Crime

All posts in the Crime category

Block 46 (Emily Roy & Alexis Castells #1) – Johana Gustawsson (translated by Maxim Jakubowski)

Published July 31, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

In Falkenberg, Sweden, the mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer Linnea Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In 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.

What did I think?:

All my favourite bloggers have been telling me to read this novel from the Queen of French Noir, Johana Gustawsson and I’ve been putting it off for goodness knows how long but there came a time when I could no longer delay the inevitable and I finally succumbed, gave in, folded, (however else you want to describe it) and all I can say is THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE. This debut novel and the first in a new series is the most excited I’ve been about a debut since Cara Hunter’s Close To Home and I devoured it within a couple of days, reluctant to return to ordinary life each time I picked it up, it was that compelling and had me thoroughly enraptured by the power of both the subject matter and the extraordinary writing.

Johana Gustawsson, author of Block 46, the first novel in the Roy and Castells series.

Like many of my other preferred narrative styles, Block 46 takes place across two time periods. The first is the present day and follows two women, crime writer Alexis Castells and profiler Emily Roy who team up when a series of gruesome murders plague both London and Sweden. Are the murders committed by the same people? Is it a single serial killer or a duo? Why in particular has the killer(s) chosen to focus on these geographical areas? Then the author takes us back to the past, the 1940’s to be exact where we follow a man, Erich Hebner who is incarcerated in the brutal Buchenwald concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Roy and Castells must discover how these two time-lines are connected and attempt to stop a crazed killer who will stop at nothing in order to carry out his convoluted, incredibly twisted little mission.

Prisoners during a roll call at Buchenwald concentration camp.

I don’t know how eloquent I’m going to be at convincing you that if you haven’t read this book yet and you enjoy a gritty, shocking piece of crime fiction, you should pick this book up immediately. I feel a bit cross with myself for not picking this book up earlier myself as I was completely engrossed as soon as I had got to the end of the first page! I don’t often do one-off Tweets about a book I’m currently reading unless I have very strong opinions about the novel either way but with Block 46, I just couldn’t help myself. Part of it is set during one of my favourite periods of history to read about, Nazi Germany but I felt this author found brand new ways to tell me about the suffering of prisoners in the camps that opened my eyes as if I had been reading about the horrors for the very first time. It was intense, it was horrific, it was emotional and grotesque all at the same time. There were some events that occurred where I thought I wouldn’t be able to bear it but even through this, I prevailed because I literally couldn’t put this book down.

I couldn’t help but think as I was reading about how the treatment of the prisoners in concentration camps actually happened. It was this cold, it was this cruel, it was this malicious. The author’s grandfather was actually liberated from Buchenwald camp in 1945 so it’s plain that she has not only a very personal connection to the atrocities perpetuated in that place but has carried out her research diligently and sensitively. On another note and credit to the translator, at no point did it feel like I was reading a translated work, it felt just as raw, sharp and honest in English as I’m sure it does in the author’s native French. Let me just take a moment and mention the characters also, particularly Roy and Castells who I immediately warmed to and who definitely have mysterious depths that I’m hoping get probed a bit further in future books in the series. I especially loved the enigmatic Emily Roy, a no nonsense, blunt, independent woman who is quite the closed book when we first meet her and doesn’t always behave in a socially acceptable way (I can relate to this, I’m incredibly awkward at times!) but there are reasons behind her “poker face” demeanour that we start to discover near the end of the novel and personally, it was really affecting for me.

Finally, can we PLEASE talk about that ending. This is actually when I tweeted my message, it made me gasp out loud whilst waiting in a coffee shop for a hospital appointment and I got quite a few odd looks in return when customers saw the *gasp* was about a book. I know you bookworms would understand though?! All I can say about it is that it was pure and utter brilliance. I didn’t see it coming, I don’t think you could ever predict it and it elevated the author and her talent to even greater heights in my eyes. Now that I’m thinking about the way I delayed reading this book, I’m actually pretty glad I did. It meant I could immediately order the second book from Johana Gustawsson, called Keeper straight after I had finished reading Block 46, something I’m not sure I’ve ever done before. I can already tell that this author has the potential to become a firm favourite where I buy/pre-order her books the second I get the chance to and Block 46 has certainly earned its place on my favourites shelf where I look forward to reading it again in the future.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

Published July 25, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

From The #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Of Gone Girl

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

What did I think?:

If you’ve never read any Gillian Flynn before, please, PLEASE believe the hype and go and read Gone Girl immediately. It remains one of my favourite thrillers of all time and when I heard she had published two other books, well of course I had to read them, but so far, they haven’t really lived up to the dizzying heights of her third and most popular novel. The interesting thing about Flynn’s writing is exactly how low and how dark she can sink. If you’re not a fan of the grotesque, the macabre, bad language, violence and perversion, you might want to steer clear of her writing but if you can handle all this (and much more!), I definitely recommend her as a brave, unique author with oodles of talent dripping from her very core.

