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Archive for the ‘crime fiction’ Category

Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter!  It’s Friday, and that can only mean one thing (well for here anyway!), it’s time for another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”.
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from No Exit Press and I thoroughly recommend checking them out both as they have some cracking books to offer!  Today’s book in the spotlight is “Deadly Alibi” by Leigh Russell and she’s kindly taken some time out to face a grilling for the author feature.


Book Feature:

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A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round, lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest. Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .

Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt… Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life. And then her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, with problems which are about to make Geraldine’s life turn toxic in more ways than one.

For fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza

Look out for more DI Geraldine Steel investigations in Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring and Deadly Alibi

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s only fair to admit that I broke my own rule with a series….I started this series on book 9!  But I will be going back and binge reading the previous 8 as soon as I can as I loved Geraldine Steel and want to know more about how she got to this point in her life and career.  So rest assured, if like me you are impatient to read this book, it can be read as a stand alone.  Leigh Russell has included ample detail to give readers a good grounding of DI Steel as well as the events surrounding her to make this an enjoyable read for new audiences but adds in details that will delight fans of the series.

To rehash the plot in this review would do this book an injustice, suffice to say that I don’t think I could without giving mammoth spoilers!  There is so much going on in this book that it’s like being on a rollercoaster.  One moment you’re gently putting the pieces together to try and work out who’s behind the heinous acts and the next you’re on the edge of your seat, frantically speed reading to find out what’s going to happen next!  It’s the sort of book you need to give all your attention to, and I was fortunate that I managed to read this in one day so I could feel the tension woven through the plot, become immersed in desperation and frustration being felt by the characters as they were led into a whirlpool of doubt caused by the suspicions around them.

A superb crime thriller with so many exciting and intriguing plot points, the case that DI Steel works on fast becomes addictive reading, and as readers try to piece together the clues it’s impossible not to start jumping to conclusions.  I will admit to being fooled by the red herrings that were cleverly placed in the plot, I thought like the police initially and could have kicked myself once I realised…..fantastic writing!!.

I would absolutely recommend Leigh Russell’s DI Steel series based on this one book alone, it’s fair to say she’s secured a new fan!  Now off to No Exit’s website to buy all the other books!

You can buy a copy of Deadly Alibi via:

No Exit Press (publisher’s website)
Amazon UK


Author Feature:

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After many years teaching English in secondary school, internationally bestselling author Leigh Russell now writes crime fiction full time. Published in English and in translation in Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, including #1 on kindle. Leigh’s work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with Avalon Television Ltd.
Journey to Death is the first title in her Lucy Hall series published by Thomas and Mercer.

 

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

What I like most about being an author is not having to get up early to go to work. I love writing. Nothing will stop me when I’m feeling creative – or if I have a publisher’s deadline looming – but now I can start my working day in bed if I feel like it. For me, that is pure luxury, especially on a cold winter’s morning.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

This is a hard question to answer as I genuinely love everything about the writing process, from typing the first words of a new book, to completing final edits. It can be hard. Sometimes a plot doesn’t work out in a realistic way, a character refuses to behave as I had intended, or my editor points out a gaffe, and I invariably have to spend time sorting out my muddled timelines. But on the whole I love every aspect of writing and consider myself extremely fortunate to have fallen into a career I enjoy so much.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

That is an impossible question to answer, as it’s equivalent to asking which is my favourite book. There are so many to choose from that I can’t pick just one.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Is there ever a time for a writer when he or she is not plotting a book? Eugene Ionesco said “A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of writing or thinking about writing.” That tends to be my experience. Other than that, I love spending time with my family.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

When I started writing I had essential rituals, certain pencils, and particular locations, but with fifteen books to my name, I have become far more relaxed about external props. All I need is my ipad, my keyboard, and my ideas, and I can write anywhere. I have a desk at home where I do most of my writing, but I’m equally happy writing on a train, a plane, a beach, in a coffee shop, in bed, in my garden – because I carry my writing space with me in my head. And when I’m writing, I’m not really in any of those external locations, I’m thinking and feeling as a character in a fictitious world. I’m Geraldine Steel, puzzling over enigmatic clues, or a killer working out how to dispose of a body without being caught….

