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Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer

41DaNTibw8L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_For months, a serial killer dubbed ‘The Thorn Killer’ has terrorized Liverpool, daubing victims with macabre tattoos over most of their body. With no tangible leads, Detective Greg Carver is living and breathing the case… until he is shot in his own home. Finding him in his armchair, the actions of his colleague Ruth Lake are more than suspicious. Instead of calling it in, she removes the gun, carefully wipes down surfaces and takes away Carver’s case notes. The only problem is, Carver isn’t actually dead. Waking in his hospital room, with few memories of what happened that night, his obsession with the case grows. What exactly is Ruth hiding and will it cause more blood to be shed?

Well, this book certainly grabs your attention from the off! It’s not often you read a book where, right from the start, you are incredibly suspicious of the detective in charge but from the moment Ruth Lake tampers with the crime scene, I was not sure whether she was a reliable officer. This mistrust remained for much of the book and, coupled with the unknown reason behind Carver’s shooting, this made for an interesting read where you don’t know if the police can be trusted.

The modus operandi of the killer was a particularly gruesome and painful one and when we actually experience them in action, I found myself wincing as they used thorns to tattoo their latest victim. Several possible candidates are put forward as to who the killer is and I was pleased to spot a clue whilst reading that steered me towards that person. One part in particular resonated with me as, being from the city where it is set, the locations were very familiar. Let’s just say the Fairy Glen in Sefton Park now takes on a whole new meaning!

I liked the complicated relationship that Lake and Carver shared and feel that there is definitely more to be explored if this book becomes a series. There is a definite respect between the two detectives although, in light of the cases they are working on, there was also a lot of apprehension. Both detectives are very tenacious and probably a lot more like each other than they care to realise.

As the book progressed, I found it hard to put down and I whizzed through the second half at a rate of knots. There were numerous twists and turns that held my attention right until the very end. I hope that a second book will follow.

With thanks to Net Galley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for my ARC.

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The Wicked Trade by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Genealogist Morton Farrier finds himself researching the shadowy world of Georgian smugglers after a client asks him to research the life of his ancestor, Ann Fothergill. Using a letter she wrote in 1827 as his starting point, research soon points to her connection with the notorious Aldington Gang, a group from the south of England whose reputation spread far and wide. Just exactly how did Ann make her money and why is someone in the present day so interested in Morton’s work?

This is the seventh book in the Morton Farrier series and, I don’t know how he does it, but Nathan Dylan Goodwin keeps pulling it out of the bag! I’m a huge fan of genealogical fiction and it’s fair to say that while some is better than others, I would definitely put this author up there with the best. Such is my love of Morton Farrier, as soon as I realised that another book had been published, I immediately downloaded it and, despite my mounting reading pile, started to read straight away!

Like other books in the series, The Wicked Trade is told in multiple time frames, in this case the present day and the 1820s. Both parts of the story were equally as compelling and I enjoyed finding out about Ann’s life and also the research Morton took to uncover it. As a fellow genealogist, I am always interested in Morton’s visits to record offices and I am always pleased with the author’s attention to detail. Morton’s life has changed a lot since the start of the series, and since the birth of his daughter he has other commitments in addition to his job so it was good to see how he is juggling his personal and professional life.

The story of Ann Fothergill was a fascinating one and showed how it doesn’t matter the circumstances in which you were born, if there is a chance to improve your life you should take it. I found I had mixed feelings towards Ann. I admired her for her ability to turn her life around from an illiterate streetwalker to the owner of public houses but, on the other hand, her involvement with the Aldington Gang and the subsequent events left me with a nasty taste in my mouth.

I loved the historical detail in the book and it painted a great picture of how smugglers operated in the nineteenth century. The use of language that would have been spoken at the time also gave the story a more authentic feel.

There is still much to tell about Morton Farrier so I hope that another book is in the pipeline!

**BLOG TOUR** The Bad Daughter by Joy Fielding

Today, I am pleased to be able to share with you an extract from Joy Fielding’s latest book, The Bad Daughter, which will be published on 27th February.

The Blurb

STRANGER. LIAR. KILLER?

YOU CANT TRUST THE BAD DAUGHTER . . .

Robin Davis hasn’t spoken to her family in six years.

Not since it happened.

Then they’re attacked; left fighting for their lives.

And Robin is back.

