Thursday, 21 February 2019

The Secret Mother

Shalini Boland always writes a good psychological thriller and this is no exception.


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Book description -

'Are you my mummy?’

Tessa Markham returns home to find a child in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children. 

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there. 

After contacting the police, Tessa is suspected of taking the mystery child. Her whole life is turned upside down. And then her husband reveals a secret of his own…

Tessa isn’t sure what to believe or who to trust. Because someone is lying. To find out who, she must confront her painful past. But is the truth more dangerous than Tessa realises? 

My review - 


Shalini Boland gets deep into the mind of Tessa, a woman who seems to have lost everything. Both her children, her husband and her self-belief. She finds a child in her kitchen when she arrives home. He says she is his mummy and an angel brought him there. She’s accused of child abduction and is hounded by the press. This story is in parts poignant, exciting and frustrating. I wanted to shake a couple of the characters! It’s a really good psychological thriller from a writer who excels in the genre. Thoroughly recommended.

About the author -
Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

~~~

Just a thought - If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads. Ralph Waldo Emerson



Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The Foundling

First in a new series by Angie Smith. It has all the pace and action you'd expect!


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Book description

By agreeing to work for a new client, who claims she’s a police detective, Jonathan Miller sets in motion a sequence of catastrophic events which result in devastating consequences, both for himself and his family.
He joins forces with an old adversary. A man he’s terrified of, yet, when you’re backed in to a corner, this man can always find a way to get you out alive. Together they attempt to solve the brutal assassination of a young woman. In doing so they uncover secrets which have been hidden away for decades. Secrets involving some of the most powerful people in the world.
My review -
Jonathan Miller leads a double life. He acts as an escort in the evenings, which his wife is quite happy about. The man he works for is effectively a gangster and Miller would like to get out of the business and settle down to a more law-abiding life – but his boss won’t let him quit without some payback. The story is steeped in murky business but the top layer of Miller’s life is glitzy and glamorous. It’s a hard thing to give up. Although he’s mixed up in some nasty business, you can’t help rooting for Miller and hoping things work out for him. It’s an exciting story and packed with action, as all Angie Smith’s books are, and I enjoyed it.

Author info

Angie Smith was born in Doncaster and educated at Huddersfield University where she graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Education and Training. After a long career in adult education, training and performance management she retired early to pursue other ventures.

She travels extensively, and was nominated for an award on her knowledge transfer partnerships work, during which she co-produced and presented a journal article at the International Social Work Conference in Durban.

In 2013 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and, following a year of extensive and gruelling treatment, her desire to write was rekindled. Her highly acclaimed CXVI Trilogy and The Spy Who Chipped The China Teacup inspired the creation of her fifth novel The Foundling – Sex lies and Swimming Naked. 

She currently lives in West Yorkshire with her husband, youngest son, two dogs and horse.

~~~

Just a thought - If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.
J K Rowling




Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Quaker

New-to-me author Liam McIlvanney has written a complex and satisfying book about a true story of 1960s Glasgow.



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Book description

A city torn apart.
It is 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city. The Quaker has taken three women from the same nightclub and brutally murdered them in the backstreets.
A detective with everything to prove.
Now, six months later, the police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. They call in DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair.
A killer who hunts in the shadows.
Soon another woman is found murdered in a run-down tenement flat. And McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…


My review - 

A new detective, McCormack, is brought in when the Glasgow police fail to find a serial killer, known as The Quaker. This story, based on truth, is set on the 1960s and has a strong sense of time and place. McCormack’s frustration with lack of progress and with the antipathy of the team he has joined is evident to the reader. Another murder, an apparent breakthrough, draws him to a different conclusion form that of the team. I really enjoyed his through processes and the way he arrived at his own conclusion. Nothing in this story was simple. People who knew things were in too deep and his own background worked against him. So many dilemmas. Sometimes doing the right thing is not good for you personally. This is an exceptional crime story with so much more than plain right and wrong on the table. Highly recommended.

About the author

Professor Liam McIlvanney, the son of novelist William McIlvanney, was born in Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, and studied at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After ten years lecturing in Scottish and Irish literature at the University of Aberdeen, he moved to Dunedin in New Zealand to teach at the University of Otago. He lectures in Scottish literature, culture and history, and on Irish-Scottish literary connections, and holds the Stuart Professor of Scottish Studies chair at the University.

He won a Saltire Award for his first book, Burns the Radical, in 2002. A chance meeting with an editor for Faber and Faber persuaded him to turn to fiction, and his first novel, All the Colours of the Town, was published in 2009 to great acclaim. His second thriller, Where The Dead Men Go, which saw the return of journalist Gerry Conway, won the prestigious Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel in 2014. 

