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My Books of 2017

2017 has been another great year for books, both from returning authors and debut writers. In an attempt to try to choose my favourite ten, I looked back at my Goodreads ratings to look for all of my 5-star reviews. There were more than ten, so I’ve had to try to narrow it down even further! What follows are the books where the plot has stayed with me for one reason or another. In no particular order:

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

The Ruth Galloway series goes from strength to strength. This very topical book, dealing with the plight of the homeless, is extremely well-written and I can’t wait for the next book, The Dark Angel.

 

Hope to Die by David Jackson

A murder in the grounds of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral sees the start of a brutal killing spree by a killer filled with hate. The second in the Nathan Cody series saw us finding out a bit more about the detective’s past and the ending set up the next book nicely.

 

Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

I’ve loved all of the Thorne books but this is definitely one where the plot will remain with me for a long time. A very emotive book dealing with the taboo subject of honour killings, as usual Mark Billingham’s writing is perfect.

 

 

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

A very clever book where you don’t know what to believe. Is there something sinister going on or is it all the imaginings of a highly-medicated war reporter? This was a slow burner that became high-octane towards the end of the book with plenty of shocks along the way.

 

The Perfect Victim by Corrie Jackson

I absolutely loved this book despite it being the second in a series where I had not read the first. An incredibly twisty plot that completely messed with my head yet was never once confusing. I’d love to see this one made into a film.

 

 

Dying Games by Steve Robinson

The books about genealogist Jefferson Tayte just keep getting better and better and this one, I feel, was one of the best. A lot more fast-paced than some of the others, we find Jefferson  racing against the clock to stop a serial killer in his tracks. Very reminiscent of Robert Langdon!

 

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The second in the Lottie Parker series is a harrowing, emotional read which firmly placed the detective amongst my favourite characters. Death, prostitution, people trafficking and organ harvesting – this book has it all!

 

 

Day of the Dead by Mark Roberts

Another series set in Liverpool, but this time with a brilliant female protagonist, DCI Eve Clay. Some years ago, a paedophile-killer escaped from prison and now it seems as though he is back as the killings have started again. This series has a touch of the macabre about them and are a thrilling read!

 

The Good Mother by Karen Osman

A very character-driven novel about how destructive a secret can be. Told from the perspectives of three women, there was a definite ‘eureka’ moment which totally blew me away. Thrilling and emotive in equal measures.

 

 

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

I toyed about putting this one in as it’s not actually published until January 2018 but it was so good that I had to! Set in the present day and in 1986, it is obvious that crimes have been committed in the past and a group of young friends are implicated in some way. This promises to be one of the books of 2018.

 

So there you have it! How many of these appear on your top ten?

Monthly Round Up: June 2017

This month, I was happy to attend an evening with three fantastic crime writers – Mark Billingham, Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre and got some signed copies of their books to add to my ever-growing collection! Mark Billingham’s latest book was one of my reads this month, and a great read it was too!

Books I’ve Read

Trust Me51O73PAHCPL__SY346_ by Angela Clarke

The third in Angela Clarke’s ‘social media’ crime series, sees DS Nasreen Cudmore and civilian associate Freddie Venton tackle the case of a girl who has apparently been viewed on the Periscope app  being murdered. Another great read!

 

LoveLikeBloodLove Like Blood by Mark Billingham

The latest of Mark Billingham’s Thorne series deals with the controversial issue of honour killings. A disturbing yet enthralling read, this is Billingham at his best.

 

51gh4mWIeqLBlood Sisters by Jane Corry

Fifteen years after a fatal accident, someone is out for revenge. Told from the perspectives of half-sisters, Alison and Kitty, Blood Sisters is a twisty tale of paranoia, revenge and deception. 

 

FullSizeRenderSoftly, Softly by David Jackson

Available to members of David Jackson’s Reader’s Club, Softly, Softly is a short story about a man’s obsession…

 

Hunted by Monty Marsden

The infamous serial killer, Riondino, is on the run and it is up to the Italian police to find him. This is definitely a serial killer tale with a difference! Review to be published on July 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

Troll by D. B. Thorne

When a young woman goes missing and is presumed dead by the police, her father is not convinced. What follows is a twisted game of cat and mouse. Will she be found alive after all?

