The Good Sister Jess Ryder

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This may be a short book, at 230 pages, but it packs more twists and turns than a Himalayan Mountain track.

When a University Lecturer dies, speeding down a country lane on his motor bike, nobody could expect the secrets that are about to be revealed.

Two women, that could look like twins, born five days apart proclaim to be his daughter.

They could not be any different.

Josie “A boring young fogey, the easy-care daughter”

Valentina “wild, daring, spontaneous, unrestrained”

Both living completely separate lives, but one of them has been having dreams for years that she has a sister, and that she was hurt by her, badly.

The story sees both girls getting to know each other. The wild Valentina causing chaos in the quiet reserved life of Josie.

The family of both girls dealing with the death of the man, who called himself their dad, but did either family know about the other.

Threatening text messages, from a mysterious person who watches every move Valentina makes.

From the posh houses of a London suburb, to the squalid existence of a derelict pub; from a leafy Derbyshire Cottage, to a run-down student terrace in Manchester the plot unfolds.

Jess Ryder wrote the story in the first person, alternating chapters from Josie’s point of view to Valentina’s. That is what makes this story so good; because at times you don’t know which sister is carrying the narrative. Then oh it’s her, really?

There are times when I thought, is there only one woman and does she have a split personalities.

Then I wondered if one of the sisters was imagining some of the things that were happening to her.

I felt empathy for Josie, then I felt empathy for Valentina.

I liked and hated both women equally through the story. It’s a testimony to Ryders writing that my loyalty swung from one to the other all the way to the end of the book.

The twists in the plot are brilliantly penned with the last twist coming right at the end; and I didn’t see it coming.

It’s hard to write too much about this book without giving plot spoilers. So much happens in such a short space of time.

All I can say is READ IT!!!!!!!

I promise you’ll love it.

When you make your mind up which is the “Good Sister” let me know; because I still can’t make my mind up.

Pages: 230

Publisher: Bookouture

Available to pre order on Amazon

Publishing Date: 16th August 2017.

 

 

Buried Secrets T.J. Brearton

 

Buried Secrets T.J. Brearton

A happy young couple, Brett and Emily, buy their dream small holding in upstate New York.

Digging an area of garden, close to the edge of some woods, Brett uncovers some human bones.

Meanwhile reformed criminal James Russo is arrested for failing to pay his fines for driving whilst uninsured. With no means of paying the fines he is sent to the famous Rikers Island Jail in New York. His cell mate is an ex mixed martial arts fighter Nate Reuter. Nate is in jail for being part of a lame group of bank robbers the press labelled “The fighting Bandits”

The Police Investigators seem to be going through the motions with the investigation into the buried bones but one of the Officers casually shows the mug shots of the Fighting Bandits to Brett, stating it’s an unrelated inquiry.

As a failed journalist/writer Brett sees an opportunity to resurrect his carer and write a book and starts his own investigation. Unfortunately he reaches out to his ex-girlfriend Meg to help him, much to Emily’s frustration; but is Meg really helping, or is she in it for her own gain, journalistic or personal.

In jail Reuter is attacked and Russo steps in to his aid. Because of the fight his jail time looks set to increase until a visit from a female prisoner changes everything. She will post his bail if he does one job for her, and just as an encouragement she sends a psychopath to his wife and daughter.

And so begins a story which kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish. The two storylines are obviously connected but how and why. Who do the bones belong to, and why are they buried with a cryptic note.

This story doesn’t hide anything, there are no surprises. Its hook is the naive innocence of Brett; the attempts of Russo to stay on the straight and narrow and still protect his wife and daughter; the conniving drive of Meg. To have captured all of these characters so well is a testimony the writing of T.J. Brearton

Pages: 328 

Publisher: Bookouture

Available to pre-order on Amazonfullsizeoutput_a7b

Publish date 18th August 2017

The Stolen Girls Blog Tour

 

 

The Stolen Girls Blog Tour

Last year Patricia Gibney arrived on the crime book scene with her debut novel The Missing Ones.

