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First to Die

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!

First to Die by Alex Caan

51vvx8RPkCL._SY346_When the body of a man is found the morning after a demonstration by a group of protesters known as Anonymous, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner’s Office are called in to investigate. Discovering that the body is covered in strange pustules, fear strikes when it is revealed that the man could be a victim of a lethal virus; potentially, anyone who has come into contact with the victim could be a carrier. The body is soon identified as that of a senior civil servant with strong government connections. As another person goes missing, the race is on to find an antidote whilst also trying to discover the motive behind the attack.

With recent events in Salisbury, the idea of someone being infected with a potentially lethal virus is very topical, and it was this that drew me towards reading the book. I found the premise a fascinating one and enjoyed reading about the precautions that needed to be taken due to them not knowing what had caused the death. The descriptions of the body are graphic and helped to explain the need to ascertain exactly what happened before the public were informed.

The two lead characters, DCI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris, are an intriguing pair and I liked how their investigation styles were very different yet complemented each other. I did find, however, that the plot of the book was often slowed down by the references to their back stories. Whereas I often find this useful, especially if you haven’t read the previous book in the series, here, I found it distracted me from the main plot. I felt that Kate’s back story, whilst obviously a fascinating one, was a bit of a ‘red herring’ in this book. I found myself wanting to know more about the mysterious character who was watching her, only to find that the story was not resolved in this book.

I did enjoy reading First to Die, but I definitely feel that this is one where I should have read the first in the series prior to reading this one.

With thanks to Zaffre and Readers First for my ARC.

 

Monthly Roundup – May 2018

May has been a ridiculously busy month for me so I haven’t done hardly as much reading as I had anticipated. I’m hoping June will be a bit more fruitful!

Books I Have Read

61RUGiggOTLMy Mother’s Secret by Sanjida Kay

It’s amazing how one single event can completely alter the course of your life. This is what happens to Lizzie when she witnesses a horrific act and her life is thrown into disarray. An excellent, twisty book telling how the past can’t always stay hidden.

 

61HbeiKW7lL._SY346_Deep Fear by Rachel Lynch

The second book in the Kelly Porter series of police procedurals sees the detective investigating a serial killer with a specific calling card in the idyllic setting of the Lake District. This is looking like being a great series!

 

imagesWojtek: War Hero Bear by Jenny Robertson

Although this is aimed at 9-12 year-olds, this is a fascinating true story of a bear cub who became part of the Polish army during World War Two. A heart-warming and emotive story which I will review as part of the upcoming blog tour.

 

image001The Night Caller by David Field

The second in the Esther and Jack Enright series set in Victorian London sees the couple investigating the attacks of women in the East End. If you are a fan of easy-to-read historical crime, this series is for you!

 

Books I Have Acquired

51Hun9Zbi4L

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

 

514dwwIhhvL._SY346_

Gregory Norwood, wealthy businessman and close friend of Minnesota’s leading candidate for Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems clear to Detectives Gino and Magozzi that grief drove him to suicide.

Until they realise the left-handed man seems to have used his right hand to pull the trigger.

And they find the second body.

As the seemingly open-and-shut case becomes a murder enquiry, the detectives begin to delve into the dark secrets of one of the city’s most powerful families. It seems the murders are not the first in the Norwoods’ tragic story – and they won’t be the last . . .

 

51vvx8RPkCL._SY346_SOMEWHERE IN THE CROWD IS A KILLER 

Bonfire Night and St James’s Park is filled with thousands of Anonymous protesters in a stand-off with the police. When a cloaked, Guido Fawkes mask-wearing body is discovered the following morning, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner’s office are called in.

The corpse has been eaten away by a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus. The autopsy reveals the victim was a senior civil servant, whose work in international development involved saving lives. Why would anyone want him dead?

THEY WILL STRIKE AGAIN 

As the research team looking into the origins of the deadly virus scramble to discover an antidote, first one, then another pharmacist goes missing. Meanwhile, a dark truth starts to emerge about the murder victim: he was an aggressive man, whose bullying behaviour resulted in the suicide attempt of one of his former staff members.

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT . . .

With thirty lives potentially at stake, Kate and Zain have their work cut out for them. Can they find the two missing pharmacists in time, or will they too end up dead?

 

I’ve got my fingers crossed for a couple of books I’ve requested on Net Galley but I’m probably most looking forward to the new Mark Billingham book, The Killing Habit, which is published on 14th June – Tom Thorne is definitely one of my favourite fictional characters.

 

 

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