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Blog Tour: Moorings - David Blake

Moorings (DI Tanner #3)Moorings by David Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Moorings a the third mystery-thriller in the Detective Tanner Murder Mystery Series set in the beautiful Norfolk Broads but in this particular novel, beauty happens to be accompanied by a beast. You are not required to have read the previous two instalments prior to embarking on this one as each book stands perfectly well on its own. They seem to get incrementally better as we progress through them., and I thoroughly enjoyed this one as it has a mixture of the cosy mystery and thriller genres and features a captivating and exciting plot, a little humour to lighten the deliciously dark and twisted tale, and a smidgeon of romance. All of these elements plus the engaging writing, developed characters and wonderfully vivid scenic descriptions come together to make this a well rounded and immersive read.

There is always something going on, plenty of action fill the pages, and the pace is pretty much spot-on. It moves at rapid-fire pace but, where this would usually detrimentally impact character development, it had no such effect and the cast were well-defined individuals. The short, snappy chapters make it easy to read "just one more" even when your eyes are beginning to close. The way the book is structured meant that each chapter had an element that made you want to read on and on, faster and faster to reveal the truth. It's a very creative, imaginative and original plot with lots of shocking, blindsiding twists and is intelligently woven like an ornate tapestry with threads emerging from different places for the entirety of the story.

The most appropriate word to describe Blake and his thrillers? UNDERRATED. However, that would likely be an understatement. Roll on book number four! Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.


Blog Tour Review: The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot

The Quiet OnesThe Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Quiet Ones, the third novel to feature Glasgow based journalist, Oonagh O’Neil, is by far the best instalment to date; this is one of those series' where you count down the days until the next book is published, and I love being that invested in it. It starts in explosive fashion and you are catapulted right to the heart of the story with no messing about. Hands down, one of the most satisfying and intense, pull no punches opening to a thriller I've read in a long time. From then on I was hooked and loved the gritty, grisly and often rather graphic descriptions and depictions. My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty for the entirety of the book.

There is so much action and excitement it's difficult to find a moment to breathe, and as the investigation begins to unfold I am reminded of just how wonderful Oonagh is as a protagonist. She approaches everything with integrity and a has a tenacious attitude about her; you can rest assured that with Oonagh on the case she will do everything in her power to bring closure to the victim's families. She is also really likeable, affable and relatable. If you enjoy thrillers that aren't afraid to take you on a wild ride of ups and downs and have plenty of grit and teeth to them then you cannot go wrong with this novel (or series). Many thanks to Aria for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Boxer Boys Collection (Books 1-3)

Boxer Boys CollectionBoxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Boxer Boys collection presents three thrilling, interconnected stories about the exploits of the Dolan and Marshall crime families and the friction between them. I would advise these be read in order for the best experience as each book very much continues the story from the previous.

Crossing the Whitewash starts the series off with a bang and we are taken on a compulsively readable journey with twisty surprises galore and writing that has grit and drama to it. It follows the impact of a traumatising event witnessed by Arnie Dolan and Gary Marshall when they were teenagers. What could be so bad that Gary upped sticks and moved away from the area as well as changed his name? This is a gripping cross between a family saga and a gritty gangland thriller and never failed to keep me reading. The way the family and gangland issues are intertwined here is mighty impressive and makes the book all the more compelling. You are never given a moment to breathe, so if this is anything to go by I am really excited about the two upcoming instalments.

I immediately moved on to the second book, Spark Out, and it didn't disappoint. This is a more politicised novel; I definitely enjoyed that aspect of it in particular but don't want to give too much away as these books work best when you go in blind. The story is well written and thought out with plenty of action and the tension slowly rising with each turn of the page. Rippington has a keen eye for detail and the sharp dialogue is realistic and well done. The setting of 1980s London, with Margaret Thatcher in power, tension running high regarding the Falklands War, and a general sense of unease and disillusionment amongst the populace, was portrayed superbly. This is another page-turner from the pen of award-winner Mr Rippington with an unexpected ending.

Dying Seconds, the third and final novel in the series is a stonker of a gangland thriller. Gritty, intense and impossible to put down, this is certainly not for the faint-hearted or those distressed by graphic violence. The sense of time and place are both fantastic, references to current events help with that, just as they did in previous instalments. The characters are larger than life, demand your attention and truly come alive on the page, and although this is a criminal world most of us will have never experienced ourselves, I felt the characters remained believable and authentic. It has an excellent array of ingredients that added up to a very tasty urban thriller - emotion, humorous moments, an exciting plot, mesmerising characters, and a satisfying climax. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: A Litter of Bones - JD Kirk

A Litter of Bones (DCI Logan Crime Thrillers, #1)A Litter of Bones by JD Kirk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Litter of Bones is the first novel in the DCI Logan Crime Thriller series and is a mix of classic police procedural and mystery-thriller set in Bonny Scotland. Admittedly, it is quite formulaic and follows a group of characters who are rather stereotypical and similar to many other books, but is it even possible to write a completely unique thriller? That being said, it doesn't take away from the fact that this is a great debut. It's polished and well written but manages to remain gritty at the same time. I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the wit and humour throughout as I was not expecting it but it contrasted with the dark, disturbing narrative perfectly.

From the opening pages, JD Kirk lands you right into the middle of the action-packed story and given it is under 300 pages in length there is little to no padding which was appreciated; it's literally all killer no filler. Even though the characters weren't particularly original I still enjoyed Jack Logan's no-nonsense approach to everything, his traditional ways and his often grouchy attitude and the descriptions of the Scottish Highlands painted a picture so vivid and beautiful in my head I felt like I was there.

It becomes incredibly difficult to put down as there is a lot of threads to the plot and they engage you so much that it pushes you to read on to find out what exactly is going on. This is a cleverly plotted, chilling and unpredictable read, but be warned there is horrendous cruelty to cats, and although it certainly fits with the character of the perpetrator it may trigger some people. If you enjoy crime programmes such as Taggart this is a book you will find as captivating as I did. It also reminded me a lot of Scottish writers Stuart MacBride and Douglas Lindsay. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Brightfall - Jaime Lee Moyer

BrightfallBrightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brightfall is a retelling of the story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, and what a spectacular historical fantasy it was. I adored the fact that Marian was the central character and with her personality traits it's difficult not to admire her; strong, independent and opinionated protagonists always grab my attention. The weaving together of the fantasy and real worlds is done seamlessly and Moyer's prose is nothing less than mesmerising making this a pure pleasure to read. Right from the beginning, I was drawn into an immersive world of myth and legend; it's very entertaining as well as having an intense, exciting plot and relatable characters.

Where the book lacks in pace it makes up for in action, intrigue and a cast of diverse people. This is basically a thrilling murder mystery set primarily in the world of the Fae and has that wonderful fairy-tale vibe to it. There are twists upon twists upon twists and they just keep on blindsiding you every time; I don't quite know how Moyer did it! There are often times when authors either neglect the plot in order to focus on character development or vice versa, but not here; I found the attention to detail was excellent for almost everything. I was genuinely depressed when I came to the end as I wanted to inhabit this crazy, cosy world for longer. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Jo Fletcher for an ARC.


