Tell Me A Secret Samantha Hayes

Tell Me A Secret    Samantha Hayes

Earlier this year I reviewed The Reunion by Samantha Hayes, and I said “I was figuratively peeping between my fingers when I read parts of it”. Well its happened again.

Samantha really knows how to pick at those parts of the mind that hold the fear factor.

When a young girl catches her dad having sex, with the lodger, it’s bad enough. When her Mother finds out and goes crazy, it’s about as bad as it gets; but when her dad hangs himself and blames her, in his suicide note, because she caught him and the lodger, her life is damaged beyond recovery. That is all in the first few pages. Wow what a start to a book.

In the following chapters we meet Lorna, a Counsellor with an anal routine, who is really trying to forget one of the men in her life. Until she decides to make contact with him through a on line dating service.

That’s when things really start to go to wrong.

Lorna knows it’s impossible, after all the dead can’t talk, but when a dead person starts to message her things take another twist.

I don’t want to say anymore, because I don’t want to give anything away.

If you love psychological thrillers you will love this book.

I wasn’t just peeping through my fingers at this book, I was hiding behind the sofa. What a great read.

The bit below here is an extract from Samantha Hayes biography and it gives a bit of a clue as to why she writes such good books.

“Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.”

She’s lived a bit, and it shows.

 

Pages: 361

Publisher: Bookouture

Available now

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Nobody’s Child Victoria Jenkins

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The legend at the top of the book says unputdownable, so did it live up to the gumph?

Oh Yes!

What a great story.

Set in a small town in the Welsh valleys a series of assaults and arson attacks are investigated by DI Alex King and her team.

When a body is found, amongst the debris in a fire at a derelict hospital, it could appear to be a homeless person that has been involved in an accident. But when the post mortem confirms he had been killed prior to the fire King and her team have a murder on their hands.

When a local convenience store is torched is it a coincidence?

As the investigation into the two incidents continues the team are confronted with a series of assaults and arsons which have them desperate to find the culprits.

Meanwhile King is struggling in her own life. Somebody is sending her a message and it’s not a nice one.

As is typical in real life the story revolves around 3 or 4 families in a small community that are making life difficult for everybody else.

Internal wrangling’s, and feuds between the families seem to be the reason the crimes are taking place but trying to unravel the threads is proving impossible for the team.

Can they find out who is responsible for the crimes before more people get hurt?

No, the trail of human and property destruction gets longer, and the team follow it to what is one of the most tense climaxes of a book I’ve read for a while.

Ok, so any book which involves fire as part of the crime gets my attention. It’s what I do for a living, so it would do.

Yes, I do get a bit knit-picky and hyper-critical. Not with this book.

This is Book 3 in the series and I hadn’t read the first 2. Did I get the feeling I was joining the party half way through?

Actually, no I didn’t, this is a great stand-alone story which I have no doubt is complemented by the 2 previous books, which I have just downloaded onto my Kindle to read around the pool on holiday.

I’ll be eagerly waiting book 4.

Pages: 277

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 19th June 2018

Dying Truth Angela Marsons Blog Tour

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DI Kim Stone book 8

I often look forward to getting my hands on a book I know is about to become available, but there’s only Angela Marsons, at the moment, that actually gets me excited when she is  about to release a new book.

Why is this?

Simple really, in my opinion Angela is the best Crime Fiction author out there at the moment. The books are gritty and realistic. They pull no punches, and cover the world as it is. Prostitution, human trafficking, drugs, murder, they all feature in this series of books.

She has her main character, the wonderful DI Kim Stone and her regular team. They all have a great back story, and at some time have all played a big part in one or more of the books.

She writes about the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes with equal measures, showing the effect crimes have on the victims and how the bad guys became bad guys.

In this book she takes tension and emotion to another level. In fact most of the reviews I’ve read have suggested having a box of tissues handy. They aren’t  wrong.

There has also been a few #DrAlexThrone, Oh yes the ultimate criminal is back.

Here’s my review of Dying Truth

What a way to start a book. The prologue see’s DI Kim Stone struggling with a broken leg as she tries to warn people not to enter part of a building where she knows they will be in mortal danger. But who are the people running into the building and what exactly is the danger.

Cut to chapter one, a few days before the prologue. The death of a young girl at a posh, private school.