All families have their secrets.

And one of theirs may have put them all in terrible danger . . .

YOU CAN ALWAYS TRUST YOUR FAMILY . . . CAN’T YOU?

 

The Extract

Robin climbed out of the too hard queen-size bed and shuffled toward the bathroom. Why do all motel rooms look alike? she wondered. Is there some union rule that dictates they all be uninteresting rectangles in shades of beige and brown? Not that she was an expert in motel decor, having stayed in only a few over the years. She’d gone from her parents’ crowded house in Red Bluff to a dorm room at Berkeley, back to her parents’ house to work and earn money to continue her education, on to a small shared apartment off campus, then back and forth between Berkeley and Red Bluff to help care for her mother, then on to a cramped studio apartment in Los Angeles, and finally to the spacious two-bedroom unit she shared with Blake.

Blake, she thought, silently turning the name over on her tongue as she stepped into the tub. What must he be thinking? She turned on the faucet for the shower, then had to brace herself against the wall as a torrent of ice-cold water shot from the showerhead.

Blake would be furious with her.

She hadn’t called him since yesterday afternoon. Even then, she hadn’t spoken to him directly, but just left a message with his pretty new assistant to the effect that she had to go to Red Bluff to deal with a family emergency and she’d call him later. Then she’d canceled the week’s remaining appointments, gone home to pack a small suitcase, and taken a cab to the airport, where she’d boarded the first available flight to Sacramento, arriving at almost six o’clock in the evening. The bus to Red Bluff didn’t leave till the next morning, but the thought of renting a car and making the drive herself had proved too daunting, and in truth, she was in no hurry to get there. Instead she’d found a motel close to the bus terminal and checked in. She’d eschewed dinner, instead wolfing down a Three Musketeers bar she got from the vending machine down the hall.

She also resisted turning on the TV, hoping to avoid reports of the shooting. She could handle only so much information, process only so much. She really didn’t want to know every awful detail yet.

She thought about calling Blake again, but then remembered he’d said something about a dinner meeting with clients, so why bother? He was busy. He was always busy. Too busy to phone, obviously. Too busy to spare a few seconds to inquire as to what sort of family emergency would necessitate her taking off like that, to return to a place she’d sworn never to go back to. Would it have been so hard for him to interrupt one of his seemingly endless meetings to call her, to feign at least a modicum of interest?

So maybe he wouldn’t be furious that she hadn’t tried contacting him again. Maybe he’d be relieved. Maybe she’d finally handed him the ammunition he’d been waiting for to end their relationship once and for all.

Not that he could do anything to help the situation, she reminded herself. His specialty was corporate law, not criminal law. And it wasn’t as if he even knew her father. Or her sister. Or any member of her screwed-up family, except her brother, Alec, who lived in San Francisco, so they’d actually met only twice. She’d left a message for Alec, but he hadn’t called her back either. So screw both of them, she’d decided, turning off her cell phone and climbing into bed at barely eight o’clock.

Joy Fielding is the New York Times bestselling author of Charley’s Web, Heartstopper, Mad River Road, See Jane Run, and other acclaimed novels. She divides her time between Toronto and Palm Beach, Florida.

With thanks to Emily and Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre.

Orchard View by Deborah J Miles

After purchasing the once grand Orchard View, builder, Bill Maynard, has his heart set on making a profit by converting it into bedsits. What he doesn’t bargain on is the discovery of human bones under the patio. After being told that the area was a burial site during the time of the Black Death, he has a decision to make – inform the police of his findings and risk losing money or cover the remains up and pretend they were never there. Whatever he decides to do, the discovery has set in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of many…

Recently, on the BBC, there was a television series detailing the history of 62 Falkner Street in Liverpool. This programme traced the people who had lived at the house from when it was built, telling their stories and linking them to the local and national events of the time. It was this programme I thought of while reading Orchard View, which tells the story of the house and its various residents. Although much of the tale is told from the perspective of the inhabitants, it was also a novel concept to give the house itself a voice. Like any reader, the house had its favourite characters and it was fascinating to see what it thought of the people who lived within it.

The story could have become very disjointed due to the different people living there over the years, so it was a clever to idea to have a constant character, a neighbour, who would remain there throughout. This provided a link between each of the stories and also gave the book a definite edge. You will have to read Orchard View to find out more about this though!

