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.
Detective Inspector Grace Archer and Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn find themselves on the hunt for a particularly sadistic serial killer when the bodies of two men are found, one of them having had his eyes removed and placed on his open palms. Investigations lead them to Ladywell Playtower, a religious commune led by Aaron Cronin. Archer knows that Cronin is involved but with watertight alibis, has no way of proving it. With issues in her own life crossing over into the investigation, this case has suddenly become personal…
David Fennell’s The Art of Death was one of my favourite books of last year and I had been really looking forward to reading the follow up. I am pleased to say that it was worth the wait as the author has written another gripping story that kept me engrossed right to the end.
Grace Archer is a great character, her dark and troubled past giving her empathy towards the victims she encounters. I love the relationship she has with her grandfather, a character who despite his aging years really comes to the fore in this book, giving us an idea of where Grace gets her tenacity from! Harry Quinn is the perfect partner for Grace, their complete trust for each other showing when the detective has reason to doubt a member of her team.
The descriptions of the murders are, at times, quite graphic but this is essential in showing you the depravity of the killer. David Fennell’s descriptions in general are superb and I found it easy to create images in my mind of the places and people I encountered during my reading.
The seed for a new book has been sown at the end of See No Evil so I am already looking forward to book three! If you are looking to start a new series, one that is still at its start, then you will not go wrong by reading See No Evil or The Art of Death. Well-written and gripping with great characters and engaging plots, this is definitely becoming one of my favourite series.
With thanks to Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre and Net Galley for my ARC.
Sam Cooper’s childhood could hardly be described as a happy one but he has somehow managed to put it behind him and carve out a successful life. Estranged from his father, when he receives word from a hospital asking him to come, Sam realises that his whole life has been a lie. A deathbed confession leads him into a dangerous, unfamiliar world, one that makes him question everything about his past. What exactly happened to his mother and will he manage to find out before her past catches up with him?
This is quite a departure for Luca Veste as he takes us the the USA in this fast-paced thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning. Sam, the main protagonist is not your typical action hero but an ordinary man who finds himself caught up in a cat and mouse chase across the country as he tries to discover the truth behind events from his past. It is this ordinariness that made Sam such an endearing character and had me willing him to succeed in his quest.
Told in two time frames, we see how things unfolded a number of years ago and also how Sam reacts to finding out the same information decades later. It soon becomes apparent why everything has happened as it has, leading to some quite shocking revelations. The plot develops at a good pace and, although there are many characters, each of them with their own reasons for tracking Sam down, it never felt confusing or complicated.
You Never Said Goodbye is action-packed with moments of heartbreak and should hopefully be a huge success for Luca Veste.
With thanks to Net Galley and Hodder & Stoughton for my copy.
Steve Burt’s time as a police officer is nearly up. Facing disciplinary action, he is surprised to receive a lifeline when he is asked to head a new unit looking at cases that have basically no chance of being solved. Burt and his team of two additional officers are given the ultimate mystery to work on – the murder of a man who has been shot at from a distance. With no witnesses and no physical evidence, it is looking increasingly likely that this case will remain unsolved. Enter Steve and his team…
I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to read The Forgotten Gun, a book that grabbed me straight from the opening chapter. On the surface, this is a crime that is never going to be solved, with a weapon that doesn’t seem to exist and an investigative team full of misfits. We soon learn, though, never to judge a book by its cover as Burt and his two junior officers, ‘Twiggy’ and ‘The Captain’, take on the challenge and finally get the opportunity to show their capabilities.
The plot moves on at a good pace and I liked how there was a big focus on the investigative process, information being gathered in mainly traditional ways. I also really loved the humour in the book and it felt like an accurate portrayal of three people working closely together. Twiggy, in particular, was a character who I really enjoyed and I admired her ‘don’t care’ attitude, determined to use any means necessary to try to solve the case.
The Forgotten Gun was a great read and one that I would recommend, especially if you’re looking for something not particularly lengthy.
