Search

Go Buy The Book

Month

July 2020

**BLOG TOUR** The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson

For many years, best friends Orla and Kate have embarked on a annual weekend away. This year takes them to Lisbon for a couple of days where Kate can forget about her forthcoming divorce and Orla can take a break from life as a new mum. The morning after the first night, however, all has gone wrong. Waking up feeling very much worse for wear, Orla discovers that Kate is nowhere to be found. Knowing immediately that something is wrong, she tries to enlist the help of the police, who are less than enthusiastic in their approach to the missing woman. Retracing their steps from the previous night, Orla makes discoveries about her friend that lead her to think that she didn’t know her as well as she thought she did.

What should have been a relaxing break ends up as a nightmare for Orla, and we are thrown straight in with her as we witness her frantic search for her friend. From the start, I had great sympathy for Orla as we see Kate engaging in a great deal of irresponsible behaviour. Torn between not wanting to appear a letdown and the need for a quiet time, I willed Orla to put her foot down and stand her ground with Kate. Maybe things would have turned out different if she had!

Kate was a thoroughly unlikeable character, and it was quite easy to see why someone would have wanted her out of the way, but who? The author introduces us to a plethora of characters, each with their own motive, and I was constantly torn as to who the guilty party could be. As Orla is a classic unreliable witness due to events that will become apparent, we were unsure as to what had actually happened, leaving us waiting until the very end to get the full picture. This kept my interest piqued, making me not want to put the book down!

The Weekend Away has one of the best final pages that I have read in a long time, twisting everything on its head and leaving us with a superb cliffhanger. I thought this was a clever ending, leaving us with no doubt as to what had happened while also making us want more!

This is an ideal summer read and, once you start, you will not want to stop.

With thanks to Avon and Net Galley for my copy and to Sanjana Cunniah for organising the blog tour. 

 

 

Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

The year is 1996 and seven-year-old Kieron Coyne has vanished while playing with his friend in the woods. With an eyewitness stating that he saw the child being led away by a man, Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne knows that time is against him if he is going to find him alive. With a mole in the ranks, however, feeding information to the vulture-like journalists, how many more people are going to find themselves collateral damage?

For long-time Mark Billingham fans like myself, this is the book we didn’t know we wanted until we read it! Twenty years since the first Thorne book, we have now been taken back to where it all started, giving us an insight into the early life and career of the detective.

Mark Billingham transported me back to the summer of 1996, with references to the sport and popular culture of the day. Memories of Euro 96 came flooding back, the belief that the ‘thirty years of hurt’ could finally be over swiftly followed by the inevitability of a loss on penalties against the Germans! It’s strange to think that a book set in 1996 could now be seen as historical, but this is exactly what it is, the methods of policing showing how quickly time has moved on.

Knowing what happens in previous (or should that be future?) books, it was good to see Thorne with his parents and also witness the relationship he currently has with his soon-to-be ex-wife. My favourite parts, though, had to be the first meeting with Phil Hendricks, and how quickly this developed into the strong friendship that they still have today. It was fascinating to see Hendricks, who we know as a confident, straight-talking man, struggling to tell Tom about his sexuality.

Cry Baby has a well-written, readable plot, with enough dodgy characters thrown in to make you really think about who the guilty party could be. With nods to police corruption and the role the press have in cases such as this, Mark Billingham definitely has another hit on his hands. Long may Thorne reign!

With thanks to Little Brown and to Net Galley for my copy of Cry Baby.

 

**BLOG TOUR** Hush Little Baby by Jane Isaac

Fifteen years ago, three-month-old Alicia Owen was taken from her pram outside a shop and, despite an extensive police investigation, was never found again. Now, a teenage girl has found a small hand in the ground, the police discovering it belongs to the body of a baby, entombed in concrete. Could this be the missing baby after all these years? With the case reopened, and painful wounds revisited, can DC Beth Chamberlain finally find out what happened to baby Alicia on that fateful day?

I had not realised that Hush Little Baby was the third in a series before reading it but while there are definitely links to a previous book, I felt I could follow the story, the author giving enough detail about what had gone before. Reading this one has made me curious about part of the plot, so I will definitely be catching up with the other books at some point!

The main plot concerns the cold case of the disappearance of baby Alicia Owen fifteen years ago, a case which has now become active once again. I felt that this was well-written, showing how the uncertainty of what happened years ago still affected the baby’s family today. It was heartbreaking to see how the two parents had reacted to the loss, the father’s story being particularly sad. It was difficult to see old wounds opening up for both parents, their fears, once again, rising to the surface. While it was obvious that someone definitely knew more than they had told the police investigating the original case, I did not see the conclusion coming so the revealing of the killer came as a shock!

The other plot is the conclusion of a case from the previous book but, like I said, enough detail is given so this part of the story is easy to follow. This is the part of the book where we get to find out more about Beth Chamberlain and her personal life while also seeing the tenacity she displays in her work life.

I really enjoyed Hush Little Baby and will definitely be catching up on the rest of the series.

With thanks to Aria Fiction and Net Galley for my copy and to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

 

 

 

The Molten City by Chris Nickson

All eyes are on the Leeds police as the city is soon to receive a visit from the Prime Minister. The year is 1908, however, and the unemployed are planning to disrupt the visit along with the Suffragettes who see this as an ideal opportunity to get their grievances heard. With his men already stretched, an anonymous note sent to Detective Superintendent Tom Harper has piqued his interest. Telling of an abducted child fourteen years earlier and naming the family with whom he now lives, Harper is concerned that the original investigation seemed to be a bit lacklustre with a paper thin file detailing the steps taken. When missing children are a top priority, why was the disappearance of Andrew Sharp never taken seriously and why is there still an attempt to keep the story hidden?

Tom Harper is back, and this time things are looking very different in his personal life. At the start of the book, we see him having to come to terms with the loss of a close friend, someone who we have got to know throughout the series. This death, although not suspicious, sets the tone for the rest of the book, with numerous murders occurring to try to protect an old secret.

One of the things I have always liked about this series is the prominence placed upon Tom’s wife, Annabelle. Very much a woman ahead of her time, we now see this replicated in their daughter, Mary. Now sixteen years of age, she is very much involved in the suffragette movement, although unlike her mother, she is prepared to go against her father’s wishes to achieve her aim. I had great sympathy for Tom who, despite showing support for his daughter, knows he has a job to do, finding it difficult to prevent his daughter from getting involved in potentially dangerous demonstrations.

The Molten City has a lot happening between its pages, but the story flows easily, each plot being as enjoyable as the other. Chris Nickson, again, adds an air of authenticity by including real historical events as part of the plot, and it is easy to imagine yourself in the Leeds of 1908.

My only concern with this series is that, as time is moving on, Tom Harper is getting older. I hope that we do not see him retiring any time soon, as this is a series that I am thoroughly enjoying! If you haven’t read any of this series before, I can highly recommend it. Take a look at my reviews of some of the other books in the series:

Two Bronze Pennies

Skin Like Silver

On Copper Street

The Tin God

Leaden Heart

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

 

 

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

News of a girl going missing near her childhood home transports Felicity back sixteen years to a time when she was a carefree teenager. Carefree, that is, until another girl disappeared, and she fled, knowing more than she cared to let on. Feeling that this is the time to put this behind her once and for all, Felicity is compelled to return to her childhood haunts, using her knowledge of what happened then to help find the girl. Little does she know the full extent of what happened all those years ago and how much danger she is putting herself in by returning…

Having recently read and enjoyed Woman in the Water, the sixth book in the Imogen Grey series, I couldn’t wait to read Katerina Diamond’s latest standalone book, The Heatwave. I was instantly hooked, wondering what it was that happened that had made Felicity leave her home at such a young age, and what it was about the missing girl that had made her go back after all these years.

The Heatwave is told from two perspectives, the first being the aforementioned Felicity, as she returns to Devon to find the truth about the missing girl. It soon becomes apparent that something similar happened years ago, with Felicity fearing that the past has come back to haunt her. It is from the other perspective that we begin to build up the story of what happened as we meet Jasmine, Felicity’s friend, her part of the story being set sixteen years ago, prior to the event that changed their lives forever.

Despite the girls being close friends, they had very different personalities and backgrounds, both of them damaged in their own way. There were many reasons to dislike Felicity and yet, at the same time, I had great sympathy towards her due to the life she was leading. It was easy to see why she was drawn to Jasmine, the girl from the stable home with charity-volunteer parents. All was not what it seemed with Jasmine, however, as we found out more about her past and the troubling time she has had at school.

The arrival of Tim, a lodger at Jasmine’s home, definitely ramped up the tension. It was obvious that he was hiding something but, due to his actions in several different parts of the book, I found it difficult to determine what his motives were. What was he hiding and what was he planning to do?

The Heatwave is a book full of surprises with twists that I did not see coming. The events of sixteen years ago are slowly revealed, the plot becoming much more twisted than I could have ever imagined, with a shocking conclusion that made me gasp several times. I was genuinely taken aback by some of the reveals, some of them sickening and others heartbreaking, and I did not predict any of them!

This is one of those books which draws you in and refuses to let you put it down and I found myself racing through it, desperate to find out what had happened all those years ago. A gripping plot with some very shocking moments, The Heatwave is another great read from Katerina Diamond and I hope that we will see some more standalones soon.

With thanks to Net Galley and Avon for my copy and to Sanjana Cunniah for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** The Dead Tell Lies by J F Kirwan

A serial killer nicknamed The Divine has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Managing to find his location, criminal psychologist Greg Adams joins a raid, helping to capture the sadistic killer and saving the girl. Ecstasy soon turns to agony, however, when, Greg discovers that his own wife has been brutally slain by another killer, The Dreamer.

A year later, unable to find the man who killed his wife, Greg’s life has taken a turn for the worse. With no job and a loaded gun ready to play Russian Roulette, he is stopped in his tracks by a phone call informing him that The Dreamer is dead and that he wasn’t the one who killed his wife. With renewed vigour, Greg returns to Scotland Yard, assisting in a re-examination of the case. If it wasn’t The Dreamer who killed his wife, then who was it? Greg soon finds himself revisiting the cases of his past, coming face to face with an adversary with a score to settle…

From the very first chapter, when we are introduced to Greg’s work as a criminal psychologist specialising in serial killers, I was hooked. By starting the book with a police raid, I was drawn straight into the action, and I loved how we were thrown a huge curve ball right from the beginning, setting the tone for what was to come.

I have read many books containing serial killers but I think that in The Dead Tell Lies, the author has managed to do something a bit different with this genre, mainly due to the lead character. By having the main protagonist as someone who has worked on several serial killer cases, these cases now impacting upon the present, we get the opportunity to explore each of these murderers and their modus operandi. I particularly liked how some of these killers were dead and some were in prison, leading Greg to wonder who exactly it was that was pulling the strings.

If you are a fan of serial killer fiction, then The Dead Tell Lies is a fast-paced read that you can really sink your teeth into.  Greg is a great character and there is definitely scope for him to return in future books so I hope that this is something that the author is considering.

Highly recommended

With thanks to Bloodhound Books and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources.

Purchase Links 

UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Tell-Lies-absolutely-gripping-ebook/dp/B08CMXWF1X

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Tell-Lies-absolutely-gripping-ebook/dp/B08CMXWF1X

The Redemption Murders by J C Briggs

The year is 1851 and the police have been called to London’s Blackwall Reach where a death has been reported on the ship The Redemption. The captain, Louis Valentine, has been brutally stabbed to death, the only clue left behind being a  copy of The Old Curiosity Shop, one of Charles Dickens’ books. The book has been inscribed to someone called ‘Kit’ who Dickens immediately recognises as his friend Kit Penney. With his friend now a murder suspect, Dickens sets out to find him, only to discover that he is missing. Is he involved or is he in fear for his own life? As the death toll rises, Superintendent Jones and the famous writer find themselves uncovering a series of dark secrets…

This, the sixth in the series is possibly the most complex plot to date, with a great deal going on, all linking together to create a huge web of intrigue. If you haven’t read any of this series yet, you may wonder how Charles Dickens finds himself involved in this shady underworld and, although this is explained in previous books, you don’t need to have read them to enjoy The Redemption Murders. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the descriptions of Victorian London. Although we do get to experience the richer part of society, I particularly like reading about the lower classes and the environment they are forced to live in. J C Briggs writes this extremely well and you can easily picture these downtrodden people, living in squalid conditions through no fault of their own. Dickens has great sympathy for these people and there several links made to the author’s own life which, as many people will know, was not a bed of roses.

Children feature quite strongly in this series and there was one moment with a particular child in this book that was truly heart-wrenching. Throughout the book, we see how these children have to grow up fast, often doing things that they should not be doing at their age.

If you are a fan of historical mystery or are someone who enjoys the books of Charles Dickens, then this is a great series. A superb atmospheric read.

With thanks to Sapere Books and Net Galley for my copy.

**COVER REVEAL** Who’s Next? by Chris Merritt

I’m really please to be taking part in the cover reveal for Chris Merrit’s latest book, Who’s Next?, which will be published by Bookouture on September 11th. If this looks like your sort of book, it can be pre-ordered here: Pre-order link

About the Author

Hello! I’m a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.

All my novels are set in London, where I live. My first trilogy starred Zac Boateng and Kat Jones, two detectives motivated by family, who tackle organised crime and police corruption. LAST WITNESS, the second Boateng and Jones book, reached #13 in the UK Kindle chart in 2019.

My second series features detective Dan Lockhart – an ex-soldier with a missing wife – and psychologist Dr Lexi Green, an American living in London. These novels are darker, more psychological serial-killer cases, with romantic relationships as a central theme.

