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Lost and Gone Forever

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!

Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

51ZBjJC54-L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Walter Day has been missing for a year, presumably taken by the infamous Jack the Ripper. Assumed dead and forgotten about by many, his wife, Claire and Nevil Hammersmith have not given up hope of finding him alive. Former police sergeant Hammersmith has, with the backing of Claire, set up a private detective agency to try to trace Day’s whereabouts but, a year later,  he is no nearer to solving the mystery. All that is about to change, however, when Jack reveals his true motive for the capture of Detective Day…

Lost and Gone Forever is the fifth of Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad books. After the shocking end of the previous book, The Harvest Man, I had eagerly anticipated finding out what would happen next in the lives of Walter Day and Nevil Hammersmith as I could see no way back for Walter – would he really be lost and gone forever? Thankfully, from the outset, we know that Walter is, indeed, alive, but it soon becomes apparent that this book is going to be quite different from the rest of the series. The initial relief turns to despair as you begin to wonder if he will ever be able to resume his previous life and you will him to return to his distraught family.

In Lost and Gone Forever, Alex Grecian has, again, painted a contrasting picture of London’s criminal classes compared to the wealth of the more well-to-do.  Mr and Mrs Parker are truly chilling characters, matched only by Jack the Ripper himself. It is also pleasing to see the strong roles given to the women in the series: Fiona Kingsley continues to please and the addition of Hetty as a colleague of Hammersmith shows how Victorian women were beginning to play more of a role in society.

Never one to shy away from controversy, the author throws in a massive curve-ball towards the end with the death of a much-loved character. Although this did not have the same shock factor as the conclusion of the previous book, it was, nevertheless, not something I saw coming.

In order to fully appreciate this book, reading the rest of the series is recommended. Hopefully, there will be a book six…

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