Book Review – The Secret – Katerina Diamond…

Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

When Bridget Reid wakes up in a locked room, terrifying memories come flooding back – of blood, pain, and desperate fear. Her captor knows things she’s never told anyone. How can she escape someone who knows all of her secrets?

As DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a horrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder right under their noses in Exeter.

And as the past comes back to haunt her, Grey must confront her own demons. Because she knows that it can be those closest to us who hurt us the most…

Wow. Just wow. This is Katerina Diamond’s second book, but the first one that I have read. Her writing style was a little difficult to get to grips with at first due to the way that the way her chapters jump back and that, for me, is a slightly difficult style to follow as for me, I worry about losing parts of the story. Fortunately that didn’t happen and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the whole story without losing any bits of it.

I’m a little bit in love with Imogen Grey. She has some way to go to prove herself to be in the same league as Kim Stone and Helen Grace, but I’m sure she’ll get there.

Diamond is a masterful suspense writer and able to create both evocative and dark suspenseful story arcs and also to keep the reader guessing about just who the bad guys really are until the very last pages.

I’m really not able to say much more about this book without blundering my way into some serious spoilers, so my advice is definitely just read it! It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while.

A five out of five star read.

Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – The Missing – C.L Taylor…

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.

But should you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

I was really excited having just read and really enjoyed this author’s first foray into the world of young adult fiction to pick up this book and I really wasn’t disappointed. The book is very cleverly written and the use of Snapchat conversations at various points throughout the story was a really clever way to enhance the story being told to the reader.

Those conversations certainly kept me guessing right until very near to the end of the book! I was convinced it was 3 or 4 different people at various points throughout the whole story.

As Claire searches for her son Billy, it becomes clear that she didn’t really know her teenage son at all. Was that to be expected in the family dynamic? Who knows? One could say that we all change as we grow and we feel the need to be less open with our parents, having the need for our own lives. Or one could say that a truly close family will always know each other. *shrug* Who knows?

There were suspicious elements casting a shadow over several of the characters in this story and and at one time or another, they could all have had something to do with Billy’s disappearance. I can’t mention this one particular character as I don’t want to include spoilers in my review. But as I think back to the story, there were clear indicators that this person was hiding something very major.

The book discusses “hardcore” porn. I kind of wish that the writer had just used the correct term and said BDSM. However that is just a minor grumble.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be looking out for the writer’s other work.

A four out of five star review.

Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – I Kill – Giorgio Faletti…

The voice on the radio.
The writing, red as blood.
I kill . . .

A detective and an FBI agent embark upon the most harrowing case of their careers as they attempt to track down an enigmatic killer in this relentlessly suspenseful thriller. The killer announces his heinous acts in advance with desperate phone calls and ties his crimes together with songs that point to his victims; he then mutilates them and removes their faces.

Set in Monte Carlo and featuring an international cast of intriguing characters, the hunt for the deranged perpetrator remains gripping and unsettling, possibly even more so, after the killer’s identity is revealed and the detectives must close in on their target before he strikes again.

I had, for some weird reason, I have no idea why, a really sinking feeling when I picked this book up. It wasn’t the length of it. No, I’ve read many 500+ hours age books before. I just couldn’t nail down what it was. Then I started to read it. Oh dear…

By the time that I was 100 pages in, the book’s pace was so turgid and slow that I seriously felt like putting it in the charity box pile and saying goodbye to it. But I am stubborn. I do not like leaving books unfinished. It leaves me with a sense of dissatisfaction and unsettlement. So even though I can see me taking a long time to read this book I will get through it.

Well, so far, all I can say is that the book appears to be set in 2005 and it feels like it is set in the 1970s!!! Everything just feels dated. Even the murder of Allen Yoshida, the computer billionaire. *yawn* I’m beginning to think it’s going to take me longer than a little while to get this book finished I really am.

I’m now about 120 pages from the end and whilst there have been a couple of plot twists that did shock and sadden me a little bit, my mind just has not been able to wrap itself around the tedium involved in this story.

