Crime

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Blog Tour – Ask No Questions by Lisa Hartley

Published July 16, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Some secrets were meant to stay hidden… Trust no-one

After an operation goes badly wrong, undercover specialist Detective Caelan Small leaves the Metropolitan Police for good. Or so she thinks. Then the criminal responsible is seen back in the UK.

Soon Caelan is drawn back into a dangerous investigation. But when the main lead is suddenly murdered, all bets are off. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is a suspect – even close colleagues.

Someone in the Met is involved and Caelan is being told to Ask No Questions.

That isn’t an option: Caelan needs answers… whatever the cost.

The nerve-shredding new crime thriller from bestseller Lisa Hartley starts a must-read new series. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza, it will keep you guessing until the very end.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to Faye Rogers for organising and inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to the publishers Canelo for sending me a complimentary copy of Ask No Questions in e-book format in exchange for an honest review. There was a time in my life when I pretty much used to read crime fiction exclusively before I branched out into reading other genres. However, I still love a good crime narrative and when I read the synopsis of this novel it sounded a bit different from the norm which is definitely something I am intrigued by so I was excited to give it a shot.

Our protagonist of the story is Detective Caelan Small, a police officer that specialises in undercover operations and is incredibly good at her job role – in fact, one of the best in the business. When we first meet her however, she is on hiatus after one of her past jobs went badly wrong. A small boy that she was attempting to save and a close colleague of hers was killed, the suspects managed to escape and are still at large and the repercussions of the events of that evening still haunt her. Even though she is on enforced leave, she is pulled back into the investigation when the suspect is seen once again in the UK. This time, Caelan is determined to complete the case, find out what went so horribly wrong previously and put the perps behind bars. It’s not that easy though and Caelan finds herself embroiled in a dramatic web of corruption, violence and lies. Worse still, the bodies are starting to stack up again and the finger of blame is being pointed firmly at Caelan leading to her being either a suspect for murder or in terrible danger herself.

Ask No Questions was an action-packed, roller-coaster ride of a story that left me hardly able to draw breath, there was so much going on. The plot is intricate and complicated but what I enjoyed most is that you never knew exactly what was going on right up until the end of the novel. Caelan Small isn’t your ordinary hard-boiled, bad ass female detective and this made her even more interesting to read about. She’s brave and at times, obviously reckless but she also has a strong moral sense of what’s right and wrong, a determination to see justice and a lot of heart which made her infinitely more human. If I had to criticise in any way, I might just say that it would have been nice to see a bit more of other characters which I didn’t think were fleshed out as much as Caelan was herself. Generally though, this was an exciting read with a strong plot and I’d be intrigued to find out more about Caelan as a character in future novels.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. In addition to this new series with Canelo she is also working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel.

Website: http://www.lisahartley.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rainedonparade

Thank you once again to Canelo publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a great time doing it. Ask No Questions was published on 10th July 2017 as an e-book and is available from all good book retailers now. Why not check out some of the other stops on the tour?

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35486880-ask-no-questions

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B072X2MY21

Mini Pin-It Reviews #10 – Four Thriller Novels

Published July 5, 2017 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four thriller novels for you – please see my pin it thoughts below!

1.) Panic Attack – Jason Starr

What’s it all about?:

An intruder, a desperate struggle, a family under siege: This is Jason Starr’s most provocative and suspenseful novel to date.

Dr. Adam Bloom has the perfect life. He’s financially secure and lives in a luxurious house with his wife, Dana, and their twenty-two-year-old daughter, Marissa, a recent college graduate. Late one night, his daughter wakes him up and says, “Somebody’s downstairs.” Adam uses his gun to kill one of the unarmed intruders, but the other escapes. From that moment on, everyone’s life in the Bloom household will never be the same.

