Driven by Kerena Swan @KerenaSwan @rararesources #crime #mystery #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Driven by Kerena Swan. This is the second book in the series, and the first I have read! Check further down the post to also stand a chance of winning a paperback copy of the 1st book 🙂

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour for this fabulous book.

Every mother’s worst nightmare
It was only for a couple of minutes, while dropping Noah off at nursery. Little did Melanie realise that leaving her sleeping son in the car would end up being the biggest regret of her life.

A teenage challenge turns sour
For teenager Woody, stealing cars with his new friend helps alleviate the tedium of a life of poverty and boredom. This isn’t what he wants to do with his life but for now, he feels accepted. Except on this occasion, his actions have consequences that could change his life forever. Is it too late to turn his life around?

How far would you go to save those you love?
While DI Paton is on the case of the missing child, he is quickly drawn into a web of deception that hits dangerously close to home. He soon finds himself torn in two, not knowing which way to turn: save his career or his family? Will he be able to crack the case before he himself cracks?


Purchase Links – Amazon UKUS

MY REVIEW

I really liked the synopsis for this book, it suggests that there are three stories wrapped in the cover. There is also more to this than the synopsis suggests, so I had better be careful what I mention!

This is the 2nd book in the series and it is the first one I have read. I did get the feeling that there is more to be garnered from reading the first book, but Driven does work well as a stand-alone.

DI Paton is struggling with balancing his home life and his work life. This does lead him to make the odd mistake, but when it involves the kidnapping of a child there can be no mistakes.

There is also the part that involves the teenager, Woody, now I know what he did was awful but I have to say I had a bit of a soft spot for him as I learnt more about him.

From discovering a child has been kidnapped to the story as it ended was a fabulous journey that was full of tension, suspicion and more than a few shocks and twists along the way.

The story flowed at a wonderful pace and because of the various characters and the different subplots, it kept me eagerly turning the pages. This is one of those stories that you don’t want the author to swap between the characters because you need to know what happens to them. Obviously, this is the format of the story and it is a great way of keeping me reading it means I start to suspect and usually get various things wrong. There were some wonderful routes that the author took and these did surprise me.

It is a book where you may think about a character one way only to find that there is a history that has shaped them. Stereotyping people is a great way of setting the reader up to get their suspicions and observations wrong. The storyline is tense and it is actually quite dangerous and not necessarily for the most obvious of reasons.

I really enjoyed this one and I do like the little teaser that the author has left for the next book. This is a series I can definitely see myself carrying on with, I do like Paton’s sidekick or left-in-command!

For a police procedural with a twist, I really enjoyed this one. One for crime and mystery fans and also one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Before coming to Hobeck, Kerena had published three novels, Dying To See You, Scared to Breathe and Who’s There? and has built a solid fan base around her writing career thus far. She is a juggler extraordinaire: driving forward a successful care business she runs with her husband yet finding time to write. She loves to write, here and there and everywhere when she’s not working. We don’t know how she does it but we are glad that she does! Kerena talks about her writing, her influences and how she came to Hobeck in this video.

Social Media Links – Website Twitter Facebook

There is an amazing #GIVEAWAY chance to –

Win a paperback copy of Blood Loss by Kerena Swan (Open to UK Only)


*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Botanist by M.W. Craven #crime, #thriller #psychological #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Botanist by M.W. Craven. This is the 5th book in the Washington Poe series and as with all the other books, I adored this one.

Any regulars to my Blog may be aware that I am prone to read books in a series out of order. It is sometimes because it’s a book that I have seen on NetGalley and requested or it has caught my eye as part of a Blog Tour.

The Washington Poe series I have followed from the start and each book has been read in order. Yep, I am very proud of myself 🙂

‘I swear I’m one bad mood away from calling it black magic and going home . . .’

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there’s Estelle Doyle. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest, she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’

Meanwhile, a poisoner the press has dubbed the Botanist is sending high-profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.

For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is yet another fantastic book in the Washington Poe series, to be honest though, I wouldn’t expect anything less. These books can be read as standalones, but to get a real sense of the working relationship between Poe, Tilly, Doyle and Flynn you really need to have started this from the beginning. And, also because they are great books.

