Friday, 15 March 2019

A Body in the Lakes

Second in a fantastic series by Graham Smith. Highly recommended (both books).


Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Book description

When a hiker finds the body of a woman by the shores of Lake Ullswater, the police are put on high alert. Felicia Evans was known to be a tough character, but who would have strangled her?

Detective Beth Young quickly spots the links to three cold cases. Three women strangled and discarded in the stunning, wild hills of the Lake District.

As Beth begins tracking down witnesses, the team receives an anonymous letter claiming the charming mayor of Carlisle is behind the murders. There’s pressure from the top to clear his name. But Beth is determined to find the truth no matter whose feathers she ruffles in the process.

Beth knows the clock is ticking. The killer is hunting again. And it’s down to her to find who’s responsible before another woman becomes his prey…

My review -


This is a second in the DC Beth Young series and a great story. The body of an elderly woman is discovered and there are links to the charismatic local mayor. Beth’s individual strength is her analytical thinking, and she discovers three previous murder/rape cases in the area in the past few years. Bad news for previous investigators who should have found that link. The story is wide ranging, complex and interesting. Beth’s personal life is expanded upon in this book and she faces danger from more than one of the suspects. It’s an exciting, well-paced story that links cold cases with a current one. It left me breathless on a few occasions and I really look forward to more.

About the author

Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. 

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has six books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and four novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder. His ‘Lakes’ series featuring DC Beth Young has received much critical acclaim.


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Just a thought - A book is a gift you can open again and again.” 
― Garrison Keillor

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Offstage

This new novella by Jonathan Hill is just as deep and emotional as we've come to expect from him. 


Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Book description

That Thursday, the day he started, was the first day in what felt like forever that I didn't consider what the world would be like without me in it.

From the author of the award-winning 'FAG' and 'Not Just a Boy' comes a story of youthful lust, the agonising ambiguity of a close friendship and the fragile nature of truth. 'Offstage' is the tale of a young man's first love in a sleepy seaside town he is desperate to escape.

My review - 

We all remember our first love. We have all loved someone who didn’t love us. There are so many common themes here that I really felt for Daniel, the narrator of the story. He had the added difficulty that he didn’t know if Nathan, the object of his desire, was gay. The anxiety, the elation, the misinterpretation of simple gestures and words, it’s all in here. There’s also a darkness. Daniel finds himself, initially by mistake, embroiled in something deeper than he knew. The story is beautifully written and the Daniel’s feelings displayed in honest and heartfelt prose. It’s both sad and uplifting. Highly recommended reading.

About the author

Jonathan Hill is an author from Manchester, UK. 

His work isn’t confined to one genre, but he has already published a number of gay literary fiction books to high critical acclaim. His debut novel 'FAG', a hard-hitting story set in an English boarding school in the 1930s, was named as the overall winner in the Self-Published and Small Press 2014 Book Awards.

He has also penned the hit comedy series of Maureen books, in addition to numerous short stories and 100-word drabbles. Jonathan firmly believes that writing should not only entertain but also enhance and change the way readers view the world.

When he’s not writing and working as a pharmacist, he enjoys painting, photography and going to the theatre.

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Just a thought 

 People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book.  Malcolm X


Thursday, 7 March 2019

The Secret Child

This second in a new series is Caroline Mitchell at her best.






Amazon US link

Book description

DI Amy Winter knows evil. She’s lived through it.
Four-year-old Ellen is snatched by a stranger in the dead of night. Her devastated mother, Nicole, receives four identical phials and a threatening note in a familiar scrawl that chills her to the bone. But she always knew this would happen. She’s been expecting it for years . . .
According to the note, one of the phials is poisoned. Nicole is given a deadly challenge: if she drinks one, the sadistic kidnapper will notify the police of Ellen’s location. The sender claims to be Luka Volkov but Luka is supposed to be dead, killed long ago in a fire that haunts all those involved.
DI Amy Winter is still reeling from the discovery that she is the daughter of a serial killer, and her childhood trauma only makes her more determined to bring Ellen home. When another child is taken, Amy finds herself in a race against time. To rescue the children, must she seek help from the one person she wants to forget?

My review - 

This is the second DI Amy Winter story and it’s as fast and furious as the first (Truth and Lies). Two child kidnappings open the curtains on a scientific institute in the 1980s. Someone is seeking revenge. This is an interesting study of childhood trauma, comparing and contrasting the kidnapper’s with Amy’s own. It’s a fresh look at an old subject and given Amy’s background, she’s uniquely equipped to investigate. I’m really enjoying this series. Many a fictional DI is portrayed as deeply flawed and it gets a bit samey. Amy Winter is burdened by her genes. Her fear of her parents’ flaws. A very good story and refreshingly different.

About the author 

Caroline writes psychological and crime thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim reached No.1 in the Amazon charts in the UK, USA and Australia. It has been described as 'brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy'. 

Set in Notting Hill, London, her new DI Amy Winter thriller, Truth and Lies, is published by Thomas & Mercer.

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Just a thought 

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
― G.K. Chesterton


Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Abel's Revenge

This is one of those stories that I suspect will stay with me!




Book description

This is a story about a city. As with all others, it’s a place of violence. There are murderers, and they live among us.

This is also a tale about a couple — sometimes friends, occasionally lovers, but always partners. Dan and Olivia are fighting modern battles; the ones parents have over a lack of money, time or peace.

