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Softly Softly

Monthly Round Up: June 2017

This month, I was happy to attend an evening with three fantastic crime writers – Mark Billingham, Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre and got some signed copies of their books to add to my ever-growing collection! Mark Billingham’s latest book was one of my reads this month, and a great read it was too!

Books I’ve Read

Trust Me51O73PAHCPL__SY346_ by Angela Clarke

The third in Angela Clarke’s ‘social media’ crime series, sees DS Nasreen Cudmore and civilian associate Freddie Venton tackle the case of a girl who has apparently been viewed on the Periscope app  being murdered. Another great read!

 

LoveLikeBloodLove Like Blood by Mark Billingham

The latest of Mark Billingham’s Thorne series deals with the controversial issue of honour killings. A disturbing yet enthralling read, this is Billingham at his best.

 

51gh4mWIeqLBlood Sisters by Jane Corry

Fifteen years after a fatal accident, someone is out for revenge. Told from the perspectives of half-sisters, Alison and Kitty, Blood Sisters is a twisty tale of paranoia, revenge and deception. 

 

FullSizeRenderSoftly, Softly by David Jackson

Available to members of David Jackson’s Reader’s Club, Softly, Softly is a short story about a man’s obsession…

 

Hunted by Monty Marsden

The infamous serial killer, Riondino, is on the run and it is up to the Italian police to find him. This is definitely a serial killer tale with a difference! Review to be published on July 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

Troll by D. B. Thorne

When a young woman goes missing and is presumed dead by the police, her father is not convinced. What follows is a twisted game of cat and mouse. Will she be found alive after all?

 

Books I’ve Acquired

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Shots ring out at a Salvation Army Christmas concert in Oslo, leaving one of the singers dead in the street. The trail will lead Harry Hole, Oslo’s best investigator and worst civil servant, deep into the darkest corners of the city and, eventually, to Croatia.

An assassin forged in the war-torn region has been brought to Oslo to settle an old debt. As the police circle in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate and the danger mounts for Harry and his colleagues.

 

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THE MARK OF THE DEVIL, THE SIGN OF A KILLER…

A young woman is murdered in her flat and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star is found behind her eyelid.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case, alongside his long-time adversary Tom Waaler, and initially wants no part in it.

But Harry is already on his final warning and has little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor when it becomes apparent that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands.

 

51AiillZG+LThe first snow will come.

A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Their house is empty but outside in the garden he sees his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.

And then he will appear again.

As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.

And when the snow is gone…

When a second woman disappears it seems that Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: for the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf.

…he will have taken someone else.

 

51Ry-oprklL**THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BBC DRAMA ‘THREE GIRLS’ **

What do they find attractive about me? An underage girl who just lies there, sobbing, looking up at them…as they come to me one by one.

This is the shocking true story of how a young girl from Rochdale came to be Girl A – the key witness in the trial of Britain’s most notorious child sex ring.

Girl A was just 14 when she was groomed by a group of nine Asian men. After being lured into their circle with free gifts, she was plied with alcohol and systematically abused. She was just one of up to fifty girls to be ‘passed around’ by the gang. The girls were all under-16 and forced to have sex with as many as twenty men in one night.

When details emerged a nation was outraged and asked how these sickening events came to pass. And now, the girl at the very centre of the storm reveals the heartbreaking truth.

 

August, 1983. Denton is preparing for a wedding. Detective Sergeant Waters should be on top of the world with less than a week to go until he marries Kim Myles. But the Sunday before the big day, instead of a run-through with his best man, the church is sealed off. The body of a young woman has been found in the churchyard, and their idyllic wedding venue has become a crime scene.

Detective Sergeant Jack Frost has been homeless for the past three months, ever since his wife’s family sold the matrimonial house. He’s been staying with Detective Constable Sue Clarke but with a baby to take care of and the imminent arrival of her mother, she’s given him his marching orders.

But as best man to Waters, he’s got a responsibility to solve the mystery of the dead girl in the churchyard. Can he put his own troubles aside and be the detective they need him to be? All in all, August looks set to be a wicked month in Denton…

 

She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

But she can’t hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what he did.

 

I’m got a few good books on my TBR pile for next month and also the blog tour for ‘Hunted’ to look forward too. Happy reading!

 

Softly, Softly by David Jackson

FullSizeRenderWhen a man starts to eat at the same place each lunchtime, it’s not the quality of the food that keeps him returning but a woman who he clearly has designs on. What exactly has drawn him to this woman and are his intentions completely honourable?

Softly, Softly is a short story made available to members of David Jackson’s Reader’s Club (see www.bit.ly/DavidJacksonClub to join). This is a standalone story, not featuring any of the main protagonists from his crime novels.

As this is such a short story, I am not going to say too much about it for fear of giving away the plot, but I will say that it is a very clever idea and one that made me gasp and smile simultaneously! If you haven’t been introduced to the work of David Jackson yet, this is a great introduction, and I’m sure you’ll soon want to read the rest of his books!

An Evening with Ian Rankin

imageAs a fan of the Ian Rankin ‘Rebus’ novels for a very long time, I was incredibly excited to get the chance to be in the audience of ‘An Evening with Ian Rankin’ at Oh Me Oh My in Liverpool. The venue, the ornate former Bank of British West Africa, built in 1920, was the perfect place for an evening filled with insights, stories and laughter.

Rankin’s latest book, Rather be the Devil, sees the retired detective John Rebus, taking on the cold case of Maria Turquand, a socialite murdered in her hotel room in 1978. Meanwhile, the struggle for power in Edinburgh is alive and well with newcomer Darryl Christie taking on the old-school might of ‘Big’ Ger Cafferty. As a lot of the places that are used in Rankin’s books actually exist, it was interesting to hear how he contacted the hotel for permission to place the murder there – their response was ‘yes’ as it was a historical murder. Four weeks ago would have got an entirely different response however!

Always one for realism, Rankin felt that it was time that John’s penchant for cigarettes, alcohol and bad food came back to haunt him. Seeking advice from a doctor, a family friend, as to the sort of ailments Rebus could be suffering from, I was glad that several of the more grim conditions were discarded in favour of something more manageable! It will be interesting to see how he copes in subsequent books with his diagnosis although Ian admitted that he sometimes forgets about previous events saying that he almost forgot that Rebus had a dog when starting to write this book!

Throughout the evening, Ian was in conversation with Luca Veste, himself the author of superb books such as Then She was Gone  and Bloodstream. Both authors shared their similarities, discussing the settings of their books being in places not usually associated with the crime genre, with Veste talking about how he was turned down by numerous publishers due to the Liverpool setting. Rankin discussed how he, originally, used fictional places but how he now uses actual streets and buildings – a bonus for anyone participating in Rebus tours. He talked about the drawbacks, though, with the owner of the Oxford pub having to fit a foot rail by the bar as fans  were not happy to realise there wasn’t one, and also how a well-known coffee shop that he used in his current book has now become a restaurant!

Perhaps the funniest tale of the evening was his story about Peacock Johnson. Auctioning off the chance to appear as a character in the book A Question of Blood, the successful bidder was Johnson. On viewing his website, the author found a rather flamboyant, Hawaiian-shirted character – something seemed a bit suspicious! After a bit of detective work, Ian discovered that Peacock Johnson was none other than the alter-ego of the former bass player from Belle and Sebastian, Stuart David! Despite the subterfuge, Peacock Johnson did appear in A Question of Blood, along with his trusty sidekick, Evil Bob! Stuart David has since written a novel of his own featuring Peacock Johnson alongside another character with the familiar name of Ian Rankin!

In addition to his numerous anecdotes, we also discovered what had inspired him to become a crime writer. Revealing that he didn’t really start to read the crime genre until his early twenties, he discussed how television programmes such as Z Cars, Softly Softly and Shaft were amongst his favourites and talked about how the first name of Inspector Rebus is a nod to the private investigator  John Shaft!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and if you ever get the chance to hear Ian Rankin speak, do go – you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

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