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**BLOG TOUR** Hunted by Monty Marsden

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Monty Marsden’s great new book, Hunted!

Seven years ago, Giocomo Riondino was arrested for the abduction, torture and murder of two women. After his arrest, it was discovered that he was suffering from a multiple personality disorder and was subsequently sectioned. Now, after time at a rehabilitation centre, Riondino has escaped and is on the run, a trail of bodies being left in his wake. It is up to Commissioner Sensi and psychiatrist Dr Claps to find the killer before the death count gets out of control.

Hunted is not the first book to feature Sensi and Claps but it is not essential to have read any earlier books in order to understand this plot. Initially, however, I did find some of the plot confusing as I came to terms with Riondino’s numerous personalities, many of whom speak for the man himself throughout the story. As I became accustomed to the style of writing, though, it became much easier to follow and provided me with a unique insight into the mind of someone with a multiple personality disorder and the internal conflict they experience.

Monty Marsden

Despite his illness, Riondino is a cold, calculated killer and each of his crimes is carefully planned and executed. This makes for a tense hunt as the police try to find a man who always seems to be one step ahead, and is prepared to kill anyone who stands in his way. Riondino is probably the most heinous serial killer I have read about for a while, and he did, on several occasions, make my skin crawl as I sensed what was about to happen. Through his numerous personalities, he was able to draw in potential victims and nobody was safe.

Hunted draws to a thrilling climax as the police tighten the net around the killer. In the final quarter of the book, I felt as though, at times, I was holding my breath as I waited to see what the final outcome would be. What I got was a clever ending, in keeping with what we’d already found out about Riondino. Highly recommended!

With thanks to Aria and Net Galley for the ARC.

 

Author bio

Monty Marsden, a Tuscan by birth, grew up in Milan, where he studied medicine and still works. He lives in the province of Bergamo, with his wife and four children.

 

Take a look at the other stops on the blog tour!

Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rRD5fj

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2s2c0or

iBooks: http://apple.co/2st3PUF

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2r9WEgm

 

Monty’s previous book, MISSING is out now:

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eTxkpH

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

iBooks: http://apple.co/2fA9Feh

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2eVGe5b

 

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

51mCV12k+uL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Receiving a Facebook friend request from a girl she knew at school should have made Louise Williams happy, but there was one major problem: Maria Weston has been dead for over twenty years. Knowing that she was partly to blame for the girl’s disappearance at a school leavers’ party, Louise is forced to make contact with people from her past as she tries to discover just who is behind the Facebook account. When a school reunion is organised, and another school friend’s body is discovered in the woods by her old school, Louise knows that she cannot trust anyone in her quest to find out exactly what happened to Maria.

I opted to read Friend Request after seeing so many positive reviews from fellow bloggers and I am so pleased that I did. Switching between the years 2016 and 1989, we first meet Louise as the divorced mother of a young boy before learning about her formative years at Sharne Bay High School. It is obvious that Louise has changed a lot in the intervening years, largely down to the incident involving Maria Weston. Bullying plays a pivotal role in the plot and although Maria was the target, I did have a lot of sympathy for Louise as she struggled to be accepted by the ‘cool kids’ whilst maintaining friendships outside of that clique. It is interesting to think that these events happened before the advent of social media and dread to think what would have happened to Maria if it had existed in 1989.

Throughout the book, Louise becomes more and more isolated as she doesn’t know who she can trust, suspicion being cast everywhere. This made for a tense read, especially when ‘Maria’ ups her game and makes it obvious that Louise is firmly in her sights. I liked the fact that there were several examples of misdirection so that you didn’t know which incidents were down to ‘Maria’ and which had a perfectly logical explanation.

The author’s characterisation is very authentic, especially when writing about the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl at secondary school. I’m sure everyone reading could relate some of the characters to people they knew during their own education.

For a debut novel, this is an excellent story which is well-written, pacy and gripping. I look forward to reading more of Laura Marshall’s work.

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

 

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

514-fU+PfcLLibby Hall, the school teacher who saved a child from a burning building, should be revelling in her new-found hero status. Instead it has brought back memories of what took place nine years ago – the last time she saw her friend, Karen, alive. So when she has the opportunity to put it all behind her and undergo a holiday house swap with a couple in picturesque Cornwall, it seems like the ideal way to solve the problem. All is not what it seems, however, and soon Libby feels that she is being watched and she begins to mistrust even the person closest to her – her husband, Jamie. Just what is happening to her and is it linked to the terrifying events of nine years ago?