This starts from an odd place and is very far from Cumbria. The author gives a quick prologue before returning back to what is the start of the case. In fact, there are not one but two cases in this story. One involves the arrest of Estelle Doyle, the teams go to a pathologist as she has just been arrested for murdering her father. Then there is the case, well it is more than one case, of people being poisoned.

With Poe trying to be in two places at one time, something is going to have to give. Wanting to be there for his friend and colleague Doyle is great but also too personal and it doesn’t look good when he is seen visiting Doyle in prison when someone who he is supposed to be protecting dies. Realising he has to prioritise his focus he again looks at the poisoning cases.

The dynamics between Poe and Tilly have become legendary in this series, if you have read them from the beginning then you will know what I mean. But there are also the dynamics of Flynn and Doyle that are also part of this great crime-busting outfit. Flynn is responsible for keeping things within the law and getting requests signed off, Tilly is the tech genius, Doyle is the Pathologist and Poe is usually the one they are all keeping an eye on to make sure he does wander too far off course. Together they all bring something special. Over the course of the books, this team have become a family and they will fight for each other.

Having two cases, one looking like a locked-room mystery and the other one that is leaving them playing catch up with the killer always ahead of them. Even with their combined expertise, this would be tough, but without having input from Doyle, things are even tougher.

The poisoner is clever, plans well, thinks out the scenarios and is not compulsive. It seems he has thought of everything. He is being talked about and tweeted about and people are noticing him.

The author really has done an amazing job with this story. Again it is complex and compulsive reading. There are mentions of tech, biology and other specialist stuff but it isn’t too over the top. Thank goodness things have to be basic for Poe to understand or else there would be a few confused readers as well!

With time being a crucial part of this story, the pacing is fast and the author conveys this through his characters so well. He shows their frustrations and occasionally odd outburst. Even in the midst of this tense and highly charged investigation, there are some amazing one-liners, these are perfect for defusing stress and tension, and are usually courtesy of Tilly.

If you have not read any of the books in this series then you really are missing out on some wonderful top-rate crime thrillers. The series just gets better and better with so many twists and unexpected events. I never read the synopsis for a Washington Poe book I just buy it.

Ideal for those who love twisted, complex and totally addictive thrillers and one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

You can find out more on his Goodreads Author Page.

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The Night Watch by Neil Lancaster @HQDigitalUK #crime #thriller #netgalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review of The Night Watch by Neil Lancaster. This is 3rd book in the DS Max Craigie series, and true to dorm this is the first one I have read. It is a belter of a book and I have now bought the previous two on kindle. I don’t think there is any need to tell you how much I enjoyed this one 🙂

This is not however the first time I have read a book by this author. I have read the first two books in his Tom Novak series, and this reminds me I must read the third one 😁

My huge thanks to HQ Digital for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

He’ll hunt you.
The case is linked to several mysterious deaths, including the murder of the lawyer’s last client – Scotland’s most notorious criminal… who had just walked free. DS Max Craigie knows this can only mean one thing: they have a vigilante serial killer on their hands.

He’ll leave you to die.
But this time the killer isn’t on the run; he’s on the investigation team. And the rules are different when the murderer is this close to home.

He knows their weaknesses, knows how to stay hidden, and he thinks he’s above the law…

MY REVIEW

This is the 3rd book in the DS Max Craigie series but the first one I have read. This book worked well as a stand-alone and I was able to keep up to speed with all the characters. The author does mention what I am assuming are brief background events.

The case is an interesting one as it is an investigation within an investigation. While this does sound complicated the author has made it really easy to follow. It does though cause a bit of a headache for me as I try to review this and still make some sort of sense!

The death of a lawyer and then the death of a man having recently been given a “not proven” verdict are just the tip of the iceberg and the body count doesn’t stop. The nature of the deaths is a little unusual as there appears nothing unusual about them. Yeah, I know!

So begins the investigation, this is also the start of another investigation by Max and his team. An undercover detective is brought in and with a small team, Max starts to piece things together. When they discover that the killer could possibly be on the main investigating team things get difficult. There are not many clues or signs of evidence as they are aware of forensic evidence.

This is such an amazing story and one that had me hooked. It has great pacing and even though there are several investigators that are essentially working on different teams I was able to follow along. The overall feel of this story is tense and there is a palpable sense of danger that lurks in the background. Max and his team have to tread quietly and keep things close to their chest for fear of their suspicions leaking out.

