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Archive for the ‘thriller’ Category

wolves in the dark cover

Description:

Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material … and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet. Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

My Thoughts & Review:

Impressively, this is the 21st book in the Varg Veum series, and indeed 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the series – the sign of an amazing character and author I would say!  And whilst not all of Gunnar Staalesen’s books are not available in English, it is possible to become utterly immersed in this series as you read.  The previous books “We Shall Inherit the Wind” and “Where Roses Never Die” have been published by Orenda Books and are available to buy now.

Varg Veum is a fantastic character that most readers will take to, despite his flaws and obvious dependence on alcohol, readers will connect with him and will find they are quietly cheering him on when things get tough.
The blossoming relationship with his new girlfriend is put under immense pressure when he is arrested for being part of a paedophile ring and for the possession of child pornography.  His reputation is hanging by a very frayed thread and he needs to work out quickly who is setting him up and why.  If I say anything else about the plot I fear that I will give something away (zips mouth shut).

With a plot revolving around a sensitive topic, this could make for difficult reading.  But I do believe that Staalesen has handled it well without becoming overly graphic and certainly includes only what is necessary to enhance the plot.  This is a hard hitting novel that truly encapsulates the very essence of Scandi Noir and I can see why this series and character have been so successful.  There’s an elegance in the writing, the plot is so intricate and clever that it challenges the reader, it’s not the sort of book to half look at whilst cooking the supper that’s for sure (yes I did burn the supper whilst reading this book and no I don’t recommend taking your eyes off the oven, otherwise the toad in the hole will be VERY caramelised).
The skill in bringing Veum to life was astounding, the more I read of this book the more I felt that he was real and found myself enjoying his sense of humour.

A fantastic instalment in the series and I cannot wait for more!!

It’s only right to make mention of Don Bartlett’s translation, again an impeccable job with a seamless translation.

You can buy a copy of “Wolves in the Dark” via:
Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

 

My heartfelt thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for the opportunity to read an early copy of this and for inviting me to participate in the blog tour.

wolves blog tour poster


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DECEIVED

Published: 24 June 2017

 

Description:

How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

My Thoughts & Review:

“Deceived” was a book that I read a review of and was intrigued, not something I would usually pick up but this book screamed out “read me” and I was only too happy to oblige.

This is a very fast paced thriller that grabs readers from the very beginning, the explanation of the differences between a psychopath and a sociopath makes for very interesting reading and really sets the tone for this book – a book that will get under the skin of the reader.

Without retelling the plot, I will say that the book centres around Allison Stone (Ally), whose mother and younger brother were brutally murdered.  She suffers debilitating nightmares and is slowly working towards recovery from the painful memories of this loss with the help of her friend Sam, his dog Max, and her boyfriend Danny.  The plot then cleverly weaves together narrative from both the past and current time to keep the reader hooked.  The use of journal entries is fantastic, a great insight into the mind of a psychopath.   Running through the plot is also the story of Elizabeth Lawson, a 13 year old girl who murdered her parents in cold blood before running away in 1978.

This was a quick read for me, finding that I wanted to keep reading to find out if my suspicions were correct about the killer.  And I have to admit that I did like the way the ending was written, the author giving the reader something to ponder long after the book has been carefully placed on the bookshelf.  It’s a very impressive debut, and if I’m honest, it didn’t read as a debut.  It was well written, well thought out and very interesting.

My thanks to Emily at Citrus Publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

 

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Hello and welcome along to another Friday, it’s time to celebrate another great book from another brilliant indie publisher!  This time I am shining the light on The Dome Press and sharing a review of J.D. Fennell’s debut novel “Sleeper”.


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Book Feature:

Description:

Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it.

As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?

Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I first heard about “Sleeper” I was intrigued, tales set during the Blitz always hold a fascination for me, throw in the fact that this is a fast paced, adventure thriller and you’re on to a winner in my eyes.

From the moment I picked up this book to flick through it I was hooked, there was something about the style of writing that captured my attention and drove me to read on.  Short chapters make this a quick and thrilling read, and there is action a plenty to entertain readers.
Will Starling is an interesting character, in the first three chapters he is portrayed as someone who is trying to do the best that he can in a difficult situation, yes he is somewhat of a suspicious young man what with his connections in the beginning, but his conscience seems to hold him in check, he has a sense of morality when it comes to the greater good and protecting others.  As the plot moves on, Will becomes victim to an amnesia and struggles with the mental block in place.  Who is he?  How did he get here?  Why is there a bullet in the notebook in his blazer pocket?  As the adrenaline surges through Will when he realises he’s in danger the pace of the book turns this into a frantic page turner.  Trying to work out who is after him and why, Will faces the impossible task of finding safety and working out who he can trust.

The action crackles throughout this book, and even in the “quieter” moments of the story the still moves on at an exciting pace.  Mystery and intrigue lurk in the shadows, the setting of Blitz London makes this wonderfully intense as events taking place provide great cover for some of the goings on in this story.  The way in which the settings are described is skilfully done, the reader can conjure vivid images of the the locations mentioned in the book, and I particularly liked the descriptions of the school that Will ends up at, my imagination was happily wandering down corridors.

The characters in this are so well fleshed out, Will granted is a little enigma, his amnesia making him a potentially unreliable narrator, but nonetheless he is still very interesting, and a character that readers will feel drawn to.  Whether readers are a fan of his action packed assassin skills or feel sympathetic to his remorse towards the casualties that occur along the way, this is a well created persona that draws the audience in.

Although this book is aimed towards a Young Adult audience, I think it would be a hit with many fans of action thrillers, there is certainly enough in the plot to entertain most fans and the ending sets things up perfectly for another instalment.

My thanks to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for a copy of this book to read and review.

You can buy a copy of “Sleeper” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository


Author Feature:

JD Fennell Headshot

J.D. was born in Belfast at the start of the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him. A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and the Brontës.

He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.

These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.

 

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

I love being “in the zone” of writing a book, where, on a daily basis, I can slip from reality and into the head of someone else in another world or time. That is the gift of writing.

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

My least favourite thing about being a writer is that I don’t have a magical time stopping device that would allow me the luxury of banging out all the ideas that are whirling around in my head  on or ahead of schedule.

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

There are so many, however, my choice is The North Water, by Ian McGuire. This book is a disturbing, fast-paced tale of an ill-fated Yorkshire whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. It is the story of Patrick Summer, an Irish ex-army doctor with a broken reputation, and the brutal and bloodthirsty, Henry Drax. The story builds to a gripping confrontation between the two men against the backdrop of a bleak Arctic landscape. Full of surprises, and wonderfully written, I absolutely wished I had written this book.

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

I am not one of those authors that makes a living from writing, so I have a day job, which takes up a lot of my time and headspace. Out of work, I read as much fiction as I can and always have a book to hand. I also love to cook and travel.

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

I only write long hand for notes and post-its. I can pretty much write anywhere, however, I normally do so in the morning, sometimes starting as early as 6 am. I work in my kitchen, sitting at the kitchen table overlooking the garden. I have no rituals as such. However if I walk in to find unwashed dishes, then I won’t be able to write until everything has been cleaned and tidied. It’s like I am shifting the clutter from my head and clearing a path for the next block of words.  Come evening time, if my brain is not fried, then I will squeeze out more words.

 

A huge thank you to J.D. Fennell for joining me today and sharing a little more about himself and his writing process, there’s always dishes to be done in this house so feel free to bring your marigolds!

For more information about this author and his fantastic book check out his website https://www.sleeperbook.com/ or follow him on Twitter @jd_fennell

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page

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BlackHornet FINAL

Published 12 June 2017

 

Description:

The Black Hornet: an action packed and utterly gripping thriller from the best-selling James Ryker series

What do you do when the love of your life vanishes without a trace? If you’re ex-intelligence agent James Ryker you search for the answers whatever the cost, however much blood and sacrifice it takes…

Six months ago Lisa was taken from Ryker, and he’ll stop at nothing to find out who is responsible and why. Following a trail to Mexico, the ex-Joint Intelligence Agency asset soon finds himself in the firing line of enemies he long thought he’d left behind. Set-up for the murder of a former informant, Ryker is thrown into a crumbling jail run by The Black Hornet, the notorious leader of a Mexican drug cartel. But what connects the cartel to the informant’s murder, and to Lisa’s disappearance? And just who is the mystery American claiming he can help Ryker in his hour of need?

The Black Hornet is the second book in the bestselling James Ryker series. Part Bourne, part Reacher, it’s an explosive and action-packed thriller to rival any other.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I heard that Rob Sinclair’s follow up to “The Red Cobra” was coming out I was ecstatic, I absolutely loved this book and was keen to find out what happened next with Ryker.  It’s only fair to mention now that if you’ve not read “The Red Cobra” I would recommend heading over to Amazon and buying a copy so that you can get background on Ryker but also for the fact that “The Black Hornet” picks up where the first book left off.

Ryker heads to Mexico in search of information that will lead him to his missing wife Lisa, but things don’t go to plan and soon ends up in jail with some colourful members of the local cartels, a very precarious position for our protagonist to be in.  Some of the prison scenes make for difficult reading, and there were moments I wanted to hide behind my hands but all credit to Rob Sinclair, he really knows how to write these scenes for maximum impact and make his readers wince.  I really don’t want to say too much about the plot through fear of letting anything slip.
And as with the first book in the series, this is an action packed read with fights, chases and all the necessary ingredients to make a spectacular thriller.  The plotting of this is excellent, so taut and peppered with clever subtleties that readers will curse themselves for missing when all is revealed – yes I admit I missed some of those as I was so caught up in the moment reading I almost forgot I was supposed to be reviewing the book!

This was the second book I’ve read from this author, and it’s safe to say that Rob Sinclair has secured his place on my bookshelf next to my Lee Child collection.  My fascination with James Ryker continues to develop and I find myself wondering if he will ever be free of the JIA and live the quiet life he covets.  This book also left me struggling to make my mind up about other characters, Sinclair managing to keep me questioning their trustworthiness and their motives throughout.

A fantastic instalment in a promising series, and I cannot wait for the next one!

You can buy a copy of “The Black Hornet” via Amazon here

 

My thanks to Rob Sinclair and Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read this and take part in the blog tour.

About the Author:

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan. Together the explosive series (comprising Dance with the Enemy, Rise of the Enemy and Hunt for the Enemy) has now sold more than 150,000 copies worldwide. His work has been praised for its relentless pace, multiple twists and breathtaking action.

Although Rob has more Logan books in the pipeline, his upcoming release with Bloodhound Books marks a slight change in direction, moving away from pure action thrills to psychological suspense (albeit still with a healthy dose of action!).

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Rob’s website is www.robsinclairauthor.com and he can be followed on twitter at @RSinclairAuthor

Why not follow the blog tour and head over to Liz Loves Books

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EYES OF THE ACCUSED 2

Description:

A dark and gripping psychological mystery.

Fresh from the horrors of their last case, private investigators Ben and Maddie are plunged into a disturbing world of terror as they search for missing pregnant girl, Hannah Heath.

Drawn to Frank Crowley, a suspect in Hannah’s disappearance, Maddie is about to come face to face with true evil. As she gets close to Crowley, Maddie will learn all is not what it seems.

Crowley is just a small part of something much larger. Something so terrible and deranged, it defies reason.

When Maddie disappears, Ben is left in a desperate race against time to find her and uncover the truth. 

But can Ben and Maddie both survive this time?

My Thoughts & Review:

This is the second book in the Ben Whittle series, and I would thoroughly recommend checking out the first book The Revelation Room.  However, this book can be read as a stand alone, there are details that link back to the first book but nothing that would impact on this story and leave you feeling like you’ve missed something.
Ben Whittle and Maddie White are Private Investigators working for Ben’s father who owns the Private Investigation company.  Having been hired to find a missing woman named Hannah, who happens to be pregnant and due to give birth soon they embark upon an investigation that will prove to be dangerous for all involved, and when Maddie goes missing Ben knows he must do everything he can to find both women before it’s too late. 
From the very first chapter the reader is hooked, the intensity of the terror and writing style really grab your attention and ensure you are sucked in for the duration of the story.  The narration from Hannah is exceptionally well written, dark and intense, her desperation really comes through, it’s hard not to feel some horror at how she’s been kept.  
The storyline well paced, I felt that it kept my attention throughout, combined with fantastic characters I really struggled to put this one down at bedtime!  The dark humour interjected into this was a thing of greatness, Mark Tilbury shows a brilliant sense of humour through his writing, it adds an extra something to his characters and really brings them alive.
I will definitely be looking out for more from this author, his writing style really appeals to me, the characters are great and I cannot wait to see where he takes them next.
You can buy a copy of “The Eyes of The Accused” via:
My thanks to the author and Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to share my review as part of the blog tour.  Why not follow the blog tour for some fantastic reviews, guests posts and extracts from the book:
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Published: 15 May 2017

Description:

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

My Thoughts & Review:

Block 46 is quite possibly one of the most magnificent books I have read, it’s absolutely flawlessly plotted, rich in characters and has an astounding level of detail woven into it.  There are so many layers to this novel that it’s hard to begin to describe just how powerful this is.

The uppermost layer of the plot is a murder investigation, one which sparks tangents shooting off like electrical currents in several directions.
Linnea Blix is a much loved and talented jewellery designer so her failure to appear at the grand unveiling of her latest collection is worrying.  When her naked and mutilated corpse is discovered is Sweden, red flags are raised because of the resemblance to a case being investigated in London.  The best friend of Blix is writer Alexis Castells, who soon ends up working with profiler Emily Roy in a bid to discovering her killer.

From here the reader is drawn into a dark thriller that is rife with tension and utterly unnerving.
Johana Gustawsson then adds in another layer to “Block 46”  by incorporating a timeline from 1944 where a young man named Erich Hebner is incarcerated in Buchenwald Concentration Camp.  It is through glimpses of the horrendous and torturous conditions that the reader experiences some of the most harrowing storytelling.  The skill that Gustawsson exhibits in her writing is immense, she details the abhorrent conditions so that the audience is fully aware of the violence, lack of humanity and evil that emanated from the Camps and the ruling forces.

And if this wasn’t enough to make this book standout, then take a look at the characters involved.  A colourful collection of personalities make for some incredibly interesting reading, Alexis Castells and Emily Roy are superb characters, both strong in their own ways, and have qualities that are vital to the roles they play.  Alexis Castells is caring and warm, she is a calming influence on those around her but underneath it all she bears the scars of her past.  Emily Roy on the other hand is a wonderful contrast to this, her clinical approach to her work and interactions can be seen as blunt and cold but she almost needs to be that way in order to do the job that she does.
The glimpses into the mind of the killer that are sprinkled throughout the narrative give an insight into a truly twisted and chilling persona.  There is no doubting that this is a very dangerous individual who enjoys the thrill of the hunt when it comes to victims, and the sheer elation felt when a kill and torture sequence has been complete.

If shock value is what you are looking for then this is the book for you, there are some moments in this that you almost need reminders to keep breathing, the urge to hold your breath in anticipation is high.  The way that Johana Gustawsson plants the seeds of suspicion in the heads of her readers is cleverly done, many will read this book and all the while be trying to guess ahead as to who the killer is, what the motive is etc and good luck is all I can say.  This was a book that well and truly caught me off guard, there were aspects of the plot that I would never have guessed.

I want to offer my thanks to Maxim Jakubowski for the wonderful translation of this book from French into English, it takes incredible skill to translate any document from one language to another and here I feel that the skills of the translator deserve a round of applause as this book reads to well that you could be forgiven for thinking it had originally been penned in English.

My heartfelt thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for sharing this epic novel with me and for having me host this stop on the blog tour.

 

You can buy your copy of “Block 46” via:

Amazon
Orenda Books eBookstore
Wordery
The Book Depository

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

FINAL block 46 blog tour poster

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Published: 18 May 2017

Description:

A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. The only clue to his identity is an admission stamp for the local gay club.

DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local gay rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.

Things become more complicated with the emergence of a far right group targeting immigrants in a local working-class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.

Hatred and complicity abound in the days leading up to the Brexit vote in McGilloway’s new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner.

My Thoughts & Review:

Bad Blood is the fourth book by Brian McGilloway to feature DS Lucy Black, and thankfully for me this can read well as a stand alone book, although after reading this I am very keen to go back and catch up on the previous three books.

There is a very current feel to this, the plot incorporating the Brexit referendum as well as issues of racism, immigration and homophobia.
DS Black and her superior officer, DI Tom Fleming are members of the Public Protection Unit which requires them to assist on numerous investigations including the murder of a gay teenager.   With the influx of crime on the Greenway estate, racist attacks and and building unrest it soon becomes clear that their investigations will be far from easy, the PPU having to sensitively navigate round certain figures within the communities to get the answers they need.  The way that Brian McGilloway manages to weave threads of different factions and their grievances is very interesting.  From those who would fight in favour of bakeries discriminating against homosexuality for religious reasons all the way through to people retaining anger at the injustices of the Troubles, the author manages to incorporate details that add to the plot but never overshadows the main storyline.

As a police procedural this is a good read, there are enough twists to the plot to keep a reader interested and keep them guessing as to what may happen.  There are some incredibly well created characters that will delight readers.  DS Lucy Black is a refreshing change from the usual detective, she does not appear to be damaged or have a horrendously sordid backstory and instead works well with others to do her job well.

My thanks to Hayley Camis and Corsair for the opportunity to read and review this book as well as for being part of the blog tour.

You can buy a copy of “Bad Blood” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour for reviews and extracts!

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