It’s classical mystery writing technique but, I don’t think I’ve ever read it written in a better way.

As the story builds Kim is supported by all her usual crew, trusty Bryant, laddish Wood, and the quiet Black Country Lass Stacey. Will any of these be charging into danger at the end of the book.

The team are investigating a suspicious death at the private Heathcrest Academy. A private co-ed school, where the elite of midlands society send their children to study alongside sporting, and academic, high achievers.

Not surprisingly amongst the students there are secret societies that have seen generations of the same family pass through them. The societies employ horrific initiation ceremonies and even more horrific discipline methods.

When the body of the first victim is found, after she apparently committed suicide by jumping from one of the highest points in the school, Kim and Bryant are the first Officers on the scene.

Kim is not happy with the circumstances of the death and her suspicions are bourn-out when Keats carries out the autopsy and confirms that the girl was murdered.

The investigation is thwarted at every turn by the family, who are trying to hide their own secrets; by the school, whose principle will only entertain suicide as the cause, as murder would be bad for business; and by the students, who are either in one of the secret societies, or are scared of the pupils that are.

As the story unwinds Kim has to turn to an unlikely ally for advice, which itself holds dangers which I’m sure will hold recriminations.

As the body count begins to rise, and the climax of the book gets ever closer, the tension rises. Right up to the end it’s impossible to find out, or guess, who is running into danger, and how it will play out.

When the end comes it is no anti-climax. I had already read quotes on twitter where people said the they were left “broken” at the end, and that it was an “emotional ending”.

I thought I was ready for it, but no. It is emotional, and I was broken.

This is book 8 in the DI Kim Stone series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, and it works well as one, but to get full impact read the others.

I was lucky enough to find Angela Marsons when the first Kim Stone novel was released, and have been onboard from the beginning.

I am a prolific reader and I can think of no bigger recommendation than, every time an new book in this series is made available, I put down whatever I’m reading and read what Stone and her team are up to. This one was the best yet.

Roll on Book 9

News just in. It’s not just me that likes these books. The Australians get the 18th May 9 hours before us; And Dying Truth is already number 1 down there.

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I Never Lie Jody Sabral

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Split between the current day, and diary entries from last year, this is one of the most original plots I have ever read.

Alex South is a 39-year-old alcoholic. She is also a TV journalist who is has already had one “episode” on live TV.

When a woman is found murdered, in a park just around the corner from her house, Alex gets another chance and is sent with her cameraman and producer to the crime scene.

This is the third woman to be killed in similar circumstances in a few weeks and the press are saying there’s a serial killer on the streets.

The book is written in the first person from Alex’s point of view. The struggles of getting through the day without appearing drunk, trying to keep the balance between the sober shakes, and the outward drunk.

She struggles with panic attacks and blackouts. Her memory is shot, and things she did 24 hours ago are hazy at the least.

But she’s functioning, she’s managing to carry herself professionally, and convinces herself that she will get sober……one day. But first she needs to be the investigative reporter on-the-spot for the serial killer murders.

This book is brilliant. Jody Sabral is a journalist and so she knows the business, and it shows in the realism of this story. But what really puts this book above the others is the realism with which she treats the alcoholism of Alex.

The self-destructive cycle of life. Waking up in the morning convinced today will be a sober day, but reaching for wine instead of coffee, and there’s always a justification.

The pure panic when no booze is available. The waking up, sometimes next to a complete stranger, and having no idea who they are, or how you got to bed, and then actually finding comfort in somebody just being there.

The walking out of a shop with a bottle of wine, or vodka, in your bag you had no intention or recollection of buying

The water bottle with vodka in it.

The belief that you’re fooling the people around you.

I loved this book. The story is great, the characters are really well written, and I didn’t get anywhere near guessing the end.

Pages: E-book 951KB

Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 11 June 2018

Last Goodbye Arlene Hunt

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Say hello to DI Eli Quinn and DS Roxy Malloy, quite possibly the best DI and Sergeant Team since Morse and Lewis.

DI Quinn, arrogant at times, works outside the lines at times, but he has a good moral compass and gets results.

