Hell Bay Kate Rhodes

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The phrase saves the best till last springs to mind when I start this review. This year I have read some great books; but as its December I can safely say that one of the best has been one of the last of the year.

“Hell Bay” by Kate Rhodes is a cracking read. The story is set on Bryher, one of the smallest of the Scilly Isles, just of the Cornish coast and only accessible by boat.

The stories main protagonist is DI Kitto Benesek, a Met undercover detective from the Murder Investigation Team, he is returning to his home island to get himself together following the death of his partner. The last thing he needs is a murder amongst the closely-knit residents of the island. An island with only 98 residents, nearly all of who he knows.

But that is what he gets when on the night he returns a young girl goes missing. Drafted in by the local Police Kitto heads an investigation into her disappearance.

From the start the reader knows she has been killed but by who. The characters on the island are rich and colourful, and not one of them seems to have a reason to kill her.

There are two added twists to the plot that might relate to the murder. One of the residents is trying to buy out the poorer residents to develop the island, he is making no friends with his strong-arm tactics but would he stretch to murder. Then there is the modern-day smuggling ring that is dropping drugs onto the beaches to be picked up and distributed on the mainland; did she stumble across one of the transactions, or could she be part of the smuggling ring.

The book uses the isolation of the island to build the tension. The characters are typical of a small English town, but are hemmed in buy the Atlantic.

Kitto has been away from the island for a long time only returning for his parent’s funerals. His friends have grown, new relationships have been formed but basically not much has changed.

Kitto is used to the violence of the capital but dealing with it on his own island amongst his friends and family is hard. How can he not have preconceptions.

This book longer than most books being published at the moment but every chapter had me reading the next in quick succession. I can’t say I read it in one sitting, but I read it at every opportunity, and hated having to put it down when work intervened.

Thankfully the last few pages are a preview of the next book in the series so I know there’s another coming. Now I just have to sit and wait.

Pages: 432

Publishers: Simon & Schuster

Publishing date: 25th January 2017.

Available to pre-order on Amazon

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The Cover Up Marnie Riches

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This is the second book in the Manchester series by Marnie Riches and follows on shortly after the end of the first book Born Bad.

With Paddy O’Brien, the main gangland boss, gone Manchester is up for grabs, but who is going to take control.

Paddy’s wife Sheila is trying to assume his roll, but will anybody take her seriously. They should, she has his old Henchman Conky close at hand, very close at hand, and he is quite happy to dispense violent retribution on anybody who crosses his new girlfriend.

She is also aided by the scripture quoting grandmother Gloria.

Gloria is the “straight” business partner of Sheila who helped her set up a legitimate cleaning company; but now things are getting dodgy, she is wondering around Manchester with a shopping trolley loaded with a gun and ammunition. This oxymoron of a woman is probably one of the best fictional characters I’ve read for a long time.

Sheila’s main threat is coming from a new quarter. Nigel Bancroft is a Brummie who, as well as running a legitimate, and successful property development business, is also the gangland boss of the Midlands.

Brummie Nigel wants to move into Manchester and goes about trying to muscle into O’Brien territory to get a foothold in the north-west city.

Meanwhile the O’Briens main rivals in Manchester, the Boddington Gang, is also trying to take control. This gang is in the mist of an internal struggle as the two head men, Tariq and Jonny, are at loggerheads about everything except taking over the O’Briens business.

All the time the Police are watching and waiting for any crack to appear in the gang’s armour. Detective Ellis James is determined to bring the gangs to task, but how far will he go to get that vital piece of evidence.

Just to throw a spanner in the works somebody else is watching from a distance. Somebody with an axe to grind, somebody who wants revenge, somebody who wants back what he considers his property, and he is prepared to go to any lengths to get it.

This book is written in a way that at times had me laughing at its dark humour, and at other times has me wincing with its violence.

The storyline is a masterful journey of twists and turns with the occasional surprise that had me thinking “no way” and at the same time “brilliant”.

I loved the story, I loved the characters, I can’t wait for the next instalment.

 

Pages: 400

Published by Avon

Publishing date: 11 January 2018

Murder Game Blog Tour

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Caroline Mitchell writes from experience. Her biography, on her own website, tells us that she was once a Police Detective who worked on cases involving high risk victim of domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. This is a woman that’s “been there and got the T-shirt”, and it shows in her writing.

Rarely do I read books as realistic as the ones Caroline writes, and even more rarely does an author hook me with her stories from the very first page, but she does.

Murder Game Description

 A serial killer is playing a terrifying game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead.

