The Visitor K.L Slater

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The thing I like about novels by K.L. Slater is their subtleness. The stories are almost pedestrian but they are loaded with tension, and this one is fully loaded.

David is a slightly strange middle aged man who lives at home with his mom and her new partner. David has autistic tendencies, he hates change, he’s very methodical, socially awkward, and he’s a bit voyeuristic. He sees himself as a one man neighbourhood watch.

His nextdoor neighbour is the widowed Cora. David counts her as one of, if not his only friend, so when Cora takes in a lodger David becomes worried.

Holly is the lodger. At 28 she has just moved back to her old home city of Nottingham after 10 years in Manchester. As the story moves on it is apparent that Holly moved away because she lived in a home where she felt unwanted and unsafe. But what she found in Manchester was worse, and now she’s run away from there, but why back to Nottingham. As the story unfolds Holly’s Manchester years get told in her memories.

She is paranoid somebody is watching her and that her Manchester life is hunting her down.

Holly and David develop a friendship, but who is helping who. Is one, or the other, actually more of a danger than a friend.

If you want a book that’s going to keep you turning the pages, and keep you guessing right up till the end, you’re going to love this book.

I have tried to find the right analogy to describe this book, but I keep going back to one that sounds negative. It’s like the Chinese Water Torture, but in a good way. There is a constant drip of information, and each drip builds up the tension. The story builds and builds without any specific key moment; but that constant drip is really mounting the tension in one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read.

The end of this book is nothing short of stunning. The last two chapters twist the story in a direction I never saw coming, but it makes perfect sense.

What a book.

Pages: 350

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date UK : 2nd March 2018

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Tell No Lies Lisa Hartley

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Internal compartmentation in covert policing makes life dangerous for the undercover police officer; but, are Met and the NCA working with or against each other on this case.

The secrets that are being kept have far reaching effects on the investigation and the personal lives of some of the officers carrying it out.

There is a new drug baron in one of London’s suburbs. Actually, it’s more accurate to say the old one has been arrested and is in prison and some low-level dealers are trying to muscle their way into the big time.

But then a body is found tortured to death, and its linked to a second death that happened a few days earlier, that of a Policeman that died in similar circumstances.

The Met decides to send in a team of undercover officers.

This story follows Detective Caelan Small. At the start of the book she is recovering from a recent undercover operation that has damaged her physically and emotionally. She is given no choice go to work or go away. So, she assumes an identity she has used before and goes in search of information about the new drugs dealers.

She soon establishes that there may be more than one gang involved and that the dead Policeman may have been running his own investigation, “off-the book”

The investigation leads to some of the more salubrious areas of London, and this is where the book really comes into its own.

Lisa Hartley describes the areas and people of London involved in the gang and drugs culture very well. I was hooked by its reality.

The story is very fast paced. In fact I intended to read it over a week and ended up not putting it down, and finishing it in a day.

Its pace is breathless. The story takes place over just a few days and I felt like I was there with Caelan. Feeling her frustrations at her Senior Officers who were making decisions based on facts she could not be told, the frustrations of knowing other officers are working with her, but feeling they are working against her.

I felt the anxiety she feels when she has to make snap decisions, putting herself in danger, but more worryingly potentially putting others in danger.

The story is complex, and right up till the last page I had no idea how it was going to end.

I loved it

 

Pages: 331

Published by: Canelo

Publishing date: 19th February 2018

Next to Die T.J. Brearton

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How do you draw up a list of suspects when the deceased has made enemies every time they do their job.

And, what if the dead person is not even the intended target, but it’s a case of mistaken identity by the killer.

Imagine the type of plot line you could write with just those two principles. Well you don’t have to imagine it anymore. T.J. Brearton has taken these two strings and knitted one hell of a story.

The book starts with the killing of a Social Worker who has been working late into the evening and is the last to leave the office. She has made enemies, lots of them, people who have kids taken from their parents often do, but is this what got her killed.