The two main protagonists, Nicolas Hulot and Frank Ottobre do not act like senior police officers with years and years of experience. OK, Frank could be excused up to a certain degree because of what had happened to him, but I honestly just wanted to reach through the pages and throat punch the both of them to see if that would shake some life into them.

It’s honestly a real shame as the story itself had the potential to be absolutely brilliant! But I just couldn’t get into it at all. This is very unusual for me as I can normally find at least two characters and a couple of threads of story line to give me hope. There was Barbara though. I identified with her very much for reasons of my own.

As the end of the book gets nearer, I’m discovering that I’m not excited to find out how it ends. I’m just excited for it to end. Isn’t that sad?

Now I’m really cross. I’ve just read a paragraph where Faletti mentions “Pagan idolatry” as being responsible for the evils committed by the “bad guy”. How DARE you Mr Faletti? Pagans are not evil and this continued misrepresentation by authors and by the press simply is not acceptable. Christians are capable of far greater evil the pagans ever have been!

Right, I’ve actually finished this awful excuse of a book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that I have found as dreary and uninspiring as this one. At times it felt like the words were superglue and my eyes were constantly sticking and having to be dragged over the sentences. I am quite literally only giving this book one star because I can’t give it none. Do yourself a favour. Put it down and read something else instead.

A one out of five star read.

Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – Pretty Is – Maggie Mitchell…

Lois and Carly-May were just twelve when they were abducted by a stranger and imprisoned in a cabin in the woods for two months. That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they formed a bond that would never be broken. Decades later, both women have new lives and identities. But the events of that summer are about to come back with a vengeance. Lois and Carly-May must face the truth about their secret, shared past… What really happened in the woods that summer?OK, I have to be brutally honest. I did not enjoy this book. Not even a little bit. I got three quarters of the way through and I came very close to putting it down. Mitchell’s first book has been described, amongst other things as “a slick take on a trope that just isn’t going away”. Sorry but no. I don’t see it as slick at all. The story judders along, jumping between the two protagonists both in current and past time. The whole thing is puzzled together and not at all what I was expecting.I honestly like my thrillers to be fast paced and to pick me up and whirl me along from the very first page and not put me down until the last. Pretty is just doesn’t do that.Both of the women were clearly in need of some very serious and intensive therapy but were both allowed to tumble along and present a functioning face to the world when they both needed a Psychiatrist and some very effective drugs.I just couldn’t get on with any of the characters at all. The villain of the piece just wasn’t very… villainous, and the way the book wound up just seemed so implausible. If you enjoyed this book, fair enough. It just wasn’t for me.A two out of five star book.Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – No Other Darkness (D.I Marnie Rome Book 2) – Sarah Hilary…

Two young boys.Trapped underground in a bunker.

Five years later, the boys’ bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome’s career begins. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them. For no-one has reported them missing – and it seems she is the only person to care.

This book deals with the most shocking of all crimes… the possible torture and murder of two young children. The writer has handled it in a very sensitive way and built a story skilfully around a topic that is sad and disturbing. I have read some crime thrillers around the same topic that just sensationalise and are not layered or enjoyable in the slightest.

Marnie has definitely entered my collective of favourite fictional police women. D.I Kim Stone, D.I Helen Grace and now D.I Marnie Rome.

Marnie is again a multi-layered protagonist and as such, is able to convey her past into the work she does to understand certain aspects of this case.

I admire Marnie’s character a great deal. She isn’t as rule bending as my other two favourite fictional detectives but having a good working relationship with her seniors provides a different dynamic to the story.

It was gratifying to see post partum psychosis dealt with in such a way. It isn’t widely dealt with or known about and the way that this book sensitively deals with the subject is, for me, an excellent thing. The character of Esther was skilfully created and the way that she is juxtaposed with her new self is very cleverly done, it really is. Mental health is not dealt with enough in mainstream fiction and to see it done in such a skilful way really is gratifying.

Another thing that I love about the D.I Marnie Rome books is the character of Noah Jake. He is a person of colour and also a gay man. There are scenes between him and his partner that deal with arousal and kissing which I adore. This needs to be more prevalent in mainstream fiction and I applaud Ms. Hilary for doing this with her characters.

The story is very skilfully written and I adored every page of it. Bring on book three!

