The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The murder was meant as a punishment – but what sin could justify the method?

The only person who might have answers is the victim’s seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she’s not talking.

Newly promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja and the Children’s House for their expertise with traumatised young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn’t best pleased. But she’s determined to keep little Margret safe.

It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues: warnings in text messages, sums scribbled on bits of paper, numbers broadcast on the radio. He’s telling a dark and secret story – but how can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next?

The Legacy is the third book I’ve read now by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, the author whose name I will never be able to pronounce, and one I was eagerly looking forward to reading given how much I have enjoyed the other two.  I have to say I wasn’t disappointed in what I got for my money (well, not really my money as this was a review copy but you know what I mean – hopefully), though it probably wasn’t the favourite of the books I’ve read.

Why not? Because it didn’t have the spooky element the other two books had and which I thought set them apart from others in the genre.  I thought it would with the prologue – three children sat on a bench, not moving whilst a group of adults talk about the horrible things that have happened to them and how it is best they are given new lives and know nothing of their past.  This is the extent of it though and, with the story proper, it moves into a more traditional police procedural / piece of crime fiction.

That said, this doesn’t make it a bad book, not by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, once I got over my slight disappointment at the lack of spookiness, I became completely absorbed in the story.  It has everything I like in my Nordic noir; it is dark and gritty, the world is cold (there is always snow) and the people slightly dour and depressed (sorry but it’s true – though it doesn’t put me off reading).  Plus there is the structure and social mores in which they live and work, so different to ours and so fascinating.  I can never resist.

As for the book itself, it is well written and well translated and nice and complicated, though it didn’t feel like it would be at first.  With each murder and each twist in the tale I found myself more confused as to what was going on and who the killer was (I didn’t get this one until it was revealed – a good thing for the author in the keep ’em guessing stakes but bad for my ego as I really like to be the one who figures things out before the police).

The silver lining to that is that the police were just as confused as me, no closer to figuring out the truth than I was as they scrambled to find clues and connections between the victims.  I should have had more of a clue given I knew more than them.  Not only was I privy to the children in the prologue, I was only following Karl, a CB radio enthusiast who is picking up broadcasts that seem to be targeted directly at him (and pointing him towards the victims).  Knowing they were all connected didn’t help me though,  I just couldn’t put it together no matter how hard I tried.

Maybe I would have tried harder if I hadn’t been distracted by what I hoped was a burgeoning relationship between the lead detective (Huldar) and Frejya who works for the children’s service and is trying to keep the first victim’s daughter (and only witness to her murder) safe.  Huldar and Frejya have history, meaning she isn’t his biggest fan, but I couldn’t help hoping they would figure it out because, despite Huldar’s social ineptitude, I really liked him and Frejya.  I thought they were complicated but well rounded characters and, as this is the first in the series, I really hope to get to know them better.

Maybe I’ll be lucky in the next one and get a bit of the spooky back but, even if not, I’ll keep reading because I liked this one a lot and would definitely recommend it.

Enjoy!

Emma x

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Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 23rd March, 2017
Pages: 464
Format: ebook
Genre: crime fiction
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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

 

 

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Where My Heart Used To Beat by Sebastian Faulks

30738612On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks – an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer – is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host is Alexander Pereira, a man who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.

The search for the past takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

I have been a huge fan of Sebastian Faulks since reading Human Remains over ten years ago.  After I had, I went on a bit of a Faulks binge and read everything he’d written up to the that point and have read every book he’s written since.  Some I’ve loved, some I’ve not.  None have been boring and one, Engleby, is one of my favourite books of all time. Why, then, it’s taken me over a year since it’s release to read Where My Heart Used to Beat is beyond me – other than there are too many books on my shelves and my kindle for me to keep up.

The book opens in the early 80’s with Dr. Robert Hendricks’ leaving New York in a hurry.  Why he’s in a hurry is never completely clear, though as you start to get to know him you wonder if he isn’t always slightly on the run – from his past and from his life in general.  Back in London, he decides to respond to a letter that he received weeks before from a Dr. Pereira, inviting him to visit the doctor at his home on a small island off the coast of France.  Faulks likes France and a lot of his books are set there (even if just in part); the way he writes about it, with affection, is so clear I felt that I was there with him.