An escalating serial killer terrifies the streets and homes. The body count rises as their relationship crumbles. Society reveals its dark side, and no one is safe. Dan and Olivia experience this first-hand as danger closes in.

Will Abel’s reign of terror ever end?

Who will live, and who will die?


My review -


I’ve said before that Ross Greenwood writes an unusual story. I’ll say it again! Ross Greenwood has written something here that stands alone. He takes the ten-year relationship of Dan and Olivia, now going stale under the pressure of their jobs and childcare for their two small children. Dan suffers a breakdown and Olivia gets the chance to work in California, taking their children. The author sets it against a city in meltdown, suffering the attacks of a serial killer. I loved the fact that Dan was obsessed with their weird postman and milkman, even his neighbour. The kind of thing we can all do. Olivia, who liked to go running, feared the attacker. There’s a sense of danger throughout this book and the ending is a corker.

About the author

I was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until I was 20, attending The King's School in the city. I then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

I found myself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually when things had gone wrong. It was on one of these occasions that I met my partner about 100 metres from my back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. I'm still a little stunned by the pace of it now.

Fifty Years of Fear book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then after working in sales management all my life, i randomly spent four years as a prison officer. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave me the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep I completed it in the early morning hours.

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Just a thought -

I love the way that each book—any book—is its own journey. You open it, and off you go….
― Sharon Creech

Fatal Promise

Another absolute belter from Angie Marsons.


Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Book description

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim's sure this was no accident. 

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet. 

My review - 

This book leans upon the previous story and the changes it meant for Kim and her team. A doctor is brutally murdered – and he was part of the story of Dying Truth. More bodies follow and the team, still trying to get to grips with a past they can’t recover, work punishing hours, even though Kim is still suffering from an injury. The story is entwined with one of a missing girl and they run in parallel, as cases must in real life. There are plenty of heart-stopping moments. Angela Marson’s stories never get stale. This is a belter.

About the author -

Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 3 million in 3 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read "Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people's".

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Just a thought 
Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us? ― Cornelia Funke

Jim Webster

Two reviews of recently read Port Naain stories. I feel totally at home there!

First, Swimming for Profit and Pleasure


Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Book description

Benor learns a new trade, joins the second hand book trade, attempts to rescue a friend and awakens a terror from the deep. Meddling in the affairs of mages is unwise, even if they have been assumed to be dead for centuries.


My review - 


Benor Dorfinngil learns new skills in this story. He sets out to help a friend and he definitely gets into deep water. I always enjoy these little tales which sometimes take a surprising turn. If you’ve not read any before I think you could just dive straight in. So to speak.

And now - The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily





Book description 

No good deed goes unpunished. To help make ends meet, Benor takes on a few small jobs, to find a lost husband, to vet potential suitors for two young ladies, and to find a tenant for an empty house. He began to feel that things were getting out of hand when somebody attempted to drown him.

My review -

Benor tackles various mysteries in this collection of stories. From a lady who wants to search for her missing husband (who doesn’t want to be found!) to vetting suitors for young ladies, he is ever helpful to the fairer sex. He also takes on sleeping in a haunted house. And, as they say, much more. Those of us who loves these tales of life in Port Naain feel we are putting on comfy slippers and a cardy to relax in the presence of favourite people. I loved it!

About the author

Jim Webster is probably fifty something, his tastes in music are eclectic, and his dress sense is rarely discussed in polite society. In spite of this he has a wife and three daughters.
He has managed to make a living from a mixture of agriculture, consultancy, and freelance writing. Previously he has restricted himself to writing about agricultural and rural issues but including enough Ancient Military history to maintain his own sanity. But seemingly he has felt it necessary to branch out into writing SF and fantasy novels. 
He lives in South Cumbria.

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Just a thought - A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading ― William Styron

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Dying Truth

I'm working my way up the numbers in Angie Marsons' brilliant Kim Stone series. This
is number 8.



Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Book description How far would you go to protect your darkest secrets?

When teenager Sadie Winter jumps from the roof of her school, her death is ruled as suicide – a final devastating act from a troubled girl. But then the broken body of a young boy is discovered at the same school and it’s clear to Detective Kim Stone that these deaths are not tragic accidents.

As Kim and her team begin to unravel a dark web of secrets, one of the teachers could hold the key to the truth. Yet just as she is about to break her silence, she is found dead. 

With more children’s lives at risk, Kim has to consider the unthinkable - whether a fellow pupil could be responsible for the murders. Investigating the psychology of children that kill brings the detective into contact with her former adversary, Dr Alex Thorne – the sociopath who has made it her life’s work to destroy Kim. 

Desperate to catch the killer, Kim finds a link between the recent murders and an initiation prank that happened at the school decades earlier. But saving these innocent lives comes at a cost – and one of Kim’s own might pay the ultimate price.

My review - 

A child at an exclusive public school dies in tragic circumstances. Kim’s team start turning some stones and find nasty things under them. The case begins to tie up old and new deaths at the school but everyone there is in denial. I found the book exciting and scary with its almost conspiracy-theory story about those with wealth and power. Kim’s team have come from very different backgrounds to those at the school but there’s no end to what they will do for the people who need their help. Emotional, exciting, another cracking book in the Kim Stone series.

About the author

Angela lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read "Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people's".

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.


~~~

Just a thought - I love the way that each book—any book—is its own journey. You open it, and off you go….  ― Sharon Creech