Blog Tour Review: The Girl in White - John Nicholl

The Girl in WhiteThe Girl in White by John Nicholl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Girl in White, bestselling crime fiction writer John Nicholl's latest psychological thriller, is another addictive, rip-roaring read full of danger and surprise and the author pulls no punches when it comes to covering a topic many people and readers are fascinated by - cults. Add to the mix a solid police procedural style sense of mystery and mayhem, and some spine chilling psychological elements and the underlying sense unease felt throughout the whole book is palpable. I have always been a fan of the way Nicholl structures and refines his stories; if you are new to his work then you are literally one step away from joining his ardent fans, the John Nicholl Nitemarettes. By all accounts it's an unnerving and sinister exploration of indoctrination, belief systems, scare tactics and brainwashing; I simply couldn't put it down.

With enough action and heart-pounding excitement to fill five novels, we race against time alongside intrepid investigators who are proactively trying to dismantle the dangerous, insidious organisation before fate takes hold and lives are destroyed. This is a powerful story with an important message at its heart and a book I can see readers devouring just as I did. DI Laura Keyes is a likeable lackey who it's easy to admire and who does her utmost to bring the situation to a satisfying resolution. They always say "write what you know" and Nicholl does exactly that. Using extensive knowledge and inspiration from his previous job as a police officer you get a tasty dose of gritty crime set in the stunning Welsh valleys. A must-read in every sense. Unreservedly recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.



Blog Tour Review: The Editor - Simon Hall

The EditorThe Editor by Simon Hall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Editor is a quirky and unique read and for the most part, it defies categorisation - there is a lot of mystery and intrigue but it also had a slight literary tinge to it. The characters are fascinating and very well rounded, the plot detailed and fascinating, and the writing eminently readable. The first few chapters had me questioning where the story was going to go and so it didn't quite click immediately for me; at least not as rapidly as other similar books have in the past.

However, as I read further into it I was hooked before I knew it and it was difficult to stop reading as Hall had built up the tension so beautifully that I was dying to know exactly how it would all resolve. This will not be for everyone as it's a subtle, sophisticated read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's definitely a worthy read for those who enjoy their crime fiction more psychologically-based rather than all teeth. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Avaline Saddlebags - Netta Newbound & Marcus Brown

Avaline Saddlebags (DI Dylan Monroe Investigates #1)Avaline Saddlebags by Netta Newbound & Marcus Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Avaline Saddlebags is unlike anything I have ever read before in the crime genre, and that's saying something given I read over 1,000 crime books per year. Bodies are piling up left, right and centre with each scene more brutal than the last. DI Dylan Monroe is called in to run the investigation and finds the major link in this complex case - all of those who were so savagely slain were transsexuals. He soon realises he must work undercover at a local drag bar, which links the victims, if he is to solve the case and bring closure to the families of the deceased. It makes me incredibly sad that the LGBT community is not represented as much as it should be in the thriller world but this book rectifies that somewhat and will hopefully pave the way for others writers to follow suit.

The first in a gripping new series, Avaline Saddlebags will have you hooked from the very beginning with a potent mix of interesting plot, well-developed characters, and plenty of thrills. It's a real page-turner that builds up the suspense and mystery beautifully and the humour interspersed throughout breaks up the darkness of the killings adeptly. I particularly loved the relatability of the characters, who act like humans, and are fully rounded individuals and the conclusion was shocking as well as satisfying. If you're in the market for a crime thriller that will give you thrills and chills and also features psychological elements you have come to the right place. Highly recommended. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Widow - Will Patching

The Widow: A British Police Thriller (Deadly Inspirations Book 1)The Widow: A British Police Thriller by Will Patching
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Widow is the first crime novel I have read from Will Patching, and although this is often overstated I can genuinely say that I will be picking up his back catalogue to enjoy. What I liked was that there was simply no messing around; Patching gets you right to the heart of the story quickly and with impressive skill. There is also no unnecessary padding; an issue many books seem to have. It is a cross between a police procedural and a thriller as there was certainly some wildly thrilling twists and turns, peaks and troughs throughout the story. The writing is perfect for this genre with plenty of gritty, raw and straight to the point passages which I found rather refreshing.

The story is an original one and I particularly appreciated that the characters, and not just the plot, were given ample development. To say it's an addictive read would be an understatement. I, of course, loved the graphic nature of the story too as who doesn't love some gore with their grit? You can never get bored or complacent with this multifaceted story as there is quite a bit going on so you have to stay on the ball. The non-stop action and suspense barely give you a moment to breathe and had me reading it in a single sitting desperate to know what happens. The icing on the cake for me was the explanations of how the story materialised at the back of the book. Highly recommended.

Blog Tour Review: Dry River - John Steele

Dry River: A uniquely menacing and gripping thriller (Jackie Shaw Book 3)Dry River: A uniquely menacing and gripping thriller by John Steele
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dry River is the third novel in the Jackie Shaw action thriller series, and this is the best instalment to date. As soon as I picked it up it had me in its clutches right through the excitement and tension-filled story. It's well written, fast-paced and so action-packed you are never given a moment to breathe. I found the subject matter of the Yakuza gang absolutely fascinating, and I always think that the use of real villains who exist and actually do the things they do throughout the book make it completely unputdownable.

The Japanese mafia is ruthless both in real life and in this work of fiction where they kidnap and torment Jackie's holiday companions as they enjoyed some rest and relaxation and also murdered a man. Jackie knows hunting them is flirting with death itself and so begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse and an intense, addictive race against time to find his friends. I feel I should mention the rather vividly described scenes of gore and death; it's definitely not for the faint-hearted.

As a Japanophile, the setting very much appealed to me and the depiction of the different places Jackie visits reminded me exactly why I love the country. It's really a rather unnerving and disturbing read and the changing points of view add even more tension and nervous excitement to the mix. With a cast of superb characters, a well-written narrative and more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at, this comes highly recommended. Many thanks to Sarah for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Regret - Dan Malakin

The RegretThe Regret by Dan Malakin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fantastic read this was! I mean what more could you ask for? There's the stellar cast, a beautifully plotted story and fascinating insight into the daily life of those who have been stalked or scammed and the knock-on effect this can have on their lives for the foreseeable future. Not only this but it packed a real emotional punch too. Right from the beginning, you are drawn into a tale it is easy to immerse yourself in and losing a couple of hours between the pages was very enjoyable. I particularly loved the short, snappy chapters as it makes it so much simpler to read a couple more and then keep on reading even though you know you should sleep. There are multiple threads establishing themselves throughout but they were so seamlessly interlinked and it was a doddle to keep it all aligned in my head.

