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The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Alice Hunter

When a young woman disappears, seemingly abducted, local vet Jenny is more concerned than most. Jenny has managed to distance herself from her traumatic past, changing her name and building a life for herself where nobody knows the truth. Olivia’s disappearance has changed all that, however, as it bears a resemblance to a case she is very familiar with: the murders committed by her father when she was younger. Someone knows what happened and is taunting her, but who?

The Serial Killer’s Daughter starts with a great hook and I was immediately drawn in to the story. Jenny is the ultimate unreliable narrator, and from the start of the book, we are left wondering if she knows more about the disappearance or whether she is, indeed, being set up by someone from her past. Once we find out about the blackouts she is having, this muddies the water further – has she done something during a blackout that she, herself, is even unaware of?

Despite the uncertainty surrounding her involvement, I had great sympathy for Jenny and what she had gone through as a child. As the book progresses, we get to find out more about her father’s crimes and how this has affected her whole life. Is murder in her blood? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my ARC.

**BLOG TOUR** The Reunion by Polly Phillips

Emily Toller has tried to put what happened to her at university out of her mind, the memories being too traumatic to think about. An invitation to a reunion stirs it all up and, for the first time, she contemplates facing her fears and returning to Cambridge. Has the time finally come to expose the truth and exact revenge on those who have made her life hell?

The Reunion is told from Emily’s perspective in two time frames: the present and her time at Cambridge University. I’ve always liked this way of telling a story and Polly Phillips uses this technique with expertise, whetting our appetite with events in the present then taking us back to the past to discover exactly led to this situation.

The characterisation is superb and I particularly enjoyed seeing the contrast in the personalities of certain characters from the present compared to their past. We know from quite early on that something happened that changed Emily, taking her from a promising Cambridge undergraduate to a woman who feels she has underachieved. What we don’t know, however, is what it was, and this is where the author’s superb plotting comes into play. It would have been easy to drop hints throughout the book but, instead, we are kept waiting to discover the truth about that fateful night in Cambridge. Desperate to find out the truth, I read The Reunion in a couple of sittings!

There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, most of which I didn’t see coming, making this one of the least predictable books I have read in a while. This is the first Polly Phillips book I have read but it certainly won’t be the last.

With thanks to Simon & Schuster and Tracy Fenton for organising the blog tour.

No Secrets by David Jackson

Izzy’s gift could also be described as a curse. Her strong empathetic abilities mean that she can read the emotions of those around her and can tell when they are lying. When a local girl goes missing and her school’s caretaker appears on television interview discussing what he saw, Izzy immediately knows he is lying. Informing the police, she knows that it is unlikely she will be taken seriously so despite being discouraged, she begins to investigate, putting herself in potential danger and alienating herself from the few people she has on her side.

One of the things I like most about David Jackson’s writing is his ability to come up with novel concepts for a plot. In No Secrets, what could have been a straightforward police procedural is turned completely on its head with the main character being a concerned member of the public with no connection to the missing girl. Izzy is a great character who I actually cared about and although she was clearly, at times, putting herself in danger, I could see why she refused to give up on her search for the truth.

There is also a fantastic supporting cast of characters with Josh, the police officer tasked with investigating the case, being a particular favourite. His scenes with Izzy were a joy to read, filled with humour and sadness. This is a stark contrast to several of the other characters whose scenes made my skin crawl!

Although this is very much a character-driven novel, there is also a gripping plot that kept me hooked right until the last page, testing my emotions as we discover exactly what has been happening. The prologue definitely whetted my appetite for what was to come and I was not disappointed in what was to be a well-written, breath-taking read.

With thanks to Viper Books and Net Galley for my ARC.

Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza

Walking in her new neighbourhood, Detective Erika Foster stumbles upon the brutal murder of true-crime podcaster, Vicky Clarke. Before she died, Vicky was working on a new episode about a sexual predator who operates in student halls of residence around London. Discovering that her episode notes are missing, it leads the detective to believe that Vicky had uncovered some vital evidence, culminating in her death. The case takes a sudden turn when the body of a second woman is found in the same building, leaving Erika questioning everything she thought she knew. Can she find the killer before they strike again?

It has been long four years since the last Erika Foster book but she is back, and definitely back with a bang! It took no time at all to reacquaint myself with the characters but first time readers of this series will be happy to know that this could be read as a standalone. I did enjoy the little reference to the author’s Kate Marshall series though!

Robert Bryndza always has the knack of grabbing your attention and he has certainly done the same in Fatal Witness, with a prologue that details a particularly gruesome murder. This immediately drew me in to the story, prompting me to wonder what could have taken place prior to this to warrant such a violent death.

The plot continues to be chilling throughout as Erika uncovers what the woman was working on and tries to make connections to her death. The case is not a simple one, however, and there are plenty of twists that surprise both the police and the reader, each one delivered perfectly by the author. There are enough suspects to keep you guessing, culminating in a satisfying, if violent, denouement.

I had been longing for a new Erika Foster book and was not let down! Fatal Witness is a gripping page turner that had my heart racing. Hopefully it won’t be another four years before the next one!

With thanks to Raven Street Publishing and Net Galley for my ARC.

The Guilty Couple by C L Taylor

Olivia Sutherland has just been released from prison after serving five years for plotting to have her husband murdered. She knows it was a wrongful conviction and that she was framed by someone she knew well – the husband she was accused of trying to kill. Now free, she has a few things she needs to do: clear her name, repair the relationship between herself and her daughter and exact revenge on her husband. With her husband’s lies running deeper than she realised, just how far will he go to stop Olivia from revealing the truth?

The Guilty Couple is a twisty tale of deceit and a lesson in whether we can really trust those closest to us. We know from the outset that Olivia has been framed and that her husband is the one who has done it, but what we don’t realise is just how deep these lies go. As the book progresses, and the lies start to unravel due to Olivia’s doggedness, there is a sense of foreboding as we discover that there are even secrets among her closest allies. Will Olivia manage to clear her name or is she putting herself in even more danger?

There is some great characterization, my favourite character being Smithy, someone who was in prison with Olivia. While some of her methods of help are far from legal, I liked how she helped Olivia to toughen up, giving her the strength to continue with her mission.

While it is fair to say that you do have to suspend belief on several occasions, C L Taylor has written another book that will keep you gripped until the last page, willing Olivia to clear her name and start a new life without any guilt hanging over her.

With thanks to Net Galley and Avon for my ARC.

**BLOG TOUR** The Guilty Girl by Patricia Gibney

A party goes horribly wrong when the host, seventeen-year-old Lucy is found brutally murdered in her own home. For Detective Lottie Parker, the investigating officer, it’s all a bit too close to home when she finds out that her son, Sean, was at the party and could have information that will help her enquiry. In a case where everyone seems not to be telling the whole truth, time is definitely running out for Lottie as the threat of her being removed from the investigation is becoming increasingly real.

The eleventh book in the Lottie Parker series is probably the darkest to date, dealing with some very uncomfortable subjects that may act as a trigger for some. It is dealt with in a sensitive way with Patricia Gibney really pulling at your heart strings with one part in particular hitting me hard, showing that the author is not afraid to shock the reader.

What starts out as the detective trying to solve a murder soon turns into something much bigger, the plot not going in the direction I was expecting. There were plenty of shocks and twists along the way that really kept me on my toes and kept me guessing right until the end.

There was a great sub-plot featuring Lottie’s sergeant, Boyd, who due to revelations in a previous book, is not in Ragmullin but, instead, is in Spain dealing with a personal matter. I liked how he still became involved in the case and think that there are fun times ahead with a new character who definitely has the attributes to be a great detective!

This is definitely one of my favourite books in the series to date and hope that we get many more like this one.

