20/20 by Carl Goodman #bookreview #blogtour @Carl201010 @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the first book in the DI Eva Harris series, 20/20 by Carl Goodman on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

20/20: A totally gripping detective novel packed with suspense by [Carl Goodman]

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Can you see a killer before it’s too late?

On the first day of her new job, D.I. Eva Harris is called to the scene of a brutal murder at the heart of Surrey society. A shocking crime by a meticulous killer – who escaped with the victim’s eyes.

With the body drained of blood and no forensic evidence left at the scene, Harris’ efforts to find the killer becomes desperate. But as her investigation is complicated by corruption at the heart of the police, she doesn’t know who to trust on her own team.

As the pressure mounts, Eva realises the murder is even more horrific than it seems, and her own dreadful history threatens to be drawn out with it…

MY THOUGHTS

20/20 by Carl Goodman is a fast paced, exhilarating and a really exciting read. This is the first book in the DI Eva Harris series, and I can’t wait to see her return.

This is a police procedural novel that is not for the faint hearted. The opening scene is very gruesome, and the police officers who are attending fear they are dealing with a sadistic serial killer. Right from this moment, I wanted to know what prompted the killer to kill their victims in this way. I was desperate to know who they were. I also wanted to know if they were going to kill again.

DI Eva Harris is a great lead character, and I was rooting for her from the start. She herself is in a precarious situation. Eva is a former computer analyst, and her expertise has seen her career fast tracked. I can imagine this would annoy other police officers who have been working in the force longer has, and this does create some animosity. She has been sent to the current team she is working with to gather intelligence; a police officer is suspected of being corrupt. So from the first day she arrives, there is tension. She knows that she can’t trust anyone, and as the reader, I could feel that. It made this book even more tense. It made me wonder if the person who she was looking for knew what she was up to.

The plot is so well structured and cleverly put together. There is lots going on here. Eva is a character who will throw herself into unpredictable situations which may put her life at risk. She is a determined police officer who will see a case through no matter what. She will make sure that the right people are put behind bars. As Eva gets closer to finding out what the killers motives are here, we are introduced to some quirky characters who made me feel nervous. As I was reading, I had no idea how the plot was going to unfold. She is definitely a police officer who you would want to have on your side.

There is a very cinematic feel to this book, and I think it would translate really well to the screen. 20/20 is a thrilling read that will capture the interest of reader’s right from the first page. I can’t wait to see where Carl Goodman takes this series next. This is a must read for police procedural fans.

Publisher: Hera Books

Publication date: 16th June 2021

Print length:

20/20 is available to buy:

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Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons #bookreview #booksontour @WriteAngie @bookouture

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel in the DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Twisted Lies.

Twisted Lies: An absolutely gripping mystery and suspense thriller (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Book 14) by [Angela Marsons]

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Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

MY THOUGHTS

Wow. Wow. Wow. This book! If you’ve followed the Kim Stone series from the beginning, then you’ll have exactly the same reaction when you read it, and I can’t believe that ending. Those last few lines of Twisted Lies have left me desperate to get my hands on the next book in the series as soon as possible. It’s going to leave fans in a frenzy when they realise what is coming next! Once you do, you’ll want to discuss it with other fans of the series as soon as possible!

It amazes me how Angela Marsons manages to develop fresh and exciting plots with each new book. She always manages to breathe new life into her characters, and each new book in the series has always left me desperate for more. That’s why every time a new Kim Stone book is published, it shoots straight to the top of my TBR pile.

My heart was in my mouth from the very beginning, right to the very end. Once again, Kim and her team have a very complicated case to solve. One of the elements I really liked about Twisted Lies is that we get to see a different side to reporter Tracy Frost to what we have seen before. At the beginning of the book, Kim is appointed as her chaperone for the day by her boss, something which she isn’t particularly pleased with. It made me smile as I read the early scenes, but Tracy’s day out with Kim is cut short when Kim is called to a particularly gruesome murder scene. From this very moment, I needed to know who could have killed and someone like this. What was their motivation?

Angela Marsons always explores fascinating themes in her books. It’s very difficult to talk more about this without giving details of the plot away, but the subject she covers in Twisted Lies is really interesting. It’s what makes this investigation so difficult for Kim and her team to crack. Once they realise just what is going on here, the realisation of what they’ve now uncovered is horrifying, and the team soon find themselves in a very precarious situation.

It’s also been really good getting to catch up with Kim and her team again. I always like the banter between them, particularly between Penn and Stacey in this book.

