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The Toybox

**BLOG TOUR** The Toybox by Charly Cox

Fear surrounds Albuquerque, New Mexico, after several teenage girls and young women disappear with no clue as to what has happened to them. After a body is found, Detective Alyssa Wyatt finds herself desperately trying to uncover what is happening, especially when the friend of her daughter goes missing. With no apparent link between the victims, Wyatt and her partner Cord, find themselves involved in an investigation into criminals much more depraved than they could ever have imagined. Can they locate the girls before they suffer the same fate as the murdered girl?

One of my favourite books of last year was this author’s debut, All His Pretty Girls, the first book in the Alyssa Wyatt series. As someone who doesn’t tend to read many books set in the US, this one completely blew me away and I  couldn’t wait to read the next in the series. I wondered how Charly Cox would be able to live up to the standard of her first book and I am so pleased to say that she has managed it with ease!

The subject matter is not for the faint of heart, dealing with the horrendous crimes of sex trafficking and physical abuse. This is so well written, however, that the author does not actually need to describe the extent of the suffering that these young women are having to endure as enough is implied so that you know what is happening without actually having to read it. This is, I feel, more powerful than seeing the events written down in front of you as your imagination can fill in the gaps, leaving you feeling nothing but horror about what is unfolding before your eyes. These women were incredibly brave despite their circumstances and I found myself desperately hoping that they would be freed from the predicament without anything even more horrendous happening to them.

One word of caution I will give with The Toybox is that there are spoilers aplenty about the previous installment, to the point that some pretty major twists are revealed. The events in All His Pretty Girls have definitely helped to shape Alyssa and some of her actions and feelings can be explained by what has gone before. Alyssa is a great character with a stable family life and a partner who she trusts implicitly. This is something that is often missing in other police procedurals so I really like how we can focus on the investigation rather than on the private life of the detective.

This really is a superb series and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you are looking for a gritty police procedural with believable characters and a gripping plot, then The Toybox may just be the book for you.

With thanks to Sarah Hardy at Book on the Bright Side for organising the blog tour and to Hera Books and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

Monthly Round Up – May 2020

I hope you are all well and keeping safe during these strange times. This month, all of my reads have been crime/mystery related although as well as fiction, I’ve read a non-fiction book and also one for younger readers – all brilliant!

Books I Have Read

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

When two sisters both blame each other of murder and there is no way of determining which one actually did it, there is only one thing to do: put them both on trial. This is the fifth Eddie Flynn book in a series that is going from strength to strength.

 

Buried Angels by Patricia Gibney

This is the most complex plot to date for Patricia Gibney, in a story which sees Detective Lottie Parker investigating multiple murders spanning several decades. This is a series that I am still really enjoying.

 

The Glass House by Eve Chase

This captivating story of a dysfunctional family is one of my favourite reads of the year so far. A character-driven novel with death, mystery and intrigue makes this a perfect book to lose yourself in!

 

Poisoned at the Priory by Antony M Brown

This, the fourth book in the Cold Case Jury series, investigates the death of Victorian gentleman, Charles Bravo. Was it suicide or murder? If it was murder, who was the culprit? These are questions you must ask yourself as the evidence is presented to you. A great read for fans of true crime.

 

The Toybox by Charly Cox

This, the second in the Alyssa Wyatt series, is another great read after I thoroughly enjoyed the first one last year. A gripping tale of abduction and sex trafficking, this is a series not to be missed. My review will be published on June 6th as part of the blog tour.

 

A Girl Called Justice by Elly Griffiths

This may be a child’s book, but it’s a great mystery story from one of my favourite authors. When Justice Jones starts at a boarding school, she soon realises that strange things are happening. Just how did Mary the maid die and why are so many people creeping around at night? Another death confirms is – there is a killer on the loose. Review to follow.

 

Books I Have Acquired

The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls since the early 1800s. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the Kendricks, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…

 

DCI Jude Satterthwaite doesn’t get off to a great start with resentful Cody Wilder, who’s visiting Grasmere to present her latest research on Wordsworth. With some of the villagers unhappy about her visit, it’s up to DCI Satterthwaite to protect her – especially when her assistant is found hanging in the kitchen of their shared cottage.

With a constant flock of tourists and the local hippies welcoming in all who cross their paths, Jude’s home in the Lake District isn’t short of strangers. But with the ability to make enemies wherever she goes, the violence that follows in Cody’s wake leads DCI Satterthwaite’s investigation down the hidden paths of those he knows, and those he never knew even existed.

 

Would you forgive your child anything?

The murder of a young girl found barefoot in a country park and the re-emergence of shoes from the victims of a serial killer from over forty years ago. A coincidence or a connection?
Will Blake is determined to find out, but as he unearths the past, questions are raised about the original investigations and it becomes clear that The Wirral has a killer on the loose once again.

Victor Hunt, the father of the last dead girl from the original case, lies in a hospice with weeks to live. The truth lies hidden in Hunt’s tangled family tree, and the actions of his wayward daughter. Time is against Blake and his fractious team. If they don’t get to the root of past crimes, then innocent blood will flow again.

 

Derbyshire, England, 1603
Elizabeth I is dead and the Tudor reign is over. As the men in power decide to pass the throne to the Scottish King James, one woman debates changing the course of history.

Two Tudor heirs have been covered up for decades, and with a foreign king threatening the stability of England it could be time to bring the truth to the fore.

But there are reasons the Tudor children were put into hiding and exposing them would put not only their lives in danger, but the lives of many others as well…

Marquess House, Pembrokeshire, 2019

Dr Perdita Rivers and her sister Piper have returned to their ancestral home. But the ancient walls still contain riddles which the twins need to solve.