Gillian Flynn, author of Dark Places.

This story follows our female protagonist, Libby Day whose mother and two sisters were brutally killed in a massacre that almost led to her losing her own life too. She has accused her brother Ben, of carrying out the vicious crime and he remains in prison to this day. Libby has survived by living on handouts from concerned members of the public although the money is starting to dry up and run out which is obviously a huge worry. She decides to connect with members of an exclusive group, The Kill Club who believe they have information to suggest Ben was NOT the one to carry out the murders. If this is the case, who did? Can Libby ever live with the guilt of letting a potentially innocent brother be imprisoned? And if the killer is still out there, what does that mean for Libby – the one that got away?

Kansas, USA where Libby grows up and escapes from a massacre. Also well known for its cyclones AKA The Wizard Of Oz!

This was a strange, warped and highly disturbing journey. Not for the easily sensitive or offended, if you want to read Dark Places and you struggle and have to put it down at points, I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest. It’s got every bit of depraved activity that you could ever imagine in a controversial thriller including molestation, under-age sex, satanic rituals, violence and drugs. Both the characters and plot-lines are filled with all kinds of nasty, it occasionally got difficult to read, even for myself who is very rarely squeamish so I think that says it all! Told in one of my favourite narrative styles, from three different points of view we hear from Libby’s mother Patty Day as she struggles with her heavy-metal, Satan worshipping son Ben, we also hear from Ben himself and finally from our female lead, Libby. Darkness abounds plentifully in this novel, nothing is quite what it seems and although the ending wasn’t quite what I was anticipating, it was one hell of a twisted ride to get there.

As an author, I really admire the places that Gillian Flynn goes to provoking that reaction from her reader and it certainly had me on the edge of the seat, uncertain what exactly I was going to read next. I don’t think it’s her best book, that title still has to be awarded to Gone Girl, in my opinion but I can’t help but respect her for not being afraid to show the murkier side of both our characters and life in general. As I’ve already read Sharp Objects, I have only to read The Grownup, a novella and then I’ve read everything she’s ever published. I’m really hoping that she writes something else again soon, I can hardly bear the suspense of wondering how much more horrifying her fiction can get?!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

Blog Tour – Girls’ Night Out – Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Published July 24, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

What did I think?:

First of all, thank you so much to Sian, Annabelle and Lake Union Publishing for getting in contact and asking if I’d like to participate in the blog tour for this thrilling novel and for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Well, where do I start? You know when a book comes along at exactly the right time in your life and for some reason or another, something either about the characters or content moves you? Step right up, Girls’ Night Out. I happen to have returned this year from a once in a lifetime holiday to Mexico which was a necessary process of healing for me after a traumatic eighteen months in my life. Our girls in the novel go on such a holiday themselves and it was wonderful to read about a country, and indeed specific places that I knew so well from my own experience, it only made the novel and the difficult situation experienced by our female leads all the more endearing and exciting.

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, authors of Girls’ Night Out.

I’ll just pop off a very basic synopsis here but to be perfectly honest, you really need to go into this novel without knowing very much at all. It’s the story of three friends: Natalie, Ashley and Lauren. Natalie and Ashley have a very successful business together but are at loggerheads at the moment after Revlon make them an offer to buy their company. Ashley and Lauren also have a very tense and fragile relationship which stems from a resentful argument that happened just after Lauren’s husbands death. Ashley has arranged the trip to Mexico to try and re-connect with both Natalie and Lauren and repair the cracks in their friendships. However, things don’t go exactly to plan and when Ashley mysteriously disappears without a trace, Natalie and Lauren must confront more things in their past than they were ever prepared to challenge.

The Gran Cenote, Tulum, Mexico. I’m lucky enough to have actually been here!

