Darkest Night by Jenny O’Brien #bookreview

A DEAD WOMAN. AN IMPOSSIBLE CRIME.

Christine De Bertrand wakes up to her worst nightmare: rather than the man she went to bed with, lying beside her is her housemate, Nikki – dead. With no memory of the night before, Christine can’t explain what happened, and the police are baffled.

For DC Gaby Darin, newly arrived from Swansea after her last case ended in tragedy, it’s a mystery she’s determined to solve. When another woman goes missing, Gaby faces a race against time to uncover the link between the two victims and find the man who vanished from Christine’s bedroom. But as Gaby gets close, the killer gets closer – and soon one of Gaby’s own team is in unimaginable danger…

My thoughts on Darkest Night

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Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza #bookreview

The moors are a perfect hiding place for a serial killer. And a chilling return to the past for nascent private investigator Kate Marshall in a pulse-racing thriller by the author of Nine Elms.

Criminology academic Kate Marshall is on a scuba jaunt with her son when they dive toward a shocking discovery: the body of a teenage boy entangled below the surface of the Shadow Sands reservoir. The detective chief inspector’s too-quick narrative of a tragic drowning doesn’t add up, and when Kate follows the evidence, it leads to a darker discovery.

The victim is only the latest in a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances linked to the moorlands—and a mythic phantom said to hide in the rolling fog. When a researcher of urban legends vanishes without a trace, Kate and her associate Tristan Harper must act fast and look deep if they hope to find her alive.

But the elusive serial killer they’re hunting isn’t the only one a step ahead of Kate and Tristan. Someone else is making dead certain that the secrets of Shadow Sands stay buried.

My thoughts on Shadow Sands…

Sometimes you come across an author who seems to hit the mark every time, no matter how many of their books you read. This is definitely the case for me with Robert Bryndza (at least when it comes to crime fiction – I know he writes other genres but I haven’t read these). From the opening page to the final chapter, I find myself drawn into the dark worlds he creates. They are worlds that feels comfortably familiar at the same time as new and different, meaning I never get bored.

Here, Kate Marshall, former Detective turned lecturer comes across the body of a young man in a local reservoir. It’s a grisly scene. Kate calls the local police, whose response seems less than professional. Which is probably why when the young man’s mother asks her to investigate, she can’t help herself. What she finds out is something deeper and darker than she could have imagined.

Add to this a missing teacher, and you have a great mystery on your hands. One that kept me turning pages and staying up late at night to finish the book. It’s hard to say more without spoilers, other than this is a great read with twists, turns and red herrings and I highly recommend anyone who loves crimes fiction reading it.

Enjoy!

Emma x

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

The Chalet by Catherine Cooper #bookreview

The Chalet Catherine Cooper

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

My thoughts on The Chalet…Read More »

Daddy by Emma Cline #bookreview

About the book…

The stories in Emma Cline’s stunning first collection consider the dark corners of human experience, exploring the fault lines of power between men and women, parents and children, past and present. A man travels to his son’s school to deal with the fallout of a violent attack and to make sure his son will not lose his college place. But what exactly has his son done? And who is to blame? A young woman trying to make it in LA, working in a clothes shop while taking acting classes, turns to a riskier way of making money but will be forced to confront the danger of the game she’s playing. And a family coming together for Christmas struggle to skate over the lingering darkness caused by the very ordinary brutality of a troubled husband and father.

These outstanding stories examine masculinity, male power and broken relationships, while revealing – with astonishing insight and clarity – those moments of misunderstanding that can have life-changing consequences. And there is an unexpected violence, ever-present but unseen, in the depiction of the complicated interactions between men and women, and families. Subtle, sophisticated and displaying an extraordinary understanding of human behaviour, these stories are unforgettable.

My thoughts on Daddy by Emma Cline…
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Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb #bookreview

After the end of her marriage, Kate Granger has retreated to her parents’ home on Lake Superior to pull herself together—only to discover the body of a murdered woman washed into the shallows. Tucked in the folds of the woman’s curiously vintage gown is an infant, as cold and at peace as its mother. No one can identify the woman. Except for Kate. She’s seen her before. In her dreams…

One hundred years ago, a love story ended in tragedy, its mysteries left unsolved. It’s time for the lake to give up its secrets. As each mystery unravels, it pulls Kate deeper into the eddy of a haunting folktale that has been handed down in whispers over generations. Now, it’s Kate’s turn to listen.

As the drowned woman reaches out from the grave, Kate reaches back. They must come together, if only in dreams, to right the sinister wrongs of the past.

My thoughts on Daughters of the Lake

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Forgotten Bones by Vivian Barz #bookreview

An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility.

When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted criminal who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.

Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.

Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?

