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Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

When two teenagers are found chained to a radiator on the fourth floor of Chaucer House, a block of flats on the notorious Hollytree estate, alarm bells begin to ring for Detective Inspector Kim Stone. Thirty years before, there had been a similar scene at the same block of flats, only this time, the victims were Stone and her younger brother, Mikey. Another crime scene bearing a similarity to the deaths of her foster parents sees Kim fearing the worst – someone is recreating traumatic events from her past. Will Kim be the next victim?

For long-time readers of this series, Kim Stone’s history has not been a secret. Spending her early years with her mentally ill mother before being moved around a series of foster homes, she had a more traumatic upbringing than most. So far, though, with the exception of a few occasions, we have seen her trying to keep these memories at bay, focusing all her energy on her professional life. Now, however, in Dead Memories, Kim is forced to face her past and, although we still see her in control of the investigation, for the first time we see cracks starting to develop in her hard exterior.

One of the reasons I think this series continues to go from strength to strength is the relationship between the main characters. Events in previous books have really cemented their closeness and although the recent arrival of an outsider, Penn, could have disrupted this harmony, it has been good to see how quickly he integrated within the group, despite the circumstances surrounding his arrival. The return of profiler, Alison, also added a new dynamic to the group, at times providing some much-needed light-hearted moments in a hard-hitting storyline. Her sub-plot was also gripping and was worthy of a book of its own!

I don’t want to say too much about the book for fear of giving away too much but what I will say is that Dead Memories has a well-written, enjoyable plot and existing fans of the series will definitely love revisiting crimes of the past. I enjoyed being reacquainted with characters we have already met and was particularly pleased to see a cameo appearance from a certain newspaper reporter!

I don’t know how she does it but Angela Marsons keeps the quality of this series consistently high – I would go as far as saying that, for me, this is one of the best in the series. Hopefully, this is a series that will run and run.

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for my copy. Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Silent Scream

Evil Games

Lost Girls

Play Dead

Blood Lines

Dead Souls

Broken Bones

Dying Truth

Fatal Promise

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**BLOG TOUR** The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett

51gI3FlDJxLToday, I am pleased to be the first stop on the blog tour for The Scent of Death, the latest in Simon Beckett’s David Hunter series. As well as my review, I am thrilled to be able to share an article from the author, explaining how the book came to be.

Over to Simon…

The Scent of Death

Sooner or later, everything comes home to roost. That was in my mind when I sat down to write The Scent of Death, the sixth novel to feature British forensic anthropologist David Hunter. Without giving away any spoilers, in some of the previous novels I’d deliberately left some plot threads dangling. Partly because… well, I like the sense that not everything is tied up in a neat bow at the end of a book. Life isn’t like that.

But I also wanted to return to them at some point, to show how these events from the past continued to resonate in Hunter’s present. The question was how to go about it? I’d originally intended to tie-up these floating ends sooner, but novels tend to have a mind of their own. Plot developments can’t just be shoehorned in. They have to develop naturally, or at least seem to.

Another consideration was that The Scent of Death also had to work as a standalone. I didn’t want a story that only made sense to anyone who’d already read the other books. I wanted new readers to be able to jump right in, without slowing down the narrative with tons of exposition.

Easier said than done.

Writing crime thrillers is a lot about misdirection. A little bit like a stage magician, the aim is to keep the audience distracted until it’s time for the big reveal. That isn’t easy at the best of times, and even less so in a series, where readers have become familiar with both the main character and the author’s bag of tricks. So, in order for this to work, I had to wait for the right story, and the right moment.

By the time I came to write the fifth Hunter novel, The Restless Dead, I was confident I’d found it. The end of that book – don’t worry, still no spoilers – raised the possibility of a return for an old nemesis from Hunter’s past. Only the possibility, mind, because I wanted to keep readers guessing. But the timing felt right, and I knew that opening that particular door would set the stage nicely for the next book.

Of course, the drawback with trying to be clever is that you then have to deliver. Hopefully, that’s what The Scent of Death does. Instead of having Hunter travel to some isolated rural location as in the previous novels, I’ve kept him in London, in what at first seems to be familiar territory (the key words here being at first). The gothic shell of St Jude’s is the sort of place that’s become all too common in the UK, an abandoned hospital standing empty as it waits for the developers’ bulldozers.

Except that these boarded-up windows, echoing corridors, and shadowy wards prove to be hiding all manner of secrets. And, as Hunter discovers, not all of St Jude’s occupants have actually left…

It was a pleasure to write and, I hope, to read as well. Just remember that for misdirection to work, the audience shouldn’t realise that they’re being distracted, or what they’re being distracted from.

Over to you.

Simon Beckett, January 31st 2019.

When the partially mummified body of a pregnant woman is discovered in the attic in an old hospital, forensics expert Dr David Hunter is called upon to aid in the investigation. The case takes a turn for the strange when a floor collapse reveals a hidden room and the bodies of another two people, still in their beds. With St. Jude’s hospital earmarked for development and a group of local protesters determined to thwart the venture, the pressure is on to uncover the truth of what really happened.

From the very start, The Scent of Death grabbed my attention and held it right until the very end. It was very easy to picture St. Jude’s, the description evoking images of a dark, dank, cavernous building with secrets waiting to be uncovered. The floor collapse helped to provide a few heart-in-the-mouth moments in an already tense situation and the discovery of the bodies certainly ramped up the the tension even more.

Although we don’t really get to see much of his personality, I really liked Hunter and admired the dedication he showed to his work. It was for this reason that I felt sorry for the forensic anthropologist who, as part of the investigation from the start, found himself partially sidelined after the hidden room was discovered. Mears, the forensic taphonomist brought in to work the case was a thoroughly unlikable character and I could empathise with the contempt Hunter showed towards him.

The Scent of Death has a very tight plot where everything ties together really well. I love a book where, all of a sudden, everything falls into place and you realise the brilliance of everything you’ve read – this definitely happened here. There was one part of the subplot that I deduced quite early on but, other than that, Simon Beckett kept me waiting until the very end before I worked out who the killer was and the clever motive behind it.

I found Hunter’s job fascinating and enjoyed the scenes where he was at work analysing the skeletal remains of the victims. I can certainly see this series being a huge hit on television and was pleased to read that it is currently in development with Cuba Pictures and Nadcon.

The Scent of Death is the sixth David Hunter book and if, like me, you haven’t read the first five, then don’t worry as this can be read as a standalone. I admit to not having any knowledge of this series until I read this one but I will definitely be rectifying this by reading the others as I enjoyed it so much!

With thanks to Hayley Barnes and Penguin Random House for my proof and to Simon Beckett for the fantastic post.

**Cover Reveal** The Family by P R Black

Today, I’m really pleased to be one of the blogs taking part in the cover reveal for The Family by P. R. Black. Published on May 21st, it has been described as, ‘a gripping new psychological thriller with a twist that will leave you reeling!’

The best way to catch a killer? Offer yourself as bait.

Becky Morgan’s family were the victims of the ‘crimes of the decade’. The lone survivor of a ritualistic killing, Becky’s been forever haunted by the memories of that night.

Twenty years later, with the killer never found, Becky is ready to hunt them down and exact revenge. But the path to find the murderer is a slippery slope and she finds herself opening up some old wounds that should have been left sealed.

Will Becky avenge her family or join them?

Now to the suitably dark cover – very ominous!

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HGgIn4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2MG8XfV

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2SgG7rA

 

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Twitter: @aria_fiction

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Monthly Round Up – January 2019

I haven’t blogged much lately, mainly due to the fact that the majority of books I have read are all part of forthcoming blog tours. February is going to be very different! I’d also been really pleased to get my Net Galley acquisitions down to a very small amount, but I’ve watched it slowly creep up this month due to all of the fantastic books that are about to be published!

