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The Chain by Adrian McKinty

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare. Your child leaves for school in the morning but doesn’t arrive. A phone call from an unknown caller informs you what has happened: Your daughter has been abducted and if you want her back, you must pay the ransom and then take another child to replace them. You have just entered The Chain and the consequences for not following the rules are deadly. You have no choice but to do as they say.

After hearing the rave reviews of this book, I have had it on my TBR pile since last year so decided it was time to finally see what all the fuss was about! It definitely grabs you from the off with mother, Rachel, seeing her world fall apart after hearing some devastating news followed by the terrifying scenario she finds herself in due to the abduction of her daughter, Kylie.

This is a book about desperation and how far a mother would go to protect the one thing she loves the most. It definitely makes you think as, initially, I felt a lot of anger towards the people who had abducted Kylie but as you begin to understand the premise of the book and realise that they, too, are in the same position, my feelings towards them softened.

The book moves at a fast pace and it is easy to imagine this becoming a successful film. I did enjoy the first half more than the second as some of the twists were quite easy to spot. All in all, if you are looking for a good holiday read, then The Chain fits the bill perfectly.

The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

When a young woman, Skylar Edwards, is murdered, a suspect is soon arrested, his fate sure to be the death penalty. No one seems concerned that Andy Dubois is innocent and with local feeling the way it is, there is no chance of him receiving a fair trial. Prosecutor Randal Korn is determined to put Andy on death row, and judging by his reputation as the district attorney to send the most people to their death, this is a foregone conclusion. When Andy’s defence attorney disappears, New York lawyer Eddie Flynn is drafted in to try to achieve the seemingly impossible – beat Randal Korn and save Andy Dubois.

The Eddie Flynn books have become a firm favourite of mine and I couldn’t wait to read The Devil’s Advocate. Here, we see Eddie out of his comfort zone, heading to Alabama to defend a young black man, charged with the murder of a popular white woman. Race definitely plays a part in this book, his skin colour condemning him to death in the eyes of many people regardless of the evidence. Andy and his mum were very likeable characters, and, although they don’t feature much in the book, their bond was clear to see and I willed Eddie to break the case and see justice served.

We see Eddie at his best in The Devil’s Advocate, using every trick in the book (and tricks most definitely not in the book!) to counteract the devious mind of Randal Korn. This is where the author’s legal background really comes to the fore, Eddie’s investigations and courtroom scenes being a joy to read.

In Randal Korn, we have a despicable antagonist of the highest order. He is one of those characters who get under your skin right from the start, without a single redeeming feature. His control over society was terrifying and we see this right from the start with the hostility Eddie and his team face when arriving in Alabama. In The Devil’s Advocate, Steve Cavanagh has given us a plethora of abhorrent characters, each of them with their own terrifying reasons for framing Andy.

In the previous book in this series, Fifty Fifty, there was a particularly shocking moment where we saw the death of someone unexpected. There was a horrible sense of deja vu in this book that had me completely on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t believe that Steve was doing this to us again! You will have to read the book to see what I am referring to and see the outcome. Be prepared!

Eddie Flynn has become a force to be reckoned with and I am already eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Earlier this year, I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the latest in Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series, Fifty Fifty. I am thrilled, therefore, to be able to share my review with you again as part of the blog tour and to, hopefully, persuade you to read one of my favourite books of 2020 so far!

A telephone call is received by the police from a young woman, stating that her father has been killed by her sister and that she is still in the house. Seconds later, another call is received from the sister, saying the same thing. One of them is lying. One of them is a cold-hearted killer. Both of them stand accused of murder but who should we believe?

Steve Cavanagh has become the author with the killer hook and this has definitely continued in Fifty Fifty. From the very start, where we have two separate calls being made to the emergency services, from two sisters each accusing the other of murder, I was immediately drawn in to this twisty, sadistic tale of cat and mouse.

In Fifty Fifty, we have two defendants, each protesting their innocence and each represented by a lawyer who believes in what their client is telling them. One of them is being played, but who? Eddie Flynn is defending Sofia Avellino, a messed up young woman with a history of psychological trauma. Does she have it in her to carry out such a horrific crime? New lawyer Kate Brooks is representing Sofia’s sister, Alexandra, a woman much more together than her sister, but does her calm demeanor hide something more sinister? Usually when reading a book like this, I have some sort of theory as to who the guilty party is but I truly could not make up my mind! Just when I’d think it was definitely Alexandra, something would happen to lead me to believe it was Sofia, only a few chapters later have me convinced, yet again that it was Alexandra! I loved how this plot kept me on my toes, keeping me guessing right to the end.

There was one part of the book that had me holding my breath, desperate to read the next part yet, simultaneously, not daring to as I knew that something horrific was about to happen. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but this was a magnificent piece of writing and all I can say is Steve Cavanagh, how could you? If you’ve already read the book, you will know which part I am referring to, if not, strap yourself in as you’re in for a bumpy ride!