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the twisted killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die…

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby persuades her boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to use his criminal connections to set up a dangerous meeting. Because to catch this killer, she needs to think like one…

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team become. Is Mason really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining Ruby up to be his next victim?

 My Review

Everybody loves a good serial killer story, and this one is really good.

Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston, and her team, are back.

Years ago Mason Gately was caught in the act of murdering his 6th Victim. Nicknamed by the press The Lonely Heart Killer, he found his victims through the personal adds in local papers, Gately had a very specific way of killing the women over several days.

When Melissa Phillips, the wife of a high-profile BBC News Journalist, goes missing; and he starts to receive images of her, similar to those sent by Gately of his victims to their families, alarm bells begin to ring.

Ruby’s boss, DI Downes, had worked on the original case and knows that some of the details of the original murders had never been released to the public. So how does the new killer know how to recreate the murders in such detail? Is Gately actually the Lonely Hearts Killer, or is the wrong person in custody.

As more people go missing the similarities between the murders continue and each case is a rush against time to save the victim.

Meanwhile the killer is contacting a confidential telephone help line and talking, in a round-about way, about his crimes. Will the call handler understand who they are talking to?

Ruby is still dating her first love, who she is only recently become reacquainted with, Nathan. Just to add spice to the story Nathan is part of one of the biggest crime families in Shoreditch.

This relationship opens doors for Ruby to interview Gately, and so begins a relationship very similar to that of Starling and Lecter.

What sacrifices will Ruby have to make to get the information she needs, and how many people will suffer before she gets it.

This is another great story in this series by Caroline Mitchell. Each book gets better, and as ever I was left wanting to read the next one straight away.

I suppose I’ll just have to be patient.

Amazon Links for Murder Game

UK: http://amzn.to/2v1l8v5

US: http://amzn.to/2umrDqp

Caroline’s website

www.caroline-writes.com

Gone Missing T.J. Brearton

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A good stand-alone novel, from a well-established author. What could go wrong? Absolutely nothing. This book has a hook that got me straight from the start.

Katie is the daughter of a wealthy family that owns a chain of restaurants and hotels. Her and David, her husband live a happy life on the outskirts of New York.

When Katie goes out for a jog she chooses 1 of 3 routes, all of which start and end the same way, on a pathway into a park.

Finishing her run one morning Katie hears a baby crying in a van. Texting her husband what she has found, and jokingly saying if she goes missing call the police, she opens the van and leans in to comfort the baby. Then it all goes horribly wrong for her as she realises, too late, that the baby is a doll, and that its bait to trap her.

The book then takes two main strands. The story of Katie and her kidnappers, and her attempts to regain her freedom; and the story of the investigation into her disappearance.

Investigator Justin Cross is a complex character, and when he is tasked with finding Katie, or identifying the people responsible for her kidnap, he throws himself at the investigation with no regard to his own wellbeing.

The story alternates chapters between Katie’s existence and the investigation into her disappearance. I must say, as much as I enjoyed the whole book, I really enjoyed the chapters covering Katie’s story

Her Husband helps with the investigation but all the time he is growing frustrated with the lack of progress, and at the same time becoming more and more worried that he will never see his wife again.

Fans of C.J. Box will love this book. Katie fights for survival in the woods of New York County. She has to make decisions that nobody should ever have to make. All the time her own ethics make her second guess each decision. Decisions she knows she will have to live with for the rest of her life.

The story never lets up in its breath-taking pace, from start to finish something happen on every page.

Pages:395

Publisher UK: Bookouture

Publishing date: 16th November 2017.

Available now to pre-order on Amazon

Now You See Me Kierney Scott

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Introducing Special Agent Jessica Bishop, a name I think we are going to get to see a lot more of.

Five foot two, red-haired, big breasted, and intelligent. She has studied for her PhD in Psychology and is brilliant at analysing every move a person makes and every word they say.

Too good to be true? Yes, she’s flawed, very flawed.

During the book her history becomes known and gives credence to the way she behaves in her social life. She has a very blasé attitude to close personal relationships, she uses men in a way that would have most of us running for the hills.

In total contrast she is fiercely protective to her work partnerships.

When a torso is recovered from a bayou in Louisiana Jess and her Partner are sent to investigate. This is the third body to be found with the same wounds in three months. Working with her new partner Nash she starts to look for connections between the victims.

All is going well until her ex-partner, Jamison Briggs, returns from a two-year undercover operation.

Jess can handle the return but Briggs and Nash don’t get on. The conflict starts to affect the investigation and things start to take a turn for the worse when a forth body is found and Jess begins to see connections to her past. Will keeping the connections to herself, to keep her secret, harm the investigation and put people in danger.

From the muggy, oppressive, murder scenes in the bayou; to the seedy pub washroom stress-relief scenes in Washington, the story thunders to an end which made me hold my breath for way to long.

This book is utterly compelling. The story takes second place to the introduction of the characters for the first half of the book, but comes into its own in the second half.

Those of you that read my blogs know I enjoy the characters and the way they develop through series. I think that Jess and her team are going to be fantastic, if somewhat complex, people to get to know.

Pages:318

Published by: Bookouture

Publishing date: 27th November 2017

Available now to pre-order on Amazon

The Good Sister Jess Ryder Blog Tour

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When I was asked to take part in this blog tour the first thing I did was to research Jess Ryder.

I’m so glad I did, what an inspirational woman. If there is anybody who doubts the need to be flexible as an author, they should look at her writing history.

It turns out that Jess Ryder is a pseudonym, her real name is Jan Page.

Jan Page has written since she was a young girl, for pleasure; and as a woman, has made a living out of writing children’s books a and producing Children’s TV series’.

As Jess Ryder, she is writing a genre of books she has wanted to write for some time, psychological thrillers. Her first one, “Lie to Me” was a big success and her publishers, Bookouture, asked her to write more.

I found this quote from Jess Ryder’s web site

When Bookouture asked me for some more novel ideas, a story about a pair of half-sisters popped into my head. I have no idea why – I don’t have a sister and have no experience of how that relationship works.”

Well, I think there are two half-sisters in their somewhere one named Jan Page, and the other Jess Ryder, they just occupy the same body.

Thank god Jess has emerged and started writing because THE GOOD SISTER is one of the best, and most original, psychological thrillers I have ever read.

What do I think of it?

This is my original blog.

The Good Sister      Jess Ryder

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  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.

So, what do you think, which one is the good sister.

Have a look at these two websites and make your own mind up.

Like I said. I’m just glad we have both Janet and Jess, especially Jess, she writes my style of book.

 

www.janpagewriter.com

www.jessryder.com

 

The Walls Hollie Overton

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I’m going to say this right at the beginning of this blog. This is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read.

Kirsty Tucker is a Public Information Officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She has one of the toughest jobs in the prison, dealing with death row prisoners, and the press who want to talk to them as their execution approaches.

In her private life, she is a single mom bringing up her teenage son, Ryan, whilst looking after her ill father.

When Ryan gets into a fight at school Kirsty can’t believe what she sees. Her usually studious son has beat up one of the school jocks. When she finds out Ryan has been taking secret martial arts lessons she goes to confront the instructor.

The instructor is Lance. He’s attractive, fit, attentive and single. The obvious relationship soon blossoms and Kirsty and Lance become inseparable.

Everybody loves Lance, but what are his secrets and what type of person is he really.

Meanwhile Kirsty is developing an unusual friendship with a death row inmate, Clifton Harris-The Baby Killer. Nobody likes, or trusts, Clifton so why does Kirsty connect with him so well.

This plot is full of twists and turns. Not everybody is who they seem to be and, as a reader, I found my allegiances, and suspicions changing throughout the book.

Kirsty and her family are put in danger, she gets hurt, but who can she turn to.

How is she going to ensure the family’s safety, can she bring herself to deal out her own justice, or should she turn to somebody else.

There are very few books that have made me exclaim out loud, but there was at least twice when my wife looked across at me and asked me why I was shouting out loud.

The characters in this book are fascinating. I defy anybody to not connect with Kirsty.

There is no way I could see the way this book was going to end, there were times when I thought just end now why things are going well, there were others when I wanted it to keep going.

This book goes beyond the usual victim-revenge story. It covers the ethics of thought. Can a victim become an aggressor?? Will the normally law abiding, placid person, manage to take things into their own hands, and if they do, do they think they can live with the consequences, legal and moral?

Most authors would have been happy to end this book at an earlier stage of the story, but Hollie Overton has done a masterful job of continuing a story beyond where many would have placed the last full stop (period).

In the Acknowledgements Hollie Overton said writing this book challenged her in ways she’d never imagined. Well she met the challenge well and has produced one of the books of the year.

Clear the number one spots on all the book sales and download charts, The Walls is published this week.

Pages: 385

Publisher Digital: Cornerstone Digital

Publisher Hard Copy: Century-Penguin Random House

Available on Amazon: 10th August 2017.