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**BLOG TOUR** Broken Souls by Patricia Gibney

When the body of a woman is found hanging in her home, wearing a wedding dress, it is initially thought that it is a case of suicide. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when a second woman is found dead, also wearing a wedding dress. This is too much of a coincidence for D I Lottie Parker, who immediately starts to look for evidence of foul play. When it is revealed that one of the women had a young daughter who has seemingly gone missing, it becomes a race against time to catch the perpetrator before more bodies are discovered.

It is hard to believe that Broken Souls is the seventh book in the Lottie Parker series, the first book, The Missing Onesonly being published in 2017. In this short time, we have seen Lottie grow as a character, dealing with the grief of her lost husband and now contemplating marriage to one of her colleagues. Her family is as dysfunctional as ever, with the added bonus of her half-brother, Leo, disrupting the equilibrium even further! After events in previous books, I was pleased to see Lottie’s family taking more of a back seat in this one – there is only so much trauma one family can take!

With there being two deaths near the beginning of the book, and a lot of characters introduced,  I initially struggled to remember who everybody was. As the book progressed, however, and the cases began to intertwine, I developed more of an understanding of each character and how they were connected to the dead women. The setting, a place where everyone seemed to know everybody else, helped to muddy the waters when trying to find the culprit as there were so many shifty characters! A few hints were dropped throughout the book, but I did not predict the outcome at all.

As this is now the seventh book, I feel that I have come to know the characters really well and so I was left reeling at the revelation at the end of this installment. There is a genuine, ‘”Noooo!” moment in the final pages, and I really hope that Patricia Gibney resolves this issue in a pleasing way! To find out what it is, you will just have to read the book!

If you have never read the Lottie Parker series, then I cannot recommend it enough. With great plots and characters, Broken Souls is a great addition to an already brilliant set of books.

With thanks to Bookouture & Net Galley and to Sarah Hardy for organising the blog tour.

 

The Six by Luca Veste

Six friends, marriage and babies on the horizon, decide to spend a few days revisiting their youth by attending a 90s music festival. The atmosphere of a great few days takes a macabre twist, however, when somebody dies. Knowing that their life will never be the same, the six make a pact never to speak about what happened the night that they buried the body. Now, though, a year later, somebody seems to know what happened and the killing has started again…

I’m a big fan of Luca Veste’s Murphy and Rossi series and really enjoyed his standalone The Bone Keeper, so The Six was a book I had been looking forward to for a while. As the majority of serial killer plots tend to be police procedurals, I was also interested to read one from a different angle. Told from the perspective of Matt, one of the six, we immediately get an inside view of what is going on, his fears and neuroses showing us how greatly the death and subsequent events have affected his life.

Told in the present day and also in flashbacks to their time at school and university, The Six transports you straight back to the 90s, Luca Veste nailing the musical references, providing me with a pleasing nostalgia trip! I did smile at the Britney Spears reference, knowing the author’s penchant for “…Baby One More Time” thanks to his work with The Fun Lovin’ Crimewriters! The flashbacks provide a perfect insight into the pasts of some of the characters, helping us to understand the present-day friendships and also giving hints as to what really happened at that music festival.

From the start, I had convinced myself that I knew where the plot was going to go, only to find my theory actually discussed by one of the characters! This definitely took the wind out of my sails and made me even more desperate to find out what was happening. I was happy with how the story culminated, if a little shocked!

I have purposely avoided talking too much about the plot as I feel that this is a book where you will get more enjoyment by going in completely blind. All I will say is that if you enjoy a creepy serial killer plot that will have you listening out for strange noises at night, then The Six is the book for you!

With thanks to Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for my ARC.

