Search

Go Buy The Book

Ice Cold Heart by P J Tracy

One evening, Kelly Ramage leaves her home, telling her husband that she is going to visit a friend. She never returns. When her body is discovered, it is initially thought that her death is as the result of a sex game gone wrong, so detectives Gino and Magozzi think that if they find the lover, they will find the perpetrator. The killer, however, has done a good job in hiding his identity, leading the police to believe that he has done this before and that Kelly is certainly not going to be his last victim.

Ever since reading Want to Play?, the first of the Monkeewrench books, I have been a big fan of P. J. Tracy’s writing. Over the years, I have enjoyed seeing the character development, in particular Grace who, although still fearful of her past, is now a mother to young Elizabeth. Who would have thought at the start of the series that she would be capable of having a relationship, never mind having a child?!

In Ice Cold Heart, we see less of the Monkeewrench team and more of detectives Gino and Magozzi. The case is a particularly horrible one, with the killer seemingly basing his crimes on the work of the controversial artist Rado. The detectives know that the man they are looking for is incredibly disturbed, and when another woman goes missing, someone they have already had contact with, they know it is a race against time to find her before she becomes the next victim.

The case becomes even more complicated when Roadrunner, one of the Monkeewrench team, befriends one of his neighbours, Petra. As the story progresses, we see how strong Petra is, despite the circumstances we find her in at the start of the book. She is searching for a notorious Balkan war criminal, and it is not long before the two cases cross paths. With Monkeewrench also searching for a hacker who has undertaken a multi-million dollar theft, there is plenty for the reader to sink their teeth into. I enjoyed seeing all of these cases slowly come together, and I was pleasantly surprised with the conclusion.

With a plot involving murder, war crimes, BDSM and computer hacking, Ice Cold Heart is a fast-paced read with something happening on every page. As I said earlier, I have enjoyed this series from the start, and this has definitely been one of my favourites so far.

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for my copy.

Take a look at some of my other PJ Tracy reviews:

Cold Kill

Nothing Stays Buried

The Guilty Dead

 

Advertisements

**BLOG TOUR** The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

In 2013, Melissa Slade was tried and convicted of the murder of her twin baby girls, but did she do it? Now, new evidence has come to light, seeming to support the view that it was, indeed, a miscarriage of justice and an appeal is planned to try to overturn her conviction. Newspaper reporter, Jonathan Hunt, covered the original case and now his boss wants him to take a closer look at the evidence to try to uncover the truth. Reluctantly, he begins to investigate, hoping to find out exactly what happened to Amber and Ellie Slade.

Losing a child is a tragedy that no parent should have to endure, but for Melissa Slade and her husband, Michael, this is only the beginning of their nightmare. The loss of Amber was attributed to sudden infant death syndrome, but the later death of Ellie caused the alarm bells to ring, with Melissa being convicted of her murder. We soon realise that at the time of the deaths, all was not well in the Slade household. Melissa was clearly struggling with the two girls, her relationship with her husband far from perfect. The addition of an au pair to help look after the babies added extra tension and with other family members from their previous marriages present in the house, there was no shortage of potential suspects.

As well as some of the book being written from the point of view of Melissa, we also have chapters written from the perspectives of Jonathan, and junior reporter, Kelly. Both of these characters had also experienced tragedy in their lives but I was pleased that this did not take over the story, something which other authors can often do. I found both of the journalists likeable, keen to uncover the truth about what had happened. I particularly enjoyed seeing how Kelly developed throughout the book, going from an inexperienced, wet behind the ears reporter, to someone who shows great promise in investigative journalism. Although The Guilty Mother appears to be a standalone book, I feel that there is enough scope in these characters to give them a second outing.

This is one of those books where you constantly change your mind about who was actually responsible for the deaths. Many of the characters had potential motives and my theory changed constantly as to what had happened. Despite working out one of the mysteries in the story, I did not predict the conclusion and was surprised when the truth was revealed. The ending is clever and definitely provided one of those ‘gasp’ moments!

I raced through this book, desperate to know the outcome. I have never read any of Diane Jeffrey’s work before, but I will definitely be rectifying this as soon as possible! A superb read!

With thanks to HQ Digital and Net Galley and to Izzy Smith for organising the blog tour.

