Publication Day Party: Review: M for Murder - Keri Beevis

M for MurderM for Murder by Keri Beevis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

M for Murder is a superb standalone thriller previously published as Dead Letter Day in 2013 and was Beevis’s debut effort. It’s 1989 and sinister serial killer Professor Rodney Boone, nicknamed The Alphabet Killer as he had a penchant for carving the victim’s initials into each of their necks, supposedly perished in a deadly house fire, however, his remains were never recovered. The killings ceased after that so the police believed he had definitely died. Fast forward eight years to 1997 and feisty newbie cop Rebecca Angell has been called in to help the FBI investigate a spurt of new murders with exactly the same modus operandi as Boone’. The police cannot be sure that this isn’t Rodney himself; it’s either him or they have a brutal copycat killer on their hands. Regardless of who it is they must be stopped before another person dies.

M for Murder is an addictive read from the get-go and you are pulled into the story from the first couple of pages. It was very cleverly written with a plethora of twists, turns, reveals and misdirection. It’s a captivating read and I raced through it in a couple of hours on a rainy, cold afternoon curled up with a cuppa; I never put the book down from the moment I picked it up until I had finished. This is a fantastic debut from Ms Beevis and although I read a tonne of thrillers this one certainly kept me guessing the whole way through. This is a fast-paced story with a well developed and interesting cast of characters who grew on me as the narrative progressed. If you enjoy strong characters and storytelling, twisty narratives and an exciting mystery then you can’t go wrong with M for Murder. An entertaining and thoroughly engrossing read. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Publication Day Party: Review: Reunion - Heleyne Hammersley

Reunion (DI Kate Fletcher #4)Reunion by Heleyne Hammersley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reunion is the fourth instalment in the Detective Inspector Kate Fletcher series, however, each book can easily be read and enjoyed as standalones. This time, Kate and beau, Nick, are in the middle of a well-deserved break on holiday in the pristine serenity of the Lake District, Cumbria, UK, when a body is discovered in the vicinity of the lodge in which they are renting for the duration of their stay. Unfortunately, Kate must snap back into investigative mode and screwing her head back on and endearingly giving the crime all her attention despite it having come at a less than favourable time. Whilst awaiting the local police to arrive Kate can’t shake the chilling notion that tells her the victim is someone she knows; someone from a different time period in her life altogether yet she can’t be certain. Accompanied by Nick she returns to the relative warmth and safety of her native South Yorkshire but it isn’t too long before another body shows up. But how, as the case may be, are they connected?

An enjoyable and very pleasant read curled up on a frigid, snowy Northern afternoon and merely a stones throw from the stunning location(s) in which the book is set. Recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Publication Day Party: Review: Deep Black Lies - CJ Carver

Deep Black LiesDeep Black Lies by C.J. Carver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Deep Black Lies is the second thriller in the Doctor Harry Hope series and although it can certainly be read without picking up the first offering beforehand this is a series you will likely want to read from the beginning. I found this to be a thoroughly gripping read and one which is both fast paced and exciting. A real page-turner and a book made all the more fascinating by the fact that Dr Hope is a psychotherapist. If you enjoy cleverly written thrillers with an emotive and engaging cast of characters and a well thought out storyline featuring many twisty reveals then you can’t go wrong with Deep Black Lies. Recommended. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

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Publication Day Party: Review: The Beautiful Dead - Kim Hunt

The Beautiful Dead: a nail biting crime thrillerThe Beautiful Dead: a nail biting crime thriller by Kim Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Beautiful Dead is the first book to feature Cal Nyx, a park ranger based in the Australian outback, and although I was hoping it would follow in the successful footsteps of other recent Aussie based crime such as Jane Harper’s atmospheric thrillers, it was a tad disappointing. Granted there is certainly potential but it’s quite slow to engage you and whilst it definitely gets better the deeper into it you get I would’ve liked a little more of the sparkling Aussie setting with a depiction of the searing heat, miles of barren desert and the renowned Aussie banter/sense of humour. Should there be a second instalment I would consider picking it up as often the opening book in a series can be marred by the scene-setting that inevitably must take place. However, it wouldn’t be a priority. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Apartment Six - Stuart James

