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Mummy’s Favourite

Monthly Roundup – February 2019

February may be a short month but I’ve managed to read some books that I’m sure are going to feature on my ‘favourites of 2019’ list. It’s also been the month when I’ve been able to share my reviews of some of the books that I read a while ago due to them being part of their respective blog tours.

The Last by Hanna Jameson was a book that I read at the end of last year. I’d read so many good things about this book on social media that I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to take part in the blog tour. This dystopian murder-mystery certainly lived up to my expectations.

 

 

I also shared a review of Remember Me by D. E. White as part of the blog tour. Set in Wales, this story of a deranged serial killer was a great read with plenty of sub-plots that all tied together nicely.

 

 

One of my favourite series of recent years has definitely been Sarah Flint’s Charlie Stafford series. I was pleased to share an extract from Mummy’s Favourite, the first in the series, which has just been published in paperback after previously being available as an ebook.

 

 

Another series I am really enjoying is the DI Kelly Porter books by Rachel Lynch. I shared a review of Bitter Edge as part of the blog tour, another brilliant read set in the Lake District.

 

 

 

I was also on the blog tour for The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett. This is the sixth in the series and I can’t believe I have never read any of the others! This will definitely be rectified as I really enjoyed reading about the forensics expert.

 

 

The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin was another great read that featured my review as part of the blog tour. Set in the Languedoc lavender fields, it asks the question: Do we really know those closest to us?

 

 

I was also pleased to share an extract from Death Will Find Me by Vanessa Robertson, a historical crime novel set in Scotland in 1920.

 

 

 

I also took part in a cover reveal for The Family by P. R. Black. The cover and the synopsis have definitely whetted my appetite for the book and I will be featuring a review as part of the blog tour soon.

 

 

I recently finished reading Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse, the first in a new series about Robin Lyons who has been dismissed from her role as a Met detective. A review will be published nearer publication date.

 

I also read three of the books that I had been waiting to read: The Stone Circle by Elly GriffithsOn My Life by Angela Clarke and Dead Memories by Angela Marsons. Like many other bloggers, I enjoyed each of these books immensely and cannot recommend them enough!

 

Books I Have Acquired

In a rural English village in the middle of a snowstorm, the unthinkable happens: the school is under siege.

From the wounded headmaster barricaded in the library, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the pregnant police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the terrified 8-year-old Syrian refugee, to the kids sheltering in the school theatre still rehearsing Macbeth, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and try to save the people they love . . .

In an intense exploration of fear and violence, courage and redemption, Rosamund Lupton takes us deep into the heart of human experience.

 

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.

Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?
And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

 

‘She lifted the flap of the envelope and pulled out the single white page. As she opened it up she stared, open mouthed. Four words were typed on the page. I am watching you.’

When Amy Whyte and Penny Brogan leave a local nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning and don’t arrive home, their families are beside themselves with worry. Conor Dowling has just been released from prison, a man full of hatred for Amy, the girl who put him behind bars in the first place.

The case is given to Detective Lottie Parker, when the girls’ blood-soaked bodies are found, days later, in a derelict squat. Chillingly, both girls are clutching silver coins in their hands – what message is this killer leaving behind? All the signs point to Conor but his alibi is water tight.

As Lottie examines Penny and Amy’s final days alive in a desperate search for clues, two more girls are found stabbed to death in a luxury apartment complex. Caught up in what is fast becoming her toughest case yet, Lottie is unaware that somebody is watching her every move.

Then Lottie’s two daughters, Katie and Chloe suddenly disappear from the town centre. Terrified that the killer has her girls, the stakes have never been higher for Lottie.

But as Lottie puts everything on the line to find her daughters and solve the case, she’s about to find herself in terrible danger – someone has a personal axe to grind with her and they know the best way to get to her is to hurt the ones she loves the most.

So, a busy February! Here’s to a great March!

 

 

**Blog Tour** Mummy’s Favourite by Sarah Flint

I’m really pleased to be able to share an extract from the brilliant Mummy’s Favourite by Sarah Flint as part of the blog tour. Available for some time as an e-book, it has now been published as a paperback so if you haven’t been able to read this fantastic series yet, there’s no time like the present. My review can be read here.

About the book

He’s watching… He’s waiting… Who’s next?

Buried in a woodland grave are a mother and her child. One is alive. One is dead. DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford is assigned by her boss, DI Geoffrey Hunter to assist with the missing person investigation, where mothers and children are being snatched in broad daylight.

As more pairs go missing, the pressure mounts. Leads are going cold. Suspects are identified but have they got the right person? Can Charlie stop the sadistic killer whose only wish is to punish those deemed to have committed a wrong? Or will she herself unwittingly become a victim.

‘Ah DC Stafford, you’re late again and you look like shit. Glad you could make it though, fresh from your Super Recognizer’s course. Where have you been? We’ve all been waiting for you. Or did you fail to recognize it was 8.30 and not 8 a.m.?’