He is drawn to the Pereira because he says he knew Hendricks’ father during WWI and has things to tell him.   Hendricks never knew his father, he died when he was two, and has mixed feelings about knowing more but feels compelled to accept the offer of a visit.  In fact, he has mixed feelings about everything to do with his life.  He seems incapable of forming lasting relationships, keeping himself at a distance from those who try to become friends and pulling away from romantic relationships as soon as they become serious.

Pereira instinctively sees this in Hendricks and, over the course of several weeks and several visits, slowly draws out the story of his past, what in it has led him to become the man he is in the present.  It’s a past that starts with his dead father before focusing on his experiences in WWII and his lost love, Louisa, a woman he has never been able to forget.  Weaving between past, present, his time in France and his time in England, slowly the story that emerges is of a man who is in pain, and always has been.

The irony in it is that he is a psychiatrist, he should have been able to see and understand his behaviours, yet it takes a stranger to bring him out of himself and help him try and maybe find some peace during the last years of his life (Hendrick is 64 in the present).  I found this side of it very sad and the story overall very touching.  Faulks has an amazing ability to paint a picture of what a person is thinking and feeling without beating you over the head with it.  I felt like I was discovering the truth at the same time as Hendricks.

The story itself focuses on themes that are familiar to a lot of Faulks’ writing.  His books look at love, loss, the war and also mental illness.  Faulks’ description of the battlefield is unflinching and unflattering at times.  The men he writes about were heros but the war itself was not a heroic time.  How men and women lived, how they behaved, in order to survive is shown here in all its glory and tragedy.  His description of how mental illness was seen over a period of around 80 years was also fascinating, especially as I work in the mental health field.  There is tragedy in this too, in how people were treated – especially things like PTSD – and how they were judged.

In fact, tragic could sum this book up in many ways – I felt a lot of sadness whilst reading it, as Hendricks laid himself bare and I came to understand just how he had never truly lived despite having an interesting life and successful career.  Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of joy in his memories and light at the end of the tunnel as he comes to terms with his past, but this is not a happy book.  Because of that, it won’t be for everyone I’m sure.  I know other reviews I have read have said as much.  For me, though, it was a wonderfully written window into a damaged soul and I really liked it a lot.

Enjoy!

Emma

 

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Source: Library
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Publication Date: 30th June, 2016 (first published 10th September, 2015)
Pages: 337
Format: ebook
Genre: Literary fiction

 

Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt 

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She got into bed but sleep didn’t come easily. Every creak in the house made her alert. She was waiting for him to come and get her.

The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself – before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

So I want to start this review not with an overview of the story but with a comment on the tagline “He destroyed your life once. Now he’s back to do it again.” because I don’t think it – or the overview above – do this book justice.  They suggest this is the story of one woman at risk from one man, a popular theme in the books I read at the moment and I have to say that it caught my eye when requesting.  These books tend to follow a pattern though that Don’t Look Behind You doesn’t, which for me was a welcome change and a nice surprise.

What it is does have in common with other books is men’s behaviour towards women, how it can often be violent and how abuse isn’t always physical but emotional, with the effects lasting long after the violence stops or a relationship ends.  It’s a powerful topic that leads to a powerful book, one that doesn’t just entertain as a police procedural / piece of crime writing but makes you pause and think about how much more commonplace attacks on women, by strangers as partners, might be and how hard it is for them to stay safe and live full lives afterwards, lives not shrouded in fear.

Sherratt shows it here with two stories running side by side. The first is Detective Eden Berrisford’s search for a man attacking young women on their way home at night; the attacks are escalating and she needs to figure out who is responsible before someone ends up dead. The second focuses on Carla, who works at a women’s refuge but is also in hiding from her ex-husband Ryan, recently released from prison and out for revenge, blaming her for putting him there despite the fact that he had nearly killed her before he was arrested.

Both stories are compelling and well plotted, alternating in chapters and occasionally crossing over into each other. Because Eden knows Carla through her own work with the shelter she is the common theme running through each but I liked that I heard Carla’s voice too. She is a strong women with a sad history who is trying to rebuild her life – I admired her and wanted her to be happy and safe.

Each story could have probably been expanded into books in their own right but they did work well together and I didn’t find it distracting or difficult to move between the two. I did wonder if they would come together in a big twist at the end and was quite happy when they didn’t because I think that would have spoilt it and the conclusion to both was just right.

For me, it was much more satisfying than my first outing with Eden (and the first book to feature her) The Girls Next Door, where I struggled with some of the characters. Here, I didn’t have any of those problems so was able to settle in and enjoy the book and get to know Eden, who I think could become a firm favourite of mine – and not just because she wears doc martins (the best footwear ever) and drives a scooter (the coolest thing ever).