The sensitivity and true compassion the author shows in relation to topics such as stalking, anorexia and online fraud through his words felt as though they came from someone who really understood these subjects and the complexity of them inside and out. I could relate to Rachel and felt for her quite strongly as she was dealing with such a lot. It's well written in a way that will appeal to many readers and is a captivating, harrowing and evocative read for sure. There were twists and turns aplenty and the conclusion was a surprise but also added to the visceral punch. All in all, The Regret is an excellent debut thriller, and Malakin focuses on more realistic nightmare-inducers more of us may be able to connect and empathise with. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Grave Digger's Boy - R.R. Newman

The Grave Digger's BoyThe Grave Digger's Boy by R.R. Newman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Grave Digger's Boy is an intelligently written and well-plotted crime thriller and a solid debut novel from newcomer R. R. Newman, and whilst I enjoyed it and thought it was emotionally engaging and intriguing enough to continue with, I must admit to guessing the murderer quite early on. On the other hand, what I particularly loved, though, was that the narrative was very fluid and the story easy to immerse yourself in right from the opening pages.

It begins relatively slowly but for good reason, as it sets out all of the ins and outs of the tale but soon the twists and turns come at you thick and fast. The attention to detail with regards to the cast was superb; each of the characters literally leapt off the pages and came alive with their relatability and three-dimensionality. Overall, this was a compelling and entertaining way to spend a few afternoon hours.


Blog Tour Review: Rage - Netta Newbound

Rage by Netta Newbound
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nurse, Lizzi Yates, is assigned to provide end-of-life care to Charlie Maidley, one of Britain's footballing legends, on the condition she keeps his identity a secret.

Unbeknownst to Lizzi, Charlie’s doctors have agreed to allow his sister, Miriam, to take him home to die on the strict understanding he remains in an induced coma, due to his history of assaulting women—a side effect of his brain tumour.

Miriam goes away on business, leaving Lizzi in charge, but a mishap with Charlie's medication has Lizzi questioning why he is spending his final days comatose. Deciding he is being sedated without just cause, she makes the call to wake him up. However, a string of events and the discovery of a girl's body at the bottom of the garden lead her to wonder if she’s made the right decision.

Who is the killer?

Could Lizzi be his next victim?

Don’t miss RAGE by bestselling author Netta Newbound - A gripping psychological thriller that will keep you turning pages long into the night.



Rage by bestselling author Netta Newbound is an intense, nail-biting psychological thriller; I admit that I had no idea what to expect as the writer was new to me, so I was pleasantly surprised. It revolves around a pretty unique premise. When Lizzi Yates is called in to nurse renowned footballing superstar Charlie Maidley through palliative care she has no idea how complicated agreeing to care for him effectively incognito is about to bring. He is allowed to go home to die, the place most of us would choose to pass, however, Lizzi disagrees with the doctor's adamance that he must remain comatose due to his history of assaulting women as a result of his brain tumour. She, therefore, decides to let the sedatives wear off and allow him to be fully conscious again. But was she right to do so or does she now have blood on her hands?

This turned to be such an original and well-constructed twist-fest and turning the pages was a pleasure and not a chore. I've been having a little bit of a hard time focusing on books and reviews of late due to poor health, but this has reignited my passion for tense fiction. Hooking you in from the very beginning, not only are you taken on a thrilling ride with the characters but also an emotional one too. The book draws attention to the timely and relevant issues of the social care crisis/end-of-life care and reminded me that doctors have far too much power over the lives of those they don't even know. Rage is a thriller that snakes its way along delivering surprises right and left and a whole heap of mystery thrown in for good measure. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Sarah Hardy for an ARC.



Blog Tour Review: Torment by Mark Tilbury

Torment by Mark Tilbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When someone wants you dead, is there anywhere to hide?
Who can you really trust?

Beth couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house.
Then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events.  

But who would want Beth dead?

Does the past hold the clue?

And can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?

Torment is a story of misplaced loyalty, revenge and sacrifice.

Mark Tilbury is the bestselling author of multiple thrillers including You Belong to Me, The Liar's Promise and The Abattoir of DreamsTorment is a dark and compelling psychological thriller which will appeal to fans of authors like Mark Edwards, Charle Gallagher and John Nicholl.

 

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Another day, another dollar, and another Tilbury thriller that gives the reader way more than they ever bargained for! This is one author who has absolutely no problem pulling the wool over your eyes and fooling even the most seasoned crime connoisseurs multiple times within the short span of a single novel. It explores the insidious nature of jealousy, hatred and wanting what you simply can't have in life and is scarily realistic and within the realms of possibility. Remember: Evil comes in all shapes and sizes, and our antagonist is a devious and thoroughly delusional individual.

The story follows Beth and her husband, David, who have gone through a hellish time in terms of 3 miscarriages, and now she is with baby once again. They are naturally terrified that history will repeat itself once more but there is also a more pressing development to deal with. Disturbing things keep happening; someone has been letting themselves in to Beth and David's home and carrying out threatening tasks. With no-one and nothing quite as it seems we wonder who exactly is behind these barbaric and cruel actions. Soon the campaign of terror eclipses Beth's seemingly perfect life and triggers a domino effect. Once the first domino has fallen is there any hope of escaping the devastation to come?

Torment is packed full of Tilbury's trademark surprises, twists and red herrings, and we are taken on a truly gripping rollercoaster ride which never quite plateau's or even's out; this is fantastic because by keeping you off-kilter it turns into a wholly unpredictable yarn. I was always tense waiting for a new threat to emerge. Tilbury is truly adept at completely rattling his readers and shocking them to their core, and this delivers all you could want and more. It's an addictive, absorbing and compulsively readable domestic thriller. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Art of Murder - Rebecca Muddiman

The Art of Murder by Rebecca Muddiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Art of Murder is the second thriller I have read by Ms Muddiman, and I must say it compares favourably to No Place Like Home. The story follows NYPD detective Nick Kelly as he investigates a series of gruesome murders committed by a vengeful art student. Hellbent on proving his talent and worth he creates a set of disturbing artworks using dead bodies of those he cruelly and callously bumped off.

I've read or watched something with almost the exact same storyline but can't recall exactly what right now. It's a well written and thoroughly enjoyable read which captured my attention a little later than usual as it begins in quite a pedestrian fashion. However, it soon gathers momentum and starts moving swiftly with some excellent twists along the way. I thought the way the plot was structured was perfect; short, snappy chapters give you a serious case of just one more chapter syndrome.

The different perspectives (chapters dedicated to each of the main characters) allow you to get into the psyche of each person thus making the story fully rounded. The characters are highly unlikeable, so if you need someone to get behind and support this may not be the book for you. There certainly are any endearing characters to enjoy. A highly entertaining way to spend a few hours in the afternoon. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Someone Else's Baby - Ruby Speechley

Someone Else's BabySomeone Else's Baby by Ruby Speechley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read quite a few books of late that use the theme of surrogacy as the main aspect of the plot but none in the psychological thriller genre. In this compelling and thought-provoking debut, author Ms Speechley builds a story with a potent mix of mystery, emotion and food for thought, which makes it stand out in a crowded marketplace of identikit thrillers. It follows Charlotte who decides to selflessly become the surrogate to provide a child to a couple who have longed for a family for a long time. However, she fails to properly consider the possible complications and implications associated with such a situation. This begins a rollercoaster ride of emotion and I found myself living every second with Charlotte in particular. It's a painfully honest read and rare for that exact reason.