Take a look at my reviews for other books by Luca Veste:

Bloodstream

It Never Leaves You

Then She Was Gone

The Bone Keeper

 

A Date With Death by Mark Roberts

When the body of a woman is found on the banks of the River Mersey, scalped and her facial features removed, links are immediately made to a recent murder in nearby Warrington. When a third body is found, bearing the same injuries, DCI Eve Clay knows that there is a particularly sadistic serial killer operating on her patch. Each of the dead women had one major thing in common – they were all hoping to find love on the same dating website. Eve feels that there is only one way to stop ‘The Ghoul’ and that is to go undercover online, posing as his perfect victim…

I’m a huge fan of Mark Roberts and A Date With Death was one of the books I was most looking forward to reading this year. Ever since reading the first in the DCI Eve Clay books, Blood Mist, this series has become one of my firm favourites and Eve has become one of my favourite characters. This book, the fifth in the series, keeps up the high standard that I have come to expect.

One of the things I like most about this series is that we don’t have ordinary, run of the mill serial killers – if there is such a thing! In the past, we’ve had bodies arranged in patterns and a paedophile killer but now we have someone who slices off the faces of their victims. For those, of a squeamish nature, we don’t actually read about the act itself, but we do, towards the end of the book, find out the reason why the killer does this, making for a very gruesome scene!

Eve Clay is a great character with a gripping backstory, her traumatic past shaping how she is today. Although you do not need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I have really enjoyed seeing how her character has developed. Even though she is dealing with a particularly horrific case, she appears to be becoming more able to separate her professional and personal life, not fretting as much about her young son as she has done in previous books.

Mark Roberts has definitely done it again with A Date With Death, writing a gripping book, impossible to put down. I’m already looking forward to the next one – maybe, in the meantime, I’ll bump into Clay’s husband and son at Goodison Park!

 

 

 

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Family by P R Black

As the lone survivor of a ritualistic killing that killed her family, Becky Morgan has been haunted for years by the memories of what became known as the ‘crimes of the decade’. Now twenty years later, Becky is determined to hunt down the killers and exact her revenge. With old wounds being opened, however, is she right to go down this route and will she end up becoming the next victim?

In February, I was one of the blogs lucky enough to take part in the cover reveal for The Family by P R Black, and I saw enough there to make me want to read the book. After reading it, I can see how the book cover perfectly reflects the tone of the book – dark and disturbing. The Family is definitely not a book for the faint-hearted.

Despite the horrors that she witnessed and the obvious trauma she is still experiencing, Becky is an incredibly strong character with more guts than most people. By actively searching out the man responsible for the massacre of her family, Becky puts herself in immense danger and on more than one occasion, I questioned her actions. I had to admire her courage, however, as she found the strength to continue with her mission, especially after the encounters with her nemesis.

I have already said that The Family is not for the faint-hearted and this is mainly due to the descriptions of the numerous deaths that take place throughout the book. There are some genuinely chilling moments which, given the ritualistic aspects of the murders, are essential to the plot. I found one death particularly horrible as it highlighted the danger Becky was putting herself and her accomplices in and also showed us what a heinous character her quarry was – he is truly one of the most loathsome killers I have read about in recent years!

The Family contains twists galore, most of which I did not see coming at all. Towards the end of the book, it became one of those reads which I could not put down as it took off at break-neck speed, culminating in an unexpected yet incredibly satisfying conclusion.

With thanks to Aria Fiction & Net Galley and also Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

When Darkness Calls by Mark Griffin

Holly Wakefield, a criminal psychologist specialising in serial killers, encounters a dramatic change in her life when she is called upon to assist after two bodies are discovered. Working alongside DI Bishop, she is horrified to find that it is not the first time that she has seen these injuries – there is a serial killer at work. More used to dealing with incarcerated murderers, she finds herself involved with an active investigation and a killer who shares a connection with her past. A past that, for the first time, she must face head-on…

Holly’s occupation gives her an ideal background to assist with the case, and her insights soon help to unravel details that may, possibly, have been missed. It is safe to say that she has a slight obsession with killers and one particular scene where she ‘introduces’ Bishop to her own version of Scotland Yard’s Crime Museum was a very entertaining interlude in an otherwise thrilling plot. I enjoyed how Holly referenced real-life murder cases to support her theories as this added an air of authenticity to the plot.