So, as I mentioned, I immediately leapt at the chance to read this book, particularly as I had just spent time in that exact area but even better besides, this book actually exceeded my expectations. It’s easy to read, obviously exciting and action-packed, has an air of mystery and intrigue that is undeniable and instantly captivating and I was simply a willing participant in the mysterious ride of what exactly happened to Ashley. The narrative jumps across time-lines and narrators from each female lead, to the days leading up to Ashley’s disappearance then fast forwards to the present time where the girls are desperately trying to piece together what went on and then finally, to that fateful night itself. Page by page, the tension continues to creep up notch by notch and by the end, it becomes a furiously page-turning journey where I just HAD to have all the answers to all my (many!) questions.

I wouldn’t necessarily say the authors throw multiple red herrings the readers way, it’s not a twisty kind of book in my opinion. It’s more about the mystery behind what happened, focusing heavily on the friendships between the girls, their marriages, their business relationships and a rogue factor that may or may not have had bearing on the precarious situation that Ashley finds herself in. For me, I just enjoyed this book for what it was – a fun and fascinating musing on the nature of relationships and how much of a devastating effect a sour element can create between previously intimate friends.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for over 25 years and survived high school and college together. They’ve co-authored four novels, including the bestseller THE GOOD WIDOW. Liz lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and five rescue dogs. Their next suspense novel, Girls’ Night Out, is out July 24th, 2018.

Connect with Liz and Lisa:

www.lizandlisa.com
Instagram: @lisaandliz
Twitter: @lizandlisa
FB: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Thank you once again to Sian, Annabelle and Lake Union Publishing for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke is published in paperback and eBook on 24th July by Lake Union Publishing. If you fancy some more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

Link to Girls’ Night Out on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37759098-girls-night-out?ac=1&from_search=true

Link to Girls’ Night Out on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girls-Night-Out-Liz-Fenton/dp/1503902560/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532272808&sr=8-1&keywords=girls+night+out+book

In The Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) – Cara Hunter

Published July 23, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive…

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. And the elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock – how could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . .

What did I think?:

Unashamed fan-girling ahead. You have been warned. I’m probably one of Cara Hunter’s biggest fans after adoring her debut novel, Close To Home last year with my sister, Chrissi Reads which was the first in a new series starring Detective Inspector Adam Fawley. Then I was delighted to discover that In The Dark, the follow up was coming out much sooner than I anticipated. So of course I loved the first one so much I immediately put it on pre order at Amazon and it pinged onto my Kindle on the 12th July making for a very happy Beth. Now I love a good thriller and it used to be all I would exclusively read however, I found them all getting a bit “samey,” and I stopped reading them for a while, getting slightly bored and disillusioned with the genre as a whole. Then there came two of my favourite British authors writing in crime today – Sarah Hilary and now Cara Hunter. The way they write their novels/series is just DIFFERENT, I’m not sure if I can even explain it. Both ladies have the gift of creating such authentic, believable characters and neither author shies away from the grittier reality of the crimes that they explore in their stories.

Cara Hunter, author of In The Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2).

If you’ve read the story of Daisy Mason in Close To Home and think that was dark and twisted I’m afraid it’s got nothing on this horrifying case DI Adam Fawley and his team of intrepid detectives are about to investigate. It involves a young woman and a child who are found trapped in a basement, presumably after having been captive there for a number of months/years. The gentleman who owns (and still lives) in the house is suffering from dementia but in his more lucid moments, he denies knowing anything about their existence. So what is the truth? Fawley must draw on all his resources to untangle the tangled web of deceit and potentially uncover a link to another crime involving the disappearance of a young woman, but this plot is much more convoluted than he ever could have expected.

The beautiful city of Oxford which In The Dark calls its home.

I had a sneaking suspicion Cara Hunter was going to become one of my favourite authors and that has definitely been confirmed with the majesty of In The Dark, a nail-biting, gripping read where you really have no idea what’s coming. We have a slow release of breadcrumbs of clues along the way, followed by an ever so gradual reveal which has you questioning how on earth she managed to pull together all the strands of this plot in the first place! As always, the characters are everything and really make this series something to be savoured, leisurely and deliberately. Although Fawley is of course our lead, one of the greatest thing about this series is that we find out so much about the other detectives on the case in addition to our main man. You know when an author focuses on one lead and it’s obvious they’ve put all their efforts into them as the rest of the characters feel slightly hazy in comparison? Not the case with this series. ALL the characters have their own personalities, their own quirks and their own questionable actions. In short, they all feel like people who really exist, who you might know in “real life,” and this is one of the very many reasons why this series is such a delight to read.