She is kind, caring, passionate about her job but there is a darker side too potentially, one that is hinted at when she and her daughter are threatened and I do wonder if that will come out in future books? There definitely seemed to be some teasers for what might happen next in her life in this book that I can’t wait to see develop.

I said at the beginning of this post that it was the tag line that caught my eye but it wasn’t the main or only reason. The other was Mel Sherratt, whose books I really enjoy and who is probably starting to rank as a favourite author. Her books have all the elements I love – crime, drama, twist, turns and strong female characters. They are well written, well plotted and keep me turning pages. I never know quite what to expect and I have – so far – always been pleased with what I’ve gotten. You can’t ask for more than that from an author or a book really, leaving me liking this one a lot.

Enjoy!

Emma

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: 31st January, 2017
Pages: 287
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Genre: crime fiction

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

Interested in what I thought about other Mel Sherratt books, check out my reviews below:

The Girls Next Door (Eden Berrisford 1)

Only The Brave

Follow The Leader

Taunting The Dead

(Revisiting) A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

64863A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she’s got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

Eight years ago, Nikki Fife was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she’s out on parole and needs Kinsey’s help to find the real killer.

If there’s one thing that makes Kinsey feel alive, it’s playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer―and sharper―than she imagined.

Although I’m a little early for the birthday celebrations, Kinsey Millhone is turning 25 this year, or rather her detective stories are.  Finding this out made me feel more than a little old but also nostalgic – this is the one series I have never missed an instalment of, having first picked them up in the mid-80’s.  It got me thinking as to whether the early books had stood the test of time and whether my memories of them were founder than my current feelings might be if I read them again.

There are many reasons you stay with a series I think but the main one, for me, is the characters and this definitely applies here.  I remember when I first read A is for Alibi thinking that Kinsey was great, a strong female character and someone I would want to be in another life (one where I lived in California and knew how to shoot a gun).  I loved that she lived this minimalist life in her elderly landlord’s garage, drank Chardonnay, drove a beat up VW, and didn’t need anyone else to make her happy.  I have to say, after re-reading A is for Alibi, I still wish I could be her and am seriously thinking of studying for my private investigator license.

Although written and set in the 80’s Kinsey as a character didn’t feel dated.  I could see her in many of the female detectives I read nowadays.  They all share the same traits of living alone, not wanting to be tied down, and not being able to let something go even if their life is on the line.  A lot of them also seem to share Kinsey’s love of running for fun (which I’ll never quite get) and into danger without seemingly meaning to.  Possibly Kinsey is a little less hard around the edges than some of her more modern counterparts but that doesn’t make her any less interesting (though possibly a little easier to like).

Her elderly landlord Henry is a great addition to the books and a wonderful character in his own right.  I know from future books he becomes more central to some stories but even here you could see the spark and wanted to get to know him more.    He seems a perfect fit for Kinsey and her life, which is really well drawn so that you feel you know her and the world in which she lives.

The story itself doesn’t feel dated either and this might in part be because it always reminded me of another age anyway.  There is something about the traditional gumshoe in the Kinsey Millhone stories and I really enjoyed that.  This doesn’t mean the plots aren’t complicated.  They have plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested but there aren’t any serial killers on the loose here, more jilted women and jealous husbands.  Very much like real life, the people who die in A is for Alibi know their killers.  They are good, old-fashioned, works of crime fiction and all the better for it I think.

Over the years I have seen Kinsey develop and Sue Grafton has definitely stretched herself as a writer more with future books.  She has also kept the character moving on in pretty much “real time” for her so the books are still set in a time before mobile phones and easy access to the internet.  It’s amazing the work a detective had to do to find things about pre-google but also a nice change of pace.  Things aren’t as fast in 1982 and I like it.

I am relieved to say I still liked the book too, always a risk when revisiting one you have fond memories of.  In my head, I imagine everyone has read this series but I’m sure that isn’t the case and for those who haven’t I can really recommend them – still liked this one a lot!

Enjoy!

Emma

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Source: Library
Publisher: Various (my edition was Pan)
Publication Date: 15th April, 1982 (original publication date)
Pages: 320
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Genre: crime fiction

 

The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni

30226698When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is. Her autopsy, however, reveals she may have gone to great lengths to conceal her identity. So who was she running from?