Speechley explores themes of motherhood, longing, love, loss and mental health in a respectful and compassionate way whilst also weaving it amongst other plot elements to create a well written, honest and affecting read. Her characters are complex, human and relatable and the story is both believable and heartbreaking. It's been a while since I encountered this level of raw emotion in a thriller and it makes for a fully rounded tale which will appeal to both women's fiction/chick-lit readers and those who primarily enjoy crime/mysteries and/or thrillers. This is a superb debut and what I liked the most was that it was a book with a lot of substance to it; this was certainly a welcome change to the usual throwaway stories which are a dime a dozen. Many thanks to Hera Books for an ARC.

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Blog Tour Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow - Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and ShadowGods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a richly imagined historical fantasy and one of the best I've read in a while. Based around Mayan mythology we are introduced to gutsy protagonist Casiopea Tun who much like a modern-day Cinderella wishes to escape her bullying cousin and seemingly uneventful life. Little does she know that soon she will be unexpectedly accompanied by a God — the Mayan God of the underworld — on an epic adventure fraught with danger and life-affirming lessons. It's twisty, dark and wonderfully vivid and Casiopea is a character it's impossible not to admire. She commands your attention and with each turn of the page she becomes more alive.

It definitely feels as though it takes inspiration from the likes of Madeleine Miller's Circe and in my opinion it does just as a good a job. The exploration of a culture, myth and legend fewer are familiar with than other forms of lore, makes for a fascinating read and one I found impossible to put down for any length of time. Perhaps the most alluring part of the story, although there were many, was the stunning location of 1920s Mexico. It's unusual and glorious to say the least. If you enjoy the likes of Katherine Arden and myth/legend then this is a great book to pick up and comes very highly recommended. Many thanks to Jo Fletcher Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The White Scorpion - Rob Sinclair

The White Scorpion (James Ryker #5)The White Scorpion by Rob Sinclair
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The White Scorpion is the fifth thriller in the downright compulsive James Ryker series, and although each of the instalments read perfectly well on their own if so desired — I would certainly recommend working through them chronologically as they're are worth your time but it's not essential. Here, we are reacquainted with main protagonist, James, who's hot on the heels of a currently still unidentifiable group who think nothing of betraying, deceiving and covering up their immoral actions. They appear to be well versed in the gruesome and often brutal techniques they are utilising against their enemies and James must find a way to stop and expose them. Power corrupts and this story is abundant with those willing to sacrifice their integrity to get what they want. No matter how many toes they step on in the process.

Full of intense action, twisty surprises and reveals we are taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotion, clandestine activities and tonnes of suspense. It's a quick, easy read that is perfect for the summer; great to read in the garden sunshine or on holiday. Unlike some thrillers, Sinclair manages to be creative with the story and this kept me interested. If you enjoy books that begin with a bang and start as they mean to go on then this is an excellent choice. It's best described as a spy thriller crossed with a police procedural and revolves around corruption and dark secrets that run deep into the highest echelons of Chabon's elite in society. Highly entertaining and unequivocally recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

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Blog Tour Review: Grave Intent - A.M. Peacock

Grave Intent, DCI Jack Lambert #2Grave Intent, DCI Jack Lambert #2 by A.M. Peacock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grave Intent is the second book in the DCI Jack Lambert series set in my neck of the woods, the North East of England. I loved the series opener, Open Grave, but feel this is even better with more action and many more shocks in store. The story moves at rapid-fire pace making it easy to read through the entire novel before wishing you had savoured it a little more!

The fact that it's a cross between a police procedural, thriller and mystery gives it extra facets and means there is something here to please every crime reader. What I particularly liked was that Mr Peacock was able to craft a superbly thrilling tale but also explored the somewhat divisive issue of whether a homeowner should be allowed to utilise lethal force against an intruder although, of course, it is a lot more complicated than the tale told here. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Over Your Shoulder - C.J. Carver

Over Your ShoulderOver Your Shoulder by C.J. Carver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over Your Shoulder is a brilliantly gripping and politicised cross between a spy thriller and family drama with heaps of intrigue and an equally fascinating cast. When Nick Ashdown sees his brother, who has supposedly been deceased for 12 years, on the news portrayed as the hero saviour after a terrorist attack his blood runs cold. He has so many questions as to how this could be happening. Is it Rob's doppelganger or is he really still alive? And if he is alive where has he been all of this time and why would he stop contact with his wife, children and other family members?

This is an original and expertly plotted tale with a story that will captivate and mesmerise even the most finickety crime reader. It has me from the explosive opening and from there onwards it slowly unravels to reveal secrets, lies and skeletons in the closet of the Ashdown family and others. There are ample twists and turns and there is good use of misdirection to throw us off the scent. A shocking, complex and beautifully written thriller and another cracker from the pen of bestseller CJ Carver. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Priest of Lies - Peter McLean

Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)Priest of Lies by Peter McLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Priest of Lies is the second book in the War for the Rose Throne series, and given the first book, Priest of Bones was one of my favourite reads of last year to say I was eager to pick up this instalment would be an understatement. Whilst I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the opener it will still make considerable waves in the genre not least due to its clever straddling of a few different but related sub-genres and thereby widening its appeal. Now is probably the aptest time to say that it is pretty much essential to have read PoB before diving into this as it follows on right from where the previous book left off and nothing will make much sense to you otherwise.

As it's been quite some time luckily since the first instalment but Mr McLean swiftly and concisely runs through the main happenings from PoB to serve as a reminder; I found this ideal and the author struck the perfect balance between giving enough information to jog the memory but not quite enough to weigh the book down before it has even really gotten underway. It really sets the mood and can make or break the later instalments in a series so serious props for making it work so damn well (for me at least).

Those of you who appreciate strongly atmospheric historic settings and action-packed plots will find this as riveting and addictive as I did. It's a thoroughly original and engaging sequel and one in which the cast develop and evolve considerably, and although I didn't adore this quite as much as Priest of Bones it is without a doubt still a five-star read. Of course, books are incredibly subjective and really all about personal preference. I can see this being celebrated in a plethora of year-end lists as it is an astonishingly creative and fascinating novel. Another rare gem from the pen of Peter McLean! Many thanks to Jo Fletcher Books for an ARC.


Blog Tour Review: Murder Unearthed - Anita Waller

Murder Unearthed (Kat & Mouse, #3)Murder Unearthed by Anita Waller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Murder Unearthed seemed to start like any other thriller but boy did it have a special something about that's rather elusive in the novel world let alone the mystery/thriller world. After the introduction to the story and characters it quickly morphs into a story I genuinely couldn't put down and enjoyed from start to finish in a couple of hours. The tale has something incredibly addictive about it and is beautifully crafted and written with some of the most in-depth and fascinating characterisation I've encountered in a while.

I am seldom surprised by books nowadays, but I certainly wasn't expecting Ms Waller to blow me away this much. In fact, I am so impressed that she has moved swiftly onto my list of authors to watch like a hawk and have already started moving my way through her previous thrillers. Although this is the third book in the Kat and Mouse mystery series it can indeed be read without issue as a standalone, as there is enough backstory to fill you in but having purchased the others I aim on catching up anyway.