He has also written reviews and criticism for the London Review of Books, The Guardian, and others. He lives in Dunedin with his wife and three children.

~~~

Just a thought - Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.
Hilary Mantel


Mutilated

Second in a series by Will Patching. Not for the squeamish, but if you like your crime gritty and nasty, this is the book for you!



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Book description

A serial killer challenges criminal profiler, Doctor Colin Powers, to solve several cold case mutilation murders, while Detective Inspector Jack Carver investigates a newly dismembered victim.
An unlikely coincidence?
Is a vicious psychopath from Doc’s past somehow involved, despite having been incarcerated for two decades?
And most importantly to Doc, where is his lover, Judy Finch, who went missing several months ago..?
Find out in Mutilated - the second 'stand alone' novel in this dark, gritty, British Crime Thriller trilogy.
My review -
Second in a series, this is not for the squeamish. In a complex story, Will Patching shows us the work of an evil genius who uses others for his own ends. He uses punishment by mutilation, but pulls others into his orbit to taunt DI Carver and his consultant, Doctor Powers. It’s a graphic, exciting and pretty horrific story in which nothing is quite as simple as it first appears. A great read.

About the author

Will Patching was born and raised in ‘Sarf Lunnon’, Engerland, or at least, that’s how he pronounces it! Hence, many scenes from his novels are situated in London, the surrounding suburbs and other parts of southeast England, though they also span as far afield as Thailand and the USA.

His approach to writing is to hit the reader with hard truths about the world we live in, and his mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels are designed to set your pulse pounding. One male reader decided he needed to check his door locks late one night while reading Remorseless and subsequently commented on social media: 

‘Seriously scary!’

~~~

Just a thought - I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to books.
Gary Paulsen

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Shadows of Regret

My first Ross Greenwood book. What a stunner!


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Book description

Katie committed a terrible crime. Sixteen years was the price she had to pay.

Once released from prison, she finds the world has changed. But Katie is a survivor.

Isolated and alone, she struggles to make sense of her new life. Starting again isn’t easy, especially after what she’s done.

Despite not feeling free or safe, Katie overcomes her fears and confronts the future. Although history won’t remain forgotten.

Gradually, memories of the past are revealed. When Katie finally exposes the awful truth and sees there are others who share the blame, she must choose her path.

Will she seek redemption, or will she take revenge?

My review -

Katie is being released after sixteen years in prison. Over the course of the story we see what she did to merit this sentence. Sixteen years is a long time for regrets and anger to fester and the book shows us how she deals with them. She’s intelligent and resourceful but trusts very few people. I have to say that in spite of her past, I warmed to her a great deal. She’d got the mucky end of the stick in life. The book’s well written and we are seeing the world from inside a young woman’s mind, brilliantly done by this male author. In parts it’s sad, exciting, thought provoking but never at any point is it boring.

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.

Shadows of Regret was inspired by my time on the women's side of the jail in Peterborough, and analyses the close relationship between victim and villain. You won't have read a book like it.

~~~

Just a thought - Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.
Louis L'Amour

Monday, 14 January 2019

Truth and Lies

The start of a new series by Caroline Mitchell - this is a series I'll be following!


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Book description

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.
Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.
While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.
But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?


My review -

This is the first in Caroline Mitchell’s DI Amy Winter crime thrillers and wow, what a start! The story is an intricate weaving of past and present for adopted Amy when she finds her true parentage. It also includes the present-day kidnapping of a young girl and I thought the sections were particularly well-handled. It was easy to follow and not confusing. The story gripped me from the off and I’m pleased to read that the second in this series is due out in April.

About the author 

Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, she has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.

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.

~~~

Just a thought -  I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.
Robert Louis Stevenson 


Sunday, 6 January 2019

Obsession

A short book - six short stories - but so well written and engaging.


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Book description
Obsession & Other Stories is a collection of scary, dark, and gritty crime stories as well as a couple of gentler ones to soothe the nerves.
There are no zombies, were wolves or vampires in these stories, although I can’t guarantee you won’t come across any skeletons, when you walk on the dark side with me. Come along with me and I will introduce you to some scary people and after you’ve been in their minds and shared their thoughts, you’ll be glad of the light relief at the end.
‘Obsession’ - is a dark story about a stalker, and not recommended for those of a nervous disposition. This was the story which gave birth to the Night Watcher and is the precursor of the novel.
‘In Zofia’s Footsteps’ - is the story of migrant fruit pickers working on a fruit farm in Scotland. Make up your own mind whether or not there is a hint of the paranormal in this one.
‘Not a Bad Person’ - is a gritty story which introduces Baz, a heroin addict and what he feels compelled to do to acquire money to feed his habit.
‘Ghost of Christmas Past’ - is a gentle ghost story which is not in the least scary, although I’m better known for my scary stories.
‘Sin’ - is a tale of the Magdalene Laundries, the institutions for unmarried mothers which were infamous in Ireland in the not too distant past.
‘Santa’s Little Helper’ - a little bit of nonsense to finish off with.

My review -

This little collection of short stories really shows the author’s versatility. We go from humour, through sadness and longing, to an unsettling creepiness. It’s a good way to dip into what an author is capable of. I’ve read one of Chris Longmuir’s full length novels which I enjoyed a great deal. There is an evening’s entertainment in this short collection and not a duff one in there. It’s a great little read.

Author info

Chris is an award-winning novelist and has published three novels in her Dundee Crime Series. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. Missing Believed Dead is the third book in the series.

Chris has recently published the first book in a new series set just after the Great War. This series features Kirsty Campbell, Dundee’s first policewoman. Her next book, to be published soon, is another Kirsty Campbell mystery set during the First World War.

She has also published a non-fiction book entitled Crime Fiction and the Indie Contribution. This is an 
examination of crime fiction as well as an evaluation of independently published books in this genre.

~~~ 
Just a thought - Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.
― Franz Kafka