After reading this 3rd book I am definitely going to go back and read the previous two. This is a great intro for me to this series and yes part of me wishes I had read them in order.

Fabulous crime and thriller read that I do think police procedural readers would really enjoy. Great characters, complex plots and quite a few false leads and red herrings to keep you on your toes. It is a book I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Neil was born in Liverpool in the 1960s. He recently left the Metropolitan Police where he served for over twenty-five years, predominantly as a detective, leading and conducting investigations into some of the most serious criminals across the UK and beyond.

Neil acted as a surveillance and covert policing specialist, using all types of techniques to arrest and prosecute drug dealers, human traffickers, fraudsters, and murderers. During his career, he successfully prosecuted several wealthy and corrupt members of the legal profession who were involved in organised immigration crime. These prosecutions led to jail sentences, multi-million-pound asset confiscations and disbarments.

Since retiring from the Metropolitan Police, Neil has relocated to the Scottish Highlands with his wife and son, where he mixes freelance investigations with writing.

Here is his Goodreads Author Page.

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February’s Son by Alan Parks #crime #historicalfiction #policeprocedural #bookreivew

I am delighted to share my review today for February’s Son by Alan Parks. This is the second book in the Harry McCoy series and it now means I am up to date with this series. There are five books published so far and I am eagerly awaiting the next one.

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Bodies are piling up with grisly messages carved into their chests. Rival gangs are competing for control of Glasgow’s underworld and it seems that Cooper, McCoy’s oldest gangster friend, is tangled up in it all.

Detective Harry McCoy’s first day back at work couldn’t have gone worse.

New drugs have arrived in Glasgow, and they’ve brought a different kind of violence to the broken city. The law of the street is changing and now demons from McCoy’s past are coming back to haunt him. But vengeance always carries a price, and it could cost McCoy more than he ever imagined.

The waters of Glasgow’s corruption are creeping higher, as the wealthy and dangerous play for power. And the city’s killer continues his dark mission.

Can McCoy keep his head up for long enough to solve the case?

Bruised and battered from the events of Bloody January, McCoy returns for a breathless ride through the ruthless world of 1970s Glasgow. 

MY REVIEW

After reading the first book a while ago I was really looking forward to seeing how things progressed. I should mention that I have read the books that follow this one, the author is currently up to book 5 in the series.

Detective Harry McCoy is a copper with dubious friends. Having recently been injured he is back to work as a new brutal case rears its head. This isn’t a pleasant one as the body has a word carved into the chest. As the team is getting their heads around this murder another body turns up.

This is set in the tough 1970s Glasgow area. Gangs, drugs and prostitution are rife, life is tough and for some, it is going to get tougher. The fact that Harry has dubious friends can at times work to his advantage. At others though these friends test the patience of Harry’s boss. Wattie finds himself in the midst of things as well.

This is one tough one to read at times as there is a lot of violence in it. If you are a fan of hard-boiled crime then you are going to want to read this one. This is a tough area, people do not hold back and if you find yourself on the wrong side then you had better know how to disappear or find yourself in a fight for your life. The book, the language and the storyline are, well colourful to say the least. It is all in context and having anything softer would not work.

The cases and the evidence does start to stack up and another storyline is introduced, this one though is one that McCoy is going to try to sort out with his old friend Stevie. The author does like to give these two a battering.

As I have read the next few books I am aware of things that are going to happen, but coming back to the start of the series is great as I get to find out more about the main recurring characters. McCoy seems to court trouble at every turn and it is Wattie, his colleague who is starting to keep an eye on McCoy a little more. While he is naive he does what is best.

If you like tough, gang-related, crime fiction then this is a book you are going to enjoy. This one also has a great psychological edge to it and this makes it very twisted and dark. Pasts are brought up, egos are bruised, names are made and things are changing. Fabulous 2nd instalment and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was one of the top crime debuts of 2018 and was shortlisted for the prestigious international crime prize the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Now You See Me by S. J. Bolton #crime #thriller #polioceprocedural #onefrommyTBR #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Now You See Me by S. J. Bolton. This is the 1st book in the Lacey Flint series, but it is the 2nd one I have read!

One night after interviewing a reluctant witness at a London apartment complex, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before in the building’s darkened parking lot. Within twenty-four hours a reporter receives an anonymous letter that points out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.