An unmissable instalment if you enjoy mystery, intrigue, superb characters and twists that catch you out big time! Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: What She Did - Alex Kane

What She Did: A gripping psychological thriller with an unforgettable twist by Alex Kane
Print Length: 316
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Hera Books
Publication Date: 26 June 2019
My rating:

She’s your best friend. And your worst enemy…

Beth
Beth is a woman running from her demons. Moving to Glasgow to escape the tragedy that ended with the death of her ex-boyfriend, she’s trying to build a new life, to tentatively find new love. But her past is following her, and try as she might, she can’t shake the feeling that someone is watching her every move.

Victoria
Victoria is unhappily married to Greg. On their wedding day he told her he would love her until they grew old, but now he’s becoming secretive, staying out for ‘business meetings’ and growing distant from his wife. After finding incriminating texts on his phone, Victoria contacts an old friend for support, the one person in her life that has never let her down yet.

Lydia
Lydia knows she is the only one that can help Victoria. Jumping straight back into their friendship, despite the four-year absence from Victoria’s life, she vows to stop at nothing to help her get revenge. Good friends will do anything for each other, right?

But Lydia has made a new friend in Beth, and now, none of them are safe…

Three women. Three stories. One devastating secret.

An utterly gripping, dark psychological thriller with a twist that will make your jaw drop. Fans of B.A. Paris, The Wife Between Us and The Woman in the Window will be completely addicted.

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What She Did is Alex Kane's second novel and whilst it is targeted at the thriller market I feel it's very close to crossing into the women's fiction/chick lit genre, so if you enjoy both this should fit you to a T. It centres around three strong women, Beth, Lydia and Victoria, who each have troubled pasts they are desperate to escape from. Beth is trying to escape the tragedy surrounding her ex-boyfriend's death, Victoria is in an increasingly loveless marriage with husband Greg. When she stumbles upon some dodgy texts on his phone her worst suspicions are just about confirmed. This leads to her contacting Lydia and the two plotting revenge, but there is much more going on than you initially realise.

This is a solid, captivating read with relatable characters living very ordinary lives and dealing with believable problems. What takes the book to the next level for me is how emotionally involving it is; Ms Kane's portrayal of each of the characters' situations felt authentic with some truly heart-wrenching moments. Packed with twists, tension and emotion this is an absorbing, lifelike tale and the fact that it is told in dual timelines (past and present) and switches between Beth, Lydia and Victoria's perspectives makes it well-rounded and engaging. An easy, fast-paced novel which rapidly gets quite sinister and intense. Many thanks to Hera for an ARC.


Blog Tour Review: Sea of Bones - Deborah O'Donoghue

Sea of Bones by Deborah O'Donoghue
Print Length: 288
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Legend Press
Publication Date: 1 July 2019
My rating:

Juliet is used to wielding power and influence in her line of work, but when her beloved niece dies, she finds herself powerless in the face of her grief and has doubts over the coroner’s report of suicide.

She travels back to her family’s remote coastal home where Beth was found. As Juliet delves deeper into the investigation, her personal and professional lives collide and she unwittingly finds herself pitted against dangerous opposition who seem intent on silencing her.

In order to expose the truth behind her niece's death, Juliet must face the fact that nobody in her life is who she previously thought them to be – including herself.

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Sea of Bones, Deborah O'Donoghue's debut novel, is a slow-burn psychological thriller with a whole lot of intrigue and some great characters; for a debut, it certainly marks the beginning of the career of an author to watch. The plot is complex with lots going on and for that reason, you have to have your wits about you whilst reading, but as I enjoy a challenge this was a welcome surprise for me as opposed to off-putting. There is a lot more substance to this book than many other thrillers and the breadth and depth really kept me both interested and gripped from beginning to end. It's well written and plotted with a sophisticated subtlety rarely found in the genre today.

The differing perspectives help make the story more rounded and the short chapters make it easy to read "just one more" before bed; both are executed in an adept fashion. There are a few well-placed twists throughout and the author doesn't shy away from exploring deeper real-world issues including topical societal and political problems. More precisely she touches on mental health, suicide, child sexual exploitation, loss and grief. One of my favourite parts, though, has to be the beautiful Scottish setting. The descriptions are vivid and evocative and added a unique atmosphere which I adored.

If you appreciate thrillers that keep you on your toes then I'm willing to bet you'll find much to love here. Many thanks to Legend Press for an ARC.


Blog Tour Review: Enemy at the Window - A.J. Waines

Enemy at the Window by A.J. Waines
Print Length: 337
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 28 June 2019
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Someone knows what you did… and they’re watching you… 

Daniel is living the dream with a devoted wife, perfect job and adorable toddler. Until out of the blue, his wife accuses him of having an affair and stabs him in a frenzied attack with a kitchen knife. As his wife is sectioned in a psychiatric ward, Daniel returns home from intensive care to find his precious world is inexorably falling apart:

Who is prowling around his house?
Why is someone sending threatening postcards?
And who is his son talking to in the dead of night?

As Daniel attempts to put his life back together, a merciless force just out of reach is unravelling it, bit by bit, until Daniel is plunged into his worst nightmare.

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Enemy at the Window is anything but your standard psychological thriller. It's an explosive, addictive and nail-biting page-turner which fully deserves the full five stars. It centres around Sophie who wakes up in a psychiatric hospital unable to remember what led to her being admitted. When the police turn up to arrest her for the attempted murder of husband Daniel, she is shocked and very confused. Eventually, she remembers an argument where she accused him of cheating yet he had not been unfaithful. A few months earlier Sophie was a fun-loving, chilled woman and now she has violently tried to an end a life. So what exactly has happened to her?

This a quick, easy read which is packed with intrigue and twists that force you to revise your guesses as the story constantly changes proving your previous predictions wrong. Right from the beginning Waines's writing rapidly pulls you into the story, and before long you are fully invested in both the plot and the characters. It's impossible to know who can be trusted as most are hiding some dark, disturbing secret and have skeletons in their closet just waiting to emerge. What is most unique about Enemy at the Window is the potent mix of compulsive plot, witty moments to lighten the mood and how poignant and powerful it was to read.

Formerly a Psychotherapist for fifteen years, Waines writes chilling suspense novels and is fascinated by secrets and lies, devious motives and anything hidden under floorboards. Her previous experience leads to a detailed and sensitive exploration of mental health, manipulation and the secrets and lies people tell themselves through the eyes of fictional characters. The characters come alive on the page, and I particularly liked that Waines subverted the usual abuse storyline by making Daniel, a male, the victim. A wickedly clever and sizzlingly sinister thrill ride. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

_________________________________________________________________________________

AJ Waines is a number one international bestselling author, topping the entire UK and Australian
Kindle Charts in two consecutive years, with Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a
psychotherapist, the author has sold nearly half a million copies of her books, with publishing
deals in UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary, Czech Republic and Canada.

