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Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

A telephone call is received by the police from a young woman, stating that her father has been killed by her sister and that she is still in the house. Seconds later, another call is received from the sister, saying the same thing. One of them is lying. One of them is a cold-hearted killer. Both of them stand accused of murder but who should we believe?

Steve Cavanagh has become the author with the killer hook and this has definitely continued in Fifty Fifty. From the very start, where we have two separate calls being made to the emergency services, from two sisters each accusing the other of murder, I was immediately drawn in to this twisty, sadistic tale of cat and mouse.

In Fifty Fifty, we have two defendants, each protesting their innocence and each represented by a lawyer who believes in what their client is telling them. One of them is being played, but who? Eddie Flynn is defending Sofia Avellino, a messed up young woman with a history of psychological trauma. Does she have it in her to carry out such a horrific crime? New lawyer Kate Brooks is representing Sofia’s sister, Alexandra, a woman much more together than her sister, but does her calm demeanor hide something more sinister? Usually when reading a book like this, I have some sort of theory as to who the guilty party is but I truly could not make up my mind! Just when I’d think it was definitely Alexandra, something would happen to lead me to believe it was Sofia, only a few chapters later have me convinced, yet again that it was Alexandra! I loved how this plot kept me on my toes, keeping me guessing right to the end.

There was one part of the book that had me holding my breath, desperate to read the next part yet, simultaneously, not daring to as I knew that something horrific was about to happen. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but this was a magnificent piece of writing and all I can say is Steve Cavanagh, how could you? If you’ve already read the book, you will know which part I am referring to, if not, strap yourself in as you’re in for a bumpy ride!

The author’s last book was called Twisted, and this one definitely follows suit. Fifty Fifty has a gripping plot that kept me on my toes throughout, outfoxing me at every turn. If you’ve never read a Steve Cavanagh book, you won’t go far wrong with this one. Superb!

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

My Books of 2019

2019 has seen some amazing books being published and it has been hard to find my favourite ten out of all of the great books that I have read. Yesterday, I finished an amazing book, Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton, but I’ve decided that, as it isn’t published until January 9th, I will save it for next year’s list!  After much deliberation, this is my list, in no particular order.

First Blood by Angela Marsons

Bookouture published a surprise sequel to the Kim Stone series and what an absolute corker is is! Great for existing fans of this series but, also, a great introduction for anyone who hasn’t yet read any of the previous books.

 

All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox

As someone who isn’t a huge fan of police procedurals set in the USA, this debut completely blew me away. With a breathtaking, fast-paced serial killer plot, I really hope this isn’t the last we see of Detective Alyssa Wyatt.

 

Sleep by C L Taylor

With a claustrophobic plot reminiscent of a modern-day Agatha Christie novel, Sleep was one of those books that definitely lived up to the online hype. A tense thriller with some great twists.

 

Avaline Saddlebags by Netta Newbound & Marcus Brown

This graphic serial killer novel was like a breath of fresh air with its gritty plot and light-hearted moments. I am sincerely hoping that we see more of the likeable DI Dylan Monroe.

 

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

This twisty tale of a potential miscarriage of justice is one of those books where no matter how hard you try to figure it out, there is always a nagging doubt at the back of your mind. The ending genuinely made me gasp!

 

On My Life by Angela Clarke

This well-researched novel about a possible miscarriage of justice and life inside a women’s prison is one of those plots that will stay with me for a long time to come. I’ve loved all of this author’s books but this one is special.

 

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

If awards were being given out for the most apt title, then this would definitely win! Just when you think you have it all worked out, Steve Cavanagh hits you with yet another twist and makes you rethink everything once again!

 

Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham

This, the sixteenth book in the DI Thorne series, is probably one of my favourites. Do we always know the people closest to us?

 

The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

This is the third book in the DCI Craig Gillard series but, if you haven’t read the previous books, it can be read as a standalone. This story of a hit and run and the exposure of decades-old family secrets is one that you can immediately visualise on the small screen.

 

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

The one that all fans of the Nathan Cody series had been waiting for – we found out more about the clowns! If you haven’t read any of this series, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

 

I’d love to know your thoughts. Are any of these books on your ‘best of…’ list?

