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

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

Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham #bookreview

On the blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the first novel in Harry Bingham’s first book in his DC Fiona Griffiths series, Talking to the Dead.

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A young girl is found dead. A prostitute is murdered. And the strangest, youngest detective in the South Wales Major Crimes Unit is about to face the fiercest test of her short career.

A woman and her six-year-old daughter are killed with chilling brutality in a dingy flat. The only clue: the platinum bank card of a long-dead tycoon, found amidst the squalor.

DC Griffiths has already proved herself dedicated to the job, but there’s another side to her she is less keen to reveal. Something to do with a mysterious two-year gap in her CV, her strange inability to cry – and a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.

Fiona is desperate to put the past behind her but as more gruesome killings follow, the case leads her inexorably back into those dark places in her own mind where another dead girl is waiting to be found . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Harry Bingham is a writer who has been on my must-read list for a while. Recently I decided to give the first book in his Fiona Griffiths series a go, Talking to the Dead.

We are faced with a horrific scene in the opening chapters. The body of a young woman, known to have been working as a prostitute, has been discovered. A young girl is also dead. The discovery of the young girl really cements this case in the mind of Fiona Griffiths, who is the Detective Constable working on the investigation.

Now, some readers may struggle to like Fiona. She comes across as hard and unfeeling. There is a reason for this, though, which is later explained in the book. I must admit it did take me some time to warm to her, but by the end of the book I was intrigued to learn more about her background, which I’m sure, will be revealed in later books. She is already very well developed, and you can tell that Harry Bingham has put a lot of thought and planning into this. There is definitely a lot more to learn about her. I also really liked her developing relationship with another police officer from her team, although how far this is going to develop I’m not really sure.

Although Fiona struggles to get on with living people, she is absolutely determined to solve the mystery behind the young girl and the young woman’s death. She really feels a connection to them both and is also keen to make sure they are both given the send-off that they deserve, especially as they weren’t very highly thought of in life. This is what I really admired about Fiona.

The case is quite a complex one which puts Fiona herself in a very dangerous situation as she is targeted by the people who are behind the crime. She is the only police officer on the team who is taking a serious interest in the murders, whereas her superiors are quite keen to brush the case under the carpet. I wanted to know just how Fiona was going to get herself out of this and how much closer to danger she was willing to put herself in to get justice.

Harry’s writing makes you turn the pages so easily. I became utterly immersed in the plot, and I devoured huge chunks of the book in just a couple of sittings. Highly recommended for fans of police procedurals.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 28th March 2013

Print length: 384 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Cruel Acts by Jane Casey #bookreview

Cruel Acts is another book I’ve been desperate to read all year and I finally had the chance to get round to it this week. This is another fantastic addition to the Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwant series.

BLURB

How can you spot a murderer?

Leo Stone is a ruthless killer – or the victim of a miscarriage of justice. A year ago, he was convicted of the murder of two women and sentenced to life in prison. But now he’s free, and according to him, he’s innocent.

DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve finds out, the less convinced she is of his guilt.

Then another woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?

MY THOUGHTS

Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent are my favourite duo in crime fiction. If you are new to this series, you may think that from the outset that they don’t get on, as they are constantly bickering with each other. Maeve is also never keen to follow orders from Josh, her superior. But this is what makes both of their characters really come to life. They really do like each other, although they may not always display this outwardly.

What Maeve and Josh are faced with in the latest book in this series is the release of a convicted killer, over a new revelation overturned the jury’s guilty verdict. This is after it becomes known that they had access to prior reports about him which would have influenced their judgement. The killer, Leo Stone, was found guilty of murdering two women, and he could be behind the disappearance of a third, although a body has never been found. It is up to Maeve and Josh to prove Leo Stone’s guilt but everything is put into question when another woman goes missing.

Maeve and Josh have a tough job on their hands in proving Stone’s guilt, especially when one of the family members of the victims strongly believes that he is innocent. So from the beginning, I couldn’t be sure if he was the right person, even though there are some very chilling scenes, especially when Maeve interviews him, which will make you think so.

You really get a sense that it is going to be so difficult to have a fresh trial. So much information about Stone and the murders have been written about which is in the public domain. How is it possible for a jury now not to be influenced by what has been reported?

In this book we also see Georgia Shaw’s character grow, who Jane Casey introduced to us in the last book, Let the Dead Speak. Georgia begins to show her true colours, and this is in stark comparison to how she was in the previous novel. I must admit that I didn’t quite like where her character was heading as I felt that she was a good addition to the team and I didn’t like what I was seeing, but perhaps this is what her character needed at this point in time. You can see her growing in confidence, if maybe, a little bit too quickly.

