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**BLOG TOUR** The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley

Today, I am pleased to be the final stop on the blog tour for the latest book by Rebecca Bradley, The Twisted Web.

When the body of a man is left in a very public place, the area staged to look like a police crime scene, D. I. Hannah Robbins and her team know that they are dealing with a particularly twisted individual. As images of the crime are shared by users of various social media platforms, Hannah and her team begin to feel the pressure. In a case with limited leads, however, can they stop the killer before he finds another victim?

In recent years, social media has provided authors with a new plot device, whether it be through the use of streaming websites for the killer to showcase their crime or through assuming a fake online identity to catch their prey. The Twisted Web takes the Internet and uses it in a different way entirely. We are probably all aware of the saying, ‘the camera never lies’, and Rebecca Bradley has used this to explain the motives behind the killings. Drew, a teacher, sees his life shattered when he saves a homeless man from being knocked down by a car. What seems like the act of a Good Samaritan takes on a completely different path, however, when the event is filmed and uploaded to the web. The problem is, however, that the clip only captures Drew pushing the man, and does not show the reason why he did it. After the video goes viral, Drew loses his family, home and job and he begins to develop a hatred for the way people use social media. I found I had much sympathy for Drew at this point, but this soon disappeared once his crime spree began.

One of the things I liked most about the book was, although the murders are quite macabre, the descriptions are not overly graphic. More emphasis was placed on how they were staged and the reason for them being posed as they were. This, I felt, helped to build a better picture of Drew and why he felt he was justified in doing what he was doing.

I found it difficult to create a bond with D. I. Hannah Robbins, but feel that this is because I had not read the previous books in the series. I did admire her support of a colleague whose job appears to be under threat, however, and saw this as a huge contrast to the bloody-mindedness of her boss, Baxter.

The Twisted Web is a topical police-procedural which definitely serves as a reminder to always check the authenticity of online sources before accepting them as fact.

With thanks to the author and also to Emma Welton from Damp Pebbles for organising the blog tour.

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**COVER REVEAL** She’s Mine by Claire S Lewis

Today, I’m really pleased to be taking part in the cover reveal for She’s Mine‘, the first novel by Claire S Lewis. Born in Paris, Claire studied philosophy, French literature and international relations at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge before starting her career in aviation law with a City law firm and later as an in-house lawyer at Virgin Atlantic Airways.  More recently, she turned to writing psychological suspense, taking courses at the Faber Academy.

About the Book

She was never mine to lose…

When Scarlett falls asleep on a Caribbean beach she awakes to her worst nightmare – Katie is gone. With all fingers pointed to her Scarlett must risk everything to clear her name.

As Scarlett begins to unravel the complicated past of Katie’s mother she begins to think there’s more to Katie’s disappearance than meets the eye. But who would want to steal a child? And how did no-one see anything on the small island?

Time is running out and Scarlett is certain of only one thing – she didn’t kill Katie. Did she?

So now, the cover, and what a brilliant cover it is! Idyllic but with a hint of a threat, it sums up the blurb perfectly!

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Follow Claire:

Twitter: @CSLewisWrites

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

With thanks to Vicky Joss.

 

Teacher, Teacher! by Jack Sheffield

The year is 1977 and Jack Sheffield has just started a new job as head teacher at Ragley Primary School in North Yorkshire. Teacher, Teacher! is the story of his first year in the post, showing how the young, inexperienced teacher deals with the staff, parents and pupils along with the numerous colourful characters of the local village.

Although I mainly read crime and thriller books, occasionally I like to venture into something a little more light-hearted so when I saw Teacher, Teacher! on The Works website, it looked right up my street. As someone who grew up after the time the book is set but remembers primary school with fondness, I looked forward to the book taking me right back to simpler times. As someone who works in education, I was also intrigued to see how schools today compared to Ragley in the 1970s.

Teacher, Teacher! is filled with laugh out loud moments from a cast of larger than life characters. A vivid picture has been painted of life in the school and it was easy to imagine people such as Ruby, the caretaker, and Mrs. Brown, the parent nobody wants to speak to at parents’ evening. There were numerous amusing tales of events such as the school camping trip and sports day – all before the days of health and safety and risk assessments!

The book also has its more poignant moments, the standout ones for me being Jack’s visit to a local special school where he spent his time dancing with a severely disabled child who could only ‘dance with her eyes’. This was a truly beautiful scene. I also enjoyed reading about Ping, a Vietnamese refugee who spent a short time at Ragley school. Both of these stories showed how important a nurturing environment is to children – a stark contrast to the current trend of testing and reducing children to statistics.

Teacher, Teacher! is a heart-warming read and I have already purchased the next in the series.

**BLOG TOUR** Where the Truth Lies by M. J. Lee

I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for the new book from M J Lee, Where the Truth Lies. This is the first of a brand  new series, set in Manchester and was published on 22nd October.