I’ve already mentioned how twisted and intricate the plot is but let me re-iterate it once more. I should perhaps learn to expect something astronomically distorted with this author’s work but twice now she’s managed to shock and surprise me. I’m enamoured with the way she uses interview and social media transcripts and newspaper articles to compliment her story and like Close To Home, this was used once more to wonderful effect. It not only gave me a short break from all the tension, schemes and madness but also whetted my appetite for what was to come. This is a series I can confirm with every confidence in the world that I will DEFINITELY be continuing with and one of the few series that I can also see myself sticking with for however long it runs for. There’s so many times I’ve just lost interest in an author’s work after a disappointing instalment but I really don’t see that happening with DI Adam Fawley – it’s just too good to miss out on.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Mid Year Freak Out Tag 2018

Published July 3, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to a tag that’s really doing the rounds at the moment – the Mid Year Freak Out Tag which I loved doing last year. Here we go!

1.) The Best Book You’ve Read So Far This Year

This book has now made it onto my all time favourites shelf and I’m already dying to re-read it which usually doesn’t happen for a few years at least! It broke my heart and made me laugh in equal measure and if I’m ever asked for a recommendation, this is the latest book that I push into the hands of everyone who asks. 

2.) Your Favourite Sequel This Year?

I’ve got a feeling that one of the Marnie Rome books appeared in this spot last year, I’m so predictable haha! For me, this series keeps getting better and better and this book for “favourite sequel” spot was a no-brainer.

3.) A New Release That You Haven’t Read Yet But Really Want To?

Okay, so I was initially put off this book because I heard it was about ice hockey. I’m not a huge fan of reading about sports so thought it wasn’t for me. Then I started to see all the amazing reviews, then I realised it wasn’t just about ice hockey, NOW my fellow bloggers are starting to virtually bash me on the head for not having read it so far. This will happen soon, I promise. Er, this month or next month I mean!! For my interview with Fredrik Backman – please see my post HERE. (shameless plug).

4.) Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of The Year?

I think I might have already mentioned Melmoth by Sarah Perry in a previous tag but Bridge Of Clay by Markus Zusak is another one I’ve got on pre-order and am really excited for it to be released!

5.) Your Biggest Disappointment?

I was going to choose one of our Banned Books, Blood And Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause for this answer but in the end, I’m going to choose this. Lee Child has so many fans around the world, I really, REALLY wanted to like this book. I don’t know what it was, maybe I came to the series too late but I didn’t get on with it at all. Huge disappointment! Read my review HERE (but please LC fans, don’t come after me with pointy sticks!)

6.) Biggest Surprise Of The Year?

I read this as a buddy read with the lovely Stuart from Always Trust In Books. It was our first buddy read together so I will always have fond memories of it because of that but I honestly wasn’t prepared for how much I enjoyed this. I was completely gripped the whole way through and this is the first YA series that has got right under my skin for a long time now. Check out my review and our Twitter chat HERE.

We recently read a non fiction together, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt so look out for our review on that coming in the next couple of weeks. We are also just about to start on the follow up to Scythe, called Thunderhead and I think I can say for both of us that we are VERY excited!

7.) Favourite New To You Or Debut Author?

This was an easy pick for me. I read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine with my blogger BFF Janel at Keeper Of Pages as our second buddy read and it was also our second five star! Gail Honeyman is new to me and she is also a debut author so that ticks both boxes and I can safely say, whatever she writes next I will be pre-ordering and incredibly excited for.

8.) Your New Fictional Crush?

I have to be honest, I don’t really get fictional crushes but if I had to choose, I’d choose Henry from one of my all time favourite books, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which I re-read again this year. He’s a little bit mysterious, a little bit dangerous and I love the way he loves Clare. I’m not big on romance but their relationship just captured my heart.

9.) New Favourite Character?

I read the Nightingale with Janel @ Keeper Of Pages for our third buddy read and although my review isn’t up until tomorrow (spoiler alert, I ADORED it!) I had to include it on this tag because I completely fell in love with the character of Isabelle. I’ll talk more about her tomorrow but wow, I don’t think I’ll ever forget her!

10.) A Book That Made You Cry?

It takes a lot for a book to make me cry, I’m not sure why! But when a book does, I will never forget it. I came close to crying with The Heart’s Invisible Furies and The Nightingale, books I’ve already mentioned in this tag but I really teared up during a particular moment of H Is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, a non fiction book about grief and falconry where Helen is feeling sad and then plays with her hawk for the first time. It’s really heart-warming and was a passage I read over and over again.

11.) A Book That Made You Happy?

Matilda by Roald Dahl, an old childhood favourite and one Chrissi Reads and I picked for our Kid-Lit challenge this year. I absolutely adore it and it’s always a delight to re-read. 

12.) Your Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation That You’ve Seen This Year?

Has to be The Handmaid’s Tale, adapted from the novel by Margaret Atwood. I love the book (it’s another of my all-time favourites) and I loved the TV series too, I’m currently watching the second one on Channel 4 and it’s so chilling!

13.) Favourite Book Post You’ve Published This Year?

I hate this question as I’m always really insecure about how my blog posts are received. I guess there’s two I’m quite pleased with for very different reasons, Another Day In The Death Of America where I really enjoyed ranting about guns in America and The Time Traveler’s Wife which I’ve already mentioned above where I got into some quite personal details about my own life. 

14.) The Most Beautiful Book You Have Bought/Received This Year?

I’m actually on a book buying ban this year (this excludes pre-orders and any books I might receive for my birthday of course!) so I’ve been really good about not buying many. I did get this beautiful Penguin clothbound classic of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott from my boyfriend for my birthday while we were on holiday in Mexico which was a lovely surprise!

15.) What Are Some Books That You Need To Read By The End Of The Year?

These are the main two books that my fellow bloggers have been begging me to read soon. And I will, I promise!

So that’s my answers, thank you so much for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed my choices. Let me know in the comments if you agree with me or tell me what you might choose yourself. Anyone who wants to do this and hasn’t done it yet, consider yourself tagged!

 

Talking About Persons Unknown (DS Manon #2) by Susie Steiner with Chrissi Reads

Published July 2, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The sequel to Susie Steiner’s bestselling MISSING, PRESUMED

Manon has settled back into life in Cambridgeshire with her adopted son Fly. She’s perfectly happy working on cold cases until a man is stabbed to death just yards from the police station, and both the victim and the prime suspect turn out to be much closer to home than she would like. How well does Manon know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: We read Missing, Presumed, the first book to feature Manon. Do you think you needed to, in order to read and enjoy Persons Unknown? Why/why not?

BETH: Hmmm, interesting question. Normally I’m a stickler for reading series in order but I know other people aren’t that precious, especially if the book in question can easily be read as a stand-alone. I think Persons Unknown is definitely one of these books and I don’t think you need to read the first novel in the series necessarily as they are both completely different cases that Manon is involved with. However, if you’re anything like me, you like the background of the character and how they’ve got to this point in their lives. Also, I do think that Manon’s experiences with her adopted son Fly will be better understood if you read Missing, Presumed.

BETH: How did you find the relationship between Manon and her adopted son, Fly? Do you think this is threatened at all by her pregnancy?

CHRISSI: I think Manon and Fly’s relationship was difficult. He had come from a troubled, prejudiced background and needed time to adapt to his new surroundings and family environment. I felt that Fly did feel threatened by her pregnancy. Fly had come from a difficult background and probably felt like his adoptive’s mum pregnancy would affect his relationship with her. After all, the unborn baby was biologically hers. No matter how much she adored Fly, which I truly think she did, it has to have an affect on him.

CHRISSI: There are links to corruption in high finance and the exploitation of young women. Does the way Susie Steiner addresses these very contemporary concerns shed new light on them for you?

BETH: I have to admit, I don’t have too much knowledge on these subjects in general except what I see in the news. So, it was refreshing to get this perspective in a novel, especially with all the Cambridge Analytica horrors that have been exposed in the media recently. I did feel after reading it that I had a better understanding of corruption and the forms it can take and obviously, felt complete abhorrence at what happens to the young women that are exploited in this story.

BETH: Manon moved Fly from London to Cambridgeshire in order to keep him safe from prejudice and violence. Was she right to do this?

CHRISSI: I think Manon’s intentions were honourable. She didn’t want Fly to suffer from prejudice and be around violence. Part of me thinks that she should have stayed in London to teach Fly how to deal with such things. Prejudice and violence can be seen anywhere in the country, let alone anywhere in the world. I’m not so sure she wasn’t teaching him to run away from his problems.

CHRISSI: Does this book stand out in its genre?

