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Monthly Round Up: December 2020

The last month of the year and I’d hoped to make a dent in the books that appear to be multiplying on Net Galley, but instead I seem to have added some more! I am a bit late with this month’s round up as I’ve had no internet access for over a week – nightmarish first world problem!

Books I Have Read

People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield

A great new take on the infamous Jack the Ripper story. When a young woman starts to suspect that her new husband could be the Whitechapel killer, we are drawn deep into the London underbelly that is not featured on any tourist map.

Lost by Leona Deakin

The second in the Dr Augusta Bloom series follows the aftermath of an explosion. When one of the injured disappears only to reappear some time later, there is a mystery to solve. Where did he go and why can’t he remember anything about what has happened to him? I’m enjoying this series and have downloaded the third book to read soon.

The Christmas Carol by M J Lee

Genealogist Jayne Sinclair takes on an unusual case when she is asked to prove the provenance of a first edition of A Christmas Carol. Taking us back to Victorian Manchester and the possible inspirations for many of the characters, we encounter Charles Dickens as he sees how the mill workers of Lancashire live. A great festive tale.

Silent Night by Nell Pattison

The second in the Paige Northwood series sees the sign language interpreter aiding the police when a deaf teenager goes missing and his head teacher is found murdered. This is another series I am really enjoying due to the different slant taken on the investigation.

The Island by C L Taylor

A YA book from an author whose books I have loved over the past few years. A group of teenagers aim to spend a week on a deserted island, living off the land with the help of a local guide. When things go drastically wrong, their lives are put in danger. Can they work out what is going on and escape from their nightmare? Review will form part of this month’s blog tour.

The Burning Girls by C J Tudor

When a vicar arrives at their new church, it is not long before they realise that all is not well in this village. Just what exactly happened to the previous vicar and why are people still obsessed with the burning of local marytrs hundreds of years previously? This is another sure-fire hit for the author of The Chalk Man. My review will form part of the blog tour later this month.

The Game by Luca Veste

When a young woman goes missing and another is found dead, D C Mark Flynn has his work cut out trying to convince his colleagues that the cases are connected and that they are players of something known as ‘The Game’. Just who is the shadowy figure behind this game and can the players ever leave?

Books I Have Acquired

Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney

The words blurred as she read the note from the killer. She could feel her blood turning to ice. Shivers ran up and down her spine. ‘Before you make the biggest mistake of your life, meet me. If you don’t, her blood will be on your hands. She is with me. You know where to find us’.

When twenty-five-year-old Beth Mullen returns home, expecting to find her twin Rachel waiting for her, the silent house sends a shiver down her spine. She races upstairs to find her beautiful beloved sister cold in her childhood bed, her sparkling blue eyes closed forever, the morning after attending a glittering party…

Newly engaged Detective Lottie Parker knows that Rachel has been murdered the minute she enters the bedroom. Rachel’s neck is bruised and a shard of glass placed in her throat. Confronted with such a horrifying killing, Lottie wastes no time in pursuing every clue.

While interviewing the partygoers, Lottie discovers that Rachel’s handbag and keys are nowhere to be found. But as she is searching for them, a brilliant young doctor is found murdered with glass in her throat. The doctor was nowhere near the party and Lottie is forced to question everything. Two beautiful young women with the world at their feet have been brutally silenced. Why did the killer need them to die?

Desperate to find proof of what really happened to Rachel that night, Lottie gets close to the hostess of the party, whose two daughters were friends with Rachel. But Lottie’s hunt for the truth is getting under the killer’s skin, and when Lottie’s fiancé Boyd goes missing, will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Or will he too be silenced forever?

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.

All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …

Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante

‘Do you know what a Judas Horse is? When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. When he’s ready, you release him and he’ll bring his team back into the corral – like Judas betraying them…’

Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves.

As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes – and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them.

When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr’s head – and any more blood spilled, on his hands…

Hunt by Leona Deakin

The Foreign Secretary is being held under the Terrorism Act. He will answer the police’s questions on one condition – they let him speak to Dr Augusta Bloom.

He asks Bloom to track down his niece, Scarlett, who hasn’t spoken to her family for ten years. The last they heard, Scarlett was getting involved with Artemis – an organisation dedicated to women’s rights and the feminist movement, led by the charismatic Paula Kunis.

But as Bloom learns more about Artemis, she’s torn. Is this organisation everything it claims to be, or do they have a secret side and an alternative agenda? And if so, what has become of Scarlett?

The only way to find out for sure is for Bloom to go undercover. But will she make it out safely – or will she become the next Artemis woman to disappear?

