperate to have the chance to move further up the chain and is always willing to prove herself to her superiors. One of the drawbacks to her new job though is her detective inspector who I really took a dislike to from the moment he was first introduced. I honestly couldn’t believe the way in which he treated Sam, which made me root even more for her to succeed. There was one scene in particular that just had me holding my breath after a particular devastating sequence of events; this shows just how well Vanda had pulled me into her story.

If you’re looking for a quick read that will hook you in right away, then this book is the book for you. You don’t have to have read the first book in the series to read this one, but once you have, you’ll want to catch up. There are short chapters which keep the pace flowing right throughout, and there is an engaging mystery to follow.

What I really like about Sam is how human she feels and how personally connected she becomes to the victims and to what has happened to them. Although she desperately wants to work in the police, she also wonders why she is drawn to this profession as she is often deeply moved and upset by crimes which have taken place; but this makes her all the more motivated and determined to solve them. It gives you a sense that she will do everything humanly possible to make that happen.

I loved the growing sense of unease that just made this book so gripping as I could never be sure who to point the finger at. Vanda Symon keeps you thinking about what is going to happen next, and there is a surprising turn of events at the conclusion. There was so much tension as Sam realised just what was going on and who was behind the killings and I was just utterly gripped as I waited to find out how it would all be resolved. But I’m not going to reveal any more about that here.

This is another top read by Vanda Symon that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. With taut writing and brilliantly developed characters, this is turning into a must-read crime series. I, for one, can’t wait to read more. Roll on book three.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Orenda

Publication date: 18th February 2019

Print length: 320 pages

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

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Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech #bookreview blog tour @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

I’m absolutely delighted to be joining the blog tour for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech.

Call Me Star Girl by [Beech, Louise]

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Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

With echoes of the Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

MY THOUGHTS

If you’re looking for a writer who will draw you into their story and into the lives of their characters in the most fascinating and intriguing way, then look no further than Louise Beech. Call Me Star Girl is a masterpiece in literary fiction with a dark edge that kept me utterly hooked all the way through. I’ve read many rave reviews for Louise’s previous work, so I was so excited to hear that she was moving into the crime genre, and I’m sure it’ll win her many new fans, which definitely includes me.

Stella McKeever is preparing for her last ever radio show, so deciding to take a different path for her final one, she is asking her listeners to phone in and tell their secrets, but she will also tell some of hers in exchange. But what Stella is really hoping for is that someone will get in touch with information about a young girl, who was found murdered not far from the radio station where she works, and perhaps even the killer might feel compelled to call in.

You get a real sense of Stella as a character in this book, and she is very well developed. She is a person who has suffered trauma in her past, after her mother, Elizabeth, abandoned her at a very young age, and she has never known her father. As Louise gradually revealed information about this, I couldn’t believe the reasons why this happened, and it really made me feel so sorry for Stella as I was reading. But I won’t be divulging any details on that here. The one person in her life who she can seem to totally rely on is her boyfriend, Tom, but there is even something a little odd in their relationship, which is what I personally thought.

What I thought was particularly excellent in Louise’s writing was how well the characters evolved. You will become invested in them as she reveals more details about her lives and they are what make this story so, so good.

The clever way in which Louise thought out her plot kept me thinking about the characters and how everything was going to unfold for them at the end, and be prepared; it’s a shocker of an ending. Nothing prepared me for how emotionally invested I would become in Louise Beech’s writing, I think the ending of this book will leave many people shedding a few tears.

Louise Beech is an absolutely brilliant writer, who drew me into her writing without any effort at all. Call Me Star Girl was one of those books that I just did not want to end. An utterly captivating story that will keep you gripped all the way through. It’s seriously good.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy to review.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 18th February 2019

Print length: 272 pages

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

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Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb blog tour #bookreview @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks #DeepDirtyTruth #TeamLori

Deep Dirty Truth (Lori Anderson Book 3) by [Broadribb, Steph]

BLURB

A price on her head. A secret worth dying for. Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.
With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…
Brimming with tension, high-stakes jeopardy and high-voltage action, and a deep, emotional core, Deep Dirty Truth is an unmissable thriller by one of the freshest and most exciting voices in crime fiction.

MY THOUGHTS

If you thought things were going to start getting easier for Lori, JT and Dakota, after the events in the last book, then think again. In Deep Dirty Truth Lori’s past is about to come back and haunt her in a big way. Steph Broadribb turns the tension up a notch once again, with action right from opening pages which carries through to the nail-biting ending. This is my favourite Lori Anderson novel yet.

I love, love, love these books. Lori and JT are well rounded characters who you can’t help but root for all the way through. In the latest book, Lori is on her own again as JT is still recovering from the events which concluded the last book in the series. But this situation is certainly one that Lori wouldn’t choose to be in. But she knows she can’t refuse the orders she is being given as it will put her own family’s life at risk and you do get the sense that things could go either way for them this time, nothing is certain.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot as this is such a tension filled read that I want you to enjoy it for yourself. There are some vicious crooks in book three that will make you fearful for Lori and her family, and the wide expanse of the American landscapes make the perfect scene for the car chases that take place and the violence that ensues from the opening pages. It creates a huge sense of unpredictability, as out in the wilderness, far away from civilisation, and where phone signal can be patchy as well, crimes can easily be covered up.

If you do like action filled reads right from the get go then you really need to be reading the Lori Anderson series. The chapters are short and snappy, and they will make you want to turn those pages. I actually started reading this book on New Year’s Eve, and I would have been quite happy to stay in and read for the rest of the evening, rather than go out and see in the New Year, and that to me shows just how captivating this story is.

The cinematic edge to these books and the tension charged plot is what makes the Lori Anderson series a real winner for me, it’s a series that just keeps getting better and better. This is another fantastic book from Steph Broadribb; I can’t wait to catch up with Lori and JT again.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan for sending me an advance review copy.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 24th January 2019

Print length: 304 pages

If you would like to purchase Deep Dirty Truth you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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