Cruel Acts is a clever and totally absorbing crime novel. I can’t wait to catch up with Maeve and Josh again.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 18th April 2019

Print length: 368 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

What Lies Buried by Margaret Kirk #bookreview @HighlandWriter @orionbooks

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Margaret Kirk’s second novel, What Lies Buried on my blog today.

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A missing child. A seventy-year-old murder. And a killer who’s still on the loose.

Ten year-old Erin is missing; taken in broad daylight during a friend’s birthday party. With no witnesses and no leads, DI Lukas Mahler races against time to find her. But is it already too late for Erin – and will her abductor stop at one stolen child?

And the discovery of human remains on a construction site near Inverness confronts Mahler’s team with a cold case from the 1940s. Was Aeneas Grant’s murder linked to a nearby POW camp, or is there an even darker story to be uncovered?

With his team stretched to the limit, Mahler’s hunt for Erin’s abductor takes him from Inverness to the Lake District. And decades-old family secrets link both cases in a shocking final twist.

MY THOUGHTS

What Lies Buried, Margaret Kirk’s second novel tackles some hard-hitting and dark themes. In the opening, we are faced with the discovery of a decade’s old corpse, linked back to World War Two. But although the case is intriguing enough, the police have a much bigger problem on their hands. A young girl, ten-year-old Erin, is missing and hasn’t been seen for several days and she is their top priority. The police are no closer to finding out what happened to her, and they have very few leads to follow. But soon they begin to realise that they are facing a much larger and scarier problem.

What initially intrigued me when I was reading was the discovery of the corpse in the opening pages. I wanted to know who this person was who had been found and the reason why they had been killed and abandoned there. And then we have the missing girl, and the very few leads the police are following. I was just captivated by this story, and I had to find out how things were going to unfold, especially given the fact that the police didn’t seem to have a clue as to what was happening.

What I really like about Margaret’s writing is her ability to create atmosphere and the landscape where she sets her story, which she does so well. I found this as well in her first novel, Shadow Man. Inverness is brought to life, and Margaret’s description of the weather made me feel as though I was there and experiencing it for myself.

There is another interesting element in this book, which comes in the form of vigilantes. We get to read snippets of the conversations these people are having with each other, and it makes for quite scary reading. These are people who feel that they could do a much better job than the police, and they are keen to apprehend the person responsible for Erin’s disappearance themselves. And as the case grows darker, they are even more determined to carry out their plans.

What Lies Buried is another terrific addition to the DI Lukas Mahler series. Very clever and well thought out, I was on tenterhooks as the novel raced towards its climax. I can’t wait to read more.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 13th June 2019

Print length: 320 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Death In The Lakes by Graham Smith #bookreview @GrahamSmith1972 @bookouture

death in the lakes

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Detective Beth Young has just joined the Cumbrian major crimes team when a body is found posed in a ritualistic manner – arms spread and graceful wings attached – at a crumbling castle in the hills of the Lake District.

The entire police force is on red alert. But Beth begins to feel she’s the only one who can follow the disturbing clues left by the twisted killer. Because she doesn’t think like everyone else. To Beth, crimes are puzzles she can solve. Even if real life is a little harder.

As more bodies are discovered in derelict stately homes across the Lake District, Beth knows she’s in a race against time.

But the killer is looking for another victim to add to his collection… Will Beth be able to save her? Or will he get there first?

MY THOUGHTS

Death In The Lakes is the first book in a new series by Graham Smith and the first to feature DC Beth Young. I haven’t read any previous work by Graham before, and I was very impressed with his latest. This is a great introduction to Beth, she is a detective who still has a lot of room to grow, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about her as the series progresses. If you enjoy a good serial killer thriller, then you should definitely pick it up.

Imagine on your wedding day, you discover a body in the grounds of a hotel where you are hosting your big day. This is what happens to Emily Welton when she discovers the body of Angus Keane in the opening chapters, and DC Beth Young is one of the first police officers on the scene after the gruesome discovery. But what sets this murder apart, and really worries the police, is the lengths the killer has gone to make their victim suffer a torturous death, and it soon becomes clear, that Angus isn’t the first victim of this deranged killer and he won’t be the last to die.

Beth is a character who I got on with straight away. You can see she is ambitious; however she does struggle to get on with some of her colleagues at the start of the book. Her boss, DI O’Dowd is a character who I did take time to warm to, but by the second half, I thought that she and Beth were working really well together and O’Dowd became a much more likeable character.

There are some really gruesome details in this book, where we learn about how the killer chooses to murder their victims and these were quite inventive and made this book stand out amongst recent police procedural books I have read. They made me want to find out more about the killer and why they were choosing this particular method to dispose of their victims.

