Nemesister Sophie Jonas-Hill

 

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A deeply complex book, with many twists and turns, this book will never be described as bubblegum for the brain. Dark and sinister from the start to the end it kept me engrossed from page 1.

It starts with a woman with no memory stumbling into a shack in deepest Louisiana. Barely conscious she holds the male occupier at gunpoint, he sees she’s hurt.

From that point on the story gets dark. Not unlike the Bourne Identity the main protagonist starts to regain her memory and the story of what leads to her appearing in the shack starts to unfold.

As the title suggests the girl has a sister. The mystery woman starts to remember the sister, or is it implanted memories of someone else’s life, or maybe even memories of her own life.

The story moves rapidly and switches, in some places confusingly, between the present and the memories. But this is good, this is very good; because for the first time, for a long time, I read a book that kept me on my toes. It kept me hooked like no other book has for years.

The man in the shack takes care of the girl. But who is he, and why is he helping her.  A couple of Freudian slips, when he is talking to her, puts the girl on her guard. Is he spinning her a false story, or is her memory loss causing her to be forgetful or misunderstanding.

As her paranoia grows his activities seem become more intimidating in their innocence. Why would a complete stranger help somebody with no memory who has stumbled into his remote shack.

When the shack is attacked it seals the woman’s faith in her helper. She is after all free to leave if she wants to, then he locks the doors and puts the key in his pocket.

Exploring the house when he’s asleep the woman makes a discovery and starts to piece things together in her mind. Should she escape, or is she safer where she is, does she have a choice.

I loved this book. It finishes on a cliff hanger, and I was pleased to see that Sophie Jonas-Hill is working on the sequal.

Hurry up Sophie I can’t wait for Broken Ponies

Pages: 304

Publisher: Urbane Publications

Publication Date: 6th July 2017.

Available to pre-order from Amazon

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.

The Lost Children Helen Phifer

 

 

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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.

Angela Marsons Kim Stones Series Looking forward to DEAD SOULS

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So, the latest Detective Inspector Kim Stone novel by Angela Marsons is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Why is this great news?

Because she is my favourite author, and not just mine. Within a couple of hours of her announcing it was available, on twitter and Facebook, the book was at number 16 on Amazons sales list. This was no surprise as it was recently announced that she has sold over 2 million books worldwide.

So, what makes Angela so popular. I can’t speak for everybody but here’s why I like her books so much.

The most important thing, to me, in a good story is its believability, it has to be real. Angela’s stories are. There is no over-exaggerated, unrealistic crimes. Everything you read is something that could, or has, happened. Yes, the crimes would make it to the front pages of the local paper and onto the local news, but there are no over-the-top, sensationalised, story lines which would have the general population in a panic over national news headlines.

Each story is self-contained, so the books can be read as stand-alone novels, but an outstanding cast of characters run through the them. I have found myself liking the most unlikely of people, getting conned into thinking some are nice, reliable people, only to find out they are the complete opposite, and actually hating others.

Characters that have bit parts in one book reappear in others.

All of the characters, especially Kim Stone and her team, are developing throughout the series. Books don’t always need cliff hanger finishes, they just need characters you want to meet again.

Every time I pick up a new book in this series I look forward to the character’s stories as well as finding out what crime has been committed and who’s responsible for it.

Then there is always the setting. The Black Country. I know some of the appeal in these books, for me, is that they are based around where I live. But that’s not the main thing, it’s the way Angela captures the places, and people of the region. You don’t have to live here to appreciate that. Greg Isles is also one of my favourite writers but I’ve never lived in Natchez on the Mississippi.

Why does the Black Country make a good setting? because it has everything. There are low social-economic housing estates and edge-of-the-country piles worth millions. There are every possible combination of nationalities, and the communities they develop. There are out of town shopping malls, and there are run down market towns. There are people who are the salt-of-the-earth and there are out and out scumbags, and everybody in between.

The possibilities are endless, as is Angela’s story telling ability.

The books are a testament to Angela Marsons and her persistence. She has been writing for years and suffered God knows how many rejections by publishers.  Now she is one of the UK’s top selling crime authors and is going from strength to strength.

 

How good are these books? Silent Scream, the first in the series, was published by Bookouture in February 2015. Now, in March 2017, we are eagerly awaiting DEAD SOULS, the sixth book in the series.

If a publisher is willing to bring that many books to the shelf in that short a time, the stories must be good.

So, if you haven’t read any of the books in this series yet, and you want to know why I Iike them so much.

I’ve put some links below to my reviews of the first five.

Treat yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/silent-scream-evil-games-angela-marsons/

 

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/category/lost-girls/

 

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/play-dead-angela-marsons/

 

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/blood-lines-angela-marsons/

An Honest Man Simon Micheal

 

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An Honest Man Simon Michael

Early 1960’s London.

A diamond heist and the death of a woman start this story. What follows is a brilliant story that has all the classic ingredients of a one set in this era,

Moral dilemmas

Family dilemmas

Dodgy policing

Sex and gangland violence.

If that isn’t enough to get you reading, this is a book which I would have read in one sitting if time would have allowed it.

Criminal Defence Barrister Charles Holborne is back. Months after being cleared of killing his estranged wife, he is now being ostracised by his profession. Rumours are abounding that he was responsible for her death even though he was never charged.

Now working in another firm Charles’s money is running low and he is getting no work. No solicitors are commissioning him, and he’s living off scraps given by the court.