 

 

 

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante

It is now 1980 and Jane Tennison has become the first female to be posted to the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, colloquially known as ‘The Sweeney’. Thrown straight into investigating an armed robbery, Jane is proud of her achievements until she realises that her transfer is part of an experiment to try to tame the male dominated team known as ‘The Dirty Dozen’. Determined to prove her worth, Jane learns that a gang is about to carry out a multi-million pound raid, the only problem being she doesn’t know who they are and where or when the raid will take place…

The more this series progresses, the more we see Jane Tennison moving towards the no-nonsense detective we know and love from the Prime Suspect series. Now part of the famous Flying Squad, she is, again, having to fight the rampant sexism that exists in the police force, discovering that her posting is, in fact, part of an experiment. You can feel Jane’s frustration, a detective who deserves to be where she is due to her competence, yet it is still her sex that is dictating her role.

In The Dirty Dozen, we see the Flying Squad investigating an armed robbery but Jane is sidelined, tasked with the jobs that her boss deems unimportant. Fortunately for Jane, she grabs the challenge with both hands and, working alongside a fellow officer, Dabs, begins to uncover information that opens up the case. When she is sent on a wild goose chase to interview a potential witness, the whole investigation takes a turn after Jane realises that this information is gold dust. It was good to see Tennison trusting her instincts, refusing to give up even when her superiors displayed a lack of interest – this was definitely the tenacious Prime Suspect detective emerging.

Due to its 1980 setting, there is definitely an Ashes to Ashes feel to The Dirty Dozen and I could imagine Gene Hunt ”firing up the Quattro’ at any moment! Some of the vocabulary used in the book, especially to describe people, made me wince, but this is of the time and made me feel glad that this terminology is no longer acceptable. I always enjoy the references to real-life incidents in this series, in this case the Iranian Embassy siege, as it helps to place the book firmly in a particular time.

I am still absolutely loving this series and my only concern is that we are nearing the time when DCI Tennison will cross paths with George Marlow, taking us to the start of the Prime Suspect series. This is a series that I hope will continue for a while yet!

With thanks to Zaffre and Net Galley for my copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Tennison

Hidden Killers

Good Friday

Murder Mile

 

Monthly Roundup – July 2019

August already, so it’s time to see what I read in the month of July. A mix of crime, historical crime and historical fiction this month and I’d be interested to see what your views are if you have read any of them!

Books I Have Read

The Leaden Heart by Chris Nickson

The seventh in the DI Tom Harper series set in Leeds at the end of the nineteenth century,  sees the detective investigating a spate of burglaries and a particularly nasty set of crimes involving corruption and intimidation. I’m still really enjoying this series.

 

Child’s Play by Angela Marsons

Another series that is going from strength to strength, this is the eleventh Kim Stone book. With some particularly gruesome deaths, Kim and her team have their work cut out to apprehend the killer. We are given the chance to find out more about Penn and are also introduced to a new character, ‘Tink’ and I am already eagerly awaiting book twelve!

 

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin

Retired John Rebus finds himself, once again, drawn back to his old stomping ground when a case he was involved in comes to the fore. With less Rebus than in previous books, however, I hope that he will continue to feature in subsequent novels.

 

The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl

The latest dual timeline novel from Kathleen McGurl is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss on the railway with a touch of mystery and intrigue thrown in for good measure. A great summer read! Review will be published in August as part of the blog tour.

 

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

Two baby girls, both dead, and their mother has been serving time for their murder. Now, with new evidence coming to light, doubt has been cast on her conviction. Did Melissa Slade do it or was someone else responsible? This is a very fast-paced read, the review being published in August as part of the blog tour.

 

One Year Later by Sanjida Kay

One year ago, little Rubie-May did in a terrible accident. Now with the anniversary looming, long-hidden secrets are starting to surface and it begins to appear that there is more to Rubie-May’s death than meets the eye. This is a great read with some twists that I definitely did not see coming.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Apart from the books that I’ve already read, I’ve only acquired one book this month! I’m on several blog tours in August so I’ve been trying to limit my new books until I’ve read the ones I need to!

Lexie’s got the perfect life. And someone else wants it…

Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.

But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…

Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop…

 

I’m currently reading the latest Lynda La Plante book, The Dirty Dozen, and am loving catching up with Jane Tennison again. Hope you’re enjoying what you’re reading!

 

 

 

One Year Later by Sanjida Kay

A year ago, Amy lost her daughter Ruby-May in a terrible accident. With the anniversary of her death looming, the family decide to go on holiday, away from the scene of the incident, to a place where, they hope, they can begin to heal the rifts that have happened since their loss. It soon becomes apparent, however, that all is not quite what it seems and there is at least one person hiding something that could change their perception of what exactly happened one year ago. Just exactly who caused Ruby-May’s death and what other secrets have been concealed over the years?