As the investigation progresses, Angela Marsons begins to ramp up the tension, and it becomes a race against time for Kim and her team to find the killer before it is too late. As always, with Angela Marsons books, I was never able to guess who was behind the crimes that were taking place. She always manages to surprise me.

I know I’ll probably be saying this when I read the next book, but this is my favourite in the Kim Stone series to date. The books keep getting better and better, and Angela Marsons continues to prove that she is a crime writer at the top of my game. I loved this book!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 414 pages

Twisted Lies is available to buy:

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Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel in the DCI Jonah Sheen series by Gytha Lodge, Lie Beside Me.

Lie Beside Me: From the bestselling author of Richard and Judy bestseller She Lies in Wait (Jonah Sheens 3) by [Gytha Lodge]

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Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy. But she suspects she’s done something bad.

She rolls over towards her husband, Niall.

But it’s not Niall who’s lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before.

And he’s dead . . .

As Louise desperately struggles to piece her memories back together, Detective Jonah Sheens and his team mark her as their prime suspect.

But she’s not the only one with something to hide . . .

Did she do it?

And, if not, can they catch the real killer before they strike again?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve become a huge fan of Gytha Lodge’s writing after reading her first two books, so I bumped Lie Beside Me right to the top of my TBR pile when I received my copy. Gytha Lodge has come up with a really intriguing premise, and I think it’s the best book yet in this series.

A young woman, Louise, wakes up in bed next to a stranger. She has no recollection of why he is there or what happened the night before. The real problem is that he’s not breathing, and she could have killed him. Once I read the opening, I had to find out what had happened here, and I flew through the pages to find out.

I really wanted to see how Gytha Lodge was going to unravel the mystery of who the man was and why he was there. As we began to learn more details about who he is and his life, it becomes even more intriguing. I wanted to know how he had ended up in Louise’s bed and what exactly happened to him. Louise is immediately seen as a suspect in the minds of the police. Her memory of the night before is sketchy, and she must try and piece together what happened. But Louise has suffered from memory loss in the past, and trying to find out what really happened the previous night will be extremely difficult.

I think many readers will have mixed feelings about Louise. She’s very intriguing, but her excessive drinking does not make her a particularly likeable character. I did find that I warmed slightly more to her as the novel progressed. But I was also wary of her. I felt that there was more to her character than what first meets the eye, particularly as we get to know her. It’s what kept me turning the pages. I was never sure if she was entirely innocent in the young man’s death.

I thought the way in which Gytha Lodge pulled her plot together was very clever, and I couldn’t see how it was going to unfold as I was reading it. This is a book that really gets you thinking, and the mystery kept my eyes glued to the pages as I waited to see how it would pan out.

DCI Jonah Sheens is a great lead detective, and I’m sure he is a character who will keep readers coming back for more. I also really like the other police detectives working on the case with him. Gytha Lodge explores some of their backstories in this novel as well, and DC Juliette Hansen’s story adds to the chilling atmosphere of the book.  

Lie Beside Me is another brilliant addition to this series. Roll on book four; I can’t wait to read it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 18th February 2021

Print length: 376 pages

Lie Beside Me is available to buy:

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The Killing Choice by Will Shindler #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book in the DI Alex Finn series by Will Shindler, The Killing Choice.

The Killing Choice: Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month ‘Riveting’ (DI Alex Finn 2) by [Will Shindler]

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‘Leave your daughter with me, or I will kill you both’

It felt like a normal Friday evening before Karl and his daughter Leah were ambushed by a figure in a blank mask. At knife point, Karl is forced to make an impossible choice. Stay and die, or walk away from Leah and take this thug’s word that they both will live.

Should Karl trust a villain and leave his daughter with a knife at her throat? Could he ever live with himself if he did?

It’s not long before more seemingly unconnected and innocent people across London are offered a deal in exchange for their life. More blood is spilled, more families shattered, and more people are left to suffer with the consequences of their decisions.

DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen must hunt for a killer that appears to have no face, no motive and no conscience before more victims are forced to make their choice.

MY THOUGHTS

The Killing Choice is the second book in Will Shindler’s DI Alex Finn series, and I think I’ve definitely found a new favourite crime series. Alex and his team are investigating a complex case and a very horrifying and disturbing one. A man and his daughter are targeted in a park during an evening walk. The perpetrator makes one command that the dad leaves his daughter behind. The victims are both horrified and completely terrified. If they don’t do as he says, the perpetrator will kill them both. His daughter pleads with her dad to leave her to save them both, he reluctantly does. But before he can get help, he hears a scream. His daughter is dead.