It is hard to say too much about the plot without giving too much away, but what I will say is that it is an intriguing look into the private lives of people and definitely a case of how we don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading, but I found that I soon couldn’t put Orchard View down as I was desperate to see what tragedy would befall each resident. There was certainly a lot of death and misery for one house!

I would like to thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read this book and I thoroughly recommend it. A super read!

Buy Orchard View here: Amazon

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Best Friends by Carys Jones

Struggling to pay the rent, four housemates, Grace, Jasper, Franklin and Aaron think that all of their prayers have been answered when they find a case containing a large sum of money in a skip. Despite their consciences telling them to leave it where it is, they are soon spending their new-found wealth. The arrival of a thug on their doorstep, though, changes everything when he demands his property be returned in a week’s time or consequences will be dealt. When one of the four suddenly finds themselves fighting for their life, the others begin to wonder whether they, too, will suffer the same fate…

What would you do if you found £20,000? Personally, I’d hand it in to the police but our protagonists in Best Friends are in such dire straits that all they can think about is how this unexpected windfall could solve all of their problems. In addition to paying their rent, they soon start to purchase items that they feel will help them in their burgeoning careers, whether it be time at a dance studio or a new guitar. Of course, it was inevitable that the real owner of the case would come looking for his money and this sets in motion a chain of events that will see several of the friends venturing into the seedier side of money-making in order to prevent something terrible happening to them.

I liked the main character, Grace, and felt desperately sorry for her as she tried, to no avail, to fulfil her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Her early life was beyond traumatic and I willed her to succeed so she could finally live the life she deserved. It was pleasing to see how her housemates tried to protect her even when she stepped completely out of her comfort zone to try to earn back some of the money that they took.

While Best Friends definitely deals with a crime and its consequences, I would not put this in the thriller or crime genres. Instead, it is a great study of how people react in different ways to a situation and how easy it is to get drawn into something unsavoury. The ending is tied up neatly and it is a good lesson in how vital friendships are and how you should always aim high in order to reach your potential.

With thanks to Aria and Net Galley for the ARC.

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mKlVg0

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2DMGC34

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2mMlsKp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2rk5pZN

Follow Carys Jones

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2rmTGti

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2Dpix5D

Website: http://bit.ly/2mS51gj

Follow Aria

   Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

 

 

 

My Mother the Liar by Ann Troup

After the death of her mother, Rachel Porter reluctantly returns to the family home to assist in sorting out her belongings. After years of avoiding her family, Rachel’s worst fears are realised when two bodies are found hidden at the house. As a police investigation is launched, it soon becomes apparent that the deaths are not the only secrets to lurk at the house and soon the lives of all those involved are at risk.

My Mother the Liar is the fourth Ann Troup book that I have read (The Lost Child, The Silent Girls and The Forgotten Room are the others) and this one, again, deals with a dysfunctional family of the highest order. It is apparent from quite early on that there is no love lost between Rachel and her sisters and also their recently-deceased mother. In fact, it was hard to find two people in the family who actually seemed to like each other! It is no wonder, therefore, that Rachel felt the need to get away as soon as she could and why she was so reluctant to return. Because of the complicated nature of the family, I did find it, at times, hard to keep up with who was who in the early stages of the story. As it progressed, though, things became much clearer and I got more of a handle of the family tree.

The book may be called My Mother the Liar but this is a family where there are very few people actually telling the truth! Although many of the characters expressed a dislike of Rachel, I found myself warming to her and had complete sympathy for the situation she found herself in. Without revealing any spoilers, I could fully understand why she did what she did with regards to her family and was willing everything to turn out right for her in the end.

As the death toll rose, I did work out who the culprit was as there seemed to be only one person who it could be. By the end, I felt that all motives were fully explained and that the plot was tied up neatly.

With thanks to Net Galley and HQ Digital for the ARC.

2018 AtoZ Reading Challenge

 

**BLOG TOUR** Unconvicted by Olly Jarvis

Today, as part of the blog tour for Unconvicted, the new book from Olly Jarvis, I am pleased to be able to share an extract with you.

The Blurb

In a razor-sharp legal thriller, Jack Kowalski must win two challenging trials to save his reputation and his career

Junior barrister Jack Kowalski is crushed. His client Timothy Smart appears to have committed a monstrous crime while on bail – a bail application Jack fought hard to win.