When a Salvation Army singer is shot dead on the street, detective Harry Hole has very little to go on, leading him to think that this is a professional hit. When it emerges, however, that the wrong man has been killed, Harry finds himself investigating a case that leads him to the former Yugoslavia. With a case that takes in the homeless, drug addicts and people who want to stay hidden, Harry knows that he has his work cut out to bring the killer to justice befor he strikes again.
The sixth book in the Harry Hole series introduces us to a professional killer known as The Redeemer. Through flashbacks, we find out about his early life in the former Yugoslavia and how he has become the man he is today. I liked how the author gave us this information about the killer, a direct contrast to the chapters when we see him slowly unfolding after he realises that he has killed the wrong man.
Harry Hole, once again, shows how much of maverick he is by investigating areas that haven’t been thought of by his colleagues. Taking himself to Croatia to try to discover more about the killer, he soon realises that there is more to the story than meets the eye, leading him back to Norway to investigate a series of crimes involving the Salvation Army that have remained hidden for years.
The Harry Hole series is one that I like to dip into every now and then and my appetite has been whettted for the next one.
When sign language interpreter, Paige Northwood, receives a call asking her to assist at the scene of a house fire, she arrives to find client Lukas alive and well but his wife trapped inside the burning building. As her lifeless body is brought out, it becomes apparent that she was dead before the fire started. Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife but refuses to share his thoughts with the police, leaving him as the prime suspect. Feeling that he is hiding something, Paige sets out to help, but is he guilty or afraid of something or someone?
This is the third in the Paige Northwood series and while there are references to the previous two, it can be read as a standalone. There are some spoilers, but nothing that would prevent someone from going back and reading the earlier books.
My attention was grabbed right from the start as the scene is set almost immediately, introducing us to Lukas and why he needs Paige’s help. It was apparent very early on that Lukas had something to hide but was he trying to protect someone or was he scared to tell the truth? Some twists and turns along the way keep you asking these questions until the end, suspicion being placed on several characters until the big reveal.
I think the main strength of these books is the accurate portrayal of the deaf community, something which I do not recall being a subject in any other books. Nell Pattison shows how vital people like Paige are, helping deaf people to access the things that the rest of us take for granted. I did find myself getting frustrated by Paige several times, however, and I wish that she would take her own advice about trying to stay out of trouble!
This is a series that I am really enjoying and I look forward to seeing how repercussions from events in The Silent Suspect affect Paige in future books.
With thanks to Avon Books UK and Eleanor Slater for my copy.
After the cliffhanger in the previous book, we see DI Thomas Ridpath adapting to new circumstances whilst investigating the murder of a young boy. A great addition to a very readable series and I recommend them highly if you have not yet started to read them.
A multi-genre time travel novel which sees new employee Megan Taylor trying to alter the course of history. Just what did happen to Lady Eleanor Fairfax in 1939, and can Megan stop it from happening? With a touch of history, magic, science fiction and romance, there is something here for everybody!
Judas Horse by Lynda la Plante
The second book in the Jack Warr series sees the detective investigating a spate of violent burglaries in his own inimitable way. After getting to know Jack in the first book in the series, we start to see more of his policing in this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my review will follow as part of the blog tour.
The Girl in the Painting by Steve Robinson
The eighth in the Jefferson Tayte series (although this could be read as a standalone) sees the genealogist now teaching family history. He can’t resist helping with some research, however, when one of his students asks for help in identifying the subject of a painting. In true JT style, it’s not long before danger heads his way… Review to follow.
Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.
Books I Have Acquired
When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate,Detective Kim Stonearrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.
But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.
Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.
Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.
Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.
A secret that some police officers are also protecting.
Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.
Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?
A portrait painting is stolen from a London home. Shortly afterwards, the owner, Nat, calls on genealogist Jefferson Tayte for his help. She believes the subject of the painting, a young girl called Jess, is a past relative and wants to learn more about her. The problem is that Nat’s research has hit a brick wall – Jess appears to have vanished from the slums of Victorian London soon after the portrait was painted.
When Tayte learns that the theft is connected with a recent murder, he’s right to be wary, but solving crimes through genealogical research is what he does best. He quickly becomes intrigued by the girl in the painting and agrees to help. What became of her? Who stole the painting, and why would they kill for it all these years later?