I was really intrigued by the premise of this book. I wanted to know what the killer’s motive here was. From the outset, it appears that there isn’t a motive. The victims and the killer don’t know each other at all. There’s no connection which the police can quickly look at, which might explain what is happening. What makes the scenario here all the more terrifying to them is that this killer could target anyone.

As the press begin to report on the case, they pick up very quickly on the fact that the man left behind at the scene left his daughter to die. The press vilifies him, and his own family can’t quite comprehend his actions that night. I was torn between feeling sorry for him and partially agreeing with what members of the press and his family were saying. It’s a question that will definitely make the reader think, what would you do if you were in the same situation? How would you react?

DI Alex Finn is a character who I think many readers will warm to. A year ago, his wife passed away, and he is still struggling to come to terms with the loss. As Will Shindler explores his reaction to the grief, it does make him feel very human, and his emotions come through really well. He throws himself into his work to try and combat the grief, which is what many of us would do in his situation.

Will Shindler pulls the plot of this story together in a very clever way. You can’t quite see how things will come together, but then it does so, and I thought the way he did it was very original.

This is fast becoming one of my favourite new crime series. DI Alex Finn is a fascinating character, and I can’t wait to see how he develops over future books. Police procedural fans, this is a series not to be missed.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 11th February 2021

Print length: 405 pages

The Killing Choice is available to buy:

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Last Seen by Joy Kluver #blogtour #bookreview @JoyKluver @bookouture

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Joy Kluver on my blog today, Last Seen. With thanks to Noelle Holten from Bookouture for inviting me to take part.

Last Seen: An absolutely gripping missing child crime thriller (Detective Bernadette Noel Book 1) by [Joy Kluver]

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‘A little girl is missing from under her mother’s nose. She’ll be scared and vulnerable – if she’s still alive. But no one is helping us search. No one wants to give us information. No one even seems surprised. What’s going on?’

Detective Bernadette Noel came to this quiet rural corner of south-west England from London to lie low after a high-profile prosecution led to death threats against her family. But she has barely settled in when the call comes. A woman’s voice, shrill with terror and thick with tears: ‘Help – it’s my daughter, Molly – I only had my back turned for a minute… She’s gone!’

A child abduction is about as far from lying low as it gets, and her boss wants to assign a different detective. But there’s no way Bernie’s not taking the case – she can’t miss this chance to prove herself.

Five-year-old Molly Reynolds has been snatched from the playground in the village where she lives. Normally in cases like this the community is an asset – eager to help search and full of local knowledge. But although Molly’s mother Jessica is in anguish, the other villagers don’t seem to want to know.

As details emerge, Bernie discovers a possible link to a shocking crime that has never been solved, and which the locals have never forgotten. But what exactly is the connection to Molly’s abduction? Cracking a cold case is the only way to find out – and meanwhile time is running out for Molly.

MY THOUGHTS

Last Seen is the debut novel by Joy Kluver, and it’s a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while now. It is the start of what I hope will be a long-running series featuring Detective Bernadette Noel.

Detective Bernadette Noel has recently been appointed to a town in Wiltshire under something of a cloud. She was previously working with the Metropolitan Police, so what was the reason behind her move to Wiltshire? Not long after she is reassigned, she is thrown into a high profile investigation when five-year-old Molly disappears. But why do none of the locals want to help in the search?

Joy Kluver has created such an intriguing premise in her debut novel. Usually, and especially in the case of a missing child, the public wants to help. There are searches organised, and people are ringing the police hotline constantly with sightings to report. But in this case, the police aren’t getting anything. When they carry out house to house enquiries, they are met with hostility, with the door practically being slammed in their faces. People are also very reluctant to put up missing posters. What is going on here? It made me really dislike the residents of their town. Couldn’t they see that this was about bringing Molly, an innocent girl home?

The investigation is a complex one, and Joy Kluver cleverly weaves everything together. The investigation does start off quite slow, particularly when people are unwilling to help, but it gradually gathers pace. There are some shocking reveals as the police look into the past of the victim’s family. It’s then that they begin to understand why the locals don’t want to know. I really wanted to find out the reason behind this.

I liked the friendships between Bernie and her team, and I think Joy Kluver builds on this really well as the novel progresses. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops as the series moves on from here.