I certainly have no hesitation in recommending this book as a gripping read to crime fiction fans, and I will definitely be buying the next book in the series. Death In The Lakes is a top police procedural novel, and I can’t wait to find out more about the characters.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 30th November 2018

Print length: 346 pages

If you would like to purchase Death in the Lakes, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below

Amazon UK Amazon US Kobo

Some of my most anticipated reads of 2019

A very Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had a fantastic break over Christmas and that you’re looking forward to a new year filled with exciting books. And there are lots of books to look forward to which are being released this year.

I decided to take a short break from blogging over Christmas and over the last couple of weeks, I’ve managed to catch up on a few reads that have been waiting patiently, on my TBR pile, for far too long. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on these books very soon.

But to kick the New Year off, I thought I would share with you some of my most anticipated reads I am looking forward to this year. I’ve also included the purchase links beneath the blurbs.

Red Snow (A Tuva Moodyson Mystery Book 2) by [Dean, Will] 10th January 2019

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

Amazon UK  Waterstones

16th May 2019 Never Be Broken (D.I. Marnie Rome 6) by [Hilary, Sarah]

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost.
Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.
DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

Amazon UK  Waterstones

The Whisper Man by [North, Alex] 13th June 2019

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window…

Amazon UK  Waterstones

2nd May 2019 Deadland (DS Alexandra Cupidi Book 2) by [Shaw, William]

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.

Amazon UK  Waterstones

 

You Die Next (Starke & Bell) by [Marland, Stephanie, Broadribb, Stephanie] 4th April 2019

A group of urban explorers stumble into a murderer’s kill room in a derelict film studio. Terrified, they run, thinking they are safe. Then a message appears on their video channel: Who dies next?

As DI Dominic Bell and his team investigate the series of murders in hidden locations across London, they fail to find the connection between the victims. The only person who can help is Clementine Starke, an academic researching adult thrillseekers. However, Clementine is haunted by dark and violent obsessions, including her former relationship with DI Dominic Bell.

As the body count rises, Clementine Starke and DI Dominic Bell form an uneasy alliance to hunt the killer. But as they close in on their prey, and things turn personal, Clementine has to decide which side of the law she’s really on.

A cat-and-mouse thriller for fans of Mark Billingham, Sarah Hilary and Rachel Abbott that unfolds in a number of terrifying hidden locations across London. Readers who enjoyed Thomas Harris’s Hannibal series will be thrilled by the deadly relationship between DI Dominic Bell and Clementine Starke.

Amazon UK  Waterstones

4th April 2019 Dead Man’s Daughter (A DI Meg Dalton thriller, Book 2) by [Watkins, Roz]

DI Meg Dalton isn’t prepared for her latest case. A ten year old girl is found running through the woods, barefoot and wearing only a blood-soaked nightdress. She has no memory of what happened to her, but her father is found stabbed to death in their nearby house.

At first, Meg blames an intruder – but why had the girl’s murdered father been so obsessed with the creepy statues in the woods, and with the girl’s recent heart transplant?

Meg’s investigation leads her down a chilling path. The girl has been having nightmares, and seems to remember things that happened to her heart donor. Who was the donor and what happened to them? Could this have anything to do with the murder of the girl’s father?

Meg is forced to question her deepest beliefs to discover the shocking truth before the killer strikes again…

Amazon UK  Waterstones

On My Life: the gripping fast-paced thriller with a killer twist by [Clarke, Angela] 7th March 2019

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

Amazon UK  Waterstones

5th March 2019 

Two solar eclipses. Two missing girls.

Sixteen years ago a little girl was abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse while her older sister Cassie was supposed to be watching her. She was never seen again. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie – who has returned to her home town to care for her ailing grandmother – suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister: that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.

Amazon UK  Waterstones

Dead Inside: A totally gripping and terrifying serial killer thriller (Maggie Jamieson Crime Thriller, Book 1) by [Holten, Noelle] 31st May 2019

When three domestic abuse offenders are 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 finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?

Amazon UK  Waterstones

2nd May 2019

THE TWINS ARE CRYING.
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.

LAUREN IS CRYING.
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.

Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .

After a traumatic birth, Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her newborn twins. Her husband has gone home. The nurses are doing their rounds. She can’t stop thinking about every danger her babies now face. But all new mothers think like that. Don’t they?

A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone or something is trying to steal her children. But with every step she takes to keep her babies safe, Lauren sinks deeper and deeper into paranoia and fear. From the stark loneliness of returning home after birth, to the confines of a psychiatric unit, Lauren’s desperation increases as no one will listen to her. But here’s the question: is she mad, or does she know something we don’t?

