The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer #bookreview @carolewyer @bookouture

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer on my blog today. This is book number five in the DI Natalie Ward series.

The Blossom Twins: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 5) by [Carol Wyer]

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Their parents thought they were hiding…

One beautiful summer’s evening, thirteen-year-old twins Ivy and Erin Westmore snuggle down in a tent in their back garden, giggling and sharing secrets.

When their mother goes to wake the girls the next morning, their tent is empty.

The alarm is raised and Detective Natalie Ward is put onto the case. When the twins’ bodies are discovered on nearby marshland, covered with deep pink petals, an icy shiver travels down Natalie’s spine. Everything about the girls’ deaths reminds her of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career, which saw a killer of the worst kind placed behind bars.

The next day, that feeling is heightened when she receives a chilling note saying ‘I’m back’. Is this killer a copycat or did Natalie put the wrong person in prison all those years ago? In a small town, where no stranger goes unnoticed, what is Natalie missing?

Consumed by the case, determined to prevent more deaths, Natalie misses the fact that it is her attention the killer wants. And to get it, he has his sights set firmly on her precious daughter Leigh…

MY THOUGHTS

Honestly, as I am writing this, I am still in shock after reading that ending.

The Blossom Twins is book five in the DI Natalie Ward series. This time around a previous case which Natalie once worked on is about to come back and haunt her. In 2014, Natalie was involved in an investigation into the murder of two young girls. They were twins, who became known to the press as The Blossom Twins. They had a suspect, and he committed suicide. But now two more girls have gone missing. They are soon found dead in very similar circumstances to what happened in the past. And whoever has killed them isn’t done yet. Are the police dealing with a copycat killer? Or is it possible that they got the wrong man?

DI Natalie Ward is going through a lot in this book. As well as having the pressure of work, she is also having to deal with issues within her family. She has fallen out with her husband, David, after he has failed to control his gambling addiction which nearly destroyed their marriage. But you can see that David doesn’t want to let Natalie go. I did feel sorry for him, particularly as it seemed that Natalie had made her mind up and that there was no turning back.

Natalie also has a new boss in this book, John Briggs, who she isn’t on the best of terms with right from the start. I was completely on Natalie’s side here, and I could see why he was making her feel so frustrated. In my mind, I was asking the very same questions about him that Natalie was.

The investigation moves at a fast pace. Natalie is utterly determined to bring the killer to justice. She can’t get the faces of the first two victims out of her mind, and this becomes a driving force for her. The case is a twisty one, and as Carol began to reveal what was really going on, it felt as though I was watching everything unfold on the big screen. And again, that ending. Reading those last few chapters has left me wondering just how things are going to fare for Natalie in the next two books in the series.

Throughout the book, Carol has included scenes which are told from the killer’s perspective. These are dark, foreboding scenes, and we can see into the killer’s mind. Through these scenes, we begin to understand their motives, and as the novel races towards its conclusion, they become really chilling.

With an ending that will leave you reeling, The Blossom Twins is a book that you won’t be forgetting about in a hurry. I downloaded book six straight after turning the final page, and I’ll be jumping to it as soon as I can. A terrific read!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 12th December 2019

Print length: 386 pages

The Blossom Twins is available to buy:

Amazon UK

 

The first mystery she must solve is herself … Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book in the Detective Megan Thomas series by Susan Wilkins, Buried Deep.

Buried Deep: A completely gripping crime thriller with heart-stopping suspense (Detective Megan Thomas) by [Susan Wilkins]

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On the first day in her new job, Detective Megan Thomas is called to a murder. The body lies deep in an underground bunker, in the middle of beautiful countryside. The two women in the nearest house claim to have no idea who it could be or who could have put it there. So why are they so nervous? And why does Noah, the young child living there, talk about a visitor he’s meant to keep secret?

Megan is determined to prove she can handle the case. She’s moved to Devon for a fresh start, after years spent undercover. But when she looks at the victim, it triggers a panic attack. As her heart races and her breathing stalls, she’s forced to ask whether she can return to life in a regular crime unit. Her memories are too powerful to be buried, maybe too powerful to let her do her job.

As the mysteries surrounding the murder grow, and another body is found on the stretch of beach where she swims every day, Megan fights to remembers why she joined the police. Then Noah goes missing, and Megan finds herself in a race against time against a truly vicious killer. She won’t rest until she finds answers – no matter what it might cost her.

