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The Five

Monthly Roundup – April 2019

I think I may have read a few more contenders for my favourite books of the year this month, one of which was one of my most eagerly anticipated books of 2019!

I’ve been part of a few blog tours this month with reviews of Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney  and The Peacock Bottle by Angela Rigley. I also hosted an extract from A Tale of Two Sisters by Merryn Allingham.

 

Books I have read

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold

While the crimes of Jack the Ripper have been written about on countless occasions, Hallie Rubenold provides an alternative take, looking at the lives of the five canonical victims. This is a fascinating look at how circumstances, often beyond their control, changed the lives of these women and put them in the situations they found themselves in.

 

Death by Dark Waters by Jo Allen

The first in the DCI Satterthwaite series set in the Lake District is a great read for all fans of police procedurals. Telling the story of the discovery of the burnt remains of a child, there are many twists and turns that make this story not what it at first seems… (Review to follow as part of the blog tour)

 

Death at Hungerford Stairs by J. C. Briggs

The second in the series to feature Charles Dickens as an investigator has a great plot and paints a very vivid picture of life in Victorian England. I’m really enjoying these books!

 

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

This was one of the books that I couldn’t wait to read and I was not left disappointed! The latest in the Nathan Cody series sees the detective returning to duty and investigating a particularly horrible murder. For long time fans, we finally discover more about the event that has been haunting Nathan… (Review to follow).

 

Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham

The Tom Thorne books just keep getting better! The sixteenth in the series is probably one of Mark Billingham’s twistiest tales to date and has become one of my favourites. Do we really know our friends?…

 

The Family by P. R. Black

I was drawn to this book by the dark cover and ‘dark’ is definitely a word I would use to describe the plot! Ritual killings, deranged murderer, the dark net, shady secret societies – this book has it all! (Review to follow as part of the blog tour).

 

Books I Have Acquired

‘If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

 

One missing. One a murderer. One trying to find the truth.

Flora has her whole life ahead of her – until the summer night she vanishes.

Her sister Heather was a good girl – until the spring morning she kills two people.

Jess Fox was once like a sister to them both.

But called home to investigate Heather’s crime, she begins to wonder if she really knew either sister at all . . .

 

Holly Wakefield works for the NHS as a criminal psychologist specialising in serial killers. She has particular reason to be good at her job – but she keeps that to herself.

When DI Bishop from the Met Police approaches Holly to investigate a recent killing, Holly is horrified by the dismembered bodies and the way they have been theatrically positioned. More shocking still is when the pathologist reveals this is not the first time she has seen these mutilations. It means a serial killer is out there, and they’re going to kill again – soon.

Holly is used to chasing serial killers. But this killer has something in common with Holly that she’s kept hidden for as long as she can remember. And for the first time since she was a child, Holly is forced to face the darkness of her past…

 

An investigation leads Kelly back to her former command… and the ex who betrayed her

A brutal murder in the Lake District.

A double assassination in a secret lab in London’s west end.

Seemingly unconnected, unexpected links between the gruesome crimes emerge and it’s up to DI Kelly Porter to follow the trail – all the way to the capital.

Back amongst old colleagues and forced to work alongside her calculating ex, DCI Matt Carter, Kelly must untangle a web of deceit that stretches into the highest echelons of power. A place where secrets and lies are currency and no obstacle is insurmountable.

Hopefully there are a few books here that you like the sound of! Happy reading!

 

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

One of the greatest unsolved mysteries is the identity of the Victorian serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. Ever since the murders of 1888, there have been countless books, films and documentaries, all giving their opinions of what really happened. How much do we actually know about the victims, however? In The Five, Hallie Rubenhold aims to right this wrong by painting a picture of Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, focusing not on their death, but on the lives they led before they met their untimely end.

The crimes of Jack the Ripper have always intrigued me and I have read countless books, each author giving their own take on who the culprit actually was. Over the years, though, I have read very little about the victims and their lives before they became known throughout the world. What we do know has mainly come from witness testimonies from the time and also from the numerous contemporary news reports. It became apparent quite early on in the book that although the author has certainly used these sources of information, she has gone far beyond this, her research being thorough and highly informative.

It is always thought that the five canonical victims were murdered by a man intent on killing prostitutes, but one of the first things that Hallie Rubenhold does is make you question this. Could some of these women have been homeless, sleeping in the yards where they were found? This idea has certainly given me a new take on the crimes and made me look at these women in a completely different way.

It was fascinating reading about the early lives of the women, and wonderful to be able to build up a bigger picture of who they actually were. I found it incredibly sad to read how most of them could have had completely different lives but for the circumstances they suddenly found themselves in. Despite the murders happening over 130 years ago, I could see the parallels in the lives of too many people today, finding themselves homeless due to bereavement, addictions or unemployment. My heart really went out to these women who were trying everything they could to survive.

The Five provides a respectful, moving portrait of the women we have come to know as Jack the Ripper’s victims. If you have any interest in the Victorian era, social history or true crime, then I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A superb read.

 

Monthly Round Up – March 2019

A quarter of the year gone and I am a couple of books ahead on my GoodReads challenge. At the moment, I’ve got so many good books to read from Net Galley and not enough time to read them!

Books I’ve Read

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

The first in a dual timeline trilogy where we discover the re-imagined history of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard. I love books where fact and fiction are blurred and this mystery definitely provided that! I can’t wait to read book two and pick up where we left off.

 

The Peacock Bottle by Angela Rigley

Another dual timeline story, this time both parts being set in different years of the Victorian era. When a young woman finds a hidden garden, she wonders what has happened in the past to put it into such a state. A gentle read, the review forming part of the blog tour.

 

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

One of my favourite books of the year so far. Who is the mysterious J. T. LeBeau and what has he done? Definitely the sort of book where you should not read any spoilers in order to immerse yourself fully in the plot. Superb writing from Steve Cavanagh.

 

Family Ties by Nicholas Rhea

When Detective Mark Pemberton uncovers an unsolved case from 1916, he makes it his mission to find the murderer of Private James Hartley. Using the original notes and his own detective work, this is a police procedural with a twist.

 

Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney

The sixth in the Lottie Parker series sees the detective investigating a serial killer who seems to be targeting pairs of young women. An action-packed plot and another great read. The review will form part of the blog tour in April.

 

Where the Dead Fall by M J Lee

I loved the first in the D I Ridpath series and this one is just as good. Still seconded to the coroner’s office, Ridpath witnesses a crime that threatens to reignite the gang wars in Manchester not seen since the 1990s. I couldn’t put this one down!

 

Books I’ve Acquired

‘Sara! Remember! Victoria and Albert. All I can say. They’re here. They’re-‘ 

These are the last words Sara Prior will ever hear from her husband.

As DS Nathan Cody struggles to make sense of the enigmatic message and solve the brutal murder, it soon becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. Taking the investigation into her own hands, Sara is drawn into a world of violence that will lead her in a direction she would never have suspected.

For Cody, meanwhile, things are about to get personal in the darkest and most twisted ways imaginable .

 

You are outside your front door. There are strangers in your house. Then you realise… You can’t remember your name.

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

 

 

The charred remains of a child are discovered – a child no one seems to have missed…

It’s high summer, and the lakes are in the midst of an unrelenting heatwave. Uncontrollable fell fires are breaking out across the moors faster than they can be extinguished. When firefighters uncover the body of a dead child at the heart of the latest blaze, Detective Chief Inspector Jude Satterthwaite’s arson investigation turns to one of murder.

Jude was born and bred in the Lake District. He knows everyone… and everyone knows him. Except his intriguing new Detective Sergeant, Ashleigh O’Halloran, who is running from a dangerous past and has secrets of her own to hide…

Temperatures – and tension – in the village are rising, and with the body count rising Jude and his team race against the clock to catch the killer before it’s too late…

 

Leeds, England. July, 1899. The hot summer has been fairly quiet for Detective Superintendent Tom Harper and his squad, until a daring burglary occurs at an expensive Leeds address. Then his friend and former colleague, Inspector Billy Reed, asks for his help. Billy’s brother, Charlie, a shopkeeper, has committed suicide. Going through Charlie’s papers, Billy discovers crippling rent rises demanded by his new landlord. Could these have driven him to his death?

As Harper investigates, he uncovers a web of intimidation and corruption that leads back to the mysterious North Leeds Company. Who is pulling the strings behind the scenes and bringing a new kind of misery and violence to the people of Leeds? Harper is determined to unmask the culprits, but how much blood will be shed as he tries?

 

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.

Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories.

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London – the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

 

I’ve just started reading The Five, a book I’ve been looking forward to reading ever since hearing about it last year. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one! Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

My Eagerly Anticipated Books of 2019

2019 looks like being another great year for books, in particular crime fiction. Here are the books that I am already looking forward to reading:

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths

Published 7th February 2019 by Quercus

DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?

Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.

As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C J Tudor

Published 21st February 2019 by Penguin

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

Published 24th January 2019 by Orion

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

 

 

A Date With Death by Mark Roberts

Published 2nd May 2019 by Head of Zeus

All they wanted was to find their happy-ever-after… Instead, they met their deaths.

Three women have been killed in Liverpool. The MO points to a stranger, and now DCI Eve Clay is on the trail of a vicious man who preys on lonely women on dating sites. He signs off the same way with each message: “Kiss kiss, night night.”

His crimes are escalating – and Eve has to stop him before another girl dies. But first she needs to find him. And that means going undercover online, and posing as his perfect victim…

 

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

Published 16th May 2019 by Zaffre

‘…They’re here. They’re-‘
The message on Sara Prior’s phone contains the last words she will ever hear from her husband. Racing to find him, she discovers he has been brutally murdered.
While the police struggle to uncover evidence around this shocking crime, it becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. And she is not the sort of woman to let things lie. Following a hidden clue in her husband’s last desperate phone-call, Sara follows the trail to the house of the last person she’d expect . . .
Meanwhile DS Nathan Cody finds himself drawn into the darkest and most twisted case of his career. And this time things are about to get very very personal.

 

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

Published 22nd February 2019 by Bookouture

She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

 

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Published 28th February 2019 by Transworld Digital

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.
What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

 

Just some of the books I’m looking forward to reading although, as always, I’ll be hoping for a new Tennison book from Lynda La Plante, and books from Luca Veste, Steve Robinson and Nathan Dylan Goodwin amongst others. Are any of these on your list or are there others I should be looking out for? I’d love to hear what you think!

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

91TOUwUDzNLIt’s 1986 and Eddie and his group of friends (Hoppo, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey and Nicky) are doing the sort of things that all 12-year-olds do: riding their bikes, hanging around in playgrounds, writing secret messages using chalks… Things change forever when, after following a trail of drawings depicting chalk men, they find a dismembered body in the woods.

Fast forward thirty years and the murder is still fresh in the minds of all those involved. Still living at the house he shared with his parents, Eddie is drawn back in when a face from the past reappears and he starts noticing the chalk men once again. Not quite sure whether to believe what he is seeing, another death spurs him into trying to discover exactly what happened all those years ago.

There has been so much online buzz about this book and it even got a mention in a recent talk by the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers so I thought it was about time I saw for myself what all the fuss was about. Am I so glad I did! The book grabbed me from the very first page and I found it very difficult to put down. I particularly liked the chapters set in 1986 as it evoked numerous childhood memories. I am thankful that my childhood was much less eventful than the children in this story however!

The Chalk Man is told from the perspective of Eddie and we get to see how events in 1986 have shaped both his future and that of all those involved. That year is certainly a memorable one for the children as, in addition to them finding the body, there is a fairground accident, a pro-life campaign and a serious assault to deal with. Perhaps, though, one of the most shocking parts of the book for me was the incident between Eddie and Sean, Metal Mickey’s brother. It is hard to say too much without revealing any spoilers but my heart really went out to Eddie for what he went through both during the event and also afterwards.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the book is how so many seemingly separate events all link together. This made for a very tight, well-written plot with no loose ends. I did fear that one thing had been overlooked but the closing scenes certainly put paid to that idea! Last year, social media was awash with the hashtag #WTFThatEnding with regards to the book Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. The same hashtag could certainly apply here as I actually gasped when I realised how it was going to end! Even though it was a shock, however, it was completely true to what we’d come to know about Eddie and made perfect sense.

Even at this early stage, The Chalk Man promises to be one of the big hits of 2018 and I would not be surprised if a television or film company picks it up. As I was reading, I was reminded on several occasions of The Five, a Sky TV Drama created by Harlan Coben, and thought it amusing that he was actually name checked in the book!

It is hard to believe that this is the author’s debut novel and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

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