Tuesday Intro: Willnot by James Sallis

Once again I’m linking up again with Vicky at I’d Rather Be At The Beach 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.

This week, I’m planning on starting Willnot by James Sallis as part of a buddy read but also to – hopefully – regain my faith in one of my favourite authors after a not so great read of one of his books a few weeks ago.  Here’s what it’s about…

Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

Bring me backFinn’s life seems pretty perfect.  He has money, a house in the country and a beautiful and caring fiancé.  Things probably couldn’t get much better, especially when you think that ten years previously he had been suspected of murdering his then-girlfriend, Layla, while they on vacation.

No body was found though and the evidence there was, was circumstantial.  Slowly, he rebuilt his life till he found himself where he was now – happy, or as happy as he thinks he can be, and waiting to get married.

Then he comes home to find his fiancé, Ellen, in a strange mood.  She’s found a small Russian doll on the wall outside their house.  A doll that looks remarkably like the one she always thought her sister, Layla, stole from her when they were children.  Yes, the same Layla that Finn was dating.  Do you get the feeling that things might be about to get complicated?

The Killer is Dying by James Sallis

the killer is dying James Sallis is one of my favourite authors.  I came to his work late and, over the last few years, have been slowly working my way through his back catalogue.  He is also the most-reviewed author on my blog – with nine reviews where I basically tell you he is brilliant.

It probably had to happen, then, at some point, that I would come across a book that wasn’t and – unfortunately – that day has come.  I’ve just finished The Killer Is Dying and – very much like my last review (The Last of the Greenwoods by Clare Morrall), I’ve been left more than a little flat.

I am not sure why – the writing style is the same – sparse and to the point in that noir way I love.  The characters are just as damaged as in other books, unsure how to live their lives without messing them up but doing the best they can. And the dark setting is there too – this time Pheonix, with the harsh, hot weather almost becoming a character in and off itself at times.  Yet, for me – this time – it just didn’t work.

Beware the Past by Joy Ellis

beware the past

With Beware the Past, I am once again back on the Lincolnshire Fens, a place that sounds beautiful but is also dangerous and deadly.  Here, the dead are three young boys, killed almost 30 years ago.  Their murderer is the one that “got away” from Detective Matt Ballard, a veteran officer now – much loved and respected by his team – but a rookie back when the bodies were found.  The murders have haunted him ever since.

Now, they are doing more than haunting.  They are becoming reality, as another dead boy is found and Matt’s team begin to receive photos from the first murders that make them think the killer is still alive, kicking, and about to kill again.  This time, though, he seems set on dragging Matt into his deadly game, taunting him with the photos and phone calls and putting though closest to the Detective in danger.

So, as you’ll already know if you read my blog, I am a huge fan of Joy Ellis’ crime series staring Nikki Galena.  I love the setting – also the fens – and the characters – one of whom, the pathologist, appears here.  More though, I love the plots.  They are clever, complex, and always leave me guessing.  All of these apply here in what is a standalone police procedural that kept me turning the pages and on the edge of my seat throughout.

I loved Matt, who was passionate, caring and just a little messed up, and his team – who were all so well drawn that I felt I’d known them for ever.  Each had their own voices, their own personalities and were not afraid of standing up to their boss.  I am really hoping that this might be the start of series as I think it would make a good one.   A great read and highly recommended!

About the book…

A new standalone crime thriller.

Detective Matt Ballard is haunted by one traumatic case he never solved. In the 1990s three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was never satisfied that the real murderer had been caught.

25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope. It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. Taken before the murder.

Another killing takes place, with some of the hallmarks of the old case. Has the killer returned or is this just a sick copycat determined to ruin Matt’s life and reputation?

Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Joffe Books
Publication Date: 19th December, 2017
Number of Pages: 369
Rating: 5 / 5


Monthly update: November, 2017

Month in review

So this is it, the final countdown to Christmas is one day away – time to dig out the advent calendars and start shopping earnest!  I am officially getting excited (it helps that it has snowed here today, and I love snow).  I’m not sure what the season will do to my reading and blogging but I imagine for a lot of us it will start to slow down as we focus on other things.  November, though was a good reading month (bar a mini-slump half way through).  Here’s what I liked, loved and just weren’t for me this month…

Thieves on the Fens by Joy Ellis

Thieves on the fens

DI Nikki Galena is back and I couldn’t be happier as she is one of my favourite female detectives and the “on the Fens” series, one of my favourites too.

There are some many things to love, including that they all start with a bang, something to make you want to keep reading on.  Here, it’s a call to Nikki from a mysterious man speaking in thieves’ cant, an old fashioned secret code (think cockney rhyming slang).  People, he says are going to die – and he is going to be the one doing the killing.

It all seems linked to a series of burglaries that the team are already working on, though it’s not clear how or what this mysterious man’ (who they nickname Mad Tom) ultimate aim is, other than teach Nikki a lesson.  

Little Boy Blue by M. J. Arlidge

Little Boy BlueI had one word to say after finishing Little Boy Blue – “Wow!”  I’m a huge fan of the series staring Detective Helen Grace anyway but this, for me, has been the best book yet.

Why?  It started off with the murder of a recurring character in a pretty horrific way (not graphic in the blood and guts way but just in a way which must have been terrifying).

He’s someone Helen knows, though the rest of the team aren’t aware, and she does her best to keep it secret.  With a dogged reporter on her case, it’s not that easy though, and it sets her on edge – effecting her relationship with her team (a relationship that tends to be tense anyway as Helen is not the easiest person to work with).