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed meeting Detective Megan Thomas in Susan Wilkin’s new novel, Buried Deep. Megan has recently transferred from the Metropolitan police to Devon. But this seems to be under a dark cloud, and her new boss doesn’t seem to quite take to her when she joins her new team. But he is willing to give her a chance. Megan is thrown straight into the deep end. The body of a man is discovered in a septic tank at the home of a well-known celebrity. But as the investigation gets underway, Megan is asked to look into the horrific rape of a young girl. Megan has everything to prove as she gets to grips with both cases, and they come very close to pushing her over the edge.

Megan intrigued me right from the start, and I’m hoping to find out more about her past as the series progresses. She is currently seeing a therapist, but Susan Wilkins doesn’t reveal a lot about her backstory, we gradually begin to learn more about Megan as the plot unfolds. This is what I think makes her a fascinating character. Megan gets on well with her team, especially Vish and Brittany. They are both very different people, but I really liked the vibe that was there between them.

The cases which Megan is involved with in this book are complex. There’s the discovery of the body of a man in a septic tank. Then there’s the rape of a young girl. There are lots of conflicting stories about both cases, and Megan must work hard to unpeel the layers and get to the truth. She realises that this isn’t going to be easy.

What I thought was interesting was that Susan Wilkins explored what people, particularly young people, will do to gain a following and attention on social media. It was horrific to hear the lengths some people will go to gain followers. I have no doubt that this is what has happened in real life, and that makes the ideas that Susan explores in her book even scarier.

Susan Wilkins explained things really well as both cases drew towards a conclusion. I could see that this was cleverly constructed and at no point at all did I feel lost or confused, and this can sometimes happen to me when I read police procedurals, and I have to go back, and only then do things become clear.

I’ve definitely found a new favourite crime author, and this is a series I’m sure I’ll be sticking with. Susan Wilkins has written a book with plenty of atmosphere and likeable characters who you’ll root for all the way through. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 6th April 2020

Print length: 360 pages

Buried Deep is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Down to the Woods by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview

I’ve finally caught up on M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series. I’m sharing my thoughts on the ninth book in the series, Down to the Woods on my blog today.

Down to the Woods: DI Helen Grace 8 (Detective Inspector Helen Grace) by [M. J. Arlidge]

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If you go down to the woods today, you better not go alone . . .

The last thing Tom Campbell remembers is camping in the New Forest with his girlfriend, Melissa. Now he is helpless, alone and consumed by fear, hunted through the woods by a sinister, masked figure…

When Tom’s body is found, displayed with grisly relish, Helen Grace takes the case. But before she can catch her breath, a second victim is taken – there’s a serial killer on the loose.

Something dark and deadly stalks the forest. Helen and her team must race against time to catch the perpetrator, before more blood is shed.

But the hunt will take Helen back into the eerie twilit woods – and this time she might not make it out alive.

MY THOUGHTS

In Down to the Woods, the eighth novel in M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series, a killer is on the loose in the New Forest. DI Helen Grace is called to the scene after the body of a man is found hanging from a tree. It seems at first that this could be the work of an eco-warrior, as Helen and her team delve further into the man’s past. But then a woman is found in the same area, and this prompts belief that a sadistic killer is on the loose, who doesn’t care who their victims are. Unless they can find a connection between the victims, this will make it very hard to track the killer down.

What I love about these books is that M.J. Arlidge always keeps the pace turning up a notch and he uses short and snappy chapters. After reading the last book in the series a few weeks back, it had left me wondering how Helen and her team were getting on. There is also a new member of Helen’s team who M.J. Arlidge introduces us to, DS Joseph Hudson. It appears that he and Helen may have a future together, but if you’re a follower of this series, you will know that Helen and relationships don’t work well together. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops further. I think Helen deserves it after everything that she’s been through throughout the series.

Journalist, Emily Garanitia, is up to her usual tricks. You would think that she would have learned to have stepped back a little bit, after what happened to her in the previous novel. If anything, though, she seems more determined to break the rules to chase down a story, even if it means upsetting her boss. The only person who she seems to worry about is herself, and her own career prospects. I don’t particularly like her as a person, but she is compelling, and I wondered just how close she was going to get to the investigation. She’s always never far from Helen Grace.

DS Charlie Brooks is also in the spotlight in this novel. Her daughter is having night terrors at home, which are starting to have a negative impact on her work life. But Charlie’s relationship with Helen begins to improve again, and I really liked this aspect of the novel.