We can tell from quite early on that Holly has a past that she would rather keep hidden, but like most secrets, they don’t stay hidden for ever. I liked how the professional relationship between Holly and Bishop developed to the point where there was a lot of mutual trust and secrets started to be shared. There is a lot of potential in this pairing and I look forward to seeing how this relationship develops in future books.

There are some particularly gruesome killings in When Darkness Calls and some equally detailed postmortems. This all culminates in a fast-paced final few chapters with some genuine heart in the mouth moments. There are numerous twists and turns along the way, meaning that when the killer is revealed it is a genuine surprise.

When Darkness Calls is a fantastic debut and looks like being a superb new series. I look forward to reading the next one.

With thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and Net Galley.

 

Night by Night by Jack Jordan

Rose Shaw’s life is on a downward spiral. Haunted by events from her past, unwanted by her family and plagued by insomnia, her life is going nowhere. After colliding with a stranger one dark evening, she finds a journal written by newspaper editor, Finn Matthews. When her eye catches the sentence, ‘If you’re reading this, I‘m dead.’, she immediately becomes obsessed with trying to trace the missing man. Why did Finn think that someone wanted to kill him and why are the police reluctant to investigate? Refusing to give up on her search, Rose is soon putting her own life and the lives of her loved ones in danger…

From the very beginning of the book, I had nothing but sympathy for Rose. Suffering from debilitating insomnia, the people around her seemed unable to offer her reassurance and, instead, seemed intent on making life difficult for her. When a particularly heart-wrenching incident occurs, her life goes from bad to worse. With nothing else left for her, I could understand why she became so obsessed with the hunt for Finn and as the story progressed, we could see why the search became so personal to her.

There are several sensitive issues in Night by Night, namely police corruption and institutionalised homophobia. With the latest series of BBC’s Line of Duty coming to a close, police corruption is a very topical issue and after reading this book, one that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. As it is revealed that Finn is not the only missing person and that there appears to be no investigations into their disappearance, it poses the question, just who can you trust if you can’t trust the police? This is something that Rose comes to learn and soon, she feels that she can’t put her faith in anyone for fear of retribution.

I ended the story with as much compassion for Rose as I had at the start, even if her circumstances were now completely different. Leading up to this, as the plot culminated in a thrilling showdown, I found I could not put the book down and raced through the final chapters, desperate to know how it would all end.

This is my second Jack Jordan book (after reading Before Her Eyes) and it will definitely not be my last!

With thanks to Corvus and Readers First.

**BLOG TOUR** Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney

When two young women fail to return home after an evening at a local nightclub, their families begin to fear the worst. It’s not long before Detective Lottie Parker and her team identify a person of interest – Conor Dowling. Recently released from prison after being put there thanks to the evidence of one of the missing girls, Conor is certainly on the radar of the investigating officers when the bodies of the women are found. After two more bodies are discovered, it would seem that a serial killer is stalking the streets of Ragmullin and they haven’t yet finished what they set out to do…

Final Betrayal is the sixth in the Lottie Parker series and, again, we see the detective trying to balance her home and work life. Settled into her new home, things should be looking up on the domestic front, but, as readers of this series will know, Lottie’s complicated backstory is never going to give her an easy ride! Without giving away spoilers, readers of the previous book will be shocked to see that the revelations in the previous book play a huge part in Final Betrayal and provide some genuine heart in mouth moments! I’ve always enjoyed how Patricia Gibney mixes the police investigation with Lottie’s personal life – even if I do think that Lottie and her family must have some sort of curse hanging over them!