The tone is set from the very start when what seems to be the body of a woman is discovered. For the majority of the book, this is not mentioned, leaving me wondering who is was and how it fit in with the tragic death of Ruby-May one year earlier. By the time this is, again, referenced, we are aware that there is, indeed, a lot more to Ruby-May’s death than we realised and there has been a huge cover up to stop the real guilty party from coming to light.

We read the story from the perspectives of Amy, Ruby-May’s mum, and Nick, the dead girl’s uncle. Their grief is portrayed in different ways and was definitely one of the strengths of the book. In Amy, we see real visceral grief, struggling to come to terms with the death of her youngest child while trying to keep going for the sake of her two other children. The scene where she realises how much she neglected them in the weeks following the death was truly heartbreaking, more so because of the way the children dealt with the terrible situation.

Nick displayed his grief in a different way as he has been carrying around the guilt of not being there when Ruby-May died. His head full of ‘what ifs’, it is understandable why he is intent on trying to heal his family’s rifts, even if his good intentions often result in more unrest.

While it is obvious that the official version of the accident is not correct, and that there has definitely been a conspiracy of silence, I did not predict the ending. This is one of those books where you realise that you have been drip fed information throughout the plot, and the ending is completely in-keeping with what you have read. The several references to Dante’s The Divine Comedy are also very apt, with salvation and repentance being running themes in both texts.

I really enjoyed One Year Later and I thank Readers First and Corvus Books for my copy.

Take a look at my review of My Mother’s Secret, one of Sanjida Kay’s earlier books.

 

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin

When the body of a missing private investigator is discovered in the boot of a car, alarm bells begin ringing – the area had already been searched years before, when the man first went missing. Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is now part of the team investigating the murder whilst also trying to discover what went wrong with the original case. Was there a cover up and just how involved was her mentor, retired detective John Rebus?

John Rebus is one of my favourite fictional characters and so news of a new Ian Rankin book always makes me happy. In a House of Lies has been sat on my Kindle for a while so I thought it was time to give it a read! I am glad that, although Rebus is now retired, he is still finding ways of worming his way into an investigation although, this time, he is slightly more involved than he probably wishes!

The plot is a good one with dodgy characters a plenty, each one having a motive for wanting the deceased out of the way. Like in any good Rebus book, we get an insight into the dark underbelly of Edinburgh, with the legendary ‘Big Ger’ Cafferty featuring prominently. Any scene with Rebus and Cafferty is always my favourite. Their relationship is still a complicated one – they share a grudging respect for each other but at the same time would stop at nothing to sell the other one down the river.

The other plot running throughout the book was probably my favourite. After receiving silent phonecalls, Siobhan Clarke makes the connection to a recent case where she put away Ellis Meikle, convicted of the unlawful killing of his girlfriend. Convinced of his nephew’s innocence, his uncle, Dallas, tries to intimidate Clarke, only to need her help in trying to find new evidence to help his case. This is where Rebus comes in and where we see that there is still life in the old dog yet. Speaking of dogs, I am glad to see that Brillo is still on the scene!

Another great Rebus book and I hope that it’s not too long before we get the next one!

Child’s Play by Angela Marsons

When Detective Kim Stone arrives at the crime scene, she is not prepared for what she finds: a woman, tied to a child’s swing with barbed wire, the letter X carved into the back of her neck. It soon becomes apparent that the victim, Belinda Evans, a retired Professor of Child Psychology, had something to hide. Belinda’s home revealing a side of her that few seem to know about and a sister hardly forthcoming with information, Kim begins to wonder what the secret was that lead to her untimely death. When more bodies are found bearing the same markings, Kim and her team make the breakthrough that is needed – all were about to attend the same annual tournament for gifted children. With a list of potential suspects as long as her arm, Kim and her team must work quickly to prevent another death.

With Child’s Play being the eleventh book in the Kim Stones series, I am genuinely running out of superlatives to describe how fantastic these books are! With each new installment, I am left wondering how Angela Marsons keeps up such a high quality, but she does it with aplomb.

For me, the best thing about these books are the characters. I love the relationship between them and, over the years, I feel that I have come to know them very well. In Child’s Play, due to a directive from her superiors telling her not to overwork her team, we see a different side of Kim and her fellow officers, and this provided some laugh-out-loud moments as they struggled with their home lives due to them working more sociable hours! You could almost sense their relief when they had to stay at the tournament! New character ‘Tink’ is a breath of fresh air and I hope that we see more of her in forthcoming books – I can see some great scenes with Kim ahead!

