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The Stolen Girls

My Books of 2017

2017 has been another great year for books, both from returning authors and debut writers. In an attempt to try to choose my favourite ten, I looked back at my Goodreads ratings to look for all of my 5-star reviews. There were more than ten, so I’ve had to try to narrow it down even further! What follows are the books where the plot has stayed with me for one reason or another. In no particular order:

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

The Ruth Galloway series goes from strength to strength. This very topical book, dealing with the plight of the homeless, is extremely well-written and I can’t wait for the next book, The Dark Angel.

 

Hope to Die by David Jackson

A murder in the grounds of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral sees the start of a brutal killing spree by a killer filled with hate. The second in the Nathan Cody series saw us finding out a bit more about the detective’s past and the ending set up the next book nicely.

 

Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

I’ve loved all of the Thorne books but this is definitely one where the plot will remain with me for a long time. A very emotive book dealing with the taboo subject of honour killings, as usual Mark Billingham’s writing is perfect.

 

 

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

A very clever book where you don’t know what to believe. Is there something sinister going on or is it all the imaginings of a highly-medicated war reporter? This was a slow burner that became high-octane towards the end of the book with plenty of shocks along the way.

 

The Perfect Victim by Corrie Jackson

I absolutely loved this book despite it being the second in a series where I had not read the first. An incredibly twisty plot that completely messed with my head yet was never once confusing. I’d love to see this one made into a film.

 

 

Dying Games by Steve Robinson

The books about genealogist Jefferson Tayte just keep getting better and better and this one, I feel, was one of the best. A lot more fast-paced than some of the others, we find Jefferson  racing against the clock to stop a serial killer in his tracks. Very reminiscent of Robert Langdon!

 

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The second in the Lottie Parker series is a harrowing, emotional read which firmly placed the detective amongst my favourite characters. Death, prostitution, people trafficking and organ harvesting – this book has it all!

 

 

Day of the Dead by Mark Roberts

Another series set in Liverpool, but this time with a brilliant female protagonist, DCI Eve Clay. Some years ago, a paedophile-killer escaped from prison and now it seems as though he is back as the killings have started again. This series has a touch of the macabre about them and are a thrilling read!

 

The Good Mother by Karen Osman

A very character-driven novel about how destructive a secret can be. Told from the perspectives of three women, there was a definite ‘eureka’ moment which totally blew me away. Thrilling and emotive in equal measures.

 

 

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

I toyed about putting this one in as it’s not actually published until January 2018 but it was so good that I had to! Set in the present day and in 1986, it is obvious that crimes have been committed in the past and a group of young friends are implicated in some way. This promises to be one of the books of 2018.

 

So there you have it! How many of these appear on your top ten?

Monthly Round Up: July 2017

Well, July was the month where I completed my Goodreads challenge – I obviously set my target way too low!

Books I’ve Read

51Sv-EJivWLFrost At Midnight by James Henry

Detective Jack Frost returns in another prequel to the R. D. Wingfield series that inspired the TV show starring David Jason. A gripping and entertaining read that sees Frost investigating the murder of a woman found dead in a churchyard.

 

51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The follow-up to the brilliant The Missing Ones sees Detective Lottie Parker investigating an incredibly harrowing crime involving human trafficking, prostitution and organ harvesting. This is a must read!

 

514-fU+PfcLLast Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

When Libby and her husband undertake a short term house swap, strange things begin to happen. Is it paranoia or is someone watching her, trying to make her relive the disappearance of her friend nine years ago? This is a very clever book with a genuine twist.

 

51mCV12k+uL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Receiving a Facebook friend request from a long-lost pal should be a happy occurrence but not if the friend has been dead for over twenty years. Who is behind the cruel mind games and how many lives are in danger?

 

A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley

Historian and TV presenter explores the British fascination with murder, whether it be true crime such as the Ratcliffe Highway murders or the Golden Age of detective fiction. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of British crime.

 

The Girl From Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl

Another dual time frame book from Kathleen McGurl, telling the story of a woman researching her artist ancestor coupled with an an account of the nineteenth century potato famine. This was one of the books I have been looking forward to reading and it didn’t disappoint. Review to follow nearer to publication day (7th September 2017).

 

Dead Girls Can’t Lie by Carys Jones

When a girl’s best friend is found hanging from a tree, she knows right away that this is a case of murder. With the police refusing to investigate, stating that it is a case of suicide, North Stone has no other option but to try to prove it herself. A fast paced tale of a woman who refuses to give up. Review will be published on August 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

After a traumatic childhood, Caitlyn travels to New York where she meets the handsome and charismatic Jake. Soon, he is taking her to meet his family in a house in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, but all is most definitely not what it seems. A great psychological debut. Review will be published on August 21st as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

71KqcAPXiFLHow do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect?

A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he beings to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death?