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in
thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and
has been ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Find her books here and visit her website and blog,
or join her on Twitter, Facebook or on her Newsletter. 

_________________________________________________________________________________

AJ Waines – Social Media Links:

All Books: http://viewauthor.at/AJWaines
Website www.ajwaines.co.uk
Newsletter http://eepurl.com/bamGuL
Blog: www.awaines.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AJWaines
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AJWaines
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/AJWaines
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ajwaines
Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/a-j-waines




 

 

 






Blog Tour Review: I Know You're There - Sarah Simpson

I Know You're There by Sarah Simpson
Print Length: 406
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 6 June 2019 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is your house as safe as you think?

Natalie spent most of her childhood feeling afraid. So when she moved into her cosy little flat in St Ives and met her three friendly neighbours, she knew at once it was somewhere she'd feel safe.
Before long, Natalie's neighbours have become the family she never had. Kind, motherly Morwenna, serious, reliable Nigel, and sweet, anxious Daniel. They collect each other's mail, water each other's plants, and share each others lives.
But as Natalie knows all too well, the people who are closest to you can also be the most dangerous. And this house is not as safe as she thinks... 

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I Know You're There is a thoroughly gripping psychological thriller which revolves around secrets, deceit, duplicity, manipulation, control and obsession and it very quickly becomes terrifying. Natalie, Daniel and Mo are neighbours who each have skeletons in their closet, and when each of them begins to receive threatening messages they all believe their past is coming back to haunt them. The notes are creepy and oddly cryptic, and someone is certainly loving the suffering they are causing. As the characters begin to lose their grip on reality can they manage to find the culprit and a solution? Exactly who is sending the messages and what do they want?

This is quite a departure from her previous novels; it burns a lot slower and steadier and is an emotional read where you truly feel for the characters and their situations. There are twists and turns throughout, most of which I didn't see coming, and the humongous twist at the end was gobsmacking. The way Simpson dedicates the first part of the story to building her characters means you become invested in them and can very much relate to them. There is a dark, ominous atmosphere which is added to by the paranoia and insecurity of Natalie; it's chilling in places. I particularly loved that each chapter has something exciting happening and as they each end on a cliffhanger you end up wanting to read on and on. Many thanks to Aria for an ARC.



Blog Blitz Review: Copycat - C.S. Barnes

Copycat by C.S. Barnes
Print Length: 241
Series: None Known
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 24 June 2019 
My rating:

MEET DI MELANIE WATTON IN THIS PAGE-TURNING NEW MYSTERY WHICH WILL KEEP YOU HOOKED.

When the body of a young woman, Jenni Grantham, is found abandoned, DI Melanie Watton and her team are called to investigate. It soon becomes apparent that the murder, the method and the appearance of the victim, is something they have seen before.
With the help of Medical Examiner George Waller, DI Watton uncovers the case history of Michael Richards – a local murderer who killed five women before turning himself in.
Further investigations reveal that Jenni was recently reported missing by her parents. And when Jenni’s personal effects are explored, shocking discoveries are made about the victim’s fascination with the original killings.
However, when the ME makes a surprise discovery, DI Watton realises that Jenni was perhaps not the only local with a fixation on these infamous killings.
With a copycat killer on the loose, the team know it is only a matter of time before another body is discovered. But when a second victim is found, the team find themselves questioning everything they thought they knew…

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Copycat is the second thriller I have read from the pen of CS Barnes after her critically acclaimed debut, Intention, which was a great twisted psychological page-turner. Here, we meet DI Melanie Watton in what is best described as a deliciously dark concoction which is part mystery, part thriller and part police procedural. The plot centres around, you guessed it, a suspected copycat killer. Michael Richards, the brutal murderer of five innocent young women was eventually carted off to prison where he was himself killed. When another two killings give Watton and her team deja vu they discover important clues to tie them both back to Richards. Will her team be able to catch this monster before he can strike again?

This a well-written tale and is both cleverly plotted and riveting, and although not the most original in the world what it does do it does superbly — kudos Ms Barnes. You are drawn in by the vivid descriptions and flowing narrative from the get-go and Barnes makes no bones about throwing you in at the deep end. It's an easy, quick read and one you can burn through a significant portion of before even noticing. The characters, in particular Watton, are believable and relatable giving the whole story a charming authenticity and are undoubtedly likeable enough at first glance to hope that this is the beginning of a great new crime series. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.



Blog Tour Review: Murderland - Pamela Murray

Murderland by Pamela Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murderland is the first book to feature intrepid investigators DI Joe Burton and DS Sally Fielding. Set in Manchester, the pair are called to a local nursing home where everyone believes something foul is at play and not just the natural order of life and death. With three people dead and each being left with a playing card beside their body, what exactly is the killer trying to convey? It is a message or a taunt? The police are at a loss to describe what exactly has been going on and the case becomes a lot more complex when two other bodies are found in Northumberland.

This is a well written and entertaining debut police procedural with plenty of tension and enough to keep you guessing as to the motive and the perpetrator. Burton and Fielding are a force to be reckoned with and have an intriguing dynamic. There is a great cast of characters who are given the right amount of development and the pace is spot on. I only hope this is the first instalment in a series as I can see this evolving into a very readable and nail-biting set of books. Either way, I will look out for more by Ms Murray in the future. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Coop - E.C. Deacon

The Coop by E.C. Deacon
Print Length: 315
Series: None Known
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 5 June 2019
My rating:

Everyone has a calling. His is murder...

When a woman staggers, naked, from a river, she has no idea that she’s been saved from a killer by a text message from a dead woman.

Laura Fell is horrified when she discovers of her friend Gina’s suicide. But when the autopsy reveals Gina died before her arrival at the house, she is perplexed.

Everton Bowe, a cop whose career is as dead as his marriage, insists there was no-one else present.  But he’s wrong.

Meanwhile, his ex-lover, DC Helen Lake, insists there are similarities between the traumatized river woman and the cold case of three missing women; the victims, she fears, of a serial killer.
So, when a strange object, matching one found on the river victim, is found in Gina’s house, Everton and Helen’s suspicions are raised.

If someone was at Gina’s house could he also be the river attacker?
Is there a serial killer on the loose?

If so, what is his motive, and the macabre significance of his calling card?

The Coop is a compelling and utterly gripping serial killer thriller from debut author E C Deacon. It will appeal to fans of authors like Rob Ashman, Charlie Gallagher and Caroline Mitchell.


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The Coop is Mr Deacon's debut police procedural crime thriller and despite a bit of a pedestrian start the story first intrigues and then by chapter two I was sufficiently hooked that I read through most of it in a single, solitary sitting. DC Helen Lake and police officer, ex-boyfriend Everton Bowe are a dynamic, intelligent and deeply intuitive pair in terms of their work with a bit of an odd aspect to their relationship given they're are former lovers. There are lots of twists along the way; some more surprising than others, but I felt that one thing that could've created more of a tense atmosphere was tighter editing to create a tauter plot as it did feel a bit drawn out in places, but a minor issue to me.

