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Archive for November, 2016

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Published: 26 January 2017
Reviewed: 17 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by HarperCollins in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Don’t trust this book.
Don’t trust this story.
Don’t trust yourself.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their world, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far someone might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I first saw this book mentioned on social media I was instantly intrigued, how could I not be when I saw those three short sentences that describe the book?  That coupled with the clever hashtag #WTFThatEnding, meant I really wanted to read this to see what the hype was about.

This book is a psychological thriller and then some, it’s clever, sinister, gripping and utterly spectacular!  I won’t insult you by saying anything about the plot, this is one you will have to discover for yourself.  Suffice to say that when you see tweets with #WTFThatEnding you really know that there’s something downright gob smacking lurking in the shadows.
I was so exceptionally pleased that other bloggers had been sent a copy of this beauty so that I could “aaaargh where are you in the book?!” and bounce ideas off of them.  I admit, at about half way through I was completely on the wrong track, but a fellow blogger was happy to allow me to put the ideas out there, and we chatted about what we thought might happen……then when I finished the book….you’ve guessed it, the next message I sent was “WTFThatEnding?!” I sat, utterly rooted to the spot, completely and utterly stumped.  Not believing what I’d read, I did re-read the ending a couple of times to make certain.

This is a creepy thriller, masterfully plotted with an ending that shoots for maximum impact.  Pinborough throws her readers down the rabbit hole into a frenzied world of the unexpected and keeps them captive whilst weaving a twisted and mesmerising tale.

Too often you see “X is the thriller of the year” or “Y is the new Z” but in this case, Pinborough really has earned the accolade that Behind Her Eyes could well be the thriller of 2017.

Preorder your copy of Behind Her Eyes here (this is one book you will definitely want to get a copy of asap!)

About the Author:

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed adult and YA author based in London.

Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story and also the 2010 and 2014 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, and she has four times been short-listed for Best Novel. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.

Her next novel, Behind Her Eyes, coming for HarperFiction in the UK and Flatiron in the US (January 2017) has sold in nearly 20 territories worldwide and is a dark thriller about relationships with a kicker of a twist.

You can follow her on Twitter @sarahpinborough

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the-escape

PUBLISHES: 23RD March 2017

The Sunday Times bestseller and No.1 Kindle bestseller returns…

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

Pre-order your copy here

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Published: 7 November 2016
Reviewed: 28 November 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Canelo in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Warm your heart with this perfect Christmas love story

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

It’s always a treat to read a book written by Darcie Boleyn, there’s a wonderful warmth in her writing, rich characters that you feel are like old friends instead of new acquaintances but best of all the sense of humour that shines through the narrative is just utterly brilliant.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is wonderfully festive tale that the reader can curl up with and enjoy.
With narration from both of the main characters Lucie and Dale the reader gets a great insight into each character and how they feel, and can understand why these two people who are perfect for each other are not a couple (yet).  And by writing in this way, Boleyn ensures that the reader becomes attached to her characters, becomes invested in their stories and feels like they want to keep reading to see how the story evolves.

All of the characters are well written, including the supporting characters.  They are endearing, realistic, and can be infuriating at times especially Lucie who I think many readers would like to give her a wee shake or bash her and Dale’s heads together.
As always, the descriptive qualities in Boleyn’s writing are spot on.  The settings are so vividly described that I could imagine the scenes in New York so clearly, the carriage ride, the hotel suite.

I suppose the only negative thing about this book is it’s over too quickly, a short but lovely read that I was really sad to finish.  I must add that despite it being a short book, the plot is jam packed and utterly engrossing.  It’s a Christmassy feel good book that deserves to be on your reading list every year.

The perfect book to get you feeling festive!

You can buy a copy of A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas here.

