Blog tour and review: Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis

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I am not much of a one for doing blog tours – the added stress of getting a post up on a particular day has never appealed to me – and, in fact, this is my first.  But, it’s for an author who has become one of my firm favourites in the past year, ever since reading book four in her Nikki Galena series (Killer on the Fens),  so I decided to ignore my unwritten rule and take part.  I am pleased to report it was the right decision as this was a great book, possibly the best one yet.

Here’s what it’s about…

Buried on the FensA SKELETON IS UNEARTHED FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE IN THE CHURCHYARD. BUT THIS WAS NOT AN OFFICIAL BURIAL. THE VICTIM WAS MURDERED DECADES AGO.

At the same time, Detective Nikki Galena and her team are investigating the brutal slaying of local businesswoman Madeline Prospero. She was a member of an exclusive and secretive drinking club called The Briar Patch. But they’ve got no suspects and no one is telling them the truth.

Meanwhile, the buried skeleton leads them on a trail to the village of Quintin Eaudyke. This is a troubled place. In the late seventies and eighties a reign of terror and abuse was unleashed on the close-knit population.

When more women from the The Briar Patch come under threat, Nikki faces a race against time to stop the killing. Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the heart-stopping ending.

THE DETECTIVE
 DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she’s seen a girl die in her arms and her own family destroyed. She’s tough on criminals but fiercely loyal to her team.

HER PARTNER
DS Joseph Easter is the squeaky-clean new member of the team. But his nickname “Holy Joe” belies his former life as a soldier. He has a daughter and an ex-wife who wants his attention.

THE SETTING
The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote Fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you’ve ever seen.

DISCOVER YOUR NEXT FAVOURITE MYSTERY SERIES NOW

Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Robert Bryndza, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

As always, the book opens with Nikki getting thrown into the deep end, with two cases (one for a thirty year old murder) on at the same time and hardly any clues to get her going.  Thankfully, her team are as tenacious as she is and attack both cases with no other option but to solve them.  Before they do though, they find themselves “down the rabbit hole” with red herrings galore and enough twists and turns to make their – and my – head spin.

One of the things I loved was that as the novel progresses these seemingly unrelated stories come together and everything starts to make sense.  None of it feels forced though, which can easily happen when weaving threads together and I was a left with a “well that was obvious feeling at the end”, even though none of it had been (if that makes sense?).

Another thing I loved was the characters.  I have sung my praises of Nikki in other reviews – she is kind, caring, but also not afraid to be tough to get the job done – even if that means upsetting friends and her wider team.  She has a back story which slowly came out over the last few books I read and there wasn’t much of that here, meaning this story can easily be read as a standalone. 

What this also means is as her back story has became less front and centre, her team have had the chance to shine.  As the story is told in the third person you get to hear all their voices and thoughts, helping make them real  In the last novel (Captive on the Fens) it was Cat that really came through as her own person – and remains one here – but now we really get to known WPC Yvonne Collins, who has been on the force a long time and seems to know everyone in the area and a lot of their secrets.

Secrets are big in Buried on the Fens – their are lots of them and people seem willing to die in order to keep them.  Nothing is quite as it seems – my favourite type of book.  This all adds to the tension, which ratchets up page by page, chapter by chapter to what is a pretty good climax of a pretty good book and one I loved.  A recommended read!

Enjoy!

Emma x

About the author

Joy Ellis photo 2Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the prestigious Mayfair flower shop, Constance Spry Ltd.  Many years later, having run her own florist shop in Weybridge, Ellis took part in a writer’s workshop in Greece and was encouraged by her tutor, Sue Townsend to begin writing seriously. She now lives in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner Jacqueline and their Springer spaniels, Woody and Alfie.

Other books in the series

Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS

Final facts

Source: Publisher
Publisher: Joffe
Publication Date: 11th July, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 284
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK (it’s 99p right now!) / Amazon US / Goodreads

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

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Mid-year freak out tag

So I’ve been seeing this tag everywhere recently, including over at Snazzy Books and Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My! and I thought it would be fun to do too as I normally post a “best of the year so far” post about now.  This seems a nice replacement.  Here are my answers…

1) The best book you’ve read so far in 2017?

51j92jJ6+dLI have to pick a really recent read, Forgotten by Nicole Trope, which just blew me away.