DI Thomas Ridpath, back at work after a life-threatening illness, finds himself seconded to the coroner’s office and is immediately thrown into a case that has echoes of something familiar. Ten years after being the officer to arrest the serial killer known as ‘The Beast of Manchester’, another body has been found bearing the hallmarks of the notorious murderer. The only problem is that he is still in prison. Is this a copycat or has an innocent man been wrongly convicted? When a body from the original case goes missing and paperwork appears to have been destroyed, Ridpath must try to overcome the conspiracy of silence before more women are found dead.

I am a big fan of the author’s genealogical mystery series and so I was really excited to read the first Thomas Ridpath book. I liked how Ridpath had a slightly different role to the main protagonists in most other police procedurals as it gave an insight into another aspect of the justice system. By having him as a detective on a three-month secondment, we get to see him in the infancy of his role, meaning that we get to learn alongside him.

Where the Truth Lies has a great plot which makes you ask many questions as you read. Was the original murder case handled correctly by the police and did they put an innocent man in prison? Are the latest set of killings by the same hand as the original deaths or is there a copycat killer? Just what has happened to the missing body? The questions came thick and fast but were all answered by the end of the book.

The story is told mainly from the perspective of Ridpath, an extremely likeable character, although we do get to hear from the perpetrator too. I can’t say too much without giving anything away, but the culprit is not your run-of-the-mill serial killer and the author provides us with a twist on the normal sort of murderer in books of the same genre.

I really enjoyed Where the Truth Lies and think that this could be the start of a brilliant new series. If you are a fan of police procedurals or enjoy a good serial killer story then this is definitely for you!

With thanks to Net Galley and Canelo and to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour.

 

 

 

Monthly Round Up – November 2018

Due to work, I’ve been a bit slow with blog posts this month but I have managed to read some great books and I also reached my Goodreads challenge total too!

Books I Have Read

Her Last Move by John Marrs

A superb serial killer novel that definitely has a twist that I did not see coming. My review for this must-read book will form part of the blog tour later in the month. Highly recommended!

 

The Silent Christmas by M J Lee

This novella, part of the Jayne Sinclair genealogical mystery series, tells the story of one of the iconic moments of World War One. It can be read  as a standalone and is a good introduction to this great series.

 

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

The Take That singer’s autobiography is a very honest take on his life, dealing with his constant weight battle, depression and the traumatic loss of his baby daughter. A must for all Take That fans.

 

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

As a big fan of all of Elly’s other books, I was really looking forward this one and was definitely not disappointed. When the body of a teacher is found, a link to a long-dead author provides a mysterious and, at times, spooky murder investigation.

 

The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley

The latest installment in the  D I Hannah Robbins series sees the detective investigating some horribly-staged murders which appear to have some sort of social media link. Can she catch the killer before more bodies are found? My review will form part of the blog tour.

 

Where the Truth Lies by M J Lee

The first in a new series sees coroner’s officer, Thomas Ridpath, investigating the disappearance of a body and the possibility of a copycat killer. This promises to be a great series. My review will form part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

 

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

 

That’s it for another month! I’ve, again, limited the books that I’ve bought/got from Net Galley as I’m determined not to let my TBR list rise! I can’t wait to read the two I’ve acquired though – C J Tudor’s The Chalk Man was one of my favourites of the past year and I’m sure The Taking of Annie Thorne will be just as good.

Have you read any of these books?

 

 

 

 

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Talgarth School teacher, Clare Cassidy, is an expert on the author R. M. Holland and teaches his short story, The Stranger, as part of a course every year. When the body of her friend and colleague, Ella, is found at her home, suspicions arise when a quote from Holland is found alongside her horrific injuries. For many years an avid diary writer, Clare commits her feelings about Ella to paper only to find that there is some strange writing in her journal, writing that is not hers…

As a huge fan of the Ruth Galloway and Stephens & Mephisto series by Elly Griffiths, I could not wait to read this new standalone novel. When you love an author so much, there is always some slight trepidation, however, as to whether something new will live up to your expectations. This is Elly Griffiths – of course it did!

Although many books have the story told by multiple characters, I enjoyed the way the author used this device to retell events from different perspectives. First, we have Clare, the main protagonist. As the book progresses, we see her becoming more and more unnerved as she realises how interested the killer appears to be in her. Then, there is her daughter, Georgie. With an older boyfriend and a hidden interest in creative writing, does she know more about the crime than she is letting on? Finally, there is the detective investigating the case, D. S. Harbinder Kaur. An ex-Talgarth pupil herself, she is a great character who, despite the seriousness of the case, provides some very light-hearted moments.

While this could definitely be described as a murder-mystery plot, the inclusion of the mysterious diary entries and the ghostly undercurrent at the school, gives it a slight air of the supernatural. I admit to not being a huge fan of ‘ghost’ stories, but Elly Griffiths has provided just enough of this genre to make it a completely believable read. I particularly enjoyed reading the snippets of R. M. Holland’s The Stranger which were included throughout the book. This provided a Gothic feel and certainly helped to ramp up the tension.

