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**BLOG TOUR** When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarlvi

51bS5O6yIKLToday it is my turn on the Blog Tour for the fantastic debut from Jessica Jarlvi.

Teacher, and mother of two, Anna, is great at her job and seemingly well-liked so why would someone beat her so brutally that she is left in a coma? The police in the quiet Swedish town where she lives are investigating but Anna’s husband, Erik, decides to start a bit of detective work of his own. Soon he discovers his wife, and the people of their ‘perfect’ town had secrets they would rather stay hidden. The only person who can solve the mystery of the attack is the very woman who is lying in a hospital bed. Will Anna ever be able to reveal the truth?

It is fair to say that this book did not go in the direction I was expecting and the subject matter was most definitely a surprise! As a result, some of the very descriptive scenes were slightly uncomfortable to read, although they were integral in explaining Anna’s state of mind. What started off as a straightforward ‘whodunnit’ soon became a twisted tale of passion, infidelity and unhealthy fixations. To muddy the waters further, once the main suspects began to cross paths, more and more motives began to rise to the surface.

Each chapter is devoted to one of the main players in the plot. In addition to Anna and Erik, we also have Daniel, a student with an unhealthy interest in Anna; Iris, a local librarian and close friend of Anna, and Rolf, the artist husband of Iris. Initially, I found this quite confusing but once the characters were established, it provided the author with a way of exploring the same event from the perspective of multiple characters. I found it difficult to like any of the main characters, especially as more and more secrets began to emerge, and could fully appreciate how any one of them could be the guilty party.

There were several times in the book when I wanted to shake Anna for the poor decisions she was making, especially when dealing with the Daniel situation, and felt that the whole sorry affair could have been avoided if only she’d spoken to someone about what was happening. Of course, this would not have made a good plot, though!

I think I must have suspected every character at some time whilst reading When I Wake Up, so when the perpetrator was revealed, it was not a huge surprise. Although others had a motive, in the end, for me, there was only one person who could have possibly have done it and I feel that Jessica Jarlvi has chosen the correct one.

This is a great debut and I thank Net Galley and Aria for the ARC.

About the Author

Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university, and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!

Follow Jessica

Facebook: @JessicaJarlvi

Twitter: @JessicaJarlvi

Website: http://www.jessicajarlvi.com

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**BLOG TOUR** Day of the Dead by Mark Roberts

51ekD0+0VCLToday I am incredibly pleased to be the next stop on The Day of the Dead blog tour.

When a paedophile is found tortured to death in Liverpool, all evidence points to Vindici, a notorious killer who escaped from custody the previous year. With many people pleased that a threat to their children is off the streets, DCI Eve Clay and her team know that they are going against public opinion in trying to bring the killer to justice. When a photograph of Vindici surfaces, however, showing him at a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico, Merseyside Police had to reevaluate everything they thought they knew – if the man himself is in another continent, does that mean that there is a copycat killer stalking the streets on Liverpool?

I was thrilled to be asked to take part in this blog tour as I read the first in this series, Blood Mist, earlier in the year and loved it! This is the third of the Eve Clay books and, in my opinion, is even better than the first. This is a very clever book, as due to the nature of the crime – the killing of paedophiles – it is easy to see why the police may have conflicted feelings. One one hand, the man is ridding the streets of men who have committed one of the most heinous crimes possible, but conversely, he is still a murderer and so has to be brought to justice.

This is very much a multifaceted plot with numerous aspects that will keep you guessing until the very end. Although the mystery of the true identity of Vindici was not difficult to work out, the circumstances behind the murders provided a plethora of twists and turns that culminated in several big reveals. Towards the end, the plot moved so quickly, I could not put the book down!

Day of the Dead deals with a very emotive subject matter and I was pleased that, although the murders are quite detailed, there were no graphic accounts of what had happened to the children. Instead, I thought that the reactions of the officers dealing with the cases gave enough insight into how sickening and depraved the crimes were.

This, for me, was a particularly engrossing book as, being from the city where it is set, I could visualise exactly where the action was taking place. On several occasions, though, this did unnerve me slightly, as a couple of streets where I have friends and family were named! Thankfully, this is a work of fiction and not true crime!

I thoroughly enjoyed Day of the Dead and would highly recommend it.

With thanks to Clare Gordon and Head of Zeus for my copy of the book.

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Take a look at the rest of the blogs participating in the tour.

Evil Games by Angela Marsons

71HtaSfrGELWhen a rapist is found brutally murdered, it does not take Detective Inspector Kim Stone and her team long to find the perpetrator. After more vengeful attacks, however, Kim begins to wonder if there is something – or someone – behind each of these cases. Step forward Alexandra Thorne – a professional who is abusing her position in order to manipulate her patients. At the same time, Kim is pursuing the abuser of two young girls and she will not stop until all those involved are brought to justice.