From the start, I was suspicious about the circumstances behind the house swap. It was plain to see that the couple had been targeted but we do not find out why or by whom until much later in the book. Although Libby and Jamie are spending time in a spacious house in the vast Cornish countryside, the author has created a setting which is extremely claustrophobic and unsettling as we learn to anticipate that something untoward is about to happen. There were several times when I was urging Libby to trust her instincts and get away from a potentially dangerous situation and I could understand the reasons behind her falling suspicious of her husband as he tried to convince her that all was well.

In books of this genre, you become accustomed to there being a twist involved and, indeed, there was one in Last Seen Alive. I was convinced that I had the plot all worked out, only to find that I could not be more wrong! There was a certain point in the book where I had to completely reevaluate everything I thought I knew, making me think carefully about everything that I had already read. Just when I thought I finally had it all worked out, another curveball was thrown, making me gasp once again!

I thought that the previous book from the author, Local Girl Missing, was good but Last Seen Alive even manages to eclipse it! A gripping, claustrophobic delight of a book that I cannot recommend highly enough.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for my ARC.

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_Detective Lottie Parker is a woman in turmoil. After events took a harrowing turn in her previous case, her relationship with her children has become more strained than ever, so when a woman turns up on her doorstep asking for help, Lottie is pushed to her limits. On the same day, the body of a partially decomposed woman is found – could the two incidents be linked?

I can honestly say that the opening chapter of this book, describing atrocities taking place in Kosovo, is once of the most harrowing and emotional I have ever read – not ideal when you are reading it on public transport! Patricia Gibney succeeded in drawing me in right from the start, helping me to develop an emotional attachment to many of the characters. My heart went out to the Kosovan boy who witnessed things that no child should ever have to and also to Mimoza, the woman whose visit to Lottie sparks off an investigation into people trafficking, prostitution and organ harvesting.

In Lottie Parker, we have a very realistic, likeable protagonist who is desperately trying to balance her home and work life. As in the previous book, The Missing Ones, her family become embroiled in the case, the trauma of previous events coming back to haunt one of her children. Although there are some spoilers, it is not essential to have read the first book in the series, but I would advise you do as it is another fantastic book.

The subject matter is, at times, incredibly hard-hitting and evokes sympathy throughout. I genuinely could not put this book down, the short chapters moving the story along at a very fast pace, and the quality of the writing immersing me completely in the plot. This has definitely been one of my favourite reads of the year so far.

With thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my ARC.

Frost at Midnight by James Henry

With only days to go until his wedding to fellow police officer Kim Myles, Detective Sergeant Waters finds his preparations thrown into disarray when the body of a woman is found on a gravestone at the church where the ceremony is due to take place. Coupled with the fact that his best man is the dishevelled Jack Frost, this marriage looks doomed from the start! When another local woman goes missing, Frost knows that time is of the essence if he is to find her alive.

Frost at Midnight is the fourth of the prequels to R. D. Wingfield’s Touch of Frost, the book that was the inspiration behind the incredibly popular TV series starring David Jason. I can remember reading, and enjoying, Wingfield’s books but feeling as though the character of Frost, compared to the portrayal of him on TV, was completely different – a problem with watching the series before reading the books. In Frost at Midnight, however, I found that I was imagining David Jason delivering the lines, making this book a must-read for all fans of the ITV show.

By setting the prequels in the 1980s, we get the opportunity to experience the opinions of the time such as the attitudes some people had towards black officers. There are also some great cultural references, firmly placing the book in 1983. Watching Frost attempting to come to terms with the new computers and his much-hated pager was very reminiscent of the TV show where his filing system, or lack of it, left a lot to be desired!

The crimes within the book are well thought out and entertaining. One of the cases is particularly gruesome and I had much sympathy for the poor officer who chanced upon the body! Like all Frost books, though, there is an element of humour running throughout, making this a gripping and enjoyable read. There is definitely more scope for further prequels!

With thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and NetGalley for the ARC.

Monthly Round Up: June 2017

This month, I was happy to attend an evening with three fantastic crime writers – Mark Billingham, Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre and got some signed copies of their books to add to my ever-growing collection! Mark Billingham’s latest book was one of my reads this month, and a great read it was too!