This is a fantastic start to a new series, which I’m sure will keep readers coming back for more.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 26th March 2021

Print length: 358 pages

Last Seen is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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Nighthawking by Russ Thomas #bookreview #blogtour @thevoiceofruss @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Nighthawking by Russ Thomas on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Sheffield’s beautiful Botanical Gardens – an oasis of peace in a world filled with sorrow, confusion and pain. And then, one morning, a body is found in the Gardens. A young woman, dead from a stab wound, buried in a quiet corner. Police quickly determine that the body’s been there for months. It would have gone undiscovered for years – but someone just sneaked into the Gardens and dug it up.
 
Who is the victim? Who killed her and hid her body? Who dug her up? And who left a macabre marker on the body?
 
In his quest to find her murderer, DS Adam Tyler will find himself drawn into the secretive world of nighthawkers: treasure-hunters who operate under cover of darkness, seeking the lost and valuable… and willing to kill to keep what they find.
 
That which was lost… will always be found again

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Russ Thomas’s debut, Firewatching, which made my top ten books of 2020, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. Nighthawking is a brilliant follow up, and Russ Thomas has created a complex mystery which kept me hooked, and it had a really intriguing premise.

I really liked DS Adam Tyler when Russ Thomas first introduced him in the first book. This time around, he is slipping away from the police investigation that is taking place. Tyler is also struggling with his relationship with Paul, as well. His actions did make me feel sorry for his colleague, DC Amina Rabbini. She is constantly trying to locate him and is always having to cover up for him as well. They both work for the cold case unit, which is under threat as it is, of being disbanded, due to budget cuts.

DS Tyler and DC Rabbini soon find themselves thrown into an investigation when a young woman’s body is found in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens. It appears that the body has been there for months. The case is soon matched up with the disappearance of a Chinese woman eight months earlier. But it appears that not much was done to trace her, and the case was quickly wrapped up.  

In this book, Russ Thomas delves into the world of nighthawkers, which gives the book a very sinister feeling. Nighthawkers are treasure hunters, and it’s the nickname given to people who don’t have a licence to hunt for treasure, particularly at sites with a historical value. This part of the plot gave the book a very sinister feeling. It made me wonder if it had a wider connection to the discovery of the young girl’s body.

The plot was cleverly constructed, and I liked the different elements that Russ Thomas brought to it. I thought this, particularly when we begin to learn more about what was going on in the life of the murdered girl.  

The tension gathers pace as the truth begins to unfold, and it was a jaw dropping moment when Russ Thomas revealed his secrets. And then Russ Thomas leaves us with a cliff hanger. The ending has left me wanting to get my hands on the next book as soon as possible. I know this is a series that I’ll be sticking with.

Nighthawking is another excellent book by Russ Thomas, and I can’t wait to see how things progress from here.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication date: 29th April 2021

Print length: 445 pages

Nighthawking is available to buy:

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Cry For Mercy by Karen Long #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book in the DI Eleanor Raven series by Karen Long, Cry For Mercy.

Cry for Mercy: An utterly addictive crime thriller with gripping mystery and suspense (Detective Eleanor Raven Book 1) by [Karen Long]

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It should have been the best day of her life. It became the last.

Lydia’s mouth curls into a delighted smile as she spots the man in front of her on the quiet, suburban street. She has been expecting him, and she feels like the luckiest girl alive as she steps into the waiting car.

But Lydia isn’t as lucky as she thought—not when her parents frantically report that she never came home last night.
Not when her body is found, carefully displayed in an abandoned warehouse, miles from home.
And then another woman goes missing. How many more will disappear before her twisted killer is uncovered?

MY THOUGHTS

Cry For Mercy is a really fast-paced thriller. It’s the first book in Karen Long’s Detective Eleanor Raven series, and I loved it. It’s dark, gruesome, and the writing kept me turning the pages. I’ve already bought the second book in the series, and I can’t wait to read it.

Karen Long opens her novel with a really gruesome opening chapter. She sets the tone for what is to come. Straight away, we know that we are dealing with a terrifying killer here. This is a killer who enjoys torturing their victims. But when the body of the woman is located and identified, the police investigation becomes really complicated and Karen Long explores some very dark themes.

If you love a good serial killer thriller, then you really need to add this book to your TBR pile. I liked Eleanor Raven right from the start, she’s a really intriguing police detective. I thought the rest of her team were really likeable characters as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop from here. I loved the fact that a dog was part of the team as well. Eleanor did remind me of the character DI Helen Grace in M.J. Arlidge’s crime series as I was reading. So if you’re a fan of his books, I think you’ll enjoy this one. I also really liked that this book was set in Toronto, Canada, which made it feel very fresh to me as I was reading it.

