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 Treatment – C.L Taylor…

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late…

Absolutely bloody brilliant! Just wow! I had read a couple of books that really didn’t float my boat recently so it was awesome to pick up a book that gripped me from the very beginning. We start out by discovering our main protagonist, Drew is being victimised by a gang of girls in school. My heart went out to her straight away as I know exactly how this feels. The whole way through my school years, I was bullied too. It is nice to see a Young Adult book in which the bully actually fights back. I can’t say too much here as I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but there’s a desire to fist punch the air and shout “Yes!” when she does fight back.

Drew is overwhelmed by the apparent task facing her and she does not shy away from it. Once she has the information she needs, she makes an incredibly brace decision that will alter the course of her life and it gets her in to The Academy, where her brother is being held.

Drew’s character is one of great strength. Despite all of the bullying she has to put up with, she never loses her sense of strength and displays her sheer selflessness as she gets herself put into The Academy. There were stages at first where I wanted to give her a bit of a shake and tell her to grow some balls, but that was only in the very early stages of the book.

As the story progresses on, we begin to see exactly what strength, bravery and ingenuity Drew possesses as she is constantly plotting and planning to find a way out.

She forms a touching friendship with one of the girls in her dorm, Mouse (also known as Megan) and their interaction throughout the book just goes to show that lasting friendships can endure through the strangest of circumstances.

The thing about this book that scares me is that I could 100% see this happening to both children and adults who refuse to toe the line. There are shades of 1984 and of the Orwellian future laid out in that book.

The majority of the characters within this book prove themselves to be throughly unlikable sleazy and devious scum bags. Again if I were to say more, I would be chucking out spoilers. There are one or two good characters, one of which will come as a hell of a shock.

I can’t praise this book enough, I really can’t. A well crafted and suspense filled story that shows how we can never be too sure of what we are told…

A five out of five star read!

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 – 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!

Book Review – Blood Lines by Angela Marsons…

How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?

A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring mother and social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.

As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them…

Ms. Marsons has managed to do it to me again. She provided me with a book that had me captivated from the first word right through to the last one. I was so caught up in this book that I had to see it through. I finished it at 1am (it’s now 6am) and had to close my eyes for a little while before I picked up my phone to write this review.

This book sees Kim face to face with the vile Dr Alex Thorne yet again. I was, I have to admit, a little sad to see her again at first. I felt she had made Kim suffer enough. However, after a few chapters I began to understand the author’s rationale for re-introducing the character. Bringing her back made for a fascinating and twisted plot that picks you up and twists and tosses you about like a leaf in the wind.

I can’t say too much more about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away. It is, yet again, absolutely impossible to guess who the killer is right up until the very end of the book.

I read several reviews of the book and one in particular stood out in my mind. It said that they found the book difficult to get through so they skipped ahead to the last few chapters to find out what happened. That doesn’t make the book difficult to read! The book slips through your mind and right into your brain like fine wine settles into your system as you drink it. That makes the writer of the review the sort of person who really should not be reading crime novels because they can’t control the impulse to skip ahead to the end of the book! One suspects they may have been the sort of child who sought out Christmas gifts and picked up the corner of the wrapper to peek at what rests beneath before frantically sticking it down again so as not to get caught! ;-p

Kim proves to us yet again just how strong and ballsy she is despite the hell she has been through. Her character development throughout this series of books shows what an incredible protagonist the writer has created.

I am super excited to dive into book six in the series but then realised that I only have one more book to read before I have to wait for the next release. Noooooo! What will I do without Kim to keep me company? I know. I’ll start from the beginning!

Thank you to the writer for yet another stellar instalment in the series. Oh, and please, never ever let Kim retire!

Absolutely brilliant! A five out of five star read!

Book Review – Play Dead by Angela Marsons…

The dead don’t tell secrets . . . unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?

As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim . . . ?

OK I will admit straight from the off that I am a devotee of these books. I am a crime thriller addict and the Kim Stone novels by Angela Marsons are just about the best I’ve ever read. This is the fourth book in the Kim Stone series.

Kim Stone provides us with a protagonist who appears hard faced and uncaring. However, once you get under her skin and you start to learn about her and her past, you learn two things. One, that she has every reason to be that way and 2, that she really isn’t like that at all deep down. She is a multi-dimensional character who provides the reader with someone we can follow keenly and admire as both a police officer and as a person too.

Ms. Marsons has given me a protagonist I would LOVE to see on screen as well as in books. Long live Kim Stone and long live Angela’s desire to write about her!

A five out of five star read!

Book Review – Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

This is the third book in the DI Kim Stone series and Angela Marsons has yet again knocked it out of the park. Wow. Just wow. As with the two preceding books you are picked up in that first second of reading and you are gripped by the story until the very last word.

Angela Marsons has an incredible gift when it comes to writing. Her crime thriller skills are second to none and her first book had me hooked on the character of Kim Stome from the start.

This book tells the story of the kidnap of two nine year old girls. The kidnappers are playing a twisted game by asking the parents to enter in to a bidding war for the lives of their children. Kim and her team are assigned the task of finding the girls and bringing them home alive. At any cost.

I really cannot say too much about the story because I don’t want to put spoilers in, but I promise you, if you like crime fiction then you will absolutely adore the amazing Kim Stone books created by the amazing Angela Marsons. This book rocks!!!

A five out of five star read.