 

Books I Have Read

The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin

A psychological thriller set in the Languedoc lavender field, The Good Friend is a story about obsession and asks the question, do we really know those closest to us? A slow-burner with a thrilling climax. Review will be published on February 23rd as part of the blog tour.

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C J Tudor

The author’s second book after the brilliant The Chalk Man is another dual timeframe story in the vein of Stephen King. Just what did happen to Annie when she disappeared and why does the same thing seem to be happening all over again?

 

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

Maggie wakes from a coma and discovers that her daughter is dead and her husband has disappeared. With no memory of what happened, and adamant that her daughter is alive, she sets out on a dangerous journey to discover what exactly happened on the day of the accident.

 

Bitter Edge by Rachel Lynch

The fourth in the Kelly Porter series sees the detective investigating a string of cases that all seem to lead back to a local school. Again, the picturesque Lake District is rocked by the plethora of crimes taking place. This is a great series – highly recommended. Review will be published as part of the blog tour on February 27th.

 

The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Another dual timeframe story from the brilliant Kathleen McGurl takes us back to 1919 and the war in Ireland. Two women fighting for independence 100 years apart and a secret that has remained hidden for a century. Review will be published on 21st March as part of the blog tour.

 

Remember Me by D E White

Fifteen years ago, Ellen disappeared, never to be seen again. Someone knows what happened to her, though, and now the secrets of the past look as though they are about to revealed. How many more deaths will happen, though, before the truth is out there? Review to be published on 11th February as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the death of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

 

DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?

Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.

As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.

 

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

 

 

 

Boys are going missing from London’s slums… 

London, 1849

When a boy is found drowned in the River Thames at Hungerford Stairs, novelist Charles Dickens and Superintendent Jones of Bow Street are mystified to discover that the child is not the missing youngster for whom they have been searching.

As Dickens and Jones delve deeper into London’s poverty-stricken backstreets, they stumble across two more bodies.

A serial killer is on the loose. And Charles is terrified that someone close to him may be one of the victims.

With a strange image of a mask sketched next to the corpses, could the murderer be leaving a trail for the detectives to follow…?


Or will the Death at Hungerford Stairs remain unsolved…?

 

I’m reading The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths at the moment and, like all of her previous books, I’m loving it! Are any of these on your reading lists or have you read any of them already?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Slum Reaper by David Field

The year is 1894 and a slum clearance is in operation in the East End of London. With some of the tenants refusing to leave their homes, Sergeant Percy Enright is rightfully concerned when five local people are found dead. With those in charge of the clearances claiming the deaths were as a result of accidents, Enright knows that they were murdered. When his nephew and colleague, Jack, and his wife Esther are informed that the niece of one of their neighbours has gone missing, Percy fears that there could be a connection. Again, Esther is called upon to go undercover to find the true extent of what is happening.

Although he has been a prominent character in the previous three books, The Slum Reaper sees Percy taking more of a central role. Injured in the course of duty, Jack has been sidelined, placed behind a desk in the records department and hating every moment! Of course, this doesn’t stop Percy from using Jack’s new role to his advantage, causing problems for his nephew in the process! It was good to see more of Percy in this book, a character who has no problems about bending the rules to secure a conviction.

Again, Esther plays a pivotal role in the plot, this time using her skills as a seamstress to infiltrate the house of a suspect. Her evidence leads to the case taking a rather unexpected turn, giving the police the proof that they need to take the case forward. Esther is a character I enjoy reading about, a traditional Victorian wife in one respect but a forward-thinking modern woman in another.

With the launch of a new department, I look forward to seeing what the future holds in store for Percy and Jack and I’m sure it won’t be too long before I read The Posing Playwright!

 

Monthly Roundup – November 2018

It’s hard to believe that there is only one month left in 2018! Due to various reasons, I’ve not been able to read as much as I would have liked this month, but I’ve still managed to read a few great books and take part in several blog tours and cover reveals.

I was pleased to be able to share an extract from Who I Am by Sarah Simpson and also take part in the cover reveals for Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend and She’s Mine by Claire S Lewis.

I published three reviews for books which were part of their respective blog tours: Her Last Move by John Marrs, The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley and Where the Truth Lies by M. J. Lee.

Books I Have Read

Teacher TeacherTeacher, Teacher! by Jack Sheffield

A funny and, at times, emotional memoir of a new primary school headteacher in a small village school in Yorkshire. The first in a series, I’ve already purchased the next on to read.

 

51Kuj6-OyfLThe Prodigal Sister by David Field

The third in the Esther and Jack Enright Victorian mystery series sees the couple investigating the death of a young woman under very suspicious circumstances. Esther, once again, finds herself in danger as she attempts to uncover the truth.

41GlScwYK3L._SY346_The Last by Hanna Jameson

My review will form part of the blog tour in 2019 but I’d heard so much about this book that I couldn’t wait to start reading. The story of a murder lurking amongst a group of end-of-the-world survivors definitely lived up to its early hype!

 

Books I Have Acquired

4188+KnGUVL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_Once upon a time they were best friends.

They were all friends.

So when Jenny moved to Australia to focus on her swimming career, she not only lost Kath, but her soulmate Tom. It was for the best. Or so they said.

Now, eight years later, Jenny seeks out her childhood friend and heads to rural France where Kath has settled. At first the women fall back into a close relationship, but before long strange and malicious behaviour leads Jenny to suspect the truth: that Kath has played a clever game all along to manipulate and control those around her. And Jenny is her biggest victim. Set against the glorious backdrop of the Languedoc lavender fields, The Good Friend is a beautifully written psychological drama about love, lies and a dangerous obsession.

Because once the truth is revealed, there’s no going back…

 

41NL9AYyBoLWho can you trust when your world goes up in flames?

A gripping, sensational new crime drama, from the bestselling author of Before We Met.

Detective Inspector Robin Lyons is going home.

Dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders, unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she has no choice but to take her teenage daughter Lennie and move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18.

In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.

Only Corinna, her best friend of 20 years seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. Can she trust them to find the truth of what happened? And why does it bother her so much that the officer in charge is her ex-boyfriend – the love of her teenage life?

As Robin launches her own unofficial investigation and realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, she starts to wonder how well we can really know the people we love – and how far any of us will go to protect our own.

 

51xSXTTs1CLBecause murderers are never who you expect…

She was the quiet one… but is she guilty?

For twin sisters Rose and Bel, enrolling at the prestigious new boarding school should have been a fresh start. But with its sinister rituals and traditions, Odell soon brings out a deadly rivalry between the sisters.

For Sarah and husband Heath, the chance to teach at Odell seems like the best thing that ever happened to their small family – a chance to rise through the ranks and put the past behind them.

Until one dark night ends in murder.

But who’s guilty and who’s telling the truth? And who’s been in on it all along..?

 

51bxBROykeLThe puzzling murder of Julia Wallace in Liverpool in 1931.
A telephone message is left at a chess club, instructing one of its members, insurance agent William Wallace, to meet a Mr Qualtrough. But the address given by the mystery caller does not exist and Wallace returns home to find his wife Julia bludgeoned to death.

The case turns on the telephone call. Who made it? The police thought it was Wallace, creating an alibi that might have come from an Agatha Christie thriller. Others believe Wallace innocent but disagree on the identity of the murderer. The Cold Case Jury must decide what happened in one of the most celebrated cold cases of all time.

 

The Julia Wallace murder is one that has fascinated me for a long time, so I can’t wait to read that one!

Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

**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!

img_0028

Follow Claire:

Twitter: @CSLewisWrites

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Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

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With thanks to Vicky Joss.

 

**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.

 

 

 

**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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