The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

theliarsgirl

Length: 336 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

The Review: I had read Distress Signals (review here) and really enjoyed but I have to admit when I read the opening chapter of this I was hopping around. Because this was fully up my street, heading more into the territory of everyday psychological thriller (kinda Kathryn Crofty for anyone who read her, for those of you who are fed up of me comparing everyone to her, I’m sorry, but she’s my holy grail in psychological thrillers to date).

Our protagonist, Alison Smith, has been called back to Dublin to talk to her ex boyfriend, who is in a psychiatric hospital after admitting to the murder of female students of St John’s University, ten years ago.  With a new killer repeating history Will is saying he has information that he will only tell her. Here is a book that sends you around in circles and back again. You wonder via both Will and the detective on the scene (who actually I wouldn’t mind seeing more of) if there is any chance at all that Will could be innocent and your eyes search out every single word trying to figure out if you’re right or wrong. You also have to take into account that at the time Alison and her best friend Liz, were going through tumultuous times and we wonder why we need to know this ( I guessed why totally wrongly a number of times!!).

I loved both the detective aspect of the book-the perfection found in the expertly done ins and outs of the system (expected of course, from someone who wrote the mecca of all writing manuals, the ‘Self Printed’ spoken of here ) and also the cautionary aspects in terms of social media and student life too (a number of ‘what the frig’ moments in terms of getting information really got me). I hated/ loved following victims knowing where it was leading and wanting to help them, but being unable to (um, because it’s a book and not real life;)).

I have to admit one part that I didn’t quite need was the dark voice of the ‘baddie,’ but that’s just because in general I feel that unless they’re adding something significant to the book by showing us either an actual justification for the crime, or how they do it in a way the protagonist/ police can’t, then they’re just adding a ‘scary’ voice that isn’t necessary (this is more than likely totally me though!). The other thing was the last portion of the book which wasn’t quite for me, after the slow burn the sudden crazy drama just didn’t resonate and when I realised there was so much more to go I guessed the ending. Saying that I loved the book, the everyday, the twists, the turns, setting, marking Catherine Ryan Howard for me as a definite ‘straight onto the to be read list’ author. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Stolen Girls (DI Lottie Parker book 2) by Patricia Gibney

thestolen

Length: 452 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: One Monday morning, the body of a young pregnant woman is found. The same day, a mother and her son visit the house of Detective Lottie Parker, begging for help to find a lost friend.

Could this be the same girl?

When a second victim is discovered by the same man, with the murder bearing all the same hallmarks as the first, Lottie needs to work fast to discover how else the two were linked. Then two more girls go missing.

Detective Lottie Parker is a woman on the edge, haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her family together through difficult times. Can she fight her own demons and catch the killer before he claims another victim?

The Stolen Girls is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni.

The Review: You might remember my gush for The Missing Ones (read it here), where I told of Patricia Gibney’s book’s pacing, shocks and general unputdownableness, and yes, the fact that she’s from ‘around these parts’ (puts on Texan twang). I bought and requested all of her books straight away (I’m very late to the party) and can happily inform you that I’m still able to gush about her three books in (fourth still to be read).

(Also a little story of the fact I passed her on the street and a few minutes later passed: one Garda car, one decidedly looking dodgy character and two men reading newspapers- one in a car, the other standing in a laneway, JUST the way you see on tv!) and I wanted to run back and go looking for Ms. Gibney (I’ve only ever met her at the launch so it would be EXTREMELY weird if I did this) and tell her ‘something’s going down’ (puts on appropriate  voice, I actually don’t know what that is!). Suffices to say I didn’t. But there you go. Oh and I also nearly asked a Garda at the police station and another standing at The St Patrick’s day parade had he read any of her books (I’d assume they all have at the station, I mean to date she’s sold a million copies!). I know, I know, I’ll stop now!

Anyhoo, to the book. So here a body of a young pregnant woman is found. On the same day a mother and her lovely, lovely child come to the door of Lottie Parker’s actual house, begging for help to find someone. I was torn between being excited at her family being involved again (because they’re a good age group for that sort of thing) and wondering how they can be involved again, but in the end one of them showed that they definitely have Lottie’s quick thinking and wish to protect people and I loved it all.

As for Lottie herself, she is witty and sarcastic and ridunculously likeable and out to help where she can. I loved seeing more of Boyd, and really getting to know him better (a special mention to how the two  bounce off each other). The Force on the whole in Ragmullin are characters that spring off the page (Corrigan’s bursting in and wanting to kill them all, in particular Lottie, is excellent!).