No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. However, as they investigate the details of the case start reminding her more and more of a part of her past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself. 

MY REVIEW

This is the 1st book in the Lacey Flint series, but it is not the first one I have read. I recently read the 5th book, The Dark, and decided I needed to start this series at the beginning. Some of the things mentioned in The Dark have their origins in this first book and even though I was aware of future events it didn’t spoil the story at all.

Lacey Flint is a brilliant character, she isn’t one that likes to be the centre of attention, she prefers to stand back. Not much of a chance of that with this case though. She is the one that comes across a victim, the woman has been stabbed and dies in Lacey’s arms. What sets alarm bells ringing however is a note that is sent. It is something that looks similar to the historical Jack the Ripper letters. The day of the stabbing is also the same as one of the Ripper victims.

This is a brilliant story and it was great to start this at the beginning. Knowing what I know of Lacey, it was so interesting to see her first foray into an investigation. There is however something about Lacey that doesn’t quite sit right. While she is very good at her job, she is also holding something back. As she is a loner it takes a lot for her to trust others and she can be stand-offish and abrupt at times, and also just plain stubborn.

Her past will have some part in this present case. The author has left wonderful snippets and breadcrumbs along the way and finally more of Lacey’s past will emerge. As I have read The Dark I was aware of her past, but it was great to see this storyline from the beginning of the series. It means that I have seen a progression the wrong way around but it is still a fabulous read.

The story itself is gritty and dangerous, there are many twists and red herrings. Not all the clues are obvious and not everyone lets on what they know. This makes it suspenseful and so intriguing.

This is one for those who like a darker crime thriller, it is a police procedural and it is fabulous to read. I adored this and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.

She spent her early career in marketing and PR before returning to full-time education to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Warwick University, where she met her husband, Andrew. They moved to London and Sharon held a number of PR posts in the City. She left the City to work freelance, to start a family and to write.

She and Andrew now live in a village in the Chiltern Hills, not far from Oxford, with their son and the latest addition to the family: Lupe, the lop-eared lurcher. Her daily life revolves around the school run, walking the dog and those ever-looming publishing deadlines.

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Everybody Pays by H. Max Hiller @HMaxHiller1 #crime #policeprocedural #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Everybody Pays by H. Max Hiller. I adore this author’s Cadillac Holland series and this latest one is the 6th and is my latest favourite. This is a series that I do think is better to read in order as you do get the background on the various regular characters.

Detective Cadillac Holland finds himself performing a dangerous dance, staying a step behind a mobster’s missing diaries and a step ahead of the criminal factions who want them.

Marion ‘Sunset’ Puglisi’s diaries go missing on the eve of the mobster’s release from prison and place Detective Holland in the middle of a brewing gang war between the remnants of New Orleans’ Italian mobsters and outside criminal factions, which includes the nearby Dixie Mafia and an ambitious Russian gangster.
Everyone is prepared to pay whatever it costs to possess the diaries, and even Detective Holland finds the price higher than he expects.

MY REVIEW

This is the 6th book in the Detective Cadillac Holland series and I have read and loved each one. This series just goes from strength to strength and this time around the author has really upped the stakes for Cadillac, Tulip, Katie and Tony.

This is a series that I would definitely recommend reading in order as it sets out the relationships between the four I have mentioned above.

When Sunset is released on parole there is something fishy about it. The rumour is that Sunset has diaries that go back several decades. These diaries could end the careers of politicians, police, and lawyers and also end their lives as well as the lives of some local mob guys as well. This book is set deeply in the world of mobsters, gangsters, criminals and pretty much the worst of the worst. Not happy just having one mobster, the author brings in several along with their lawyers and various agencies such as local police, and the FBI. Now with this mix you know there is going to be at least one or two that are going to let the chance of gaining more power, respect and money got to their heads. It seems to me that pretty much everyone has something that they need to keep secret and so the race is on to find the diaries and discover how they can be used.

Oh my goodness the author really has upped the stakes on this story. There are so many different threads with this book, I did lose myself a couple of times, but found myself back on track as I kept reading. The twists in the story just keep coming and I think the author has done an amazing job of keeping them separate until they are needed to join up[, and when they do… well it comes with a Wow!