When a high-profile Polish footballer is charged with rape and demands a fellow countryman represent him, Jack must overcome his guilt and get back to work. Before long he takes on a second case, a GBH for instructing solicitor Lara Panassai, who Jack remains desperate to impress. But neither case is what it seems, and Jack will face an extraordinary uphill battle to see that justice is done…

The second Jack Kowalski novel, Unconvicted is a gripping courtroom drama written with the expert insight of a practicing criminal barrister, perfect for fans of William L. Myers, Deborah Hawkins, and Scott Turow.

Chapter 11

PC Adil Khan checked his watch as he drove. It would be another late finish, just so the prickly DS could have a chauffeur from some dinner at the town hall.

‘Slow down a second, Adil,’ asked DS Joan Baker. ‘See that girl there?’

‘Oh yeah, too right!’ he replied. ‘Quite a looker.’

The girl was half-walking and half-running down Deansgate. She wore a skimpy, figure-hugging white dress. No shoes.

‘There’s something not right, Adil. Pull over.’

‘Yeah, hammered probably.’

‘Just pull over, will you?’ she said, with a hint of irritation.

‘All right, all right,’ PC Khan replied.

They pulled up alongside the young woman. At first, she didn’t notice them.

DS Baker called out, ‘Is everything OK, love?’

The girl saw them now. She stopped, then walked straight to the police car, opened the door and got into the back seat. She was shaking. They could see marks, possibly burns on her wrists.

‘It’s all right. You’re safe now. What’s your name, love?’ asked Baker above the crackle coming from their radio.

The girl stared blankly back at her. Her face was a mess, the bruising made worse by the smeared lipstick and smudged eyeliner.

DS Baker turned to her colleague. ‘She’s in shock, poor thing.’ She tried again: ‘We’re going to take you somewhere comfortable, OK, love?’

No reply.

‘What’s your name, sweetheart?’

Eventually, in a whisper: ‘Lauren.’ Her bottom lip began to quiver. ‘I’ve been raped.’

DS Baker sighed. ‘I know, love. I know.’

Hopefully that has whetted your appetite! If so, here’s where you can get your copy:

Amazon (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Olly Jarvis is a writer and criminal defence barrister, originally from London but now working in Manchester. Drawing on his experiences, he writes both fiction and non-fiction with a particular understanding of the pressures and excitement of life in the courtroom. He wrote the highly acclaimed Radio 4 drama Judgement, and wrote and presented the BBC documentary Mum Knows Best. He is also the author of Death by Dangerous. Olly has two children and lives in Cheshire.

 

Take a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour:

 

The Lying Kind by Alison James

36652250Detective Rachel Prince is tasked with taking over the investigation into missing six-year-old Lola Jade Harper. Deducing that something is not quite right with the girl’s family, she must untangle the web of deceit if she has any chance of finding her. When the body of a woman is found, and connections are made to the missing girl, Rachel knows that the net is closing around the guilty party and she must move fast before they slip away forever…

Bookouture has this knack of producing must-read police procedural series and they have done it yet again! In Detective Rachel Prince, we have another strong female lead who is a hard-working and tenacious detective with a complicated personal life. She is a very good detective and her doggedness is shown when she has to travel to Europe alone to investigate a lead. Her work partner, DS Brickall, is another great character and the relationship between the two made each scene they were in together a joy to read.

The plot of a missing child is one that appears in many books, but I liked the twists that came with this one. The main suspects are all incredibly shifty and it was fun trying to work out which of their actions were linked to the disappearance of the child. Although it wasn’t too difficult to work out who the major player was here, the way in which it was carried out was very clever and was not something I saw coming at all.

This is not what I would call an action-packed book as a lot of time is given up to the actual investigation and we are privy to police interviews, stakeouts and the like. In some books, this can become tiresome but The Lying Kind is so well-written that each scene was fascinating and helped to build up a picture of Rachel, Brickall and the suspects.

It looks as though Bookouture has got me hooked on another crime series and I can’t wait to see what book two has in store for Rachel!

With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for the ARC.

 

Monthly Roundup: January 2018

The first month of the year has been and gone and I have already read some of the books on my ‘most anticipated’ list. Thankfully, they all lived up to my expectations!

