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Annabel Kantaria

Monthly Round Up – June 2018

The end of June already – just where has the year gone?! I’m ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge despite having hardly any reading time over the last few months. I had, however, managed to reduce my Net Galley shelf until books by some of my favourite authors appeared on there this month!

Books I’ve Read

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

Known for his courtroom dramas featuring lawyer Eddie Flynn, Steve Cavanagh has produced this masterpiece which can be read as a standalone. When a young starlet is found brutally murdered, the lawyer meets his match when the killer finds himself not on trial but a member of the jury. An absolutely brilliant read.

First to Die by Alex Caan

When a senior civil servant is found dead, seemingly killed by a highly contagious virus, Kate Riley, Zain Harris and their team have their work cut out to stop it spreading before panic sets in. The second in a series where i feel it would have been beneficial to have read the first.

I Know You by Annabel Kantaria

Happy that she is finally widening her social circle, Taylor is blissfully unaware that someone is stalking her and that this is about to lead to deadly consequences. As a fan of Annabel Kantaria’s writing, I found this another fantastic read.

Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox

The true story of Oscar Slater who, in 1908, was found guilty of the murder of an elderly spinster in Glasgow. This would become one of the most well-known miscarriages of justice in Scotland, not least because of the involvement of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in trying to secure his release and pardon.

False Accusations by Cora Harrison

The first in a new series featuring former headteacher Flora Morgan who, after acting as an ‘Appropriate Adult’ for a girl with learning difficulties, decides to help find her innocent of a murder charge. A great plot but not one to sink your teeth into.

Books I’ve Acquired

Beneath the surface lie forgotten secrets…

A village destroyed

It’s the summer of 1935 and eleven-year-old Stella Walker is preparing to leave her home forever. Forced to evacuate to make way for a new reservoir, the village of Brackendale Green will soon be lost. But before the water has even reached them, a dreadful event threatens to tear Stella’s family apart.

An uncovered secret

Present day, and a fierce summer has dried up the lake and revealed the remnants of the deserted village. Now an old woman, Stella begs her granddaughter Laura to make the journey she can’t. She’s sure the village still holds answers for her but, with only days until the floodwaters start to rise again, Laura is in a race against time to solve the mysteries of Stella’s almost forgotten past.

Haunting and evocative, The Drowned Village reaches across the decades in an unforgettable tale of love, loss and family.

A baby lies abandoned amongst the rubbish;her tiny face as white as alabaster, her body as stiff as a miniature doll.

A young prostitute lies beaten, her figure lying like a mannequin on the frozen concrete, her blood spilt, her life ebbing away.

As DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford and her boss DI Hunter struggle to identify the victim from the violator their hunt brings them to the crack houses of Lambeth, littered with damaged people, their lives scarred by tragedy and violence, most broken beyond repair.

As further lives hang in the balance Charlie must enpower the weak to speak out against those who seek to cause harm.

But can a broken doll ever truly be mended; or will the wounds of the past, fashion the events of the future?

The fourth in the Sunday Times bestselling Jane Tennison thrillers, MURDER MILE is set at the height of the ‘Winter of Discontent’. Can Jane Tennison uncover a serial killer? 

February, 1979, ‘The Winter of Discontent’. Economic chaos has led to widespread strikes across Britain.

Jane Tennison, now a Detective Sergeant, has been posted to Peckham CID, one of London’s toughest areas. As the rubbish on the streets begins to pile up, so does the murder count: two bodies in as many days.

There are no suspects and the manner of death is different in each case. The only link between the two victims is the location of the bodies, found within a short distance of each other near Rye Lane in Peckham. Three days later another murder occurs in the same area. Press headlines scream that a serial killer is loose on ‘Murder Mile’ and that police incompetence is hampering the investigation.

Jane is under immense pressure to catch the killer before they strike again.Working long hours with little sleep, what she uncovers leaves her doubting her own mind.

Why Mummy Swears is the much anticipated new novel from Gill Sims, author of the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks and online sensation Peter and Jane.

It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…

After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?

