The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton #bookreview blog tour @RThorntonwriter @HarperFiction @annecater

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

The Fallout: Full of secrets, rumours and lies, the page-turner to get everyone talking in 2020 by [Thornton, Rebecca]

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The accident.
The lie.
The fallout will be huge . . .

When Liza’s little boy has an accident at the local health club, it’s all anyone can talk about.

Was nobody watching him?
Where was his mother?
Who’s to blame?

The rumours, the finger-pointing, the whispers – they’re everywhere. And Liza’s best friend, Sarah, desperately needs it to stop.

Because Sarah was there when it happened. It was all her fault. And if she’s caught out on the lie, everything will fall apart . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Fallout is a compelling novel by Rebecca Thornton, a new author for me, and I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by her. I think I would describe her latest book as more of a slow-burner. We get to know a group of women who all chat with each other on a WhatsApp group, a group of young mums. The more we get to know them, the more Rebecca Thornton unpeels the layers, and we begin to see different people emerge. Rebecca then begins to explore how the very closest of friendships can turn toxic.  Before the days of social media, people kept their true thoughts a lot closer to themselves. If someone did happen to say something about that, it wouldn’t affect such a large group of people who can instantly share with someone else what has been said. Once someone has posted something online, it is scary how much this can change people’s perception of the person and how it will never be forgotten.

I loved the idea of using a WhatsApp group as the basis for this story. I think the women in this book will feel familiar to everybody. There are more than likely countless WhatsApp groups up and down the country, and it’s probably fair to say that there are more than a few of them that have lead to friendship groups collapsing.

The book really begins to get going when the son of one member of the group, Liza, has an accident when he falls from a tree. There is a sudden rush of accusations pointed and a lot of anger within the local community. Many people effectively blame Liza for not looking after her son properly on the day it happened. Liza is distraught; she is trying to cope with a scary new reality while thinking of the prospect of a brighter future. At the same time, her friends are starting to show their true colours.

Although I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable, I did find their lives compelling. You can see things beginning to crumble around Liza in the wake of her son’s accident. I think I did feel sorry for her at some stages throughout the book, particularly when she became the victim online trolling and is vilified by people who don’t know her. You can see how much she does care for her son, and she only wants the best for him.

The writing is taut and I was drawn further and further into the story and into the lives of the characters. The Fallout is a well-written read that compels you to read on.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 5th December 2019 (kindle) 2nd April 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 432 pages

The Fallout is available to buy:

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All in her Head by Nikki Smith #bookreview blog tour @Mrssmithmunday @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for All in her Head by Nikki Smith on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

All in Her Head by [Smith, Nikki]

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Her life is a pack of lies. But what if she is the liar?

Alison is more alone than she’s ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work.

She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. But she can’t remember why.

Then the mention of one name brings a whole lifetime of memories rushing back in.

Alison feels like she’s losing her mind . . . but it could just lead her to the truth.

MY THOUGHTS

All in her Head by Nikki Smith is an intricately layered novel, and it is a masterclass in plotting and suspense. It is also so, so addictive. When I first started reading it, I had absolutely no idea that it would lead in the direction that it did. I was drawn right into the mind of her lead character, Allison. I wanted to know what was really going on in her world. What was it that was making her feel so afraid? From the opening pages, you know you are going to be in for a tense ride.

When we first meet Allison she is working in a library, but all the time she is feeling anxious and afraid. We know that something has happened in her past to make her like this. Allison, however, struggles to remember the details. And the book only gets tenser when letters start turning up from someone who Allison never hoped to hear from again, and it is someone who she is terrified of. What did happen in her past? I knew I had to find out.

Allison intrigued me right from the start, and this book was really chilling. I thought this particularly when Allison sensed that a ghost from her past was coming back to haunt her. I could see how stressed this was making her, and this comes through very strongly in Nikki’s writing. You get the sense that the walls are closing in on Allison, and that very soon a terrible truth is going to emerge. You can also sense that she is in a very vulnerable position. It seems that anything might bring her world crumbling down. And when the plot started to unravel, the truths came thick and fast, blowing away every perception that I first had when I first started reading. Once the reveals started coming, I did not want to put it down as I had to know how everything was going to pan out. I can remember how tense I felt as Nikki pulled everything together, and the scenes were so crisp and clear in my mind.

I’m certain that this book is going to be in my top ten reads at the end of the year, and I can’t wait to see what Nikki Smith brings us next. All in her Head is filled with suspense. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 2nd April 2020

Print length: 336 pages

All in her Head is available to buy: 

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Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb #bookreview blog tour @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the latest addition to the Lori Anderson series on my blog today, Deep Dark Night. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Deep Dark Night (Lori Anderson) by [Broadribb, Steph]

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A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…
Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.
And that’s just the beginning…

MY THOUGHTS

Steph Broadribb is a writer who knows how to keep her readers entertained. With every Lori Anderson book I’ve read so far, I’ve been hooked from the first page and long may this continue. We know that Lori is never going to be given an easy ride and from the word go in Deep Dark Night she is under pressure and feels as though she has been pushed into a corner. This is perhaps the most challenging case Lori has worked on and she knows that saying no to this one isn’t going to be an option.

I really like how Lori’s relationship with her partner JT has grown over the course of the four books. It is amazing to see how far they have come, especially, when in the first book, Deep Down Dead, Lori is sent on a mission to arrest him and bring him to justice. How times have changed and I definitely think this is for the better. You get a real sense of their feelings towards each other in Steph’s writing and particularly towards their daughter, Dakota as well, who has been another strong character in this series.

When Lori has a goal in her sight, she is determined to achieve it. In this case however, she is determined to rake over the past, when special agent Monroe, asks for her help to bring a criminal he has had his eye on for years to justice. She knows she really can’t say no to him, especially after he helped her out in the last book in the series. She knows this case is going to be dangerous and even headstrong JT has reserves about it and would rather she step aside, despite the fact that there may be consequences of her doing so. But if this means she can cut ties with Monroe once and for all then there is no question in her mind that she will assist him.

The majority of the book takes place in a luxurious penthouse overlooking the city of Chicago. This is where things really start to heat up as champagne is poured and bets are taken. I thought this book had echoes of Casino Royal and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. When Lori enters the apartment for a game of poker, she really has no idea who she’s up against, and neither, it seems, do the others who are involved in the game. I didn’t know how things were going to end up for Lori and JT at this point. Steph Broadribb kept me gripped as the night unravelled further.

Deep Dark Night is a fast-paced and an exhilarating read that I managed to finished in just two days. I’m not quite sure where Steph Broadribb is going to take this series next, but I know, without a doubt, that I’ll be hopping on board to find out what happens next. Breath-taking and brilliant!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 5th January 2020 (kindle) 5th March 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

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Black River by Will Dean #bookreview blog tour @willrdean @annecater @PointBlankCrime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the latest novel in the Tuva Moodyson series by Will Dean, Black River as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Black River by [Dean, Will]

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FEAR

Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim has gone missing.

SECRETS

Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?

LIES

Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?

MY THOUGHTS

I think at the end of the last book in this series Tuva Moodyson had thought she’d seen the last of her hometown of Gavrik. I remember feeling pleased that she was seeing the back of the town after some of the reception she’d received there. It certainly seemed as though she wasn’t everyone’s favourite person, particularly after the stories she’d covered. However, in Black River, Tuva is pulled back, when her best friend, Tammy, goes missing, and she galvanises the search for her. But to Tuva it seems she is the only person taking an interest in Tammy’s disappearance; only when another young woman goes missing, a local Swedish girl does the town sit up and take notice. Once again, Tuva finds herself at the centre of something strange going on, and she is determined to find her friend, no matter the danger this might put herself in.

As with his previous books, Will Dean has again managed to create a gloomy atmosphere around the town of Gavrik, set on the edge of the domineering Utgard forest, warning the reader that things are not at all well. The gloomy atmosphere is still the case even though Tuva’s friend has gone missing in the height of summer as the traditional midsummer celebrations begin to take place. But Tuva’s main concern is finding her friend and certainly not on the celebrations.  Utgard forest is also a character in its own right, and Will Dean explores its dark and gloomy depths in each of his three books. You got the sense that it is Tuva against nature when she has to venture close by or inside the forest. Will Dean manages to make the forest come to life, especially with the elk and the insects with a ravenous hunger for human skin.

What Will Dean portrays really well is Tuva’s strong friendship with her friend Tammy. When it seems that no one else has noticed, or isn’t willing to look for her, Tuva is determined to make sure that they do. This increases the pace as Tuva begins to hunt for clues frantically on her own. It seems as though she feels that she is the best person to find her friend. The police don’t seem to be following any strong leads, and it seems that they having to rely on the local searches, hoping to find something.

One of Will’s strong points in his writing is creating an air of mystery and he does this very well in some of his characters. There are some quirky and mysterious residents of Gavrik that he explores again here, I still haven’t forgotten about the wood chopping sisters from the first book in the series. I could feel my suspicions growing as Will introduces these people, and it kept me reading as I wondered when I was going to find out more about them and if they had any connection the case. And talk about creepy as well, especially with the snakes. When Tuva found herself in a predicament, in one scene, in particular, it made me feel very claustrophobic as I was reading.