DS Roxy Malloy; very often a character in a book reminds me of somebody I know, or another character from a TV series. In Roxy’s case I just kept seeing Taylor from Billions. What a great character she is. Straight as a die, stubborn, no filters, socially awkward, and determined to get to the truth. There is black and there is white, but there is no grey in her world.

At the start of the book Quinn and Malloy aren’t even on the same team, but her tenacity sees her seconded to him when she gets her teeth into a murder that may be connected to one he is investigating.

A killer is striking women in Dublin. The women are killed and staged in a romantic setting, unfortunately the men they are with ,when they are killed, are left butchered at the scene.

Quinn’s team are already investigating the first of these murders when a second murder takes place. Newly promoted to DS, Roxy and her partner are sent to the scene of another murder with a similar MO, but she isn’t as convinced as some that it’s the same murderer.

Seconded to Quinn’s team he quickly realises that Roxy is a rising star, even though she’s a little strange, and puts her to work.

Not surprisingly Roxy comes up with evidence that opens a can of worms. Her murder victim is the daughter of a mysteriously untouchable gangland boss.

From then on the investigations into the murders take a sinister twisting path through the politics of Dublin, and  the clashing cultures of its previously corrupt police force and its modern cleaner counterpart.

This book is great. The new duo of Quinn and Roxy is one of those relationships that is going to have the reader wanting more and more books in the series.

As well as the characters the storyline is outstanding, and brutally realistic.

Can you tell I really enjoyed this book.

I guess the hunt for my holiday reads is over. I’ve just found Arlen Hunts back catalogue.

Pages: 294

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 22nd May 2018.

Pressure Betsy Reavley

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Ten characters, all of who are given at least one chapter written in the first person.

All stuck on a submarine that has sunk.

All of who, are getting killed one by one.

Then there’s the flash backs to the child who suffers at the hands of their mother, her boyfriend, and school bullies, also written in the first person.

The research submarine Pica Explorer has been hired by Frank Holden, a disgraced film producer who bears a striking resemblance to Harvey Weinstien, to make a low budget film.

During filming the sub breaks down and sinks to the bottom of the sea. The ten people on board are told they have about a week of oxygen, and set about waiting to be rescued.

Then they start to get killed, one-by-one the bodies start to pile up. Those surviving start to look at each other with paranoia.

The question of who is the killer, is almost as important as who will not lose their mind.

As far as the plot goes, that’s it, it’s a wait and see who is still alive at the end process.

This book is a nautical version of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It didn’t have to be set on a submarine, it could have been set in an isolated house in the Scottish Highlands, or a snowed in pub on Exmore, and would probably been better off of it was. There are a lot unreal things about the setting, things that are just wrong. Windows?

I have read a lot of reviews of this book before I wrote this one. This book is not as bad as some people make it out to be, but, its nowhere near as good as some people say it is.

It kept me entertained for a lazy Saturday, a bit of bubblegum for the brain. If that’s what you want, this is the book for you.

 

Pages: 220

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Available now.

Something in the Water Catherine Steadman

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Let me say from the beginning, I really enjoyed this book.

But, if it was a car it would have a 0-60 of about 5 minutes. Then however, it accelerates and takes you on one hell of a journey, that will have you gasping for breath.

The start of the book sees Erin Locke, a 30 year old documentary maker, digging a grave. But who is the grave for.

3 months earlier Erin was a young woman who was about to get married. Everything is perfect. She is about to start filming a new documentary about prisoners who are about to be released; her husband to be, banker Mark, is about as perfect as can be.

Then things start to go bad. Mark loses his job. The dream honeymoon turns into a nightmare when they find a bag following a storm.

The decisions that they make together, and those that Erin starts to make on her own, lead them into a steady spiral of danger, which will lead back to the start of the book and Erin digging a grave.

This story is brilliant and original. I have to admit I nearly gave in on it, the first 20% of the book is slow, but wow it was worth hanging in

Erin is one of those characters that you actually like and hate at different times in the book. The story is written in the first person, from her point of view, but I never felt like I actually knew her, or what she was going to do next.

It made for a great read, unpredictable and thrilling.

I got the feeling even Catherine Steadman didn’t know what Erin was going to do next, or how she would react to some of the situations she finds herself in, until she actually wrote them.

Holidays are coming and this would make a great poolside read.

Pages: 400

Publishers: Simon & Schuster UK

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018