Tag Archive | crime

Witness by Caroline Mitchell

witness

Length: 338 pages

Note: As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

The Review:  You’ll remember I read The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell (read review here) and loved it, saying I had to get onto her other books. I’m afraid that didn’t go to plan, but this book has only cemented that I’m going to be reading her amazing thrillers for some time to come!

Now before I start I need to make sure you’ve read the blurb above. Impressed? Excited? Ready? Okay-let’s go!!!

We begin this tale in 2005 where a girl, Rebecca, is cradling a severely injured man on her lap. When the police say they’re there to help, she says they can’t, because the attacker’s father is one of them (jumps around the place excitedly!)  …

The book moves between diary extracts from ten years ago to a non diary narrative of modern day in a small Welsh town of Ponty Ferry where Rebecca is now married with a young child. The diary extracts contained some beautiful details about Rebecca and her mother and we were introduced to Solomon, her ex boyfriend. Back to modern day and Rebecca receives a message saying she has to nominate a person for a crime, and then witness it. This will happen a further nine times …
The story revolves around the ex, Solomon, and what a character he is! If I’m honest the only other character of this nature that remains as memorable to me is ‘Oliver’ from ‘Unraveling Oliver’ by Liz Nugent. Solomon has a back story that stays in your mind and makes you realise the impact a lack of parental love can have on someone. His thought processes are horrendous but pure genius, as is his revenge.

I highlight as I read, and make notes too, and as I went through this book I highlighted line after line, passage after passage, totally engrossed in every single detail but then, as soon after the crimes that Rebecca is forced to witness began,  I stopped as I was too engrossed.

The storyline was a great experiment on what someone will do to keep themselves and their family alive, although I have to admit there were so many things I’d have done differently(!) The drama builds and builds, the pages turn, and the numbers on the chapters, which I found to be deliciously short, climbed. There was also the nice touch that at times the diary extracts interrupted you, you had been notified as to who the person and the crime was, and just as you were ready to ‘see’ the crime, you got the diary extract with an equally important and riveting backstory. Saying all of this I have to warn you that although it’s not the toughest out there there is violence and a theme of domestic abuse. And, well that’s all I’m going to tell you except Id be shocked if this wasn’t in my top ten books at the end 2017.

Excellent plot, pacing and characters, a mesmerising book that has got me ready to work my way through all of Caroline Mitchell’s books.
Rating:5/5

All Fall Down by Tom Bale

 

allfalldown

Length: 359 pages

Note: The cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link

What they say:

It’s the perfect Sunday. Summer sunshine, a barbecue with the kids.
But a knock on the garden gate and two words, ‘HELP ME’, changes everything.

When loving parents Rob and Wendy Turner let a dying man into their home, and do their best to help him, they think pure chance led him to their house. But soon their lives are threatened in ways they could never have imagined … and then the first anonymous letter arrives, forcing them to question all they know.

Someone is watching.
Someone is waiting.
They will stop at nothing.

Rob and Wendy will do anything to keep their family safe, but their children Georgia, Josh and Evan are teenagers now, with their own hidden lives.

Everyone has secrets, but how can you save your family, if you don’t really know them?

The Review: I had seen this book on so many blogs and was chomping at the bit to get to it. From the start I was excited. There’s so many thrillers out there where whatever happens takes place when the lead is alone, and it was nice for it to take place at a family barbecue, when everyone was together and so there were witnesses. The ‘it’ is the stumbling of a homeless man who has been tortured into the garden. This more than set the scene and I was ready for a rough ride. I enjoyed Mr Bale’s storytelling, after worrying at the start that the writing wasn’t my cup of tea, as Rob, the lead, was too paranoid and wondered a bit too much about the homeless man, leading me to think that the ‘was there a message to all of this’ line of thinking was trying too hard to lead us. This flew in the face of times where we weren’t told things about the past that could have been alluded to earlier.  My other issue was that I found the story to be a bit disjointed at times, and I had to make notes on the many minor characters, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Saying that, this all quickly faded to grey as we followed Rob and his family away and came face to face with a group of nut jobs (well, they were!), who felt they had the right to do as they pleased to get all the power they felt they deserved. I had that muzzy feeling and tension headache that comes from being so deep into a book that you are walking alongside the characters absolutely terrified of what is going to happen next. This group of people wanted to push boundaries by seeing how they can physically hurt people and I knew the author was over a line that most of the thriller and crime writers that I read would toe, and it had me nervous of what I could actually read. I had some relief when some things DIDN’T happen but it was still a tough one. Saying that it was excellent, the story, the characters, the tension, and I read it in just two sittings (would have read in one but, you know, kid stuff;)) and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Highly recommend if you like the grit of a tough hostage situation where anything can go. Special mention for Tom Bale’s letter to the reader at the end-it will most definitely drive me on to his next book. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.
Rating:5/5