The story pretty much revolves around trafficking, and people coming to Ireland to make a better life, where some are horrendously duped and forced into sub-par conditions. My stomach tumbled about at parts of this book and there are some top notch moments where you think something is going to happen and then suddenly you were realise you were led astray. Actually, after a ‘oh my god,’ (out loud) moment, I think the author is very likely to be the queen of this. Excellent book, excellent characters, setting, pacing, thrills and spills-the works! Recommended to all around and apologies for the gush and fan moments (but to be honest it’s going to take something big to knock Ms. Gibney off as my top Irish author)!

rating: 5/5

 

The Intruder by P S Hogan

theintruder

Length: 288 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

A gripping, sinister, deeply unsettling novel from the most sociopathic narrator of 2018. Meet Mr Heming…

***

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in when the owners are out. But what will happen if he gets caught?

What will he do next?

The Review: Ooh!! I don’t know about the ‘most sociopathic narrator of 2018’ (I haven’t read all the books out there!), but my word WHAT a narrator!

William Hemming is an estate agent. He keeps copies of keys of houses he’s shown and sold and lets himself in to, well, for his own reasons. William tells us quite calmly how and why he does what he does and basically brings us about his daily life, where he is pretty much always in the right. THIS is the epicness of the book. Because he is most definitely an enigma, an intriguing character with a sense of right and wrong that generally results in him dishing out vigilante justice in a non vigilante, way, and this is coupled with a play by play of his past- including a despicable genius plan that was formulated to get him to the top of his game. I love books where you get a good back story that shows us where things went wrong and he’s got one to make you think.

In ‘The Intruder’ we get attention to detail that is spellbinding, and narration that is perfection for who you decide he is. Oh and do I have to add that there’s murder involved somewhere in the book, and Mr Heming may or may not be involved, having been in the wrong or right place at the wrong, or right time?

I have to say I have a special fondness for this book, for William’s character, his narration, for the settings, his workplace, all of it really and I will most likely be re-reading this book in the future.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Transworld Digital for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

Gone Missing by T.J. Brearton

gonemissing

Length: 372 pages

Please note that the cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Katie Calumet is on an early-morning run when she hears a baby crying. The park is deserted, and there’s no one in the street. She follows the cries, but then everything goes black. When Katie wakes up, she’s blindfolded and her hands and feet are bound.

Detective Justin Cross takes on the case, but with the trail leading into endless dense forest, and a failing marriage weighing on his mind, finding Katie is his most challenging case yet – not least because the Calumet family are keeping secrets of their own.

Justin and Katie face a race against time that will push them both to their very limits. As Justin works day and night to discover who took her and why, Katie fights desperately to escape from her kidnappers and the forest that surrounds her…

Can Justin find her before it’s too late?

The Review:Talk about a book too get you nervy! Kate Calumet heads off on her run one day only to come across a the sound of a baby crying coming from a van. She’s heard all of the urban legends and so is unsure approaching the van but decides to send a text to her husband and so, of course all will be okay. But then she’s gone.

The book alternated between Kate, who I loved, who’s just trying to stay alive, and Detective Cross, who is coming up against road block after road block trying to solve the case. The husband, who seems so upset at what’s happened, still seems to be hiding something, as is her very wealthy family. There is also a large press presence because of who Kate is and so this came with the big guns in terms of people investigating too. I loved the inticacies of police work which were excellent in this book. Another thing was  the settings, if there was ever a book that had chases that read like a motion picture movie it was this one. I saw everything in full colour- the jump between her home where the stress of the kidnapping and the secrets weighing them down contrasted against Kate that was as vivid as anything I’ve read. I loved the pacing which was full on and fast, although I have to admit there was one or two points I was disappointed at things that could have happen to create more of a thrill (I know, totally just me, I was so taken with everything that I had my own movie running in my head, remember?) All in all, definitely recommended and I will most definitely be picking up more from this author again.

Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

#BlogTour #Review Behind a Closed Door by Adele O’Neill

Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for Behind A Closed Door by Adele O Neill!

behindacloseddoor

Length: 454 pages

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ocWAgk

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2EMCq7n

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2HvfxD1

iBooks: https://apple.co/2EZ1Cqs

What they say: What if everything in your life was a lie? An emotionally tense story of love, loyalty,

betrayal and revenge. Perfect for the fans of Louise Jenson.

DUBLIN – For the past two years Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply

buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling

to keep her life together, Jill soon realises that the last person she can trust is

herself.

KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive?

When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to

investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that

stretch far and wide.