I don’t think this is my favourite of the series, but I would still definitely recommend reading the books in order, to get the most out of the characters and their individual stories. I’m looking forward to seeing what M. J. Arlidge has install for us next.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 20th September 2018

Print length: 473 pages

Down to the Woods is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

DI Helen Grace series:

Eeny Meeny

Pop Goes the Weasel

The Doll’s House

Liar Liar

Little Boy Blue

Hide and Seek

Love Me Not

Down to the Woods

 

 

The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven #bookreview

I realise I’m very late to the party with this book. I finally got the chance to read The Puppet Show this week and I am kicking myself that I haven’t read it sooner.

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A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of. Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it. As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …

MY THOUGHTS

I have been meaning to give M. W. Craven’s Washington Poe series a go for months now and I’m so pleased that I’ve finally had the time to do so. After reading so many rave reviews for this series, I can see what I’ve been missing out on. The Puppet Show is one of the best police procedurals I’ve read. Detective Washington Poe is a force to be reckoned with, and he is certainly not a person who you want to get on the wrong side of. His partnership with Tilly Bradshaw is brilliant. Tilly suffers from her own problems and struggles with social skills, which often makes her a target for bullies. I thought she was such a unique character in the crime fiction field, and I can’t wait to see how her friendship with Poe develops further.

I liked Washington Poe right from the moment when M. W. Craven first introduces him. I really liked how he stepped in and defended Tilly in the opening chapters. He would be a great friend to have, but you certainly wouldn’t want him as an enemy. Washington has been called in to deal with a horrific case after the burnt out body of a man has been discovered in a stone circle. The case bears all the hallmarks of a ritual killing, but what is all the more disturbing, is that Washington’s name has been carved into the victim’s skin. This discovery prompts the police to believe that Washington may well be the killer’s next intended victim.

I think Washington’s friendship with Tilly is one of the strongest parts of this book. Unlike some of her colleagues, Poe recognises her talents, and he often appreciates her honesty which is really refreshing. But the plot as well is extremely gripping. I wanted to find out the reasons behind the gruesome murders, and the search for answers take Poe and Tilly to some very dark places. Normally when I read police procedurals, I have a couple of suspects in mind, but I didn’t have a clue who the culprit behind the killings was. I would say that this book isn’t for the faint-hearted as there are some pretty disturbing scenes along the way.

The Puppet Show is a book that you could devour in a matter of hours. After finishing the first book in the series, I’ve already ordered the second book, and I can’t wait to catch up Tilly and Poe again. I suppose one of the advantages of starting a series, several books in, is that I don’t have to wait patiently for the next book to be released. If you enjoy crime novels with a mixture of horror, then this is the book for you, if you haven’t come across it already.

Publisher: Constable

Publication date: 7th June 2018

Print length: 368 pages

The Puppet Show is available to buy:

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the second book in the DI Amy Winter series by Caroline Mitchell, The Secret Child today on my blog.

The Secret Child (A DI Amy Winter Thriller Book 2) by [Caroline Mitchell]

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DI Amy Winter knows evil. She’s lived through it.

Four-year-old Ellen is snatched by a stranger in the dead of night. Her devastated mother, Nicole, receives four identical phials and a threatening note in a familiar scrawl that chills her to the bone. But she always knew this would happen. She’s been expecting it for years . . .

According to the note, one of the phials is poisoned. Nicole is given a deadly challenge: if she drinks one, the sadistic kidnapper will notify the police of Ellen’s location. The sender claims to be Luka Volkov but Luka is supposed to be dead, killed long ago in a fire that haunts all those involved.

DI Amy Winter is still reeling from the discovery that she is the daughter of a serial killer, and her childhood trauma only makes her more determined to bring Ellen home. When another child is taken, Amy finds herself in a race against time. To rescue the children, must she seek help from the one person she wants to forget?

MY THOUGHTS

Caroline Mitchell’s latest book in the DI Amy Winter series, The Secret Child is an exhilarating read right from the get-go. Caroline Mitchell opens the book with a chilling scene when a man gains access to the room of a young girl. He gains her trust, and she follows him outside. But what are the man’s intentions? It becomes clear that he is a man intent on revenge, but what is it that her family has done? Why has he taken an innocent young girl?

Caroline Mitchell keeps you thinking and guessing right throughout this book. As the investigation into the young girl’s disappearance begins, the suspect is identified, but there’s a problem. The man who claims to be behind the girl’s disappearance is dead, so who is the person who is claiming to be him? Are they really who they say they are?