After a chance meeting with a Legal Clerk from his old firm Charles gets retained to defend a solicitor who is being accused of aiding criminals.

From the beginning, it looks like the Solicitor has been hassled by the police and that he has been framed by them in revenge for them losing an earlier case.

The deeper into the case Charles looks the more convinced he is of the Solicitors innocence.

Meanwhile Charles’s personal life is taking its toll. His father is taken seriously ill and this affects Charles emotionally as well as financially.

When the case comes to Court Charles is not only faced with convincing the Jury of his client’s innocence, but also has to battle the prejudices of his legal colleagues who are still convinced he had a hand in the death of his wife.

Simon Michael has written a terrific story that could only be based in 1960’s London. Charles Holborne is from a Jewish Family and had to change his name so that the prejudice legal profession would take him seriously.

The crime in the story is simple and would have been so much more convoluted in the modern day.

Police “tactics” in the 60’s and 70’s lend themselves to this type of story.

Probably the most telling of all, is the code of conduct between the criminal fraternity which makes this era, the only time this story could have been set in.

I have given testimony in many Court Cases, mainly as an expert witness, so I have experience of watching a case unwind. I have also been privy to some of the pre case meetings, and sat in whilst legal team have argued amongst themselves about the best way to advance a case.

Simon Michael tells the most realistic story from within the Courtroom that I have ever read. This book had me transported back into the Court.

Best of all. I didn’t see the end coming.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series, because there must be one, this one finishes on a “oh good god” cliff hanger.

My Review of the first in the series, The Brief is found at the link below

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/the-brief-simon-michael/

 

Ashes to Ashes PaulFinch

 

 

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I have to say I have never read any of Paul’s previous books, and I really don’t know why I’ve never come across him before. A quick look at Amazon told me this was the 6th book to feature DS Mark Heckenburg; but I must say reading this as a stand-alone, or out of sequence, book didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it.

I had only read the first 5% when I sent a tweet out saying WOW what a start to a book. The next 95% did not let me down either. Its fast paced, and intriguing.

It’s one of those books where you keep looking for a point where you can put it down and get on with what you should be doing. In the end, I gave up and just read it straight through.

Detective Sergeant Mark Heckenberg, Heck, works in the Serious Crime Unit, a national resource based in London. It has to be said he is the typical “doesn’t work to the rules” “always in trouble with his bosses-who secretly like him” type of character. A cross between a British Cop and Jack Reacher. Not my preferred type of protagonist but I really did enjoy this book.

His latest investigation is taking him home to Manchester.

A torturer-for-hire has moved from the Capital to Manchester and the SCU team follow him.

Once they’re there another crime crosses their investigation. Somebody is using a flame thrower to kill people associated some of Manchester’s gangs. Very unoriginally the press give this killer the name of “The Incinerator”.

Meanwhile, as The Incinerator piles up victim after victim it appears that The Torturer is also working within the Manchester  Gang Scene.

The race is on to find both killers, who they are associated with, and why they are carrying out the killings.

 

Vic Ship is the head of a established gang and he has started introducing Russian Thugs into his team to enforce his law.

Lee Shaughnessy is a young man, the head of a breakaway gang. Both have a history of drugs, prostitution and violence. Both want to run Manchester, but is either of them capable of the atrocities that are taking place, or is somebody else trying to disturb the food chain.

The story runs at a very, very fast pace. Every page is a new breathless experience, and maybe, just maybe that could be the only thing wrong with it.

If you like your Lee Child you will love this.

If you prefer a more sedate, and dare I say it, more realistic read then this book won’t be for you.

I have said in previous blogs, and my Bio, I don’t do suspended reality. Yes we have violent crime on the Streets, and yes it is getting worse, but this for me was just a step too far.

However would I read the next one, yes definitely, and not only that I’m going to read the first 5 as soon as I’ve got a chance.

I think I’ve just found my guilty pleasure amongst my usually keep-it-reel reading list.

He Said She Said Erin Kelly

 

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Another book which uses flash backs to a previous crime. Is it me or are these becoming more and more common.

The story centres around Laura and Kit, and their family and “friends”.

Kit is a bit of a strange character, introverted when younger, and not much of a change when he is older. But he has one unique quality, he is an Eclipse chaser. Whenever a total eclipse of the sun occurs, wherever it happens in the world, Kit must be there.

In the present-day Laura is his wife, and she’s pregnant. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but there is an eclipse due and it means Kit is going to travel to the Faroe Isles, not a trip suitable for his wife.

This will be their first time apart for some time, but worst of all, it will mean that both are isolated from each other since the incident they refer to as The Lizard.

The Lizard was an incident that happened during the total eclipse of the sun in 1999. An eclipse that Kit and Laura witnessed in Cornwall at the Lizard.

The flashback crime happens during the festival which marked the 1999 eclipse. Laura witness a vicious attack and becomes a key witness.

Ramifications of her actions ripple out to start to affect the couple in 2015.

The isolation of the Faroe Islands would be an ideal place to get to Kit on his own. Laura is more isolated than she thinks at home, and somebody is out for revenge.

This story is very original, at times for me it’s a bit rambling, but it is worth persevering with for the twists and turns in the plot.

It will keep you guessing till the end, and may even have you a little bit frustrated that you didn’t see the outcome earlier, but that’s never a bad thing.

This is the type of book I like to read on holiday when I have time to luxuriate in deep descriptions and dead-end sub-plots.

However, right now, I found myself skimming through chunks of it that were all a bit unnecessary.