Now You See [review]

Now You See

Title: Now You See
Author: Max Manning
Series: Detective Dan Fenton
Publisher: Wildfire

[Synopsis]

I, Killer has posted two photos of his first victim online – Before Death and After Death. They’ve gone viral before DCI Fenton’s team even discovers the body.

Soon, another victim’s photo is similarly posted…and so begins the killer’s following.

DCI Fenton is determined to discover the identity of I, Killer. Then the murderer makes the hunt personal, and Fenton’s search becomes a matter of life or death for him and his daughter.

But as I, Killer‘s body-count rises, his number of online followers is growing – and he loves to give his fans what they want…

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[My Review]

This is a really solid, entertaining new crime series which grabbed me from the first page until last. The characters are well-crafted and likable – though Fenton wasn’t hugely memorable, he’s a solid detective who you have faith in, and I really liked (perhaps preferred?) Blake.

I particularly like the fact that it wasn’t all centered around the police, and seeing Blake’s side gave it a different slant. I also really enjoyed seeing into the mind of the serial killer – it’s been done before but I feel that it’s done really well by Max Manning here.

The plot is fun to read and the social media element is a little different too. The short chapters are great at making you think ‘just one chapter’, until suddenly it’s the middle of the night and you’ve got work in the morning!

Overall I found Now You See an engaging and fun read, and am looking forward to future installments in this series!


Many thanks to Wildfire for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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Turn a Blind Eye [review]

Turn a Blind Eye

Title: Turn a Blind Eye [audiobook version]
Author: Vicky Newham
Series: DI Maya Rahman
Publisher: HQ

[Synopsis]

A twisted killer has a deadly riddle for DI Maya Rahman to solve in this pulse-racing thriller, the first in an addictive new series set in East London.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, and with a serial killer on her hands, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

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[My Review]

I really enjoyed this novel which had all the elements of a police procedural that I tend to enjoy, and plenty of mystery and tension too.

I really liked Maya – she’s an intelligent, quick, hard-working detective who also happens to be Bengali. This makes a bit of a change from other white-male-driven novels in this genre, and her background and family life growing up affects Maya’s way of thinking and policing in Tower Hamlets and the surrounding area, where a headmistress has been murdered.

The story is really well structured, allowing the reader to slowly piece together what has happened whilst revealing more about Maya and her colleagues, and also touching upon many issues and subjects that are incredibly relevant today. There’s plenty of clues and along the way, and I really enjoyed listening to this on audiobook. It’s an easy listen (narrated really well by Sonia Kaur) and very engaging. The plot is tight, the characters are (on the whole) likable and interesting, and the setting in London is great with its multicultural characters – I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking to discover a gripping new crime series with a strong and likable female lead.


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Deadly Secrets by @RobertBryndza [review] @bookouture

Deadly Secrets - Robert Bryndza

Title: Deadly Secrets
Author: Robert Bryndza
Series: Detective Erika Foster (#6)
Publisher: Bookouture

[Synopsis]

To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover.

On a cold icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a horrific killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask.

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger…

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[My Review]

Another fantastic, well-written release from Robert Bryndza and the Detective Erika Foster series, which has quickly climbed to one of my favourite detective/ crime series, and which never fails to draw me into Erika’s world so completely. I know once I pick up a novel in this series I won’t be able to do anything else until I’ve finished it!

As well as lots of gripping investigation and police work, plus glimpses into the life of a disturbing killer, we also see a bit more of Erika’s soft side as she helps her father in law and deals with some surprising news from a certain someone…

I love the police procedural element of the story – as always the plot is gripping, tight and excellently written, with the perfect mix of personal elements surrounding Erika’s team and the police work itself.

Deadly Secrets could be read as a stand-alone, but with five previous (brilliant) novels to get stuck into, I recommend starting from the beginning so you know as much as possible about Erika and her background, as this only enhances each story!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Bookouture for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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Briguella by @AuthorVickiFitz [review]

Briguella - Vicki Fitzgerald

Title: Briguella
Author: Vicki Fitzgerald
Publisher: Creativia

[Synopsis]

After seven women fall victim to a serial killer, journalist Kate Rivendale becomes embroiled in the manhunt. The authorities have no suspect, only one forensic link dating way back to the 1930s.

Detective Chief Inspector William Beckley needs to salvage his career; he has too many deaths on his conscience. Beckley entices Kate to go undercover, a decision which backfires with devastating consequences.

While DCI Beckley reaches a horrifying conclusion about the murderer Kate enters a desperate fight for her life… while battling to keep her own secrets buried.

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[My Review]

Briguella is a gripping crime debut from Vicki Fitzgerald, an author I’ll certainly be following!