The writing keeps you utterly gripped to the page. For Amy and her team, the investigation soon turns into a game of cat and mouse when they receive contact from the kidnapper. He is willing to reveal the location of the girl, but he has a string of demands, and he wants a secret that has been kept buried for decades to finally be revealed. This is what made the book really tense. Amy knows that she has to play her cards right; otherwise, it could mean devastation for the young girl and her family.

What follows on from the previous book is Amy’s horrific new reality, after she received contact from her birth mother, who is in prison for a string of murders. Amy’s parents were known as ‘the beasts of Brentwood,’ and it is a scar she has had to carry. She desperately hopes that the secret won’t get out amongst her team; she fears this as she wonders if it will make them view her differently. This is a really fascinating part of Amy’s life, and it is going to be interesting to see how this develops from here.

The secrets that have been kept for decades are horrific. I could see why the suspect wanted to carry out what he was doing. There are some devastating reveals as the book reached its conclusion. After reading the first two books in this series back-to-back, I can’t wait to see what Caroline Mitchell has install for us next. If you’re a crime fiction lover, you need to read these books.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 330 pages

The Secret Child is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Remain Silent by Susie Steiner #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Remain Silent, the third book in the Detective Manon Bradshaw series by Susie Steiner on my blog today.

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The body of a young migrant is found hanging from a tree.

No signs of struggle. No indication that it is anything other than a tragic suicide.

Except for a note, pinned to his trousers, that reads ‘The dead cannot speak’.

A murder investigation begins with DI Manon Bradshaw at the helm. But with the other migrants unwilling to speak, and protests on the streets, hatred is starting to drown out the facts.

Can Manon uncover the truth before it happens again?

MY THOUGHTS

Susie Steiner’s new novel, Remain Silent is a powerful and a heart-breaking read. I am a huge fan of Detective Manon Bradshaw and Susie’s writing, so when I started reading this book, I didn’t want to rush it. I wouldn’t say that it’s fast-paced, but there’s something about Susie Steiner’s writing that holds your attention, and it draws you into the story very easily. This time around, however, the police investigation does seem to take a bit more of a back seat, as Susie Steiner explores the horrific world of human trafficking and the sufferings of those who fall into its trap.

Since she returned to Cambridgeshire, Manon has been assigned to the cold case team. Manon is about to be thrown headfirst into a new investigation, though, when she discovers the body of a Lithuanian man hanging from a tree. Manon and her team are soon directed to a group of Lithuanian migrants. Susie Steiner paints a stark portrayal of the horrific conditions these men are living in who have travelled to the UK in the search for a better life. Manon knows that she will have a difficult job of getting the men to tell the truth as they are terrified of the gang masters. But as the investigation gets underway, Manon’s own world begins to crumble apart, and she soon finds herself in a desperate situation.

Although Susie Steiner tackles some dark and horrific subjects, there is also a lot of humour in her books, and this is what I really like about her writing. Manon has a brilliant sense of humour, and I absolutely love reading the conversations that she has with her friends, especially with Bryony. I’m often howling with laughter when I read the conversations they have together, and that’s what makes these books such a joy to read. I think she would be a great person to chat to if you were going through a tough time; she would soon make you feel better.

Susie Steiner also explores Manon’s relationship with her adoptive son, Fly, further in this book. I enjoyed this part of the novel as well. Manon has recently given birth so it did make me wonder if this would have an impact on her relationship with Fly.

Susie Steiner’s writing is what makes these books unmissable. If you haven’t yet read these books, then you need to. This is crime fiction at its very best!

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication date: 28th May 2020

Print length: 368 pages

Remain Silent is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell #bookreview

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only read one book by Caroline Mitchell. I’ve been meaning to get round to her DI Amy Winter series for some time now, and I’m glad that I’ve finally had the time to do so.

Truth and Lies (A DI Amy Winter Thriller Book 1) by [Caroline Mitchell]

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Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

MY THOUGHTS

In Truth and Lies, Caroline Mitchell introduces us to DI Amy Winter of Essex Police. Amy is an intriguing character. What went on in her childhood is horrific, and even though she has been given a new identity and a new family, she still struggles to move on. And everything about her past is about to come back and haunt her when her birth mother, serial killer, Lilian Grimes contacts her from prison. Lilian has never revealed the locations of some of the bodies she and Amy’s father buried. Lilian is now willing to divulge that information, but she will only deal with Amy and Lilian will only reveal the location of the bodies on strict terms.

This book did put me in mind of the Moors murders which took place in the 1960s. Caroline Mitchell has created a chilling and an unnerving character in Lillian Grimes. She is a person who doesn’t seem to have any remorse for what she and her husband did all those years ago, in fact, Lilian seems to relish in causing more heartache and suffering for the families left behind. What Lilian appears to want to do now, is cause more torment for Amy. Amy knows that she can’t refuse her mother’s offer as this may be the last chance they get to bring closure for the families. But what is Lilian’s real motive here? Why is it only now that she has decided to reveal the locations of the bodies?

Truth and Lies was a really good introduction to this series. Amy is already going through a difficult time when she receives contact from her mother. She has just recently buried her father, who adopted her. But from the moment Amy receives letters from Lillian, she is desperate for her colleagues not to know who her real family is. You can feel the tension as she goes to meet Lillian, and I wondered how long Amy was going to be able to keep this a secret before someone found out.

The plot is tense and chilling. While Amy and the police seek to bring closure to the families of the victims of Amy’s parents, another young girl goes missing. And there was a brilliant twist following the young girl’s disappearance that I did not see coming.

This is an excellent start to a crime series, and I’m kicking myself that I haven’t got round to reading it sooner. I already have the next book lined up and waiting on my kindle. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Amy’s story.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 30th August 2018

Print length: 344 pages

Truth and Lies is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview

The Helen Grace series is another series I’ve fallen behind on. I’ve just caught up on the seventh book in the series, Love Me Not and I’m kicking myself that I haven’t got round to reading it sooner.

Love Me Not: DI Helen Grace 7 (Detective Inspector Helen Grace) by [M. J. Arlidge]

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A blood-red sunrise
Just after 7 AM DI Helen Grace stumbles on a dead woman lying in a country road. She has been brutally shot for no apparent reason.

Two hours later
At gunpoint a shopkeeper is forced to close up by two assailants. Before the police can get inside a single gunshot rings out.

A rampage of revenge?
Over one long day the town of Southampton is terrorized by two young killers who appear to be killing at random.

For DI Helen Grace, it’s a race against time. Uncover why they’re doing this and who’s next or always be a step behind – until the sun sets on this bloody killing spree.

MY THOUGHTS

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge takes place over a single day. A shocking series of crimes are about to take place in Southampton, and Helen Grace is on the hunt for a pair of terrifying killers. They kill without mercy and to them, it seems almost like a game. Helen and her team don’t have any idea how long this killing spree will last and how it’ll end. It becomes a race against time to track their suspects down before it is too late.

Whenever I pick up a book by M.J. Arlidge, I know that I’m going to race through it. He writes with urgency, and you can feel the tension on every single page as Helen races to find the killers. The killers in this book are terrifying, when we first meet them, they gave me chills, and I had to keep reading. I was rooting for Helen to find out who they were and bring them to justice. I have to admit that they did remind me of Bonnie and Clyde and there are a few references to them in this book.

Helen feels a lot more detached from the rest of her team in this book. I think before you read this book, it will definitely help to read the previous book, Hide and Seek, but it still works well as a stand-alone. You can see that she feels very much on her own, and she struggles to reconnect with her old friends. It’s difficult to talk further about the plot here without giving too much away and I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I always find at the end of each chapter in any of the books in this series; I’m always eager to read the next making M.J. Arlidge’s books very difficult to put down. Short pacy chapters keep the pace flying forward. The writing grabs you without any effort and pulls you straight into an action-packed read.

After finishing this book, it does make me wonder how Helen will feel towards her team in the future books on the series. I can understand why she is feeling the way she is, but it is also clear that her old friends are desperate to win back her approval and friendship. I think this may take time, but I hope that they will be able to get along again.

Love Me Not is another brilliant addition to this series, and I am looking forward to catching up on the next book. If you start reading this book, or any books in this series, make sure you have a lot of free time on your hands because you will want to get to the end as soon as possible. Riveting stuff!

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 21st September 2017

Print length: 352 pages

Love Me Not is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Damage Done by James Oswald #bookreview

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

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No good deed goes unpunished…

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

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

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

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

MY THOUGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 14th July 2016

Print length: 464 pages

The Damage Done is available to buy: 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones 

 

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