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Author: Alex Caan

Published: 3 November 2016
Reviewed: 4 November 2016

5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Bonnier Publishing in return for an honest review

 

Description:

One Missing Girl. Two Million Suspects.

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls.

And she’s missing . . .

But she’s an adult – the police aren’t too worried.

Until the video’s uploaded . . .

Ruby, in the dirt, pleading for her life.

Enter Detective Inspector Kate Riley; the Met’s rising star and the head of a new team of investigators with the best resources money can buy. Among them, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris, the poster boy for multiracial policing. But can Kate wholly trust him – and more importantly, can she trust herself around him?

As hysteria builds amongst the press and Ruby’s millions of fans, Kate and her team are under pressure to get results, and fast, but as they soon discover, the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much darker than anyone could have imagined.

And the videos keep coming . . .

My Thoughts & Review:

Every once in a while there’s a book that captures the attention of the majority of reviewers, social medial seems to be awash with comments about a book and the more people hint about it, the most intrigued you get.  That was definitely the case with Cut to the Bone, lots of bloggers remarking on it was hint enough for me to get onto Netgalley and check it out.

Cut to the Bone is an addictive and compelling read, for a début it really is impressive.  Incorporating fears about the dangers of the internet and social media the storyline is topical, vlogging is something that seems to have taken off in recent years.

The disappearance of Ruby Day, one of the many YouTube vloggers is a case like no other missing person for DI Kate Riley and her team.  What then follows is a dark and twisted story that leaves the reader second guessing what might happen next. 

Short chapters make for an intense and fast paced read, Cann knows how to keep the suspense cranked up ensuring the reader will struggle to put this book down.  The implied threat of what might happen to Ruby at the end of the second video provides motivation for DI Riley’s team to make headway in their investigation, which also increases the desire to read “just one more chapter”.
The technology and software detailed in this was interesting and really added to the overall story.

The characters were fantastic, DI Kate Riley definitely falls in to the mysterious category, her secrets make her a difficult character initially, but once you peel back the layers and her back story comes out she becomes more likeable.  DS Zain Harris is another example of a brilliant character, so multidimensional and realistic.

I can’t wait to see where Alex Caan takes these characters next!

You can buy a copy of Cut to the Bone here.

About the Author:

Alex Caan has spent over a decade working in Information Systems Security for a number of government organisations, and is currently specialising in Terrorism Studies. A lifetime passion for writing was sparked by the encouraging words of an English Teacher in school, and eventually led to Alex successfully completing an MA in Creative Writing, and write Cut to the Bone.

Find out more about Alex at www.alexcaanauthor.com

 

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Author: Elisabeth Herrmann

Published: 24 March 2016
Reviewed: 9 September 2016

5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Bonnier Publishing in return for an honest review

 

Description:

An unforgettable heroine. An unforgiveable past.

For fans of Child 44, The Lives of Others, and Stasi Child, The Cleaner is a gripping thriller that will chill and intrigue as the sins of the past catch up with the secrets of the present.

Pools of blood, scenes of carnage, signs of agonising death – who deals with the aftermath of violence once the bodies have been taken away?

Judith Kepler has seen it all. She is a crime scene specialist. She turns crime scenes back into habitable spaces. She is a cleaner.

It is at the home of a woman who has been brutally murdered that she is suddenly confronted with her own past. The murder victim knew Judith’s secret: as a child Judith was sent to an orphanage under mysterious circumstances – parentage unknown. And the East German secret police were always there, in the background. . . .

When Judith begins to ask questions, she becomes the target of some powerful enemies.

My Thoughts & Review:

The Cleaner is a Cold War thriller rife with espionage, deceit and intrigue.

The opening scene in Yuri Gagarin Children’s Home in East Germany in 1985 really reinforces the mentality of period – a young girl named Christel Sonnenberg is found wandering in the corridors and is escorted back to her bed.  However the member of staff is advised she is mistaken, this is not Christel Sonnenberg but Judith Kepler, and afraid of any fallout, the member of staff agrees (during the Cold War in East Germany it was easier and safer to not argue with what you were told), and henceforth this girl is known as Judith.

Some years later and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we encounter ‘Judith Kepler’ again, but now she is an adult and working  as a cleaner – making homes habitable again after death has occurred.  Her latest assignment is to clean an apartment following the murder of the previous occupier, but whilst she is there she finds a letter with her name on it, and details of her time at the Children’s Home.   This leads her to an intelligence expert for help to find answers but leads to some very dangerous developments.

Intelligently written, Herrmann pulls together strands of a fascinating story with factual nuances of Stasi Germany to create an atmospheric and immersive read.
The character of Judith/Christel is a great creation, here we have someone who is realistic, flawed yet strong, and the job that she does ties in so well with her nature, quiet and methodical.

The pace of the story is fast, the suspense really builds and keeps the reader hooked throughout.

This is without a doubt one of the cleverest thrillers I’ve read,  the political tightrope of the period makes for a very intriguing layer to the story.  The idea of job that Judith does is very intriguing and not one that I had ever really given much thought to, but definitely adds another pull of intrigue to this book.  The translation to English has lost nothing of the original brilliance.

You can buy a copy of The Cleaner here.

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