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Archive for the ‘HarperCollins UK’ Category

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*** My thanks to the amazingly lovely people at First Monday Crime for my copy of this book and for asking me to be part of their review panel ***

 

Description:

She can’t prove he did it. But she might die trying…

From the Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series, comes a standalone spinoff featuring DS Roberta Steel.

Revenge is a dangerous thing…

Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel got caught fitting up Jack Wallace – that’s why they demoted her and quashed his sentence. Now he’s back on the streets and women are being attacked again. Wallace has to be responsible, but if Detective Sergeant Steel goes anywhere near him, his lawyers will get her thrown off the force for good.

The Powers That Be won’t listen to her, not after what happened last time. According to them, she’s got more than enough ongoing cases to keep her busy. Perhaps she could try solving a few instead of harassing an innocent man?

Steel knows Wallace is guilty. And the longer he gets away with it, the more women will suffer. The question is: how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop him?

My Thoughts & Review:

Firstly, apologies to my dad for rubbing it in that I got to read this before he did…..usually he buys Stuart MacBride’s books the minute they’re released and lords it over me that he’ll have read it before me, but revenge is sweet….I gloated that I knew the book was coming out before him, I got a copy before him and most importantly I read the whole thing before publication day (insert smug daughter face here).

Right, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me talk about this book.  For fans of Stuart MacBride’s books, you are in for a treat.  Anyone that loves his books will no doubt have a soft spot for Roberta Steel and her unique ways, her morale boosting techniques and ever so delicately eloquent phrases.  I was so excited to hear that this book would feature Steel, there’s something about this character that I’ve watched develop over the many books that she’s appeared in.  That’s not to say that you can’t pick this book up without having read any of the previous books, this is a stand alone book from the Logan McRae series and there is more than enough detail to confidently understand what has transpired previously to result in our leading lady’s demotion from DCI to DS.

I won’t go into the ins and outs of the plot, mainly because I don’t want to give anything away.  But you are guaranteed laughter from the very opening pages with MacBride’s wonderful descriptive writing – who else would describe their leading character in such a way as:

…..grey hair sticking out in all directions like a

demented ferret. Face set in a grimace. Probably hadn’t done
any serious running since she was a kid – trying not to get
eaten by dinosaurs.

If you know the various colourful descriptions of Roberta Steel from previous books then you can be sure that nothing has been lost at all with her having her own book – the spotlight hasn’t gone to her head and made her all glamorous that’s for sure!

It was also nice to see DC Quirrel, a.k.a. Tufty who first appeared in the Logan McRae books.  His unique brand of humour works perfectly alongside Steel’s brusque manner, but there’s definitely an excellent pairing with these two.  I think Tufty helps to bring out Steel’s softer side, dragging her caring side kicking and screaming into the light.  She acts as a good mentor to him (in her own unique way), and there’s definitely a genuine air of care towards her young DC.  Tufty is one of those characters that you cannot help but love, he’s funny, caring and embarrassingly shy at times, something that Steel abuses when it comes to a certain colleague (PC Kate Mackintosh).

Dark humour is a trademark of MacBride’s novels and this one has it in spades.  This coupled with the local dialect, Doric just means this book scores highly with me.  Seeing “aye aye” and “hoy” in the narrative just made me smile, always nice to see a little bit of home in a book.  The great descriptions of Aberdeen and surrounding areas felt really authentic, and I found I was recalling the layout of Union Street etc from memory as the story played out in my head.  The plot is superb, despite being very dark and somewhat disturbing at times, the humour woven throughout provides light relief.  But Stuart, how could you, that poor wee wifie Mrs Galloway….

If you get the chance to read this I would highly recommend it, it’s sharp, it’s witty and it’s everything you love about Stuart MacBride’s writing.  Oh and check out Tufty’s super secret map of Aberdeen, it’s pretty spot on (comes with this Aberdonian’s seal of approval).

I could probably blether on more about this book but I’ll stop while the going is good and before I start mentioning things I shouldn’t (there are so many bits I’ve deleted from this review because they hint towards stuff, and it’s taken me over a week to get this review done!)

