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Archive for the ‘mystery’ Category

bluegoldcover

Published: 11 May 2017

Description:

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow.

When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission. Freda’s misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster – a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires’ tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust?

As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’. David Barker’s gripping debut will thrill fans of Scott Mariani, Steve Berry and Richard North Patterson.

My Thoughts & Review:

The plot of this book piqued my interest when I first heard about it, it’s a thriller with a very scientific and future world feel.  I don’t tend to read many scientific based novels, I’m a reader who likes the action to be set in the current world (or indeed a time period  that has already elapsed), but there was something about the way that this was written that made it very readable and captivating.

I’m sure most people will say that the start of this book really grabs their attention but it really does, the writing is so taut and atmospheric.  It’s hard for the reader not to feel like they are surrounded by the massive snowdrifts, gun toting choppers and danger.  And just as you prepare to get lost in a world of action and peril, the perspective shifts to a perilous situation of a different kind, Sim Atkins reminiscing that things had been so different two months previously when he was sat at home playing a computer game.

It is in the first section of the book that we meet the main characters and learn about their histories, and the concept of an international war over water.  Water is a resource that you don’t often think of as running out, and so by featuring it in this way it gives the reader something new.  I also found that this sparked a great conversation with my husband on “what if”, it was quite interesting to allow my imagination to wander freely for a while pondering this.

Sim is a character that readers will quickly come to like, his sense of humour and personality are on the right side of fun to lighten the situations he finds himself in.  Freda Brightwell is a character that has a backstory and one that as a reader I could not wait to delve into.  The snippets of her childhood she shares through classic film quotes are brilliant and show off a side of this character that I’d love to see developed in future novels.  Sim of course will feature in the next novel, the sneak preview of the sequel at the back of this book well and truly ensured that I would be hooked for “Rose Gold”, now I just need to find out when I can read it!

This is a very intelligently written novel, the timeline throughout is disjointed but in a way it gives the reader a wonderful feeling of being immersed in the action and means that they experience the unravelling of salient plot points at just the right time, however this may not be preferential for all readers.  The level of detail that David Barker includes in both the description of this characters as well as settings is top rate.  I felt that I was able to see the activity at the airstrip, taste the sands in the desert and feel the painful chill of the Himalayas as well as the perilous situations the characters found themselves in.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and flew through it, eager to find out what happens next, now the wait for “Rose Gold”…..please don’t leave us waiting too long Mr Barker!!

You can buy a copy of “Blue Gold” via:

Urbane Publications
Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to David Barker and Urbane Publications for the opportunity to read this and take part in the blog tour.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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Description:

‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

With its eerie, claustrophobic sense of place, viscerally authentic detail and explosive heart-in-mouth moments, The Restless Dead offers a masterclass in crime fiction and marks the stunning return of one of the genre’s best.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit that this was the first book by Simon Beckett that I’d had the chance to read, but soon went back and bought the previous books so that I could devour them all.  Fear not though, this book reads perfectly well on it’s own as there is ample detail given as to David Hunter’s background etc so that you don’t feel you’ve missed anything salient.

The plotting of this novel is absolutely brilliant and keeps the reader hooked.  David Hunter is a forensic anthropologist, his consulting work with the Police has all but dried up and he is questioning whether his contract with his university will be renewed, so when he receives a phone call from DI Bob Lundy from Essex Police to help with the recovery of a body from an estuary he is only too keen to help.

The Police are already presuming the identity of the corpse, or more hoping that it’s the body of a man suspected of murdering his lover and subsequently committed suicide, but need Hunter’s expertise to aid with the recovery and identification due to nature having taken its toll on the body.
Hunter voices his doubts about the identity, and almost immediately finds himself at odds with the local police and the father of the (presumed) deceased.  Sir Stephen Villiers is very influential in the local area and has friends in the highest of places, including within the Police force.
Far from being a quick job, the investigation becomes incredibly convoluted, especially when more remains are discovered.  A conflict of interest makes Hunter’s job much harder, but that’s nothing compared to the family tensions, lies, secrets and local feuds that surround him.  Hunter and the Police have to tread a careful tightrope in order to solve the case.