One spring day a young woman is found dead on a beach at the bottom of a cliff. She has no identification on her, just a scribbled note for an appointment that morning with Madeleine Porter, a local family historian. Did she fall or was she pushed? The police struggle to identify the mystery woman and Madeleine, intrigued by the case, decides to do her own investigation. She uncovers a mixture of adultery, ballroom dancing and greed before discovering the reason behind her presence on the beach.

 

 

I’ve got so many good books on my Kindle at the moment, I don’t know what to read next!

I Know You by Annabel Kantaria

Having recently moved to the UK from her native USA, Taylor is lonely. Her husband is at work most of the time and with her being heavily pregnant, she is finding it hard to make new friends. All seems to change, however, when she is invited by a neighbour to join a book club and she decides to take part in a local walking group. Has she finally found the friends she craves for or is one of them not exactly what they seem?

Before going any further, it would be useful in sharing the book’s blurb with you:

You trust me.

You shouldn’t.

That picture you just posted on Instagram? I’ve seen it.
The location you tagged? I’ve been there.

You haven’t been careful enough, have you?
Because I know all about you.

But when I meet you, I won’t tell you that.
I’ll pretend. Just like you do.

You’ll like me though. You’ll trust me enough to let me into your life.

And then I’ll destroy it.

Throughout the book, which is mainly told from Taylor’s perspective, we are privy to the thoughts of another, unknown character: the character from the blurb. From the outset, then, we realise that someone in Taylor’s life is not who they say they are and the author does a good job in introducing several characters who could, quite easily, be candidates for this dubious role. Could it be her newly-found friends at the walking group or one of the women at her book club? Aspersions are cast on all of these characters at different times in the book, helping to keep you guessing until all is revealed.

I liked the way the story was written in that although we know that there is a threat towards Taylor, she is blissfully unaware of what is going on around her. In most books of this genre, we are used to seeing the main protagonist becoming more and more paranoid as their world starts to implode. Here, however, she has no clue as to what is about to happen to her, meaning that it is a huge shock when it finally does!

Although I Know You is a fast-paced book anyway, once the event that the unknown character is preparing for finally takes place, I found I could just not put it down! It is difficult to say too much without revealing any spoilers, so all I will say is that I found the ending satisfying and worthy of the build up.

I am a big fan of Annabel Kantaria’s writing after reading The One That Got Away and The Disappearance, so I am pleased that I Know You lived up to my expectations. Highly recommended.

With thanks to HQ and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

The One that Got Away by Annabel Kantaria

 

A Facebook-organised school reunion after fifteen years is hardly top of Stella’s to-do list but she is intrigued as her ex, the renowned businessman George Wolsey will be there. Ever since they split up at the age of eighteen, in rather acrimonious circumstances, they have not been in contact, but that night changes everything. Embarking on an affair built on a web of lies, it soon becomes apparent that once someone gets you back, they may never let you go…

On paper, this is not the sort of book I would usually read, but after being enthralled by Annabel Kantaria’s last book, The Disappearance, I had to give this one a go. I am so glad I did even though I am now suffering from lack of sleep through not being able to put it down!

At the start of the book, my heart went out to Stella, a woman who, despite her highly successful catering company, has always been missing something from her life. George, on the other hand, came across as a bit of a playboy, a ‘jack the lad’ who is used to getting everything his own way. When they met at the reunion, I cringed as he tried it on with Stella despite his wife, Ness, being in the same room. Ness appeared to be the sort of woman content with turning a blind eye to her husband’s misdemeanours as long as she was able to wear the finest clothes and receive the latest cosmetic procedure.

What happened next completely shifted my opinion of all three characters as Annabel Kantaria gives a masterclass on how we can’t always know what goes on behind closed doors. Appearances can certainly be deceiving and this is definitely the case in The One That Got Away as George descends into a spiral of despair and Stella’s manipulations come to the fore. By the end of the book, my opinions of the characters had changed so much that I was willing George to return to the philandering ways we experience at the start.

My only concern was the ending. Don’t get me wrong – it was a very unexpected and worthy finale, but I really wanted a different form of closure for George. That is just my personal opinion though!

