Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

35789068The observant amongst you will have noticed I haven’t been posting on the blog this last week.  Cold Blood was one of the reasons.  I needed to read it, and didn’t want anything getting in the way of my reuniting with Erika Foster, a favourite detective from a favourite series.

Those self-same observant people may have also noticed that I haven’t started this post out the way I normally do, with the goodreads book blurb right next to the title.  It’s still here for those who want to read it – but at the end because I was worried it would give too much away for a book that holds a lot of twists, turns and surprises.  This is too good a story for spoilers (in my humble opinion!).Read More »

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Close to Home by Robert Dugoni

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While investigating the hit-and-run death of a young boy, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite makes a startling discovery: the suspect is an active-duty serviceman at a local naval base. After a key piece of case evidence goes missing, he is cleared of charges in a military court. But Tracy knows she can’t turn her back on this kind of injustice.

When she uncovers the driver’s ties to a rash of recent heroin overdoses in the city, she realizes that this isn’t just a case of the military protecting its own. It runs much deeper than that, and the accused wasn’t acting alone. For Tracy, it’s all hitting very close to home.

As Tracy moves closer to uncovering the truth behind this insidious conspiracy, she’s putting herself in harm’s way. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.

When I pick up a Robert Dugoni book I always feel like I have to say thank you to Bibliophile Book Club for introducing me to the Tracy Crosswhite series.  That was back with book one, My Sister’s Grave, and now I’m on book five but I still can’t get enough of Tracy.  Read More »

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

99 red balloonsTwo girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

So as well as a title that sends me back to my teenage years and memories of watching Top of the Pops, 99 Red Balloons has everything I look for in a psychological thriller – missing children, family secrets and a story that slowly comes together through the eyes of a number of characters, none of whom seem to be quite telling the truth.

And I got all that and more, with a book with plenty of twists, turns and red herrings plus a “wow” moment about two-thirds in that had me pause for a second so my brain could readjust and rethink everything I had read so far.  You’ve got to love those moments and it completely changed the book for me.  Read More »

Nothing Stays Buried by P J Tracy

Nothing Stays BuriedWhen Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called to a crime scene in a heavily wooded city park, everything about the setting is all too familiar. And when they discover a playing card on the victim’s body, their worst fears are confirmed there s a serial killer operating in the city for the first time in years.

Across town, Grace MacBride and her unconventional partners at Monkeewrench Software find themselves at both personal and career crossroads. Weary of the darker side of their computer work for law enforcement, they agree to take on a private missing-persons case in a small farming community in southwestern Minnesota.

As the violence accelerates in Minneapolis, Magozzi and Gino soon realize their killer is planning to complete the deck, and they enlist Monkeewrench to help stop the rampage. As a baffling tangle of evidence accumulates, the cops and Monkeewrench make the unlikely connections among a farmer s missing daughter, a serial killer, and a decades-old stabbing that brings them face-to-face with pure evil.

After recently rediscovering the Monkeewrench series with number 7 (Cold Kill), I was excited to see number 8 already available on net galley and jumped at the chance of reviewing it.

There are so many things that make this a great series: the bleak Minneapolis weather (last time it was snow, this time tornadoes) which make everything feel a little bit dark and dangerous; the clever plotting with plenty of twists, turns and red herrings; and the characters, all of whom I like and a few of whom I love.Read More »

The Binding Song by Elodie Harper

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Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared – along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.

Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.

Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts…

First off, and shallow as it may sound, I have to say that I think the cover of The Binding Song is one of my favourites this year.  It is so simple yet says all it needs to about a book that is spooky and scary and right up my alley.  It’s what drew me to it (see I said I was shallow) so thank you to whoever designed it because what was inside the pages was a great read and an excellent debut.

It starts as it means to go on, with a man on the run, making his way through the woods in the dead of night and scared of his own shadow…as well as the shadow of someone else, the woman who has been haunting his dreams, urging him to kill himself – which he kindly obliges her by doing.  It’s a great opening, one that had me hooked. Read More »

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

For many years, I didn’t read Lisa Jewell books because I had in my head she wrote romance novels. I am not sure where I got that from but, thankfully, a review on one of her books finally showed me the light and I have been working my way through her back catalogue ever since, loving each one. Seeing a new release on Netgalley then I couldn’t resist requesting a copy.

On the surface, Then She Was Gone sounds like a story I have read more than once over the last few years. A young girl goes missing, her family falls apart in the aftermath, whilst all the while there are questions to answer – where did she go, why did she go, will she ever come back? The difference here is how well Lisa Jewell writes, how she builds up the story piece by piece, revealing just enough to keep you interested but not quite enough for you guess what is coming next…each time I thought I had the answer, I was wrong (until the end, when I have a feeling Jewell wanted me to figure it out!).Read More »

Perfect Prey by Helen Fields

In the midst of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker. The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf.

DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach have no motive and no leads – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim.

It’s only when they realise the words are appearing before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.

I’ve made no secret about being excited to read Perfect Prey in recent weeks, the second in the series featuring Luc Callanach and Ava Turner as detectives in the Scottish Police Force. Field’s debut last year (with the first in the series, Perfect Remains) had fast become one of my favourite books and I was dying to read more about Luc and Ava, both of whom are fired detectives with lots of baggage to keep me interested.  I am pleased to say my anticipation was much rewarded with another excellent story that had great pace, great characterisation, and great villains.Read More »

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

28165010Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Like many people out there, I have been a fan of Kathy Reichs every since reading her first Temperance Brennan / Bones novel.  With those, Tempe became a familiar figure, one I felt I knew and one I liked a lot.  With familiarity though might not come contempt but definitely comes less excitement when a new book is released, especially with a TV show attached; somewhere along the way I stopped picking up the latest instalment.

Then I saw Two Nights, a new novel with a new character, and that familiar excitement was back again…I felt I had to read this book because, despite not being excited by Bones any more, this had nothing to do with thinking Reichs wasn’t a good writer – she is – and a good storyteller – she’s that too.  Both apply here, with what is a cracking story and a great central character – Sunday Night – who is uniquely damaged (as all the best characters in crime fiction are) and absolutely intriguing (I am really hoping this is the first in a new series).

The story on the face of it seems simple – a young girl is missing after a local school is bombed and her mother and brother dead.  Her grandmother wants justice and has the money to pay to get it and the connections to find the right person to do the job.  That right person is Sunday, a former soldier and detective who now lives off the grid and under the radar.

Sunday is tough, really tough, and hard to love.  She isn’t unlikeable though, which – as you may know from reading other reviews – is really important to me.  I have to like the people between the pages or I lose interest in them and their story.  Sunday’s story, I wanted to know.  I eventually found it out, and it’s pretty dark; it’s no wonder she doesn’t trust anyone or that she is determined to do the right thing, even if that involves ignoring the law when she has to.

It’s her voice you hear throughout and so you get to understand the workings of her mind pretty well.   You see in it a confused person but a good one.  You also see someone who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer and knows how to fight.  Her storytelling style is short and sharp…there is a little of the old school detective novels here – words aren’t minced – which I liked.  It kept the story moving along and me interested.  In fact, I don’t think I got bored or found my mind wandering once.  With my reading so many of this genre, that’s hard to do.

It’s also hard to keep me guessing – I often figure out the who, why and where pretty early on.  Good writing can keep me reading but there isn’t that buzz of not knowing that I love.  I had that here.  There was one point in particular where I thought one thing and realised I was completely wrong and it brought a smile to my lips.  Loved it – and loved the book…can’t recommend it enough.

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

 

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 11th July, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 336
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten by Nicole Trope

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Edna is worried about the new residents at the boarding house. She knows Mary would turn in her grave if she knew the kinds of people her son was letting in.

And then there is someone else. Someone whose heart is broken. Someone who feels she has been unfairly punished for her mistakes. Someone who wants what she can’t have.

What follows is a heart-stopping game of cat-and-mouse and a race against the clock. As the hours pass and the day heats up, all hope begins to fade.

So, just when I thought I had my book of the month sorted (Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica), another has come along that has completely wowed me and left my decision of which book to pick so up in the air. Forgotten by Nicole Trope has everything I look for in a book – characters I cared for, a plot that kept me turning pages, and an ending that left me holding my breath, praying everything would turn out o.k.

It starts with one of those decisions every parent of a young child has faced I think.  They are asleep in the car when your out running errands.  Do you leave them sleeping whilst you run into the store (you’ll only be a minute after all) or do you risk a major meltdown by waking them up and taking them in with you? We will all probably say, when asked, we’d do the latter but in the moment, that’s probably not true; there are plenty of us out there that would at least give it a thought I’m sure.

So it is with Malia, who has not one child but three under the age of five, including newborn Zach.  It’s been a hard morning when she makes her fateful decision. Her two oldest kids have been testing her last nerve, playing up because there isn’t any milk for breakfast. Zach, is fast asleep, and she wants to keep it that way.

So she leaves him the car whilst she runs into the shop to get milk, thinking she can keep her eye on her car the whole time. Only she can’t, and, when she gets back, Zach is gone and her nightmare begins. Nicole Trope does an amazing job here, creating a character I completely felt for when she was one I maybe should have had little sympathy with given what’s happened.

With a baby to find, local detectives Ali and Mike are called in to start the search. For Ali, a new mother herself, this is a difficult one and, as the story progresses, you see just how much it impacts her. You also see her determination to bring Zach home and her anxiety that she could lose her child. I loved Ali’s caring nature and her passion to support Malia and find Zach.

I got to read feel these first hand in the chapters that told what was happening from her perspective. They alternated with Malia’s but also with the person who took Zach, and Edna, an elderly woman who doesn’t trust her neighbour. And all this happens over the course of one day, meaning the tension rises with the temperature, as everyone begins to think there will only be one ending, and it won’t be a good one.

I don’t think I could have felt more involved in the search for Zach if I’d been part of the investigation.  I felt every minute of him being missing and I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if I was Malia.  This book is 400 pages long yet it felt like it was over in no time at all, so engrossed was I in the story.

From all of this, you can probably tell this will be a book I will be recommending.  I really can’t praise it enough.  Loved it!

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

 

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 28th June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 400
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. 

Also reviewed by Nicole Trope:

Blame

 

 

 

 

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.