I was not introduced to the Kim Stone series until the third book, Lost Girls, and so I have read them out of sequence. As a result, I was already familiar with the sociopath, Alex Thorne, before reading this book, but this did not spoil my enjoyment in any way.

In Alex Thorne, we have the perfect adversary for the unflappable Kim Stone and it was fascinating to see the cat and mouse game they played as they tried to figure out what made each other tick. With the introduction of Thorne, we also had the opportunity to find out a bit more about Kim’s childhood and were able to meet Patty Stone, the reason behind Kim being a closed book. The scene at the end, where Kim finally lets down her defences slightly and allows Bryant to share a particularly private moment, was a very touching one.

Evil Games is another fantastic addition to the Kim Stone series and I am more than a bit sad that I have now read them all – until the next one is published that is!

You can currently purchase the kindle version of  Evil Games on Amazon for only 99p!

 

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons

34500937When human bones are discovered in a field, Kim Stone has to tackle what could become the most challenging case of her career. Having to work alongside Detective Travis is bad enough but when the bones are found to belong to three different people, each telling a story of extreme torture, Stone knows that she will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. Her team, meanwhile, are dealing with a spate of particularly barbaric hate crimes, and one member in particular is getting a little too close for comfort. Will Kim be able to prevent the unimaginable actually happening?

Dead Souls is the sixth instalment in the Kim Stone series and these books just keep going from strength to strength. What, at first, appears to be a run of the mill murder investigation soon becomes a tale of human depravity at its worst with scenes that will long stay in the imagination. What makes this even more horrifying is that the subject matter – hate crime – is being experienced first-hand by too many people in ‘real life.’ In Dead Souls, Angela Marsons has certainly brought this issue to the fore in a very intense, thought-provoking way and makes you feel physically sick that certain individuals could behave in this inhuman manner.

It was a strange experience seeing Kim working with Travis but this definitely gave us a change to see how her team coped without her. Stacey, in particular, played a much bigger role in this book and, despite her poor judgement, showed the rest of the detectives how much she has to offer. I was also surprised at how my feelings towards Travis changed as the book progressed – this is testament to the author’s brilliant writing when dealing with the real story behind his falling out with Kim.

It was inevitable that all of the separate plot lines would eventually converge and when they did, this led to a terrifying, nail-biting finale where, once again, Kim proves how far she will go to protect her team. Ms. Stone is fast becoming one of the greats of detective fiction and I am pleased that Angela Marsons has been signed up by Bookouture for further books in the series!

On a personal note, in my review for the previous book in the series, Blood Lines, I noted my disappointment on the lack of Tracy Frost. I am pleased to report that the reporter does make an appearance, albeit brief, in Dead Souls, and it was interesting to see how events of a previous book have altered her personality.

Dead Souls is a must-read book with a topical subject matter that really makes you wonder if you truly know the views of everyone you meet.

With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for the ARC.

 

Dying Games by Steve Robinson

51oXpj-8ZILWhen twin brothers are found drowned in a Perspex box in Washington D. C., and a family history chart is left at the scene, the police realise that this is one of several recent murders with a link to genealogist Jefferson Tayte. Knowing that his experience will be invaluable, Tayte is summoned by the FBI to assist in catching the ruthless killer who always seems to be one step ahead. With his reputation at stake and the body count rapidly rising, will Jefferson have to pay the ultimate price to stop the sadist in his tracks?

I have become a big fan of Steve Robinson’s Jefferson Tayte books over the years and I await each new instalment eagerly. I was excited, therefore, to receive Dying Games through Net Galley, telling myself that I would wait until nearer publication day before I would read it. This resolution lasted a whole day before I found myself clicking on it on my kindle!

The book begins in a very macabre fashion as a woman is burned to death inside a dolls’ house. This sets the tone for the rest of the book as the twisted killer re-enacts deaths that have appeared in the family trees of the victims. From quite early on, JT realises that the killer is someone he has encountered in his professional life but is finding it impossible to convince the FBI that the man cannot be working alone. In Frankie Mavro, JT has the perfect sidekick – someone who provides him with the necessary authority to undertake his research but who is also genuinely on his side.

Like the rest of this series, once I started on this book, I found it difficult to put down. I do feel, though, that this one is different to the others as it had an almost Dan Brown feel to it with our hero solving clues against the clock in order to prevent a tragedy. The ‘race against time’ element made it a very fast-paced, exhilarating read and I really liked the fact how, in many of the cases, there was no happy ending, as this helped JT to develop a true hatred of the unknown man.

Dying Games is a superb addition to the Jefferson Tayte franchise and I hope this is a series that continues to run and run: the ending of this book has certainly changed the direction of any future plots!

With thanks to Net Galley and Thomas & Mercer for the ARC.

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh

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Finding a dead body is certainly a shock so finding three must be truly horrendous! That is what happened to fifteen-year-old Isla Bell when she discovered the remains of three people propped up against Hadrian’s Wall. Fast forward twenty years and Isla is working in forensic psychology, studying the minds of serial killers and , in the course of her work, has come fact to face with the man convicted of those killings. Then the killings start again. Everyone in the town is a suspect but who exactly is the Killer on the Wall?