The One That Got Away is another fantastic read from Annabel Kantaria and I thank her, Net Galley and HQ for the ARC.

 

 

Monthly Round Up: March 2017

I’ve always been envious of those bloggers who are able to produce a weekly wrap-up of their reading as I know there’s no chance I would be able to fit this in! I have, therefore, decided to start a new feature – my monthly round up!

Books I’ve Read

41bCxzTsx9LThe Bat by Jo Nesbo

The first of the Harry Hole series – a series that I’d been wanting to start for quite a while. This was not a quick read for me and I can understand why fans say it is not one of his best.

 

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Blood Tide by Claire McGowan

The fifth in the series to feature forensic psychologist Paula McGuire, Blood Tide is an atmospheric thriller that really makes you wonder if anyone can be trusted.

 

61gMJQkjzYL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Missing Man by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

A novella featuring Morton Farrier, taking us across the pond to Massachusetts as the forensic genealogist embarks on a search to find his biological father.

 

51BcZVVrpeL__SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Hope to Die by David Jackson

The follow up to the brilliant A Tapping at My Door, Hope to Die sees detective Nathan Cody investigating the murder of a woman in the grounds of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

 

34368544Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

The online buzz surrounding Robert Bryndza’s books featuring detective Erika Foster just keeps getting bigger and bigger. In Last Breath, we find Erika investigating the deaths of young women who have been found mutilated and cruelly dumped.

 

ARIA_Flint_THE TROPHY TAKER_EThe Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint

No review yet as it will be part of the book’s blog tour, but suffice to say that this story of a serial killer who is removing the heart and finger of his victims has become one of my favourite books of the year so far.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Cockroaches51ETyWXR--L__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_The next two books in the Harry Hole series. Other reviewers seem to think that the series really gets going during ‘The Redbreast’ so I’m looking forward to reading that one.

 

51mCV12k+uL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_After seeing this on https://rathertoofondofbooks.com, I couldn’t resist requesting it on Net Galley!

When Louise Williams receives a message from someone left long in the past she feels sick.

Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook.

Because Maria Weston has been missing for over twenty years. She was last seen the night of a school leavers’ party, and the world believes her to be dead. Particularly Louise, who has lived her adult life knowing herself responsible for Maria’s disappearance. But now Maria is back. Or is she?

As Maria’s messages start to escalate, Louise forces herself to reconnect with the old friends she once tried so hard to impress, to try to piece together exactly what happened that fateful night. But when another friend’s body turns up in the woods outside their old school, Louise realises she can’t trust anyone and that she must confront her own awful secret to discover the whole truth of what happened to Maria . . .

Love like bloodI’ve loved all of Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne books so was delighted to get this one on Net Galley.

A BLOODY MESSAGE
As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective bereft, and vengeful.

A POWERFUL ALLY
Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts.

A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE
As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world in which families will do anything to protect their honour.

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I loved the premise of this book – very macabre!

The first body comes as a shock

The second brings horror

The third signals the beginning of a nightmare

When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.

Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.

Then another body appears against the Wall.

And another.

As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.

Who is the Killer on the Wall?

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I loved Annabel Kantaria’s last book so knew I had to have this one as soon as I saw it.

Everyone has one. An ex you still think about. The one who makes you ask ‘what if’?

Fifteen years have passed since Stella and George last saw each other. But something makes Stella click ‘yes’ to the invite to her school reunion.

There’s still a spark between them, and although their relationship ended badly, they begin an affair.

But once someone gets you back, sometimes they’re never going to let you go again…

So there you have it – my first monthly round up! Here’s to a great April!

My Books of 2016

2016 has been a great year for books, especially for crime and thriller fans! With so many to choose from, it has been difficult to choose my ten favourites, but I think I’ve just about managed it!

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

By far, my favourite book of the year, and one whose plot will stay with me for a long time. Telling the story of a suicide bomber onboard a train bound for London, Cath Staincliffe’s novel is emotional and fast-paced and is one that makes you ask the question, “What would I do in that situation?”