Apartment SixApartment Six by Stuart James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Apartment Six is Stuart James’s fourth psychological thriller with a substantial ol’ helping of horror thrown in for good measure. The call handlers working for the emergency services are a little more alarmed than usual when they receive a 999 call from what sound to be a young girl claiming her mother has been hurt. This little girl was five year old Meagan and she had sadly witnessed her mothers murder at the hands of her abusive, controlling and narcissistic father. Unfortunately, this then transfers, in later years, to Meagan’s own marriage with volatile, capricious husband, Rob, and faced an onslaught of both physical and emotional abuse from him on the daily. Enter Oliver a guy so different from Rob that it's not even funny and it doesn't take long for a tight bond, closely followed by a relationship, to manifest. However, it is unlikely to end well given she is cheating on her husband.

As someone who has suffered from verbal abuse, this was a hard-hitting, powerful and emotionally resonant read for me. This is a book that highlights just how difficult it is to fully escape your past; you can run to the ends of the earth and still feel the influence it has over you. From the get-go, you are thrown in at the deep end and at no point during the entirety of the story did my level of engagement wane. This is a page-turner with plenty of thrills and twists, an interesting cast of characters and an exploration of heavy topics such as domestic abuse. Highly recommended. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Convictions - Caro Land

ConvictionsConvictions by Caro Land
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Convictions is Caro Land’s (pseudonym of bestselling author Caroline England) latest book, and although described as a thriller, with elements of both psychological and legal thriller, it doesn't really read like a thriller at all; yes, there was mild suspense but I feel it was slightly disingenuous to label it as anything more and can see this rubbing those who pick it up thinking it is a thriller up the wrong way from the outset. However, as with everything, this is strictly subjective. That said, I felt it was well written and decently plotted and I enjoyed trucking through it in a mere couple of hours before bed. It is a somewhat light-hearted family drama and will very much appeal to those who appreciate women’s fiction/chick-lit, and due to this will likely appeal to a great many readers.

This certainly has the potential to become a series but for it interest me it would have to move from a drama filled with gossip mongers, as well as touching on some more serious topics, towards the type of book I thought I had signed up for. I would consider trying another of Ms Land’s novels should it have more of the characteristics we are accustomed to being present in an accomplished thriller, and I have no qualms with disclosing how much of a fan I have been of her thrillers under the name Caroline England, so I know exactly what superbly gripping, meaty stories she is capable of producing. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Addressed to Kill - Keith Wright

Addressed To KillAddressed To Kill by Keith Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Addressed to Kill is the third police procedural in the Detective Inspector David Stark series set in and around Nottingham in the 1980s. If DI Stark was looking forward to a little rest and relaxation over the Christmas period then it was shattered when, as a member of Nottingham CID, he is called into action to investigate the brutal and gruesome murder of a young woman. Shortly after a second victim is discovered. The perpetrator tormented these women with their own secrets, raped them and offed them for his own sick pleasure. The disturbed sex attackers psychosis is so entrenched, that each crime appears to be getting more and more grotesque. The killer is not caught before DI Starks own family become wrapped up in this maniac’s diseased mind, with tragic consequences.

This is a gritty, fast-paced and compulsively readable thriller; it even addresses the issues of racism and sexism as they were seen in the 1980s which adds a thought-provoking element to the plot. It’s well written, twisty and realistic with the author's previous career as a Detective informing his work and giving it an authentic and believable feel. There is a depth to both the narrative and characters that you don’t encounter too often and I thoroughly enjoyed thetake no prisoners style in which it was written. I love when we get crime fiction set in decades past as they always leave me with a nostalgic feeling and due to the recent dawn of DNA as a form of forensics and its expense the team have to rely on good old fashioned methods of police work. I was shocked by the conclusion; what a thrilling way to end a book. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.