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley.

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When the Night Ends by M J Lee

When a man dies in a police cell, the post mortem provides the evidence that is needed to declare that no one was to blame for his death. Now, as part of his coroners officer duties, DI Ridpath is investigating prior to an inquest and immediately notices some discrepancies. The victim appeared to be known to the custody sergeant but this was not recorded in any of the case notes and the CCTV was conveniently not working at the time of the death. It is down to Ridpath to discover exactly what happened that night.

In the eighth in the Ridpath series, we see the detective once again providing a voice for the victims, giving an alternative perspective from the standard police procedural. As in previous books, Ridpath’s work for the coroner, while also still being a serving member of the police, does not sit well with his colleagues. Investigating a potential police cover up is certainly not going to win him any friends and he finds himself becoming increasingly isolated, relying upon his closest allies to help him uncover the truth.

It is no spoiler to say that we realise quite early on in the book that Ridpath is correct in his assumption that something is awry, but the real mystery is why. My attention was held right until the very end as we see the detective’s tenacity in trying to bring justice for the victim and his family, the author’s skilled writing providing intrigue and well-developed characters.

This is definitely one of my favourite series and When the Night Ends is one of the best so far. If you are a fan of TV shows such as Line of Duty, then this book will be right up your street. Hopefully there are many more to come.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes has his interest piqued when a European king visits him at 221b Baker Street asking the detective for help in obtaining a photograph that puts the royal in a rather compromising situation. Sherlock soon finds himself pitted against Irene Adler, otherwise known as ‘The Woman’, in a battle of wits where there can only be one victor.

The Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle have certainly stood the test of time and are just as popular as ever thanks to the numerous film and television adaptations that have been made in recent years. This version, published by Books on the Hill, is part of their ‘Open Dyslexia’ Kickstarter, which aims to provide quality dyslexia-friendly books for adults written by well-known authors. At only 59 pages long, it is also ideal for anyone who is looking to start reading this series of books.

As you would expect from Conan Doyle, the plot is well-written and features all the things we have grown to love about the detective. This version is incredibly easy to read and retains the charm and intrigue of the original. We see a slightly more human side to the detective as he finds himself investigating a woman of high intellect who always seems to be one step ahead of those trying to outwit her.

More information about the Kickstarter can be found here and if all of the books are like this one, then I can highly recommend them.

With thanks to Books on the Hill and Kelly from Love Books Tours.

Six Graves by Angela Marsons

When four bodies are found at the scene of a house fire, Detective Kim Stone soon discovers that the flames were not the cause of death. Each of the bodies, two teenagers and their parents, have gunshot wounds and the mother is holding a gun. New evidence determines that this is not an open and shut case – is the real killer still out there? An escaped convict also gives Kim reason to fear for her own life. He has unfinished business with the detective and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

If ever a book grabbed my attention right from the beginning, then this is it! The prologue really set the scene for the whole book and actually had me worried throughout as I tried to work out what it all meant! As someone who remembers what happened to one of the main characters in a previous book, I have grown to expect the unexpected in this series so was desperate to see what curveball Angela Marsons had thrown in.

There are two plots running throughout Six Graves, both of which would be worthy of a book of their own. It is testament to the strength of Kim Stone that despite her life being under threat, she continues to work at bringing a killer to justice despite her superiors wanting her out of the way! Other faces from Kim’s past have made an appearance in previous books but in Six Graves, we have one of the most heinous imaginable. Every scene they were in really set my nerves on edge, especially when I reminded myself of the prologue and where this was all going to lead to.

This is a tense, nail-biter of a book but there is also plenty of lighter-hearted moments, especially when Kim is forced to take in an unwanted house guest. Fans of previous books will know of Kim’s reluctance to even have people inside her house so to have someone actually staying there must have been an utter nightmare for her!

I say it all the time, but this is a series that just goes from strength to strength!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley.

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