I was drawn to this book immediately after reading the blurb and couldn’t wait to read it. There is definitely a touch of the macabre about bodies being posed after death and so it sounded like it was going to be a thrilling read. Initially, I found The Killer on the Wall quite difficult to get into and I found myself skipping through the parts where Isla was carrying out the tests on the convicted murderer. Although this part of the story plays a big part in the plot, this was definitely my least favourite part.

Once the first body of the second wave of killings is discovered, the pace really picked up and I began to enjoy the book a lot more. Although the blurb leads you to believe that this book is going to be about Isla, I found the character of Mina, the police officer, much more appealing. I really admired her tenacity although was worried that she was going to end up as the next victim!

In a town where everyone could be a suspect, there are a lot of red herrings thrown in to add to the confusion as to who the killer could be. Throughout my reading of the book, I did have two potential suspects in mind and one of those did turn out to be the culprit.

In all, I did enjoy most of this book, but I had hoped for a lot more.

With thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone and Net Galley for the ARC.

Rush of Blood by Mark Billingham

51io8stn9l-_sx318_bo1204203200_Three British couples become friends after meeting on holiday in Florida. Disaster strikes, however, when, on their last night, the teenage daughter of a fellow holidaymaker goes missing and is eventually found dead. Keeping in touch on their return home and meeting up for a series of three dinner parties, it soon becomes apparent that looks can be deceiving – what exactly are each of these couples hiding? When a second girl goes missing, and connections begin to be made, could one of the six actually be involved?

As a fan of Mark Billingham’s ‘Thorne’ books, I’d wanted to read Rush of Blood (a non-Thorne standalone) for a while. Initially, I found the six characters confusing and it took me a while to fully comprehend who each person was and who their respective partners were. Once I’d overcome this problem, I did find the characters believable, if a tad unlikeable. At times, the couples seemed mismatched, although this helped to muddy the plot slightly, making it harder to fathom out who the killer was.

Despite the story revolving around the death of a teenager, this is very much a character-driven plot and very little detail is actually given about the murder. The only real police work we read about takes place after the couples return home and a young police constable is tasked with eliciting information from them.

This is not a fast-paced book but more of a slow burner that makes you question what goes on behind closed doors. Like in many books, a twist was anticipated although I did not guess the correct culprit! I did feel, however, that the motive was not fully explained and would have liked this to have been expanded further.

With thanks to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic for the electronic copy.

 

The World According to Danny Dyer: Life Lessons from the East End

41nk2ofpkdlNow a household name playing Mick Carter on Eastenders, life hasn’t always been a bed of roses for Danny Dyer. Born in Custom House, in London, Life Lessons from the East End gives us an insightful look into what it was like growing up in an area where becoming an actor was not exactly top of everyone’s career choice list.

More a collection of stories and anecdotes than an autobiography, it is hard to read this book without hearing the voice of the man himself due to phraseology being used. For those not able to translate the Cockney rhyming slang throughout the book, a glossary of terms is provided at the back! Danny is very forthright with his opinions and while some of them may not be to everyone’s liking, he certainly makes a lot of sense on a great many issues.

I found this a very funny read with quite a few genuine ‘laugh out loud’ moments. Danny comes across as a very normal, down-to-earth man and while the liberal use of profanities may offend some, if you are reading this book you must surely know what language to expect!

An enjoyable read.

 

A Tapping at My Door by David Jackson

51eodoodzlWhen a woman is found murdered in a most horrific way in the Stoneycroft area of Liverpool, the police are shocked to discover that she is a member of the police force. DS Nathan Cody has very little in the way of evidence except for a dead raven left at the scene of the crime and the fact that the woman no longer has any eyes… When another body is found, the police fear they have a serial killer on their hands. Can they apprehend the culprit before the body count rises?

After reading so many positive reviews and seeing numerous entries in various bloggers’ ‘best of 2016’ lists, I had to see exactly what had made so many people rave about this book. I am so glad that I did! From the very beginning, when we are introduced to the first victim, I was hooked. The author builds up the tension very quickly and you know straight away that something horrible is about to happen. After such a strong opening, the following chapter came as much-needed light relief and provided a genuine ‘laugh out loud’ moment as DS Cody chases a flasher through Liverpool city centre!

I found myself really liking the character of Nathan Cody and the author has created a likeable, if troubled, lead character. For me, though, the highlight of the book was the setting. Being from Liverpool, I found I could visualise the areas which were being discussed and there are certainly some parts of the city I will now look at in a different way! I particularly enjoyed reading about the aforementioned chase through the city centre – a very accurate description of the route taken!

The closing chapter definitely sets up a follow-up and I do hope that this is the first in a series. An excellent book and one I have to thank my fellow bloggers for alerting me to.

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