Loosely inspired by the ghostly folktale The Brewery of Eggshells, where a mother becomes convinced her twins are in danger, Little Darlings offers a fresh perspective on modern motherhood, postnatal psychosis and the roles women play. It has always been thus: folk tales do not spring from whimsy; they warn us and teach us, and speak to the fear in us all.

Amazon UK  Waterstones

Cruel Acts by [Casey, Jane]  4th April 2019

How can you spot a murderer?

Leo Stone is a ruthless killer – or the victim of a miscarriage of justice. A year ago, he was convicted of the murder of two women and sentenced to life in prison. But now he’s free, and according to him, he’s innocent.

DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve finds out, the less convinced she is of his guilt.

Then another woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?

Amazon UK  Waterstones

These are just some of the books I’m excited about this year. If you think I’ve missed anything out please do let me know in the comments. Let me know as well if you’re looking forward to reading any of these.

 

 

 

Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons Book Review @WriteAngie @bookouture

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the ninth book in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Fatal Promise, which is released today. Happy publication day, Angela. After the ending of the previous book I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters, so I bumped this book right to the top of my reading pile, and it didn’t disappoint.

fatal promise

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Eeeny meeny, miney, moe. Who lives, who dies only I know.

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet. 

MY THOUGHTS

After finishing the last book in the Kim Stone series, Dying Truth, many readers, myself included, were really concerned for Kim and the rest of her team, after the devastating events in the finale of the last book. If you are new to the Kim Stone series, I think it will really help to read the previous book before you pick up Fatal Promise. Please be aware that this review may contain spoilers if you haven’t read the last book. Although the mystery at the core of the latest book is separate to events that have preceded, I think you will get a better understanding of the characters and the predicament they are now in if you read Dying Truth first.

This is a novel with a strong emotional core. Angela Marsons really delves into the psychology of her characters in her books. Kim is a character we have grown to understand across the series, but Angela is now starting to explore other characters who she is now bringing to the front. Stacey is one character in particular who we have seen develop more recently. But also we are still finding out more about Kim which is what makes her such a fascinating character. Understanding the minds of her characters is something Angela really succeeds at. Every time I finish her latest book, even months later, I am always wondering what they are doing now and how they are getting on in their lives. I think this is what has made this series really successful.

In Fatal Promise, Kim and her team are investigating the horrendous death of Dr Cordell, a slippery character from the last book who really got under Kim’s skin. It appears to Kim that events which took place previously might be about to escalate again and this puts the team on edge. The opening chapter of this book really sparks the intrigue, and it got me thinking. With each twist and turn this book delivered I kept thinking back to the opening and wondering what it all meant. Angela always does a great job at keeping up the suspense. And those final chapters had my heart racing.

I think what came as most surprising in this book was the slight change in Kim’s personality. She is showing a different side to the person who we have got to know over the series, and for me, it did give this book a darker tone. She has become a lot spikier. Usually, I can rely on Kim and her colleague Bryant to add some light hearted moments, but this wasn’t there very often this time. But I can see why perhaps this is the case in this book, and I am hoping that the team will soon reach a new element of normality.

I always say that this is a series that keeps going from strength to strength and for me it is still going strong. I think we still have a lot to learn about Kim and the rest of the team and I can’t wait to see where Angela will take them from here. Fatal Promise like the rest of the books in the series is a stonking good read. Five stars from me.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 19th October 2018

Print length: 409 pages

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The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan blog tour @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress #LanguageOfSecrets

The Language of Secrets Cover

Source: Review Copy

BLURB

A terrorist cell is planning an attack on New Year’s Day. For months, Mohsin Dar has been undercover, feeding information back to the national security team. Now he’s dead.

Detective Esa Khattak, compromised by his friendship with the murdered agent, sends his partner Rachel Getty into the unsuspecting cell. As Rachel delves deeper into the unfamiliar world of Islam and the group’s circle of trust, she discovers Mohsin’s murder may not be politically motivated after all. Now she’s the only one who can stop the most devastating attack the country has ever faced.

The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity.

MY THOUGHTS

This is a novel I can easily give five stars to. The Language of Secrets is the first novel by Ausma Zehanat Khan, which I have read. I still have her first novel The Unquiet Dead sitting on my kindle, and I am bumping it up to the top of my TBR pile. Although her second book is part of a series featuring the same characters, it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

In The Language of Secrets, Ausma tells a powerful and absorbing tale which is very relevant to what is going on around the world today. The plot centres on the murder of a young Muslim man who has been working for the Canadian police as part of an undercover operation to expose a terrorist cell at a nearby mosque. Inspector Esa Khattak investigates the case. His partner, Rachel Getty goes undercover to try and expose a killer who may be among the congregation who worship at the mosque.