The Review: If you move in the same circles as me in terms of book blogs, Twitter and Amazon you’ll probably remember Brothers and Sisters , Adele O Neill’s first book which horrendously I still haven’t got to (I’m onto fixing that!). When I saw that her second book was up for request, saw it was with Aria and then found out there was a blog tour open, I jumped and most definitely wasn’t disappointed.

This is the story of Heather Martin, whose husband, Detective Mike Martin (I loved that he was a detective!) has terrorised her throughout their marriage. Mike is a baddy through and through, one of the bad apples on the force, who wants complete control over his wife and regularly uses brute force to get it. At the same time we see her relationship with her father Detective Inspector Edward Clarke, who is in a care home with Alzheimers. My heart (and my stomach) turned and twisted as I watched a one sided relationship, praying that her dad would respond in some way and see what his daughter was going through. I adored Heather’s dad so much.

The issue of domestic violence is at the heart of the book as we follow a dual timeline to see Heather in the past and then meet Jill Ryan in the present. Jill has been having nightmares and people are wondering if her boyfriend, Ben, is at fault. I loved meeting Jill and getting to know her whilst simultaneously watching Detectives Louise Kennedy and Tony Kelly try to solve Heather’s case (I’d definitely be up for meeting them again, I loved their relationship and Kelly’s wise approach to everything). The book really got me thinking as there’s a lot of times you think ‘this would all be cleared up if you just tell people the truth’ in it, and that was true, and it made you think of the character as being a little weak (and it did get tome a little that everyone constantly told her she was so strong), but then you hated yourself for thinking that as you considered what the character is dealing with.

The story was told in alternating third and first person, obviously as I said within two timelines, and I loved the dash to the end to see where they’d collide although personally I wouldn’t put this as an extremely fast paced read. The emotional side to this book took my breath away, and I loved the author’s voice and the way we got every characters take on things as they happened and so the book beyond flew for me.

The description above says this is perfect for fans of Louise Jensen, and while I see the comparison, I would say that this is more for fans of fiction that want to dip their toe into crime and thrillers as opposed to fans of thrillers, you know, the people who say they’d love to start reading a different genre. This book is perfect for them. Very much recommended. Thanks so much to Aria for this book in return for an honest review and for allowing me to be part of the blog tour.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

adeleoneill

Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her

home town in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes

overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival

committee.

 Twitter: @Adelesbooks

Facebook: AdeleONeillBooks

Follow Aria (and do, because they are great!)

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

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behindablogtour

#BlogTour #TheAbandoned by Sharon Thompson

Thanks so so much to Sarah from Bloodhound Books and Sharon Thompson herself for allowing me to be part of the book tour for The Abandoned, which is out now and, at time of posting, only £0.99 on Kindle!

9781912175901

What they say: Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.

 

In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.

 

What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?

 

Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.


The Review: I can’t even tell you how long I’ve waited to see Sharon Thompson appear on this blog! Sharon, a member of Carmel Harrington’s ‘Imagine Write Inspire’ Writing group, has to be one of the most inspirational, hard working people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing in the writing world. Her work has always been of the standout variety, with characters that are bold and brazen with flaws, quirks and imperfections and yet morals and beauty and an incredible story to tell. And there is always, always a nice layer of dark humour to grab you too! And so here we stand with Peggy Bowden. From the second I met Peggy I was hooked. She is strong with sass and backchat ever present, but with a multitude of worries and fears. The thing is she tries to hide anything that could be seen as a weakness from her girls, the women who work for her in a brothel in number thirty four in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, in the 1950’s. (The most special mention for the innocent Molly, who stole my heart and made my stomach ball up with nerves on more than one occasion.)
 This is the story of Peggy’s journey as she tries to get out of said house and her life as she knows it. We are shown where Peggy came from, via beautiful scenes of her mother, who farmed and tended lands and then thrown into the harsh reality of how hard it was for women of the time and how men were seen as saviours for all women. This was a running theme, which Peggy battled sometimes successfully, sometimes not as we learned and saw some of the things Peggy did to make money, always justifying her actions, even when she doubted her motives.
This is a gritty, rise to power, revolutionary type of book, that shows what men do to keep their strongholds and how women do what they can purely to keep alive. It is filled with sorrow, angst, hope, love and a wealth of characters, some that disgust you, some who make you cheer, some that give you hope and others that disappoint when you least expect it. It’s gritty, dark, vivid and sometimes very very brutal (see blurb for her job descriptions, throw in some violence and you’re halfway there), but always gripping, with dark laughs in there to keep your head above water. I have to admit I was terrified that this wouldn’t be my cup of tea, as to me it sounded more like historical fiction, but to be honest I’m not sure that this can be put into any category (I’ve seen it described as a thriller but personally I wouldn’t put it there), it seems different to anything in the charts out there at the moment, and is very much a standout. Ridiculously highly recommended!
Rating: 5/5
Author Profile: 