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017?Read More »

Tuesday intro: Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. Diane is currently on a summer break but I have decided to carry on regardless because these are some of my favourite posts. I see others are doing the same – if you are, please leave a link to your post in the comments so that I don’t miss checking out your reads.

tuesdayI’m also joining in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share two teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

So, after a very long intro, this is what I’m reading this week…Read More »

Month in review: June, 2017

Hi All – and welcome to the end of June.  I’m hoping you had a good month.  Mine has been a bit up and down in that I’ve been feeling more than a bit grumpy – I think I’ve been waiting for my holidays and then leaving work so I can start my new adventures.  That I started off with a few so-so books didn’t help I have to say – though it has ended with a bit of a bang with two brilliant books, making me just a little bit happier.

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Forgotten by Nicole Trope, and a frantic search for a stolen baby which left me on the edge of my seat and staying up late into the night to finish.  Can’t recommend this one enough and it’s my book of the month!

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, another corker from one of my favourite authors who has crafted a twisty, turny, thriller that left me guessing until the end.

Black Hornet by James Sallis, with it’s wonderful noir tale of a sniper on the lose in 1960’s New Orleons.

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Buried Secrets by Lisa Cutts, where I return to the rather seedy East Rise and the death of  high ranking police officer and his wife and the secrets they were hiding.

Guiltless by Viveca Sten, my third visit to Sandhamn island with it’s small population and high murder rate.

Cold Kill by P. J. Tracy, an enjoyable crime novel with conspiracy at it’s heart and a cold Minnesota winter to keep the tension high.

Roots, Radicals, and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World by Billy Bragg, a fascinating walk through a musical genre that rocked Britain for two years and was responsible for bringing us the Beatles.  Now no one has heard of it – well, hardly anyone!

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My Sister by Michelle Adams, a good debut with plenty of twists and turns but – unfortunately – I just couldn’t get away with characters that were too unreliable, even for me.

The People at Number Nine by Felicity Everett, another book where the characters let it down for, or at least one – whose story it was I was reading.  Plus, I felt I had been promised more suspense than I actually got.

Again, there were not books I really disliked this month, so overall a good month which has ended with quite a bang with my favourite read of the month.  Here’s hoping July is as good!

How has your month in reading been?  Good, I hope.

Emma x

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

32735394“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.” 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

So I feel like I should start this review off with a disclaimer.  Not that this is a review copy (it is, and I feel very lucky to have received one), but that Mary Kubica is one of my favourite authors and, in my eyes, she doesn’t do much wrong in the way of writing great novels that keep me hooked from start to finish.   This book, then, has been one I’ve been looking forward to reading all year…and I am so, so, pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.

It starts with a seemingly perfect – if tired – family; Nick, Clara, four year old Maisie and new born Felix.  They are young, happy and successful thanks to Nick’s dental practice.  When a policeman’s knock on the door shatters Clara’s world then, it’s no wonder she struggles to cope, shutting out those who love and care for her and cocooning herself away with Maisie and Felix.

Then, Maisie starts to have nightmares and everything Clara thought she knew about the accident seems to get turned on its head.  It’s not just the accident, though, it’s Nick himself.  Slowly, as she tries to pick up her life, Clara finds out that what she thought she knew about her husband wasn’t true, that there were things he was keeping from her, secrets she is only now starting to try and unpick, ones that have the potential to shatter her world again.

Slowly, through Clara’s voice in the present and Nick’s as he recounts the months up until his death, you start to get a picture of who they areas people and just what secrets are buried beneath a seemingly perfect surface.  It’s not all pretty, some of it is stupid, some of it is sad.  A lot of it seems avoidable.  As I read on, I realised that I had started to care for Clara and Nick as characters as each twist left me a little shocked, stunned or bereft.

The twists also left me wondering just what was going on.  I really had no idea if Nick was indeed the victim of foul play or, as the police insisted, just a man who drove too fast round a narrow bend.  When I finally made it to the end I felt as exhausted as Clara – it had been quite a ride.  Was it the ending I was expecting?  No.  Was it the right ending? Yes.  I have to say I finished the book completely satisfied with where I ended up. For once, even the epilogue didn’t bother me (my over pet peeve).

It all leaves me saying that I loved this book and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Enjoy!

Emma

loved-it

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Park Row Books
Publication Date: 27th June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 336
Genre: suspense / thriller
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Hornet by James Sallis

14436814A sniper appears in 1960s New Orleans, a sun-baked city of Black Panthers and other separatists. Five people have been fatally shot. When the sixth victim is killed, Lew Griffin is standing beside her. He’s black and she’s white, and though they are virtual strangers, it is left to Griffin to avenge her death, or at least to try and make some sense of it. His unlikely allies include a crusading black journalist, a longtime supplier of mercenary arms and troops, and bail bondsman Frankie DeNoux.