My thoughts on Forgotten Bones…

I’m not a huge fan of books with a supernatural element. Every now and then, though, I read one and am surprised. So when I see one with good reviews, I sometimes think “why not?” That was the case Forgotten Bones, and I can see why people like it. Susan and Eric are interesting and likeable and the plot has some good twists and turns and an ending I almost didn’t seem coming,

However, for me, it didn’t quite hit the mark. There’s a couple of reasons for this. One is hard to explain without spoilers so I’ll just say Susan makes a decision early on that I didn’t understand and kept bugging me because it I didn’t think the type of cop she was then described would have done the same thing, the second was the FBI. They turn up and don’t seem to do much but make coffee and ignore the local police. I could have done without them to be honest.

In reality, these are small gripes that probably wouldn’t bother anyone else. They’ve just left me not able to go the full four stars I would give it otherwise (on Amazon as I don’t rate on the blog).

Emma x

Strangers by C.L. Taylor #bookreview

Strangers by C L Taylor

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them is used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

 

My thoughts on Strangers by C. L. TaylorRead More »

Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson #BookReview

Rules for Perfect Murder Peter SwansonEight classic murders. One killer thriller fan…

The gripping new thriller from the master of psychological suspense.

A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.

The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled ‘My Eight Favourite Murders,’ and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list – which includes Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?

My thoughts on Rules for Perfect MurdersRead More »

Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine #bookreview

About the book…

She can’t ignore a cry for help. But in this remote hunting town, it’s open season.

Gwen Proctor escaped her serial-killer husband and saved her family. What she can’t seem to outrun is his notoriety. Or the sick internet vigilantes still seeking to avenge his crimes. For Gwen, hiding isn’t an option. Not when her only mission is to create a normal life for her kids.

But now, a threatened woman has reached out. Marlene Crockett, from the remote town of Wolfhunter, is panicked for herself and her daughter. When Gwen arrives in the small, isolated rural community, Marlene is already dead—her own daughter blamed for the murder. Except that’s not the person Marlene feared at all. And Gwen isn’t leaving until she finds out who that was.

But it may already be too late. A trap has been set. And it’s poised to snap shut on everyone Gwen loves. Her stalkers are closing in. And in a town as dark as Wolfhunter, it’s so easy for them to hide…

My thoughts…

This is the third book in the Stillhouse Lake series and the third I’ve read and, while the first one will probably always be my favourite because it felt new and fresh, I have to say from a writing and plotting point of view, this one is probably the best yet.  It takes the story of Gwen in a new direction (in the first two books she’d been on the run from a psychotic ex-husband), with women in similar situations to her own reaching out to her and asking her for help.

One of these calls comes at just the right time as a camera crew arrives in Stillhouse Lake determined to dig up her past and that of her husbands. There isn’t a better time to get away, though there are probably better places that Wolfhunter River which is full of people who seem to want Gwen dead more than her ex-husband did.  In the middle of all this, is a young girl that Gwen is determined to help. The question is, can she and keep her own family safe at the same time.

For the answer, you’ll need to read the book, which I can highly recommend if you’re a fan of crime fiction. It’s fast-paced, well written and has great characters that I – for one – connect with, even if they aren’t perfect.

Enjoy!

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feels, and opinions are my own.

 

The Tragic Daughters of Charles I by Sarah-Beth Watkins #bookreview

About the book…

Mary, Elizabeth and Henrietta Anne, the daughters of King Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria, would be brought up against the background of the English Civil War. Mary would marry William, Prince of Orange, and be sent to live in the Netherlands. Elizabeth would remain in England under Parliamentary control. Henrietta Anne would escape to France and be the darling of the French Court. Yet none of the Stuart princesses would live to reach thirty. The Tragic Daughters of Charles I is their story.

My thoughts…

If the description for this book seems a little short, that’s probably because there isn’t a lot you can say about the daughers of Charles I.  None of them would live for long, and none of them would ever truly escape the political turmoil brough about by the execution of their father (and subsequent Republic under Oliver Cromwell). This doesn’t mean there lives weren’t interesting – they were – it’s just you get the feeling they could have been so much more hand history not played them such a rubbish hand.

I didn’t know much about the Stuart monarchy, and knew even less about Charles I, when I started reading this book, but now feel like I’ve had a great introduction to a truly chaotic era.  By focusing on Charles’ daughters, I don’t feel like I was overwhelmed with facts, figures and dates I won’t be able to remember, making it a great way to start learning  more about this period in my countries history.

This was aided by Sarah-Beth Watkins’ writing style, which I’m a big fan of.  She makes history easy to read and engaging and has a great way of bringing female characters to life, even when she obviously as limited material to work with (history was, after all written by men who thought women weren’t worth much more than to a good marriage).  I can’t recommend her books enough and woudl put this near the top of the list.

Emma

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.