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.

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Cross Your Heart. Kierney Scott

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Special Agent Jessica Bishop is back, or steal a phrase from my favourite TV show, “Very Special Agent” Jessica Bishop is back. My God is she “Special”

I love quirky characters in books. There is so much similarity out there today amongst fictional crime fighters, and it’s the quirky ones that stand out.

Bishop stands out in a great way. Psychologically she has problems, in this book these problems are confounded as she is still recovering from injuries she sustained during her last investigation. Her mental health is on even more of a knife edge after injuring her friend and FBI partner Jameson during the same investigation.

They are thrown back into work when they are cleared for duty days after each other and re-join their old team.

Bishop thinks she has identified a serial killer who is praying on vulnerable children. At first, she is not taken seriously, but as the body count rises everybody begins to realise she’s onto something.

Partnered with a member of the team that is more interested in hitting on women and avoiding conflict, than actually doing any work, Bishop finds work infuriating. Jameson wants to help but she is keeping him at arms-length.

Her head is completely scrambled and she is fighting inner demons as she tries to find the killer, with an ineffectual partner.

From the very start of this book I was immediately gripped by the story of Bishops internal fights, as much as I was with the story of the crime. Both stories are brilliant but for me it’s the fight Bishop is having with herself that makes this book stand out.

There is no down time in this book. It is full on from page 1 to the full stop on the last sentence. I didn’t see the end coming, partially because I was so engrossed I didn’t realise I was coming to the end. The story is full of twists and turns, none of which are predictable, but all of which make sense.

This book can be read as a stand-alone novel, but I would highly recommend reading Now You See Me the first book in the series.

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/now-you-see-me-kierney-scott/

Jess Bishop is emerging as one of the great characters of modern crime fiction, and to get the best from her, you need to know her story.

I loved this book, I loved the first one, I really can’t wait for the 3rd.

Pages: 242

Published by: Bookouture

Publishing date: 25th 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

No Safe Place Patricia Gibney

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Shout it out loud, for everybody who loves good Police Thrillers, DI Lottie Parker is back

The book starts with bad news for Parker’s boss which means even worse news for Parker, she’s is in for a hard time at work. Things at home are no better either as she comes to terms with the revelations about her own parents and tries to deal with her own kids.

So, when a case comes along that will test her, and her team, Lottie is already on the edge.

A naked woman is killed as she runs naked from her assailant through a grave yard.

Is she the same woman that has gone missing from the commuter train which ferries people between Ragmullin and Dublin?

Lottie and her DS, Boyd, are looking into the missing woman when a member of the travelling community reports hearing screams coming from a graveyard in the middle of the night. When they go to investigate they find a body in a grave that is about to be used for a funeral.

The case strikes a strong resemblance to an unsolved missing persons case from 10 years ago. Could they be connected?

As the team start to investigate the death a series of suspects come into the frame, and the beauty of this book is those suspects. Patricia Gibney has written a complex who-done-it based around the death of the woman in the graveyard. Three members of the same family; Paddy, the husband of Bridie, the traveller who reported the screaming; an ex-boyfriend, and the strange station manager for the local train station, all get looked at during the inquiry.

Gibney has woven a tale of half-truths and lies, but who is lying about what. Have they all got something to do with the murder, or have they all just got guilty little secrets that they don’t want anybody else to know.

All the time the investigation is continuing another woman is being held captive. The team don’t know it, but they are racing against time to identify the killer whilst the captive is still alive.

While investigation is taking place, Lottie is fighting her attraction to a colleague. She desperately needs some comfort, and somebody to show her a bit of affection, but is he the right person to do it. And as long as she resists human comfort there is always the spectre of alcohol and strong prescription drugs hanging over her.

With her new boss is out for her, a new journalist is in town and she is on a witch hunt which seems to be targeting Parker

Can she function properly?

Can her team solve the case?

Can she keep her job?

This book is a compelling read that kept me turning page after page with an anticipation that bordered on addiction.

Patricia Gibney has created a great cast of characters with DI Lottie Parker at the centre. Her team, her family, the witness and suspects she interviews are all very realistic characters. They all have their own stories that knit perfectly with the main story.

I can’t help investing in the main characters in the book, so much so that at one time I actually felt like giving one of Parkers daughters, Chloe, a good shake.

This book can be read as an excellent stand-alone novel. But to get the best out of it I would highly recommend the other 3 books in the series.

Then, like me, you can sit back and eagerly await book 5.

Book 1 The Missing Ones https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/the-missing-ones-patricia-gibney/

Book 2 The Stolen Girls https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/the-stolen-girls/

Book 3  The Lost Child https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/the-lost-child-patricia-gibney/

 

No Safe Place

Pages: 488

Publishing Date UK: 22nd March 2018

Books 1, 2, and three available on Amazon, No Safe Place available to pre-order on Amazon

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 Reunion Samantha Hayes

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How would I describe this book.

It’s like an episode of Midsummer Murders that’s been directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

I was figuratively peeping between my fingers when I read parts of it.

The story starts with a bunch of teenagers having a day on the beach. One of the girls, Claire, is looking after her younger sister Eleanor. When Eleanor goes for an ice cream she never comes back.

The main part of the book starts 21 years later. Claire is now married to Callum and has two children of her own. She still lives in the same seaside town where her sister went missing. Her Mom and Dad live in the same farm they have always lived in.

Claire’s dad is suffering from dementia and she decides to get her childhood friends back together to spend a week helping her Dad reminisce on the happier days when they all used to hang out together.

They have all moved away but keep in touch. All of them have issues, but don’t we all. There’s Jason, Claire’s brother a struggling actor who’s wife is pregnant with twins.

Then there’s Maggie, who is what can only be called a Nomadic Cougar, and her temptress 15 year old daughter Rane.

Claire’s former love interest Nick. The restaurateur, who is newly single under tragic circumstances, and who still holds a flame for Claire.

Even before they arrive at the farm for the reunion strange things start to happen. Claire is beginning to get abusive phone calls. She’s an estate agent and she starts to get false alarms to viewings.

The subject of Eleanor is never far below the surface. Everybody still remembers the day she went missing, but the only person bold enough to ask questions about it is Rane.

There are simmering undercurrents throughout this book. There is no blood and guts, but there is suspense in abundance.

As the story unfolds there are flash backs form a girl who is being held captive. Is it Eleanor or is it somebody else who has gone missing.

This story kept me turning the pages late into the night and early in the morning. It’s been a long time since a book, which on the surface is quiet and genteel, has had the me feeling so much suspense.

 

Pages: 410

Publishers: Bookouture

Published on: 9th February 2018

Available to pre-order on Amazon