I would say that this book is more of a slow-burner, but this is what makes it work so well. It’s how Will Dean draws you into the town, and into the minds of the people that inhabit it that make it instantly compelling and readable. This is a series that keeps going from strength to strength, and I can’t wait to see where Will Dean takes us next.

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication date: 12th February 2020 (kindle) 12th March 2020 (hardcover)

Print length: 384 pages

Black River is available to buy:

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Previous reviews

Dark Pines

Red Snow

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Containment by Vanda Symon #bookreview @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @annecater

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

Containment (Sam Shephard Book 3) by [Symon, Vanda]

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Dunedin’s favourite young police officer Sam Shephard is drawn into a perplexing investigation when a series of shipping containers wash up on a sleepy New Zealand beach, and a spate of unexplained deaths ensues…

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

MY THOUGHTS

Containment is the third novel in Vanda Symon’s utterly gripping Sam Shephard series. Vanda Symon is a writer who knows how to pull her readers in from the very first page. I still haven’t forgotten that opening scene in the first book Overkill. When I read that, I knew I had found a writer who I would be sticking with.

Opening the book with the sight of a container washing up on a beach in Dunedin, the local residents flock to the scene to salvage whatever they can find. The sight of all these items washed up on the beach sends the locals a bit crazy, and it brings to mind the famous saying, ‘finders keepers.’ There’s no thought among the locals for the person or people who have now lost these items. One elderly woman gets a bit more than she bargained for however when she uncovers a human skull in amongst the items washed up. Not long after Sam Shephard arrives at the scene to try to and prevent people from looting the cargo, the body of a man is discovered in the water. It is soon quickly proven that the diver didn’t die of natural causes.

I really love this series. Vanda Symon’s writing is so easy to get into, and the short chapters make it a really pacy read. It’s one of those books where you’ll think, oh I’ll just read one more chapter, and you’ll think the same the next time you get to the end of one. I also love the setting of Dunedin in New Zealand, which Vanda brings to life really well.  Sam Shephard is a brilliant character. Unlike some of her colleagues, she is a character who always tries to see the good in people. This can make her quite vulnerable. But she is also tough, and she isn’t a character who will let someone get away with a crime quite so easily. You see this side to her very early on in this book.

Sam isn’t one to shy away from her feelings, particularly if they’re about another person as well and this is the case when she is talking to her best friend Maggie who she currently shares a flat with. One of the things I also like about these books is Sam’s relationship with her friend.  Their friendship comes across as feeling real, and I like the wit in their conversations as well.

If you do prefer police procedurals with darker plots, I don’t think you’ll quite find what you’re looking for with this book, but this is a solid detective story, and I would still highly recommend that you give it a go. I wouldn’t describe the books as being really tense, although there are certainly some tense scenes through the whole series, there is just something about the character’s that draws you in, and the writing is so addictive. I think there is no doubt now that Sam Shephard is fast becoming one of my favourite detectives in crime fiction.

I think I have said all I can say about how much I like these books. I implore you to read them all as you certainly won’t regret it. Every time Vanda has a new book out, I’m sure it’ll be bumped right to the top of my reading pile!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 5th January 2020 (kindle) 5th March 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

Containment is available to buy: 

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Bury Them Deep by James Oswald #bookreview blog tour @SirBenfro @Wildfirebks @annecater

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Bury Them Deep by James Oswald on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Bury Them Deep: Inspector McLean 10 (The Inspector McLean Series) by [Oswald, James]

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When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.

Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?

McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…

MY THOUGHTS

James Oswald’s Inspector McLean novels are a top crime series which you need to be following. Over the last month, I was determined to catch up on the previous five books which I hadn’t yet got round to reading. I would say that they can all be read as standalones but to get the most out of the character development, I would highly recommend reading the series from the beginning. Although each plot is different, there are key character plot points which are looked at throughout the series. But if you do read this book on its own, I’m sure you will want to go back and discover where the series all began. Before you know it you will have devoured them all; it certainly didn’t take me very long.

In the tenth book in the series, Bury Them Deep, concerns are raised when a police officer fails to turn up for work. Anya Renfrew has never taken a day off sick, so this is marked as highly unusual by her colleagues, particularly when she doesn’t return their phone calls. But her disappearance also prompts interventions from top government officials including the First Minister. Before her disappearance, Anya was working on a highly sensitive case which could risk the countries reputation if anything gets out. The police step up their efforts to find her, and it isn’t long before McLean discovers a link to a disturbing local legend that has been spoken about for centuries.

The case which McLean is following in this book is the most disturbing one in the series, in my opinion. You will soon see why when you read it. I’ve always been fascinated by myths and folklore, and James Oswald explores a really chilling one here which has captured the local’s imagination for years. I was immediately drawn into this story, and James Oswald kept me hooked as Inspector McLean delved further into Anya Renfrew’s private life. They discover that she isn’t quite the person they thought of her to be. This does create a lot of red herrings as the police try to work out Anya’s last known movements, and these investigations take the police places where they certainly didn’t expect to go.

As well as investigating Anya’s disappearance, this novel also sees the return of a previous antagonist from the series, who McLean would rather never hear from again. This is where I think it will be helpful to have read the previous books in the series, but there is still enough information here to read this as a standalone. This was another really intriguing point, like McLean I wanted to know what this person knew about the current case he was working on, and what their true motivations were. I couldn’t really see it being the case that they just wanted to help him.

There were times when the tension was raised so high, particularly when I thought that McLean wasn’t going to be able to solve this case in time. There were scenes when I almost had to look away, but I was so keen to find out what was going to happen. I had to see how McLean was going to get himself out of this one.  You won’t want to tear your eyes away from the page.

I think I have summed up how much I like this series in my previous reviews of these books, so all that’s left for me to say is you’ll absolutely love this book if you’re a fan. And again if you haven’t yet started these books, why haven’t you? You’re missing out on a real treat if you haven’t.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 20th February 2020

Print length: 464 page

Bury Them Deep is available to buy:

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Previous Reviews

Cold as the Grave

The Gathering Dark

Written in Bones

The Damage Done

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Beast by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview blog tour @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Beast, the latest book in the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Beast (Six Stories Book 4) by [Wesolowski, Matt]

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Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’
However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

MY THOUGHTS

Beast by Matt Wesolowski is the fourth book in the Six Stories series, and it is his most terrifying and chilling book to date. After the devastating events for our protagonist, Scott King, which took place in the last book, he is now investigating the death of a young vlogger who died while taking part in a social media challenge.

The social media challenge which features in this book is so disturbing. Elizabeth Barton is taking part in the ‘dead in six days’ challenge, which she is broadcasting to her subscribers via her blog. During the six days, she is spending that time in a gothic, supposedly haunted tower.  Some of the locals believe a vampire inhabits the tower. This is a story which has plagued the town for decades, passed down the generations. But what happens to Elizabeth is devastating. Elizabeth is locked inside the tower. In a sickening turn of events, her body is found with her head missing. With three men arrested for the crime, a prank they say which went wrong, there are still some unanswered questions which Scott King is determined to find the answers to.

Scott King delves deep into the mystery behind Elizabeth Barton’s death and the disturbing local folklore myths. Taking folklore myths and examining them is something that Matt Wesolowski does so well in his books. But he still manages to create a terrifying atmosphere which will have you looking over your shoulders.

Matt’s books can very easily be read in a couple of sittings, and I like the fact that they are short quick reads. They are utterly absorbing. You become wrapped up in the mystery that Scott King is investigating, so much so, that it could almost be a real live case. I’m still thinking of the legend of the vampire several days after I’ve read it. I liked how Matt Wesolowski makes us think about how such ideas can evolve over time. I think this can be said as well about many dark myths and legends.

Beast is another enthralling addition to the Six Stories series, and I can’t wait to see what type of case Scott King will be delving into next. Another riveting read by Matt Wesolowski.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 20th December 2019 (kindle) 6th February 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

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

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Previous Reviews

Hydra

Changeling

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Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst #bookreview blog tour @EngerThomas @LierHorst @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Police officer Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm join forces to track down a serial killer with a thirst for attention and high-profile murders, in the first episode of a gripping new Nordic Noir series…

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.
Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

MY THOUGHTS

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst is one of the most gripping crime novels I’ve read. I was a huge fan of Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series, so I was really interested to see what he had in store for us with this book. Enger and Horst deliver with a high tension and an action-packed read that will keep your eyes glued to the page.

The novel opens with a horrifying scene when Detective Alexander Blix is called to a domestic dispute which ends in catastrophe. There is a high level of tension in this opening scene, paving the way for what is to follow. At this point in time, Alexander has no idea how much of an effect this night will have on events which are to follow.

