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My Books of 2020

What a year it was, and not in a good sense. I was disappointed not to attend many book events during 2020 but have loved some of the online events that authors have managed to do. Despite book shops being closed for much of the year, I was so pleased to see that there have still been some amazing books published so, in no particular order, here is a slideshow of my favourite 10 books of 2020, the links taking you to my reviews.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

When the Past Kills by M J Lee

The Resident by David Jackson

The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

The Glass House by Eve Chase

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Strangers by C L Taylor

The Sterling Affair by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

Killing Mind by Angela Marsons

Did any of these feature on your list?

**BLOG TOUR** The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

News of a girl going missing near her childhood home transports Felicity back sixteen years to a time when she was a carefree teenager. Carefree, that is, until another girl disappeared, and she fled, knowing more than she cared to let on. Feeling that this is the time to put this behind her once and for all, Felicity is compelled to return to her childhood haunts, using her knowledge of what happened then to help find the girl. Little does she know the full extent of what happened all those years ago and how much danger she is putting herself in by returning…

Having recently read and enjoyed Woman in the Water, the sixth book in the Imogen Grey series, I couldn’t wait to read Katerina Diamond’s latest standalone book, The Heatwave. I was instantly hooked, wondering what it was that happened that had made Felicity leave her home at such a young age, and what it was about the missing girl that had made her go back after all these years.

The Heatwave is told from two perspectives, the first being the aforementioned Felicity, as she returns to Devon to find the truth about the missing girl. It soon becomes apparent that something similar happened years ago, with Felicity fearing that the past has come back to haunt her. It is from the other perspective that we begin to build up the story of what happened as we meet Jasmine, Felicity’s friend, her part of the story being set sixteen years ago, prior to the event that changed their lives forever.

Despite the girls being close friends, they had very different personalities and backgrounds, both of them damaged in their own way. There were many reasons to dislike Felicity and yet, at the same time, I had great sympathy towards her due to the life she was leading. It was easy to see why she was drawn to Jasmine, the girl from the stable home with charity-volunteer parents. All was not what it seemed with Jasmine, however, as we found out more about her past and the troubling time she has had at school.

The arrival of Tim, a lodger at Jasmine’s home, definitely ramped up the tension. It was obvious that he was hiding something but, due to his actions in several different parts of the book, I found it difficult to determine what his motives were. What was he hiding and what was he planning to do?

The Heatwave is a book full of surprises with twists that I did not see coming. The events of sixteen years ago are slowly revealed, the plot becoming much more twisted than I could have ever imagined, with a shocking conclusion that made me gasp several times. I was genuinely taken aback by some of the reveals, some of them sickening and others heartbreaking, and I did not predict any of them!

This is one of those books which draws you in and refuses to let you put it down and I found myself racing through it, desperate to find out what had happened all those years ago. A gripping plot with some very shocking moments, The Heatwave is another great read from Katerina Diamond and I hope that we will see some more standalones soon.

With thanks to Net Galley and Avon for my copy and to Sanjana Cunniah for organising the blog tour.

Monthly Round-Up: June 2020

With everything that is going on, I forgot to do my round up of what I had read last month! Better late than never!

Books I Have Read

The Body in the Marsh by Nick Louth

After reading the rest of the Craig Gillard series, I thought it was about time that I read the first! When a woman goes missing and is feared dead, the case is very close to home for Gillard as it is an ex-girlfriend from his youth. If you haven’t read this series yet, I can highly recommend it.

 

Death on Coffin Lane by Jo Allen

The third in the DCI Jude Satterthwaite series sees the detective investigating a string of deaths, the common link being an academic who is currently staying in the area. Is she a potential victim or is she involved in the crimes?

 

I Robot: How to be a Footballer 2 by Peter Crouch

A bit of light relief for football fans with stories from his footballing career and beyond told in the author’s self-effacing way.

 

 

The Redemption Murders by J C Briggs

When a sea captain is found stabbed to death on his ship, The Redemption, Superintendent Jones, ably assisted by the writer Charles Dickens, find themselves involved in a case full of secrets. This is the sixth in the Victorian crime mystery series. Review to follow.