The first book was excellent and this book hasn’t proved to be the “difficult second book” in fact, if anything, The Stolen Girls is even better than the first.

This story has many layers, there are plots that run parallel to the main one and create their own intrigue, whilst weaving in and out of the main story.

The young girl being held captive and abused.

The immigrants held in the local “immigration centre”

The young woman, forced into prostitution, and her son that turn up on DI Lottie Parker’s door step.

The mutilated bodies that start turning up in roadworks all over the small midlands Irish town of Ragmullin.

A local gangster that has been in hiding in Spain, returning to town and causing chaos.

The Kosovo conflict of the late 90’s and the actions of some of the British troops, and the effect those actions are having today.

Gangland rivalries.

The list doesn’t end there but I don’t want to spoil the book.

All, of these threads are crafted together like different twines in a tapestry to make a fantastic picture.

The story is fast paced, and even at a moderately thick 461 pages the book flies by.

It’s not just the story that makes the book special, it’s the characters.

Patricia’s main protagonist is Lottie Parker, a mid 40’s Detective Inspector in Ragmullin’s Major Investigation Team. Lottie is struggling to bring up her 3 teenage children on her own since the death of her Husband Adam. She buries herself in her work and relies on her mother to help her with caring for the children. But the children have problems and Lottie isn’t seeing them. This provides a great subplot to the main story.

DS Mark Boyd is a great foil for Lottie. They work together well and have a great bickering but supportive relationship; and they need it because their boss Superintendant Corrigan is an Arse. These two supporting characters make Lottie’s working life more than a little interesting.

The villians and the victims are also well written and add so much to the realism of the books. Is everybody as they seem, maybe not. Patricia has a great way of making the reader believe a character is bad, or good, whilst twisting what they do and say to make your opinion of them change throughout.

The crimes are that well written that at times I thought Patricia was trawling the newspapers to find the dark side of the criminal world to incorporate them in her novels. The balance works so well that, as a reader, I never thought it was far-fetched, it flows, from beginning to end, and it kept me hooked.

When Bookouture approached me to do this blog I asked if I could ask Patricia a few questions. She agreed so between an email exchange, a few twitter interchanges and a little bit of research this is what I know about the lady who is, in my opinion, the best debut Crime Fiction writer of the last 12 months.

I asked Patricia about where the character Lottie had come from

I created Lottie as this strong (and at times, not so strong) character. If I’m t be honest, she was a little bit of an enigma to me. When I was writing her, I felt her come alive – I saw her as a real person. I know that’s an old cliché but it is true.

I am a widowed mother with three children and I said to myself, lets put Lottie in the same situation and see how she copes. I gave her three teenagers, hyped up the mayhem and drama, and let them loose. I must say Lottie is prone to making a mess of things at home and at the same time she is highly dedicated to her job. When she is working on a case, I believe she forgets that Adam is dead and conjures up an image of him at home with the kids. No matter what she thinks, she hasn’t come to terms with Adam’s death or with her own family history. Therefore, she can come across as a bad mother. I want the reader to delve beneath Lottie’s surface and realise that inside, Lottie is struggling big time.

As I’ve continued with her journey, her home-life and family woes have evolved, and in Book 3 I try to let the reader see something of what might be another reason why Lottie is the way she is.

 My next question was about the crimes and the characters involved in the book. For a little Irish Midlands town they seem to have the same problems as some of our inner cities. I love them by the way. So where do these crimes come from. Your imagination or does something in the news at home, or from further afield trigger an idea. In her answer she talks about situations from her first two books

 I have a very dark and murderous imagination! And then every town has secrets it wants to keep buried.

I attempt to give some context to the murders via historical and more recent historical events. In Ireland we’ve had the revelations of the horrific treatment of women and girls in the mother and baby homes and also the issue of worldwide clerical sexual abuse. I didn’t set out to write about this – I was actually writing about corruption re planning and developers – but St Angela’s reared it’s head and the little children looked out of the window and I was drawn into their story.

The Srebrenica massacre horrified me – I compared it to the horror from the Nazi regime – but I was also struck by the illegal organ harvesting in Kosovo. With The Stolen Girls, I focused on the Kosovo atrocities and brought the terror to present day Ragmullin.