My biggest bugbear was that I predicted the killer correctly quite early on, and it came as rather a surprise to me that this didn't detract from my overall enjoyment as heavily as it usually would in these type of books. That could almost certainly be chalked up to how well written it was and the characterisation. The attention to detail in terms of the cast was some of the most impressive I've encountered in crime fiction for a while with extensive backstories and real, complex and flawed personalities. I have no idea whether this is the start of a series of not, but either way, I will be keeping my eyes open for Mr Deacon's upcoming thrillers (hopefully) in the not too distant future. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.



Review: The Boss - Caz Finlay

The Boss: A gripping new crime thriller for 2019 with a shocking twist! by Caz Finlay
Print Length: 400
Series: Grace Sumner, Book One
Genres: Crime Fiction, Thriller, Gangland Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Killer Reads
Publication Date: 7 June 2019
My rating:

He’s inside.

She’s running the family.

But now he’s back – only one can boss the streets of Liverpool.

Packed with twists, turns and deceit, get ready for the first novel in an explosive new gangland crime series.

HE’S OUT FOR BLOOD
After a stint inside, notorious gangster Nathan Conlon is back. He says he’s a changed man, but old habits die hard on Liverpool’s gritty streets. He’ll stop at nothing to reclaim his formidable criminal empire – and his long-suffering ex-wife, Grace.

SHE’S OUT FOR REVENGE
Grace once kissed the ground that Nathan walked on, but not anymore. She’s head of the firm now, commanding respect from the best of them, and she’ll do anything to protect her family – even if it means beating Nathan at the dirtiest of games . . .

WHO WILL COME OUT ON TOP?

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The Boss is the first book in a brand new gangland crime series by debut author Caz Finlay featuring Grace Sumner and set in Liverpool, and if this is anything to go by this is indeed an author to keep an eye on. As a qualified Probation Officer, Caz has always been fascinated by the psychology of human behaviour and the reasons people do the things they do, and this feeds beautifully into making a very readable and compulsive story. It has it all — a gripping well-executed plot, a thought through & thrilling backstory, palpable tension and concludes in a truly epic showdown in famous gangland stylee.

The writing flows superbly from one page to the next and once I started reading I was effectively held captive for the afternoon as it was so easy to fly through the short, snappy chapters. Grace is a feisty, strong female and I found myself cheering for her numerous times throughout. At its heart, this is her story and a family drama enriched by the gangland connections her father has. It alternates between past and present telling her story as she struggles to wriggle from her ex-husband Nathan's manipulative grasp. It's absolutely nail-biting and all-consuming with unexpected twists left, right and centre. A truly excellent, must-read thriller.

Recommended, especially to fans of Martina Cole, Jessie Keane, Kimberly Chambers, Casey Kelleher and Jackie Rose. Many thanks to Killer Reads for an ARC.



Review: Savage Games - Peter Boland

Savage Games by Peter Boland
Print Length: 346
Series: John Savage Action Thrillers, Book Two
Genres: Crime Fiction, Action, Thriller, Military Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Adrenalin Books
Publication Date: 3 June 2019
My rating:

A body hidden in a tree.
A forest full of dark secrets. 
A man determined to find the truth...

"Wow. Just seriously wow!" Goodreads reviewer, five stars
 
John Savage receives the shocking news that his friend has been found dead in bizarre circumstances. His body hidden in the branches of a towering fir tree in the New Forest. Savage vows to find out who is responsible. 
 
Together with brilliant computer hacker Tannaz, he discovers his friend was down on his luck, living among those who society would rather forget - the dregs, the desperate and the homeless. Entering this dark and dangerous world, Savage soon discovers that the death of his friend was just the tip of the iceberg...
 
Savage Games is a bestselling, fast-paced action thriller for fans of James Patterson, Lee Child and David Baldacci.
 

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Savage Games is the second all-action thriller in the John Savage series, and the stakes continue to be high and his mission fraught with danger and crackling with tension from first page to last. Each of the instalments can be read independently of one another without issue although once you discover the high stakes and adrenaline-pumping action you'll have a strong desire to pick up any you have missed to this point. Sinfully suspenseful and deliciously dark, we follow hero investigator John Savage as he grapples with his most brutal case yet. Move over Jack Reacher, Savage is here!

There is never a dull moment in this gripping story as there is always something happening and quite a lot of it unexpected. There are ample twists in the tale to keep you guessing and the pace is relentless. If you enjoy brutal violence, explosive action and interesting characters then Savage Games comes thoroughly recommended, and Savage himself proves himself dependable, tough but sensitive and incredibly likeable with a reliable moral compass to guide him. Compulsively readable and fiercely compelling, this is a gripping and highly entertaining book. Roll on number three! Many thanks to Sarah Hardy for a copy.

Review: Scared to Breathe - Kerena Swan

Scared to Breathe by Kerena Swan
Print Length: 328
Series: None
Genres: Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 3 June 2019
My rating:

When Tasha witnesses a stabbing at the train station in Luton, she is compelled to give evidence in court that leads to Dean Rigby being convicted. But when Lewis, Dean’s brother, vows revenge, Tasha is afraid and no longer feels safe in her own home.

Tasha’s partner, Reuben, hopes to marry her and start a family soon. But Reuben is concerned about Tasha’s state of mind and urges her to see a doctor

When Tasha is left a derelict country house by her birth father, she sees an opportunity to escape Luton and start a new life. After visiting Black Hollow Hall she sees it as the perfect opportunity to live a life without fear.

At first Tasha feels liberated from her troubles. The gardener, William, who is partially paralysed but employed to maintain the grounds of Black Hollow Hall, is welcoming.

But soon Tasha realises the Hall is not quite the idyll she imagined.

When she discovers that a woman jumped to her death there years ago following the murder of her husband, strange events begin to take place and Tasha fears for her safety.

Have the Rigby family found her?
Is someone trying to scare her into selling the house?
Or is she suffering from paranoia as Reuben suggests?
 
As Tasha’s sanity is put under pressure she begins to wonder if Black Hollow Hall is going to be her salvation or her undoing…

Kerena Swan is also the author of the unmissable psychological thriller Dying to See You. Scared to Breathe is a compelling thriller which will appeal to fans of authors like Clare Mackintosh, Cara Hunter and Shalini Boland.

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Scared to Breathe is Ms Swan's second standalone thriller. I very much enjoyed her debut, Dying to See You, and this is just as utterly compelling, if not even more so. After witnessing a mugging, Tasha is frightened for her life. She wants to speak out about what she saw but the culprits threatening motion across his neck as he departed the scene leaves her stiff with fear. The guy is eventually identified, caught and sentenced yet Tasha's intense distress only worsens. She is suffering from the effects of PTSD, paranoid that the convicts criminal family are out to get her. But are they or can your imagination have you losing your mind on all its own?

There have been a number of thrillers involving a character with PTSD of late, but this is certainly up there with the best. It illustrates the devastating consequences this can have on those who suffer from it, their family and friends. It isolates Tasha and leaves her even more vulnerable than she feels. The subject is treated sensitively, compassionately and I can vouch for the authenticity of it having, sadly, had a family member suffer from it after coming back from the Middle East. It's a well written, compulsive page-turner which kept my attention easily and for the entirety of the story. Recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.