Having Cadillac and Tony with their pasts, and then bringing them back into play again was a good move. It adds a little more detail and jogs the memory as to who Tony was and what he is capable of. Luckily having two supportive women with Tulip and Katie, the men do have the expert advice to work their way through any legal problems, they also try to keep the men on the right track. Not always successfully.

This is such a tense story and one that really kept me hooked. It does go into the pasts of some characters and others are brought to the front. As I read this I knew I was never going to see how it was going to end. As there are a few players in this book, they need their own endings. Once again the author brought them successfully and convincingly to where they needed to be.

I do think this series gets better. I do love the inclusion of food, this is one of the author’s passions and it is great to see one of his interests getting a mention.

This is a complex story and case for Cadillac, and it really stretches him on a professional and personal level. It also involves his family as well as his friends and for some, it may actually be a step too far for them. The title is very apt for this book as Everybody does pay in one form or another.

Cracking story and if you like crime thrillers then this is a series you really do need on your radar. Set in New Orleans and full of references to food, districts and streets that tantalise the tastebuds as well as building a vivid image of the area. The author’s knowledge of the area really does shine through, he has his characters running back alleys and shortcuts in their quest for the truth. This is a brilliant series and this latest book is amazing. It is one I would absolutely recommend. Expect to see this on my Top Reads of the Year list!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Image and info are taken from Authors Amazon Page.

H. Max Hiller’s restaurant hospitality career began with a cooking job on Bourbon Street at the age of seventeen. His resume now includes many of New Orleans’ iconic dining and music destinations. Max uses a lifetime of characters and anecdotes to add depth to his Detective Cooter Holland series. He now divides his time writing between his home overlooking the Mississippi River and working as a chef aboard a boat travelling America’s inland waterways.

Social Media Links – Twitter Facebook Amazon Author Page

Indies United Publishing House Author Page

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Bloody January by Alan Parks #20booksofsummer #policeprocedural #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Bloody January by Alan Parks. This is the first book in the Harry McCoy series, I started this series part way through so it was great to go back to the beginning.

This is the 12th of my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

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When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence.

With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops.

McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas . . .

In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow and establishes Alan Parks as a new and exciting voice in Scottish noir.

MY REVIEW

This is the first book in the Harry McCoy series, it is not however the first one I have read! I first came to this series by reading book 3 -Bobby March Will Live Forever, then The April Dead and May God Forgive. I still have February’s Son to read.

Because I am already aware of Harry McCoy and his mate Wattie I think I had an advantage. Because I know what has happened in future books I was able to see things from a slightly different perspective than if I had started at the beginning of the series.

Going back to where it began with Bloody January was a good move for me. Wattie is the newbie and Harry is already established in the Glasgow Police. Harry is known to have an opinion, have dubious friends and seems to have a knack for winding his boss Murray up. Wattie is naive, and it is fun to see how naive he actually is, this doesn’t mean he is daft but doesn’t understand the streets of 1970s Glasgow as Harry does.

When a woman is shot in broad daylight in front of Harry and the shooter then shoots himself questions are obviously a priority. Who are the victims, why was she shot, what is the connection and why on earth would a prisoner give Harry an early heads up as to what was going to happen?

The case is one that has possibilities as to why things happened, for some, it would be a quick and easy case to deal with, but Harry doesn’t work like that. His contacts give him some extra info to work with. However, trying to get to the people and question them is a different matter especially when those people are wealthy, influential and do not want any publicity.

Harry is a tough copper, he isn’t scared of taking a punch and standing his ground. He has Wattie now, he is the voice of reason, well he is a whisper of reason as he finds his feet. These two are a good team in future books and it is great to see how the series started out.

Take my word for it when I say this is a good series, this first book is full of action, it is dark, brooding and dangerous. 1970s Glasgow is not a place for the faint-hearted, it’s a good job Harry is made of tougher stuff.

This is one for those of you who like a gritty, tough, dangerous and shady police procedural. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Retreat by Sarah Pearse @TransworldBooks #thriller #policeprocedural #NetGalley #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Retreat by Sarah Pearse. This is the second book I have read by this author, the first one The Sanitorium (full review HERE) was a tense and very addictive read.

My huge thanks to Bantam Books and Transworld Books for accepting my review request for this title via NetGalley.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium, a Reese’s Book Club Pick, detective Elin Warner’s second outing, as she uncovers the truth behind the suspicious deaths on a stunning island getaway.