The tension never drops as the police race to find the killer, and it soon becomes clear that they have DI Eleanor Raven in their sight as well. It’s what keeps the tension turning up a notch as the police race to catch them as the killer sets their plan in motion. You know that they are determined to see their plan through, regardless of what this may mean for them if anything goes wrong, particularly as they are targeting a police officer. I raced through the final chapters; I was desperate to know what was going to happen.

Cry For Mercy is a really exciting start to a new series, and I’m sure that it’s one I’m going to be sticking with. I highly recommend it!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 16th November 2020

Print length: 304 pages

Cry For Mercy is available to buy:

Amazon UK

If I Fall by Merilyn Davies #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Merilyn Davies, If I Fall.

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A gritty, heart-stopping crime thriller that will have you utterly obsessed.

We were told to meet at a rooftop bar.

Four friends, bound by one terrible secret.

No one knew why we were there.

Then we saw a woman, watched as she fell from the edge and plunged to her death.

The police think it’s suicide, but I know better.

Someone is sending a message.

Now they’re coming for us.

MY THOUGHTS

I think I’ve definitely found a new favourite crime series. If I Fall is the second book in Merilyn Davies’s new series featuring Carla Brown, a civilian crime analyst. You don’t need to have read the first book in the series to enjoy the second one, but I am definitely going to be catching up.

There is a really intriguing set-up when someone sends out invitations for a reunion, but that person remains anonymous. The invitations are sent out to four people via Facebook. They are all intrigued as to who has sent out the invites and what it’s all about. But there is also a sinister note to the invitations. When the reunion occurs on a rooftop bar in Oxford, a woman falls to her death. But that isn’t the end of it.

From the beginning, I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on here. The way in which the invitations were sent out to the group was so intriguing. You know you have to read on to find out what is going to happen to the group at this reunion and I wanted to know who had organised it. The police initially suspect that the girl who falls to her death committed suicide. However, Carla suspects that there is more at play here than what first meets the eye.

Merilyn Davies builds a very gripping and a cleverly constructed plot. As Carla begins to understand more about the group and who Alice was, a very dark picture begins to emerge. It is clear that the group who are at the reunion are keen to keep secrets to themselves.

I thought Carla’s character was really fresh, and I found the aspect of her job really intriguing. It’s not something I’ve seen before in crime fiction. I also really liked her partnership with DS Nell Jackson, who is a really interesting character. Merilyn Davies’s writing is so engaging, and I flew through her book. The dialogue keeps the pace flying forward. I was rooting for Carla to get to the bottom of what was going on.

My eyes were kept glued to the page as everything unravelled, and I thought it was done so well. Merilyn Davies is a writer who I know now I’ll be reading more of. If you haven’t yet discovered this series, and if you’re a fan of police procedurals, then you really need to. It’s a very original read. I can’t wait to read more from this series.

Publisher: Arrow

Publication date: 4th March 2021

Print length: 384 pages

If I Fall is available to buy:

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If Looks Could Kill by Olivia Kiernan #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on book three in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan, If Looks Could Kill.

If Looks Could Kill: Innocence is nothing. Appearance is everything. (Frankie Sheehan 3) by [Olivia Kiernan]

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DCS Frankie Sheehan is experiencing a crisis of confidence – having become wary of the instincts that have led her face-to-face with a twisted killer and brought those she loves into direct jeopardy.

She is summoned to the rural Wicklow mountains, where local mother of two, Debbie Nugent, has been reported missing. A bloody crime scene is discovered at Debbie’s home, yet no body. Not only is foul play suspected, but Debbie’s daughter, Margot, has been living with the scene for three days.

Aware her team cannot convict Margot on appearances alone, Sheehan launches a full investigation into Debbie Nugent’s life. And, before long, the discrepancies within Debbie’s disappearance suggest that some families are built on dangerous deceptions, with ultimately murderous consequences.

MY THOUGHTS

If Looks Could Kill is the third book in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan. I raced through this book, and now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s going to be really interesting to see where Frankie and her team go from here.

There is a complex investigation for Frankie and her team to get to grips with. A woman has gone missing, but early signs show that it isn’t likely she’ll turn up alive. Her disappearance is treated almost from the off as a murder investigation. Her daughter is immediately a suspect in the eyes of the police. She acts strangely when Frankie interviews her. But what is the bigger picture here? It’s clear that Frankie thinks that something is not quite right, but she has no idea where her thoughts will take her.