After evidence surfaces that their Jane Doe may be a woman who suspiciously disappeared months earlier, Tracy is once again haunted by the memory of her sister’s unsolved murder. Dredging up details from the woman’s past leads to conflicting clues that only seem to muddy the investigation. As Tracy begins to uncover a twisted tale of brutal betrayal and desperate greed, she’ll find herself risking everything to confront a killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight.

In the early hours of a summer day in Seattle, a teenager out to make a little extra money by illegally crabbing manages to net more than he bargained for – much more. Instead of crabs in his cages, he pulls up the body of a young woman.  How she got there isn’t clear but what is is that it wasn’t an accident, she was murdered.  Enter Tracy Crosswhite , who is fast becoming one of my favourite female detectives.

Tracy is a great character.  She’s tough but not hard, loved by her team and by her boyfriend Dan (who unfortunately I didn’t get as much of as I would have liked in this outing).  She’s also got history that means she starts to feel connected for the woman she thinks has been found and the life she lived.  Like Tracy (who lost her sister 20 years previously) the dead woman’s life has been touched by tragedy, nothing it seems has gone right for her.

I said “thinks” and “seems” because, determined to find out what happened to the young woman, the more Tracy digs the more confused she (and you as a reader becomes).  Nothing is as it seems.  For Tracy, it’s frustrating, especially when her path is blocked by a neighbouring police force who believe they have jurisdiction and a boss who can’t be bothered to fight for her.  For me, as a reader, I loved the confusion.  I really didn’t know where the story would take me next as it took one twist after another.

And, unlike other books I have read, where the twists sometimes just seem to be there for the sake of it, here every one made me go “of course” and nod my head knowingly as if it had been obvious from the beginning (when, of course, it hadn’t been at all).  The whole story was really cleverly plotted, with nothing rushed, and right until the end I was convinced it would end one way, only to find out I had been completely wrong all along…brilliant!

Liking and rooting for Tracy is an obvious plus and selling point for me in this series but, in this book, it was also nice was getting to know her team more than I have in any other story – her partner, Kins, already felt pretty solid and well rounded to me but, here, I also got to properly meet the two other members of her team (or family as they call themselves), Del and Faz.  They are great characters, full of life and personality and good cops in their own right. I want more in the next book as they make a great team.

And I do hope there is a next book as, for me, this series is just getting better and better with each book.  It says something that, after only discovering it last year thanks to a review on bibliophile book club, I have read every book in the series.  Not only do they have the great characters I have mentioned but they are great stories, well written with twists and turns a plenty and a real sense of place – I want to visit Seattle now despite the death count.  I can’t recommend them highly enough (and for those who don’t want to go back to the beginning, don’t worry they can be read as standalone I think) – loved this book!

Emma

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 24th January, 2017
Pages: 378
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Genre: crime fiction

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

For my other reviews of Robert Dugoni books:

My Sister’s Grave (book 1)

Her Final Breath (book 2)

Have realised I never wrote a review for book three but, trust me, it’s good (I’ll now have to see if I can get one written up!)

 

Tuesday Intro: Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

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’m featuring a book I’ve just finished, Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner, a well known and well loved author.  I won’t say much yet (review to follow) other than – in my humble opinion – it’s well worth a read.  Here’s what it’s about…

img_0495Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

And here’s how it starts…

Prologue

Had a family once.

Father. Mother. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide. Brown shag carpet. Dirty gold countertops. Peeling linoleum floors. Used to race my Hot Wheels down those food-splattered counter-tops, doubleloop through ramps of curling linoleum, then land in gritty piles of shag. place was definitely a shit hole. But being a kid, I called it home.

What do you think? Would you keep on reading?

Emma

Note: text taken from proof copy.

Liar Liar by M. J. Arlidge

imageDetective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…

I don’t like fire, it’s one of those things that has always scared me a little and the thought of being caught in one terrifies me.  Liar Liar, then, is probably not a book I should have been reading.  However, it was next of my list of books staring DI Helen Grace and – as I’ve loved them all so far – I couldn’t say no, afraid I might be missing out on something good.

One of the reasons I don’t like the idea of being caught in a fire is that feeling that there isn’t much you can do about it once your trapped and M J Arlidge has pretty much convinced me I’m right thinking that.  He paints quite a scary picture of just what it feels like to get caught in a fire – the panic people feel when they wake up to find their houses on fire, their bodies in some cases, and the sheer battle they face against the smoke and the heat to escape.  Like I said, the idea terrifies me, and even reading about it made me more than a little uncomfortable.