Review: I am Quinn - McGarvey Black

I Am Quinn by McGarvey Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All too frequently regular readers come across a very annoying situation: a fantastic fictional concept but poor execution. However, this is the first time in a while in which both the concept and execution are both impressive. Told from the perspective of the deceased — Quinn — and her family, we are taken on a captivating journey through the relevant parts of her life. It's a beautifully written psychological drama crossed with a murder mystery and will have you engaged and immersed in the story almost instantaneously.

The characters are relatable and believable and the pace pretty spot on. I'm surprised this is a debut as it really is a thoroughly gripping read; so good, in fact, that I flew through it. Issues of domestic abuse are treated sensitively and compassionately and the very real and long-term nature of police work is revealed and comes across as authentic. I look forward to reading more from McGarvey Black in the future. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Review: He's At Your Door - Alex Sinclair

He's At Your Door by Alex Sinclair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What exactly could be behind someone living in a house like Fort Knox with security features, locks and planned methods of escape for if the worst should happen. After building the perfect exfiltration kit and having received a death threat Karen feels it's the right time to find a new safe space and although the concept is one that has been done to death Karen's enigmatic character carries the whole story and the mystery surrounding who she is, what she's done and who is after her and for what keep the tension piercing the pages and will have you feverishly turning the pages for answers.

It must be hell to live like this with one eye looking over your shoulder constantly. Is there an issue that the paranoia could destroy you as a person? What about family? So many questions and the answers are revealed towards the end of the book making for a satisfying conclusion. If you enjoy mystery and plentiful suspense this is one of the best I've read in recent months. You will think you know where it's heading but there are certainly some interesting moments along the way which I didn't see coming. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Review: Last Tango in Cyberspace - Steven Kotler

Last Tango in Cyberspace by Steven Kotler
Print Length: 336
Series: None
Genres: Science Fiction/Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Fiction, Technology
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 14 May 2019
My rating:

New York Times bestselling author Steven Kotler crafts a near-future thriller about the evolution of empathy.

Hard to say when the human species fractured exactly. Harder to say when this new talent arrived. But Lion Zorn is the first of his kind--an empathy tracker, an emotional soothsayer, with a felt sense for the future of the we. In simpler terms, he can spot cultural shifts and trends before they happen.
It's a useful skill for a certain kind of company.

Arctic Pharmaceuticals is that kind of company. But when a routine em-tracking job leads to the discovery of a gruesome murder, Lion finds himself neck-deep in a world of eco-assassins, soul hackers and consciousness terrorists. But what the man really needs is a nap.

A unique blend of cutting-edge technology and traditional cyberpunk, Last Tango in Cyberspace explores hot topics like psychology, neuroscience, technology, as well as ecological and animal rights issues. The world created in Last Tango is based very closely on our world about five years from now, and all technology in the book either exists in labs or is rumored to exist. With its electrifying sentences, subtle humor, and an intriguing main character, readers are sure to find something that resonates with them in this groundbreaking cyberpunk science fiction thriller.

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Steven Kotler returns with another unique cyberpunk sci-fi adventure set about five years into our future and explores the intersections of psychology, technology, neuroscience, and ecology with an eye toward realism and the breathless pace of a thriller. Main protagonist Lion Zorn is what makes this enjoyable and kept me reading despite the disjointed and slightly convoluted narrative. He resonated with me in particular because of his quiet, introverted nature. The plot concept is solid and original with the idea being that Zorn predicts future cultural trends through empathy.

Much of the technology featured in the book is either in use widely today, in use to some extent or rumoured to be in existence, so this is speculative fiction that isn't so, well, speculative. I know quite a few people have commented on how dense and almost heavy this is to read; I think that's due to the fact that this is a merging of the science fiction and non-fiction genres in the sense that the story is interspersed with tidbits of information on technology and advancement and warnings about it being best to move forward at a slower pace rather than taking one giant leap - it's difficult to disagree with this.

Last Tango in Cyberspace will not be for every sci-fi nut, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will reread at a canter rather than a gallop in the not too distant future. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

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Review: The Butcher's Daughter - Jane E. James

The Butcher's Daughter by Jane E. James
Print Length: 332
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 13 May 2019 
My rating:

Looking for a dark and compelling psychological thriller with a twist you won't see coming?

Trust no one. Not even yourself.

When Natalie Powers returns home for the first time in thirteen years, she must convince everyone she has fully recovered from the mental illness, which has seen her institutionalised for most of her young life.

But instead of being welcomed back, Natalie enters a baffling world of deception. She must fight her way through the lies in order to discover the truth about her mother’s sudden disappearance sixteen years earlier. To do this, Natalie must also try to make sense of the hazy memories from the past that continue to haunt her.

In the village of Little Downey, everybody appears to harbour a mysterious secret, including her father, Frank, the village butcher, who refuses to discuss the circumstances surrounding Natalie’s mother's disappearance, but who can Natalie trust if not her own father? Especially when it becomes clear her protector and confidante, Dr Moses, is not all he appears.

Meanwhile, a spate of unexplained clifftop suicides has seen the seaside resort go into decline. Are the villagers somehow involved or is something more sinister at work?

Determined to find out what happened to her mother, Natalie must make sure her own frailty and self-doubt does not catapult her back to the mental institution before she can uncover the truth…

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Bestselling author Jane E. James returns with another dark, suspenseful psychological tale based around mental health, the surrounding stigmatisation, family secrets, deception, duplicity, memory and the ominous, mysterious disappearance of main protagonist, Natalie's, mother. Almost two decades after the disappearance still no-one will talk about it, but Natalie is stubborn and astute and will not stop until she discovers the answers to her questions. Slowly but surely she realises that there is some sort of cover-up going on and that nobody, even those she used to trust the most, is above suspicion.

The Butcher's Daughter is a chilling read, and as it gallops along the tension builds and builds as the twists in the tale are cleverly revealed. It's so intense that at times my heart was in my mouth; I really didn't expect to enjoy it so much. The characters were rather enigmatic and the switching up of the narrative every so often makes it unpredictable. Mental health is treated in a respectful manner, and as a mental health campaigner, I appreciated the book raising some much-needed awareness.

I loved it and found it the most compelling and compulsively readable of James's dark fiction so far. And that conclusion. Wowzer. Read it! Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.


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Author Biography: Jane E. James

Jane is an author of dark fiction and psychological thrillers. She comes from an editorial and
marketing background and when she isn't being mysterious, like her books, she enjoys living
the 'good life' in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her husband and Jack Russell Terrier.
Her chilling suspense thriller ‘The Crying Boy’, which was inspired by actual events, became
an overnight best seller when it was published by Bloodhound Books in early 2017. Jane’s
most recent novel, The Butcher’s Daughter (out May 2019) is a tense and haunting
psychological thriller.
Visit Jane’s website www.janeejames.com or catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter,
but bring wine and Monster Munch…


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