 

 

 

Guest Post: The Locus of Murder by Jeff Widmer

I’m thrilled to welcome Jeff Widmer, author of Peak Season and Tourist In Paradise (part of the CW McCoy series), Mr Mayhem and Mr Magic (part of the Brinker series), Riding With the Blues and The Spirit of Swiftwater to the blog today to speak about location and settings in his novels. Please note that all links for his books, which are on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo, as well as on Jeff‘s website, are later on in the post and I am looking forward to getting stuck into the CW McCoy series myself very soon!

The Locus of Murder

By Jeff Widmer

J.G. Ballard once said that the dystopian landscapes in his books reflect the character’s inner world as much as the outer one.

We’re more familiar with the opposite. Places affect how people feel and act. Think New York in the decade when the city cleaned up graffiti-defaced buildings, repaired windows and installed lighting as part of its crime-fighting strategy.

In fiction, when does location move from background to foreground? When does setting become character?

I’m interested in the collision of those inner and outer worlds. In writing fiction, I look for places that both create and reflect a mood. The tony beach town of Sarasota, Florida—Spanish Point in the McCoy novels—provides a wealth of locations that meet that criteria. Even with altered geography and names, those places seem to resonate, like an image from a dream . . . or a nightmare.

They did with me while doing research for Peak Season, the first in the Florida series featuring CW (Candace) McCoy, a former police detective who, after her family is kidnapped, must decide which side of the law she’s on. (If you enjoy the locale and the people who inhabit it, be sure to look for CW’s second adventure, Tourist in Paradise.)

Let me introduce you to the places that inspired CW’s Florida, the real scene of the fictional crime.

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Sarasota marina, similar to the one where CW’s mentor Walter Bishop berths his sailboat in the McCoy novels.

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The relentless construction of hotels, condos and homes in Sarasota motivates man of the characters in Peak Season and its sequel, Tourist in Paradise.

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The Saturday Farmers Market in downtown Sarasota, where CW and Detective Tony Delgado meet in Peak Season.

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The Sarasota skyline inspired the creation of CW McCoy’s Spanish Point.

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Drumming the sun down at Siesta Key’s world-famous beach, where CW finds a second body in Peak Season.

_______________________

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Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book
What they say: After shooting a fellow police officer, CW McCoy surrenders her gun, her badge and her confidence. Moving to Southwest Florida to care for her ailing grandfather, CW swears off violence until a fugitive kidnaps her family and she’s forced to decide which side of the law she’s on. Set in the tony beach town of Spanish Point during the height of the tourist rush, Peak Season marks the debut of an investigator confronting the most dangerous enemy of all . . . her own fears. Revised edition features expanded content and the first chapter of the author’s newest novel.
Peak Season is available through Amazon, Audible, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and from Jeff‘s website

Amazon                          http://amzn.to/1KvTAgH

Audible                           http://adbl.co/2dHHOqP

Barnes & Noble            http://bit.ly/1RuqZ2u

iTunes                             http://apple.co/1LYtW7t

Kobo                                http://bit.ly/2fQFQFA

Jeff‘s website                http://www.jeffwidmer.com/

About the author

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Jeff Widmer has worked as a dishwasher, surveyor, guitarist, journalist and marketing professional. He is the author of the CW McCoy and the Brinker series of crime novels as well as several nonfiction books. A native of Pennsylvania, he lives in Sarasota, Florida.

Jeff’s social media links

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

 

The Sister by Louise Jensen

the-sister

Length:336 pages

What they Say:”I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?

The Review: I had heard of this a lot in blogging circles and everyone was gushing so much I had to read it. Little did I know this was going to be one of my favourite thrillers of the year.

