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Published: 25 August 2016
Reviewed: 7 December 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Bonnier Zaffre in return for an honest review

Description:

In a remote corner of Lagos in Nigeria, a stranger delivers a homeless boy to an orphanage, where the welcoming staff hide a terrible secret.

At a squalid flat in the docks area of Cardiff, an early morning police raid goes catastrophically wrong. A plain clothes officer is shot dead at point blank range. The killer slips away.

Young and inexperienced, Will MacReady starts his first day on the CID. With the city in shock and the entire force reeling, he is desperate to help – but unearths truths that lead the team down an increasingly dark path…

My Thoughts & Review:

Mike Thomas is a new author to me, but when I heard that he had won around fans of Stuart Macbride’s with his writing I knew I had to try his books.
Ash and Bones is the first book by this author that I have read and it certainly won’t be the last.  I absolutely loved the gritty, fast paced feel of this novel, it kept me reading well into the wee hours of the morning (a victim of “just one more chapter” syndrome).

In the beginning I was stumped to see how Mike Thomas could link the events in Nigeria and Cardiff, and part of me wanted to read on to see if he actually managed to tie them together.  But thankfully the two strands weave together to form an outstanding thriller and lay the foundations for a brilliant series featuring Will MacReady.

I won’t regurgitate the plot, but suffice to say it’s gripping, gritty and so deliciously complex that the reader cannot help but be lured in.  The characters in this felt authentic and realistic, the dialogue between MacReady and Beck was brilliant and gave a great insight into the dynamic between these two.  Seeing the ways that Beck tries to keep MacReady in hand make for entertaining reading, poor lass has her work cut out there.  MacReady is a great character, desperate to prove himself but a wee bit of a rogue when it comes to bending the rules.

When reading a novel written by someone who has intimate knowledge of the police force and crimes I always think it shows in the details they are able to include.  Mike Thomas served as a police officer for many years and this translates through his writing, giving the reader a real feel of authenticity.  It’s always a treat to read these sorts of books, as a reader you are privy not only to the workings of an author’s mind but also to the functioning mind of an ex police officer who goes to great length to ensure sufficient detail so they can to enhance your reading experience.

Thankfully, book two is coming in 2017 and I cannot wait to see where Thomas plans to take DC MacReady next!  Definitely an author to keep an eye on for the future!

You can buy a copy of Ash and Bones here.

About the Author:

Mike Thomas was born in Wales in 1971. For more than two decades he served in the police, working some of Cardiff’s busiest neighbourhoods in uniform, public order units, drugs teams and CID. He left the force in 2015 to write full time.

His debut novel, Pocket Notebook, was published by William Heinemann (Penguin Random House) and longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year. The author was also named as one of Waterstones’ ‘New Voices’ for 2010. His second novel, Ugly Bus, is currently in development for a six part television series with the BBC.

His new novel, Ash and Bones, was published in August 2016 by Bonnier Zaffre.

He lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife, two children and an unstable, futon-eating dog.

More details can be found on the website www.mikethomasauthor.co.uk

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It’s time to finally set in stone the books of the year, a list that I have created, edited and ripped up mentally for the past few days…..When you’ve read so many books over the year it’s hard to narrow down a top 5, a top 10 or even a top 20, but I will attempt to share my top books of 2016.

Top Indie Books:

In no particular order:

  • Death of a Nobody by Derek Farrell (Fahrenheit Press)
  • The Mine by Antti Tuomainen (Orenda Books)
  • Summoning The Dead by Tony Black (Black and White Publishing)
  • A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone (Orenda Books)
  • A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh  McDonnell (McFori Ink)
  • Casing Off by P.I. Paris (Black and White Publishing)
  • Death In Profile by Guy Fraser-Sampson (Urbane Publications)
  • Doorways by Robert Enright (Urbane Publications)
  • The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn (Orenda Books)
  • The Cleaner by Elisabeth Herrmann (Manilla / Bonnier Zaffre)

Top Crime Fiction & Thriller:

I really tried to keep this to 10…..but well I just couldn’t…..

In no particular order:

  • Strangers by Paul Finch
  • Dark Water by Robert Bryndza
  • Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge
  • The Killing Game by J.S. Carol
  • Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst
  • The Dead House by Harry Bingham
  • All Fall Down by Tom Bale
  • Out of Bounds by Val McDermid
  • Blood Lines by Angela Marsons
  • Love You To Death by Caroline Mitchell
  • The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza
  • In The Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride

Top Books of Brilliance or Smile Inducing Wonderment:

In no particular order:

  • The Accidental Dictionary by Paul Anthony Jones
  • How To Find Your (First) Husband by Rosie Blake
  • The Last Pearl Fisher of Scotland by Julia Stuart
  • The Life Assistance Agency Thomas Hocknell
  • The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig
  • A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn
  • 183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan
  • Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin
  • A Home in Sunset Bay by Rebecca Pugh
  • Christmas At The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

What books would you rate as your top ones for this year?  Have you read any of these ones?  Let me know your thoughts below.


And just because I can, here’s ones I think will be top books for 2017….

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Author: Camilla Grebe

Published: 8 September 2016
Reviewed: 30 September 2016

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

 

Description:

NO ORDINARY PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER – THIS WILL KEEP YOU UP ALL NIGHT

For fans of Jo Nesbo and The Bridge, The Ice Beneath Her is a gripping and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession that is impossible to put down. Fast-paced and peopled with compelling characters, it surprises at every turn as it hurtles towards an unforgettable ending with a twist you really won’t see coming . . .

A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway.

The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.

But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete?

Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation.

As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover?

My Thoughts & Review:

As a fan of Scandi Noir I was instantly intrigued by this book, the description sounded like just the sort of book to get stuck into on a quiet night.

This gripping psychological thriller immediately grabs the reader’s attention,  the decapitated body of a young woman is discovered,  and more curiously it was discovered in the home of an infamous business tycoon.

With narration from the perspective of three characters makes this story very interesting, and helps to make this a fast paced read, but also gives a real insight into the characters.  The subsequent development of each character makes this a fascinating read and found I was thoroughly enjoying their individual tales.
Hanne, formerly a criminal profiler, diagnosed with early onset dementia and in a controlling and loveless marriage, is a fantastic character and one I was cheering on whilst I read.
Peter, the detective with commitment issues (unless it’s work he has to commit to), is good at his job, but his personal life….not so organised.  Together Peter and Hanne work well, its clear there is a shared history and it makes reading the story much more enjoyable.
Emma’s story was probably the most interesting one, a young woman that meets and falls in love with the CEO of the company she works for but their love affair has to be kept secret because of who he is.

There is some very clever plotting in this book, it’s very dark and disturbing, Grebe weaves together twists and turns that have the reader guessing at what might happen next.  I feel that I should praise the translation of this book.  All too often when a book is translated into English, something can be “lost” but I am so pleased that is not the case with this one.  It has the hallmarks of a Scandi thriller, cold, dark and direct which really work well here, making this one of the best books I’ve read this year.

You can buy a copy of The Ice Beneath Her here.

Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this in return for an honest review.

 

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Lie in Wait

Author: G.J. Minett
Published: 25 August 2016
Reviewed: 21 August 2016

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

Description:

Owen Hall has always been different. A big man with an unusual fixation, one who prefers to put his trust in number patterns rather than in people, it’s unsurprising that he’d draw the attention of a bully.

Or a murder investigation.

And, in the storm of emotions and accusations that erupts when a violent killing affects a small community, it soon becomes clear that a particularly clever murderer might just get away with it.

All they’d need is a likely suspect . . .

My Thoughts & Review:

Lie in Wait is the second novel penned by Graham Minett, his first The Hidden Legacy was published electronically in November 2015, and secured this reader as an unwavering fan.  I was absolutely delighted when I found out this novel was in the pipeline, I really hope to see more of his writing in the future.

The story opens with a thought provoking prologue, ensuring the reader is captivated.  It’s from here that Minett’s prowess as a writer really shines through, in the hands of lesser authors what follows might evolve into a tangled mess of characters and backstories, but instead he cleverly weaves together a tale of mystery, intrigue, and murder.

As the story develops the separate threads came together flawlessly all the while remaining coherent and thrilling, the pace moves along swiftly and this is a book that deserves to be read in one sitting.  Clearly marking each chapter as either ‘Earlier’ or ‘Now’ means that the reader is able to follow the complex tales from the dual timelines.

The remarkably descriptive setting of South England gives the reader a real feel for the setting, indeed it allows the reader to conjure a clear image mentally which adds to the dark and chilling atmosphere.  The characters are all well developed, each bearing their own unpleasantness, darkness or dangerousness.  It almost felt like a case of which one of these awful people would you attempt to trust the most, superb writing to create such a cast that evoke such ill feeling and mistrust.   I was fascinated at how Minett analysed the relationships between the characters – the school days, tales of life and memories of bullying in particular added to the plot

Minett’s style of writing is absolutely ingenious; clever plotting, richly complex characters that get under the skin of the reader and overall the ability to drop the reader right into the heart of the setting make these books some of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

You can pre order a copy of Lie in Wait here.

About the Author

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Image and author information courtesy of Amazon

Graham Minett studied Languages at Churchill College, Cambridge before teaching for several years in Gloucestershire and West Sussex. In 2008 he completed a part-time MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester and subsequently won both the inaugural Segora short story competition in 2008 and the Chapter One competition in 2010. The latter consisted of the opening sections of what would eventually become The Hidden Legacy, which earned him contracts not only with Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency but also Twenty7, part of the Bonnier publishing group.

The Hidden Legacy is his first novel and his second, Lie In Wait, will be published as an eBook in August 2016 and as a paperback in February 2017. He is at present planning his third and is still working at the Angmering School.

He lives in West Sussex with his wife and children but retains close links with Cheltenham, where the rest of his family live.

To find out more about Graham Minett’s books go to his Facebook Page  his website http://www.grahamminett.com/ or follow him on Twitter @GJMinett

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