I began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. I specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked my interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.

Now, I spend most of my time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When I’m not writing, I love climbing and playing basketball.

You can find out more about my work at www.cjmerritt.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @DrCJMerritt

About the Book

Stumbling to the ground, he claws at the earth around him, trying to stabilise himself, but his attacker is on him in seconds. As he stares at the lights of the bustling streets on the other side of the park gates, he doesn’t even have time to yell for help before everything goes black.

When the body of wealthy businessman Charles Stott is found dead on Wimbledon Common, covered in bruises just feet away from his luxury home, Detective Dan Lockhart is called to investigate the shocking scene. Examining the sickeningly disfigured body before him, Lockhart knows he’s dealing with a brutal killer and, as he bends down to take a closer look, he notices something on the victim’s neck: a small, crudely drawn symbol in black ink. It seems the murderer has marked his victim, but why? Dan needs to get inside the perpetrator’s mind, so he contacts psychologist Dr Lexi Green.

As the ensuing media circus puts pressure on Dan and Lexi’s investigation, another victim is found and the headlines are quick to report a serial killer is on the loose. The body of a successful lawyer has been discovered in a park with the same purple bruising and hand-drawn symbol on his neck. Dan fears that more victims will follow.

As the case intensifies, Dan uncovers a new lead on his missing wife, Jess, who disappeared eleven years ago. Determined to follow it up, he must choose between tracking down a serial murderer and finding Jess. Can he make the impossible decision before the killer strikes once more?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Cara Hunter will love this thrilling new series from Chris Merritt. From an explosive start to a heart-stopping finale, you will not want to put this book down!

With thanks to Bookouture and Noelle Holten.

 

Monthly Round-Up: June 2020

With everything that is going on, I forgot to do my round up of what I had read last month! Better late than never!

Books I Have Read

The Body in the Marsh by Nick Louth

After reading the rest of the Craig Gillard series, I thought it was about time that I read the first! When a woman goes missing and is feared dead, the case is very close to home for Gillard as it is an ex-girlfriend from his youth. If you haven’t read this series yet, I can highly recommend it.

 

Death on Coffin Lane by Jo Allen

The third in the DCI Jude Satterthwaite series sees the detective investigating a string of deaths, the common link being an academic who is currently staying in the area. Is she a potential victim or is she involved in the crimes?

 

I Robot: How to be a Footballer 2 by Peter Crouch

A bit of light relief for football fans with stories from his footballing career and beyond told in the author’s self-effacing way.

 

 

The Redemption Murders by J C Briggs

When a sea captain is found stabbed to death on his ship, The Redemption, Superintendent Jones, ably assisted by the writer Charles Dickens, find themselves involved in a case full of secrets. This is the sixth in the Victorian crime mystery series. Review to follow.

 

The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

A missing girl sparks memories of a similar occurrence sixteen years ago, leading Felicity to return to the town of her youth, determined to put the past behind her once and for all. This is a brilliant summer read – review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

The Fear of Ravens by Wendy Percival

The fourth in the series sees genealogist Esme Quentin researching a case of witchcraft, family feud and murder. A great read, probably the best in the series so far.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Someone stole a baby…

One sunny day in July, someone took three-month-old Alicia Owen from her pram outside a supermarket. Her mother, Marie, was inside. No one saw who took Alicia. And no one could find her.

They silenced her cry…

Fifteen years later, a teenager on a construction site sees a tiny hand in the ground. When the police investigate, they find a baby buried and preserved in concrete. Could it be Alicia?

But the truth will always out.

When Alicia disappeared, the papers accused Marie of detachment and neglect. The Owens never got over the grief of their child’s disappearance and divorced not long after. By reopening the case, DC Beth Chamberlain must reopen old wounds. But the killer may be closer than anyone ever suspected…

 

Orla and Kate have been best friends forever. Together they’ve faced it all – be it Orla’s struggles as a new mother or Kate’s messy divorce. And whatever else happens in their lives, they can always look forward to their annual weekend away.

This year, they’re off to Lisbon: the perfect flat, the perfect view, the perfect itinerary. And what better way to kick things off in style than with the perfect night out?

But when Orla wakes up the next morning, Kate is gone. Brushed off by the police and with only a fuzzy memory of the night’s events, Orla is her friend’s only hope. As she frantically retraces their steps, Orla makes a series of shattering discoveries that threaten everything she holds dear. Because while Lisbon holds the secret of what happened that night, the truth may lie closer to home…

 

It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights.

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

 

Hopefully next next month I’ll be a bit quicker!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