Follow Me / Watch Me by Angela Clarke

51g8rpiawvlA slight cheat, as this is actually two books, but I couldn’t separate them! The first books in Angela Clarke’s ‘Social Media Murders’ series show how the likes of Twitter and Snapchat can help to bring out the worst in people and they certainly make you question your own social media usage. Having just finished Watch Me, I do hope that there’s a third book on the horizon!

Kindred by Steve Robinson

I do love a good genealogical mystery and, for me, Steve Robinson is the master of them! Told in two timeframes – the present and World War Two – this is, at times, an incredibly emotive book as genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, uncovers the truth about his own family. Dealing with The Holocaust  and the events of Kristallnacht, this is not a light-hearted read, but one that truly shows what millions of people endured at that time.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

I could have included any of Robert Bryndza’s three ‘DCI Erika Foster’ books as they are all as brilliant as each other but decided to go with the one that started off the series. In Erika, we have a feisty, no-nonsense police officer who will stop at nothing to secure a conviction. Of course, like a lot of fictional detectives, she has a traumatic backstory, and this has helped her to become as determined as she is. Robert Bryndza’s foray into crime fiction has been a very welcome addition to the genre.

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl

It’s always  good sign when, after reading a book, you immediately download other books by the same author. This was what happened after reading The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. This is really two stories within a book, one set in the present day and one set during the Victorian era. In 1838, two sisters have been found shot but who was the culprit and how is the story linked to the present day? The book is billed as, ‘A gripping novel of family, secrets and murder’ and this is indeed true!

Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

For me, Luca Veste is fast becoming one of the crime writers. Set in Liverpool, the books follow the work of DI David Murphy, a born and bred Scouser, and DS Laura Rossi, a Liverpudlian of Italian descent. One of the main strengths in this series is the relationship between the two main characters. What I really enjoyed about this book was that I had no idea who the culprit was and was left guessing until the very end.

Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

51ZBjJC54-L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Victorian crime is a big interest of mine and, for the past few years, I have eagerly anticipated the next of Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad books. After the shocking end to the previous book, The Harvest Man, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Detective Walter Day. Lost and Gone Forever really shows the depraved side of Victorian society whilst also showing the growing importance of females. A great read!

The Disappearance by Annabel Kantaria

When I started to read this, I thought it was going to be a straightforward whodunnit: a woman disappears from a ship; how and why? It was so much more, though, telling the life story of Audrey Templeton and the consequences of her actions and those of other people. Heart-warming and distressing in equal measures.

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Edie inherits a house in the same square where five women were killed years before and soon finds herself drawn into the events of the past. This is a very dark story but one which is well-written and contains wonderful description. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the end.

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante

51dispit6tl-_sx320_bo1204203200_I’ve always been a massive Prime Suspect fan so was ecstatic when Lynda La Plant started to write prequels to the original story. Hidden Kilers, like the first book, Tennison, helps to explain the character of Jane Tennison that we all know so well. Providing an insight into how difficult it was for the first group of female detectives, hopefully this series will go on and on!

The Disappearance by Annabel Kantaria

To the outside world, Audrey and Ralph Templeton seemed to have the perfect marriage: two young children, a beautiful home in India and a great deal of wealth. Looks can be deceiving, however, and, behind closed doors, things were very different.

Fast forward several decades and, on her 70th birthday, Audrey Templeton disappears… just after telling her children, John and Lexi, that they are due to inherit a fortune on her death. What makes this disappeance even more complex is that it takes place on a cruise ship, sailing around the Greek islands. Has Audrey jumped overboard or has something even more sinister happened?

After reading the synopsis of this book, I envisaged it being a straightforward ‘whodunnit’. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Although I did figure out what had happened to Audrey, this did not detract from the brilliance of this story in any way. The author does a good job in introducing significant events throughout the book which helps you to gain an understanding of Audrey’s life and helps to explain why she made the decisions she did.

It is hard to say much more without giving away any of the plot. Suffice to say, I was very pleased with the ending as it tied up several loose ends. I do think, however, there is a sequel there if the author chooses!

Highly recommended!

This book was received by Net Galley, Harlequin (UK) Limited and
Mira UK in return for an honest review.

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