Books I’ve Read

Trust Me51O73PAHCPL__SY346_ by Angela Clarke

The third in Angela Clarke’s ‘social media’ crime series, sees DS Nasreen Cudmore and civilian associate Freddie Venton tackle the case of a girl who has apparently been viewed on the Periscope app  being murdered. Another great read!

 

LoveLikeBloodLove Like Blood by Mark Billingham

The latest of Mark Billingham’s Thorne series deals with the controversial issue of honour killings. A disturbing yet enthralling read, this is Billingham at his best.

 

51gh4mWIeqLBlood Sisters by Jane Corry

Fifteen years after a fatal accident, someone is out for revenge. Told from the perspectives of half-sisters, Alison and Kitty, Blood Sisters is a twisty tale of paranoia, revenge and deception. 

 

FullSizeRenderSoftly, Softly by David Jackson

Available to members of David Jackson’s Reader’s Club, Softly, Softly is a short story about a man’s obsession…

 

Hunted by Monty Marsden

The infamous serial killer, Riondino, is on the run and it is up to the Italian police to find him. This is definitely a serial killer tale with a difference! Review to be published on July 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

Troll by D. B. Thorne

When a young woman goes missing and is presumed dead by the police, her father is not convinced. What follows is a twisted game of cat and mouse. Will she be found alive after all?

 

Books I’ve Acquired

51KXRQQmfFL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

Shots ring out at a Salvation Army Christmas concert in Oslo, leaving one of the singers dead in the street. The trail will lead Harry Hole, Oslo’s best investigator and worst civil servant, deep into the darkest corners of the city and, eventually, to Croatia.

An assassin forged in the war-torn region has been brought to Oslo to settle an old debt. As the police circle in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate and the danger mounts for Harry and his colleagues.

 

516UpgT9p9L._SY346_

 

THE MARK OF THE DEVIL, THE SIGN OF A KILLER…

A young woman is murdered in her flat and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star is found behind her eyelid.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case, alongside his long-time adversary Tom Waaler, and initially wants no part in it.

But Harry is already on his final warning and has little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor when it becomes apparent that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands.

 

51AiillZG+LThe first snow will come.

A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Their house is empty but outside in the garden he sees his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.

And then he will appear again.

As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.

And when the snow is gone…

When a second woman disappears it seems that Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: for the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf.

…he will have taken someone else.

 

51Ry-oprklL**THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BBC DRAMA ‘THREE GIRLS’ **

What do they find attractive about me? An underage girl who just lies there, sobbing, looking up at them…as they come to me one by one.

This is the shocking true story of how a young girl from Rochdale came to be Girl A – the key witness in the trial of Britain’s most notorious child sex ring.

Girl A was just 14 when she was groomed by a group of nine Asian men. After being lured into their circle with free gifts, she was plied with alcohol and systematically abused. She was just one of up to fifty girls to be ‘passed around’ by the gang. The girls were all under-16 and forced to have sex with as many as twenty men in one night.

When details emerged a nation was outraged and asked how these sickening events came to pass. And now, the girl at the very centre of the storm reveals the heartbreaking truth.

 

August, 1983. Denton is preparing for a wedding. Detective Sergeant Waters should be on top of the world with less than a week to go until he marries Kim Myles. But the Sunday before the big day, instead of a run-through with his best man, the church is sealed off. The body of a young woman has been found in the churchyard, and their idyllic wedding venue has become a crime scene.

Detective Sergeant Jack Frost has been homeless for the past three months, ever since his wife’s family sold the matrimonial house. He’s been staying with Detective Constable Sue Clarke but with a baby to take care of and the imminent arrival of her mother, she’s given him his marching orders.

But as best man to Waters, he’s got a responsibility to solve the mystery of the dead girl in the churchyard. Can he put his own troubles aside and be the detective they need him to be? All in all, August looks set to be a wicked month in Denton…

 

She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

But she can’t hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what he did.

 

I’m got a few good books on my TBR pile for next month and also the blog tour for ‘Hunted’ to look forward too. Happy reading!

 

Troll by D. B. Thorne

Sophie has disappeared, the police coming to the conclusion that she has taken her own life after losing her home and job. Her father, Fortune, is not convinced, though, and after flying in from Dubai, his own investigations lead him to an online troll that was sending his daughter vile messages on her blog. Is her disappearance as a result of a recent sting she was part of or is there something even more sick and twisted at the root?

Recently, I have read several books where the internet has played a vital role in the plot – Trust Me and Last Breath to name two. What I particularly liked about Troll was that, initially, we were kept in the dark as to what had happened to Sophie, our only information coming from flashbacks telling us about the events leading up to her disappearance. The rest of the information we discover in ‘real time’ as Fortune follows the clues to discover her whereabouts. I felt a lot of sympathy for Fortune who was, to all intents and purposes, an absent father as Sophie was growing up and is now trying to make up for lost time by helping her in her hour of need. This was made even more poignant as we discover that Fortune is ill and time is running out.

I also liked Sophie who, through her flashbacks and blog, we find was a determined young woman who had been driven to intense paranoia due to events totally out of her control. Looking from the outside in, it is easy to see the mistakes she made when deciding who to trust, but as, by this point, she was being pushed to the brink of insanity, Sophie was in desperate need of a friendly face.

Troll is a twisted tale of ‘cat and mouse’ where there can only be one victor, and I found the ending satisfying if sad. A great read!

With thanks to Corvus and Readers First for the ARC.

Softly, Softly by David Jackson

FullSizeRenderWhen a man starts to eat at the same place each lunchtime, it’s not the quality of the food that keeps him returning but a woman who he clearly has designs on. What exactly has drawn him to this woman and are his intentions completely honourable?

Softly, Softly is a short story made available to members of David Jackson’s Reader’s Club (see www.bit.ly/DavidJacksonClub to join). This is a standalone story, not featuring any of the main protagonists from his crime novels.

As this is such a short story, I am not going to say too much about it for fear of giving away the plot, but I will say that it is a very clever idea and one that made me gasp and smile simultaneously! If you haven’t been introduced to the work of David Jackson yet, this is a great introduction, and I’m sure you’ll soon want to read the rest of his books!

**BLOG TOUR** When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarlvi

51bS5O6yIKLToday it is my turn on the Blog Tour for the fantastic debut from Jessica Jarlvi.

Teacher, and mother of two, Anna, is great at her job and seemingly well-liked so why would someone beat her so brutally that she is left in a coma? The police in the quiet Swedish town where she lives are investigating but Anna’s husband, Erik, decides to start a bit of detective work of his own. Soon he discovers his wife, and the people of their ‘perfect’ town had secrets they would rather stay hidden. The only person who can solve the mystery of the attack is the very woman who is lying in a hospital bed. Will Anna ever be able to reveal the truth?

It is fair to say that this book did not go in the direction I was expecting and the subject matter was most definitely a surprise! As a result, some of the very descriptive scenes were slightly uncomfortable to read, although they were integral in explaining Anna’s state of mind. What started off as a straightforward ‘whodunnit’ soon became a twisted tale of passion, infidelity and unhealthy fixations. To muddy the waters further, once the main suspects began to cross paths, more and more motives began to rise to the surface.

Each chapter is devoted to one of the main players in the plot. In addition to Anna and Erik, we also have Daniel, a student with an unhealthy interest in Anna; Iris, a local librarian and close friend of Anna, and Rolf, the artist husband of Iris. Initially, I found this quite confusing but once the characters were established, it provided the author with a way of exploring the same event from the perspective of multiple characters. I found it difficult to like any of the main characters, especially as more and more secrets began to emerge, and could fully appreciate how any one of them could be the guilty party.

There were several times in the book when I wanted to shake Anna for the poor decisions she was making, especially when dealing with the Daniel situation, and felt that the whole sorry affair could have been avoided if only she’d spoken to someone about what was happening. Of course, this would not have made a good plot, though!

I think I must have suspected every character at some time whilst reading When I Wake Up, so when the perpetrator was revealed, it was not a huge surprise. Although others had a motive, in the end, for me, there was only one person who could have possibly have done it and I feel that Jessica Jarlvi has chosen the correct one.

This is a great debut and I thank Net Galley and Aria for the ARC.

About the Author

Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university, and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!

Follow Jessica

Facebook: @JessicaJarlvi

Twitter: @JessicaJarlvi

Website: http://www.jessicajarlvi.com

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