I feel that this is the book where, despite not being part of the investigation, Penn cemented his place as part of the team. The sub-plot involving a potential wrongful arrest and imprisonment gave us the chance to get to know Penn better and I feel I have more of an understanding of this character now. In a book where there are particularly gruesome murders, the relationship he shares with his brother is a beautiful contrast. This part of the story also gave me my favourite moment – all I will say is, What would Billy do??!!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for providing me with yet another superb book from Angela Marsons.

The Leaden Heart by Chris Nickson

51UbsxvrAiL._SY346_It’s July 1899 and the crime rate in Leeds has been unusually low. This all changes when Superintendent Tom Harper receives word of a particularly daring burglary at one of the city’s more expensive residences. Meanwhile, his ex-colleague, Billy Reed, is seeking some assistance after the suicide of his brother who was facing an extortionate rent increase. Investigation uncovers a web of corruption involving some of the area’s influential residents. Who are the ringleaders and will Harper be able to apprehend them before the death toll rises?

I’ve always enjoyed reading historical crime fiction, particularly those books set during the Victorian era. In the Tom Harper series, we are now reaching the end of the nineteenth century, a time which has seen great changes for the Leeds detectives. As in all of his books, Chris Nickson has created a very vivid picture of the time, creating characters that feel real and who you can certainly feel empathy for. Again, we see Tom’s wife, Annabelle, taking a central role in the plot, her new position as poor law guardian giving her a platform to help those unable to help themselves. Annabelle has always been my favourite character, her ongoing fight for women’s equality being a great theme running throughout the books. With her daughter, Mary, seemingly being a chip off the old block, I think we are in for some entertaining times ahead!

It was pleasing to see Tom and his old friend Billy attempting to build bridges as they investigated the reason behind the suicide of Billy’s brother. Although this was set over a hundred years ago, the story is all too familiar to many people nowadays with those in power preying upon the poor and less fortunate. It was easy to imagine Harper’s frustration as he faced brick walls when trying to uncover the identities of those involved, especially seeing as he was desperate to close the case for the sake of Billy. The crooks doing the dirty work, the Smith brothers, are a particularly nasty pair, leaving a trail of death and destruction wherever they go. I spent the whole book willing for their capture!

If you are new to the Tom Harper books, please don’t be put off by the fact that this is the seventh book in the series as it can definitely be read as a standalone. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite so far, and I eagerly anticipate what the next installment brings for Tom, Annabelle and the rest of the characters we have grown to love.

With thanks to Severn House Publishers and Net Galley for my copy.

 

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Many years ago, in the quiet town of Tilby, teenager Flora Powell went out, never to be seen again. Now, her sister, Heather, has committed an unthinkable crime, her own life hanging in the balance. Journalist Jess, tasked with writing about the event, has more reasons than most to uncover the truth – she used to be Heather’s best friend and was there the day Flora disappeared. Jess knows she must face her past and return to where it all began. Just what exactly happened to Flora and how is it linked to current events?

This is one of those books that gets you hooked from the first chapter as we witness the fatal shooting of a man and his elderly mother by a calm, cold-blooded killer. From the outset, we are introduced to the main mysteries in the book: Who is the killer? Who are the victims? What links them? As the book progresses, it soon becomes apparent that there are more secrets in the Powell family and that the disappearance of Flora seems to be, somehow, linked to the killings. The story alternates between the present day investigation and the run-up to Flora’s disappearance, twenty years ago, providing us with a fast-paced, gripping plot that just makes you not want to put the book down!

I liked the character of Jess who we see battling with her emotions, feeling the pressure from her boss to exploit her relationship with the family to secure exclusive interviews with the family. This was particularly difficult for her as we discover the reason for her leaving her previous post was due to the much-publicised phone hacking scandal, so she could really do with keeping her work above board. For much of the book, I did not know how I felt about Heather, but I think that this is the author’s intention: she is a multi-faceted character who, to understand her fully, you will need to read the whole book.

Although there are some parts of the mystery that do not come as a surprise, there are quite a few red herrings along the way which make you change your theory as you are reading. There are enough shifty characters to make you question which of them were involved in Flora’s disappearance, each with their own motive. The revelation of what exactly happened to Flora is a particularly shocking one, and one that filled me with hatred for those responsible.

I have really enjoyed reading Claire Douglas’s books before – take a look at my reviews of Last Seen Alive and Local Girl Missing – and this one is another fantastic read. If you’re looking for a thriller that will grab and hold your attention, one of those ‘just one more chapter’ books, then Then She Vanishes is the book for you! Highly recommended!

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Netgalley for my copy.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