As Tayte and Nat go in search of the answers, can they solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice? Or will they become the killer’s next victims?
Three sisters. Three ships. One heartbreaking story.
1911.As Emma packs her trunk to join the ocean liner Olympic as a stewardess, she dreams of earning enough to provide a better life for both her sisters. With their photograph tucked away in her luggage, she promises to be back soon – hoping that sickly Lily will keep healthy, and wild Ruby will behave. But neither life at sea nor on land is predictable, and soon the three sisters’ lives are all changed irrevocably…
Now.When Harriet finds her late grandmother’s travelling trunk in the attic, she’s shocked to discover a photo of three sisters inside – her grandmother only ever mentioned one sister, who died tragically young. Who is the other sister, and what happened to her? Harriet’s questions lead her to the story of three sister ships, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and a shattering revelation about three sisters torn apart…
The discovery of a body in the Liverpool docklands unearths long forgotten secrets. Reporter Anne McCarthy is keen to prove herself and dives into the case with abandon. There she finds Michael, an old Irish caretaker who knows far more than he’s letting on and may have a connection to the body.
Vinny Connolly is starting a postgrad degree, researching Liverpool’s migrant history and a burgeoning Scouse identity. But Vinny has been neglecting his own family history and stranger Michael might know about his father’s disappearance in the 70s.
Escaping poverty in Ireland and fresh off the boat, Michael falls in with Wicklow boys Jack Power and Paddy Connolly, who smuggle contraband through the docks, putting them at odds with the unions. While organisers rally the dockworkers against the strikebreakers and rackets. A story of corruption, secret police, and sectarianism slowly unravels. But will the truth out?
As the conflict heightens, Michael questions the life sprawling out ahead of him, while in the present, Anne races to solve the mystery, but is she prepared for what she’ll find?
I shall now reveal the truth of the legend behind the hound of the Baskervilles. No Baskerville should ever cross the moor at night. With a deadly phantom hound on the loose and a mysterious man living on the moor, Devon is a dangerous place to be. But Holmes and Watson must put their fears aside. The country’s favourite crime-fighting duo need to unravel the strange case of Sir Charles Baskervilles murder before his nephew meets the same fate.
The Wheel Spins is the novel about young and bright Iris Carr, who is on her way back to England after spending a holiday somewhere in the Balkans. After she is left alone by her friends, Iris catches the train for Trieste and finds company in Miss Froy, chatty elderly English woman. When she wakes up from a short nap, she discovers that her elderly travelling companion seems to have disappeared from the train. After her fellow passengers deny ever having seen the elderly lady, the young woman is on the verge of her nerves. She is helped by a young English traveler, and the two proceed to search the train for clues to the old woman’s disappearance.
HopefullyI’ll also get my head round the changes WordPress have brought in by next month too!
January is over and we’re still stuck in the middle of a pandemic. I’m finding it’s taking me quite a while to read books at the moment so I’ve been trying to focus on some of the books I am reading for blog tours. Luckily, they are all books that I’ve been looking forward to reading!
I have always been interested in the Christie/Evans murders that took place at 10 Rillington Place and this book gives a great insight into what went on at this house of horrors. Written by the brother of Beryl Evans, one of the victims, I found this a fascinating recount of the events and one that certainly gave me food for thought.
Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney
The ninth book in the Lottie Parker series sees the detective taking on one of her most complex murder cases to date whilst also having to contend with her upcoming nuptials to her colleague, Boyd. My review will feature as part of the blog tour.
The Art of Death by David Fennell
It may only be January but I think that this may feature on my favourites list at the end of the year. An ‘artist’ is displaying his work in London, but this is no ordinary exhibition: the installations feature the bodies of dead people. My review will feature as part of the upcoming blog tour.
The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths
Thirteen books in and this series is still one of my favourites! Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is back at the university but it’s not long before she is called upon by Nelson to help with the discovery of a body on the beach. Just what links the archaeologist group known as the Night Hawks to the death and is there really any truth in the local legend of the Black Shuck? Ruth Galloway at her best!