The story is told in first person from the point of view of Grace, who is mourning the death of her best friend Charlie. When I say best friends, it is actually more like they’re sisters, they know everything about each other and spend all their time together, however, as you’ll see in the blurb, it turns out that Grace doesn’t actually know everything about Charlie, and is constantly trying to piece together fragments of memories so that she can decipher what Charlie’s last words meant. The story moves between ‘then’ and ‘now’ and I loved that the settings moved from being dark to light, with exceptional descriptions that really put you there and it is dotted with brief flashes of humour that I really appreciated. There are many mysteries to wonder about, and many characters to suspect when things start to go wrong. The only issue I had was something in Grace’s past, which was very much built up and then turned out to be a disappointment, but aside from that I couldn’t fault this book.  A book that very much had you wondering what was going to happen next and who you could trust, I really have to say I loved this and have already bought The Gift by Louise Jensen and can’t wait to read. This book was both a pleasure and a thrill. Highly recommended. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

lyinginwait

Length: 320 pages

Note: The cover image leads to a universal buy link for the book on Amazon

What they say: From the award-winning author of the No 1 bestseller, Unravelling Oliver ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’ Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants …

 

The Review: I had read Unravelling Oliver some time ago, as I had seen it nominated for The Bord Gais Book Awards, which generally drive a lot of my reading choices around this time of the year, and was pretty much as blown away as everyone else I knew (go read!). In relation to this book, if you go onto Amazon you’ll note that at the forefront is line upon line of gushing by writers and personalities who have claimed this as one of the books of the year. Since it surfaced, I have been hearing claims to this effect and, I have to admit, it is one of the problems with constantly reading reviews and being in social media book clubs, that constant calls of ‘this is the best book I’ve ever read, ever’ sometimes have you backing off, either totally, or for just enough time that you can form your own opinions (I’m the same with music, months after a song has been out I’ll start to hum it, then sing it, and tell everyone around me what a great song it is, much to their irritation!) Anyhoo, back to the point, and my point is, I’m so glad I did jump back to this book. Again, Ms. Nugent has created a book that draws you in, in such a way that this book can only be read in one sitting (or two, if your kids subconsciously decide you should be dealing with them instead;) The multiple point of views are excellent, as we begin with that line that is now infamous in blogging circles

“My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.”

and continue along a path with three people, one, a person who is willing to do everything she needs to, to get what she wants, no matter how sordid or how much she hurts those around her, the second an unwitting bystander, who does not know of the past of the people around him, and who has grabbed onto a sticky truth, to try to pull himself through a life that isn’t as easy as it should be, and thirdly, a  girl, who has a belief, a belief that the sister she is searching for is alive and that she will find her. The pure grubbiness and shock factor of this book is nicely balanced by this third person’s search, with simple yet magnificent Irish storytelling showing us the everyday life of a girl who wanted something a little bit better than what was expected of her, but without losing sight of who she was.

It’s funny, that out of this book, as well as with Oliver, the one thing that jumped out at me was how peoples’ childhoods shape their life. One event invariably led to the ostracizing of a child, which led to cruelty and hurt for a myriad of other people and afterwards you find yourself with an armful of ‘if onlys’ for the characters in the story.

The ending, as you would expect, had the dial set to ‘shock.’

All in all, a great book, though one to be read without all the hype and fanfare that surrounds it, just a dark, twisted, well told book that I really enjoyed and popped in and out of my thoughts afterwards. Cannot wait for Ms Nugent’s next book! Thanks so much to Netgalley and Penguin Ireland for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating 4.5/5

 

The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

 nightLength: 382 pages

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

What they say:

If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

The global bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice is back with a heart-racing, electrifying thriller. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, you’ll be hooked on Robert Bryndza.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

 

The Review: I’d like to start by apologising for my lengthy absence. Every blogger out there whose been gone a while generally comes back and it’s either personal reasons, or some huge achievement … I’m not sure I can offer you either. I HAVE been writing a new rom com, part of a series, and considering I’ve been gone exactly a month I should be telling you that this is finished, but I’m ambling along, albeit with some purpose, and am nearly finished draft 1. And hey, I’ll take it, as there was a time I was afraid that It Started With A Snub was going to be my sole work. So anyhoo, good to be back and I have been reading all around me as I’ve gone, so I will have a constant flow of reviews for you in the coming days/weeks, so that’s something too!