 Your description of the Police, they’re procedures, and what is going on in the teams minds are great. Have you spent time doing the job, or researched it somehow.

 I am an avid crime thriller reader and love watching TV police series. I also have a couple of detective friends who hate to see me coming or my name popping up on their phone! Only joking, I think. When I have queries on procedures etc, I lift the phone and hound my detective friends.

Also in this book you used the illegal organ trade and the Balkan conflict. My question there is did the problems of the war give you the idea for the story. Or was there a story line in your thoughts and then you researched to find a war that would fit the blog

 History was my overall favourite subject at school and I read a lot about the Balkan conflict as it was unfolding. I fictionalised events for the story but the illegal organ harvesting that occurred during and after the conflict is based on fact. So to answer your question, I created the storyline around the conflict.

My last question is about future books. I look forward to seeing what’s happening to your characters as much as I do the next story. So. Are things going to get any better for Lottie and her Adam. Or can we expect more heartache and stress for Lottie whilst the kids carry on struggling through their different problems.

 Oh you can be sure things are not going to get much better! But I’m not totally heartless, so I might allow Lottie a little light relief and happiness along the way.

I have also found out that Patricia is editing the third book whilst writing the 4th in the series. Great news I am already looking forward to reading both of these.

Patricia. Thank You for answering my questions, but most of all thank you for these great books.

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney is published by Bookouture, and is available on Amazon.The two links below are to my original reviews of The Stolen Girls and The Missing Ones.

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/the-stolen-girls/

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/the-missing-ones-patricia-gibney/

The Stolen Girls

 

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The Stolen Girls   Patricia Gibney

I’ve been looking forward to this book since finishing the first in the series, The Missing Ones, which was one of the best debut novels I’ve read for a while.

In her first book Patricia Gibney tackled some daunting subjects and she hasn’t shied away from them this time.

Human trafficking for the sex trade, illegal organ farming, war crimes, teenage self-abuse, prostitution and alcohol, all play a part in this story.

Lottie Parker is back. The troubled Detective Inspector, widowed, mother of 3 teenage children, and struggling to stay off the booze, she had it tough in the first book, and things get no better for her in this one.

The daughter of one of Ragmullin’s criminal head men has gone missing. Exiled in Spain he sends his right-hand man to try to locate her.

Meanwhile the bodies of young girls are beginning to turn up in the trenches of the road works which are being carried out all over the town. Is one of the girls the daughter of the Godfather.

Banded back together with her team, and partnered with her trusty confidante DS Mark Boyd, Lottie is tasked with finding the murderer of the girls in the trenches.

Whilst she is investigating the murders a young woman turns up on her doorstep with a little boy. Who is she and why does she appear to know Lottie’s dead Husband

The investigation leads her to a privately-run detention centre for asylum seekers. The man in charge of the centre served with Lottie’s husband in Kosovo. Was Parkers husband as good a man as Lottie thought. It was a terrible war, with terrible atrocities, have some of these crimes moved to the small Irish town of Ragmullin.

What a book. Patricia Gibney may have arrived on the book shelves recently but she’s going to stay on them for a long time.

This story had me hooked from the beginning. From the rape, and murder, of a family during the War in Kosovo, too the teenage angst suffered by Parkers youngest daughter, this book is beautifully written. Not once did I feel like the author was stretching the bounds of reality. Not once is there a lull in the action. Not once did I want to put it down.

Bring on the next Lottie Parker book. I can’t wait to see how she is coping; and I can’t wait to see what crime Ragmullin will suffer, and how the team will investigate it.

Pages: 455

Publisher: Bookouture

Available: On Amazon from the 6th of July or to pre-order now.

Dead Souls Angela Marsons Blog Tour

 

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I have been a big fan of Angela Marsons since the first Kim Stone book, but what makes these books so special, and what makes Dead Souls the best one yet.

A big bit about my review off Dead Souls was that it was written from the heart, there is a passion about everything that is written in this series. A passion for realism, a passion for her characters, a passion for her settings, and this all adds up to a fantastic story.

The opening chapter of this book describes a man attempting suicide. The detail in this opening few pages is outstanding and hooked me from the very start, but that was only the beginning.

In Kim Stone, we have a character we can all empathise with, she makes the decisions we wish we could. Yes, she can be a stubborn pain in the bum, but she’s fair and loyal to those around her. In this book, we see her team acting alone as she is tasked with working on a joint investigation with a neighbouring force. Just like in real life, when a key member of the team is missing the dynamics change, and Angela has written this beautifully, taking the opportunity to expand on some of the lesser characters in her books.

One of the Constables in her team, Stacey Wood, has always sat nicely in the background carrying out the computer based investigations, and rarely getting out on the street. In this book, she is more prevalent. Investigating the death of a teenage lad she starts to reflect on her own youth, her own insecurities her sexuality. She disagrees with the rest of her team over parts of the investigation and starts to feel more isolated, the more isolated she becomes the more her thoughts begin to affect her. She becomes convinced that the teenager’s death is not the suicide everybody else is treating it as and sets of on her own, unauthorised investigation.

Meanwhile the two main male characters in the team Bryant and Dawson, struggle with which one of them is going to be the “Alpha-male” without Kim’s controlling hand. As a series of serious assaults, and a murder, are connected Bryant is promoted to Inspector, effectively replacing Stone. The shift in the personalities at this point are intriguing. Will Dawson be adult enough to work effectively with Bryant. Bryant himself has always been happy playing second fiddle to Stones lead, but how does he handle being the main man.

With both being preoccupied with their own feelings and both trying to prove themselves, to each other as well as the bosses, will the investigation be compromised; and will either of them notice Stacey’s struggles.

All the time she is away Stone is working with Tom Travis, an ex-colleague and ex-friend; but why did he stop being a best friend and turn into a disgruntled associate in a neighbouring Force. It is no secret that the two don’t “play well together” and whenever Tom has turned up in previous books he has been a pain in Kim’s side. Thrown together to investigate a crime which has happened on the border of the two forces the pair have very different working styles and investigative techniques. At time this relationship is tumultuous, but will it ever be effective. It is one thing, compulsive reading.

Then there are the crimes being investigated by both teams. Stone and Frost are investigating a historical murder after the bones of 3 bodies are dug up on farmland during an archaeological dig, being carried out by a group of University students and their teacher.

This leads them to look into the history of the people who own the land and their tenants. Two families who could not be more diverse but are intrinsically linked through the generations.

Stone’s team in the West Midlands have are investigating a series of hate crimes that seem to have no motive. The targets of the crimes are from different backgrounds and would be seen as being from different minority groups, all of which are the targets of hate crime, but why these people, and why now?

Angela Marsons always manages to have one character in her books that makes me want more. There was the brilliant murderer Alex Thorne, a character I compare to Hannibal Lecter. In this book, the journalist Tracy Frost makes a brief welcome return, but by far one of my favourite characters in these books is back, Dr A the Macedonian Archaeologist who works at Aston University. This character is brilliantly written and provides a few light-hearted moments. A leader in her field, no pun intended, she is a friend of Kim’s who does not suffer fools lightly. One of her endearing features is her accent. In the middle of all the mayhem and murder she is written with a voice the reminds me of the French Policeman in ‘Allo ‘Allo, but she is no fool, in fact she is the complete opposite. I would love to see her featuring in her own book.

I don’t usually give star awards unless it’s on a site like amazon, where it’s a requisite, but for those who look for that type of award, it’s a 6-out-of-5 or an 11-out-of-10.

The way I measure a book is in how much I look forward to it, and when it arrives how long it takes to read.

I look forward to each Kim Stone novel like a kid looks forward to Christmas, and this book I read in 2 days, I only put it down to sleep and eat.

It really is the best book I’ve read.

DEAD SOULS Angela Marsons

 

 

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Written from the heart.

It’s a note I’ve never written before when I’m reading a book to review; but it’s there in my note book, right in the centre of the page.

It’s been over written several times so it really stands out, and I can remember every page I was reading when I went over it, because that’s how it felt reading this book.

The book starts off with, what most people wouldn’t class as a crime, a young man’s suicide. The thoughts he goes through, the logic he uses, are so well written that although it’s a short chapter, it’s one which will live with me for a long time.

That suicide is investigated by Kev Dawson and Stacey Wood. Kev is the alfa-male Sergeant and Stacey is the slightly introvert Detective Constable, who does most of the on-line investigation work, from the office.

The scene is bad enough but the suicide note brings out emotions in Stacey that she keeps hidden from her colleagues. The death is suicide, but why did this young lad take his own life. Stacey can’t leave it, and starts to look into the victim and his life.

Meanwhile some bodies have been found in a University Archaeological dig in a field of a farm that straddles the borders of the West Midlands, and West Mercia Police Forces boundary.

Until the bones can be identified, and a date of burial put on them, they must be investigated as a murder scene. DI Kim Stone and her old adversary from the neighbouring force DI Tom Travis argue at the scene over who will take ownership of the investigation.

The next day the argument is solved. The bosses have decided on a joint investigation with Stone leaving her team to work with Travis and his team on the bones found in the dig.

The tumultuous relationship between Kim Stone and Tom Travis is one of the main threads through the book and adds a cracking dynamic to the story.

As Kim is away her trusty Sergeant, and sidekick-partner, Bryant is forced to work with Kev Dawson. Two men doing the same job with totally different approaches, and attitudes. Another tumultuous partnership.

Bryant and Dawson start to investigate several crimes that appear to be race driven and in doing so come across the horrible side of society. The violent racist, bigoted minority which causes so much pain to innocent people.

Becoming deeply involved with the investigation they don’t notice that Stacey is beginning to become secretive and withdrawn as she looks into the young suicide victim’s life.

The deeper she looks into why the lad might have committed suicide, the more bells are rung about her own life.

When Bryant and Dawson deliberately try to stop her becoming involved with the race crimes, “to protect her”, she becomes more and more withdrawn and struggles with memories from her past.

The parts of this book which are written from Stacey’s point of view are stunningly written. Again, that note was over written “written from heart”

Meanwhile in West Mercia, Kim and Travis are looking into the Landowner, and his tenant, of the field where the bones have been found. As they are doing so the bones are being examined by Dr A. One of Angela Marsons peripheral characters that deserve their own book. The interchanges between her and Kim Stone provide that bit of humour every dark story needs; and this is a dark story.

Three sets of bones were found during the dig, and they’re recently enough buried to launch an active murder investigation.

There are three story lines in this book. The relationship between the 2 DI’s Stone and Travis, as they investigate the murder of the people found buried in the field. The relationship between Bryant and Dawson as they investigate the violent race crimes. Finally; Stacey Woods journey into the life of a young suicide victim, and the effects it has on her.

Will the relationships work. Will everybody come out of this in one piece, either emotionally or physically.

This book had me hooked from the very first page and had me enthralled all the way through.

The last dozen or so chapters had me holding my breath so often I was exhausted at the end; and what an ending.

The end of this book is full of twists and turns, and I defy anybody to see the results coming.

I read all the time. It’s my escape from reality. There are several authors I look forward to reading when I know they have a new book coming out.

Angela Marsons is at the very top of that list.

This is the best book I’ve read, by the best author on the shelves at the moment.

I really can’t wait for the next one.IMG_1204

BLOG TOUR THE LOST CHILDREN HELEN PHIFER

 

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Helen Phifer Blog Tour  The Lost Children

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get an early look at this book. I admit until then I had never heard of Helen Phifer, but I will be on the lookout for her books in the future.

What made this book special?

Helen has managed to write a book which captivated me, not just with the story, but the characters in it.

So often in modern writing one is sacrificed for the other, or the book becomes overly long, not this one. It strikes the perfect balance. The story is a page turner from the start, but just as much as the main story-line, I invested in the characters.