The novel itself has two main narrators: DCI William Beckley and reporter Kate Rivendale, and having both of these characters tell us their side of the story means the readers gets just the right blend of police procedural elements and ‘non-police’ actions and jargon. I really warmed to Kate, though she had her faults, and found myself caring what happened to her. I have to say, I wasn’t a big fan of Beckley due to the way he treated some characters and really mooned over *someone* (I found this rather irritating but I don’t want to be more specific as I don’t want to give away any elements of the plot). He just grated on me  – and don’t get me started on Kate’s mother and sister – no excuses for their behaviour! At times I felt the descriptions were a bit too long and flowing, but nevertheless I hugely enjoyed reading about the police’s (at times very flawed) investigation into the mysterious serial killer terrorising Westhaven’s streets. The plot it moved along at the right pace and kept me really wanting to read on.

There’s elements of gore and some pretty nasty parts – it is about a serial killer, after all -but this didn’t feel too over the top. I had guessed the killer’s identity towards the end of the book but it didn’t hamper my enjoyment at all, and overall I am hugely impressed by this brilliant debut which I would definitely recommend!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Vicki for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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The Darkness [review]

The Darkness - Ragnar Jonasson

Title: The Darkness
Author: Ragnar Jonasson
Publisher: Michael Joseph

[Synopsis]

Be the first to read the incredible, chilling first novel in the new Hulda crime series from Icelandic superstar Ragnar Jónasson…

At sixty-four, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police is about to take on her last case before she retires: A young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, found murdered on the seaweed covered rocks of the Vatnsleysuströnd in Iceland.

When Hulda starts to ask questions it isn’t long before she realizes that no one can be trusted, and that no one is telling the whole truth. Spanning Reykjavik, the Icelandic highlands and the cold, isolated fjords, The Darkness is a thrilling new crime thriller from one of the biggest new names in Scandi noir.

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[My Review]

This is an intriguing, well-crafted novel which I hugely enjoyed. I have to admit I haven’t read any other novels by Ragnar Jónasson despite hearing so many great things, so I jumped at the chance to review the first book in a new series, as then it doesn’t matter if I haven’t read others. And I’m so glad to say that The Darkness is was a solid, really enjoyable read!

Firstly, this series (Hidden Iceland #1) looks set to be pretty unique as it’s actually the end of a series; subsequent novels will apparently cover previous cases (something I actually didn’t realise until I finished this book!). I really like the idea of this, and also Hulda as a character – she’s pretty abrupt and may to some seem unlikable, but I did warm to her as the novel went on – you see as you continue reading that she has had a lot to deal with over her lifetime. Plus, the police haven’t exactly been great to her – she’s being forced into an early retirement because they seem to want to create a younger workforce! I really liked that the main character is someone older as this makes a change from many other books.

The plot isn’t overly complex but enjoyable to read, and though there are quite a few people involved in the case it wasn’t too confusing. I found the writing really easy to read and raced through this (at under 300 pages it’s not too long, either). It’s not too gorey but has the right level of darkness and eeriness, making you imagine you’re there with Hulda in the Icelandic landscape.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Darkness and it’s definitely made want to read both more of this series and other novels by Ragnar Jónasson too!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

The Darkness is out in the UK in ebook and hardback on 15 March 2018! Pre-order / buy on Amazon here.


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The Dark Angel [review]

Dark Angel - Elly Griffiths

Title: The Dark Angel
Author: Elly Griffiths
Publisher: Quercus Books

[Synopsis]

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Fontana Liri, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a medieval shrine and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also finds Harry Nelson, who is enduring a terrible holiday at a resort nearby. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Fontana Liri that someone would kill to protect.

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[My Review]

The Ruth Galloway series is like returning to an old friend. I’m always excited for a new release and I know it’s going to be a great read. The Dark Angel reinforced this feeling!

I love the combination of archaeology and crime that runs at the core of this series, and The Dark Angel is no different. What is different, however, is that this book is not set mainly in Norfolk, as many of the previous novels are, but instead a lot of the narrative takes Ruth (and Kate) away to Italy! Though I love reading about Norfolk locations (some real, some made up) it’s actually quite refreshing to have the action relocated to sunny, exotic Italy – Fontana Liri, to be exact – and to meet some different characters as well as the favourites we’ve grown to know and love. In fact, I almost wish we saw a bit more of the old favourites in this book, but as I said it’s always nice to have a change! Ruth is a great character, as always, and still so solid, sharp and, ultimately, very believable; I never think she is overly dramatic about things and I feel like I can identify with her thoughts and feelings as she’s often so normal, despite not being normal – ie. brilliant – at her job. I also liked reading more about Nelson and his strong views; I do like him despite definitely not agreeing with everything he says or does. He’s not a perfect love interest and sometimes he’s quite annoying!

Something I always think about this series is that it’s never rushed. Take Ruth and Nelson’s relationship (or non-relationship, really), for example – they’ve been faffing around each other for years and years, and although there have been moments where you think ‘This is it! They’re finally going to get together‘, we’ve yet to see it properly happen- and this no doubt reflects ‘real life’ a bit more. There aren’t always happy endings or people abandoning their partners to run away into the sunset with other people. I won’t give anything away about The Dark Angel, but could it finally be time for Ruth and Nelson? That’s always something I wonder before I pick up a new book in this series – it keeps me guessing!

There’s exciting/ tense elements to the narrative which keep it interesting and it’s easy to read; Elly Griffiths has such an enjoyable way of writing. I always expect an intriguing and well written read story, which I definitely got in this novel, along with plenty of interesting archaeological details. A great read which only adds to this brilliant series!

[Rating: 4.5/5]

Many thanks to the Quercus Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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The Confession by @spainjoanne [blog tour review] @QuercusBooks

The Confession - Jo Spain

Today I am lucky enough to be on the blog tour with a review for the amazing new novel by Jo Spain called The Confession. It’s a corker! Read on to see what I thought, and make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour as well!

Title: The Confession
Author: Jo Spain
Publisher: Quercus

[Synopsis]

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

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[My Review]

If you value your sleep, beware… The Confession is very likely to keep you up all night thinking “just one more page”. I couldn’t put it down! However this will be a no-spoiler review, so don’t worry 😀

Though there are many books with a similar theme, The Confession feels a little different because you know who has attacked Harry from very near the beginning of the novel, but you don’t know why – and why he handed himself in. The plot has lots of gripping narratives, each from a different point of view. We hear from Julie, whose husband Harry is the man who is violently attacked at the start of the novel, and JP, who handed himself in and is proved to be the man who attacked Harry. We also, interestingly, hear from Alice, a detective who will do anything to find out why JP attacked Harry. Can it just be coincidence or is there far more to this story? I think you know the likely answer! This novel slowly teases the reader with snippets of the three characters’ lives, both the present day and the events leading up to the day of the attack. This means I was absolutely desperate to find out what had happened.

There are plenty of twists, turns and surprises along the way, and I found myself doubting almost every character at some point (my favourite kind of novel!). I loved Alice – she was a great character who I really warmed to , and would love to see her featured in future books – but also couldn’t help myself really liking JP from quite early on, despite what he’d done. The characters in The Confession are multi-layered and never portrayed as strictly ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – they have different issues and/or quirks which make them convincing characters, and even the people you know are horrible people are not horrible 100% of the time! It also shows how the images that people portray can be very different behind closed doors…

The Confession is clever, gripping and deliciously dark, with characters you can’t help but want to know more about – highly recommended. Will definitely be reading anything Jo Spain releases in the future, and am determined to read her Inspector Tom Reynolds series as well!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Quercus and Anne Cater for providing an ARC of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for my place on the blog tour!

The Confession is out now in ebook format and out in paperback on the 25 January!

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The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered [audiobook review]

The Case of Mary Bell - Gitta Sereny

Title: The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered 
Author: Gitta Sereny
Format: Audiobook

[Synopsis]

In December 1968 two girls who lived next door to each other – Mary, aged eleven, and Norma, thirteen – stood before a criminal court in Newcastle, accused of strangling two little boys; Martin Brown, four years old, and Brian Howe, three.

Norma was acquitted. Mary Bell, the younger but infinitely more sophisticated and cooler of the two, was found guilty of manslaughter. She evaded being branded as a murderer due to what the court ruled as ‘diminished responsibility’, but she was sentenced to ‘detention’ for life.

Step by step, Gitta Sereny pieces together a gripping and rare study of a horrifying crime; the murders, the events surrounding them, the alternately bizzare and nonchalant behaviour of the two girls, their brazen offers to help the distraught families of the dead boys, the police work that led to their apprehension, and finally the trial itself. What emerges from this extraorindary case is the inability of society to anticipate such events and to take adequate steps once disaster has struck.

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[My Review]

I don’t often read or listen to non-fiction, but I find audiobooks are often a good way for me to get through them, as I can listen whilst I do other things like walking, driving etc, and try and soak it all up!

I’m really interested in true crime, so this appealed to me, and it’s on a case I didn’t know much about (somewhat before my time!). It’s the case of two little girls, Mary Bell (11) and – no relation, just a neighbour with the same surname – Norma Bell (13), who were  both on trial in the 1960’s for murdering two young boys. Gitta highlights that this case is also particularly interesting, from a sociological stance, because of the way the jury – and indeed the general public – seemed to place most of the blame on Mary, despite her being the younger of the two.

The book starts with some background information, and then there’s a detailed section on the trial itself; this makes up a large portion of the book, and it is indeed very interesting to hear what was said as well as Gitta Sereny’s analysis of it. However I wish there had actually been a little less of a play-by-play account of the trial, and more of a breakdown from Gitta on why this evidence or information might have been included in the trial, and what exactly it meant. Still, I enjoyed (or perhaps ‘enjoyed’ isn’t the right word?) listening to the trial and how it played out. The book then concludes with information on Mary’s (and Norma, to some extent) lives after the trial, and how the author feels that these tragic murders of two innocent little boys could possibly have been avoided in the first place. In this new edition Gitta also includes information and comparisons to the more recent Jamie Bulger case (which I actually remember hearing about when I was younger) which I found very interesting – though elements of the case are quite disturbing, so be prepared for that!

The audiobook is narrated well, with the two children’s strange behaviour relayed to the reader in an intriguing and clear manner, and the way it’s written lacks any sensationalism that you might get with other authors. I felt that at times the court scenes could perhaps have been split up a bit, and some parts felt a little uneventful, but I suppose you can’t really complain because this IS a true story, after all!

Overall, this is an interesting book which details an shocking and intriguing case. If you’re into true crime I think you’ll enjoy this one, whether you read the print version or listen to the audiobook.

[Rating: 3/5]

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The Shadow Man [review]

Shadow Man - Margaret Kirk

Title: The Shadow Man
Author: Margaret Kirk
Publisher: Orion

[Synopsis]

Two brutal killings rock Inverness, and bring ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler the biggest challenge of his career…

The body of the queen of daytime TV, Morven Murray is discovered by her sister, Anna, on the morning of her wedding day. But does Anna know more about the murder than she’s letting on?

Police informant Kevin Ramsay’s murder looks like a gangland-style execution. But what could he have stumbled into that was dangerous enough to get him violently killed?

Mahler has only a couple of weeks to solve both cases while dealing with his mother’s fragile mental health. But caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, is ex-Met DI Lukas Mahler hunting one killer, or two?

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[My Review]

I’ve definitely found a promising new series in The Shadow Man. Because the characters seemed to well-rounded and convincing, I thought this might be a well-established series, but it seems to be either a stand alone or – hopefully – the first in a new series. If so,  I’ll certainly be reading more.

The Shadow Man effectively combine mystery, grittiness and police procedure with just the right pacing and level of drama.

The characters are great – I really liked protagonist DI Luke Mahler and Anna, who wasn’t part of the police but who we also followed as the case unfolded. I liked that there were two main characters who showed different perspectives to the investigation. The characters were well-rounded and interesting too, and it was interesting to read a good portion of the story from the perspective of someone who had nothing to do with the police. The Shadow Man features lots of seemingly unconnected people who all came together as the novel continued, which I also really liked.

The setting is also great (pre-Scottish referendum Inverness) – and I liked the atmosphere that the setting conjured up. It’s a testament to Margaret Kirk’s writing that I could really imagine myself there, seeing as the only place I’ve  ever visited in Scotland is Edinburgh.

Overall I’d highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a great new detective series which is both entertaining and realistic. I’d definitely like to read more about Luke and Anna!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Orion for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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Yesterday [review]

yesterday- felicia yap

Title: Yesterday
Author: Felicia Yap
Publisher: Headline

[Synopsis]

How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?

There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

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[My Review]

This wasn’t exactly what I expected – it was way better! With elements of traditional crime/ mystery novels, mixed in with sci-fi elements (which I’m not always a fan of, but it’s done so well in this novel), Yesterday is a hugely enjoyable novel which kept me turning the pages.

It was in no way predictable, which novels in this genre can fall into, and I found myself surprised along the way as more and more is revealed. I loved the whole idea of there being just two ‘races’ as such, determined not by skin colour or ethnicity but by whether you are a ‘mono’ or a ‘duo’. Monos can remember only the last 24 hours, Duos can remember the last 48 hours – and are therefore seen as far superior. I liked the nod to Apple’s increasing popularity (everyone carried around iDiaries to help them remember) and I loved the element of mystery. I couldn’t wait to find out what had actually happened to Sophie, and how Mark and Claire may or may not have been involved.

We hear the story from detective Hans, Sophie, Mark, and Claire’s point of views, and this means you get to piece the missing elements together as the characters do and, at some points, know more than each individual does. There’s still plenty of surprises, though, and the fact that the characters have to rely on their diaries to remember things means you’re never quite sure who’s completely reliable and who isn’t – adding extra interest to the story!

I’d definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a new mystery/ crime novel with a difference. It’s original, intriguing and beautifully written novel which I’d highly recommend – it might not be everyone’s tastes I suppose, but I loved it!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Headline and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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