The end of the book had a credible conclusion and, with hindsight, it became apparent that clues had been dotted throughout. The Stranger Diaries has a well-crafted, enjoyable plot and I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page. Definitely one of my favourite reads of the year!

With thanks to Net Galley and Quercus for my ARC.

 

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

During the 1990s, Take That were the boy band. Sell-out tours, number one singles, adoring fans – they had it all. After they decided to call it a day, everyone expected the career of lead singer and songwriter, Gary Barlow, to go from strength to strength, but this was not to be the case. Finding solace in food, Gary became a virtual recluse, tired of the endless jibes at his expense. A Better Me chronicles the battles with his demons, from his lowest times to the present day where he is happier than ever.

As someone who remembers Take That from the days when they used to tour shops and who still enjoys going to their tours today, I was really looking forward to reading A Better Me. If you are looking for a ‘warts and all’ tale of life in a boy band, then you are going to be sorely disappointed. This is very much Gary’s story – not the story of Take That – and it is one of humour, sadness but, above all, honesty.

As the title suggests, this is about how Gary changed his life for the better, be it through his battles with his weight or his mental health. What comes across throughout the book is how, despite his wealth and his happy family life, he could not find peace within himself, turning to food to fill the void when his solo career did not go how he had hoped. I daresay a lot of people will be nodding as he discusses the numerous diets, some more bizarre than others, that he tried in order to lose weight.

It was fascinating to read his take on the breakdown in his relationship with bandmate Robbie Williams, and he deals with this particular part of his life with brutal honesty. Similarly, he addresses his well-publicised tax avoidance – something I thought may have been omitted.

Gary deals with the well-documented loss of his stillborn child in a sensitive, honest way. I can understand why he had reservations in including this traumatic part of his life, but I feel that he made the correct decision in writing about it. If just one person going through the same thing finds it comforting, then it has been worthwhile.

A Better Me is a brutally honest take on the life  of one of the country’s foremost songwriters and is one that I’m sure all Take That fans will love.

The Silent Christmas by M J Lee

With Christmas fast approaching, genealogical investigator, Jayne Sinclair, only has a few days to uncover the secrets of her latest case. Her client, David Wright, has asked her to research the history of some objects he has recently found in his attic, objects that appear, on face value, to be worthless. Just why, then, has a label, a silver button and a lump of old leather been kept for all these years? By the end of the book, all will be revealed…

The Silent Christmas is the fifth of the Jayne Sinclair mysteries but this novella can be read as a standalone. With the approach of the centenary of World War One, this is a very timely read and one that will bring to life one of the most famous occurrences from the 1914-18 conflict.

Jayne Sinclair is a great character and I like how she uses real-life methods and websites to aid her research. I also enjoy when her past career, that of a police officer, rears its head, in this case when she meets an old ‘associate’ who can help her to identify the items. This character always makes me smile when he makes an appearance!

M J Lee has managed to merge fact with fiction to the point where it is hard to see where the two meet. It is obvious that the author has done a lot of research into the subject and, as a result, has written a fascinating, easy-to-read book. The ending sets up another plot nicely, and I hope we don’t have to wait too long before we see Jayne researching this part of her life.

**BLOG TOUR** Dead End by Rachel Lynch

When the seventh Earl of Lowesdale is found hanging at his home, Wasdale Hall, by his grandson, Zac, it seems as though the elderly man has taken his own life. After doubts are raised by the coroner, it looks as though DI Kelly Porter has a murder to solve. Meanwhile, the disappearance of two young women from a nearby camp site shows similarities to the case of another woman who vanished without trace nearby. With years-old secrets starting to rise to the surface, Kelly has a race against time to solve the cases before there are more deaths.

Dead End is the third book in the DI Kelly Porter series and sees the detective having to deal with the fall-out from her previous case. For this reason, although this could be read as a standalone, there are a few spoilers as to events in the previous book, so I would advise you read the others first. Both of the previous books, Dark Game  and Deep Fear are excellent reads, so you definitely won’t regret it!

I love the character of Kelly Porter – determined and devoted to her work yet without the bloody-mindedness so often seen in fictional detectives. Her relationship with Johnny is developing but her family are posing other problems. I liked the twist regarding Kelly and another character (no spoilers!) and could see how this story has been developed through the previous books. I look forward to seeing how this particular plot progresses!

The setting, the Lake District, provides a perfect backdrop for a missing persons scenario – picturesque yet incredibly dangerous to those not familiar with the terrain. Throughout the book, we spend time with some of the missing women but not their captor which is usually what we see in similar books. This made for a very tense read at times as we read about the horrific conditions they are being kept in and the strength of character of one of them in particular.

There are plenty of potential suspects, each of them equally as shifty. The plot comes together nicely to provide a satisfying conclusion with all loose ends neatly tied up.

This is a series which is going from strength to strength and I am already eagerly awaiting the next book!

With thanks to Net Galley and to Ellie Pilcher at Canelo for organising the blog tour. Take a look at my reviews of the previous books in the series:

Dark Game

Deep Fear

Dead End Blog Tour Banner (1)

 

 

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