Fast forward to the present, and the police are handed a high profile case when Sonja Nordstrøm, a local celebrity, goes missing after she fails to turn up for a television interview to promote her latest book. The case takes a dark and terrifying turn, which sees Blix and his team racing against the clock to track down the person behind Sonja’s disappearance before they murder her. And it soon appears that she isn’t the only person in her kidnapper’s sight.

I really liked the element of mystery to this book. Enger and Horst kept me totally gripped as I tried to work out what had happened to Sonja. It really seemed that the police were fighting a losing battle, and the book kept me wondering how they were going to track down the person responsible and find Sonja. You really do get the sense that they’re running out of time to achieve this.

I also liked Blix’s relationship with journalist, Emma Ramn. We begin to see this develop throughout the course of the book, although it doesn’t always look good on Blix’s part when Emma publishes elements of the police investigation. This causes some frictions between him and his superiors who see him as the cause of the leaks. I could see that Blix and Emma genuinely did like each other and that Blix cared for her. He wants to make sure she’s safe, but Emma is keen to be involved in the investigation, and she sails close to danger. This did make me wonder if their friendship would eventually fizzle out. But I think I would like to see it carried forward in future books. And I’m hoping that we’re not going to have to wait too long for the next book.

I’m always intrigued at how two different people can write the same book, but the writing flows seamlessly here. Each character sprang from the page, and the plot was very well executed.

This is an absolutely brilliant book that I would highly recommend. I can’t wait to read more from this series. Very satisfying and extremely well written!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 31st January 2020 (kindle) 20th February 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Death Deserved is available to buy by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Firewatching by Russ Thomas #bookreview blog tour @thevoiceofruss @simonschusterUK @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the brilliant debut by Russ Thomas, Firewatching. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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ONE WRONG MOVE
A body is found bricked into the walls of a house. From the state of the hands, it’s clear they were buried alive and had tried to claw their way out before they died. Soon, the victim is linked to a missing person’s case and DS Adam Tyler is called.
WILL IGNITE
As the sole representative of South Yorkshire’s Cold Case Review Unit, Tyler recognises his role for what it is – a means of keeping him out of the way following an ‘incident’. When this case falls in his lap, he grabs the opportunity to fix his stagnating career.
THE CITY
When he discovers he has a connection to the case that hopelessly compromises him, he makes the snap decision not to tell his superiors. With such a brutal and sadistic murder to unpick, Tyler must move carefully to find out the truth, without destroying the case or himself.

Meanwhile, someone in the city knows exactly what happened to the body. Someone who is watching Adam closely. Someone with an unhealthy affinity with fire . . .

MY THOUGHTS

I may have already found one of my books of the year, and we’re only in January! I’m often finding with police procedurals, that it is very hard to stand out, but Russ Thomas has definitely done this here. Firewatching is an incredibly good debut with an utterly gripping plot and a really likeable main character. This is definitely going to be a series I will be keeping an eye on.

Firewatching is the first book where we meet DS Adam Tyler. A cold case is about to be reopened when the body of a man, Gerald Cartwright, who went missing years ago, has been discovered, bricked up in a wall. The discovery takes place during renovations on a building called ‘The Old Vicarage,’ which his family are overseeing. The case brings back haunting memories for those involved. Adam and his team must unpick the layers within Gerald’s family to find out what happened to the man and who was responsible for his death. But Tyler is walking on eggshells. He has already become involved with one of the members of the man’s family. This may jeopardise the entire investigation and his career.

What I really liked about this book was the characters, and I think they will make sure I keep returning to this series. Russ Thomas made them feel so real in his writing, and I really liked the sharp wit and sense of humour in their dialogue, particularly with Adam and his work partner.

But the discovery of Gerald Cartwright body isn’t all that Adam and his team have to deal with. Around Sheffield someone is starting fires, which is causing serious concern to the fire department, they soon become involved in Adam’s current investigation. I was intrigued by this part of the mystery, and I wanted to know if this was in some way connected to Gerald’s murder.

The plotting throughout the novel is tight. I became totally invested in the mystery and in the lives of the characters. Russ Thomas has done an excellent job in creating a twisty plot with plenty of red herrings thrown into the mix.

I also liked the historical elements of the novel. In the minds of one of Russ’s characters, we are taken back to London during World War Two. I found these flashback scenes quite chilling, but they also added an extra element to the story which I really enjoyed.

This is a brilliant debut with an excellent cast of characters who I’m sure will keep readers coming back for more. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Print length: 432 pages

Publication date: 20th February 2020

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

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

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

The Home by [Stovell, Sarah]

BLURB

One more little secret … one more little lie…

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

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

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

MY THOUGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publisher: Orenda Books

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

Print length: 276 pages

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

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