This is a definite five out of five star read.

Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary…

Called to a women’s refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder.

Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons.
Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most . . .

I actually came across DI Marnie Rome for the first time when I encountered her via an ARC from NetGalley. It was the second book in the series that I read first. I’m now reviewing book number one and intend to read book two again as I am keen to see if I have a different perspective this time around.

Marnie Rome may just be the third female DI that I have fallen in love with in recent weeks, the others being DI Kim Stone and DI Helen Grace. I stopped to think what it could possibly be that appealed to me so much about these three characters. Could it be that all three of them have very traumatic, albeit in different ways, pasts? It could certainly be a part of it, but I don’t think for one second that is all of it. Marnie, like the other two is multi-faceted and has a real gift for police work. Marnie the “dragon slayer” is how she’s seen. Marnie has real hurt to carry and seeing the vulnerability inherent in her character makes her appear to be much more human than you originally think she will be. We all carry grief and shock in different ways and we all turn in on ourselves at times to cope with that. Marnie does that a lot. Internalises her feelings so that she can be a better police officer. The problem is, and she realises this towards the end of the book is that doesn’t always work. Her past definitely affects how she works and the this book plays a massive part. I can’t say more without giving away spoilers.

Marnie’s relationship with her foster brother runs as an undercurrent throughout this book. She continues to visit him loyally after pledging to her parents memory that she would look after him. Deep down, the writer cleverly shows us that Steven is far from what Marnie thinks he is. She starts to slowly realises this and withdraws a little near the end of the book.

The twist in this novel was a very clever one. I really do not think that I have read anything like this before.

An utterly brilliant novel that kept me gripped until the last page. I cannot wait to read more of Marnie and her colleagues!

A five out of five star read.

Book Review – Dying Day by Stephen Edger…

Book Review – Dying Day – Stephen Edger

Some mistakes you live with. Others you die for…

When the body of a young woman is found in the boot of an abandoned car near the Southampton Docks, Detective Kate Matthews is ordered to stay well away from the scene.

Exactly a year ago, Amy, a junior detective on Kate’s team, was murdered when she was sent undercover to catch a serial killer targeting young girls. Kate never forgave herself for letting the killer slip through her fingers and her team are worried this coincidence might push her over the edge.

When another girl’s body is uncovered days later with similar bruising around the neck, Kate launches an investigation of her own, determined to connect new evidence to the old to catch this monster before more innocent lives are taken…

Mysterious sympathy cards left with the families of the victims finally lead Kate to the twisted individual from her past. But if she’s found the killer, why does the body count keep rising?

I started this book and was so super excited to read it. I am a huge addict of crime fiction and especially murder mysteries. I was champing at the bit to get my teeth into a new book.

Oh dear. Within five minutes of meeting the lead character, I found her stuffy and boorish. She disobeys every single rule all the time (not even Kim Stone or Helen Grace does that and they are my absolute favourites).

I had the criminal figured out within two chapters and it felt like such a betrayal to the reader. The sign of a really good murder mystery/crime thriller is that you are kept guessing right up until the last few pages of the book for the reveal! You want the kind of ending where you literally cannot turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens next.

Safe to say that I won’t be reading the third book in this series. Sorry!

A three out of five star read.

Book Review – Pop Goes The Weasel by M J Arlidge…

A man’s body is found in an empty house. His heart has been cut out and delivered to his wife and children.

He is the first victim, and Detective Inspector Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.

Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is – or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase…

This book is the second book in the Helen Grace series and as quite a lot of what happens is as a result of the first book, Eeny Meeny, my advice to you is that you read Eeny Meeny first of all. Of course, you don’t have to, but it will make understanding what is happening in this book so much easier.

It’s difficult to review this book without at least one spoiler but it is fairly obvious that Helen survives her ordeal at the end of Eeny Meeny and is finding life hell. Her private life has crumbled into the dust and she has become a piece of meat for gossips and reporters alike to pick over. She cannot do anything without somebody trying to pick over her life.

This makes things rather difficult for the lifestyle that she leads. She needs to be discreet and that is incredibly difficult for her to do. The loathsome Emilia Garanita is always behind her, making it hugely difficult to live not only her professional life but her personal one too. Emilia’s interference does cause the life of several people to crumble and her actions make her a thoroughly dislikable character.