From DI Lucy Harwin, the dyed-red-haired, tattooed single woman who is estranged from her husband and daughter; to the very glamorous Dr Catherine Maxwell, the Pathologist, all the Police charters are intriguing. In fact I think Dr Maxwell would make a tremendous protagonist in her own series.

The victims and perpetrator of the crimes are equally as enthralling, and mysterious. Helen has taken as much care about the characters on the peripheries as she has on the main ones, and that means there was no way of working out who the perpetrator was by the balance of the amount of time they got on the page.

The one thing that makes this book stand out is the correct use of terminology, and the believability of the Police Officers and the way they work and interact with each other. There is a letter from the author in the back of the book. In it she drops out that she works for the Police. I don’t know in what capacity but the fact that she is immersed in that world shows in her writing.

So, if you want a realistic, enthralling Police Thriller, with a cast of characters who you are going to want to meet again, then this is just the book.

I’ve put my original review below here. I’ve just read it again. I think my enthusiasm for this book, and the series to follow speaks for itself.

 

 

The Lost Children

I jotted something down in my note book really early into reading this book.

Refreshing, an author who knows current police procedures and terminology”

 That little note reflects why this crime thriller stands out from many of the others on the shelves today.

That and the fact that there is a full cast of excellent characters surrounding DI Lucy Harwin, work colleagues, family, and even the victims and their families, all add to the eclectic mix of people she encounters on a daily basis.

The opening to the book is going to be familiar to some readers. There have been a few books partially set in the care homes and institutes of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s recently.

And why not, every year there seems to be another case of historic abuse associated with these establishments.

This book stands out though. Helen Phifer has written a thriller in more ways than one.

The main protagonist, DI Lucy Harwin, is a little bit out there. Dyed Red hair, tattoo’s, and an attitude. Divorced from her husband, estranged from her teenage daughter, and living alone. On forced gardening leave following her involvement in a tragic serious incident, we meet Lucy at her counselling on the day she is supposed to start back to work.

Unfortunately for her a gruesome murder is waiting for her on her return to the usually quiet seaside town of Brooklyn Bay. What a setting for a book, once a prosperous seaside resort, now struggling with the recession and lack of holiday makers.

Lucy has a good team, some of which we get to meet in detail, but others who play interesting little bit parts, hopefully they will start to build in future books.

Lucy’s mainstay, and probably her best friend is DS Mattie Jackson. They have one of those relationships where they both know a little bit too much about each other, care a little bit too much for each other, and act like an old married couple without actually ever being in a relationship.

As the murders start to stack up, the once happy seaside town starts to look like a dangerous place to live.

Lucy and Mattie, and their team, start to link the crimes. At about the same time the reader will start to link two or three characters with being the murder.

Helen has written this book teasingly well. Yes, I knew who the killer was early, well I thought I did. It was always one of the three people but gentle little shifts in the story had me moving from one to the another regularly. If I’m honest I didn’t actually positively identify who was responsible for the crimes until the last couple of chapters.

I recently wrote a blog about Angela Marsons DI Kim Stone books.

In that I said you don’t always need a cliff-hanger finish to make you eagerly await the next book in the series. The best series are those which have a cast of characters that make you want to read about them again. To look forward to seeing how they have fared since the last book.

That’s exactly how I felt at the end of this book. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the fact that it was written by somebody who works in the police, see the letter from Helen at the End of the Book, so all of the phrases and techniques are current and accurate. Most of all I’m looking forward to meeting Lucy, Mattie, Col and the rest of the Major Investigation team; Jack and Amanda the CSI team, and most of all the glamorous Pathologist Dr Catherine Maxwell again in future books. There is so much potential for these characters that each could take a turn at being the main protagonist, and the series would still move forward nicely.

I have a list, on my computer, that I call UK Lady Killer Writers. I look forward to each of their books coming out.

 

Angela Marsons

Marri Hannah

Marni Riches

Robert Galbraith (I know but we know who she is)

 

There is now a new name on the list. Helen Phifer.

 

What a night that would be. Sat around a table with that little cohort drinking Red Wine or Jack Daniels, and nothing to do but talk about crime thriller plots.

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