Perdita and Piper have already discovered earth-shattering secrets which will change the course of English history forever. But they are missing one vital piece of the puzzle.

Two Tudor rings have led them to cover-ups at the Tudor court, but now they must track down a missing silver locket to slot the final parts of the mystery together.

And just when it seems they could be ready to expose the centuries-old conspiracy, old enemies resurface to put their very lives at risk…

 

What happens on the pitch is only half the story.

Being a footballer is not just kicking a ball about with twenty-one other people on a big grass rectangle. Sometimes being a footballer is about accidentally becoming best mates with Mickey Rourke, or understanding why spitting is considered football’s most heinous crime.

In How to be a Footballer, Peter Crouch took us into a world of bad tattoos and even worse haircuts, a world where you’re on the pitch one minute, spending too much money on a personalised number plate the next. In I, Robot, he lifts the lid even further on the beautiful game. We will learn about Gareth Bale’s magic beans, the Golden Rhombus of Saturday night entertainment, and why Crouchy’s dad walks his dog wearing an England tracksuit from 2005.

‘Whether you’re an armchair expert, or out in the stands every Saturday, crazy for five-a-side or haven’t put on a pair of boots since school, this is the real inside story of how to be a footballer.’

 

A mixed bag of books to read! Do any of these look like something you’d enjoy?

 

Monthly Round Up – April 2020

Well, it’s definitely been a very different sort of month. I hope that all of you are managing to keep well and that books are giving you a few moments where you don’t have to think about what is happening in the world. Working from home has given me a bit more reading time and I’ve also started to listen to some audio books courtesy of my local library.

Books I Have Read

The Death Certificate by Stephen Molyneux

It’s been a while since I read the author’s first book so I was pleased to see he’d finally written a second! Set partly in the present day and partly in the Victorian era, this is a great read and I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next book!

 

Strangers by C L Taylor

From the start when we meet three characters, unfamiliar to each other, standing with a dead body, I was hooked! I loved her last book, Sleep, but I think I enjoyed this one even more!

 

The Body Under the Bridge by Nick Louth

The fifth in the Craig Gillard series is just as good as the rest. There’s a particularly clever serial killer and, for some of Craig’s team, he might just be someone the already know…

 

 

Remain Silent by Susie Steiner

This is the third in a series that continues to go from strength to strength. DS Manon Bradshaw investigates the death of an immigrant worker, dealing with many prejudices along the way. A superb read.

 

 

The Secret of the Chateau by Kathleen McGurl

Another historical timeslip novel from Kathleen McGurl takes us to the time of the French Revolution. Mystery, death, history, intrigue – this had it all! I always look forward to Kathleen McGurl’s books and this one did not let me down. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

The first in the series introduces us to Ellen and her family. In these worrying times, this gave me a much-needed bit of light relief due to the many laugh-out-loud moments.

 

 

Killing Mind by Angela Marsons

I’m still amazed as to how Angela Marsons keeps this series going with such a high standard! In Killing Mind, Kim Stone and her team investigate a cult, putting a member of her team in danger in the process. Fans of this series are going to absolutely love this! Review to follow.

 

Love Me To Death by Susan Gee

A creepy tale of a warped killer plying his trade in Stockport. In a town full of secrets, who exactly has something to hide? Review will follow as part of the blog tour.

 

 

Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries by John Taylor

Highly recommended for fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, especially as the audio book is narrated by Shelock himself – Benedict Cumberbatch!

 

Books I Have Acquired

Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

‘911 what’s your emergency?’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

 

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners. Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds. And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.
Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

 

Bubbles of cold sweat trickled down Faye’s spine. The hole wasn’t empty. Before she could turn and run, she caught the two sightless eyes staring up at her. Only then did she scream.

When Faye Baker discovers a fragile child’s skull behind the walls of her new home, Detective Lottie Parker is called to investigate. The house has been owned for years by the family of Faye’s boyfriend Jeff, so when Jeff starts acting suspiciously, Lottie wonders what he might be hiding…

Lottie doesn’t have long to dig deeper before a child’s bones are found by eleven-year-old Gavin on nearby railway tracks. The bones don’t match the small skull behind the walls, but Lottie can’t ignore the coincidence. Someone out there must be missing their loved ones and it’s up to her to put right a terrible wrong.

Unable to shake a feeling of foreboding, Lottie goes to speak to Faye, and discovers that she hasn’t turned up for work. When Faye’s body is found stuffed in the back of her car, Lottie needs to find out who wanted her to keep quiet.

As Lottie hunts for Faye’s killer, the case takes a darker turn when Gavin goes missing. Faye and Gavin are connected only by the grisly body parts they discovered. But who are these little victims and why has their killer come back? Can Lottie find the answers before another precious life is taken?

 

You don’t want to play their games…

All around Albuquerque, New Mexico, young women are going missing, seemingly vanished into thin air. With no link between the victims, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is quickly plunged into a horrifying case with no obvious clues.

And when Jersey Andrews, the best friend of Alyssa’s teenage daughter, Holly, joins the list of vanished girls, the case becomes personal.

But this investigation will lead Alyssa and partner Cord into the most sinister depths of humanity; an evil place where life is expendable, and where the depraved can fulfil their darkest desires – if they have the money to pay for it.

As the first bodies appear, abandoned on the streets, Alyssa is forced into a frantic hunt to track down the killers – before more innocent women lose their lives. But when the truth comes out, it seems that the key to solving the case was hiding in the last place anyone expected…

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Hopefully, May will bring a less scary month for us all.

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