DI Geoffrey Hunter didn’t wait for an answer. ‘Right, now we’re all here, at last. I’ll get on.’ He accentuated his words and Charlie felt herself redden at his sarcasm. A bollocking on a Monday morning in front of her colleagues was never the best start to a week.

‘Sorry guv,’ she tried.

He ignored her. ‘We’ve had a few new reports referred to us over the weekend which I need to assign. One of which has potential.’

Charlie pricked her ears up. There were rarely cases with potential in her department, unless Hunter meant potential for trouble. She worked in the Community Support Unit, a branch of the CID or Criminal Investigation Department, having only acknowledged her ambition to investigate major crime in the last year.

Up until then she had put off becoming a detective, preferring to be out on the streets dealing with crime as it happened, and as it often happened right in front of her she had excelled.

Her first big collar after leaving Hendon to join Charing Cross police station had been a rapist she’d recognized from an e-fit. On little more than a hunch and a similarity to the suspect, she’d found him in possession of duct tape, a knife and keys to a Vauxhall. Having scanned the streets, she’d located his car, and discovered photos and details of a female in a nearby street. Her suspicions aroused, she’d headed straight to the woman’s address and kicked the door down only to find her gagged and taped up in her bed, the last victim of a series of horrific attacks perpetrated by the same suspect. The mental anguish of the victim in the case affected Charlie greatly. It was personal. She went out of her way to stay with the woman through every step of the investigation, determined to obtain justice for her. She knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of injustice. It was exactly for this reason she’d joined the police.

She stayed at Charing Cross initially loving the adrenalin of the streets before transferring to Lambeth borough, where she continued to revel in her work. She was rewarded with an advanced pursuit driving course and the newly developed Super Recognizer’s course and was head-hunted by some of the specialized CID squads in the Met investigating serious crime and criminals.

After being shot at in a backstreet of Brixton, she’d decided that CID was the place to really make a difference so returned to Hendon Training College; only to find it a shell of its previous self, with many of the buildings and tower blocks empty and derelict.

She’d emerged as a detective constable and found herself immediately posted to the CSU, first stop for all budding CID officers. Nearly six months later she was still there.

The unit had the remit to deal with any allegations involving domestic violence, race, faith, sexual orientation or disability, but as she was just discovering, it was the most risky and politically explosive unit in CID. If you got it wrong here, your career would be ended before it had begun.

‘Anything interesting?’ Charlie asked.

She hoped it would give her the chance to get out and about and, if she did get out, that Hunter would come with her. He might be her boss but he too liked to be out on the streets and had the reputation for attracting action.

‘Like I said,’ he looked to be studiously avoiding making eye contact with her. He was obviously keen to make her sweat. ‘It has potential. A woman and her son, missing since Friday, reported by her husband today. Nothing too sinister at the moment, although the husband sounds like a nasty bastard. It’s being dealt with by the missing persons unit, but they’ve asked us to take a look, as the couple have a history of domestic violence. The chances are the wife’s probably just come to her senses and moved out, but it’s raised concerns because they have another son who has been left behind.’

He paused and this time looked directly at her.

Buy links

for the paperback:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2H6lIRT

Blackwells: http://bit.ly/2AEI4nT

Or get the eBook from:

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2FcoWRf

Googleplay: http://bit.ly/2ChkjlU

iBooks: https://apple.co/2GYdwTr

With thanks to Vicky Joss and Aria Fiction.

**BLOG TOUR** Liar Liar by Sarah Flint

51xLXqtfgrLA man is found murdered, hideously disfigured, alongside his dying dog. A woman is discovered dead, tied up and gagged in her own bed. Both have a rose placed next to them but that is not the only similarity – both victims are police officers. DC Charlie Stafford and the rest of their team know that someone is out to kill more their own and they must be stopped before one of them becomes the next victim.

It is always nice to be asked to take part in a blog tour but even more so when the book is part of a series that you have grown to love. Liar Liar is the third book to feature Charlie Stafford and is part of a series that is going from strength to strength. I have mentioned in previous reviews (Mummy’s Favourite and The Trophy Taker) how much I enjoy the working relationship between the police officers in this series and this is still the same in Liar Liar. It is also pleasing to read a police procedural series where the focus is placed on the plot rather than the personal lives of the characters.

Sarah Flint

Liar Liar is very current with references to the recent terrorist attacks in London. This helped to place the story very much in the modern day and also helped to introduce how vulnerable police officers are in the world we live in. Despite them being on heightened terrorism alert, however, the team are not prepared for the heinous acts undertaken by the killer and their mentor, ‘Ice.’ It becomes apparent quite early in the book that there is some sort of leak, the perpetrator feeding information about the officers to the murderer. With several possible candidates, though, it is not made too obvious as to who this could be so it was fun trying to guess, along with trying to work out who the killer could be.