Bobbi, is one of her co-workers, and although a lot younger, bears a passing resemblance to her, and she drives an almost identical car. Was she the intended victim, there are good reasons she could have been.

Detectives Mike Nelson, State Police, and Lena Overton, Lake Haven Police, take on a joint investigation. Working together brings them closer together and there is a definite chemistry between the two but will it hamper the investigation.

As they start to look into the murder they find a unsolved crime from 10 months earlier. If the two are really connected does that mean that there have been other crimes that have not been reported, is somebody attacking Case Workers from Social Services. If they are does that mean that the attacks haven’t finished, who will be the Next to Die, and can the detectives from 2 different agencies work together to stop the killer.

Nobody in this book, except Nelson and Overton, are who they first appear to be. Everybody has something lurking in their past, but does that make them a suspect or a future victim.

I have rarely read a book which kept me as engrossed. Every string of the plot is gripping, the story as a whole is addictive.

The characters are well written; the scenes are well described; the plot is captivating.

T.J. Brearton has quickly moved to the top of my list of authors whose books I look for as soon as they are available. He has gone from the “to be read” pile, to the “Must be read” list

Reading his biography it is easy to see why; he  studied psychology, philosophy, and religion to gain a degree in Social Sciences. He has been a photographer and a film maker.

What does this tell me about him?

As a photographer and a film maker he will have observed people; as a student of psychology and philosophy he will understand the people he observed.

That is why his characters are so good. Those characters make excellent stories.

Its early in the year but I should imagine this will be one of the best books I read in 2018.

Pages: 356

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date: TODAY GO AND BUY IT

Available on Amazon

 

The Devil’s Dice Roz Watkins

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I love crime thrillers with a difference. This book blends a hint of Dan Brown, with a rich mix of Angela Marsons, and is set in the Derbyshire Countryside.

Where does the hint of Dan Brown come in? From the very start. A man is found dead in an ancient cave house. As the forensic teams start to examine the scene the lead detective, DI Meg Dalton finds an old carving of the Grim Reaper with the legend “Coming for PHH” The dead man is PHH, the carving is over 100 years old, he died today.

The cave is tied by local legend to the story of people being found hanged in the cave and tunnel system close by. They are called the Labyrinth and are close to the rock formation, The Devils Dice.

Close to the Devils Dice is an old cottage on the edge of a quarry face. For years people have thought of the cottage as being cursed. People who live there are prone to committing suicide, or worse. Guess where PHH lived.

The rich mix of Angela Marsons? Rox Watkins has created a character in DI Meg Dalton that is as fascinating as Angela Marsons’ DI Kim Stone.

Dalton is a single woman dealing with major family issues, which she is trying to keep to herself and not let them disrupt her work. She has a team member DS Jai Sanghera who is determined to help her, but will she let him.

Then there is the crime. Although the crime is wrapped up in ancient folk law it is very much a modern crime, and its investigated in a very realistic manner which makes the story not only believable, but also very enjoyable to read.

As the investigation continues into the death of PHH more deaths occur, are they linked, are they even suspicious, or is all the talk of the curse beginning to affect even the most cynical of Police Officers.

The story has many threads and it’s not until the last couple of chapters that they all come together to create a brilliant end to the book.

It’s not often that I read a crime novel these days which is so full of originality. After all there are only so many ways a crime can be committed, and there are only so many reasons why. I’m sure somebody will point out there have been similar stories, but I haven’t read them, and certainly not in the same book.

A great read and I can’t wait for the next book from Rox Watkins

Pages: 384

Publisher: HQ

Publishing Date UK: 8th March 2018, available to pre-order on Amazon

The Baby Sitter Sheryl Browne

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8 years ago young Grace watches as her house burns down. Her Mom, her sister, and her Moms latest husband are trapped inside. Grace doesn’t care.

When a Police officer finds her hiding in a bush he takes her to the detective in charge of the investigation, DI Mark Caine.