As I was reading, I thought it would be interesting to see how Esa’s relationship with the Muslim community would be affected. Many of them appear abhorred by what has happened, and they can’t speak highly enough of the victim. I imagined that some relationships he has would turn sour because of this.

There are some thought-provoking scenes in this book; I thought this particularly when Rachel was becoming acquainted with the members at the mosque. There is one scene in particular, which struck with me when they are discussing terrorism in all of its different forms. I think it is true that we associate acts of terrorism more with certain groups of people when it has happened throughout history. I thought Rachel’s undercover operation was one of the most gripping aspects of the story. You can see the worry that Khattak has for her as she becomes more absorbed in what has been happening at the mosque. There is tension here as you begin to fear that Rachel’s true identity will be discovered and you are fearful about what will happen to her.

There are some dramatic final scenes in this book which I thought gave the novel a satisfying ending. I was constantly wondering if the police were going to manage to stop the attack the terrorists were planning.

Although it is a heavy read at times, and it does tackle a difficult subject matter, I found The Language of Secrets to be utterly absorbing. It is a dark and engaging story that I’m sure will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication date: 26th October 2017

Print length: 336 pages

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#ClassMurder by Leigh Russell Book Review @LeighRussell @1stMondayCrime

First Monday Crime is nearly upon us and there is another stellar line-up for next month’s panel. But before I give you all the details, here’s my thoughts on Class Murder by Leigh Russell who will be appearing at next month’s panel alongside three more brilliant crime writers.

Class Murder (A DI Geraldine Steel Thriller Book 10) by [Russell, Leigh]

BLURB

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

Geraldine Steel is reunited with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

Look out for more DI Geraldine Steel investigations in Cut ShortRoad ClosedDead EndDeath BedStop DeadFatal Act, Killer PlanMurder Ring and Deadly Alibi

Don’t miss the DI Ian Peterson series: Cold SacrificeRace to Death and Blood Axe

MY THOUGHTS

Class Murder is the tenth novel in the Geraldine Steel series by Leigh Russell and I can’t believe that I have only discovered this series now. I started reading this book during my lunch break at work and I did not want to put it down, if I could have stayed reading all afternoon I would have.

Geraldine has recently relocated to York after she was forced into a position to leave the Metropolitan Police in London. She knows that she has no chance of promotion and is now working alongside her old colleague, DI Ian Peterson, but their roles have switched. As she is beginning to adjust to her new life in York, she is thrown into a murder investigation when a young woman is found dead. And soon more bodies begin to turn up. The suspect continues to evade them and the police come under fire from the media for their lack of progress. As the investigation progresses a link emerges that binds the victims together. Could the killer be specifically targeting people, and if so, why? Are there more victims on their hit-list to come?

When I started reading this book, I found the reversal of roles between Geraldine and Ian an interesting idea to explore. I was curious to see how this would work out between them and if there would be any tensions from Geraldine’s side, as she is the one who is now taking orders. It left me wondering how Geraldine would get on working up in York and if, whether or not, she would stay to stick it out. I’m intrigued to see how this will develop in future books.

I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book, and I’m sure that I’ll return to previous books in the series as Leigh raised plenty of questions about Geraldine’s life which I want to find out more about. Geraldine is definitely the kind of officer who you would want working on your case, she is determined to see results and she is willing to put all other matters aside, including her own family who become increasingly frustrated with this idea.

The plot of the novel was engaging, although it is primarily told from Geraldine’s viewpoint Leigh also writes from the minds of the characters who are being targeted. She also tells the story from the viewpoint of the killer who remains in the shadows. When it becomes clear that the killer is targeting them they come together to try and work out who it is that is behind this and what they can do to try and protect themselves. This is where the tension in the novel escalates as they begin to fear for their lives. And under immense strain, they begin to make rash decisions.

Leigh’s writing is highly engaging. Class Murder was a really enjoyable read.

Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication date: 29th March 2018

Print length: 320 pages

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FIRST MONDAY CRIME

And if you haven’t got any plans for Monday, 9th April, First Monday Crime is the place to be if you are an avid reader of crime. The event takes place at City University and it starts at 6.30 p.m. For next month’s panel, alongside Leigh Russell we have: John Connolly, author of ‘The Woman in the Wood’s’, Rachel Abbott, author of ‘Come A Little Closer’ and Stuart Turton author of ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.’ The panel will be chaired by Barry Forshaw. Tickets are FREE, and you can reserve your space by clicking the link below.

RESERVE YOUR SPACE