The author’s last book was called Twisted, and this one definitely follows suit. Fifty Fifty has a gripping plot that kept me on my toes throughout, outfoxing me at every turn. If you’ve never read a Steve Cavanagh book, you won’t go far wrong with this one. Superb!

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy and to Alex Layt for organising the blog tour.

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

A telephone call is received by the police from a young woman, stating that her father has been killed by her sister and that she is still in the house. Seconds later, another call is received from the sister, saying the same thing. One of them is lying. One of them is a cold-hearted killer. Both of them stand accused of murder but who should we believe?

Steve Cavanagh has become the author with the killer hook and this has definitely continued in Fifty Fifty. From the very start, where we have two separate calls being made to the emergency services, from two sisters each accusing the other of murder, I was immediately drawn in to this twisty, sadistic tale of cat and mouse.

In Fifty Fifty, we have two defendants, each protesting their innocence and each represented by a lawyer who believes in what their client is telling them. One of them is being played, but who? Eddie Flynn is defending Sofia Avellino, a messed up young woman with a history of psychological trauma. Does she have it in her to carry out such a horrific crime? New lawyer Kate Brooks is representing Sofia’s sister, Alexandra, a woman much more together than her sister, but does her calm demeanor hide something more sinister? Usually when reading a book like this, I have some sort of theory as to who the guilty party is but I truly could not make up my mind! Just when I’d think it was definitely Alexandra, something would happen to lead me to believe it was Sofia, only a few chapters later have me convinced, yet again that it was Alexandra! I loved how this plot kept me on my toes, keeping me guessing right to the end.

There was one part of the book that had me holding my breath, desperate to read the next part yet, simultaneously, not daring to as I knew that something horrific was about to happen. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but this was a magnificent piece of writing and all I can say is Steve Cavanagh, how could you? If you’ve already read the book, you will know which part I am referring to, if not, strap yourself in as you’re in for a bumpy ride!

The author’s last book was called Twisted, and this one definitely follows suit. Fifty Fifty has a gripping plot that kept me on my toes throughout, outfoxing me at every turn. If you’ve never read a Steve Cavanagh book, you won’t go far wrong with this one. Superb!

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

My Eagerly Anticipated Books of 2020

I’m pleased to say that the books I was most looking forward to in 2019 were all I hoped them to be. This year, as always, I will be hoping for new books from Patricia Gibney, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Angela Marsons, Steve Robinson and David Jackson amongst others. Here are the books I am looking forward to in 2020 which already have publication dates:

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus on 6th February 2020

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.

She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.

Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.

Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?

 

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus on 1st October 2010

PS: Thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…
And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…
And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

 

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Published by Orion on 23rd July 2020

Two sisters on trial for murder. Both accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.

Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.

Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury.

But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be.

You’d be wrong.

 

Buried by Lynda La Plante

Published by Zaffre on 2nd April 2020

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down.

In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes.

Jack’s search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld – a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him?

 

Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza

Published by Sphere on 20th October 2020

A DETECTIVE IN FREE FALL
After solving an all-too-personal case that almost cost her everything, Kate Marshall is struggling. And when she discovers two disembowelled bodies floating in a local reservoir, things go from bad to worse.

UNTIL SOMEONE MAKES HER AN OFFER TOO GOOD TO REFUSE
But Kate is given a chance to get her life back on track when she is asked to solve a decades-old mystery. The Shadow Sands reservoir was plagued by gruesome deaths for years, and now the murders have started again.

NOW, SHE’S BACK ON THE HUNT FOR A LEGENDARY KILLER
Kate and her assistant Tristan are dragged into a shady world of family secrets, deadly legends and grisly murders. It’s a case that throws up more questions than answers, and someone is desperate to keep the truth buried at any cost. The clock is ticking and Kate must delve deep into the past if she wants to stop more victims turning up dead at Shadow Sands.

 

The Body in the Snow by Nick Louth

Published by Canelo on 31st January 2020

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…

 

Are you looking forward to reading any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

Heading to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper, Jenny Bowen encounters a stressed woman and a girl she assumes is her daughter. Not giving them a second thought, she locates her compartment only to wake during the night and find the body of the woman, seemingly the victim of an overdose. After speaking to the police, Jenny realises that there is a bigger mystery – where is the young girl? With no CCTV footage of her entering the train, she finds the authorities reluctant to believe her story. Jenny knows, though, what she saw and she will not rest until she knows exactly what happened on the train.

What She Saw Last Night has been on my radar ever since hearing the author mention it on the Two Crimewriters and a Microphone podcast. As a huge fan of Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, which tells the story of a woman who seemingly goes missing on a train, my interest was definitely piqued and I could not wait to read it.