This is definitely one of Lottie’s most demanding cases for numerous reasons, not least due to the huge body count. With her team not all firing on full cylinders after events on the previous book, we do see cracks beginning to appear as she is determined not to turn to the prescription drugs and alcohol of her past. Her relationship with Boyd is still not progressing even though Boyd would like it to go much further. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next book…

Final Betrayal has a great plot and there are a few clues slipped in throughout the book. By having a couple of story lines running parallel to each other, the author has cleverly managed to muddy the waters so that you’re not always sure who is doing what. All will make sense when you read the book! I did manage to work out who the killer was, but did not solve all aspects of the case!

I would advise that you read the rest of this series before reading this book as there are several spoilers throughout. This is a superb series, though, and one that I’m sure you’ll enjoy catching up on.  Take a look at my reviews of the other five Lottie Parker books:

The Missing Ones

The Stolen Girls

The Lost Child

No Safe Place

Tell Nobody

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for my ARC and to Kim Nash for organising the blog tour.

Death at Hungerford Stairs by J C Briggs

When the body of a young boy is found at Hungerford Stairs close to the River Thames, Charles Dickens is relieved to find that is not the missing child he has been searching for. Presumed drowned, Superintendent Jones of Bow Street soon has a murder case on his hands when a different cause of death is discovered. After more bodies are found, the detective’s worst fears are realised – they have a serial killer on their hands.

Death at Hungerford Stairs is the second book to feature the author Charles Dickens as one of the main characters, the first being The Murder of Patience BrookeIn the previous book, I was particularly impressed with how the author managed to paint a vivid picture of early-Victorian London, especially the more downtrodden areas. This has continued in the second book, making you feel that you are actually walking the London streets.

I like, again, how the author has merged fact with fiction, with true aspects of Dickens’ life providing an air of authenticity to the plot. Dickens is written as a generous man, keen to help the underprivileged and the down at heel, the references to his early life possibly providing a reason for his benevolence. There is a rich supporting cast, providing some tragic as well as some humorous moments.

The hunt for a child killer could be a difficult subject matter, but the author handles it in an informative yet sensitive way, culminating in a very different motive and culprit to most books of this genre. Although there were a few hints dropped throughout the book, the ending was still a surprise – a clever one at that.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next in the series.

***BLOG TOUR*** Her Last Move by John Marrs

DS Becca Vincent is struggling to juggle her work and personal life but has just landed the biggest case of her career. A serial killer is stalking the streets of London, each kill becoming more hideous than the last. Working alongside facial recognition expert, Joe Russell, the killer always seems to be one step ahead of them. Could he have someone on the inside working for him? Will Becca and Joe manage to catch him before he completes his mission and eliminates each of the people on his list?

I am going to start by saying how much I enjoyed this book and the way it was written. By having two protagonists instead of the usual one main character, we get to see the investigation from different branches of the police force. Becca, a no-nonsense detective was a complete contrast to Joe who, in the course of his work, was thorough and methodical due to his role as a facial recognition expert. I enjoyed how the relationship between Becca and Joe changed and how, although she was originally sceptical of his work, she began to see its value as the case progressed.

The case itself is a fascinating one and is more of a ‘whydunit’ than a ‘whodunit’. The first murder seems almost casual when we see how the killer escalates his crimes, each killing being more grisly than the last. It is apparent quite early on that the victims are connected in some way but we do not know how. This culminates in a huge twist that I definitely did not see coming! It’s not often that an author completely wrong foots me but John Marrs certainly did in Her Last Move. I was so taken aback that I had to go back and re-read a whole section to make sure that I had read it correctly!

In addition to the main storyline, there are subplots featuring the two main characters. I particularly enjoyed Joe’s backstory and, yet again, was thrown by how this ended. Joe was probably my favourite character and I felt great sympathy towards him as he battled with his past but also as he tried to come to terms with what was inevitably going to happen in his professional life.

Her Last Move is a thoroughly entertaining read that kept my attention right until the final page. This is the first book by John Marrs that I have read but it will definitely not be the last.

With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for my ARC and also to Emma Welton for organising the blog tour.

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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/JohnMarrs/e/B00F1CRG9U/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

 

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