Books I’ve Read

Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson

It’s still a while before this one is published and I’m actually quite jealous that some people still have this to look forward to! The Bensons have a daughter, the only problem being she doesn’t actually belong to them and now they’ve decided they’d like another one. This is the third book in the Nathan Cody series – a series that is going from strength to strength.

 

The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

The third in the Stephens and Mephisto series sees the pairing trying to thwart an attack on the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Another great story that transports you back to 1950s England, a time when many changes were about to take place.

 

Dark Game by Rachel Lynch

The first in a new police procedural series set in the picturesque Lake District has everything – human trafficking, prostitution, illegal fighting, gangland crime… I’m looking forward to reading more of Rachel Lynch’s work.

 

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

One of my most anticipated books and it was everything I hoped. Ruth Galloway is in Italy, assisting with the discovery of a skeleton when a murder brings everything firmly into the present day. Ruth has definitely become one of my favourite fictional characters.

 

Best Friends by Carys Jones

Four friends find a suitcase containing £20,000, believing that this unexpected windfall will be the answer to all of their problems. What they don’t realise is that the money belongs to a dangerous gangster and he wants it back… My review will be live on 13th February as part of the Blog Tour.

 

The Lying Kind by Alison James

Detective Rachel Prince has been tasked with a cold case – the disappearance of six-year-old Lola Jade Harper. When the body of a woman is discovered, connections begin to be made between the two cases, leading the detective to realise that this is a much more complex case than she first thought. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope that there will be more to follow!

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Deceit, betrayal and tension abound in this chilling police procedural from dazzling new voice Ashley Dyer.

Sergeant Ruth Lake and DCI Greg Carver are on the hunt for a serial killer who carefully poses his victims and covers every inch of their bodies in intricate, cryptic tattoos. Dubbed the ‘Thorn Killer’, by the media, the killer uses a primitive and excruciatingly painful thorn method to etch his victims. After many months, a breakthrough feels imminent. Then the killer gets personal: the latest victim – a student found only a week earlier – is staged to look like Carver’s wife.

Pushed over the edge, Carver spirals into a self-destructive cycle of booze and risky sex. Now he lies near death, and the unreadable Lake stands over him with a gun. Did she shoot her boss? If not, why is she removing evidence from his apartment, faking the scene?

Ruth, too, is convinced that Carver is holding back; that he remembers more than he admits. Why is he lying? Does he know what she did? How can she hope to unravel the half-truths, hidden meanings, secrets and lies at the centre of this investigation when she herself has lied and lied?

Intrigued, the Thorn Killer watches their every move – all the while plotting the next. Can Carver and Lake pull together to catch him before he strikes again? Or will they be held captive by their own web of lies?

Utterly gripping, with a twisting plot that keeps you guessing until the end, SPLINTER IN THE BLOOD is an unforgettable read that will get under your skin.

 

Digging in the garden, builder and current owner, Bill Maynard, discovers some old bones. He worries that the discovery will upset his plans for renovating and selling the house. Fortunately, his neighbour tells him the whole area was a burial site at the time of the Black Death and finding bones is commonplace. “Well, as they’re so old and the museums have enough bones already, I suppose we can ignore them. It’s not like there’s been a murder and we’ve just found the body,” he justified his decision. But had they? His discovery sets off a chain of unfortunate events.

 

 

Mina Scarletti returns in her most thrilling mystery yet! Perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and Antonia Hodgson…

A family is being torn apart by rumours of a murderer in their midst. Can Mina solve the mystery and lay the ghosts to rest? 

Brighton, 1871

Mina Scarletti is becoming well known for unmasking fraudulent psychics. So it is no surprise to her when a young couple write to her seeking her advice.

George Fernwood and Mary Clifton, betrothed distant cousins, have a family secret that is preventing them from getting married. Twenty years ago, their alcoholic grandfather died in his bed and since then rumours have been circulating that someone in the family murdered him.

Desperate to find out the truth, they have decided to seek out a medium to communicate with their grandfather, and they want Mina to help them find one who is genuine.

Though she is not a believer in ghosts, Mina is intrigued by the family mystery and decides to help them in any way she can.

Could one of the new mediums advertising in Brighton really be genuine? Will they help George and Mary find the answers they are looking for? 

Or will this Unquiet Ghost ruin the chance of happiness for future generations …?

 

Happy reading!

 

 

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