You can order a copy of Now We Are Dead via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

About the Author

SM

Image and bio courtesy of HarperCollins

Stuart MacBride was born in Dumbarton, near Glasgow and moved to Aberdeen at the age of two. After dropping out of university to work offshore he went to work for himself as a graphic designer, eventually becoming studio manager for a nationwide marketing company. He gave it all up to have a go at becoming an actor, until it became clear to him that he was never going to be good enough to make a decent living out of it.

Whilst progressing through a whole new career in the IT sector, ending up as project manager for a global IT company, Stuart also wrote in his spare time. He is now the No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series and the Ash Henderson series.

His novels have won him the CWA Dagger in the Library, the Barry Award for Best Debut Novel, and Best Breakthrough Author at the ITV3 Crime Thriller awards. In 2012 Stuart was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Hall of Fame.

Stuart’s other works include Halfhead, a near-future thriller, Sawbones, a novella aimed at adult emergent readers, and several short stories.

He lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona and cats Grendel, Gherkin, Onion, and Beetroot, some hens, horses, and a vast collection of assorted weeds..

Social Media links:  Twitter | Facebook | Website

 

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Published: 20 April 2017

Copy provided by HarperCollins & Netgalley

Description:

Gripping standalone thriller from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series.

Welcome to the Misfit Mob…

It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?

My Thoughts & Review:

As a long-established fan of Stuart MacBride’s books, it was only natural for me to excitedly jump at the chance to read and review an early copy of “A Dark so Deadly”.  At over 600 pages this is a hefty book, but the Aberdonian in me approves at the value for money you get with it (yep, my preorder was placed the minute I found out about this book and I’ll be following the local post delivery agent aka ‘the postie’ round the village till it arrives).

Following on the success of his police procedurals with Logan McRae and Ash Henderson, Stuart MacBride brings fans a new set of characters in a thrilling police procedural set in the fictional town of Oldcastle.  Enter DC Callum MacGregor, recently dumped in the Misfit Mob under a rather dark cloud with speculation and rumour rife.  The Misfit Mob named accordingly because the officers assigned there are either trouble(d), damaged, incompetent or do not toe the line as they should and cannot be sacked from the Force.

The opening chapter of this book really sets out how things are going to go for Callum MacGregor – battered, bitten, has an unexpected meeting with “The Claw” which leaves him able to sing soprano and he is mugged by the most unlikely culprits.  He’s not the luckiest of people, and this is nothing compared to what happens next.  But in spite of this, he is quite an endearing soul, his troubled past is enough to make most readers feel some sympathy towards him and indeed once his current situation evolves into chaos…well you’d be forgiven for wanting to give him a hug, a cuppa, and a few words about life going on.

MacBride is a skilled author, and this is clear through his wonderful style of writing.  Not only is the reader treated to his usual brand of dark humour with a gritty edge, there is a seriously dangerous killer to taunt us, one that is horrifically unstable and will cause readers discomfort.   The narration from the perspective of the victims adds an extra sinister edge to this killer and if I’m honest, it really creeped me out, however it gave a fantastic insight into the depths of the darkness that permeate this book.  Just when the reader begins to squirm uncomfortably, MacBride throws in some of the best humorous scenes I’ve read recently, and quirky dialogue between characters makes for some entertaining reading.  Even the poetic DS McAdams was welcomed interruption to the grisly goings on.
As the multiple strands of the plot weave together this changes from a thrilling, fast paced read to a frantic page turner.  In the beginning I did wonder how it would all pull together, and I shouldn’t have worried, MacBride knows how to spin a yarn that will capture the attention of his audience and hold them fast and despite the heftiness of the book I read this over the course of two evenings as I struggled to stop reading.

I cannot wait to see what fates befall the Misfit Mob and Oldcastle next if Stuart MacBride decides to bring these guys out again.  A must read for fans of crime thrillers and police procedurals.

You can buy a copy of “A Dark so Deadly” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of this.

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I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Girl Who Had No Fear and share an extract from Marnie’s latest thriller to feature Georgina McKenzie.

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Description:

Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?

Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

You can buy a copy of The Girl Who Had No Fear here


Extract from The Girl Who Had No Fear:

Chapter Five

‘What do we know about our man in the canal?’ Maarten Minks asked. Neatly folded into his chair, he sat with his pen in hand and his pad open, as though he were poised to take notes. Van den Bergen could deduce from the shine on his overenthusiastic, wrinkle-free face that he was on the cusp of getting a stiffy over the discovery of this fourth body. Waiting for his old Chief Inspector’s words of wisdom, no doubt. Bloody fanboy.

‘Well,’ Van den Bergen began. Paused. Rearranged his long frame in his seat, grimacing as his hip clicked in protest when he tried to cross his legs. ‘It’s interesting, actually. His wallet and ID were still on him. No money stolen, so he couldn’t have been pushed into the water after a mugging.’ He took the smudged glasses from the end of the chain around his neck and perched them on his nose. Wishing now that he’d had the scratched lens replaced when George had told him to. Trying to focus on the handwriting in his notebook. Hell, maybe it wasn’t the scuffing. Maybe his sight had deteriorated since the last eye test. Was it entirely unfeasible that he had glaucoma? ‘Ah, his name was Floris Engels – a maths teacher at Bouwdewijn de Groot Lyceum in the Old South part of town.’

Minks nodded. Pursed his lips. ‘A teacher, eh?’

‘Yes. I checked his tax records. Head of department at a posh school on the expensive side of town.’ Removing his glasses, Van den Bergen stifled a belch. ‘IT Marie’s done some background research and revealed nothing but a photograph of him on the school’s website and a Facebook account that we’re waiting for permission to access. It’s unlikely he was some kind of petty crook on the quiet, as far as I can make out, but I got the feeling he might have been dead before he hit the water.’

‘And the number of canal deaths are stacking up,’ Minks said, lacing his hands together. That fervour was still shining in his eyes.

Van den Bergen could guess exactly what he was hoping for but refused to pander to his boss’ aspirations. ‘I’m going out there with Elvis now to interview the Principal and some of his colleagues. We’re going to check out his apartment too. Marianne’s doing the postmortem this afternoon. She says, at first glance, she thinks maybe there’s been some foul play.’

‘Excellent!’ Minks said, scribbling down a note that Van den Bergen could not read. ‘Lots going on. I really do admire your old school methodical techniques, Paul.’ The new Commissioner beamed at him. His cheeks flushed red and he leaned his elbow onto the desk. ‘Will you be disappearing into your shed for a think?’

Is he taking the piss, Van den Bergen wondered? But then he remembered that Maarten Minks was neither Kamphuis nor Hasselblad. This smooth-skinned foetus had been fast-tracked straight out of grad school. At least Van den Bergen’s long-range vision was good enough to corroborate that there was a raft of diplomas hanging above Minks on the wall behind his desk. A framed photo of him posing with the Minister for Security and Justice, the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the bloody Prime Minister. No sign of a naked lady statue or stupid executive toys. This youthful pretender to the policing throne was all business. But he could think again if he thought Van den Bergen was going to discuss the shed. ‘Do you have any suggestions regarding the shape the investigation should take? Any priorities I should know about?’

‘See how the autopsy pans out. But if there are any similarities with the other floaters, I think we need to consider …’

Here it was. Van den Bergen could feel it coming. He shook his head involuntarily and popped an antacid from its blister pack onto his tongue.

‘… that a serial killer is on the loose.’


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, extracts and some fascinating guest pieces written by Marnie.

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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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Published: 7 October 2016
Reviewed: 15 November 2016

3.5 our of 5 stars

Copy supplied by HarperImpluse in return for an honest review

 

Description:

From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?

My Thoughts & Review:

The Cosy Christmas Teashop is the second book by Caroline Roberts to feature Ellie and the teashop at Claverham Castle in Northumberland, but fear not, if like me you are in the mood for a light and uplifting festive read this can easily be read without having read The Cosy Teashop in the Castle.

As well as running the teashop at the castle, Ellie is also the wedding planner/coordinator, a role that causes her no end of stress when it comes to one particular wedding.  Juggling the weddings and rustling up a batch of cookies sounds like a normal day for Ellie Hall and she seems to take it all in her stride.  The team she has in the teashop are fantastic, their individual personalities coming through so clearly from vivid descriptions.  Another things that is tantalisingly well described is the mouthwatering bakes being whipped up in the teashop, this is a book that will make you feel hungry!  The settings are also very vivid, the reader can almost see the beautiful grounds of the castle, the lovely great hall all decked out for weddings and the Christmas fayre.

I found that this was an easy book to read, one that I could curl up with and completely turn off for the evening.  There is a gentle ease about the book that encourages the reader to get cosy and comfortable and get caught up in the tales within.  The only downside to the book for me was that at times I felt that there was a little too much information.  That’s not a criticism of the author, she makes to make sure that readers continuing from The Cosy Teashop in the Castle feel that things link up but also wants to ensure that new readers don’t feel that they’ve missed out on anything pertinent.  But for me it just felt a little repetitive and distracting – probably says more about me than the book.

Definitely a book worthy of being on your Christmas reads list, it’s delightfully humorous in places, heartbreakingly sad at others but overall the magic of Christmas shines through.  The ending for me was just so absolutely lovely – a proper Disney happy ever after moment.

You can buy a copy of The Cosy Christmas Teashop here.

 

About the Author:

Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make me smile. I love writing emotional stories about love, loss, and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I also like to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of flirty fun too! I believe in following your dreams and working hard towards them, which led me to HarperImpulse (HarperCollins) and a publishing deal (woop!) after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland is my home – sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside that have inspired my writing.

For more information about Caroline’s books you can check out her blog carolinerobertswriter.blogspot.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @_caroroberts

 

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Published: 1 September 2016
Reviewed: 31 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by The Borough Press in return for an honest review

 

Description:

72 HOURS TO FIND HER…

‘Hits the sweet spot between literary and crime fiction – Gripping’ ERIN KELLY

‘For those who love their crime fiction rich in psychology, beautifully written and laced with dark humour. Dive in’ LUCIE WHITEHOUSE

A MISSING GIRL
Edith Hind is gone, leaving just her coat, a smear of blood and a half-open door.

A DESPERATE FAMILY
Each of her friends and relatives has a version of the truth. But none quite adds up.

A DETECTIVE AT BREAKING POINT
The press grows hungrier by the day. Can DS Manon Bradshaw fend them off, before a missing persons case becomes a murder investigation?

My Thoughts & Review:

Missing, Presumed was one of those books that everyone was saying good things about so it was only natural for me to want to read it and see whether they were right.  Thank goodness I was able to get a copy, it is a good police procedural with drama and is very character driven.
The reader is introduced to Detective Manon Bradshaw and her team who are investigating the disappearance of Edith Hind.

Detective Bradshaw is a great character, she is a woman who wants to find love and have children some day and her experiences of internet dating were far from positive.  She’s quite a realistic and believable character, her forays into the world of dating are numerous and add a light-hearted feel to the narrative in places.  Her colleagues are equally interesting and entertaining, especially DI Harper.  The in-depth interviews carried out in the course of the investigation with Edith’s family allow good scope for character development and but also meant that the more I learned about these people the less empathy I felt towards them.

For me the pace of this book was more of a slow burn rather than a speed reading exercise but the writing makes up for this.  It’s cleverly plotted, wonderfully descriptive and quite an intelligent read.  It is clear from reading this book that time and care has been taken over the research, the police procedural aspect felt realistic.  A very good read, and one I would recommend.

You can buy a copy of Missing, Presumed here.

 

 

 

 

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The Woman Next Door

Author: Cass Green
Published: 22 July 2016
Reviewed: 13 August 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by HarperCollins, UK / Killer Reads in return for an honest review



Description:

Two suburban women. Two dark secrets. The almost perfect murder. 

Everybody needs good neighbours…

Melissa and Hester have lived next door to each other for years. When Melissa’s daughter was younger, Hester was almost like a grandmother to her. But recently they haven’t been so close.

Hester has plans to change all that. It’s obvious to her that despite Melissa’s outwardly glamorous and successful life, she needs Hester’s help.

But taking help from Hester might not be such a good idea for a woman with as many secrets as Melissa… 

My Thoughts & Review:

Another début from a promising author, The Woman Next Door is a slow burning psychological thriller that quietly unsettles the reader.  

The story is narrated from the points of view of Hester, a lonely older woman and Melissa, who outwardly appears the complete opposite of Hester.  
Hester has no children and having lost her job in a nursery she became indispensable to Melissa by looking after her daughter Tilly until she reached teenage years. 
Melissa is married to a handsome and famous man, but his recent affair has pushed her towards a depression, this coupled with the fact that her daughter is growing up causes her great unease.

The characters in this were interesting, all completely normal people that you could encounter in everyday life which helps to make this so unsettling.   
Hester is a well constructed character, so bitter and judgemental, and Green uses her well throughout the novel as an unreliable narrator – her tainted views and negative perceptions adding to the tension and atmosphere.  Cleverly, she evokes sympathy for this character through details of the abuse she suffered at the hand of her late husband, a complete juxtaposition.  Melissa is a hard character to like, she is obsessive about her appearance, and very bitter towards her husband but she’s haunted by something.  However, Green has ensured that the reader is kept on their toes as all is not as it seems.

This novel is packed with deception and secrets, and the pacing of the book allows the intensity to build slowly ensuring the reader remains captive.  Good descriptions allow the reader to envision characters and situation easily. 

Overall a good début from a promising author, I am keen to see what Cass Green writes next.

You can buy a copy of The Woman Next Door here.

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Saving Sophie

Author: Sam Carrington
Published: 12 August 2016
Reviewed: 12 August 2016
5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by HarperCollins UK, Avon in return for an honest review
Description:

Saving Sophie is Sam Carrington’s début novel and having seen the hype about it on social media I was curious enough to get a copy from the publisher to review.  Thank goodness I did, this is an absolutely brilliant book, it’s a cleverly plotted, gripping psychological thriller that sucks the reader in and holds them rigid.

The prologue and first chapter ensure that the reader’s interest is piqued, and sets up the plot perfectly.  They also define what you will be doing for the rest of the day/evening…… yes, this is a book that once picked up you will struggle to put down again.  

Narrated alternately by Sophie, her mother Karen, Detective Inspector Lindsay Wade (who is investigating Amy’s disappearance), the reader really gets to  know the main characters well.  Cunningly, Sam Carrington has created characters that are multidimensional with interesting personalities and quirks – so much so that the reader can experience the impending doom, and the desperate panic felt by them but also the panic attacks suffered by Karen, the inclusion of the details about breathing was very shrewd and I will admit that it did have an affect on me.  Characterisation in general was good, they were engaging, believable and at times infuriating (aren’t most teenagers?)  Clearly Sam Carrington has experience with troublesome teens.  

The plotting is something of an art form, little hints of information peppered throughout reveal hidden secrets and surprises, yet all the while the story twists into a coil of intensity.  This is not a book where the reader can easily pre-empt the author, just how a thriller should be in my opinion.  Carrington’s writing style was enjoyable, adding in the anonymous email correspondence broke up the narration but also allowed the tension to build, moving the story along smoothly whilst reminding the reader of the dangers of the internet and those using it.  

A gripping thriller, and an unbelievable début from Sam Carrington, this book will have most readers hooked for the duration.  This is definitely an author to keep a watch on, and thankfully book two is in the pipeline.

You can buy a copy of Saving Sophie here.  

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Four Weddings and a Fiasco

Author: Catherine Ferguson
Published: 16 June 2016
Reviewed: 3 August 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by HarperCollins UK, Avon in return for an honest review


Description:

Katy Peacock lives a life as colourful as her name.

As a wedding photographer, she spends her days making other people smile as she captures all sorts of fun and capers at celebrations that range from the wacky to the wild.

But her own life isn’t looking quite so rosy. Her mum is acting out of character, her menacing ex is back on the scene, and she is torn between two gorgeous men. And that’s before we even get started on the trouble her sister is causing…

As Katy weathers the ups and downs of the season, she revisits problems from the past, discovers new friendships and finds that four weddings and a fiasco have the power to change her world beyond measure.

My Thoughts & Review:

An enjoyable read, in fact, a pretty good summer read and one you could happily pack with your luggage to read when you’re away on a break.  

Katy Peacock is a wedding photographer in a lovely little village, but after a bad fall out with her sister two years ago she is finding it hard to manage her photography business alone.  
She’s also trying desperately to steer clear of men, so when she falls into the arms of a gorgeous man after trying to climb over her fence, the reader knows things won’t go as Katy plans.

Katy is a great character, very likeable.  She’s independent and determined to work hard to solve her financial issues which includes paying back an ex boyfriend.  But in spite of her own issues, she always has time for her friends and family, and always has a word of advice or sympathetic shoulder for her prospective brides.  Mallory, Katy’s best friend is another brilliant character, well created and very likeable.  Her down to earth perception on life and events provides light relief to Katy’s moments of doom and the pair really come across as believable. 

The story is broken into four parts, each is a season with a different wedding which allows the story to move briskly and keeps the reader focused.
The dialogue is well written, adding an authenticity to situations and relationships – in particular the relationship between Katy and her mother and Katy’s struggles to reconnect with her sister.  The writing overall is solid, the story flows well and with plenty humour interspersed this makes it a witty and enjoyable read.  

Despite thinking I knew where the story was going I still really enjoyed this book, it held my attention and it was an easy read so I was reading “just one more chapter before bed”, and before I knew it I’d finished the book!  

A lovely feel good book, brings a little light relief from everyday life and a welcome escape just when you need it most.  

You can buy a copy of Four Weddings and a Fiasco here.

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 Dance With The Dead

Author: James Nally
Published: 28 July 2016
Reviewed: 2 August 2016
5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by HarperCollins UK, Avon in return for an honest review
Description: 
Aspiring actress Elizabeth Smart lands her centre stage role: her mutilated body is found dumped in North London’s red light district.  Clasped in her hand is a piece of human hair belonging to an unidentified body of a woman murdered two weeks ago.  

PC Donal lands himself a place on the murder squad just as his unconventional brother, journalist Finton, unearths the secret double life of Elizabeth. 

The bodies mount, each clinging to the strands of hair belonging to the previous victim.  The police are convinced it’s the act of a serial killer.  But how does Donal convince them it’s not?
The only people he can trust are the victims he dances with in his dreams.  

My Thoughts & Review:
Dance With The Dead sees the welcome return of PC Donal Lynch.  For anyone not familiar with this character, the first book Alone With The Dead is utterly brilliant and well worth a read.  This can be read as a standalone, but why deprive yourself of James Nally’s writing?  

We open in early 1990s London and Donal has been moved to the Cold Crime Unit, a punishment for his behaviour at the end of book one.  The discovery of a mutilated body in the Red Light District is the perfect opportunity for Donal to ingratiate himself back in to the embrace of the Murder Squad.  His work on cold cases involving prostitutes leads him to believe there is a connection between the historical cases and this new body.  

With “help” from his journalist brother Fintan, Donal really has to be careful walking this tightrope.  When the patriarch of the Lynch family unexpectedly arrives from Ireland, a spanner is thrown into the works.  Donal already having a seriously troubled relationship with his father because of the connections to the IRA and the Troubles finds juggling the presence of his father, attempting to solve the mystery of the murdered woman and the budding romance with Zoe from Forensic Science Service almost too much to handle. 

As the case escalates the cover ups, deception, political intrigue and corruption intensify.  London’s gangsters, police corruption, IRA, Irish Peace Talks, Special Branch and paedophilia are just some of the things involved in this multi layered wonder. 

Happily, the author has continued on Donal’s sleep paralysis, and this time it enriches the story so much more.  Plagued by hangovers, his ghostly visions seem to haunt him even when awake.  Nally cleverly writes this aspect of the story to allow the reader to interpret it as though it’s in Donal’s head, a bad dream if you will, however I like to think of it as it’s his “old fashioned gut instinct” talking to him.  

Donal is a wonderful character, so thoroughly well written.  He’s a tortured soul, with an incredibly dry sense of humour and a loving for Shiraz.  His brother Fintan is another brilliant character, incredibly unscrupulous.  I was delighted to see him appearing more in this book, and found myself liking him and his antics more than I had previously.    

Once again, Nally has given the reader a book that transports them back in time.  Referencing events from the early 1990s, giving a history lesson about the Irish-British Troubles, he takes the reader right into the heart of dark atmospheric world he has scripted.  Setting and atmosphere are key in thrillers, and this book has it in abundance.

James Nally is a gifted writer, he constructs a a book that is dark, twisted, and mercilessly violent but at the same time it is rich with humour and wit (at times the inappropriateness of the humour is what makes it even funnier).  It is so cleverly plotted, layer upon layer of detail brings this story to life, the characters come alive and the atmosphere feels real.     

I cannot wait to see what James Nally comes up with next for Donal, just please don’t make me wait too long to find out!

You can buy a copy of Dance With The Dead here. 

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