In the Black Hornet, I met Lew Griffin again, a man who the word complex doesn’t go far enough to describe.  In his life, he has been many things – soldier, private investigator, criminal, author – and trouble always seems to come knocking.

The Black Hornet can be read as a standalone, and if you do, you will know non of these things about Griffin because this book takes us back to the beginning, before he was anything but a former soldier trying to make a life in a city that doesn’t seem to care much about any of his residents.

New Orleans in the sixties sounds dirty, and hard, and not a place I would want to be but it suits Griffin and the people he meets perfectly, and it serves as a perfect backdrop for the civil rights movement that is brewing and the way life for black men is changing, but maybe not quick enough.

The setting, and the story, suit the way James Sallis writes to a tee.  He doesn’t waste words, with short sentences, short chapters and short books (this one runs at 150 pages), yet I never feel like I am missing out on anything.  Plot lines move along quickly, we me rushing to keep up and characters appear fully formed and expecting you to know who they are and what they are about.

It took me a while the first book round to get into the style but now I have to say I look forward to it.  I know what I’ll get and I like it.  It reminds me of the way people like Humphrey Bogart talked back in the day and of gumshoe novels.  Simple is the wrong word to describe it, it’s not, but it feels like that on the surface, whilst under it a lot is said and you have plenty to chew on and think about, long after the last page.

Saying all that, I know this book won’t be for everyone.  Most characters don’t have much in the way of descriptions for example, you have to piece people together with the bits you know, which are given sparingly (so LaVerne, Griffins girlfriend starts to form when I find out about her red dress, which he finds hanging up in another mans flat).

Then there’s the fact that the main story isn’t always the main story (to not sound cryptic) because it’s really about the characters and what drives them – usually it’s sadness but with a fair bit of hope thrown in.  When I got to the end here, the who the sniper was part, I was slightly disappointed because it meant the book was over and I didn’t want it to be.  I wanted to stay in New Orleans, seedy as it was, drinking bourbon and shooting the breeze with unsavoury characters.

For me, though, this is another winner from Sallis, who is one of my favourite authors.  This was a great addition to a series with a character I find compelling and with a story I couldn’t put down.  I loved it!

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

 

Source: Purchased
Publisher: No Exit
Publication Date: 11th May, 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 150
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Other books in the series:

The Long Legged Fly (book 1)

Moth (book 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book blogger hop: meeting my favourite author

book-blogger-hop-finalThis week, I’m once again joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

If you could have lunch with any living authors and/or book bloggers, who would you choose and why?     

So I have to say, I always have a bit of fear about meeting people I admire and so the idea of meeting any of my favourite authors is pretty scary.  If I have to pick one, though, I would say it would have to be Margaret Attwood, whose books I just love.

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I love the way she writes, how she has a distinctive style but can turn it to so many different books from the historical fiction of Alias Grace to the science fiction (and incredibly scary) of the Maddaddam trilogy.  And who could forget the chilling dystopian future she sets out in The Handmaid’s Tale?

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There isn’t a world I haven’t fallen into (well, actually there is one – The Heart Goes Last – but everyone needs a wobble now and then), a character I haven’t cared for, a book I haven’t wanted to read again.

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But for all that love, what would I say? That’s the question and why – really – I would rather admire from afar for fear of gushing uncontrollably or stammering out a question that makes me sound like I’ve never read a book.  What about you? Who would you want to meet – and would you be braver then me?

Emma

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza 

34368544He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

I think it’s fair to say that Robert Bryndza has done it again with this, the latest, in the Erika Foster series. Still stuck behind a desk in Bromley, Erika is missing her former role in the murder investigation team. Her application to go back, though, has been turned down – and she’s angry about it, no more so than when she’s summarily dismissed from a crime scene.

The scene – the body of a young woman has been found in a dumpster, badly beaten and tortured.  She has been missing for only a few days and Erika’s gut is telling her that the killer is likely to strike again.  The problem is no one wants to hear, not least the head of the murder investigation team (and her former adversary), even when she gets as close to begging as she can get and uncovers evidence his team haven’t.

Then, in twist I won’t share for spoilers, she gets given the opportunity to become senior investigating officer and the chase is on for a killer who is becoming more prolific and more violent.  As a reader, you know who he is, what he plans to do next and you see him spiralling.  It all adds to the tension as you also watch Erika and her team struggle to follow the clues, hoping for a lucky break and praying that they get to the latest missing girl in time.