As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery…

 

Meet Hendrik Groen. An octogenarian in a care home who has no intention of doing what he’s told, or dying quietly. To that end, he creates the Old-But-Not-Dead Club and with his fellow members sets about living his final years with careless abandon. Such anarchism infuriates the care home director but pleases Eefje, the woman who makes Hendrik’s frail heart palpitate. If it’s never too late to have fun, then can it ever be too late to meet the love of your life?

 

 

If you can’t trust your sister, then who can you trust?

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never left.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her?

I currently only have one book on my Net Galley bookshelf so think it’s time to get looking!

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_Detective Lottie Parker is a woman in turmoil. After events took a harrowing turn in her previous case, her relationship with her children has become more strained than ever, so when a woman turns up on her doorstep asking for help, Lottie is pushed to her limits. On the same day, the body of a partially decomposed woman is found – could the two incidents be linked?

I can honestly say that the opening chapter of this book, describing atrocities taking place in Kosovo, is once of the most harrowing and emotional I have ever read – not ideal when you are reading it on public transport! Patricia Gibney succeeded in drawing me in right from the start, helping me to develop an emotional attachment to many of the characters. My heart went out to the Kosovan boy who witnessed things that no child should ever have to and also to Mimoza, the woman whose visit to Lottie sparks off an investigation into people trafficking, prostitution and organ harvesting.

In Lottie Parker, we have a very realistic, likeable protagonist who is desperately trying to balance her home and work life. As in the previous book, The Missing Ones, her family become embroiled in the case, the trauma of previous events coming back to haunt one of her children. Although there are some spoilers, it is not essential to have read the first book in the series, but I would advise you do as it is another fantastic book.

The subject matter is, at times, incredibly hard-hitting and evokes sympathy throughout. I genuinely could not put this book down, the short chapters moving the story along at a very fast pace, and the quality of the writing immersing me completely in the plot. This has definitely been one of my favourite reads of the year so far.

With thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my ARC.

Monthly Round Up: May 2017

Where did May go?! I’ve managed to read a few really good books this month, although two of the reviews aren’t live yet due to them being part of a forthcoming blog tour. Here  is my month in books:

Books I’ve Read

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

This tale of a sister investigating the disappearance/death of her twin wasn’t the thriller I hoped it was going to be but was still an enjoyable and entertaining read.

 

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The Sixth Victim by Tessa Harris

A great first book in a new series featuring the psychic medium Constance Piper. Set against the backdrop of 1888 Whitechapel, during the reign of terror of Jack the Ripper, Constance is tasked to discover the whereabouts of a missing woman.

51bS5O6yIKLWhen I Wake Up by Jessica Jarlvi

This debut novel was not what I expected but was, nevertheless, an intriguing tale of infatuation and revenge. Full review will follow as part of the book’s Blog Tour.

Child Taken by Darren Young

When a child disappears from a beach, has she drowned or has she been abducted? The child’s mother knows that she has been taken but no one will listen to her. An excellent debut from Darren Young.

 

51zeLbgjVpLOn Copper Street by Chris Nickson

The fifth of the Tom Harper series set in Victorian Leeds has countless murders and a seemingly unprovoked acid attack. A great read for any fans of historical crime fiction.

 

51ekD0+0VCLDay of the Dead by Mark Roberts

When a paedophile is found brutally murdered in Liverpool, it looks as though the escaped killer known as Vindici has struck again. Is it him or is a copycat emulating the ‘work’ of their idol? This is the third in the DCI Eve Clay series – a full review will follow as part of the blog tour.

Books I’ve Acquired

41kjvew0GCL

Years ago, Fortune gave up on his daughter, Sophie, after a troubled adolescence. Now she’s gone missing, vanished without trace. And after weeks of investigation, the police have given up on her, too.

Driven by guilt, and a determination to atone for his failures as a father, he takes on the search himself. He soon finds that his daughter had been living in fear of a vicious online troll who seemed to know far too much about her. Could Sophie’s disappearance be linked to this unknown predator? Fortune is about to discover that monsters which live online don’t always stay there…

 

51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_

 

The young woman standing on Lottie’s step was a stranger. She was clutching the hand of a young boy. ‘Help me,’ she said to Lottie. ‘Please help me.’

One Monday morning, the body of a young pregnant woman is found. The same day, a mother and her son visit the house of Detective Lottie Parker, begging for help to find a lost friend.

Could this be the same girl?

When a second victim is discovered by the same man, with the murder bearing all the same hallmarks as the first, Lottie needs to work fast to discover how else the two were linked. Then two more girls go missing.

Detective Lottie Parker is a woman on the edge, haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her family together through difficult times. Can she fight her own demons and catch the killer before he claims another victim?

 

YOU SAW IT HAPPEN. DIDN’T YOU?

What do you do if you witness a murder…but no-one believes you?
When Kate sees a horrific murder streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who her killer is.
Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but tensions in the police force are running high and time is ticking. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?
Dark, gripping, and flawlessly paced, Trust Me is the brilliant third novel in the hugely popular social media murderer series.

I’m currently reading Trust Me and am looking forward to reading the latest of Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne series.

Happy reading!

 

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