 

The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

A missing girl sparks memories of a similar occurrence sixteen years ago, leading Felicity to return to the town of her youth, determined to put the past behind her once and for all. This is a brilliant summer read – review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

The Fear of Ravens by Wendy Percival

The fourth in the series sees genealogist Esme Quentin researching a case of witchcraft, family feud and murder. A great read, probably the best in the series so far.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Someone stole a baby…

One sunny day in July, someone took three-month-old Alicia Owen from her pram outside a supermarket. Her mother, Marie, was inside. No one saw who took Alicia. And no one could find her.

They silenced her cry…

Fifteen years later, a teenager on a construction site sees a tiny hand in the ground. When the police investigate, they find a baby buried and preserved in concrete. Could it be Alicia?

But the truth will always out.

When Alicia disappeared, the papers accused Marie of detachment and neglect. The Owens never got over the grief of their child’s disappearance and divorced not long after. By reopening the case, DC Beth Chamberlain must reopen old wounds. But the killer may be closer than anyone ever suspected…

 

Orla and Kate have been best friends forever. Together they’ve faced it all – be it Orla’s struggles as a new mother or Kate’s messy divorce. And whatever else happens in their lives, they can always look forward to their annual weekend away.

This year, they’re off to Lisbon: the perfect flat, the perfect view, the perfect itinerary. And what better way to kick things off in style than with the perfect night out?

But when Orla wakes up the next morning, Kate is gone. Brushed off by the police and with only a fuzzy memory of the night’s events, Orla is her friend’s only hope. As she frantically retraces their steps, Orla makes a series of shattering discoveries that threaten everything she holds dear. Because while Lisbon holds the secret of what happened that night, the truth may lie closer to home…

 

It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights.

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

 

Hopefully next next month I’ll be a bit quicker!

 

Monthly Round Up – March 2020

Well, what a month! I hope you are all keeping well and that you are finding some good books to read in these uncertain times. I thought I’d have read more than I have done, but don’t seem to have had the time! There are some great-looking books on Net Galley at the moment and so my TBR list has grown considerably…

Books I Have Read

Buried by Lynda La Plante

A new series from one of my favourite authors introduces us to a complex new paragraph, DC Jack Warr. When the body of a badly burnt man is found along with the remnants of millions of pounds worth of stolen bank notes, the detective finds himself embroiled in a cold case where he may find himself more involved than he realises…

 

The Silent House by Nell Pattison

An interesting concept – a murder takes place in a house full of people but no one hears anything due to the residents being deaf. An enjoyable book which taught me an awful lot about the deaf community. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Where the Innocent Die by M J Lee

The fourth book in the DI Ridpath series is, arguably, the best so far. When a woman dies in an Immigrant Removal Centre, the coroner’s officer must try to work out how this could have taken place in such a high security establishment. This is becoming one of my favourite crime series.

 

Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins

The first in a new series introduces us to Detective Megan Thomas. Relocating due to trauma in her past, she finds herself involved in two tricky cases – the murder of an unknown man and the rape of a schoolgirl. A great start to what promises to be an interesting series. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Everything is about to change…

1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.

Present day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…

 

Detective Superintendent Tom Harper senses trouble ahead when the prime minister plans a visit. Can he keep law and order on the streets while also uncovering the truth behind a missing child?

Leeds, September 1908. There’s going to be a riot. Detective Superintendent Tom Harper can feel it. Herbert Asquith, the prime minster, is due to speak in the city. The suffragettes and the unemployed men will be out in the streets in protest. It’s Harper’s responsibility to keep order. Can he do it?

Harper has also received an anonymous letter claiming that a young boy called Andrew Sharp was stolen from his family fourteen years before. The file is worryingly thin. It ought to have been bulging. A missing child should have been headline news. Why was Andrew’s disappearance ignored?

Determined to uncover the truth about Andrew Sharp and bring the boy some justice, Harper is drawn deep into the dark underworld of child-snatching, corruption and murder as Leeds becomes a molten, rioting city.

 

THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. Having left a trail of bodies in his wake, and with the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that the can drop down into all the other houses on the street through the shared attic space.

That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.

 

DCI Craig Gillard will be pushed to his limits… But will he break?