Most are here to recharge and refresh. But someone’s here for revenge. . .


An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumoured to be cursed.

Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in the Detective Elin Warner series, the first one being The Sanitorium that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Retreat took me a few chapters to get into as there were several characters to get used to and also different timelines. Once I started to recognise these I found it a much more coherent story. With the different characters there are back stories that the author has also given, these didn’t make much sense until I started to realise who was who and what their relationships are.

If you read the previous book you may remember that Elin has struggled and she still doubts if she is up to the job. When she gets sent to an island off the Devon coast to look into a suspicious death she really has to get her act together. The island has a mysterious past that has been fueled by hearsay, local legend and also murders in the past. Hoping to change the local and public image of the island by turning it into a luxury retreat.

This is a story that takes a while to get settled, but once I got to grips with things I found it really hard to put down. It has a tense air to it given its isolated location, the tales and also the overall general feel of the place. While some are there literally to unwind in the spas, pool and yoga lounges others can take advantage of the watersports. This is a rugged island that the owners have tried to tame for the benefit of its paying guests. This again is something that doesn’t altogether well with some.

This does get more complex as the story progresses, but it is easier to follow. There is more to this than a mysterious death and I do like the atmospherics that the author has brought into the book using the island itself almost as its own character. The island gives it a “locked room” feel and you can feel the danger looming.

As well as the crime and police procedural side of this story, there are also some personal stories, those of the main characters for this story and for the returning ones. AS this is the second book in the series the author is still fleshing out Elin and I am looking forward to getting to know her as the series progresses.

This is one for those who like tense crime, thriller, procedural murder and mystery novels. After the first few chapters it becomes very addictive and it is one that could be read as a stand-alone, but to be honest, this is only the 2nd book so why not read them in order. This is a book I would happily recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Mirror Man by Lars Kepler @RandomThingsTours @ZaffreBooks #crime #thriller #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mirror Man by the writing duo of Lars Kepler. This is the 8th book in the Joona Linna series, and if you are a regular visitor to my blog, then you will probably know what I am going to say next…

Yep, this is the first one I have read, and yes it does work as a stand-alone.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my e-copy of this book and my spot on the Blog Tour. My copy came via NetGalley from the publisher Bonnier Books.

The gripping new crime novel from global thriller writing phenomenon, Lars Kepler

IF YOU SEE HIS REFLECTION IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE . . .

Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable and as wily as he is cruel: he foils every one of their desperate attempts to escape . . . and once caught they rarely survive their punishment.

Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before. And now when Mia, a seventeen-year-old orphan, goes missing, it becomes clear to Joona that they are dealing with a serial killer-and the murderous rampage has just begun.

As the police close in on the killer, Mia and her fellow captives are plunged into ever greater danger, and Joona finds himself in a seemingly impossible race against time to save their young lives.

MY REVIEW

So this is the 8th book in the Joona Linna series, and it is the first time I have read a book by this author, as is my norm it seems. I do wish I had started this series at the beginning, but to be honest there is enough detail from the author for me to focus on this one story. I am curious however as to mentions of past events!

Joona Linna is a detective who doesn’t always follow orders, it could be said that his actions cost jobs, especially as his previous boss is no longer around. A new boss, a new set of rules that Linna just seems to be able to wrangle his way around. It is just as well really.

The case is one that had gripped the Swedish newspapers 5 years previously, Jenny Lind went missing and hadn’t been seen, assumed dead. When her body suddenly turns up in an execution-style way. There is a witness, but he cannot remember anything.

This is a brilliant story and has a good length to it at around 480 pages. This was a book that had me hooked from the outset and it was definitely an addictive one as I read it in one sitting!

The story is about a missing girl, but this isn’t the only story. There are various other substories, well I say that but they are also stories in their own right if you get what I mean. Trying to work out what connects them is what kept me eagerly turning the pages.

There is the story of a man who has mental health problems and it tells why he cannot remember what he saw. There is the story of his wife, the story of the missing girl and of Linna who is trying to piece together the puzzles when he isn’t even supposed to be working on the case.