BETH: For me, it does. There’s something quite refreshing and unique about Susie Steiner’s writing and characterisation that always makes her novels interesting to read. I love the slow pace of the plot, the development of Manon and the gradual reveal of secrets where you can never quite predict what’s going to happen.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I think I would. She’s not one of my favourite writers, but I think her books are interesting and I’m certainly not turned off by her books or her writing. Actually, it’s credit to her that I do enjoy her books. I’m not a fan of crime-led fiction!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Blog Tour – I Never Lie by Jody Sabral

Published June 26, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic who is teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. When a series of murders occur within a couple of miles of her East London home she is given another chance to prove her skill and report the unfolding events. She thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton, B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh. 

What did I think?:

First of all, thank you so much to Ellie Pilcher for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Canelo Publishers for the free digital copy of I Never Lie in exchange for an honest review. As soon as I received the invitation to review this novel from Ellie and read the synopsis, I immediately knew I had to accept. It felt a bit “Girl On The Train-esque” and I do adore an unreliable narrator so this novel was a must read in my eyes. Now I normally hate comparisons to famous books like Gone Girl and Girl On The Train but let me assure you, the publishers have not promoted it in any way as being similar to these blockbusters, it’s completely my own interpretation of an alcoholic female character as being somewhat familiar territory. Luckily, I was delighted to discover that the alcoholic lead is the only thing that I Never Lie has in common with Girl On The Train. This book stands completely on its own as a gripping story of a troubled woman trying to get back on her feet (and being hopelessly in thrall to her addiction) and it was a thrilling, highly enjoyable read.

Jody Sabral, author of I Never Lie.

As with most mysteries/crime fictions, to say too much more about the synopsis would be giving far too many spoilers about the novel and I’m certainly not one to ruin things for everyone! Our female protagonist is Alex South, journalist flying high in her career until one live drunken report which threatens to ruin everything for good. You see, Alex is an alcoholic who was already drinking excessively when living in Manchester with her boyfriend but after a devastating miscarriage and break-up, she moved to East London where she continues to deny she has a problem at all. When a body is found in a park close to her home, she seizes the opportunity to revive her career and begs for the opportunity to investigate and get involved. Then the bodies of further women are found who have been killed in the same manner and when Alex continues to be lead journalist on the story and begins to blackout from drinking binges, she begins to realises that there may be far more demons that she has to face other than the ones in the bottle.

London, England, February 27, 2015: The River Thames meanders through the cityscape of East London as seen from the Docklands Canary Wharf Tower.

Jody Sabral has had a lot of experience working as a journalist and this completely shines through in her writing. Not in that it’s matter-of-fact and quite clinical in the story-telling but in her knowledge of the industry and how processes work, particularly in the field of crime reporting. The narrative itself is intriguing and although it isn’t action-packed, I don’t think it needs to be to tell an exciting story. The whole novel is much more character focused which I really love in a good mystery and is much more about Alex’s internal struggles and colourful past rather than vivid descriptions of murder scenes. Alex is not particularly likeable and sometimes I did get frustrated and just wanted to shake her but she felt completely believable as a normal person with flaws and a seemingly unconquerable addiction.

One of my favourite parts of I Never Lie had to be the diary extracts from an unknown woman which are interspersed with Alex’s story. Who is she and what connection does she have to Alex and to the murders in East London? Jody Sabral is an expert at slow, gradual reveals, red herrings and unexpected twists and just when you think you have it all figured out – you find you’re completely wrong. I’m definitely excited to read something else by this author!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Jody Sabral is based between the South Coast and London, where she works as a Foreign Desk editor and video producer at the BBC. She is a graduate of the MA in Crime Fiction at City University, London. Jody worked as a journalist in Turkey for ten years, covering the region for various international broadcasters. She self-published her first book Changing Borders in 2012 and won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2014 for her second novel The Movement. In addition to working for the BBC, Jody also writes for the Huffington Post, Al–Monitor and Brics Post.

Find Jody on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6648584.Jody_Sabral

on her website at: https://jodysabral.com/

on Twitter at: @jsabral

Thank you once again to Ellie Pilcher and Canelo Publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. I Never Lie was published on the 11th June 2018 and is available as a e-book. If you fancy some more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

Link to I Never Lie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40046711-i-never-lie?ac=1&from_search=true

Link to I Never Lie on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Lie-compelling-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07CV8KK49/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529840996&sr=8-1&keywords=i+never+lie+jody+sabral