The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

‘The train doesn’t slow. We aren’t stopping. We are going to burn past, leaving her behind in a swirl of leaves and dust. I blink. And then men are there, two of them. They lift the squirming girl to her feet, haul her towards the van… and then we are past.’

I am the girl on the platform.
When new mother Bridget catches her train home from London, she witnesses something terrible: a young girl is taken from the platform, right before her eyes. 
No one knows where I am.
But no one is reported missing and with Bridget the only witness, she is written off as an attention seeker. Nobody believes her – not even her own husband.
Can you find me? 
But Bridget knows what she saw, and becomes consumed with finding the little girl. Only she can save the child’s life… but could delving into the mystery cost Bridget her own?

A Del of a Life by David Jason

”So lithe,’ they say. ‘So spry and sparkling. So uncannily youthful. How on earth do you do it?’

Well, what can I tell you? An hour of tai chi first thing in the morning, an HIIT work-out with my personal trainer, a bowl of steamed kale and a handful of almonds for lunch, and then two hours of yoga in the afternoon followed by an ice bath – this is a routine which I’m sure would work miracles for anyone of any age, although I can’t be entirely sure because I haven’t myself adopted any aspect of it at any point.

Fortunately, during my life and career I have been given all sorts of advice and learned huge amounts from some great and enormously talented people. I’ve been blessed to play characters such as Derek Trotter, Granville, Pop Larkin and Frost, who have changed my life in all sorts of ways, and taught me lessons that go far beyond the television set. And I’ve worked a few things out for myself as well, about friendship, ambition, rejection, success, failure, adversity and fortune.

With any luck, some of these thoughts and observations will chime with episodes and challenges you have faced, or are facing, in your own life. And if they don’t… well, hopefully, at the very least you’ll get to have a good old laugh at my expense.

So lean back, pour yourself a glass, and try not to fall through the bar flap . . .’

Why Mummy’s Sloshed by Gill Sims

I just wanted them to stop wittering at me, eat vegetables without complaining, let me go to the loo in peace and learn to make a decent gin and tonic.  
It genuinely never occurred to me when they were little that this would ever end – an eternity of Teletubbies and Duplo and In The Night Bastarding Garden and screaming, never an end in sight.  But now there is.  And despite the busybody old women who used to pop up whenever I was having a bad day and tell me I would miss these days when they were over, I don’t miss those days at all.  
I have literally never stood wistfully in the supermarket and thought ‘Oh, how I wish someone was trailing behind me constantly whining ‘Mummy, can I have, Mummy can I have?’ while another precious moppet tries to climb out the trolley so they land on their head and we end up in A&E.  
Again.

Mummy has been a wife and mother for so long that she’s a little bit lost. And despite her best efforts, her precious moppets still don’t know the location of the laundry basket, the difference between being bored and being hungry, or that saying ‘I can’t find it Mummy’ is not the same as actually looking for it.

Amidst the chaos of A-Levels and driving tests, she’s doing her best to keep her family afloat, even if everybody is set on drifting off in different directions, and that one of those directions is to make yet another bloody snack. She’s feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated, and the only thing that Mummy knows for sure is that the bigger the kids, the bigger the drink.

Wishing everyone a very happy new year!

Silent Night by Nell Pattison

A school for the deaf are on a trip to a cabin in the woods when one of the teenage boys goes missing. His disappearance is soon followed by that of a member of staff, a teacher whose body is soon found deep in the forest. Sign language interpreter Paige Northwood is brought in to assist the police and it soon becomes clear that while many have motives, they also have alibis. With still no clues as to the whereabouts of the missing boy, Leon, finding him becomes vital as it is obvious that there is a killer ready to strike again.

This is the second in the Paige Northwood series, following on from the previous book The Silent House. This can be read as a standalone, however, or it could be read out of sequence if you haven’t yet read the first. Like in the previous book, I liked looking at the investigation from an perspective other than the police, enjoying Paige’s involvement and how her skills provided alternative angles to investigate. She did, at times, infuriate me though when she was unaware whether to share her suspicions with DS Singh. I kept wanting to shake her, telling her, “Yes! Tell him!”

From early on in the book, it soon becomes apparent that this group of teenagers are keeping secrets but are they related to the murder or is it a case of self-preservation? These secrets are gradually revealed throughout the book, keeping you on your toes as you try to work out exactly what has been going on in the school. To complicate matters further, Paige discovers that her ex-boyfriend, Mike, is now working at the school, raking up painful memories for her. It was good to find out more about Paige’s life, helping us to gain a better understanding of her past and about the sort of person she is.