Frankie is a detective who will see things through to the very end, no matter what the consequences might be. That is certainly true in If Looks Could Kill. It’s been fascinating watching her character grow over the last three books. It is hard to see where things will go from here for Frankie and her team, but I am certainly interested to find out; book four can’t come soon enough.

As things began to heat up in the investigation, when Frankie realises what might be at stake here, the darkness really begins to deepen. You get the feeling that she is walking around on eggshells and that any wrong move could have disastrous consequences. I wanted to know what was really the reason behind Debbie’s disappearance. Could it be possible that her daughter was responsible? The writing is taut as the novel races towards its conclusion, and my eyes were glued to the page.

Olivia Kiernan’s books are partly slow-burners, but Olivia Kiernan knows how to keep her readers hooked, and the tension and race to the finish really pick up. There is atmosphere on every single page, and she makes the Irish setting come to life in her writing. The opening chapter sets the scene for what is to come, and that final line made me want to race through the book right at that moment. I was hooked.

If Looks Could Kill is so cleverly plotted. Crime fiction fans, if you’re not yet reading this series, then you’re really missing out. I’ll be waiting as patiently as I can for the next book in the series, which will be going straight to the top of my TBR pile when it’s released.

Publisher: riverrun

Publication date: 23rd July 2020

Print length: 320 pages

If Looks Could Kill is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

The Woman in the Wood by M.K. Hill #bookreview #crimefiction

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book in the DI Sasha Dawson series by M.K. Hill, The Woman in the Wood.

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A reality TV star becomes a suspect in an Essex murder case in the sharp, funny and moving new thriller from M.K. Hill

Three years ago, Danny ‘Abs’ Cruikshank, star of reality show Laid in Essex!, was living the dream. And then, on the night of the party, everything changed.

It was supposed to be an intimate weekend gathering. Just a few close friends in a remote cottage in Wales. But after a night of heavy drinking in the village pub, a local girl was reported missing, presumed dead. Abs and his friends had been the last to see her alive.

No-one was ever charged, but the controversy destroyed Abs’s career. So now, three years later, the celebrity who once captured the heart of millions is opening Southend’s new branch of Quidstore. And then one of Abs’s mates is murdered. Does someone know what really happened that night in Wales? DI Sasha Dawson and her team must race against the clock to find the killer before they strike again – but first she must discover what happened to Rhiannon Jenkins on the night she vanished. Will the truth set Abs free? Or bury him?

MY THOUGHTS

I loved the first book in the DI Sasha Dawson series by M.K. Hill, and I couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series. M.K. Hill’s writing is very engaging, and this time round, in The Woman in the Wood, he delves into the scene of reality TV. Reality TV has seen a huge boom in popularity in recent years, with shows such as Love Island and The Only Way is Essex. It made for an intriguing backdrop to the story, and it gave the book a unique hook.

I personally have never seen the appeal of reality television. The show which M.K. Hill has created in his book, is called Laid in Essex and I can definitely imagine a show such as this existing. A former star of the show, Abs, is one of the central characters in the book. He has been in the limelight for several years now; people recognise him in the street and feel as though they know him, even though they haven’t met him before. M.K. Hill takes you into that world, especially as Abs tries to make a comeback.

Abs was a character who I didn’t really warm to. I thought he was quite unpleasant at times, particularly in the way how he revelled in his fame and how he tried to flirt with women, but that is part of who he is. He can’t talk to someone without a complimentary, cheesy chat-up line. He is haunted by what happened three years ago, when a young woman disappeared while he was in Wales, he was once labelled a suspect in the disappearance, but no evidence could be found against him. And when one of his friends who was with him at the time is killed, it sends him into a panic frenzy. He fears that because of what happened in Wales they are now being targeted.

M.K. Hill’s writing made this book a very addictive read. I really wanted to know what Abs and his friends were hiding about what happened three years earlier. I also wanted to know who was targeting them, and M.K. Hill throws in several twists, which will keep you turning the pages. The final chapters were very chilling as the truth was revealed.

You don’t need to have read The Bad Place to enjoy this book, but I would highly recommend that you do so. DI Sasha Dawson is a great character, and this is turning into an exciting, must-read crime series. I hope that there are going to be many more books in the series to come.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 4th March 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Woman in the Wood is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones