Category Archives: Authors G to I

Reviews by author surname G to I

Review – Last Goodbye by Arlene Hunt

The Blurb

Every couple has their secrets …

‘The woman’s body lay on the bed, hair fanned out in a golden halo, blue eyes open. On the table stood an unmistakable sign: a bouquet of bright yellow roses…’

On a freezing January morning, a young couple is found dead in their cottage in the quiet Dublin suburbs. When Detective Eli Quinn arrives at the scene his stomach drops. It’s the second double homicide in as many months where the killer has left a bunch of yellow roses.

Tucked between the thorns is a little card, with an image of a broken heart. There’s no doubt the killer is trying to send a message, but what do the flowers mean? And can Eli figure out the killer’s motive, before they strike again?

Utterly gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will keep you up reading all night. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Patricia Gibney, you won’t be able to put this down.

My Thoughts

Last Goodbye is the first in a new detective series by Arlene Hunt. I thoroughly enjoyed Last To Die and waited eagerly for her latest novel.

Somebody is killing couples in Dublin and at each murder scene there is a bunch of yellow roses left and the female is laid out in a certain way. Quinn and Malloy find themselves on a desperate hunt to catch the killer before he/she strikes again.

Last Goodbye is set in Dublin and it introduces us to DI Eli Quinn and DS Roxy Malloy. Quinn is the experienced murder detective compared to Malloy who is a week into her probationary period as a DS. In this first book we get more of a sense of Roxy’s character and it is clear that there is a lot more to come as the series progresses. I did wonder while reading if Roxy has Asperger’s as she is not comfortable in the presence of people and lacks social niceties. Although she comes across as quite cold, I really warmed to her and found some of her observations funny and accurate. Her obvious discomfort around Garda Officer Cora Simmons who is chatty, outgoing and the direct opposite to Roxy’s introverted personality was well portrayed and I really liked Hunt’s characterisations.

The antagonist in Last Goodbye is incredibly unnerving. We are treated to chapters that are devoted to him and his thought processes and motivations. One thing I loved about Last To Die was Hunt’s portrayal of the killer and she doesn’t disappoint in Last Goodbye. Her ability to get beneath his skin makes the book all the more compelling as, let’s face it, we all want to understand the motivations behind killings. It’s the care that is taking into the insight of the killer’s mind that makes Last Goodbye a great read rather than a good read. It is incredibly chilling and becomes even more so when you read Hunt’s note at the end of the book.

The pacing is perfect as Last Goodbye steams ahead and the interspersing chapters from the perspective of the killer enhances the pace rather than detracts from it. I raced through this book and each twist had me holding my breath.

A great start to a new series, I am looking forward to meeting Quinn and Malloy in the next book. If you like police procedurals, being totally unnerved by a chillingly realistic serial killer and a fast-paced plot you will love Last Goodbye.

Last Goodbye is published on 22 May 2018 by Bookouture and you can get a copy HERE.

Thanks to Arlene Hunt, Bookouture and Netgalley for the copy in exchange for my review.

Read my review of Last To Die here.

Blog Tour – The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye *Excerpt*

I’m delighted to be taking part in The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye blog tour today and I’m excited to be able to share an excerpt with you. There is also a giveaway in which you can win a signed copy!

Firstly, what is The Second Cup about?

The Blurb

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.
With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

As promised here is the excerpt. We’re introducing Abbie – one of the four main characters – and we catch up with her while she’s sitting in A&E waiting to find out how her friend Beth is after a suspected overdose.

So how does this praying thing work? I’m starting to wish I’d paid more attention when Beth went on one of her rants about her Catholic upbringing, as it would have put me in good stead for knowing what to do right now.

My closest friend has downed a bottle of Paracetamol and is lying the other side of a locked door that requires a keypad access code. I’ve been the other side of the keypad and it is no easier – although at least you have NHS staff on your side when you’re that side.

I have positioned myself on the row of plastic seats along the far wall so I can watch the comings and goings through said door without having to strain my neck muscles. But so far every raised chin has been greeted with nothing – no glance in my direction, no calling out “Beth Adam’s friend” or “Abbie? Abbie Tomlinson?” repeating your first name as part of some sort of ritual. I listen to the strange names being called out, finding myself adding a second surname to the announcements to make them even.

“Emily? Emily Paterson?”

“Paterson.”

“Robert? Robert Samuels?”

“Samuels.”

“Gobinda? Gobinda Mudri?”

“Mudri.”

I only catch myself doing it when I realise I’m saying them out loud and the person two seats away shifts further along the row, giving me a worried glance as they go. I want to scream “I’m not mental” at them, but that would make me seem the opposite. And I would also feel very guilty at the inference that there was something wrong with being mental when I’m sitting here waiting for the doctors to save my friend from an overdose.

And I’m sure my little habits and rituals are perfectly normal for someone who’s under as much stress as I am at work.

I just like things to be even. To be balanced.

I look up at the clock. I’ve not been here a full half-hour yet and yet I feel as if a day’s worth of energy has been drained out of me. I’m wondering if the clock is playing tricks on me, so I decide to stare at it and count along with the second hand – this time in my head so the lady a few seats down doesn’t feel she needs to move even further away. The full 60 seconds pass, as they should.

“Okay God,” I think, “If I can hold my breath and sit completely still for a full 60 seconds, you have to make Beth live.”

I wait until the second hand is at 12 and take a deep breath in – probably loud enough to scare the timid lady on my row, but I can’t look to check because sitting still is part of the pact. Time feels like it’s slowing down as the hand gets to 11. I watch – 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 – and then breathe out.

I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything worthy of saving a life. Maybe that was just a test pact and now I have to do another one. This might be how prayers work; why you have to say so many of them while you count rosary beads. You start off with a simple one and then build up to more complicated and challenging ones.

I shift on my plastic seat, massaging the ridges the edge has left mid-thigh on both legs. I take a few sips from the now-cold cup of coffee on the table ledge next to me. The temperature makes it no more or less drinkable as it was disgusting from the first mouthful, my brain immediately forgetting just how undrinkable it is, so each sip is a brand new shock to my taste buds. My brain is too busy willing Beth to stay alive to process information like “stop drinking because it tastes terrible”.

I’ve stretched and taken on more fluids, so I’m ready for my next challenge. Four is my lucky number. So maybe I need to hunt out for things in fours? Four is like your engine number, you breath in and out; your heart beats up and down. A four-stroke engine. It’s this four that powers you, so maybe if I find lots of fours it will be a sign that Beth is going to make it.

Scanning the room I notice four people with touchscreen phones out, ignoring the faded posters rather forlornly telling people to turn their phones off. I’m wondering if they’re all iPhones or Samsung, but I might be pushing my luck, so I check for other fours. There are four girls with ponytails. There are four noticeboards. There are four internal doors of the waiting room – if you don’t count the toilets.

There are four people with rucksack style bags. No, there are five, but one is close to the door and he’s put his bag on the floor – while the others are still wearing theirs. And he’s by the door, organising the content of his bag. I have to resist reaching out and kicking him with my leg to get him to go. C’mon. C’mon. And he’s gone. I can breathe again, even though I didn’t realise I was holding my breath. I hope it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t for 60 seconds. Maybe fours don’t matter after all, I tell myself.

We’re now a four – me, Beth, Olivia and Faye – but I preferred us more as a three.

Before Faye.

If that has whet your appetite for more you can purchase a copy of The Second Cup HERE.

Giveaway

There are three signed copies up for grabs and it is open internationally:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.
It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.
Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/SarahMarieGraye

Catch the rest of the tour

 

Review – London Noir by Ann Girdharry

The Blurb

Memory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all. Is it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Or something more sinister? Kal is about to find out…

After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps a young girl in trouble. The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by?

Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger.

But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel and is someone after the girl, or is the girl after someone?

 Crime Suspense Thriller.
A stand alone story.
The second Kal Medi book.

My Thoughts

London Noir is the second book in Girdharry’s Kal Medi series, following on from Good Girl Bad Girl which was published last year. While London Noir does work as a standalone, it is better to have read Good Girl Bad Girl firstly because you will get more of a sense of Kal’s history and secondly because it’s a cracking read.

When Kal is involved in a road traffic accident with a young woman called Sophie she is immediately drawn to her … and subsequently drawn into Sophie’s dangerous life. Sophie’s friends are being killed and Kal helps her to find out who is responsible and why.

I really liked the character of Kal in the first book and knew this would be a protagonist I wanted to follow. She is a kick-arse, gutsy, intelligent photo-journalist with an interesting background, thanks in part to her father who her taught her all about understanding body language and how to read and manipulate people. In this second book we see a softer and more vulnerable side to Kal. This makes me like her even more and there is plenty of scope for Girdharry to continue with this character and I look forward to seeing how Kal develops as the series progresses.

London Noir draws you in immediately with a first chapter that captures your attention and leaves you wanting to know more. From there the pace gradually gains momentum and you become completely gripped. The plot is fast-moving and keeps the reader of their toes with twists and turns galore making London Noir a thrilling ride.

The killer in London Noir may well be the most evil, chilling antagonist I have come across this year! Punctuated with chapters in which the killer narrates in first person, Girdharry ensures that the reader’s attention is maintained throughout. I loved getting an insight into what makes the killer tick but bloomin’ heck it sent shivers down my spine as it is as creepy as hell!

What I really like about this series is the use of psychology and body language that Girdharry incorporates. This adds an additional layer and there is an intelligence in Girdharry’s books that make them stand apart from other crime thrillers.

If you haven’t yet checked out the Kal Medi series yet I strongly suggest you do. Current, unnerving, well cast and plotted, London Noir is a must for crime fiction fans.

Published on 17 October 2017 by Chassagnard Publishing.

A huge thank you to Ann Girdharry for the advance copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Read my review of Good Girl Bad Girl HERE.

Review – Beneath The Surface by Sibel Hodge

Whoop whoop, I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of Sibel Hodge’s Beneath The Surface on its publication day today and wish Sibel a very happy book birthday!

The Blurb

Dean Hudson didn’t look evil…so what could drive an ordinary boy to kill?
When the teenage son of Holly Gold’s school friend brutally murders his parents before killing himself, her sleepy home town is rocked by the sudden tragedy.
Appalled, Holly investigates. What could have caused the happy-go-lucky boy she remembers to commit such a heinous crime? When another teen commits suicide, she uncovers a horrifying link between the recent deaths and a dark conspiracy to hide the truth.
But someone doesn’t want Holly asking questions and, as she hunts for evidence to prove her theory, she’s dragged into a nightmare that threatens her life and her sanity. Then tragedy strikes again—and this time it’s closer to home…
Beneath the Surface is a gripping psychological suspense-thriller from the bestselling author of Duplicity, Look Behind You and Where the Memories Lie.

My Thoughts

I am always excited when a new Sibel Hodge novel comes out and I consider myself very lucky to have been granted an advance copy of her latest thriller Beneath The Surface.

Journalist Holly Gold is shocked when Dean, the son of one of her oldest friends, commits suicide … after murdering his parents. Holly can’t understand why the genial child she remembers committed this horrific act and is determined to find out the reason behind his behaviour. Holly is soon led down a path she didn’t expect and finds that her investigation into the causes of the murder-suicide could, ultimately, put her own life at risk.

I don’t want to give any of the plot away as I want future readers to be as surprised as I was by the turn of events that take place in Beneath the Surface. It took a direction I did not expect at all, but it is a direction that is good and, despite being a work of fiction, eye-opening to say the least. I urge any reader to read the note from the author at the end of the book.

Hodge manages to combine fast-paced suspense with social issues and Beneath the Surface is as much an indictment of capitalist society as it is a thriller. Rather than being your average crime drama, the conspiracy that lies at the heart of the book is shocking and terrifying as it is grounded in truth. I loved the political layer, which is incredibly current, and the social commentary that punctuates the book. The theme of the pursuit of profit regardless of the cost is incredibly chilling.

Holly as a character is complex and likable. The black sheep of the family she has had her fair share of difficulties and at points during the book you do question her reliability, which adds to the enjoyment and the ride Hodge takes you on. Her quest for the truth and the tenacity Holly demonstrates despite the risks make her a brave and admirable character. She is a journalist, but she is a journalist with a conscience.

Hodge ratchets up the suspense with twists and turns I, for one, did not see coming. The conspiracy element of Beneath The Surface ensures that the reader is kept on their toes and the shocks keep on coming.

It’s no secret that Sibel Hodge is one of my favourite authors of the thriller genre and I’m pleased to say that she has written yet another fantastic book. The premise and Hodge’s style of writing make Beneath The Surface a gripping and thought-provoking read. This is not your average thriller and I loved it!

Published on 27 July 2017 by Thomas and Mercer.

A huge thank you to Sibel Hodge and Thomas and Mercer for the advance copy in exchange for my review.

You can read my reviews of Untouchable and Duplicity by clicking on the pictures and read Sibel’s Author Influences HERE.

Blog Tour – The Other Twin by L V Hay *Review*

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for L V Hay’s The Other Twin today and to be sharing my thoughts on Hay’s debut psychological thriller.

The Blurb

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana?
Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her?
Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as the truth…

My Thoughts

This is going to be a very difficult review to write as there is so much I want to say but I’m fearful of giving away the plot. With The Other Twin Hay has written a topical thriller that is written with great skill and understanding.

When Poppy Wade’s half-sister India falls to her death from a railway bridge, Poppy returns to her home town of Brighton to be with her family. Poppy questions the initial verdict of suicide and sets out to find out the truth behind her sister’s death. Poppy has that underlying feeling that something isn’t right regarding the death and the more she looks into it the more she discovers that she barely knows those she grew up with.

The Other Twin uses social media to great effect. Hay plays on all my likes and dislikes of social media – the way in which you never really know who is behind the keyboard, the way in which grudges and arguments can be played out in public, but also the support it can give to people who would otherwise feel alone. This is a book ultimately about identity and the use of social media works perfectly with this. As Poppy discovers things about her sister she didn’t know via her laptop, the reader is constantly left guessing as to what the truth is.

This is also a book about the secrets that hide within families and the lengths they will go to to keep them concealed. The question is raised as to how much we ever really know anyone. I always enjoy secrets and lies within a book and I adored this aspect of The Other Twin. I was gripped from the start and raced through the book to the ending.

The tone sits perfectly with the subject matter and the sense of grief that is displayed by the protagonist. It has a subtle grittiness to it that leaves you feeling unnerved throughout. Hay’s writing makes you feel unsettled as you take the journey with Poppy to discover the truth about India.

Hay weaves a twisting, turning tale in which the sense of unease never leaves you. The ending pretty much blew me away with events that I didn’t see coming at all! It will probably be the book of 2017 that delivers the ultimate shock factor, and any books that come after are going to be hard pushed to surprise me as much as The Other Twin did. A cracking debut novel! 

About L V Hay

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write
consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin
(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’
Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus
its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six
cats and five African Land Snails.

A huge thank you to L V Hay, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Follow the rest of the tour…

Blog Tour – Reconciliation For The Dead by Paul E. Hardisty

I am delighted to be one of today’s blogs hosting on the Reconciliation For The Dead blog tour with Lorraine at The Book Review Cafe. Let me tell you this was not an easy review to write and it is an incredibly hard-hitting book but I am so glad I have read it!

The Blurb

Sequel to the critically acclaimed The Abrupt Physics of Dying and The Evolution of Fear.

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier.

It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

My Thoughts

‘…this neighbourhood so like the one he grew up in, the presumption of superiority as much a part of the place as the large, fenced gardens and the pools and the little backyard shacks for the black help.’

How on earth do you even begin to review a book like Hardisty’s Reconciliation For The Dead? It is a nerve-jangling thriller that is intelligently written with political acuity but it is a difficult read due to its subject matter. It is intensely emotional and hard-hitting. I have always had a mild interest in South Africa as my grandmother was from Cape Town and my mum lived in Rhodesia for a short time as a child. Africa has always struck me as a beautiful country that has sadly been used and raped for its resources. Reconciliation For The Dead sadly confirmed my view and made me aware of atrocities I had no idea had happened … and happened so recently.

It has taken me some time to gather my thoughts after finishing this book, so much was its affect on me. So how to start? Reconciliation For The Dead crosses two timelines. We follow Claymore Straker during his time as a young soldier in South Africa in 1981, and in 1996 as a witness in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. His time as a witness is told via the transcripts which punctuates throughout the story and it is perfectly constructed. I was completely transported to Africa as Hardisty superbly creates the sense of place. From the descriptions of the landscape to the Africaans colloquialisms, Hardisty ensures that you are fully immersed in the surroundings and, therefore, the novel. And this is not the only thing that stands out about his writing, which I will come on to later.

Claymore Straker is a fantastic protagonist. He is tough and gutsy, yet intelligent and able to consider what is going on around him with an open mind. I really felt for him and the positions he found himself in. This is the third book in the Claymore Straker series but it works incredibly well as a standalone, which is how I read it. If you read this as your first in the series I have no doubt that, like me, you will be buying the first two.

Reconciliation For The Dead is more than a thriller … so much more. Hardisty draws on historical facts and writes about them in such a way that the book becomes all engrossing … you cannot get it out of your head and it consumes you. It is clear that Hardisty has carefully researched his subject matter and every page brims with authenticity. As I said, this is more than a thriller, it is a devastating reminder of the potential barbarity of human beings. Unflinchingly raw in its depictions of genocide, Hardisty captures the brutality and horror of war and the indelible mark it leaves on those who partake in it. This is one of the things that makes Straker such a brilliant and, ultimately, real character.

Nothing is left out of Reconciliation For The Dead, from the propaganda used by those in their ivory towers to get others to do their bidding, to the motivations behind war (which is sadly far removed from the sense of keeping people safe as in WW2), and the prejudices which sadly still come down to something as rudimentary as the colour of your skin. Throughout Hardisty writes with emotional acuity and his use of language is beautiful despite the subject matter. It has its moments where it is philosophical in tone and it will make you question everything you ever thought or felt about humanity. Yes, it is bleak and distressing, but Hardisty later reminds us that there is still goodness out there and those who are being treated badly continue to have a great capacity for empathy, concern and care.

Although it is undoubtedly gripping, I had to take regular breaks from the book due to the emotional impact it had on me. This is a book to be read slowly in order to be able to gather your thoughts during various points and, quite frankly, pull yourself together again.

Shocking, raw, and devastating; much like Schindler’s List is a film that must be watched, Reconciliation For The Dead is a book that MUST be read to serve as a reminder that, at the end of the day, we are all made the same.

Published on eBook on 22 March 2017 and paperback on 30 May 2017 by Orenda Books.

I am still recovering from this book! A huge thank you to Paul E. Hardisty, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of Reconciliation For The Dead and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the tour…

 

 

Book Review – Fearne Fairy And The Landing Lesson by Sarah Hill

The Blurb

Will Fearne Fairy finally master the art of landing? Who will help her overcome her flying flaw? Find out in this 10th enchanting story from the award-winning Whimsy Wood Series.

My Thoughts

Fearne Fairy and the Landing Lesson is book 10 in The Whimsey Wood Series and sees the return of Fearne Fairy and Mustard the Magpie Moth Caterpillar. It is May in Whimsey Wood and Fearne finally takes the plunge and has some landing lessons. Fearne has not mastered the art of landing resulting in bumps, bruises and broken objects. While this is the 10th book, it works equally as well as a standalone.

Fearne is not the perfect fairy – her flying skills and singing voice leave a lot to be desired – and this makes her all the more likeable as, let’s face it, none of us are perfect.

There is so much attention to detail in this book, with Sarah Hill beautifully creating the world around Fearne and her woodland friends. I loved the descriptions of the furniture within Fearne’s house and her clothing. Young imaginations are sure to be fired by this gorgeous tale.

Hill’s use of alliteration adds humour and children will have great fun saying these phrases aloud and parents will enjoying reading them out loud. A great way for kids to learn and remember words, Fearne Fairy and the Landing Lesson is both educational and a lot of fun.

The illustrations are gorgeous and fit with the story perfectly while providing much to look at and discuss.

A great book that both children and adults will enjoy. It’s ‘Bzz-illiant’ as Bristle Bumblebee would say. Highly recommended.

A huge thank you to Sarah Hill for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Published on 24 November 2016 by Abela Publishing.

Blog Tour – The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney *Book Review*

Thrilled to be taking part in The Missing Ones blog tour today alongside Shell at Chelle’s Book Reviews. I love discovering a new author and Patricia Gibney is one to look out for in the future. This is a cracking start to the DI Lottie Parker series!

The Blurb

The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

My Thoughts

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney is the first in a new crime series featuring DI Lottie Parker. I’m always excited to start a brand new detective serial, so really anticipated this debut novel.

I was hooked from the very start! The prologue, which is set in 1976, is chilling, creepy and unnerving—a great way to start a book—and draws you in immediately. It then switches to December 2014 and we are involved in the first murder. From there we are taken through the eight days of the investigation with Lottie and flashbacks to the past. The Missing Ones moves along at a fast pace with Gibney including teasers at the end of the chapters that leave you hanging and just having to read more.

I really liked DI Lottie Parker and she is character I look forward to seeing more of. She is a tenacious detective who is struggling to juggle her career with her role as a mother to three children. She has an intriguing background and has had her fair share of significant life events which still cause her issues. The relationship between her and fellow detective Mark Boyd is one that I will watch with interest. Gibney has set the ground for Lottie’s development through a series really well.

The Missing Ones is a dark novel that deals with corruption, the attempt to bury disturbing secrets and abuse. I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to risk giving any of the plot away, but Gibney reaches into the disturbing echelons of Irish and Catholic history which is discomfiting and alarming.

Gibney is a talented writer and, weirdly, I found her description of the first victim’s death rather beautiful. She has created a wonderfully twisting tale that keeps you reading late into the night and the plot progression is flawless. She seamlessly weaves the tale together, combining past and present with great results. A very accomplished debut novel.

The Missing Ones heralds the start of a great new detective series. With a dark and twisting tale, an interesting lead character and wonderful writing this is a book not to be missed. Highly recommended for lovers of crime fiction.

A huge thank you to Patricia Gibney and Bookouture for the advance copy and for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.

Published 16 March 2017 by Bookouture.

Purchase Links

UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2i8lVTY
US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2imcDD0

Be sure to catch the other stops on the blog tour!

 

 

Book Review – Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt

Devastation Road

The Blurb

Spring, 1945: A man wakes in a field in a country he does not know.  Injured and confused, he pulls himself up and starts to walk.

His name is Owen.  A war he has only a vague memory of joining is in it’s last throes, and as he tries to get back to England he becomes caught up in the flood of refugees pouring through Europe.  Among them is a teenage boy, Janek, and a troubled young woman, Irena, and together they form a fragile alliance on their way across battle-worn Germany.  Owen attempts to gather up the shattered pieces of his life, but nothing is as he remembers, not even himself – how can he return home when he hardly recalls what home is?

My Thoughts

 ‘”The war might as well still be raging for all the good the peace is doing us”’

A moving story about the catastrophic impact of war told through three different perspectives, Devastation Road is poignant, wonderfully written and a stark reminder that peace does not necessarily bring with it an end to suffering.

When Owen wakes in a field in Germany in 1945 with no memory of where or who he is, he has to make his way across the country in order to get home. Along the way, he meets Janek and Irena and this unlikely group of disparate people, each with their own unique and moving experience of the war, forge together to make their way home and rebuild their lives.

Devastation Road has an air of mystery about it as we are drip fed information about Owen when parts of his memory slowly come back to him. Hewitt’s portrayal of Owen’s memory loss is incredibly effective, giving the reader the experience of how it would really feel to lose this function, the confusion it causes and its impact which goes way beyond anything I could have imagined. The vague snippets of memories that come back to him that he can’t fully make sense of and then forgetting them again the next day, make piecing his life back together incredibly difficult.

Each of the three characters has their own story to tell and their own methods of survival. While not always liking the decisions they have made and the action they have taken, you cannot help but feel for them and understand their behaviour in this most extreme of times when survival becomes everything. They are all victims of the war and in many senses peace time will be just as dangerous for them.

The real beauty of this book, for me, is its exploration of the impact of war. Although historical fiction, Devastation Road has an authenticity about it showing that Hewitt has clearly researched his subject. His descriptions give a real sense of place and surrounding, with the reader being transported to Germany during this tumultuous time. Peace time has arrived and yet lives are still in turmoil and danger is not over. While our views and ideas of the end of the Second World War are often one of jubilation and celebration, this was not the reality for the majority of people. Lives and homes devastated, displacement and the uncertainty about the safety of loved ones are all explored and portrayed gently and sensitively. Hewitt accurately describes how human lives become worthless during war time making this an emotional read.

Heart-breaking, gripping and wonderfully written, Devastation Road is a gorgeous novel and a fantastic piece of historical fiction. A tale of unlikely friendships, loss and the lengths people go to in order to stay alive that will move you deeply. Highly recommended.

A huge thank you to Jason Hewitt and Scribner for my copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Published on 14 July 2016 by Scribner.

 

 

The Finnish Invasion Blog Tour – The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto *Review*

I’m chuffed to be hosting today’s post for The Finnish Invasion blog tour and am sharing with you my review of The Mine by Kati Hiekkapelto…

Cover

The Blurb

Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday.  But when her bag is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case.  Her investigation leads straight to her own family and to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all.  As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading across Europe.  How long before everything explodes?

Chilling, tense and relevant, The Exiled is an electrifying, unputdownable thriller from one of Finland’s most celebrated crime writers.

My Thoughts

When Anna Fekete returns to her home town of Kanizsa in Serbia for a holiday and has her bag stolen by a thief who is later found dead her investigation takes her on journey she never expected.

This is the third book in the Detective Anna Fekete series, however it works perfectly as a standalone novel as I have not read the previous two. The first chapter immediately drew me in with it’s stunning prose and the need to know what has led to that situation as Kati gives you a glimpse of what’s to come while effectively leaving you hanging on to find out more. The following chapters take you back to events leading up to the first chapter. The structure of this book is well constructed and works extremely well as you follow Anna each day with occasional flashbacks to the past and to other characters.

The tension is built throughout the book with chapters ending at just the right moment leaving questions in the readers mind. The prose is stunning with a subtlety that adds to the atmosphere of the setting and the events that unfold. This fits perfectly with difficult subject matter that runs throughout the book.

Kati has spun a story of corruption set against the backdrop of a tenuous political climate. Current topical issues play a part in The Exiled with the current refugee crisis and the subsequent rise in the far right playing an important role in the story. Kati has covered this with an understanding and insight and yet does not force her views down your throat. She acknowledges the plight of refugees but also acknowledges the concerns of those who lives have been touched by it inadvertently.

Anna is a central component to the story, beyond being the detective who is trying to uncover the truth. Feeling rootless and struggling with her sense of identity and belonging, her experiences and feelings mirror, in some ways, those of the refugees around her. I really empathised with Anna and she is a character I look forward to finding out more about. 

The Exiled unfolds with the gradual peeling away of layers where secret upon secret is slowly unravelled. Anna’s personal journey and the social situation add to the depth of the novel, making this much more than your average thriller.

Intelligently and beautifully written, The Exiled is a tense read perfectly mixing gripping thriller with social and political commentary.

Thank you to Kati Heikkapelto and Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the copy in exchange for my review and for including me on the blog tour.

Published on 10 October 2016 by Orenda. You can purchase a copy HERE.

Author Pic

About Kati Hiekkapelto

Kati Hiekkapelto was born in 1970 in Oulu, Finland.  She wrote her first stories at the age of two and recorded them on cassette tapes.  Kati has studied Fine Arts in Liminka Art School and Special Education at the University of Jyvaskyla.  The Subject of her final thesis/dissertation was racist bullying in Finnish schools.  She went on to work as a special-needs teacher for immigrant children.  Today Kati is an international crime writer, punk singer and performance artist.  Her books The Hummingbird and The Defenceless have been translated into ten languages.  The Hummingbird was shortlisted for the Petrona Award in the UK in 2015 and The Defenceless won the best Finnish Crime Novel of the year 2014, and ha been shortlisted for the prestigious Glass Key.  She lives and writes in her 200-year-old farmhouse in Hailuoto, an island in the Gulf of Bothnia, North Finland.  In her free time she rehearses with her band, runs, hunts, picks berries and mushrooms, and gardens.  During long, dark winter months she chops wood to heat her house, shovels snow and skis.  Writing seems fairly easy, after all that.  Follow her on Twitter @HiekkapeltoKati or visit www.katihiekkapelto.com.

The Finnish Invasion Blog Tour