The plot twists and turns and I changed my mind several times about who the murderer was. I felt that it came to a satisfying conclusion and wished I’d taken more notice of a clue that was given earlier in the story that would have helped me to uncover the motive! This is promising to be a really good series and I look forward to reading Nell Pattison’s next book.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my copy.

Monthly Round Up – July 2020

This month, I’ve read a couple of books from my favourite authors and have been introduced to some new writers. I’d been pleased that I managed to get my Net Galley shelf down to just a few books but with some of the books I’ve been looking forward to appearing on there this month, I have succumbed once again! 

Books I Have Read

The Dead Tell Lies by J F Kirwan

Criminal psychologist Greg Adams specialises in hunting down serial killers but he has his work cut out with his present case. After the murder of his wife, he realises that her death has been attributed to the wrong man. Can he find the real killer before it is too late?

 

The Molten City by Chris Nickson

Leeds, 1908, and Detective Superintendent Tom Harper is awaiting a visit from the Prime Minister. With protests planned by several groups and the cold case investigation of a child who went missing fourteen years previously, the Leeds police department has a lot of work to do to prevent the collapse of law and order.

 

Hush Little Baby by Jane Isaac

Fifteen years ago, a baby went missing from outside a shop and was never seen again. Now,the body of a baby has been discovered, threatening to open up old wounds and revel secrets that have been well-hidden.

 

 

Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

This prequel to the Tom Thorne series takes us back to 1996 and the disappearance of a young child. A nostalgic look back at 1990s Britain and a great read from one of the best crime writers around.

 

The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson

When two friends go on holiday to Lisbon, only one returns. Just what did happen to Kate and what secrets has she been hiding? A great summer read with one of the best last pages I’ve read in a long time.

 

 

The Resident by David Jackson

A serial killer trying to evade the police chances upon an empty house with access to the attic space of several other houses providing him with the perfect cover for the games he has planned… A chilling yet humorous read, deserving of the social media hype! Review to follow. 

 

Before He Kills Again by Margaret Murphy

A predator stalks the streets of Liverpool, attacking women and subjecting them to indescribable terrors. Detective Cassie Rowan has made the case personal and now he has his sights set on her. Review to follow.

 

Books I Have Acquired

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.

 

A victim? Or a killer?

One icy cold morning, the remains of a woman are discovered. She has been abused, then butchered. DI Kelly Porter knows this is the work of a monster. One who has killed before – and will do so again.

Kevin Flint is a young man with no friends and a reputation for being odd. He explores the hidden corners of the Lake District, and likes to creep, and watch. He witnesses depravity and it excites him. But will he cross the line from bystander to perpetrator?

Despite her personal life taking unexpected turns, Kelly’s detective instincts tell her that the answers lie with Kevin – if only she knew the right questions to ask. Will Kelly miss her chance and have blood on her hands? And will she ever be the same when it’s over?

 

When Kate Marshall finds the bloated body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.

But the details don’t add up: why was the victim there, in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown?

Kate is certain there is more to this case than meets the eye. As she and her research assistant Tristan Harper dig deeper, they discover a bloody trail that points towards an active serial killer hiding in plain sight. People have been silently disappearing for years, and when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.

 

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

 

What happened while they were sleeping?

A school for the deaf takes an overnight trip to the snowy woods. Five teenagers go to sleep, but only four wake up. Leon is missing, and a teacher’s body is found in the forest…

Sign language interpreter Paige Northwood is brought in to help with interrogations. Everyone at the school has a motive for murder – but they all have an alibi.  

As Paige becomes increasingly involved, she suspects there’s something sinister going on. With the clock ticking to find Leon, only one thing is certain: the killer is among them, and ready to strike again…

 

Detective Megan Thomas hoped that moving to Devon would mean a quiet life. Her years undercover in London left her broken and alone, unsure if she would ever recover. Slowly, she’s learning to work with a team and trust other people. But when her sister Debbie finds the body of local businessman Greg Porter, that peace is shattered.

Porter’s wife and children don’t seem entirely grief-stricken, and his business dealings are not all they appear to be. So why are the police so determined to focus on Debbie? And why is she acting so suspiciously? When Megan learns what happened between Porter and Debbie, it threatens to tear the family apart, and forces her to ask if her beloved sister could really have done something so terrible.

Her boss won’t allow her anywhere near the case, leaving Megan on the sidelines. Caught between the job she loves, and what she feels she must do, Megan finds herself faced with an impossible decision. She’s desperate to save her sister, but what if Debbie is lying? When a second body and a surprise confession takes the case into even muddier waters, Megan must decide where her loyalty lies – with her family, or the truth.

And whatever choice she makes, will she be able to live with herself?

Are there any of these books that you have read or are looking forward to reading? 

 

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