 

A huge thank you to Leigh for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.
If you would like to know more about Leigh and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter:  @LeighRussell @LeighRussell
Website: http://www.leighrussell.co.uk/


 

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Description:

Danny Bird and the gang are back.

In this, the 3rd book of the popular series, life at The Marquess of Queensberry public house has returned to something resembling normality. Although his complicated love life is still in a state of some disarray, things are looking pretty rosy for Danny Bird.

Not for long…

Something horrible is discovered in the cellar, someone horrible comes to threaten one of the gang, and Danny and Lady Caroline are faced with some of their biggest challenges yet.

With local crime-lord Chopper Falzone keeping a watchful eye on his investment, Danny and Lady Caz must unmask a murderer, find some stolen diamonds and thwart a blackmailer – just another day at The Marq.

As the plot races breathlessly towards its conclusion, everyone realises that secrets, no matter how well hidden, can’t stay buried forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit I did give a little squeal of delight when I heard that the third book in the Danny Bird series was going to be out soon and then headed over to Amazon to pre order it as soon as the publisher tweeted the pre order link was working.  Then there was the (impatient) wait until publication day….finally Death of a Devil arrived on my kindle and I took some time away from my review books to savour this one.

Death of a Devil sees the return of the prodigal Danny Bird and Lady Caroline Holloway who worked their way into my heart back in November 2015 when they first appeared in Death of a Diva and since then have delighted and amused me in equal measure.
Farrell’s writing has always been fantastic, but this latest offering feels different, like he’s developed a newer level of plotting and story telling that exceeds all expectation.
Beautifully clever plotting keeps readers guessing and completely off guard throughout.
The varied cast of characters add colour and shape to the series and each in their own right is superb.  Having followed the series it is nice to see the development of the additional characters, as well as the stars.
In this book it was interesting to explore more of the London gangster background as well as learn more about Ali the bar manager and see a different side to her that many readers might not have ever imagined.

The madcap adventures that Danny and Caz end up embroiled in are chaotic to say the least, but they somehow seem to have more lives than the proverbial cat and come out of it all relatively unscathed – just a little wiser for their troubles.

For those not familiar with the Danny Bird series, the first book Death of a Diva, the second book Death of a Nobody, and then finally Death of a Devil.  These books are fantastic to read and I would recommend reading them in order, but if you fancy picking up the latest installment it can be read as a stand alone book as there is ample information woven throughout the plot to inform you of previous events.

Another impressive novel from Derek Farrell, I just hope he doesn’t keep us waiting too long for his next book!!

You can buy a copy of Death of a Devil via:

Amazon

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Published: 27 July 2017

 

Description:

The second in the terrifying DI Callanach crime series. Fans of M.J. Arlidge will be hooked from the very first page.

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.

My Thoughts & Review:

Helen Fields has done it again, she’s penned one of the grittiest, most gruesome yet amazingly fantastic books I’ve got my mitts on!  I do want to point out that although this is the second book in the DI Luc Callanach series, it can be read as a stand alone,  but why deprive yourself?

‘Perfect Prey’ sees the return of DI Callanach which will delight fans, the delectable French Scotsman has returned to solve crimes and keep the residents of Edinburgh safe….well once he and DI Ava Turner have managed to crack the case that is.
The pairing of these two detectives is the work of genius really, the dry sarcastic exchanges between the two characters is witty and entertaining but underneath it all is a real sense of care between these two.  Callanach’s relationship with the officers in his team is also great to see, and it’s nice to see how it has developed from ‘Perfect Remains’.  Each of the notable characters in his team has developed well, DC Tripp is one such character, his enthusiasm shines from the pages and contrasts well with DS Lively.  His attitude has remained the same and the ongoing battle between Callanach and Lively makes for some entertaining reading.