And it is tense, from page one, and not letting up right until the very end.  The killer is suitably evil and just to say smart enough to keep ahead of the police (for a while at least), making my skin crawl more than a little.  And Erika is her usual brilliant self, trying hard not to be self-destructive for once but not doing too well at it.

The mix of tough and vulnerable in her is something I like in my characters.  She isn’t a complete hard-ass, is liked and admired by her team, but her past has left her damaged and with a hard outer shell.  She wants to break out but it’s hard.  Still, we get to see a little of that in this story, making her and her team more real than ever.

As for the story itself, you couldn’t ask for more really.  It’s a cracking read from start to finish.  These are all things I’ve said about other books in the series but here it is again – it was well written, had great pace (I read it in a day which is rare for me), great characters – event the bad guy was well rounded (see creepy killer above), and kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  Can I say any more? I don’t think so – I loved this and really recommend it.

Enjoy!

Emma

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 12th April, 2017 (yes today! cutting this review fine)
Pages: 281
Format: ebooks
Genre: crime, mystery
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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

Driven by James Sallis

14623750Seven years have passed since Driver ended his campaign against those who double-crossed him. He has left the old life, become Paul West and founded a successful business back in Phoenix. But walking down the street one day, he and his fiancee are attacked by two men and, while Driver dispatches both, his fiancee is killed. Sinking back into anonymity, aided by his friend Felix, an ex-gangbanger and Desert Storm vet, Driver realises that his past stalks him – and will not stop. He has to turn and face it

One of the many things I love about James Sallis is that he writes his characters as he finds them.  They are dysfunctional, not always likeable, definitely broken but also incredibly compelling.  So it is with Driver, who you meet as he watches his fiancé get gunned down in the street, seemingly for no reason.

In Driver’s world though, there is always a reason, and so there is here if he can just figure it out in between fighting for his life and constantly trying to stay one step ahead of a seemingly endless supply of hired guns determined to earn their money.   It involves talking to shady people, hitting shadier people and never giving up.  I like that about Driver – he doesn’t stop.

Like him, this book is relentless, never letting up for a second.  It’s dialogue heavy with not much in the way of descriptive scenes bar the odd flashback to his childhood or earlier life, before he tried to start again.  And it’s short (only 155 pages), meaning there isn’t much time to breath.

The language seems simple on first reading but then you realise that a picture is being painted, of men (mainly) who believe in action versus trying to talk things out.  It’s not a world I understand but it’s lived by a code and it’s best not to break it.  It’s a world where you don’t go to the police, you sort out your own problems. And it’s a world where people live with the idea of an eye for an eye.

It’s a world I was drawn into quickly and was quite sad to see the end of, especially as it was left open so you don’t know what is going to happen to Driver next and whether it will be good or bad.  Perhaps it’s good for me as I will get to meet him again…I just hope it’s not another seven years before I get the chance.  Loved this one and a recommended read!

Enjoy!

Emma

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Source: Library
Publisher: No Exit
Publication Date: 1st January, 2012
Pages: 155
Format: ebook
Genre: crime, mystery
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Tuesday intro: Driven by James Sallis

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. In really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week I am reading Driven by one of my favourite authors, James Sallis.  It’s a follow up to Drive, which I loved so I have high hopes for this.  Here’s what it’s about…

14623750Seven years have passed since Driver ended his campaign against those who double-crossed him. He has left the old life, become Paul West and founded a successful business back in Phoenix. But walking down the street one day, he and his fiancee are attacked by two men and, while Driver dispatches both, his fiancee is killed. Sinking back into anonymity, aided by his friend Felix, an ex-gangbanger and Desert Storm vet, Driver realises that his past stalks him – and will not stop. He has to turn and face it

And here’s how it starts

Chapter 1

They came for him just after 11: 00 on a Saturday morning, two of them. It was hot going hotter; sunlight caught in the fine sheen of sweat on Elsa’s forehead. A hint of movement in the side of his eye as they passed a short side street—and the first one was there. He spun, slamming his foot and the whole of his body weight against the outside of the man’s right knee, and heard it give. By the time the man was down, that same foot hit his throat. He shuddered twice, trying to pull in air through the shattered windpipe, and was still. The second had come up behind by then, but Driver was down, rolling, and behind him, left arm clamped around his neck, right elbow locked over the wrist.

It was all over in minutes. He understood then what had delayed the second man’s attack. Elsa lay against the wall of an abandoned café, blood pumping from the wound beneath her breast.

She had been trying to smile up at him as the light went out of her eyes.

And that’s the whole chapter – he is not a man of many words.  What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Regards

Emma

Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US