Adam doesn’t feel safe, not with the other intruder out there somewhere, knowing where he lives. Dana suggests moving, but Adam has lived in the house all his life and he doesn’t want to run away. As the family recovers from the break-in and the Blooms’ already rocky relationship rapidly falls apart, Marissa meets a young, talented artist named Xan. Adam feels that something’s not quite right with Xan, but his daughter ignores his warnings and falls deeply in love with him. When suspicious things start happening to the Blooms all over again, Adam realizes that his first instinct about Xan was probably dead on.

With Panic Attack, Jason Starr is at his best, crafting a harrowing page-turner that will blow readers away.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) The Book Of Souls (Inspector McLean #2) – James Oswald

What’s it all about?:

Each year for ten years, a young woman’s body was found in Edinburgh at Christmastime: naked, throat slit, body washed clean. The final victim, Kirsty Summers, was Detective Constable Tony McLean’s fiancée. But the Christmas Killer made a mistake, and McLean put an end to the brutal killing spree.

It’s now twelve years later. A fellow prisoner has just murdered the incarcerated Christmas Killer. But with the arrival of the festive season comes a body. A young woman: naked, washed, her throat cut.

Is this a copycat killer? Was the wrong man behind bars all this time? Or is there a more frightening explanation?

McLean must revisit the most disturbing case of his life and discover what he missed before the killer strikes again . .

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

3.) The Good Girl – Mary Kubica

What’s it all about?:

‘A tremendous read’ – The Sun

Now optioned for a major movie by the company behind Winter’s Bone, Babel, Being John Malkovich and the TV series True Detective.

A compulsive debut that reveals how, even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems…

I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when they’re scared. But I will.

Mia Dennett can’t resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar.

But going home with him might turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life…

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

4.) The Shut Eye – Belinda Bauer

What’s it all about?:

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.

And now they are all his mother has left.

Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.

When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…

But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?

Or is he something far, far worse?

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP SOON ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Author Requests.

Quieter Than Killing (DI Marnie Rome #4) – Sarah Hilary

Published June 30, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

What did I think?:

If you’re a crime fiction lover and haven’t read any Sarah Hilary can I just ask why on earth not? With the fourth offering in the author’s DI Marnie Rome series that began with Someone Else’s Skin, and continued with No Other Darkness and Tastes Like Fear, Sarah Hilary has cemented herself in my eyes as the queen of British crime and with each successive novel, her writing, characters and plot just keep getting better and better. Thank you so much to Headline publishers via NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. In Marnie Rome’s London, the seedy and grittier side of our capital city is brought to life in an explosion of colour but grounded so deeply within reality that you could almost imagine that you were reading about the neighbours next door rather than fictional characters.

Marnie Rome and her wonderful sidekick Noah Jake are back and have a new case to solve. Horrific assaults are happening all over London but the strange thing about these vicious attacks is that the victim in each case has a criminal record themselves or a record of having wronged someone in their past. Marnie and her team immediately hit on the idea of a vigilante attempting to dole out justice for past crimes in the strangest and most brutal way possible. There are a few very important alternative threads to this story however. A ten year old boy has been kidnapped and is being held hostage at an unknown address by an unknown perpetrator. Furthermore, Marnie’s childhood home has been burgled with the tenants living there at the time subjected to a nasty beating, leading to them being hospitalised. In this convoluted plot and intricate web of secrets, violence and manipulation how are all these threads linked and why is Marnie and her personal life being dragged into the battle?

If I had to compare this book to the previous two novels in the Marnie Rome series I would say that Quieter Than Killing is slightly slower in pace but this is in no way, shape or form an insult to the writing. In fact, I loved that we got to learn so much more about our characters as individuals, with their own problematic families and personal lives. This novel exudes more of a quiet menace that is simply delicious to experience and although it could easily be read as a stand alone, I highly recommend reading the series from the beginning to get the full flavour of our character’s back stories which is hugely important for the plot. Once again, I adored the relationship between Marnie and Noah (please don’t ever break them up Sarah!) and just feel these characters keep getting stronger, more “real,” and infinitely more intriguing where I just keep wanting more. I’m eagerly anticipating the fifth book in the series which I’m certain will be another belter and I can’t wait to become immersed in Marnie’s world once more.