The impact on the life of Helen’s most skilful two officers of this case does cause real issues. I can’t talk about these without more spoilers and I am keen to see how things play out, especially for Charlie.

As always Mr Arlidge has created a tightly woven web around his story that the reader peels back layer by layer, understanding a little bit more every time.

It’s difficult not to become emotionally invested in these books. They are so skilfully written that you just want to read on and find out more and more. An absolutely stunning second book!

A five out of five star read.

Book Review – Broken Bones by Angela Marsons…

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

I will admit that I sat and stared at the cover of this book on my Kindle screen for a long time. I found myself either unable or unwilling to start the last one because then there would be no more Kim until the wonderful Ms. Marsons finishes book eight in the series. Yes, I am waiting with baited breath for that very book. I’m sooooo excited!

OK, enough fangirling now and into talking about the book. As always, the story is full of delicious twists and turns that keep you guessing right until the last few pages. As always, Kim Stone is a fabulous protagonist and her strength and resilience along with the glimpses of a more caring and gentle person underneath.

If you have read any of Angela Marsons’ other DI Kim Stone books, you will know Kim’s character and why she is that way. Yet as she moves through the books she does seem to be becoming a more well rounded and much kinder person.

This book sees Kim and her team in pursuit of a serial killer of young female prostitutes. Kim and DS Bryant are working that case and Kevin and Stacey, the other two members of Kim’s team are working the case of an abandoned baby.

It starts off, of course, with a murder. The young prostitute has a daughter and breaking the news to her mother is written in a beautiful (well, as it can be in that situation) way. Kim and Bryant work so well together they almost become real.

Kev and Stacey are working the baby case, and from the off you can see that there are issues for both of them I can’t say more because it would spoil this latest book and the one before it.

It is lovely to see Stacey let out of the play pen and allowed to sharpen her claws out in the field instead of being penned in the office on the computer. Her character is also being developed really well.

This whole group of people work really well together. Even the irascible Woody is invaluable to the stories. After all, it wouldn’t be Kim is she didn’t get at least one verbal ass kicking per book, it really wouldn’t!

Angela’s writing style picks you up at the start of the book, like a leaf in the autumn wind and then carries you along and tosses you around until you reach the final page.

There are several female detective stories out on the market at the moment. But not a single one of them can hold a candle to Kim.

A five out of five star read.

Book Review – Dead Souls by Angela Marsons…

Ms Marsons!!! I do declare you’ve done it to me again!!! What an incredible book!!!

The truth was dead and buried…until now.

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy – and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

This book deals with the one thing that sickens me more than any other – hate crimes and racism. I am a member of an anti hate campaign group, so to see the subject handled in such an incredible way almost moved me to tears. I have to say thank you to Ms Marsons. This is a subject that not many people have the courage to bring into the public eye to remind society that these crimes still happen in today’s society and are no less heinous now than they were many years ago.

This story like all of the others that have been written, provide an incredible background story. As always you (as a reader) are picked up and whisked along at super fast speed and you do not get put down again until the final page.

This story does not delve into Kim’s past in the way that other stories have done. The involvement of Stacey’s character on a higher level was well plotted too. She has always been in the background. Good old dependable Stace, doing her job quietly and efficiently. To see her character fleshed out in such a way was thoroughly enjoyable! I only wish that Stace could have a girlfriend. Maybe the girl from the cafe?

As with any of the Kim Stone crime thrillers, reading and absorbing the story is like peeling back the layers of an onion. The further down you get.. I had a couple of nights where I fell asleep with Kindle in hand because I had read until about 3am. As with all the other five books, number six is one hell of a stellar read and I strongly advise you to give it a go.

You do not have to read these books in time order. If you have never read a Kim Stone novel however, I really do recommend that you do read them in order. However you read them, just enjoy them for the sheer works of genius that they are and enjoy the most wonderful, bad assed Detective Inspector around in modern crime fiction. Long live Kim Stone!!!

Yet another five star read from the amazing Angela Marsons!