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

Usually when I write a review, I start with a brief synopsis of the plot, ensuring that I don’t give anything away. This review is going to be very different however, as I feel that the best way to read Twisted is to go into it completely blind like I did, as any discussion of the plot will inevitably spoil your enjoyment of what is a truly brilliant book.

Ever since reading Steve Cavangh’s previous book, Thirteen, the fourth in the Eddie Flynn series, I could not wait to read Twisted, especially seeing as it is a standalone. My interest was certainly piqued when I read the book’s blurb:

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…

Straight away, I was hooked. We know that the person referred to in the blurb is the mysterious J. T. Lebeau, a highly successful thriller writer who has chosen to remain anonymous. This fact, and the blurb, is the only information I am prepared to give other than to say that I don’t think I have ever read a book with such an apt title! Twists are delivered one after the other, most of which I did not see coming at all. Despite the complicated plot, never once did I feel confused as Steve Cavanagh has made it addictive and easy to follow.

If you are looking for a book to keep you awake until the wee small hours, a book that makes you want to read ‘just one more page’, then Twisted is the book you are looking for. I am sure that this is going to be one of my favourite reads of the year and looks like being a huge success for the author.

With thanks to Net Galley and Orion for my ARC.

Can I also recommend the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast, presented by Steve Cavanagh and fellow crime writer Luca Veste – a highly entertaining take on the world of crime fiction.

 

 

 

Monthly Round Up – January 2019

I haven’t blogged much lately, mainly due to the fact that the majority of books I have read are all part of forthcoming blog tours. February is going to be very different! I’d also been really pleased to get my Net Galley acquisitions down to a very small amount, but I’ve watched it slowly creep up this month due to all of the fantastic books that are about to be published!

 

Books I Have Read

The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin

A psychological thriller set in the Languedoc lavender field, The Good Friend is a story about obsession and asks the question, do we really know those closest to us? A slow-burner with a thrilling climax. Review will be published on February 23rd as part of the blog tour.

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C J Tudor

The author’s second book after the brilliant The Chalk Man is another dual timeframe story in the vein of Stephen King. Just what did happen to Annie when she disappeared and why does the same thing seem to be happening all over again?

 

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

Maggie wakes from a coma and discovers that her daughter is dead and her husband has disappeared. With no memory of what happened, and adamant that her daughter is alive, she sets out on a dangerous journey to discover what exactly happened on the day of the accident.

 

Bitter Edge by Rachel Lynch

The fourth in the Kelly Porter series sees the detective investigating a string of cases that all seem to lead back to a local school. Again, the picturesque Lake District is rocked by the plethora of crimes taking place. This is a great series – highly recommended. Review will be published as part of the blog tour on February 27th.

 

The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Another dual timeframe story from the brilliant Kathleen McGurl takes us back to 1919 and the war in Ireland. Two women fighting for independence 100 years apart and a secret that has remained hidden for a century. Review will be published on 21st March as part of the blog tour.

 

Remember Me by D E White

Fifteen years ago, Ellen disappeared, never to be seen again. Someone knows what happened to her, though, and now the secrets of the past look as though they are about to revealed. How many more deaths will happen, though, before the truth is out there? Review to be published on 11th February as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

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 death 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?

 

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.

 

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…

 

 

 

Boys are going missing from London’s slums… 

London, 1849

When a boy is found drowned in the River Thames at Hungerford Stairs, novelist Charles Dickens and Superintendent Jones of Bow Street are mystified to discover that the child is not the missing youngster for whom they have been searching.

As Dickens and Jones delve deeper into London’s poverty-stricken backstreets, they stumble across two more bodies.

A serial killer is on the loose. And Charles is terrified that someone close to him may be one of the victims.

With a strange image of a mask sketched next to the corpses, could the murderer be leaving a trail for the detectives to follow…?


Or will the Death at Hungerford Stairs remain unsolved…?

 

I’m reading The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths at the moment and, like all of her previous books, I’m loving it! Are any of these on your reading lists or have you read any of them already?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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