To read my interview with the wonderful Sarah Hilary, please see my post HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Short Stories Challenge 2017 – Fruits by Steve Mosby from the collection The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime Volume 7

Published June 28, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s Fruits all about?:

Fruits follows a man locked in a cell reminiscing about the frightening events that caused him to be placed there.

What did I think?:

Steve Mosby is another new to me author which is one of the reasons why I’m loving my Short Stories Challenge so much. I get to read so many different authors that I’ve never heard of before, especially in collections such as these where you get a variety of styles under the same genre – crime fiction. He is the author of novels such as The Murder Code and The Nightmare Place which have been translated into nine different languages and rocketed to the top ten on bestseller lists in countries such as France, Germany and Holland. Now after reading Steve’s work, this is definitely an author I need to read more from. Fruits is shorter than your average short story but his lyrical style of writing and carefully chosen words really pack a punch.

Our narrator for the story is John who is writing to his partner, Caroline knowing that she may never receive his letters. He is being held captive in a tiny cell with a dirty mattress and a hole for a toilet whilst outside he can see beautiful countryside and a prominent apple tree, the fruits of which make it to his plate every morning on a tray that his captor pushes inside every morning without John noticing. His jailer has also started putting a scrap of paper on the tray alongside his food and it is this that John is using to write to Caroline, to set some things straight, to apologise and to try and redeem himself.

John is a writer by trade and recently he wrote a rather controversial book that focused on the murder of a woman called Jane Ellis, whose body and murderer has never been found or brought to justice. John used the fact that a rose was sent to Jane’s husband one year after his disappearance with a note saying that “she lives forever,” as a way to tell her story and certainly not to “exploit her,” as some individuals accused him of. Now John has ended up in a very tricky situation, held in a cell with no hope of release, eating apples from the tree outside but certain he is being poisoned in other ways and hearing/seeing other things outside his cell that makes him understand how Jane Ellis and victims like her could potentially be living forever.

I really admire the author of this short story for putting so much detail into such a short space of time. It is written beautifully and with such finesse that I immediately went back to the beginning and started again to try and pick up on little things that I may have missed first time around. It leaves you with so many questions in the end – about John and his relationship with his captor and about the captor himself and his past, present and potential future. I’d almost love another companion story from the captor’s eyes just to try and understand exactly what has been going on. I don’t really want to say too much more about the plot or the ending for fear of spoiling things but on the strength of this little story alone I’ll certainly be looking out for more work by Steve Mosby.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT SHORT STORY: Stations Of The Cross by Julie Orringer from the collection How To Breathe Underwater.

Talking About I See You by Clare Mackintosh with Chrissi Reads

Published June 17, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: What were your initial thoughts before reading this book?

BETH: I was excited! We reviewed Claire’s debut novel I Let You Go as part of our “Talking About” feature and we both really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading this one. Particularly when I read the synopsis which sounded so intriguing that I had high expectations for the novel as a whole. Plus I received a copy recently from the lovely Book And A Brew subscription box people and I was trying to make room and time to read it so when it appeared on the Richard and Judy bookclub list (which we follow almost religiously) I was very pleased as I would finally have a chance to get to it.

BETH: What did you make of Zoe’s relationship with her ex-husband Matt compared to her current relationship with Simon?

CHRISSI: A good question! I actually found Zoe’s relationship with Simon to be a little bit too good to be true. I didn’t like Simon much as a character. He grated on me, for some reason! He was jealous of Matt which made things awkward for Zoe. I thought that Zoe got on remarkably well with her ex-husband. She seemed to rely on him a little bit compared to Simon. I guess when you have children together there’s going to be a connection there still, especially if it ends amicably.

CHRISSI: Did you find this book predictable at all?

BETH: No, not really to be honest. Now I’m wondering if you did? I didn’t really see anything coming, from the start of the book and the reason why women’s photographs were being used in the paper to the end of the novel and the “final reveal” where the perp is unmasked. I always appreciate it when I can’t see things coming and the author manages to surprise me.

BETH: The character of Kelly, a policewoman, is a bit of a “loose cannon,” did you enjoy reading about her story?

CHRISSI: I really enjoyed reading Kelly’s story. I actually liked Kelly. She was a well meaning character even if she was a little bit of a ‘loose cannon’. She was incredibly eager. Her heart was always in her actions and you can’t ask for more than that!

CHRISSI: Zoe is a very ordinary woman – do you think a central character in a thriller needs to be relatable to make the story work?

BETH: Great question! Hmmm, yes I do think they do but I never thought about it in that way before. A normal, relatable character like Zoe who is incredibly ordinary and has the same worries, pressures and flaws as the rest of us made me instantly like her and connect to her story more than I would have done if the character had been entirely alien to me. It made me sympathise with her predicament a lot more and root for her and her family.

BETH: Were you shocked by the final page at all? (no spoilers!)

CHRISSI: TOTALLY! This answers your earlier question to me about predictability. No, I did not see that coming at all. I can imagine that I looked like a cartoon character with their eyes popping out. Yes, that was totally me when reading that final page. I love it when author’s can shock me and Clare totally did that.

CHRISSI: Does this book live up to Clare’s debut?

BETH: Oh gosh. This is where it’s going to get tough. I Let You Go was such a brilliant read that I think it was going to be very difficult to live up to. When I first started I See You, I have to admit to being slightly concerned as it read very slow for me at the start and I kind of wondered when the action would start to kick in. About two-thirds of the way through however, I did become much more invested in the story and, as I mentioned, in Zoe’s character although I did find the ending slightly rushed. Is it as good as her debut? Not quite but it’s still a solid thriller that I’d recommend.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would. Even though I felt like this book was a little slow to start, I was captivated before long and the plot twists really got me. That ending as well… superb! Clare Mackintosh is a great writer for this genre and I wouldn’t think twice about picking up her next book!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

Blog Tour – Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Published June 9, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A saga of love, family ties, and twisted passions from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obsession

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to Clara Diaz and Little, Brown publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and sending me a complimentary copy of Nora Roberts’ new novel, Come Sundown in exchange for an honest review. Strangely enough, I first came across Nora Roberts through Little, Brown publishers themselves when they asked me if I’d be interested in participating in a blog tour for the latest book in her futuristic suspense In Death series which she writes under a pseudonym, J.D. Robb. I really enjoyed the novel, Echoes In Death and was determined to seek out some more of her work. Thanks to Little, Brown I didn’t have to wait long! In Come Sundown, there’s a lot more romance compared to Echoes In Death but it still had a classic, sometimes terrifying crime focus and, in some ways, felt a lot more sinister which I did appreciate, being somewhat of a sucker for a darker narrative.

The story is set in Montana on a ranch owned by a hard-working dynasty of a family and spear-headed by the strong and independent Bodine Longbow, who has an incredibly loyal support network of family, friends and employees behind her willing her on and assisting her in every way possible when required. There are some fierce and fantastic characters in her family, namely her mother and grandmother whom even after undergoing so much personal hardship in their pasts are committed to their family in the present time and have a clear and blissful vision of what the future could hold.