Today, Mark and his family are living happily in a small town. The house next door suffers a fire and the new neighbour, a single young woman, Jade, is left homeless.

Mark and his wife Mel hardy know the woman but when they find out she is a qualified child minder they agree to take her in to look after their children so that Mel can start to concentrate on her art.

What could possibly go wrong

Anybody who has watched a film which includes a “bunny-boiler” will know what comes next, but strangely this book hooked me. Even though I thought I knew what was coming next, most of the time, it was written in such a way that I wanted to carry on reading, and at times its scary reading.

When Jade moves in things start to go bad. At first its little things that could be put down to other people mislaying things, but she is evil and her activity starts to intensify.

Nothing is sacred, pets, kids, wife, husband. What is she after? Why is she doing what she is doing, or more to the point, how will she be stopped and will everybody survive to tell the tale.

There is a lot to like about this book, the plot, the characters, the way it’s written.

There were times when it made me cringe, in a good way. At the beginning I nearly put it down, ten pages later I was glad I didn’t.

I finished it. I enjoyed it.

Pages: 384

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date: 8th March 2018

 

Unconvicted Olly Jarvis

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Jack Kowalski is a 26-year-old Defence Barrister. Being so young he not only has to navigate the Laws, Ethics, and Traditions of the Court room but he also has to put up with the bullying ways of some of the more senior Barristers and Silks in his own Chambers.

When a man, who is apparently insane, rapes his wife, Jack gets the case and manages to get the man released from custody. A few days later the same man is arrested for murdering his wife.

Jack now has the moralistic dilemma faced by many defence Barristers.  Did he get guilty man acquitted, and did that man go on to murder his wife.

Owing in some small part to his success in that case, and largely because of his Polish heritage, Jack picks up a second rape case to defend; that of a prominent young footballer.

Has the player really raped the girl or is she no more than a tabloid whore who is out to ruin the young man.

This story is so on point for today’s news that it is almost anticipating tomorrows headlines.

Jack is a great character and the dilemmas he faces are very real for people who work on the defence side of a criminal trial. As the story follows Jack through the Court proceedings it brings up things which we are seeing on a daily basis in the news. Men named and shamed, victims anonymity, issues of disclosure, or lack of it and misleading information being tendered to both Prosecution and Defence.

The story looks at the snobbism which is rampant in the Court hierarchy and how difficult it is to be a young Barrister in an old established system. But the most impressive thing for me is the way Jacks thoughts and feelings are established on the page.

Many times I have sat in Court, as a Prosecution Expert, and wondered how the people working on the defence could balance their own convictions and ethics with what was playing out during a trial.

As a work of fiction, this is about the best I’ve read when it comes to modern day proceedings and the people involved in them

 

Pages: 318

UK Publisher: Canelo

Available on Amazon

Cold Heart Stephen Edger

 

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This is the 3rd book in the Di Kate Matthews series, a series that just keeps getting better.

The story starts in the middle of an investigation. 15 year old Daisy has been missing for 7 days and Matthews is interviewing the Head Teacher of her school.  During the interview a member of staff announces that he thinks he has found a body in the derelict school sports hall.

What he’s actually found is a resuscitation doll; but what Kate finds when she’s looking around the building is what appears to be a kill room, with lots of blood and a foot.

And so begins a complex investigation, which has the team going off in many directions.

Like any real Police Investigation the officers are led by the evidence and their own instinct. At times the plot is like a domino rally. Once one domino has been set tumbling it sets of others, at times the domino’s split and two trails set of in opposite directions but eventually all coming back to the same point.

The accidental discovery of the kill room seems to signal bad news for Daisy’s family but are the team investigating Daisy’s murder or has she become involved in something which has led to disappearance.

With corruption, prostitution,  and many other serious crimes on the table maybe Daisy going missing is the best thing that could have happened.

This book is really good and had me turning page after page. In fact I read this in as close to one sitting as any book I’ve ever read.  Roll on book 4 .

Pages: 350

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing date: 12th March 2018.