 

Books I’ve Acquired

51KXRQQmfFL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

Shots ring out at a Salvation Army Christmas concert in Oslo, leaving one of the singers dead in the street. The trail will lead Harry Hole, Oslo’s best investigator and worst civil servant, deep into the darkest corners of the city and, eventually, to Croatia.

An assassin forged in the war-torn region has been brought to Oslo to settle an old debt. As the police circle in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate and the danger mounts for Harry and his colleagues.

 

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THE MARK OF THE DEVIL, THE SIGN OF A KILLER…

A young woman is murdered in her flat and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star is found behind her eyelid.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case, alongside his long-time adversary Tom Waaler, and initially wants no part in it.

But Harry is already on his final warning and has little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor when it becomes apparent that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands.

 

51AiillZG+LThe first snow will come.

A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Their house is empty but outside in the garden he sees his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.

And then he will appear again.

As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.

And when the snow is gone…

When a second woman disappears it seems that Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: for the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf.

…he will have taken someone else.

 

51Ry-oprklL**THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BBC DRAMA ‘THREE GIRLS’ **

What do they find attractive about me? An underage girl who just lies there, sobbing, looking up at them…as they come to me one by one.

This is the shocking true story of how a young girl from Rochdale came to be Girl A – the key witness in the trial of Britain’s most notorious child sex ring.

Girl A was just 14 when she was groomed by a group of nine Asian men. After being lured into their circle with free gifts, she was plied with alcohol and systematically abused. She was just one of up to fifty girls to be ‘passed around’ by the gang. The girls were all under-16 and forced to have sex with as many as twenty men in one night.

When details emerged a nation was outraged and asked how these sickening events came to pass. And now, the girl at the very centre of the storm reveals the heartbreaking truth.

 

August, 1983. Denton is preparing for a wedding. Detective Sergeant Waters should be on top of the world with less than a week to go until he marries Kim Myles. But the Sunday before the big day, instead of a run-through with his best man, the church is sealed off. The body of a young woman has been found in the churchyard, and their idyllic wedding venue has become a crime scene.

Detective Sergeant Jack Frost has been homeless for the past three months, ever since his wife’s family sold the matrimonial house. He’s been staying with Detective Constable Sue Clarke but with a baby to take care of and the imminent arrival of her mother, she’s given him his marching orders.

But as best man to Waters, he’s got a responsibility to solve the mystery of the dead girl in the churchyard. Can he put his own troubles aside and be the detective they need him to be? All in all, August looks set to be a wicked month in Denton…

 

She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

But she can’t hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what he did.

 

I’m got a few good books on my TBR pile for next month and also the blog tour for ‘Hunted’ to look forward too. Happy reading!

 

Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

LoveLikeBloodWhen DI Nicola Tanner’s partner is killed at her own home, she enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to catch the culprits. Convinced that the murder has occurred as the result of a case Tanner has been working on, Thorne soon finds himself drawn into the disturbing world of honour killings as he embarks on a hunt for a pair of contract killers who he suspects have killed before.

Love Like Blood is the fourteenth of Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne books, a series that is showing no sign of losing its touch. Never one to shy away from emotive issues, Billingham deals with probably the most controversial to date with the subject of honour killings. We find out quite early on in the story that the perpetrators are mercenaries who, with the aid of a go-between, are killing and disposing of people whose families feel have brought shame upon them. This potentially explosive topic is dealt with in a sensitive manner and the author has obviously done extensive research on the subject, drawing his inspiration from the real-life murder of Banaz Mahmod in 2006.

In Nicola Tanner, we have a worthy accomplice for Thorne – a woman who, despite threats on her life, will stop at nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice. I had to admire her tenacity, even if at times I feared for her safety! For me, though, the best relationship throughout the Thorne series is the one he shares with the tattooed, pierced pathologist, Phil Hendricks – two men who, on the surface, appear to have nothing in common but who are the best of friends. It was interesting to see how well Tanner and Hendricks got on and hope that we get to see more of Nicola Tanner in future books.

There are several twists in the story that make you cast doubt on some of the characters, keeping you interested right until the end, making this a highly recommended book.

With thanks to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic 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.

 

51GRMUtXmDL

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!

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