The book starts off with a great mystery that really gets you thinking. We know that Jenny has seen the woman and the child on the train, but why is there no CCTV footage showing them either entering or exiting the train? I really felt for Jenny as she knows exactly what she saw, but with no one to believe her, you could forgive her for beginning to doubt herself. I was pleased that she found an ally in Mike, one of the detectives on the case, who realised that there may be something to her story, despite his superiors being keen to draw a line under it.

Once Jenny starts her own investigation, we see the story take a dramatic turn as she finds herself in grave danger due to what she uncovers. There were times when I wanted to shake her due to the reckless nature of some of her actions, but, conversely, times when I applauded her bravery and determination to find out what had happened to the little girl. We find the plot becoming like a cat and mouse chase as Jenny soon finds herself fleeing from someone she has met previously. There were several heart in mouth moments as we see her racing through the streets and Underground of London, desperately trying to evade a particularly nasty killer.

One event in particular made me gasp, and I had to put the book down for a while while I came to terms with what I had just read. Although shocking, this was a great twist, and something that I definitely did not see coming.

What She Saw Last Night is a fast-paced, exciting read with numerous twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy.

**PROMO BLITZ** The First Lie by A J Park

I’m pleased to be one of the blogs taking part in the promo blitz for the new book by A. J. Park, The First Lie. If, like me, you’re a fan of a good psychological thriller then I’m sure this book will be right up your street. Take a look at the blurb and see for yourself:

We’ve all had sleepless nights thinking about it.
You’re home alone. Someone breaks in.
In defending yourself, you end up killing the intruder.
Now you’re the one the police want.

That is the situation that criminal barrister Paul Reeve arrives home to find.
His wife Alice stands in the bedroom, clutching a bloodied letter opener in her shaking hand.

“What have you done, Alice?”
“I didn’t have a choice…”

We would all believe the person we love most.
But would we all make the same choice Paul and Alice make next…?

If this has whetted your appetite, here is where you can pre-order the book, or you can download it now if you have an e-reader:

Pre-order Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

UShttps://www.amazon.com/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-first-lie/a-j-park/9781409187424

Author Bio –

After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, AJ Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England. He was also a competitive fencer for seven years.

 Social Media Links –

Twitter @AJParkauthor

Facebook KarlVadaszffy

www.karlvad.com

 

With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin

When the body of a missing private investigator is discovered in the boot of a car, alarm bells begin ringing – the area had already been searched years before, when the man first went missing. Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is now part of the team investigating the murder whilst also trying to discover what went wrong with the original case. Was there a cover up and just how involved was her mentor, retired detective John Rebus?

John Rebus is one of my favourite fictional characters and so news of a new Ian Rankin book always makes me happy. In a House of Lies has been sat on my Kindle for a while so I thought it was time to give it a read! I am glad that, although Rebus is now retired, he is still finding ways of worming his way into an investigation although, this time, he is slightly more involved than he probably wishes!

The plot is a good one with dodgy characters a plenty, each one having a motive for wanting the deceased out of the way. Like in any good Rebus book, we get an insight into the dark underbelly of Edinburgh, with the legendary ‘Big Ger’ Cafferty featuring prominently. Any scene with Rebus and Cafferty is always my favourite. Their relationship is still a complicated one – they share a grudging respect for each other but at the same time would stop at nothing to sell the other one down the river.

The other plot running throughout the book was probably my favourite. After receiving silent phonecalls, Siobhan Clarke makes the connection to a recent case where she put away Ellis Meikle, convicted of the unlawful killing of his girlfriend. Convinced of his nephew’s innocence, his uncle, Dallas, tries to intimidate Clarke, only to need her help in trying to find new evidence to help his case. This is where Rebus comes in and where we see that there is still life in the old dog yet. Speaking of dogs, I am glad to see that Brillo is still on the scene!

Another great Rebus book and I hope that it’s not too long before we get the next one!

**COVER REVEAL** The First Lie by A J Park

I am pleased to be one of the blogs taking part in the cover reveal for The First Lie by A J Park. After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, AJ Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England. He was also a competitive fencer for seven years.

Before I share the cover, take a look at the blurb – it definitely grabs your attention right away!

We’ve all had sleepless nights thinking about it.
You’re home alone. Someone breaks in.
In defending yourself, you end up killing the intruder.
Now you’re the one the police want.

That is the situation that criminal barrister Paul Reeve arrives home to find.
His wife Alice stands in the bedroom, clutching a bloodied letter opener in her shaking hand.

“What have you done, Alice?”
“I didn’t have a choice…”

We would all believe the person we love most.
But would we all make the same choice Paul and Alice make next…?

Now to the cover – it certainly fits in with what the book is about!

Pre-order Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

US – https://www.amazon.com/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-first-lie/a-j-park/9781409187424

With thanks to A J Park and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources

 

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