It seems like a routine disappearance, a case of musician’s stage fright. As a senior detective, Craig Gillard isn’t sure why he’s even involved. Until it turns out the woman’s father is the German Minister of Justice, and the British Home Secretary is on the case too.

But nothing about the case is simple. How does a woman on a train simply vanish? What do you do when a trail runs cold and the pressure is on?

Before long the perpetrator has another target: DCI Gillard himself. What if the detective isn’t just running the case, but is part of it? The victim merely a lure for a bigger fish.

The answer is under the bridge. The chilling setting for the biggest challenge of his life.

 

There is an explosion at a military ball. The casualties are rushed to hospital in eight ambulances, but only seven vehicles arrive. Captain Harry Peterson is missing.

His girlfriend calls upon her old friend Dr Augusta Bloom, who rushes to support the investigation. But no one can work out what connects the bomb and the disappearance.

When Harry is eventually discovered three days later, they hope he holds the answers to their questions. But he can’t remember a single thing.

 

 

A BIZARRE DISCOVERY

An unidentified cadaver is found in a freezer in an unoccupied luxury house. No-one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there. When DS Alexandra Cupidi is handed the case, she can have no idea it will lead her to a series of murderous cover-ups and buried secrets. Namely the discovery of the skeleton of public-school boy, Trevor Wood, beneath a housing development.

A HISTORIC CRIME

His disappearance twenty five years earlier had almost passed unnoticed. But as evidence surfaces that his fate was linked to long suppressed rumours of sexual abuse, Cupidi, her teenage daughter Zoe and her friend Bill South find themselves up against powerful forces who will try to silence them.

A BURIED LIFE

Digging deep into the secrets that are held underground leads to Cupidi’s realisation that crime and power are seldom far apart. There are dangerous connections between the two cases, which are complicated by Constable Jill Ferriter’s dating habits, a secret liaison and the underground life of Trevor Grey’s only friend.

 

Something sinister stirs in Stockport…

The police find a young woman’s body in the woods the same week a couple discover a crude, handmade doll in Lyme Park. But are the two findings connected… or a strange coincidence?

In a town full of loners and unhappy families, nothing is as it seems…

All Mr Anderson wants is a family. After his elderly mother died, he was almost unbearably lonely. Now it’s time for him to claim his own.

All Jacob wants is for Maggie to love him back. She only has eyes for the Vincent twins – but maybe he can make her see just how much he cares.

And everyone is a suspect.

 

One summer. One stranger. One killer…

Two bad things happened that summer:
A stranger arrived. And the first girl disappeared.

In the wake of the crime that rocked her community, Felicity fled, knowing more than she let on.

But sixteen years later, her new life is shattered by the news that a second girl has gone missing in her hometown.

Now Felicity must go back, to face the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Only she holds the answers – and they’re more shocking than anyone could imagine.

The heatwave is back. And so is the killer.

 

Do any of these books appeal to you? Maybe you already have some of them and would like to share your thoughts! I’d better get reading!

Stay safe everyone. 

 

Monthly Round Up – November 2019

Well this year has definitely flown and I’m starting to think about the books that are going to make my ‘favourites of 2019’ list. There’s definitely at least one of the books I’ve read this month that will make the list!

Books I’ve Read

Blood Rites by Rachel Lynch

The sixth book in the series sees DI Kelly Porter investigating the discovery of a naked young woman on an ancient stone circle and the frenzied murder of another woman. With a plot taking in pagan worship, this was a great addition to this series, building upon plots from previous books.

 

The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok

This tale of a miscarriage of justice is a great thriller with some tense moments. After the body of a man is found in a newly-dug grave, police begin to fear that the man imprisoned for the crime is not actually the guilty party. This was the first book I’ve read by this author, but I’ll be looking out for others now.

 

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

I’d been looking forward to this one and it definitely did not disappoint. This story about a serial killer and his copycat has one of the best plot twists I’ve read all year, expecially as it came quite early on in the book. This is one of those books that grabs your attention instantly.

 

Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond

Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone, just as I did. When a woman is found near to death and then subsequently disappears, Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey find themselves embroiled in a case of abuse with some truly heart-wrenching scenes. This is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.