Hammer Blow by John Nixon
The latest in the Madeleine Porter series sees the genealogist taking on a case on behalf of a local solicitor, opening a can of worms when she reveals that a long-lost relative has left a client a sizable amount of money. With someone determined to avenge the past, can Madeleine help to close the case before they get their wish?
Books I Have Acquired
The sudden appearance of a man’s booted feet had Addis snapping her mouth shut. Screaming, she kicked out at the tall, muscular guy as he dragged her from beneath the desk…
It was a scene from a horror movie; Gabriel Kensington and his wife Lydia found, brutally slain in their luxurious home in New Mexico. The frantic, whispered phone call from their teenage daughter Addis, spending the evening with best friend Emerson, quickly alerts the authorities to the killings – and worse, that the killer is still inside the house.
But when detective Alyssa Wyatt and the squad appear at the house, the unthinkable has happened – the girls are nowhere to be found.
Waking up in a dilapidated cabin, nestled high in the woods north of Albuquerque, the girls find themselves at the mercy of a brutal stranger who could take their life at any moment. While they fight for survival, it’s up to Alyssa Wyatt and her partner Cord to discover just why the Kensingtons have been targeted – and fast.
Because for Addis and Emerson, solving this mystery might just mean the difference between survival – or an unthinkable death…
On a quiet street, one house is burning to the ground…
By the time sign language interpreter Paige Northwood arrives, flames have engulfed her client’s home. Though Lukas is safe, his wife is still inside. But she was dead before the fire started…
Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife. But then he goes silent – even when the police arrest him on suspicion of murder.
Is he guilty, or afraid? Only Paige can help him now…
A large country mansion. A locked room. A gruesome murder.
Russian oligarch Alexander Volkov has invited 1000 guests to a party at his palatial Surrey residence, Westgrave Hall. But while giving a private tour of the library, a gunman kills Volkov, wounding his ex-wife and slaying her new beau.
Nothing makes sense to DCI Craig Gillard. In the blood-spattered crime scene there are no forensic traces of anyone else involved, CCTV shows no one entered or left the library, and everyone seems to have an alibi.
Is it a crime of revenge, the squaring of a love triangle, or a Russian government operation? Could the victims have simply shot each other? Gillard’s eventual discovery is shocking even to him.
My current read is Alone in the Woods by Charly Cox. I’ve loved the previous two books in the series and this one is shaping up to be just as good!
DCI Craig Gillard finds himself emotionally involved in a case when a girlfriend from his youth is reported missing. Her husband is seemingly unperturbed, but the case takes a sudden turn when he, too, slips off the radar. A guilty conscience or something more sinister? Running alongside the investigation is another case: a new look into the death of someone known as ‘Girl F’. Just why has no progress been made?
I’m not usually a fan of reading a book series out of order, but that is what has happened with Nick Louth’s Craig Gillard series. Having already read the rest of the series, I thought I had better go back to where it all started! I found that it took me back even further than I was expecting with an insight into Craig’s early life thanks to the investigation into Liz Knight, a woman who also happened to be an ex-girlfriend. I admired Craig’s ability to work through this case, despite his connection to Liz, his dedication to the job in hand being something that is carried through the rest of the series.
The case is a particularly twisted one, often more twisted than you could ever imagine. I did have my suspicions as to how the plot would play out which proved to be correct, but such is the quality of the author’s storytelling that my enjoyment was not spoiled one bit. In a story which takes in several European countries, we see the determination of Craig and his team to solve the case, discovering links to other crimes in the process.
Often in police procedurals, the second plot is not as interesting, but this is definitely not the case here. The story of ‘Girl F’ is a heart-wrenching one, and one that made me very angry. We discover that despite giving evidence of her abuse and a description of someone who was involved, no one was ever brought to justice, even after the girl chose to take her own life. There has apparently been some sort of conspiracy of silence, but why? Exactly who is pulling the strings? In a story full of anger, I did find myself laughing when a suspect in the case is delivered to the police – never underestimate a woman!
If you haven’t read any of this series, and you are a plan of police procedurals with great characters and gripping plots, I can thoroughly recommend the Craig Gillard series. Take a look at my reviews of the other books: