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The Scorched Earth

Monthly Round Up – November 2019

Well this year has definitely flown and I’m starting to think about the books that are going to make my ‘favourites of 2019’ list. There’s definitely at least one of the books I’ve read this month that will make the list!

Books I’ve Read

Blood Rites by Rachel Lynch

The sixth book in the series sees DI Kelly Porter investigating the discovery of a naked young woman on an ancient stone circle and the frenzied murder of another woman. With a plot taking in pagan worship, this was a great addition to this series, building upon plots from previous books.

 

The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok

This tale of a miscarriage of justice is a great thriller with some tense moments. After the body of a man is found in a newly-dug grave, police begin to fear that the man imprisoned for the crime is not actually the guilty party. This was the first book I’ve read by this author, but I’ll be looking out for others now.

 

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

I’d been looking forward to this one and it definitely did not disappoint. This story about a serial killer and his copycat has one of the best plot twists I’ve read all year, expecially as it came quite early on in the book. This is one of those books that grabs your attention instantly.

 

Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond

Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone, just as I did. When a woman is found near to death and then subsequently disappears, Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey find themselves embroiled in a case of abuse with some truly heart-wrenching scenes. This is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.

 

The Murder Map by Danny Miller

When the body pf an art dealer is found at his home, it is initially thought that there are no suspicious circumstances. DI Frost is not convinced, however, and uncovers a much bigger story of art theft and murder. Not my favourite book in this series, but still a decent read.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

In Victorian England, a mother is on the run from her past—and the truth about what she did.

Birmingham, 1880. Angelica Chastain has fled from London with her young son, William. She promises him a better life, far away from the terrors they left behind.

Securing a job as a governess, Angelica captures the attention of wealthy widower Stanley Hampton. Soon they marry and the successful future Angelica envisaged for William starts to fall into place.

But the past will not let Angelica go. As the people in her husband’s circle, once captivated by her charm, begin to question her motives, it becomes clear that forgetting where she came from—and who she ran from—is impossible.

When tragedy threatens to expose her and destroy everything she’s built for herself and William, how far will she go to keep her secrets safe? And when does the love for one’s child tip over into dangerous obsession?

 

A young detective is out for a jog on a snowy winter morning. Then she sees something terrible: a murder in the park, sudden and inexplicable. A woman has been killed by a passing hooded cyclist.

It’s just DCI Craig Gillard’s luck that he’s on duty. The body is that of Tanvi Roy, one of the richest women in Britain and matriarch of a food empire. With a tangled web of family and business contacts and jealousies, Gillard’s job just got even more complex.

As he delves deeper into the Roy family, it’s clear that everything is not as it seems. As the investigation threatens to unravel, Gillard realises it’s only the beginning of his problems. Trouble of a different sort is brewing close to home…

 

The body of a young migrant is found hanging from a tree.

No signs of struggle. No indication that it is anything other than a tragic suicide.

Except for a note, pinned to his trousers, that reads ‘The dead cannot speak’.

A murder investigation begins with DI Manon Bradshaw at the helm. But with the other migrants unwilling to speak, and protests on the streets, hatred is starting to drown out the facts.

 

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

Can Manon uncover the truth before it happens again?

 

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok

Two years ago, Leo Fenton went missing. Despite his body never being found, his brother, Ben was charged and convicted with his murder, although he has consistently denied any involvement. Now, a body has been found, in a newly-dug grave, close to the home of Ben’s girlfriend, Ana Seabrook. Who put it there and, if it is Leo, where has it been for the past two years? It is up to DCI Jansen and his team to try to make sense of what happened two years ago, and discover whether Ben has been imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.

From the start, I was convinced of Ben’s innocence, and felt that this was an incredibly well-planned murder with Ben being made the scapegoat. But why? This was the question I constantly asked myself, and I particularly enjoyed the chapters set prior to the disappearance of Leo as I tried to fathom out what happened that led to the event.

I had a lot of sympathy for Ana, whose life is turned upside down once the body is discovered. With the police convinced that she knows more than she is letting on and her paranoia that she is being watched, a claustrophobic atmosphere is created and you begin to genuinely fear for her safety. Although the secret she is hiding wasn’t that difficult to figure out, it did, again, make me ask questions as I wondered if this was what set off the chain of events.

This is one of those books where you know that one of the characters you meet along the way is going to end up playing a bigger role than you initially thought, and Rachael Blok has done a good job in adding several characters who could, potentially, be this person. Being convinced of Ben’s innocence, two characters in particular stood out to me, my suspicions wavering between the two throughout the book. With numerous secrets being hidden, either of these characters could have been the guilty party!

The Scorched Earth is a great thriller, with some very tense moments, and one that I enjoyed a great deal. I was not aware that the detective, DCI Maarten Jansen had appeared in a previous book, Under the Ice, but I will definitely be looking out for this one now!

WIth thanks to Head of Zeus  and Net Galley for my copy and to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

 

Monthly Roundup – October 2019

With only two months left in the year, I’m starting to think about which books are going to make it into my ‘best of 2019’ list. October has certainly brought a couple of books which, I am sure, are going to feature!

Books I Have Read

Broken Souls by Patricia Gibney

The seventh book in the Lottie Parker series sees the detective investigating a spate of murders which were originally deemed to be suicides. With plenty of shady character, this book will keep you guessing right until the end.

 

All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox

When a woman is found, barely alive, in the mountains, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is plunged into the search for a particularly nasty serial killer. One of the best books I have read this year – it is hard to believe that this is the author’s debut.

 

Sleep by C L Taylor

A woman trying to escape from a traumatic experience finds herself in more trouble than she realises when she relocates to the remote Scottish island of Rum. Working in a hotel, it is not long before she discovers that one of the guests has murder on their mind – her murder. A tense, claustrophobic read.

 

Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran

A cautionary tale of how we don’t really know the people around us. Two neighbours are envious of each other’s lives, without really knowing what is going on behind closed doors. Soon, this envy turns into something much more serious and a life is put in danger… Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Reputations by John Nixon

The latest in the Madeleine Porter series sees the genealogist investigating a crime from the 1960s after a friend is murdered. Are the two incidents connected?

 

Books I Have Acquired

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping for the night with his brother Leo. When Ben woke up, he was covered in blood, and his brother had gone. Days later, Ben was facing a charge of murder. 

Ben’s girlfriend, Ana Seabrook, has always sworn he was innocent. And now, on the hottest day of a sweltering heat wave, a body has been unearthed in Ana’s village. A body that might be connected to what really happened between Ben and Leo that fateful night. 

DCI Jansen, of St Albans police, is sure that Ana has something to hide. But until the police track down the identity of the body, he can’t work out how everything’s connected. Will Ana’s secrets stay buried forever? Or can Jansen bring them to light?

 

No matter how far you run . . . 
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought. 

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

 

 

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead. 

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .

 

 

In Victorian England, a mother is on the run from her past—and the truth about what she did.

Birmingham, 1880. Angelica Chastain has fled from London with her young son, William. She promises him a better life, far away from the terrors they left behind.

Securing a job as a governess, Angelica captures the attention of wealthy widower Stanley Hampton. Soon they marry and the successful future Angelica envisaged for William starts to fall into place.

But the past will not let Angelica go. As the people in her husband’s circle, once captivated by her charm, begin to question her motives, it becomes clear that forgetting where she came from—and who she ran from—is impossible.

When tragedy threatens to expose her and destroy everything she’s built for herself and William, how far will she go to keep her secrets safe? And when does the love for one’s child tip over into dangerous obsession?

 

 

Investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil’s instincts tell her when a story is worth pursuing. And the death of an elderly priest on the altar of his Glasgow church, just as she is about to expose the shocking truth behind the closure of an infamous Magdalene Institution, tells her a sinister cover up is in play. 

DI Alec Davies is appointed to investigate the priest’s death. He and Oonagh go way back. But now they’re united in uncovering not only what happened to the lost babies secretly born in the Institution, but what happened to the young women that survived by vowing loyalty to one another… forever. 

The doors of the Magdalene laundries hid the most harrowing secrets from the world – secrets Oonagh is determined to reveal, whatever the price…

 

I’m really looking forward to reading these books. I’m especially intrigued by the Steve Robinson one as I love his Jefferson Tayte series, so I can’t wait to read something different!

Finally, a big thank you and hello to all of my new subscribers. I hope you find something good to read – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Monthly Roundup – August 2019

Having more time on my hands, August is the month I manage to read a lot more than I do any other month and this month has been no exception. A couple of books crept to the top of my TBR list as they were on my most anticipated list and, thanks to Net Galley, I was able to get some early copies!

Books I Have Read

The Dirty Dozen by Linda La Plante

The fifth book in the Jane Tennison series sees the detective combating sexism as she joins the famous Flying Squad, investigating a particularly nasty armed robbery. Knowing that she will have to work twice as hard just to gain acceptance, we see the tenacious officer showing off her skills to the max as she shows the men just how it’s done. This is one of my favourite series at the moment.

 

Ice Cold Heart by P. J. Tracy

When a woman is found dead after a clandestine meeting, detectives Gino and Magozzi believe it could be a case of a sex game gone wrong. A chance meeting, however, leads them to think that this is not his first victim and time is running out if they are to save his next… This next installment in the Monkeewrench series is, in my opinion, one of the best.

 

The Perfect Lie by Karen Osman

Claire Carmichael has a great life but something happened a long time ago when she was at school that threatens to change everything. What has she kept hidden all these years and how does it link to what is about to happen to her and her family? This is a great thriller.

