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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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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The Next Girl Carla Kovach

 

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When I read the synopsis for this book I was expecting another Police Procedural with a twist of Psychological Thriller. There would have been nothing wrong with that, in fact that is my favourite genre of book. But I got much more than that, I got a book that made me think about the affects investigating crimes can have on people, because not all Police Officers are as tough as they make out.

 

DI Gina Harte is the head of a small team of officers. At work she is a strong woman, at home she is having problems in her relationship with her grown up daughter. Harte, a widow, had been the victim of domestic abuse but how does she tell her daughter that. Especially as her daughter is arranging a memorial service for her dad, who she thinks the world of.

 

Harte is also in need of a confidence building bit of TLC, but she is also concerned about starting a relationship, especially one that could interfere with her job.

 

When a baby is discovered abandoned in a small village it is Harte’s team that is tasked with investigating where the baby came from.

 

At the same time a young father is struggling to get over the disappearance of his wife 4 years ago. He too is struggling with his feelings as he starts to slide into a new relationship. Guilty that he has feelings for the new woman in his life, and guilty about being unfaithful to his missing wife, Luke is struggling enough.  When DI Harte knocks at his door his confusion is about to get much worse.

 

As Harte and team look at the case of the abandoned baby, and re-open the 4 year old missing persons case, it soon becomes evident that they are linked.

 

Harte continues to have run-ins with her daughter who has always blamed her for putting her job first. She finds her TLC in an unusual place, and with both these things playing on her mind she tries to lead the investigation.

 

This book takes the reader into the troubled worlds of a Police Officer who has been a victim and is struggling both professionally and personally, and a victim who has never had closure and is struggling to find direction in his life.

 

Those that read my blogs will know I love characters to have a good back story and an element of an ongoing personal life. Well this story has given me that and wrapped around it is a great crime story.

 

I like it when a book I like appears to open up the possibility of a series.

 

Well it says on the Amazon page Detective Gina Harte Book 1.

 

Bring on Book 2. I really enjoyed Book 1

 

Pages: 300

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 2nd April 2018.

Dark Lies Nick Hollin

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Nick Hollin has produced two characters which have got me completely and utterly hooked.

DCI Katie Rhodes, once brilliant, smart and reliable; now a promiscuous heavy drinker seemingly bent on self-destruction.

Criminal Psychologist Nathan Radley, a very strange man who has been in self-imposed exile for a year. A man who can get into criminals minds, unfortunately, he also empathises with their dark feelings and lusts for violence.

Why has Rhodes started to self-destruct, and Radley placed himself in exile, because they were both badly affected by the last case they worked together.

When Rhodes is called to the scene of a murder she notices a mark on the body, a mark which is identical to a feature on her own, she starts to worry. Days earlier she had been to another scene where a body also had a mark left on it. A mark that resembled a birthmark that the exiled Radley has on his thigh. Coincidence? Of course not.

The murders are horrific but more than that, somebody is playing with Katie’s head. A head that is full of booze and hasn’t functioned properly for a year.

She can only turn to one person.

Radley has spent the last year living alone in a cottage in Scotland, reading children’s literature because he is too scared to open the boxes in his brain that hold memories of past cases. Scared of the feelings that vicious crime provokes in him.

To say he is unwilling to help his ex-partner is an understatement, but she gets him back to London and they start working on the murders.

What follows is one of the best, and most original criminal psychological thrillers I have ever read.

There are twist and turns as suspects come and go. There are frustrations as the pair are branded mentally and physically unfit to carry on with the Police investigation. But they’ve got to find the killer before he destroys them.

The two main characters are complimented by a cast of fringe characters that bring a credibility to the story.

I loved this book. In fact I have a confession to make. It had been on my to-be-read pile for weeks now. It was only when I remembered, that I was taking part on the launch blog blitz for it, that I picked it up on Saturday morning and started reading it. I put my Kindle down late Saturday night when I finished it. I don’t usually read a book in one day. I just could not put this one down.

Well it says on the cover Detective Rhodes and Radley Book 1. Well bring on book 2, and 3, and 4, in fact Mr Hollin, just keep them coming.

 

Pages: 275

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing date: 26th March 2018

The Baby Sitter Sheryl Brown Blog Tour

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The Baby Sitter, by Sheryl Brown was released to the world yesterday, the 8th March 2018.

I reviewed this book earlier in the year and that review will appear just below here.  Since my review I have read a lot of others about the Baby Sitter, and it’s fair to say it has been a bit of a mixed bag.

I’m firmly in the I Liked It, camp.

It’s a good story, it’s the type of story that could easily be true; and because it could be true it’s the type of story that can play with your head.

The story holds no big surprises, it is quite transparent and easy to predict, but that’s what makes it so good. I spent a lot of time shouting in my head why can they no see what’s going on.

So no matter what you have read, give it a go.

I did

And I enjoyed it

My review

The Baby Sitter     Sheryl Brown

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 he 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.

About the author

 Sheryl Browne brings you powerful psychological thriller and contemporary fiction. Her latest psychological thriller THE BABYSITTER – the first of a three-book deal – comes to you from fabulous BOOKOUTURE. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and previously writing for award winning Choc Lit, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath.Please do find out more about Sheryl at www.sherylbrowne.com

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

Liars Frances Vick

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Not all books, like not all films, need to be full of blood and gore, or shock and horror, to get me gripped.

This book is like one of those films that have you squirming in anticipation of the horror that is about to unfold, without it ever actually getting too gruesome.

Good Liar is the story of suppressed feelings. Jenny Holloway has been looking after her alcoholic mother, Sal, since she suffered a stroke. That is until Sal is found dead in the snow during a cold winter morning. But did Jenny love her mother as much as the locals think she did, or was there a hidden loathing for the woman who has caused her life to be so miserable

Nobody ever actually accuses Sal of killing her mom, but the mist of innuendo lies throughout the book.

Jenny is a bit of a wall flower. Living in her mom’s shadow, her best friend is a lad she used to go to school with. Does she feel safe with him because he’s gay and why is she so introvert.

There are secrets. Sal was once a vibrant, young, single mother who lived her life happily with the young Jenny. Then she met Marc, and things changed.

Marc and Sals relationship hovers over this story casting a shadow that is more alluded to thank recounted. It’s obvious Marc is a bad influence on Sal but what influence did he have over Jenny.

After Sal’s death friends and family start to gather around Jenny. Are they all doing what’s best for her. In fact is Jenny as white-as-the-driven-snow that her mother was found in.

From the start of the book I had my doubts about Jenny. I often I felt sympathy for her. Other times something went through her mind that made me wonder if she was actually responsible for her mothers death, and maybe for other crimes that had taken place around her and her mother.

This is one of those books that slowly unravels a deeper story than the one you think you are first reading.

Its good, it’s not a cracker jack page turner, but it did grip me to the point where there was no way I was not going to finish it.

Pages: 188

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date UK: 26th January 2018.

Available to pre-order on Amazon