Many years ago, Bodine’s Aunt Alice left her family in search of bigger adventures and has not returned, breaking her mother’s heart and angering others. Since then, things have been relatively peaceful on the ranch, everyone has muddled through and the business has become extremely successful. When a childhood friend of Bodine’s, Callen Skinner returns to the ranch and begins working there, things may also be looking up in the romantic sense too! However, when the body of an employee is found on the ranch in suspicious circumstances and Aunt Alice unexpectedly returns with devastating news to share, Bodine begins to realise that her haven of peace, tranquillity and control may not be so safe anymore.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot of this novel as it’s honestly so much better to just discover it all for yourself. Personally, I was delighted by what I found. It was the perfect mixture of romance, suspense and mystery all rolled into one and I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a big romance fan. For some reason, the relationships in this book just worked for me. This includes the non-romantic ones I hasten to add! I really loved the family dynamics between Bodine and her mother, grandmother, brothers and also the strong friendship she ends up forging with Jessica, events manager for the site. To top it all off (and my favourite part of the novel) was an incredibly strong and eerie crime plot with a villain that will send chills down your spine and make you think a lot deeper about the psychological damage and lasting effects that accompany a hugely traumatic event. I’m very pleased I read this novel, it was a lot deeper and darker than I was expecting and I certainly won’t hesitate to pick up another story by Nora Roberts.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Nora Roberts is the number one New York Times bestseller
of more than 200 novels. With over 500 million copies of her
books in print, she is indisputably one of the most celebrated
and popular writers in the world. She is a Sunday Times
hardback bestseller writing as both Nora Roberts and J.D.
Robb.

Find Nora on her website at http://www.noraroberts.com/

Or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/norarobertsjdrobb

Thank you once again to Little, Brown publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a great time doing it. Come Sundown was published on 30th May 2017 and is available from all good bookshops now. Why not check out some of the other stops on the tour?

 

Short Stories Challenge 2017 – Thorn In My Side by Karin Slaughter (stand-alone)

Published May 23, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s Thorn In My Side all about?:

It could have been just any night, and they could have just been any two brothers — but it wasn’t, and they weren’t. The scene is an Atlanta bar. The music is loud and the dance floor is packed. The good-looking brother picks up a girl. But when dark deeds ensue out in the parking lot, what happens next can only be described in two words: vintage Slaughter.

What did I think?:

Okay, so I think regular visitors to my blog are aware that Karin Slaughter can’t do much wrong in my eyes and I always get a little bit excited when one of her short stories rolls around on my Short Stories Challenge. As the synopsis suggests, “vintage Slaughter,” is perfect terminology to use as what happens during this story is shocking, compelling and disturbing, everything I’ve come to expect from the author and yet she still manages to surprise me, every single time.

This very dark, twisted little tale involves two brothers who have a very interesting relationship with each other and a are a bit different from the norm. I do want to veer away from spoilers as I really enjoyed the surprise myself when the reader finds out what makes them special but it might make writing this review quite tough, apologies for any vagueness! The brothers are called Kirk and Wayne and are as different as chalk and cheese. Kirk is the more confident, wise-cracking, brash brother that has a bit of an eye for the ladies and Wayne is the softer, more unassuming, shy brother of the two which causes its own problems for Kirk for reasons I simply cannot divulge. However, one night they pay a prostitute to ahem… service Kirk in the back of their van at a club and things go very badly. This is the tale of the relationship between a very unique set of brothers that has been simmering just below boiling point for so long, but one catastrophic set of events tips things right over the edge and changes both brothers lives forever.

Doesn’t sound too very shocking in the grand scheme of things? Think again. There’s a lot of things I’m not able to say in this review for fear of ruining the shock factor that I myself felt when I realised the direction Slaughter was taking the narrative. She has a fantastic way of writing the most loathsome characters, like Kirk, the self-assured yet incredibly dangerous brother who I loved reading about but made my skin crawl with his actions and the decisions he makes. The author describes it herself on GoodReads as a bit of a departure story for her from what she usually writes and there are a couple of lower starred reviews that may reflect this. For me however, I thought it was a disturbing yet intriguing read with many of her classic trademarks that I appreciated. Maybe it’s not a story for everyone sure, especially the more sensitive or easily offended but personally, I think she’s knocked it out of the park once again.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT SHORT STORY: The Drowned Village by Kate Mosse from the collection The Mistletoe Bride And Other Haunting Tales