XPpijWaR
Sharon Thompson lives in Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of Imagine, Write, Inspire. This is a writing group, under the mentorship of HarperCollins author Carmel Harrington. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various literary magazines and websites. #WritersWise is her collaboration with writer, Dr Liam Farrell. This is a trending, fortnightly, promotional tweet-chat with corresponding Facebook page and website (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com). Its mission is to encourage and support writers to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although she mostly writes crime fiction, Sharon does have a fun-side and she writes the quirky Woman’s Words column for the Donegal Woman websiteSharon Thompson. Writing Fun is her writing page on Facebook and she tweets @sharontwriter.

Connect with her online

Website    
twitter   @sharontwriter        

 

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BLOG TOUR

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

themissingones

Length: 434 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: 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.

The Review: I read a review quite a while ago from a blogger who gushed about an author who lived in her locality, saying that everything was a billion times more real because she knew she lived in the area that the book was loosely based around. I remember thinking how great that would be, but, being outside the box in terms of irish fiction (romantic comedies and thrillers are most definitely trumped here by literary fiction that I can’t always get my head around), I didn’t think it would ever happen. And then it did! One day, I was speaking to my son’s teacher, and she mentioned that a friend of hers had gotten a major book deal. She said that she was with a publisher that was different to other publishers, but were huge. That evening  our internet was down (this was back in the day of our non existing internet, before we moved house), and I totally forgot about it until she asked me was I going to the book launch and that’s when I went googling and oh my word!

‘She’s with Bookouture!!’ I squealed at her when I met her the following day. The poor lady just nodded and I began to gush about how much I ADORED Bookouture and how they’d put out some of the best books for me of the past few years. I then gushed about her friend (Ms. Gibney), who I’d seen on Twitter and the fact that she was writing thrillers. A writer from westmeath putting out thrillers! The gushing continued at home, where I’m sure my husband wanted to stuff his fingers in his ears and sing ‘la, la, la, la, la’ until I left the room. I downloaded the first two of her books and requested the third and a few days later headed over to her book launch for ‘The Stolen Girls,’ where I bought it as a beautiful paperback, which I will share pics of with you when I get to it (very soon). So I’ll leave the lead in at this, amazing author with amazing publisher puts out an amazing book and it’s supposedly set around here, but with the name Ragmullin (not Mullingar, isn’t that ingenious?!) Okay. I’m stopping. Honest.

So we start off with a dark prologue that features a group of children seeing things that they cannot and should not get their heads around. I have to admit that already I was so shocked that I nearly forgot to highlight. Then there’s the meeting of a lady with someone from her past in a cathedral and a murder (this sounds so wrong but I have to admit I loved the modern twist in terms of the murder weapon!). Actually as an aside I have to admit when I heard that it was largely based around the catholic church my heart lurched a little. Ireland has a horrifically sordid past in terms of how mothers and children were treated, and I think it’s one of the most tawdry and wrong in the world and I have to admit there’s times I wonder how we don’t hang our heads more but then saying that I do try to go to mass when I can (I’m a cherry picker Catholic if you will, sorry if that offends people, but I choose to go by the nicer parts of catholicism, those that are inclusive and teach being nice, helpful and loving, and disapprove of anything that isn’t fair on people or that excludes people for any reason). Takes breath (yes I know this is an odd review, I’m sorry, I’ll get back to it now!!!).

So DI Lottie Parker has been called to investigate. I loved her straight away and, as the book unfolded, enjoyed finding out about her family life, which is tough going, the kids have lost their father and the love of Lottie’s life, Adam, and she’s struggling to cope. The kids were lovely, Lottie was real and I loved reading about their family life as much as the case, which is something that always draws me in and keeps my eyes flying over the screen. Then there was the dynamics of the station, and her colleagues was brilliantly done (I have to admit I truly hearted Boyd, who was by her side when she needed him).

This book is enshrouded in dark and mystery, with shifty, weak characters, and terrifyingly sinister looming figures that fill you with dread. It jumps between past at St Angel’s children’s home and present, shocks and makes you grimace. It is not always outwardly graphic(sometimes it is), but gives you enough to leave imagery in your head that shouldn’t be there. It is a memorably book for me, not just because of it’s origins, but because it’s probably one of the most unputdownable books I’ve read since I’ve started blogging. Beyond recommended and cannot wait to get to the next of this series.

Rating: 5/5