 

The Murder Map by Danny Miller

When the body pf an art dealer is found at his home, it is initially thought that there are no suspicious circumstances. DI Frost is not convinced, however, and uncovers a much bigger story of art theft and murder. Not my favourite book in this series, but still a decent read.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

In Victorian England, a mother is on the run from her past—and the truth about what she did.

Birmingham, 1880. Angelica Chastain has fled from London with her young son, William. She promises him a better life, far away from the terrors they left behind.

Securing a job as a governess, Angelica captures the attention of wealthy widower Stanley Hampton. Soon they marry and the successful future Angelica envisaged for William starts to fall into place.

But the past will not let Angelica go. As the people in her husband’s circle, once captivated by her charm, begin to question her motives, it becomes clear that forgetting where she came from—and who she ran from—is impossible.

When tragedy threatens to expose her and destroy everything she’s built for herself and William, how far will she go to keep her secrets safe? And when does the love for one’s child tip over into dangerous obsession?

 

A young detective is out for a jog on a snowy winter morning. Then she sees something terrible: a murder in the park, sudden and inexplicable. A woman has been killed by a passing hooded cyclist.

It’s just DCI Craig Gillard’s luck that he’s on duty. The body is that of Tanvi Roy, one of the richest women in Britain and matriarch of a food empire. With a tangled web of family and business contacts and jealousies, Gillard’s job just got even more complex.

As he delves deeper into the Roy family, it’s clear that everything is not as it seems. As the investigation threatens to unravel, Gillard realises it’s only the beginning of his problems. Trouble of a different sort is brewing close to home…

 

The body of a young migrant is found hanging from a tree.

No signs of struggle. No indication that it is anything other than a tragic suicide.

Except for a note, pinned to his trousers, that reads ‘The dead cannot speak’.

A murder investigation begins with DI Manon Bradshaw at the helm. But with the other migrants unwilling to speak, and protests on the streets, hatred is starting to drown out the facts.

 

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

Can Manon uncover the truth before it happens again?

 

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond

When a woman is discovered submerged in freezing water, the police are shocked to find that she is still alive. With her refusing to confirm her identity, even after the body of another person is found nearby, the police are at a loss as to how to proceed. This is made even more complicated when she disappears from her hospital bed. Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey pursue their only lead at the home of the Corrigans, but this only leads to more unanswered questions. Can their secrets be uncovered before time runs out for everyone involved?

I have been aware of Katerina Diamond’s books for some time, but for some reason, have never read any of them. I am now kicking myself as I have definitely been missing out! Woman in the Water is the sixth book in this series, but if, like me, you haven’t read the previous five, please don’t be put off as it can be read as a standalone – you don’t need any previous knowledge of the characters to enjoy this one!

Woman in the Water is, essentially, a book about abuse, power and the abuse of power. The detectives discover quite early on who is behind the death of the man and the near-death of the woman, but with people refusing to speak out, there is no case for him to answer. For Adrian Miles in particular, this became increasingly infuriating and I could understand his reluctance to take the advice he was given and why it became a personal mission to get this man behind bars.

This book does not shy away from controversy and deals with several taboo subjects. One scene, in particular, will remain with me for a long time as it is rare that I am close to tears when reading a crime novel. We realise what is about to happen at the same time as the character involved and this created a powerful, heart-wrenching moment which caused the need to gather my thoughts before reading on. I applaud the author for dealing with this issue and also the brave people who are acknowledged at the end of the book. This highly-charged, emotional scene was written with sensitivity, as were the consequences.

I raced through this book in three sittings as I became so invested in the plot and the need to see justice served. This may have been my first Katerina Diamond book, but it will definitely not be my last.

With thanks to Avon and Net Galley for my copy and to Sabah Khan for organising the blog tour.

 

Monthly Roundup – September 2019

I’m at that stage where my Net Galley TBR list doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller! I’ve tried not to get any more books but am failing miserably! I have nearly completed my GoodReads challenge, however, so it’s not all bad!

Books I Have Read

The Posing Playwright by David Field

In the fifth book in the series, Jack and Esther Enright investigate the disappearance of a peer on a train and Jack also finds himself mixed up in the trial of famous playwright, Oscar Wilde. Not my favourite in the series, but there were some good moments.