 

 

About the Author:

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

For more information about Darcie’s books go to her website or follow her on Twitter @DarcieBoleyn

 

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doorways-cover

Published: 13 October 2016
Reviewed: 24 November 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Urbane Publications in return for an honest review

 

Description:

The Otherside: a world that exists on the outskirts of our own, hiding in plain sight and living within our shadows. Shielded from humanity, the Otherside is watched over by the BTCO, a highly secret government agency whose agents are the few humans who possess “The Knack,” a genetic anomaly that allows them to see the truth of existence. Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones is the BTCO’s finest agent, the only human to have passed to The Otherside and returned. Gifted with the ability to physically interact with The Otherside, he reluctantly stands between both worlds, pining for the life he had to leave behind. Teamed with the Otherside warrior, Argyle, the two of them are assigned a case of a missing woman, vanished under peculiar circumstances. As Bermuda delves further into the disappearances, he uncovers a threat to humanity that will not only break the truce between the two worlds, but render them both obsolete.

My Thoughts & Review:

Science Fiction is not a genre I tend to read very often, the speculative nature of the genre jars with my analytically driven mind and I find that I don’t enjoy these books as much.  That being said, when I heard about Robert Enright’s Doorways I was intrigued enough to give it a try, the idea that there was a thriller/mystery woven into the Sci-Fi plot was enough to tempt me into giving it a go.

The protagonist Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones is an interesting character, one that possesses a gift (more a curse in his opinion) that means he can interact with “Others”, lifeforms from another existence.  Unfortunately for Bermuda, he is one of the few who can so more often than not he looks mad, talking to himself.  In actual fact he is usually speaking to Argyle, his partner, his sidekick, his “Other”.  The concept of the detective speaking to an “unseen” entity reminded me somewhat of a tv series I enjoyed as a youngster “Randall & Hopkirk (deceased), the detective working in tandem with his unseen partner who was instrumental in his solving cases with a wonderful comedic element.
The dynamic of Bermuda and Argyle is well written, for all intents and purposes you could be reading their dialogue and seeing two human detectives in an office or other setting, the sarcastic edge to their exchanges is both humorous and entertaining.  But there also seems to be a genuine bond between these two characters, coupled with a strong element of care.

Essentially a story about good versus evil, the fight between the two is surely a messy one.  Vividly described fight scenes play out across the pages, damage done to buildings, Bermuda and Others with some serious weaponry and incredible brute force.  The violence in these scenes is not so graphic that it will put readers off and if anything the fluidity of the descriptions means that the reader can watch the scenes play out in their mind clearly.

The concept of “The Otherside” was interesting, and the characters were fascinating but there were a few wee bits that I found harder to get onboard with, however it’s probably more a personal thing given that I have a penchant for reading thrillers and real crime genres – my mind wants to make sense of things and likes details to be as real to life as possible.  This does not detract from a great book however, and I do think that should Robert Enright want to expand his Bermuda Jones story to a series of books he would do so with great ease.  His writing is great, there is intelligence and skill in the writing, a great groundwork in place to lead into another novel and best of all a character (well two if you count Argyle) that readers are invested in.  I do hope there are more books to come, I may not be fully converted to being a fan of Sci-Fi, but I am definitely a fan of Enright’s writing!

You can buy a copy of Doorways here.

About the Author:

Rob Enright was born and raised in North London and resides in Bushey, Hertfordshire. Working as a HR System Administrator for a charity by day, he spends his evenings and weekends writing (or playing his WiiU).

In March 2015, Rob self-published One by One on Amazon, a violent, revenge thriller which was critically acclaimed, breaking into the top 50 books on Amazon on release. One year later, One by One leapt up to #3 in Kindle Crime and back into the top 50 on Kindle.

Rob has signed with Urbane Publications and his second book will be released in Autumn 2016. DOORWAYS will be the first in an ongoing series about an agent, Bermuda Jones, struggling to keep a hidden world from taking over our very own. A dark, urban sci-fi, which will be available Oct 2016.

For more information about Rob and his upcoming books, then feel free to check him out on social media:

Twitter – @REnright_Author
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robenrightauthor

Website coming soon. Along with news of the next project….

 

 

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I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the #Zero blog tour and share an extract from Matt Brolly’s newest mystery novel.

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No crime will go unpunished

It is the near future. A zero tolerance policy results in the death penalty for all crimes, no matter how minor.

When a judge is kidnapped, and a ransom note demands the release of all prisoners awaiting execution, kleptomaniac Detective Inspector Kate Swanson is put on the case.

But soon her boss also disappears. Under increasing pressure from her superiors, and caught between the security services and the growing social unrest, Swanson must race to find a man whose murdered wife and daughter link the missing men.

Can she find him before it’s too late?

With a dystopian twist on the police procedural, Zero is an unputdownable and atmospheric thriller. The first in a powerful new series from Matt Brolly for fans of Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza or Minority Report and Blade Runner.


Extract from Zero:

It was not a comfortable space for a man of his size. Old Blue had been in the boot of the car for five hours. He was squeezed into the foetal position, his considerable stomach pushed tight against his bended legs. Sweat dripped from his brow and cooled on his silver beard. The little oxygen which remained in the cramped interior of the car was contaminated by the fetid odour of his breath. He concentrated on his breathing, drawing the stale air in through his nose and exhaling it through pursed lips. His watch told him it was eight forty-five pm.

Old Blue closed his eyes and waited for the judge.

***

Twelve storeys above the basement car park where Old Blue waited, Judge Lloyd was preparing to leave for the day. He had a strict policy of finishing work at nine every evening. Anything urgent was taken home with him. Lloyd was in his late sixties but looked ten years younger. He signed off his last report and placed his paperwork into his briefcase. His personal assistant, Sarah Natal, was still working in the outer office. ‘Time to wrap up now,’ he told her as he walked past. He wished her goodnight with a tired flicker of a smile. The digital clock on her desk read nine p.m. precisely.

The court building was still alive with work, and Lloyd passed a number of familiar faces as he made his way down to the car park. The lift was empty so he was able to reach the car without exchanging words with anyone. His car was in its usual reserved space close to the stairwell. As always, Judge Lloyd opened the driver side door first, placing his briefcase on the passenger seat next to him.

The evening traffic was thinning and the judge made good time back to his house. He followed his favoured route, across the river at Bridge Eight and up to the winding side streets which led to his house in Sector Twelve. The pods were visible at various points through the journey. An outstanding feat of modern engineering, the glass capsules crawled through the night sky snaking across the entire city. They moved along their tracks, dangling like giant lanterns. It was claimed you were never more than one hundred metres away from a sightline of the structure. Lloyd chose not to notice. It was not that familiarity had lessened the wonder; Lloyd never looked at the translucent domes in case he saw someone within he recognised.

At home, the electronic gates sensed the arrival of his car and opened accordingly. Lloyd pressed the button for the garage doors and drove into the space. After closing the garage doors, he entered the house through a side door in the garage, which he locked behind him.

***

It was nine forty-five by the time the judge left the car. Wedged into the boot, Old Blue had suffered each bump and pothole of the journey. It was eleven-thirty before he moved. He managed to pop open the latch with little effort. His arm muscles flared with pain as he hoisted himself from the car, his legs buckling as he hit the stone floor of the garage. He stretched his calves and thighs, encouraging the blood to circulate. It was a slow, painful walk to the side entrance. He opened the door with the kind of ease that only comes with months of practice.

The lights were off downstairs but Old Blue knew the space well. To reach the staircase, he had to pass through two interior doors, both made of solid oak, both unlocked. He moved as quietly as was possible for a man of his weight and lack of agility. With his right hand, he reached into the inside of his jacket and pulled out a gun. Orange nightlights, the type a child would use, lined the stairwell. Old Blue eased himself upwards towards the landing, ignoring the occasional squeaks of loose floorboards. Judge Lloyd’s bedroom was the third on the right. Without hesitation, Old Blue opened the door. A four-poster bed made from thick black wood filled the room. The judge was sitting up in bed reading. He looked up from his book and studied Old Blue, seemingly unconcerned. Seconds later, he nodded. ‘Mr. Jacobson,’ he said.

Old Blue looked at the man and shook his head.

Zero was published on 21st November by Canelo price £3.99 as an ebook, you can buy a copy here

About the Author:

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.

He is the author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed and Dead Lucky, and the near future crime trilogy, featuring DI Kate Swanson, which begins with Zero.

Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children. You can find out more about Matt at his website MattBrolly.co.uk or by following him on twitter: @MatthewBrolly


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for some brilliant reviews!

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Today I featured over on Portobello Book Blog, so honoured to have been included as so many wonderful bloggers have taken part in this feature.

Portobello Book Blog

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I’m very pleased to welcome Kate who blogs atThe Quiet Knitter to the blog today. Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?


My name is Kate, and I turned 30 this year. I’m mum to 1 human child of the toddling variety and 2 canines (a border collie and a border collie x). I’ve had a fascination with books for as long as I can remember and most of my spare time is spent either reading or knitting.

What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?


I was a big fan of Roald Dahl books (still am), but found I was heading towards my parents bookcases to pick up more grown up novels as soon as I’d finished with the children’s books. I found my love of John Grisham and Val McDermid before…

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summoning-the-dead-cover

Published: 6 October 2016
Reviewed: 24 November 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by author in return for an honest review

 

Description:

“We have a dead child, and a crime scene that has been remarkably well kept for us.”

A young child lies mummified in a barrel. His hands, cable-tied, appear to be locked in prayer. As forensic officers remove the boy they are in for an even bigger shock – he is not alone.

With his near-fatal stabbing almost a memory, DI Bob Valentine is settling back into life on the force but he knows nothing will ever be the same. Haunted by unearthly visions that appear like waking dreams, he soon understands he is being inducted into one of Scotland’s darkest secrets.

When the boy in the barrel is identified as a missing child from the 1980s, it re-opens a cold case that was previously thought unsolvable. When further remains are unearthed, the facts point to a paedophile ring and a political conspiracy that leads all the way to the most hallowed corridors of power.

Summoning the Dead is a fast-moving mystery that eerily mirrors current events, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Angela Marsons and Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I initially started this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, the subject matter didn’t sound like it would be the easiest book to read – the death of a child is always a tough topic to read about but I had faith in Tony Black’s abilities as an author and so dipped my toe into the murky abyss that awaited.

Summoning The Dead is actually the third book in the DI Bob Valentine series, but thankfully this can be read without having read the previous books (Artefacts of the Dead and A Taste of Ashes) but after reading this book I will be downloading the other ones on to my kindle asap.  Black ensures that there is enough detail in the book so that a reader can enjoy this without feeling that they have missed salient points from previous stories.

Weaving together stories from present day and from 1980s, the reader is witness to  the investigation into the discovery of a body of a young boy in a barrel which reopens a cold case from over 30 years ago.  But this shock discovery and the subsequent investigation leads to the unearthing of a complex web of child abuse and scandal that beggars belief.

The fact that this book deals with topics such as paedophilia and child abuse make it one that some readers will feel caution towards, however I do believe that Tony Black has written with sensitivity and care.  The plot is otherwise brilliant, it’s intriguing and cleverly twisted so that the reader can try and guess what is happening but does not always manage to second guess the author.

DI Bob Valentine is a wonderful character, and he is developed well throughout this novel.  The descriptions of him form a fantastic mental image, he’s weary from work and home life, he’s recovering from a near fatal stabbing but he’s still determined to solve his cases.  He comes across as a humble man, and he has an ability/gift to connect with the victims of the cases he works on, call it psychic powers, call it old fashioned “copper’s gut instinct”, it makes him a special character that is more connected to the cases he works.  His relationship with DS McCormack is so well played out, there is a great dynamic between the pair.  Her support to him with his gift/ability means he has someone he can speak openly with without fear of seeming foolish.

Short chapters make this a quick read, the writing itself is clever and a joy to read.  The marvellous descriptive nature of the writing really made me feel like I was there in the book, it’s never easy to describe Scottish weather – horizontal rain tends to receive questioning looks but in this book it works well!

I have a bit of a soft spot for tartan noir, and have been a fan of the genre for many years, and I can honestly say that I will be adding Tony Black to the bookcase alongside my prized copies of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid and Ian Rankin’s books.

You can buy a copy of Summoning The Dead here

About the Author:

Tony Black is the author of 13 books, most recently A Taste of Ashes, the second novel in his DI Bob Valentine series. He has been nominated for six CWA Daggers and was runner up in The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize for The Last Tiger.

He has written three crime series, a number of crime novellas and a collection of short stories. His next crime title is DI Bob Valentine 3, Summoning the Dead in summer 2016.

For more information, and the latest news visit his website www.tonyblack.net or follow him on Twitter @TonyblackUk

 

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