What I liked most about this book was the fact that I could just become utterly lost within the pages, usually when you first encounter a character mid series there is the awkwardness of not having their full backstory, not knowing them overly well or in some cases not being familiar with the author’s style of writing, but in this case I immediately felt like I’d put on an old glove.  This book read so well as a stand alone story (I did go back and buy the previous books because I wanted to find out more about David Hunter and his life), the way in which the Backwaters are written makes them so incredibly dangerous and mysterious.  I had the delight of sharing a post from Simon Beckett about the importance of setting on the blog tour and I have to say that the detail he includes for his settings is phenomenal.  The plotting is brilliant, well fleshed out characters and the level of detail in this novel make it one of the best thrillers I’ve read so far this year!

You can buy a copy of “The Restless Dead” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Transworld Books for the opportunity to read and review this novel, as well as take part in the blog tour for publication of “The Restless Dead”.

 

 

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Published: 31 January 2017

 

Description:

She got into bed but sleep didn’t come easily. Every creak in the house made her alert. She was waiting for him to come and get her.

The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself – before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

My Thoughts & Review:

“Don’t Look Behind You” sees the much anticipated return of Detective Eden Berrisford, who first appeared in Mel Sherratt’s “The Girls Next Door”.  I have to admit to being one of the many fans that eagerly awaited news of the follow up to the first book in the series and Sherratt did not disappoint with this one.

Despite containing some harrowing and disturbing crimes, Sherratt still draws her readers in with enough detail to give disclosure of the menacing and horrifying situations faced by her characters but without becoming gratuitous.
The escalating violent attacks mean that Detective Berrisford needs to catch the culprit before it’s too late, so she and her team have their work cut out for them.  Throw in personal issues for our protagonist and you’ve got the workings of a brilliant plot that weaves together brilliantly.  I found it hard not to become emotionally involved with this book when reading about Carla, it’s “hold your breath” reading.

As always with Mel Sherratt’s books, her ability to create characters that are realistic and engaging is second to none.  Eden Berrisford is a superb character that breaks from the stereotype female detective, there is so much more to her and with each new book the readers find out a little more about her history.  The survivors of the vicious attacks were all brilliantly drawn characters, the way in which their experiences are written is eye opening.

Whilst this can be read as a stand alone book, I would thoroughly recommend reading “The Girls Next Door” first, this is a series not to  miss out on!

My thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for a copy of this book to read and review.

You can buy a copy of “Don’t Look Behind You” in the UK here, and in USA here

 

About the Author:

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Mel writes gritty crime dramas, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as she calls it. Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, she finds inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes. Since 2012, all nine of her crime novels have been bestsellers. Four of her books have been published by Amazon Publishing’s crime and thriller imprint, Thomas and Mercer and she has a new series out with Bookouture.

Mel lives in Stoke-on-Trent, with her husband and terrier, Dexter, named after the TV serial killer, and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for some of her books.

Website: www.melsherratt.co.uk

 

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Published: 6 October 2016

Copy provided by Bonnier Zaffre & Netgalley

 

Description:

A gripping psychological thriller with a devastating twist, perfect for fans of Apple Tree Yard, While My Eyes Were Closed and Between You and Me

You’d always recognise your own son. Wouldn’t you?

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.

Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.

By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.

But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.

Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . .

My Thoughts & Review:

“My Husband’s Son” was another of those books that I initially saw on social media around publication date and thought it sounded interesting, there were differing opinions on it but the general consensus was that it was a good thriller and rather chilling so worth checking out.

Heidi and Jason are a couple with a very unique past, each is parent to a lost child.  Heidi’s daughter was murdered and Jason’s son disappeared, but both parents are determined to try and move on with life and come to terms with those awful facts.
When Heidi spots a lad in the local off license one day she is certain is Jason’s son she becomes convinced she’s found Barney.  Her conviction about this sighting is not enough to persuade Jason, he cannot see any resemblance between the lad called Tommy and the computer images he has for what Barney might look like, adamant that he would know his own son if he saw him.

From here Heidi changes, she becomes obsessed with Tommy, and in turn her life begins to fall apart.  Her relationship with Jason is already one under a certain amount of strain.  Their shared grief does not make for the steadiest foundation, and the reported sightings of Barney over the years have been hard on the couple, especially when nothing conclusive has come from them.  Heidi’s suspicions drive her to make decisions that are questionable, but she is determined to find out the truth no matter what it takes.

The characters in this book are interesting, and O’Connor has done a tremendous job creating Tommy.  His skin crawling creepiness is enough to make readers shudder, the powerful hold he has over Heidi is so well written.  I was aware that I felt like I wanted to warn Heidi about him, urge her to break the hold he had and get away from him as fast as possible – I love it when a character can evoke such a strong response in a reader.
Heidi and Jason are damaged characters, initially Heidi is portrayed as determined to get through each day, the past haunts her but by getting up and taking on the day she might just survive.  The change in her to obsessively driven and descending into the realms of unsavoury actions is such a turning point in the story.
Jason on the other hand, he seems fragile and almost lost.  Divorcing his first wife (and mother of Barney), changing jobs – actions that should bring about huge change for him but his life seems stuck, he cannot move past that moment when his son went missing.

This was definitely a book that caught me off guard with the ending (no spoilers here!) but I will say it’s a good thriller, eerie and full of suspense.

You cam buy a copy of “My Husband’s Son” via Amazon here or Wordery here.

 

 

 

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It’s a great delight to welcome you to my stop on Ragnar Jónasson’s blog tour for his latest Icelandic thriller “Rupture” and share my review of this immensely amazing novel.

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eBook Published: 24 December 2016
Print Book Published: 15 February 2017
Reviewed: 23 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

 

Description:

1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all … In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them. Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s safe to say that Ragnar Jónasson is a writer who can do no wrong in the eyes of many readers, this one included.
He writes some of the most poetically haunting scenes in his novels with the use of very few words, and yet evokes a great sense of chilling unease from his readers in doing so.  Never before have I read a book that has left me feeling the need to find a thick pullover and a hot water bottle purely because of the way in which a scene is described.  The chilly tendrils of suspense leech from the pages of this book, slowly weaving their way around a reader until it gets to the point that you are victim to this masterfully written thriller, the outside world ceases while you are wrapped up in this.

With numerous threads running through the plot a reader might be concerned about trying to keep track of what is happening but fear not, each thread is succinctly interwoven with the next, coming together to form an immensely clever plot, one that keeps readers guessing and keeps the pace steady.  Although this is the fourth book to feature Ari Thór, it reads well without having read the previous books (Snowblind, Nightblind and Blackout), but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading all of them to immense yourself in this wonderful atmospheric delight.
There’s a sense of danger that lies early on in the plot, that gives rise to a feeling of unease, a foreboding that builds to an uncomfortable claustrophobia which just makes this all the more gripping and enjoyable to read.

I’m desperately trying not to say too much about the plot of this one, there are so many subtle aspects that give things away or may skew your thinking but suffice to say this is definitely a contender for book of the year.  The writing is clever, clear and precise.  Short chapters ensure the pace moves along swiftly without anything superfluous added in for theatrical flair, just the sort of deliciously perplexing read that we have come to know and love from Ragnar Jónasson.

A special note to say a huge hat tip to Quentin Bates, the translator of this magnificent novel, his skills are truly brilliant and has translated this so well that it reads naturally as if it were originally penned in English, losing nothing of the subtle nuances or atmosphere.

My absolute heartfelt gratitude to Karen at Orenda Books for sharing this wonderful series with me and having me be part of the blog tour for Ragnar’s latest book.

You can buy a copy of Rupture via Amazon here.

About the Author:

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Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015, with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner, and had rights sold in fourteen countries. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for guest posts, reviews and perhaps a cheeky giveaway!
 

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Published: 24 November 2016
Reviewed: 11 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Urbane Publications

Description:

1798. Three people, two brutal murders, and a single promise…

Golo Eck is searching for the fabled lost library of The Lynx, Europe’s first scientific society, founded in 1603.

Fergus, his friend and fellow adventurer, is on the trail of the legend in Ireland when he becomes embroiled in the uprising of the United Irish against English rule. His only hope of escape is Greta, a courageous messenger for the United Irish cause. Following the bloody battles of New Ross and Vinegar Hill, Fergus is missing, and Greta is on the run.

Golo meanwhile suspects other forces are on the trail of the Lynx, and he heads to Holland in pursuit. When Golo’s ship founders and he disappears, his ward Ruan is left to fend for himself, a stranger in a strange land.

Can Ruan pursue the trail to the lost library? Will Golo and Fergus be found? Can Greta escape Ireland with her very life? And will the truth of the Legacy of the Lynx finally be revealed?

Award winning writer Clio Gray has written a thrilling adventure story, steeped in historical fact and legend, that will keep readers gripped to the very last page.

My Thoughts & Review:

During 2016 I decided to challenge myself, read more books outwith my set comfort zone and try to see what else was out there to tempt readers and stumbled upon a publisher that was bringing new books to readers that they might never have considered.  This was one such book that I looked at and thought it was one that I might not naturally pick up but game for a giggle I settled down for a new and challenging read.

The Legacy of the Lynx is a story about the adventure of Golo Eck’s search for the lost library of The Lynx, and along with his friends Fergus and Ruan, he believes it will be the key to saving mankind from a violent and undemocratic world.
When the friends are separated they quickly discover that someone is out to stop Golo Eck’s quest.  But through each of the characters the reader is introduced to an aspect of the plot that is fascinating and entertaining, Fergus returns to Ireland where he meets Greta, who is a wonderful character.  Greta could be described as feisty, strongly opined but entirely likeable, she acts as a guide for Fergus through town.

The writing and language in this is exceptional, the author has ensured that the language corresponds well with the time of the setting, the 18th Century giving a feel of authenticity as well as giving readers a more intelligent read and a chance to expand their lexical knowledge.

Despite being a historical adventure tale, there is a crime story hidden in there too, so this becomes a book for more than just one audience.  The adventure/discovery is admittedly the main theme but it is written with enough pace that it will hold the attention of readers and remain interesting.

You can buy a copy of The Legacy of the Lynx directly from Urbane Publications here or via Amazon here.

About the Author:

Clio was born in Yorkshire, spent her later childhood in Devon before returning to Yorkshire to go to university. For the last twenty five years she has lived in the Scottish Highlands where she intends to remain. She eschewed the usual route of marriage, mortgage, children, and instead spent her working life in libraries, filling her home with books and sharing that home with dogs. She began writing for personal amusement in the late nineties, then began entering short story competitions, getting short listed and then winning, which led directly to a publication deal with Headline. Her latest book, The Anatomist’s Dream, was nominated for the Man Booker 2015 and long listed for the Bailey’s Prize in 2016.


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Published: 12 January 2017
Reviewed: 11 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Little, Brown Book Group UK as part of the blog tour

 

Description:

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Dry was an example of a book I saw spoken about on social media, many commenting that this would be the book to look out for, a story so cleverly crafted and interwoven, atmospheric to the point of rendering the reader speechless.  Well that was more than enough to catch my interest and thankfully I managed to get a copy to review and see for myself just how good this book actually was.

Initially I found this slow to get into, perhaps it was the fact that previous to this I’ve been lucky enough to read some amazing pacy thrillers, but fellow reviewers suggested persevering, stating that they had loved this book, so I continued reading.
Looking back I can appreciate the slow opening now, working so well with the depressive atmosphere in Kiewarra, the arid heat causing people and animals to slowly wilt and languish.

Aaron Falk is an interesting character, not only because of his link to the deceased Luke Hadler and the secret they shared, but also for the person he has become since leaving the town twenty years ago.  His inability to say no to Hadler’s parents means he becomes involved in the investigation of the deaths of Hadler, his wife and his son.  The oppressive hostility he faces from the townspeople shows just have little their mindsets have advanced in the decades after his departure.  Working alongside Raco, the new chief of police they discover there may be more to things than initially thought.
Both of these characters were very interesting and readers will feel able to connect with them quite easily.  Conversely, Grant Dow was a character that I struggled with, malicious, nasty and downright horrible – a very well crafted character!  Emphasising the point that some bullies never change.
The juxtaposition of the open space of the town and the closed knit community always makes for engaging reading, and that is definitely the case here.  Outsiders are exactly that, people from outside the town, and are made to feel this the entire time they there – the atmosphere is very oppressive and claustrophobic.  None of this is aided by the drought that is ravaging the town, people are quick to mistrust, tempers are frayed and it only needs a small spark to ignite the arid landscape.   Adding to the overall enthralment of the novel.

Jane Harper has shown herself to be a very accomplished author with this impressive debut, and although it was slow to begin with I am very glad I stuck with it.

You can buy a copy of The Dry here.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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