 

The Six by Luca Veste

In this standalone from the author of the Murphy and Rossi novels, a serial killer with a particular modus operandi crosses paths with a group of six friends and soon, they are fighting for their lives. A cracking read.

 

The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot

After a famous football coach is found murdered and there is not the usual outpouring of grief in the media, investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil’s interest is piqued. She soon uncovers a well-hidden secret that has ruined the lives of numerous men and realises that someone is about to bring it all into the open. A hard-hitting, well-written book.

 

Where the Silence Calls by M J Lee

After the body of a man is found burned to death in his flat, DI Ridpath embarks on a case that  is much bigger than he first imagined, taking him back to Manchester in the 1990s. This is becoming one of my favourite series.

 

Expiry Date by Alex Walters

After he discovers the body of an unknown man, DI Alex McKay is drawn into the world of human trafficking, realising that the case brings him closer to home than he ever could have imagined. This is part way through a series, but can be read as a standalone. Review will be published soon.

 

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims by Robert Hume

A look into the lives of the women who became the victims of the infamous Jack the Ripper, with much less emphasis placed on the actual crimes. There are some great photos which really bring the women to life.

 

 

Books I Have Acquired

Seven guests. Seven secrets. One killer. Do you dare to SLEEP?

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

 

I’m alive. But I can’t be saved . . .

When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed.

Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of the Corrigans, looking for answers. But the more they dig into the couple’s lives, the less they understand about them.

What’s their connection to the body in the river?

Why have other people they know been hurt, or vanished?

And can they discover the dark truth of their marriage before it’s too late?

 

‘She shivered, though the kitchen was warm. Icicles of foreboding trickled down her spine. With trembling hands she whipped back her hair at the nape of her neck. As she turned away from the window, she missed the shadow passing by.’

One dark winter’s morning, bride-to-be Cara Dunne is found hanging in her home, dressed in her wedding dress, with a lock of hair removed. Detective Lottie Parker is first on the scene. Looking at Cara’s bruised and battered body, she wonders who could have hated her enough to kill her at the happiest time of her life.

The case takes a darker turn that afternoon with another shocking discovery – the broken body of a second young woman, pushed from the roof of the hospital where she worked. Fiona Heffernan was also due to be married, and her body is clad in a wedding dress, a lock of her hair cut off.

The killings seem so personal that Lottie is convinced the girls have been killed by someone they knew. When she goes to break the news to Fiona’s family, she’s on the alert for anything suspicious. But then she makes a discovery that causes her blood to run cold – Fiona’s eight-year-old daughter Lily didn’t return home from her dance recital that afternoon. Terrified that Lily will be the next victim of a twisted and dangerous individual, Lottie takes the case into her own hands, risking her life when she comes face-to-face with the killer…

 

Detective Alyssa Wyatt is hunting a serial killer.

She doesn’t know that he’s hunting her.

A woman is found naked, badly beaten and barely alive in the New Mexico mountains. The shocking discovery plunges Albuquerque Detective Alyssa Wyatt into a case that will test her to the limit.

It appears that Callie McCormick is the latest plaything of a shadowy psychopath that leaves a long shadow on the streets of New Mexico – an individual linked to a string of deaths but leaving no evidence.

But when Alyssa makes a breakthrough that just might reveal the killer, she unknowingly puts herself in the crosshairs of a brutal maniac – one with an old score to settle.

Because the killer knows Alyssa very well, even if she doesn’t know him. And he’s determined that she’ll know his name – even if he has to extract his deadly revenge on her and everything she loves.

 

When one-hundred-year-old Violet Ross is found dead at Eden’s End, a luxury care home hidden in a secluded nook of the Lake District’s Eden Valley it’s tragic, of course, but not unexpected. Except for the instantly recognisable look in her lifeless eyes… that of pure terror.

DCI Jude Satterthwaite heads up the investigation, but as the deaths start to mount up it’s clear that he, and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran need to uncover a long-buried secret before the killer strikes again…

 

 

I’ve just started the latest Patricia Gibney book and know that I’m going to enjoy it as much as I have all of her others. Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? What did you think?

 

 

 

 

 

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