You’ll remember how much I adored The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza (see review here). I raved about it, recommended it in every facebook forum possible and outside of social media, with friends and family that I thought would enjoy. I was thrilled to be back to see Erica Foster again, back to find another killer on the loose in the streets of London.

The pacing of this book was epic, the atmosphere created from the start charged, backed up, as before, with impeccable descriptions that put me right at the scenes of the murders, and I found myself nervously making my way to bed at night, checking under beds and in cupboards (I hate being an adult sometimes!).

We were shown intimate details of characters that were close to Erica, and in the back of our mind I was trying to figure out if they were related to the goings on. Special mention for those out there who are writers/ avid readers, they will be be especially happy with the presence of an author in this book (or maybe I’m just nerdier than I thought!).

We were also privy to conversations between two characters in a chat room, and so had a slight edge on DCI Foster, albeit not much. These, joined with an extra back story helped us piece together the puzzle of deaths that were connected and yet not alongside Erica (not before as I’m sure others could). They were delivered in a dark, fast paced manner that kept me wanting to read the whole time. I will say that I found this book darker than book 1, and tougher too, and so it comes with a slight caveat on the level of detail in terms of people’s private lives (porn on computers and the like) and methods of murder, meaning  I’m not sure that it will fit all of the people that book 1 did, however it will most definitely lasso even more of an audience into his books. A great book that I will also be recommending, that can be read as a standalone or part of the series (you may as well go back and read book 1 too!)

Cannot wait for the next book in this series. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

 

intoodeep

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say:  Your husband goes out to buy a newspaper. He never comes back. 

Months later, an unexpected phone call puts you and your daughter in unimaginable danger. 

Even if he were still alive, your husband can’t save you now. 

 He told you way too many lies for that.

The Review: Firstly can I just say how much I love blurbs such as this that give you nothing and allow you to delve into the story yourself? It makes the most lovely change from trying to avoid hints and bits of information that somebody put in to try to throw you off track! Anyway, enough of that! So, In Too Deep opens with the narrator being followed by a person who is upset and looking for answers. Said narrator’s voice grabs you, there’s darkness there, although you get the impression whatever they did they are sorry for it.

We then move to a different narrator (you all know how much I love multiple narratives and this book definitely ticked the box for me!), Gina, whose husband, Rick has been missing for four months and who is hoping that every phone call, every knock at the door is him. She feels like she’s driving everyone crazy, constantly harassing the police (as you would) and unable to think about anything else. She is constantly analysing everything that happened on the Saturday morning he went out and never returned:

‘Did the front door bang a little harder than usual when he left, meaning he slammed it, indicating he was unhappy, that he had planned on leaving? Or perhaps it was just the wind-a downdraught down the hall. But that would only happen if I had the kitchen window open a crack, perhaps if I’d burned the toast. Did I even burn the toast that day?’

And then to add to the intrigue – ‘That Saturday was the second-worst day of my life.’

We also meet Hannah, her daughter, who is grappling not only with her dad’s disappearance and her mum’s struggle to cope, but also with a secret she can’t share with anyone.

The backstory that was missing stayed in my mind as I tried to piece together the mysteries that were thrown up as I read. Would you believe I read this while in hospital through drooped eyelids and yet could not put it down. It wasn’t one of those headachy type thrillers but you did feel slightly edgy as you moved along with the characters, trying to figure out what Rick had been doing, where he disappeared to, and the link of another family to theirs, all while looking between the past and present. A change in location in the story was great, with beautiful descriptions of dark residences that added to the intrigue. There’s a lot of who can you trust, and who’s telling lies and I loved that about it. While I couldn’t stop reading, the story was a little dragged out in places but in general I really really enjoyed, especially the ending which was very well done in terms of tying everything up.

Basically I will most definitely be looking out Samantha Hayes’ books again and very much recommend In Too Deep. Thanks to Netgalley for the copy of this ebook in return for an honest review.

Note: Just to let you know the Amazon.com link only seems to lead to a paperback as opposed to ebook and paperback.

Rating: 4.5/5