As in previous books in the series, Charlie is still trying to do the right thing by her friend, Ben, although, at the moment, she is struggling to help him cope with his issues. Ben is still a character I enjoy reading about and I am still willing him to come good! Although there are definitely hints of a romance on the cards, it is understandable why they are both wary and I’m glad that the author hasn’t rushed into this.

From the very beginning, when we are privy to a horrendous act of domestic violence, Liar Liar draws you in and takes you on a journey through the depraved mind of a killer and the lives of those tasked with bringing them to justice. This is a must-read series.

With thanks to Aria Fiction and Net Galley for the ARC and to Melanie Price for organising the blog tour.

Take a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour:

**BLOG TOUR** The Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint

ARIA_Flint_THE TROPHY TAKER_EI am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Sarah Flint’s latest book The Trophy Taker!

After managing to get the perpetrator of a horrific racist attack to court, DC Charlie Stafford is feeling pretty proud of herself. All feelings of relief are short-lived, however, when he manages to flee custody, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Meanwhile, a body is found in a cemetery. While this might not seem out of the ordinary, this body has had its heart ripped out and a finger removed, the finger joining those of the other people killed by the same man. He’s stalking and mutilating his victims but what links them? The investigating team at Lambeth are pushed to their limits as they try to find both men before more lives are ruined and more bodies are found.

The Trophy Taker is Sarah Flint’s second book in the DC Charlie Stafford series. The first, the brilliant Mummy’s Favourite, was published last year and, in my opinion, this one is even better! Like many books of its genre, the story is told from the perspective of multiple characters: Charlie, the unknown killer and Cornell Miller, the aforementioned racist attacker. This helped to move the plot along nicely and gave a good insight into all aspects of the case.

The book is, at times, graphic, as it deals with such heinous crimes as paedophilia and racially-motivated attacks. When a depraved killer is added to the mix, this certainly makes it a book for those with a strong stomach! I found myself longing for Cornell Miller to be caught and admired his victims for their ‘never say die’ attitudes. The horrific nature of the crimes also give us a chance to fully understand Charlie’s personality and how she wants, more than anything, for the perpetrators to be off the streets.

As in the first book, I loved the character of Charlie – a woman devoted to her work but still very much in the real world. It is also refreshing to read a police procedural where colleagues actually get along and there is no animosity between the lower and upper ranks. The other main characters are also well-written and likeable and I particularly enjoyed reading any scenes featuring Ben and hope that he can continue to fight his demons in any sequels.

Flint_Sarah
Sarah Flint

Sarah Flint has done a good job in keeping you guessing right to the end as she introduces several suspects who could quite feasibly be the killer. I found that there was a moment when the penny dropped and realised that there were little clues throughout the story that I only picked up on with hindsight. I would also like to thank her for piquing my interest in Cross Bones Graveyard in Southwark – an area I have visited but was not aware of the hidden history lurking off the trodden path.

 

Although The Trophy Taker is the second in the series, it is not essential to have read the first. I would recommend you do, though, as it is another brilliant read.

With thanks to Aria (Head of Zeus), Sarah Flint and Net Galley for the ARC and also to Yasemin Turan for allowing me to participate in this blog tour.

The Trophy Taker - blog tour banner (1)

 

Mummy’s Favourite by Sarah Flint

When a mother and her son disappear, DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford and the rest of her colleagues wonder, at first, if it’s simply a case of a woman leaving her abusive husband. Why, though, would she leave her other son behind? When another mother and child go missing, however, it soon becomes apparent that there is something more sinister afoot. With very little to go on, will the Metropolitan Police be able to apprehend the culprit before one of their own is targeted?

Mummy’s Favourite is the first of a series of police procedurals featuring DC Charlie Stafford as the chief protagonist. Charlie’s tardiness and lack of care for her appearance coupled with her determination to earn justice for those who have been wronged make her very real and likeable character. The attention to detail and accuracy of the detective work is also good and clearly comes as a result of the author’s own experience in the Metropolitan Police.

Like a lot of police procedurals, as well as detailing the investigation, we see chapters written from the point of view of the abductor. What I particularly liked about these chapters was that there was no hint as to who the culprit was. This made the reveal at the end one that could not be foreseen and was definitely a surprise. Although his methods were totally heinous, the author also manages to create a feeling of empathy towards this character as we find out about his own horrific childhood.

Another thing I particularly liked about the book was Charlie’s relationship with her superior officer, DI Geoffrey Hunter. In many books of this type, there is conflict between officers of different ranks so it was refreshing to see an Inspector who had a good working relationship with his team. Ben was another fascinating, well-written character – it will be interesting to see if he continues to battle his demons and whether his relationship with Charlie develops.

A very strong debut and hopefully the start of a great series!

With thanks to Net Galley and Aria for the advance copy.

 

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