Search

Go Buy The Book

Category

Crime

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante

71sRUnuQnbLNow a detective, Jane Tennison is part of the ‘Dip Squad’, a group of police officers tasked with the surveillance and apprehension of gangs of organised pick-pockets on the streets of London. Her time with this department is short-lived, however, when on her way to court, she finds herself caught up in the middle of an IRA bombing at Covent Garden tube station that leaves several people dead. As an eyewitness who could possibly identify the bomber, Jane’s life is put at risk when a photo of her assisting the injured appears in the newspaper. With another attack planned and the annual CID dinner about to take place, can Jane and her colleagues thwart the atrocity before it takes place?

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Lynda La Plante’s work, in particular the Anna Travis and original Prime Suspect books and so I am still beside myself with excitement that she decided to write prequels to the Tennison story. Good Friday is slightly different to the previous two books in the series, Tennison and Hidden Killers in that we see more of how different departments of CID operate. Also, despite it being set in the 1970s, the subject of indiscriminate terrorist attacks is just as relevant today as it was back then.

In Good Friday, Jane is, once again, suffering from discrimination because of her sex but we see the tide starting to turn as more people are beginning to realise just what she can offer as a detective. Although in previous books we have seen her tenacity, I feel that this is the first time where I truly saw traits of the Jane Tennison that would go on to arrest and convict George Marlow at Southampton Row. Jane’s personal life also comes under intense scrutiny, once again, as she is pursued by an array of suitors – not all of them with her best intentions at heart.

Although there were several attempts to misdirect, I did manage to work out who the ‘sleeper’ was, but this did not spoil my enjoyment of the book in any way. I enjoyed reading about police tactics and surveillance of the time and the ways in which they sought out criminals. I do feel, though, that there is more still to come from the sub-plot concerning the abuse and prostitution of the young women as this did not feel fully resolved.

Such was the brilliance of Helen Mirren in playing Tennison in the ITV series Prime Suspect, it is very difficult not to imagine her delivering the lines as you read Good Friday. This is not a bad thing, though, as this, along with Lynda La Plante’s writing style makes this a quick read that is just like spending time with an old friend. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

With thanks to Readers First and Zaffre for my ARC.

 

***BLOG TOUR*** The Dark Isle by Clare Carson – Q&A

I am pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for The Dark Isle by Clare Carson, the third book in the Sam Coyle Trilogy. I am grateful to Clare for taking the time to answer my questions with such interesting responses.

  • The coastal settings for the Sam Coyle Trilogy are extremely atmospheric. What prompted you to write about these particular locations?

I’m drawn to coastal locations because they are on the edge of things, and I love saltmarshes and foreshores – stretches of land that only appear between the tides. The trilogy is about spies who exist on the borders of life and in the shadows. The stories are told from the perspective of Sam, a police spy’s daughter, an insider-outsider. Sometimes she thinks sees things clearly, and knows which side of the line different characters are on, but then the tide flows in and everything looks different.

  • How much has your father’s work as an undercover policeman inspired the subject matter of your writing?

The trilogy was very much inspired by my dad’s work as an undercover policeman – although it wasn’t the details of his job that interested me so much as the impact of that secret work and life on family relationships. Having somebody who is effectively a spy in the family is pretty weird – not least because you can’t talk about it! Eventually, years after his death, I started writing fiction as a way to deal with some of the puzzles – how far can you trust your father if he is paid to lie? Is it ever safe to dig up his past? How can you distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to the double life of spies?

  • The Sam Coyle Trilogy was set in the 1970s/80s. Which other era would you like to write about?

Times of change and uncertainty always interest me, so another decade I’d like to write about is the nineteen thirties when Europe was on the brink of war. My mother in law, who is Jewish, was born in Vienna in the 1930s. In the early part of the decade Vienna was one of the most liberal cities in Europe, but she remembers the Nazis arriving in 1938 while her neighbours lined the streets to welcome them. Six months later her family escaped to Britain. I find that history gripping, chilling and moving.

  • Now that ‘The Dark Isle’ has ended the trilogy, what can we expect next?

I’m done with undercover policemen and spies for now and I’m working on an historical murder mystery. But there will still definitely be plenty of coastline, wilderness and birds.

  • When you are not writing, which other authors do you enjoy reading?

I read anything by Cormac McCarthy –  I love his economy and precision of language and his portrayal of the American landscape. I’m always rereading Graham Greene’s novels, partly because he constructs them so well. Sarah Waters is brilliant – Fingersmith is a gripping historical psychological thriller. I enjoy reading Pierre Lemaître for his sheer darkness.

  • For anyone who has not read any of your work before, why should they pick up one of your books?

If you fancy a different take on spies and undercover cops, then my books are for you. If you like characters that aren’t easy to classify as goodies or baddies, you should pick up one of my stories. They don’t slot neatly into any one genre but to quote a recent review, they have great storytelling, pitch perfect plotting, and a wonderful sense of time and place.

Sam grew up in the shadow of the secret state. Her father was an undercover agent, full of tall stories about tradecraft and traitors. Then he died, killed in the line of duty.

Now Sam has travelled to Hoy, in Orkney, to piece together the puzzle of her father’s past. Haunted by echoes of childhood holidays, Sam is sure the truth lies buried here, somewhere.

What she finds is a tiny island of dramatic skies, swooping birds, rugged sea stacks and just four hundred people. An island remote enough to shelter someone who doesn’t want to be found. An island small enough to keep a secret…

41Y6-5D2tYLThe Dark Isle is available to buy now:

Kindle Edition

Hardcover Edition

 

 

 

 

Take a look at the rest of the blog tour:

Banner

With thanks to Clare Carson for answering my questions, to Clare Gordon for organising the blog tour and to Head of Zeus for my copy of The Dark Isle.

**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.

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 at WordPress.com.

Up ↑