Thankfully for the people of Southampton, the arsons are being investigated by DI Helen Grace who is like a dog with a bone and the force’s best detective.  Unfortunately for them, for most of the book the arsonist is one step a head and the fires continue to burn.  That’s because they are clever, leaving no clues as to who they are or what their motive is.  Helen and her team seem to be on the loosing side for once and, as they scrambled to make sense of what was happening, as a reader I could fee the tensions rise.

I also had no clue who the guilty party might be, which was great as quite often with these books it becomes pretty clear early on and then it’s just a case of understanding the why. When the big reveal came, it was a good one and – I thought – clever to.  Not your usual suspects and no one that had been on my radar.   Then there was a final twist in the tale which, if you read my reviews regularly, you’ll know I’m not always the biggest fan of but here made perfect sense and was a fitting ending to a great story.

Beyond that there isn’t much else to say other than the things I’ve said about every book in the series so far.  I love Helen, she’s a great character and her team are coming to life more and more with each story, making me care for them too.  The book is really well written, with short, punchy, chapters that keep you turning the pages and wanting to know what happens next.  The only difference with this book to the last three is that this is perhaps more of a slow burn (pun intended) with the arsonist not being revealed until close to the end and not having much of a voice bar a few blog posts throughout the story.  This is no bad thing though and didn’t leave me feeling like I was missing anything.  I liked this book a lot and would definitely recommend.

Emma

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Source: Library
Publisher: Penguin Crime
Publication Date: 10th September, 2015
Pages: 442
Format: paperback
Genre: crime fiction

Tuesday Intro: Liar, Liar

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’m reading Liar, Liar by M. J. Arlidge, an author whose books I’m coming to love. This is the fourth in the Helen Grace series and is looking like a corker.  here’s what it’s about…

image

Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…

And here how it starts…

Luke scrambled through the open window and on to the narrow ledge outside. Grasping the plastic guttering above his head, he pulled himself upright. The guttering creaked ominously, threatening to give way at any moment, but Luke couldn’t risk letting go. He was dizzy, breathless and very, very scared.

A blast of icy wind roared over him, flapping his thin cotton pyjamas like a manic kite. He was already losing the feeling in his feet –the chill from the rough stone creeping up his body –and the sixteen-year-old knew he would have to act quickly, if he was to save his life. Slowly he inched his way forward, peering over the lip of the ledge. The cars, the people below seemed so small –the hard, unforgiving road so far away.

He’d always had a thing about heights and, looking down from this top-floor vantage point, his first instinct was to recoil. To turn back into the house. But he stood firm. He couldn’t believe what he was contemplating, but he didn’t have a choice, so releasing his grip, he hung his toes over the edge and prepared to jump. He counted down in his head. Three, two, one …

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Emma

 

Authors I must read more of in 2017

Doing my Reviews by Author page a few weeks ago, I was struck by how many authors I say I am going to read more of and then never actually do. Having really enjoyed the first of their books that I’ve read I think I am likely missing out.

So, in an early New Year resolution, I have decided that in 2017 I am going to read at least one more book written by five of the authors that really jumped out at me and have stuck with me since reading their book (with links to their Goodreads or web pages for their names)….

Nicole Trope, whose book Blame I absolutely loved when I read it back in July.  She has written six books but the one that really caught my eye is Hush, Little Bird, released in 2015.

25398542.jpgNicole Trope’s explosive fourth book tells the story of two very different women. One has been damaged by her disturbing past, the other is a society wife of a television celebrity. We meet them on the celebrity wife’s first day in a minimum security prison where the other, much younger, woman is also an inmate. As each woman tells her story in alternating chapters, we gradually come to know how they came to be in prison. As their pasts are revealed we start to realise that they have much more in common than their crimes. Only one woman knows the shocking secret that connects them, and she is determined to have her revenge

Peter Swanson, whose The Kind Worth Killing I read couldn’t put down with it’s many twists and turns.  Peter’s third novel – Her Every Fear – is due out in January so that seems a good place to go next.

29938032.jpgThe danger isn’t all in your head . . .

Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidently learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself . . . So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.

And much, much closer than she thinks.

Sara Gran, whose Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway was a completely different type of detective novel and which I read way back in 2015.  This was the second in a series and, unfortunately, looking at Sara’s web site there won’t be a third anytime soon so I’ll have to go back to the first, which I haven’t read though it was released in 2011.

9231999Sara Gran has written a novel about an unprecedented private investigator named Claire DeWitt. Destiny, it seems, has chosen Claire to be a detective, planting a copy of the enigmatic book Détection in her path as a teenager. Claire has grabbed this destiny with both hands but fate has been cruel. Twenty years later detection is her religion and Détection is her Bible.

Now she is summoned to New Orleans, because someone has heard she is “the best,” to search for an upstanding citizen lost in the miasma of Katrina. The battered and beggared New Orleans, second only to Claire, is the star of this story. Thus the title. 

Alex Marwood, whose book The Darkest Secret I thought was really clever and not what I expected at all.  I’m going to go back to the beginning with this author and read a book that has been on my to read list since it first came out.

11940384One fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.

Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day when they were just children. But with new lives – and families – to protect, will they really be able to keep their secret hidden?

And finally, Colleen Hoover, whose November 9 is one of the few romances I have ever read and enjoyed.  I reviewed it a year ago yesterday and it got me stepping outside my comfort zone and is something I feel like I should do more of.  With so many books to chose from I have gone with the most popular on Goodreads.

15717943Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

I have high hopes for all these books and hope to continue to remain in love with all the authors.  What about you – what authors do you wish you could read more of…any of them also on my list?

Emma

 

 
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The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

img_0489One warm spring evening, five teenagers meet in a local park. Only four will come out alive.

Six months after the stabbing of sixteen-year-old Deanna Barker, someone is coming after the teenagers of Stockleigh, as a spate of vicious assaults rocks this small community. Revenge for Deanna? Or something more?

Detective Eden Berrisford is locked into a race against time to catch the twisted individual behind the attacks – but when her own niece, Jess Mountford, goes missing, the case gets personal.

With the kidnapper threatening Jess’s life, can Eden bring back her niece to safety? Or will the people of Stockleigh be forced to mourn another daughter…?

The Girl’s Next Door has a shocking opening – a young girl is brutally murdered by a gang of teens.  Six months later, the teens are in prison, awaiting trial and another group of young women are being targeted, attacked on their way to meet friends in pretty viscous ways.  It’s an uncomfortable reading start that I have to say, one that drew me straight into the story and promised great things.

Adding to the tension is that one of the girls isn’t just attacked but kidnapped. And the question is why?  What did she do that meant she is now locked up in a room, bound and gagged?  It’s a question that Eden needs to answer – because the girl is her niece, Jess, and she is desperate to find her.  To do that, though, she needs to find the link – between the first murder, the attacks, and Jess’ kidnapping – and she needs to do it fast.

Or at least that is what you are led to believe, that everything that is happening is connected, until a twist in the tale blows that theory apart and you and Eden are left back at the beginning trying to figure out just why Jess was taken and if she will make it out alive.  It was a pretty clever twist I have to say and, whilst I had an feeling all was not as it seemed, I didn’t see it coming in the way it did.

By this point, I felt I had gotten to know Eden, her sister Laura and Jess and was engaged and involved in their story.  I liked Eden, and think she’ll be a great character going forward (especially if her ex-husband reappears, which suggests fireworks), and Laura, well written as a more than slightly hysterical mom who now regrets giving her daughter the freedom she did.

I didn’t like Jess though.  Yes, she’s 16 and a teenager so designed to be selfish but she has lessons to learned (her behaviour in a roundabout way led to her kidnapping) and I’m not sure at the end if she learnt them.   I also understand she was in danger and that the adults in her life wanted to get her back.  What I didn’t quite understand was how she came away pretty scott free in the end.  I didn’t like that either and, at the end, it did spoil the book a little for me.

Now, this is one of those things that is likely to not bother most people, and it’s a small thing for a book that was well written, with good pace and good characterisation (I’m not sure I was meant to like Jess for example), but it did bother me and I can’t help that.  I also have to admit that I did find myself comparing Eden to DS Allie Shenton from Mel Sherratt’s other books and I think I like Allie just a little bit more.  But then I’m three books in with Allie so more attached.

Will any of this stop me recommending the book? No, but with the caveat that the ending might leave you as frustrated as me.  Will it stop me buying the next in the series? No, I will definitely buy it because I want to see what comes next with Eden.  But did I love the book in the end as much as I have other’s of Mel Sherratt’s?  No.  I liked it but I disliked Jess too much to be pushed over the edge into really rating this one.  Sorry!

Emma

p.s. you can find my reviews of other Mel Sherratt books here:

Only The Brave

Follow The Leader

Taunting The Dead