The plot is deviously twisted and cleverly played out, the pace moves along swiftly as readers become ensnared by the hunt for nameless victims and their fiendish killers, all of this just makes for completely gripping reading.  The dark web technical aspects to the story have just enough detail to add an authenticity and realism to the plot without becoming too much.
It did feel a little like DI Turner took a lesser role in this, however once the pace picks up readers become aware of personal issues that she is facing so it all makes sense.  The relationship between DI Turner and DCI Edgar was questionable at best, and I have to salute Helen Fields for creating such a deplorable character.  He’s craftily been brought to life with qualities that rank him higher up the scale for hating than the killers!
The killers, well that’s an ingenious set up.  The way this aspect of the plot plays out is so incredibly frightening but at the same time riveting reading.

Now the wait begins for January for book 3 in the series to come out…….

You can buy a copy of ‘Perfect Prey’ via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 

My thanks to Sabah at Avon Books for the opportunity to read this fantastic book!

 

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Published: 1 June 2017

 

Description:

An irresistible mystery set in 1890s Edinburgh, Kaite Welsh’s THE WAGES OF SIN features a female medical student-turned-detective, and will thrill fans of Sarah Waters and Antonia Hodgson.

Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and society. As part of the University of Edinburgh’s first intake of female medical students, in 1892, Sarah comes up against resistance from lecturers, her male contemporaries, and – perhaps worst of all – her fellow women, who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman…

When one of Sarah’s patients turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh’s dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers – and a confrontation with her own past.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

“The Wages of Sin” is a wonderfully atmospheric fictional thriller, it is steeped in fantastically rich detail that portrays life in the late 1800s as both interesting as well as fraught with danger.

Society deemed that women in this era should know their place, that being in the home raising families, tending to the needs of their husbands or generally being gentile and “ladylike”, and most definitely not wielding scalpels and training to become surgeons at Edinburgh University.  Society clearly never encountered Sarah Gilchrist and her 12 like minded classmates it would seem.
Having disgraced her family in  London, Sarah is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Edinburgh, and it is agreed that she can attend her studies at the university so long as she is ferried back and forth by a driver and kept from any temptations or situations that might besmirch the good family name any further.

The adversity and oppression faced by women in this era is demonstrated well by the author, attitudes of those around Sarah blatantly showing horror at her chosen career path, her fellow students keen to ridicule each other and the rivalry between both male and female students rife.  Indeed, there seems to be more rivalry between the female students who seem more eager to bring each other down than to support and hold one another up.

Through her work at the local Infirmary, Sarah comes into contact with those less fortunate, the poor and destitute pouring in through the doors in search of medical help as well as the women from the surrounding brothels.  Unfortunately for Sarah, one of these women seeks assistance that cannot be given, abortions being illegal at the time.  From here Sarah embarks on a journey of self destruction, believing that something is amiss and nefarious practises surround her.  Her detective skills might be somewhat lacking but her heart is in the right place, she is determined to find out the truth behind the death of a patient, even if it means casting accusations wildly.

This is a very well thought out and well researched book, the topic of female emancipation making for interesting reading.  The descriptiveness of characters and settings in this mean that readers can conjure vivid images in their heads of the squalor of the slums, the opulence of Society and the bitter chill of a Scottish winter.
Sarah is a character that is well crafted, initially a broken and seemingly fragile creature, her studies give her hope and something to work towards, she develops well but still retains some vulnerabilities and naivety.

Kaite Welsh has crafted a clever tale of corruption, wickedness and discrimination that seeps into all tiers of Victorian society.

You can buy a copy of “The Wages of Sin” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery

My thanks to Headline and Tinder Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

 

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Vile City Cover

Published:  11 May 2017

 

Description:

DI Duncan Waddell has big problems. He’s borderline diabetic, his boss thinks he’s in the Army and the paperwork is piling up faster than the underwear at a porn shoot. The last thing he needs is the country’s biggest case to land on his lap.

Three women have gone missing in the city he’s fast coming to despise, victims of the GLASGOW GRABBER as their assailant has been dubbed by local hack and all round pain in the backside, Catriona Hastie.

Shelley Craig’s the Grabber’s latest victim, snatched as she and her boyfriend took a shortcut through Glasgow city centre. And she’ll do anything to make it home.

Handling this baffling case is stressful enough without Waddell’s pal DC Stevie Campbell, who’s in a coma after being attacked by a suspect, starting to talk to him. Trouble is, only Waddell can hear him.

My Thoughts & Review:

As a fan of Scottish crime fiction it seemed only natural for me to jump at the chance to read “Vile City”.
From the very opening pages the reader is faced with an action packed sequence as police officer is attacked, this helps to set the pace for what turns into a taut and chilling crime thriller.  Following the disappearance of two women from the City, DI Duncan Wardell and his team are struggling to find a suspect, motive or link between the cases when a third young woman is abducted and her boyfriend is knocked out and left lying in the gutter.  Shelley Craig’s disappearance sparks a media frenzy, and adds pressure to the already overstretched investigating team – one of their number is lying in a hospital bed in a comatose state.
As DI Wardell and his team delve into the connections between witnesses and evidence it soon becomes apparent there is more to this case than they imagined.  At the heart of the investigation are some sordid goings on involving human trafficking, swingers clubs and sex games gone wrong.  There are also several dangerous characters thrown into the mix to make it that little bit more treacherous.

Wardell is a police officer who has seen most things, investigated many crimes and still manages to have a heart of gold.  He cares about the victims of crimes and wants to do his utmost to catch the criminals that plague Glasgow’s streets.  He’s also a loving father and caring husband that tries to shield the harsh realities of his work from home.   The scenes where Wardell visits his friend DC Stevie Campbell are well written, Wardell questioning whether Stevie is recovering and talking to him or if it is merely his mind playing tricks on him in a state of exhaustion.  Either way, having Wardell go and talk over aspects of the case opens him up more to the reader and gives a wonderful insight into how he works through the case, Stevie almost acting as Wardell’s conscience.
His junior officer DC Brian McKeith is a different kettle of fish entirely.  A new addition to the investigating team, he feels that he doesn’t fit in with the team – his place being the one previously held by the comatose DC Stevie Campbell.  He’s quite an enigma, there are times he comes across as rash and foolish, but there are also moments where he is astutely perceptive.  It’s clear from Wardell’s narrative that this young detective has a lot of learning to do but also a lot of personal growth might be needed too.

The plot of this felt very current, human trafficking is a topic that is appearing more often in crime novels and with the migratory climate being as it is, it is not too difficult to imagine this is a scenario playing out in cities across Europe.
There is a chilling danger that leeches slowly from the plot of this book, there are many aspects of danger that hide in the shadows and knowing who to trust seems to be key.  The way that the author reveals shock after shock leaves readers reeling, momentarily stunned by the levels of deviance and deception that have played out on the pages.

“Vile City” is a good crime thriller that moves along at a swift pace and pulls readers in.
The writing is clever and concise, dialogue feels natural and characters seem believable and I would recommend it to fans of Scottish crime fiction as well as crime thriller fans.

You can buy a copy of “Vile City” via:

Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)
Amazon (Canada)

My thanks to Kate and Noelle at Thick as Thieves Book Publicity & Promo for the opportunity to read and review this book, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the blog tour:

Copy of @TAsTPublicity (1)

 

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Published: 4 April 2017

Description:

A woman’s body washes up on a remote beach on the Inishowen peninsula. Partially-clothed, with a strange tattoo on her thigh, she is identified as Marguerite Etienne, a French woman who has been living in the area.

Solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe is consumed by guilt; Marguerite was her client, and for the second time in her life Ben has failed someone who needed her, with tragic consequences. So when local Sergeant Tom Molloy dismisses Marguerite’s death as the suicide of a disturbed and lonely woman, Ben cannot let it lie.

Ben uncovers Marguerite’s strange past as a member of a French doomsday cult, which she escaped twenty years previously but not without leaving her baby daughter behind. Disturbed by what appears to be chilling local indifference to Marguerite’s death, Ben pieces together the last few weeks of the French woman’s life in Inishowen. What she discovers causes her to question the fragile nature of her own position in the area, and she finds herself crossing boundaries both personal and professional to unearth local secrets long buried.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

When I heard there was a follow up to Andrea Carter’s “Death at Whitewater Church” I was instantly curious, having thoroughly enjoyed the first book of the Inishowen Mystery series I was keen to see if the second instalment would live up to the standard in place and I should never have doubted the author, once again she has penned an amazing novel that grabbed my attention from the first page.

Solicitor Ben O’Keeffe really should have looked into a career as a rally driver, indeed when we first encounter her in this book she is driving at breakneck pace along the coast roads of Inishowen to where a body has washed ashore.  Fearing the worst, Ben wants to find out if it is her client Marguerite Etienne and sadly Ben is able to identify the body as being Marguerite.  The Guards write it off as suicide, especially after hearing from Ben that Marguerite had been to see her to draw up a will, thinking that she was putting her affairs in order before taking her own life.  Ben is not so sure and demands answers.

Ben is a tenacious character, her determination to do the right thing for those she cares about can often lead her into dangerous situations and at times she seems to have a reckless regard for her own safety.  But her kindness and compassion towards others offsets this, always taking the time to speak to the locals in the village she works and lives in, visiting the bookshop to chat with Phyllis (and rehome a few bundles of orphan books – good lass!), and being an integral part of the local community.
The chemistry between Ben and Guard Tom Molloy is wonderfully scripted, as the reader only sees their interactions from Ben’s point of view it’s hard to tell is the gruff and stoic Molloy feels the same way, but you do get a feeling there is ‘something’ between them, but both have their secrets and won’t open up to each other.

The clever way that the plot is woven means there are links and clues that the reader will try to piece together to preempt where the tale is heading (unsuccessfully in my case),  but Andrea Carter masterfully draws it all together with a fantastic conclusion.

As I mentioned, this is the second instalment in the Inishowen Mystery series, and this book is perfectly readable as a standalone, there are hints to previous events and Ben’s past before she settled in Glendara but the author includes enough detail so that you don’t feel you’ve missed out on anything pertinent.  I would however recommend reading the series in order purely for enjoyment if nothing else.  This is a wonderfully atmospheric setting for a crime thriller, the windswept beaches, the jagged coastal settings and the small villages make for a brilliant backdrop and add to the tension that builds throughout the plot.

Now to wait patiently for the third instalment……….

You can buy a copy of “Treacherous Strand” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery

My thanks to Helen at Little, Brown Book Group for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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Published: 26 January 2017

 

Description:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit that I stumbled upon “Rattle” quite by accident on social media one day, lots of fellow book bloggers were chattering about an amazing psychological thriller that needed to be read and savoured – what more encouragement did I need to get reading?

Fiona Cummins is a new author to me, and so in this respect I had little idea what to expect when I picked up a copy of “Rattle”, but happily I was hooked from the opening pages.  The plot is intriguing and cleverly woven through the novel, there is a prevailing darkness that leeches from the pages of this book, making this an incredibly addictive and gripping read.

Because I hate giving spoilers I will avoid saying too much about the plot, but I will mention the Bone Collector.  The Bone Collector is a serial killer like no other I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of encountering (perhaps not the best word to use but I will certainly give you an idea of the malevolence of this character).  He’s the sort of character you should only read about in daylight hours, sinister doesn’t begin to describe this psychopath.  Utterly terrifying and lacking in empathy as any decent psychopathic serial killer is, the reader is then given a glimpse into the mind of the Bone Collector through his thoughts – oh how I appreciate a well written killer.
All of the characters are interesting in their own respects and the way in which they are written makes the reader feel empathy towards their fates.

As far as thrillers go, this is definitely one that raises the bar.  Fiona Cummins has written an incredibly sinister debut that moves swiftly and enthrals the reader.  She introduces an unnerving antagonist that creeps out most readers, and creates a cast of characters that readers become so invested in that they are driven to keep reading despite the evil emanating from the Bone Collector.
The writing itself it atmospheric and the vivid descriptions make this book stand out for me.

You can buy a copy of Rattle via Amazon here or Wordery here

 

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

 

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