 

Daddy’s Girls by Sarah Flint

When an elderly woman is found dead in her bed, D. C. Charlie Stafford fears that the man responsible for a spate of burglaries has escalated his crimes. With another, equally heinous, criminal on the loose, decisions must be made about which avenues to pursue before more victims are found. Review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

46801377._SY475_A Pair of Sharp Eyes by Kat Armstrong

Even before she arrives in Bristol, young Coronation Amesbury hears about the deaths of six young boys, all found with their throats cut. Determined to make her own way in life,  she is also determined to find out what happened to these poor children. A great debut for fans of historical fiction, the review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Your Guilty Lies by Ruth Heald

This story of Katie, a mother of young twin girls, had me gasping with shock on more than one occasion! With a husband and a friend who are obviously keeping secrets from her, this is one of those books where you need to keep reading to find out what awful event is going to happen next! Review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

The fifth book in the Stephens and Mephisto series is set ten years after the events of the previous case, and we see a huge change in the personal lives of the main characters. With less ‘magic’ than the rest of the series, we see the police investigating the disappearance of several local women, with some of the characters getting a little too close for comfort.

 

Avaline Saddlebags by Netta Newbound and Marcus Brown

A serial killer is targeting male to female transexuals and it is up to DI Dylan Monroe and his team to investigate in this highly sensitive case. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will definitely be making my favourites list this year. My review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

 

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

The well-known Sherlock Holmes book is given a retelling for a children’s audience. Despite this, I absolutely loved it and feel that this would be a great introduction to Sherlock for any young person.

 

 

The Liar’s Sister by Sarah A Denzil

Ten years ago, young Samuel Murray disappeared, never to be seen again. Now old wounds have been opened and the truth threatens to be revealed. How involved was Rosie Sharpe and will her and her sister, Heather, pay the price for their involvement? A shocking, fast-paced read. My review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

 

Play with fire, and you’re going to get burned. The unputdownable new Ridpath crime thriller

In Manchester, a block of flats is burning. The only victim is a middle-aged man, sat watching TV. Are the fire and the man’s death an accident or is something more frightening at work?

Meanwhile, DI Ridpath is back with his wife and enjoying work at the Coroner’s Office, his myeloma still in remission. But the quiet life is soon shattered by a new threat.

More corpses start appearing; charred, burnt, silent bodies, strewn in the streets and lodged in buildings. Next to each one is a chilling message sprayed in orange ink.

Fighting on all fronts, Ridapth will be drawn into the dark past of his city and the youth football clubs of the 1990s. He must find the link before any more people die. Before the flames come close to home…

 

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly are inextricably linked in history. Their names might not be instantly recognisable, and the identity of their murderer may have eluded detectives and historians throughout the years, but there is no mistaking the infamy of Jack the Ripper. For nine weeks during the autumn of 1888, the Whitechapel Murderer brought terror to London s East End, slashing women s throats and disembowelling them. London s most famous serial killer has been pored over time and again, yet his victims have been sorely neglected, reduced to the simple label: prostitute. The lives of these five women are rags-to-riches-to-rags stories of the most tragic kind. There was a time in each of their lives when these poor women had a job, money, a home and a family. Hardworking, determined and fiercely independent individuals, it was bad luck, or a wrong turn here or there, that left them wretched and destitute. Ignored by the press and overlooked by historians, it is time their stories were told.

 

Six friends trapped by one dark secret.

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …

Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay?

 

A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING
Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS
But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE
Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

 

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping for the night with his brother Leo. When Ben woke up, he was covered in blood, and his brother had gone. Days later, Ben was facing a charge of murder. 

Ben’s girlfriend, Ana Seabrook, has always sworn he was innocent. And now, on the hottest day of a sweltering heat wave, a body has been unearthed in Ana’s village. A body that might be connected to what really happened between Ben and Leo that fateful night. 

DCI Jansen, of St Albans police, is sure that Ana has something to hide. But as Jansen knows all too well, nothing stays buried forever…

 

 

When art dealer Ivan Fielding is found dead of a heart attack in his home, surrounded by the treasures he’s collected all his life, it doesn’t initially seem like a case for Detective Inspector Frost and the Denton police force. But then signs of a burglary are discovered, and Frost senses there’s more to the story than meets the eye – even though the only thing taken was a worthless amateur painting.

Then a young girl is abducted outside the school, an infamous gangster fresh from prison arrives in the area, and dead bodies start turning up in the woods. As Frost and his team dig deeper, everything seems to lead back to Ivan Fielding’s murky lifetime of misdeeds.

Will they find the answers they need before the dead man’s past puts them all at risk?

 

Have you read any of these or are any of them on your TBR list? At the moment, I’m reading The Posing Playwright, the fifth book in the Esther & Jack Enright mystery series by David Field, and my next read is going to be Luca Veste’s, The Six – this is one I’m really looking forward to!

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