These stories do start to connect but I didn’t see the bigger picture until the author literally dropped the bombshell. I had ideas, I had theories and I was, as I usually am, wrong. I discovered that each character has a lot more to them than first meets the eye. Everyone has a secret or has something that they don’t like to let on, but his story had many of them. What was preventing people from telling all they knew… fear!

This was such an addictive story and fr me the pacing was perfect. It is a slow case as there are no real leads as such, the odd lead that there is could be seen as tenuous at best. But this is where Linna comes into his own. While he can be annoying to his bosses, he is also quite tenacious. AS this is the first time I have come across this character I am curious. Curious to know more about him and what he has been through, he is a bit of an enigma for me and I think this also added to the intrigue of the story.

This is a fab story and one that has some really awful moments in it. It is shocking reading at times at the brutality but somehow the details that the author does include sort of fit with the image that the author builds up throughout the story.

This is one for those who like the longer mystery thriller, there are some brilliant clues and red herrings scattered throughout. Nothing can be taken for granted and I loved this. Brilliantly paced, fabulous characters and storyline and one for crime, thriller and police procedural fans. I loved it and would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril (b. 1966) and Alexander Ahndoril (b. 1967), authors of the No. 1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series.

With seven instalments to date, the series has sold 15 million copies in 40 languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler, and have each published several acclaimed novels.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Kiss of Death by Adam Croft @adamcroft #policeprocedural #RutlandCrimeSeries #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for the latest book in the Rutland Crime Series – Kiss of Death by Adam Croft. This is the 4th book and today is the Publication Day for this title.

My thanks to Joanne Croft for getting in touch to see if I would like to read and review this book. I have read several of Adam’s books and have always enjoyed them.

Book four in a stunning new crime series from 2m+ international bestseller Adam Croft.

An elderly woman collapses and dies during a Sunday morning church service in Oakham. But things aren’t quite as innocent as they seem.

Within hours, there’s a second unexplained death in Rutland. Then a third. But the victims appear to be completely unconnected.

With the body count rising by the day, DI Caroline Hills and DS Dexter Antoine need to uncover the link before more innocent people die.

Only one thing is certain: a killer walks the streets of Rutland. But no one knows who the next victim will be, when they will be killed — or why.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

I have read a few of this author’s books and I really do like the Rutland Crime Series. Kiss of Death is the 4th book, yes you could read it as a stand-alone but this one has more details about DI Caroline Hills family life. It had been strained from her days working in the Met, so the change to a quieter rural area was supposed to ease the workload and give her more quality time. It’s a shame crime doesn’t stop when your local DI is on holiday with her husband and children!

Caroline isn’t the only one that’s in the small squad, she has her DS Dexter Antoine who is perfectly capable. However he isn’t happy when he is looking into sudden death, there is one thing that doesn’t sit right. When another sudden death occurs then things start to intensify. Trying to help Dex while on holiday isn’t the best idea. Neither is Caroline returning to work and leaving her family behind. The dilemma about what to do for the best is one that made this a more personal story. While I do like her as a character, she is very work centred, it’s all about the job. Things need to change.

The case is very random, and this is a good thing by the way. First one death and then a second but both are completely different as far as the victims go. So no links, and therefore some limitations as to how to progress. It is when a third death occurs that things start to link, but even then the links are tenuous.

For a short story, 226pages, the author once again adds loads of details. There are the victims, the procedures, the personal stories, the links and all the other juicy bits that make for a very fast-paced read. If you haven’t read any of these authors’ books then you really should pick one up. He does specialise in quick-paced, short crime thrillers and mystery reads. I should also add there is quite a lot to choose from.

As far as this series is concerned, I think this is the best one. I do like the more personal side of Caroline, and the way she has to battle to get the support she deserves. I liked this one a lot and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Croft is one of the world’s biggest-selling authors of crime fiction and gripping psychological thrillers.

His books are known for their quick pace, thrilling plots and believable characters, and have sold in more than 120 countries around the world.

His books have topped the Amazon storewide chart seven times, and in February 2017 Amazon’s overall Author Rankings placed Adam as the most widely read author in the world, with J.K. Rowling in second place.

In March 2018, Adam was conferred as an Honorary Doctor of Arts, the highest academic qualification in the UK, by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his achievements.

Adam presents the regular crime fiction podcast PARTNERS IN CRIME with fellow bestselling crime writer Robert Daws.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx