#BookReview: The Chain by Adrian McKinty @orionbooks @orion_crime @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheChain #DontBreaktheChain #damppebbles

the chain.jpg“VICTIM.
SURVIVOR.
ABDUCTOR.
CRIMINAL.
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.

YOUR PHONE RINGS.

A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.

TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD.

YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM’S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.

IF ANY OF THESE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN:
YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.”

YOU ARE NOW PART OF THE CHAIN

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on The Chain by Adrian McKinty blog tour.  I was given a free ARC copy of The Chain but that has in no way influenced my review.  My thanks to Leanne Oliver at Orion Books for being able to read minds and know this was a book I was desperate to get my mitts on and to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite.  This book is a corker.

I spend an awful lot of time on Twitter.  I’m not ashamed of that.  It’s part of being a book blogger and part of the job I do.  There are LOTS of books on Twitter.  It’s a total book-haven with something for everyone.  With that in mind, there are books I see and they don’t interest me (don’t get me wrong, I wish every success to the authors, publishers and everyone else involved – it’s just that I’m a psychological thriller and crime lover and if it doesn’t fall into that category then I let it pass me by).  Then there are the books I see and I know that I HAVE TO READ THEM.  Should I shout that a little louder? I KNOW I HAVE TO READ THEM!  The Chain by Adrian McKinty was one such book.  I saw a GIF.  The deal was done…

How often do you feel like you have a connection with a book before you’ve even read it?  To any of my blogger friends reading this, you may recognise this feeling.  Everyone is talking about a certain book and then the FOMO kicks in and you know you HAVE to read it.  It happens to me a few times a year.  And then the poor book sits on my shelf gathering dust for….well, however long it takes me to remember how much I REALLY wanted to read it.  The ‘gathering dust phase’ didn’t happen with The Chain.  I started reading it the same day it arrived.  I HAD to read this book immediately. I’m not even sure the book was completely out of the envelope before I made a start…

That premise.  How can you resist that premise? I know I couldn’t.  Are chain letters still a thing? I remember receiving a few when I was younger.  They didn’t invoke any kind of fear or compulsion in me.  The only thing they evoked was the desire to chuck the thing in the bin.  But what if the message you received meant your child had been kidnapped?  What if the only way to get your child back was to kidnap another child? And so on and so forth (#DontBreaktheChain).  To save your child you must become a kidnapper and turn another family’s life upside-down causing fear, heartache and untold trauma to so many.  And what if breaking the chain meant your child would die…?

That’s exactly the situation single mum, Rachel finds herself in after allowing her 13-year-old daughter, Kylie, to walk to the bus stop alone.  And there begins Rachel’s nightmare and the start of a compelling, high energy tale about the bad things good people are capable of doing when put under extreme amounts of pressure.  I loved it! It’s got everything you want; likeable and unlikeable characters (actually, the bad guys are pretty despicable characters in all fairness) and a flawless hook that won’t let you go even when you should really be doing ‘life stuff’.  Plus the writing is just wonderful.  Really, really top notch.

I really felt for Rachel but I’m still not sure if I liked her.  I kept wincing as another terrible scenario or choice was forced upon her.  If I could have read the book from behind my hands then I would have done.  Rachel was frequently put into impossible situations and I eagerly watched as she made the only decision she could whilst shaking my head and muttering ‘noooooooo…’ under my breath.  All the time reminding myself that ‘it’s just a book, it’s not real!’.  Exactly how far would YOU go to save your child?

Would I recommend this book? I certainly would.  It’s like nothing else you’ve read before and it will leave its mark on you.  The story is gripping from start to finish and the ending is very satisfying.  I wanted to race through this book yet savour every moment.  I haven’t read a book by Adrian McKinty before but I can guarantee The Chain won’t be the last title I pick up by this author.  A terrifying, edge-of-your-seat read which I highly recommend.  The Chain is going to be massive!

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Chain.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty was published in the UK by Orion Books on 9th July 2019 and is available in hardcover, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstones | BookDepositoryGoodreads |

Blog tour graphic.png

about-the-author3

adrian mckinty.jpgAdrian McKinty is a crime novelist from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

His books have won the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, the Ned Kelly Award and the Barry Award. Adrian is also a two time Dagger nominee and shortlistee for the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year.

He studied law at Warwick University and philosophy at Oxford University before emigrating to New York City in the mid 90s.

Author Links:TwitterWebsiteFacebook |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Ivana (@TheNovelette) #TheWritersBlock #damppebbles

Happy Monday! I hope the week ahead is full of brilliant books (and if you’re heading to Harrogate later this week then I’ll see you there!).  There’s a good chance I’ll be adding to your terrifying TBR today as I’m delighted to bring you another fantastic #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post! Today I am thrilled to welcome Ivana of The Writer’s Block to damppebbles to share her three top picks from 2018.

But first, let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about. #R3COMM3ND3D is a chance for bookish types to share the book love. Three books from one year that they really must shout about.  At the moment we’re concentrating on books published last year but come 1st November we’ll be all about 2019.  If you would like to take part then please pop your books, the reasons why you love them and your social media details on the form below.

Without further ado, here are Ivana’s choices…

hangman.jpg

Hangman by Jack Heath
This book was just captivating, shocking, entertaining, perhaps THE best reading experience I have ever had!! (I gave it a 7-Star Review it was just that amazing!)

the date

The Date by Louise Jensen
Bookouture Books are just awesome! This book keeps you guessing until the very end! I always like that!

#fashionvictim.jpg

#FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar
This book was dark humor, fashion culture, pop culture references, psychological thriller, and murder on steroids!! Which made it so, so good!! One of the best books I have ever read!

Great choices, Ivana – thank you! Hangman is going straight onto the wish list and it’s great to see The Date by Louise Jensen make another appearance.

If Ivana has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

Hangman by Jack HeathThe Date by Louise Jensen#FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar |

About Ivana:
Book Blogger, Book Trailer Creator, Virtual Book Festival Organizer.

Ivana’s Social Media Links:
The Writer’s Block Twitter @TheNovelette |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd (@williamjtodd) #GodlefesCuckoo #damppebbles @cobaltdinosaur

D6 - GODLEFES CUCKOO Cover - L“Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded.

Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth.

An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man.

If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be!”

Happy weekend bookish friends and welcome to damppebbles.  Once again, I am handing the reins of the blog over to my guest reviewer (my husband, Ryan) who is going to share his thoughts on the sixth book in Bill Todd’s Danny Lancaster series, Godlefe’s Cuckoo, with you.

So without further ado, here’s Ryan’s review:

OK I admit I skipped a book.  Book 4 to Book 6 doesn’t sound the worst crime, does it? I mean what could go wrong, how much backstory, character development, death and destruction could I really have missed?

Well, before I tell you too much I must say I have written this review before the review for book 5 in the series has been published. But the strange answer appears to be zero.  In fact the book appears to directly follow on from Rock Hard, with Danny struggling to come to terms with his body and mind after the fishing boat explosion.

The book is intriguing from multiple angles. Firstly there is the struggle that Danny is going through. Where will it take him and will he still be the damaged but ultimately good character we have loved throughout the series?  Then there is the second element; the enemy.  Who knows when they will give up looking for him.

Donald Rumsfeld made headlines with his “known knowns and known unknowns” speech and this book turned my mind to that often.  For instance, if an enemy wants you dead and doesn’t know if you are dead or not, when do they stop?  In the case of Danny’s enemies in this book the answer is clear – “when there is proof”.  Reading this book as a standalone you may feel the enemies push too hard, and are prepared to go to extreme lengths.  But in the context of the series it feels a natural extension.

The same can be said for Danny’s allies. Will they support someone they don’t know is alive?  Will they?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

I enjoyed Godlefe’s Cuckoo. Once again it was a good read for relaxing into and letting the action and suspense play out.  The characters by book 6 are becoming well formed but there were good new additions, in his ‘rescuers’, further development of Wanda and of course the ever baffled police.

Well written, fast moving and characters you can like or loathe. This is the perfect read for those that don’t want gritty reality forced down their kindle each morning.  The title confused me at first but as you read the book you understand the historical relevance.  A great read from Bill Todd and I look forward to reading more.

Ryan chose to read and review a free copy of Godlefe’s Cuckoo. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd was published in the UK by DLE Fiction on 15th March 2018 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comGoodreads |

The Danny Lancaster Blog Tour

about-the-author3

2017-12-20 15.50.35Bill is a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. He loves a good wilderness. He received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

Bill has written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. He’s also written three short factual military histories. He lives to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Russell Day (@rfdaze) @fahrenheitpress #InkToAshes #damppebbles

Happy Friday! It’s nearly the weekend, phew.  Welcome to damppebbles and to another cracking #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I am delighted to welcome author Russell Day to the blog.  I read and reviewed Russell’s debut novel, Needle Song, last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The fabulous folk at Fahrenheit Press have recently published the second book in Russell’s Doc Slidesmith series, Ink to Ashes, and I can’t wait to get my mitts on a copy.  I’ll tell you a little about it later.

But first, if you’re new to damppebbles or you’ve not heard of #R3COMM3ND3D before, then allow me to explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D is a chance for bookish types to share the book love.  Three amazing books all published in the same year.  We’re currently working our way through 2018s recommendations but make sure you look out for #R3COMM3ND3D2019 which will start in November.

Without further ado, here are Russell’s 2018 picks…

stoned love.jpg

Stoned Love by Ian Patrick
I don’t like my heroes squeaky clean and Ian Patrick’s protagonist is anything but. Batford’s a dirty cop and a man wearing his welcome thin on both sides of the law; I love characters like that. Another factor in choosing this book was the authenticity of its voice. Ian Patrick’s an ex-cop with almost three decades of service under his belt. It shows in his writing, you don’t so much read his novels as experience them. I defy anyone to put this book down once they’ve opened it.

a dead american in paris.jpg

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Mysteries #2) by Seth Lynch
This novel’s set in Paris, in 1931, which makes it an odd choice for me to recommend. I generally like to read stories set in contemporary times. The trick Seth Lynch pulls off so well is building the setting around the reader so thoroughly that Europe between the wars feels like home. Not a happy home exactly, but you can’t have it all. Something about the tone of this book puts me in mind of J G Ballard’s novel High Rise; everything is familiar and alien at the same time. This is one of the most evocative books I’ve read this year.

chainsaw.jpg

Chainsaw by John Bender
Some books are meant to be read totally at face value. Chainsaw is one of them. It’s pure pulp from start to finish, proud and unashamed. Blood soaked, gore splattered and mad as a box of frogs, it follows the misadventures of two redneck scumbags and a stolen chainsaw. What you see is exactly what you get. You will love it or hate it; John Bender doesn’t write for the middle ground.

I love your choices, Russell.  I’ve read the first of Ian Patrick’s Sam Batford books and loved it. I have Seth Lynch’s Salazar books on my TBR and Chainsaw is going straight onto the wishlist!

If Russell has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books he recommends, please see the following links:

Stoned Love by Ian PatrickA Dead American in Paris by Seth LynchChainsaw by John Bender |

About Ink to Ashes:
ink to ashes.jpgDoc Slidesmith & Yakky return in a brand new adventure. Dago, president of The Handsome London Boys Motorcycle Club and one of Doc’s oldest friends, has died in an apparent accident. Before he can be laid to rest though, his wife makes an unusual request, one which Yakky fulfils with characteristic stoicism. The funeral is a particularly tense affair and it becomes clear to Doc that there’s more going on than initially meets the eye. All is clearly not well within the ranks of The Handsome London Boys and when Doc starts asking questions about the circumstances of Dago’s accident and the disappearance of a young pledger, he and Yakky find themselves being dragged into the secretive and potentially dangerous world of the ‘one-percenters’. Doc & Yakky need to tread very carefully if they’re going to ensure the truth is revealed, justice is served – and they both get out of this alive.

Fahrenheit Pressamazon.co.ukamazon.com |

About Russell Day:
Scruffy, hairy-arsed biker. I occasionally take time out from getting tattooed, eating curry and falling off motorcycles, to write crime fiction. Author of NEEDLE SONG and INK TO ASHES (both published by Fahrenheit Press). Winner of the 2018 Crime Writer’s Association Margery Allingham Short Story Competition.

Russell’s Social Media Links:
Twitter @rfdaze |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Rock Hard by Bill Todd (@williamjtodd) #DannyLancaster #RockHard #damppebbles @cobaltdinosaur

D4 - ROCK HARD - Cover

“When Danny Lancaster gets a call from an old friend it’s a chance to swap his troubles in Brighton for a sunshine reunion in Gibraltar. He hasn’t seen Pogo since Afghanistan. They have war stories to retell, beers to drink. But Pogo is broke, sick and in trouble. It started with smuggling cigarettes. Now his Russian boss has taken on a dangerous job for a mystery businessman. A priceless package must be smuggled into Europe across the narrow straits from Africa. But unseen eyes are watching, lives are in danger. A game of Russian roulette is just the start of a deadly clash where two continents meet. And Danny must make a decision. How far do you go to help the man who saved your life?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles today. Today I’m handing the blog over to my guest reviewer (that’s the husband for anyone who doesn’t know!) who is sharing his thoughts on the fourth book in the Danny Lancaster series, Rock Hard by Bill Todd. Make sure you join him again on Saturday when he’ll be reviewing book six, Godlefe’s Cuckoo.

Ryan’s Review:
So…Danny Lancaster eh! Heading off to Gibraltar to meet his troubled ex-Army friend? What could possibly go wrong?

As you’ve probably picked up from this week’s reviews Danny Lancaster is a bit of a trouble magnet, wherever he goes a degree of chaos seems to follow. So when Danny lands in Gibraltar, a tiny territory of 2.6 square miles, the locals should have been getting worried! Danny has gone to Gibraltar to help his old army mate Pogo, who has fallen on hard times since they served together in Afghan. He has gotten himself involved with some dirty business and wants Danny to help him get back on to the right side of the tracks.

Gibraltar was a great setting for this book, the small location added a suffocating tightness to the drama. Bill Todd moves on the story on at a fast pace and you are never sure where the author is leading his characters. Todd’s characters in this book are pitched just right for an action thriller that keeps rolling. No long self indulgent reflection but enough background shared to draw emotion and make the motivation clear. The crime bosses are kept slightly mysterious even when close to the action, pushing the rest of the gang in the right direction (or worse, if needed) but keeping themselves hidden enough from the reader that you make assumptions on what is going to happen next.

As the end of the book approached there were some twists which I will not disclose here to avoid spoiling future readers enjoyment. The ending was also a surprise and provided a sharp end to the book which some may feel was too sudden, whilst others may rush to the next in the series to find out what happens next.

Would I recommend the Danny Lancaster books? Yes, they are easy to read, fast moving and contain an easy to like lead character. Join me again on Saturday when I review Godlefe’s Cuckoo and find out if I enjoyed that one just as much….

Ryan chose to read and review a free copy of Rock Hard. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Rock Hard by Bill Todd was published in UK by DLE Fiction on 26th November 2013 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

The Danny Lancaster Blog Tour

about-the-author3

2017-12-20 15.50.35

Bill is a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. He loves a good wilderness. He received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

Bill has written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. He’s also written three short factual military histories. He lives to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram |

#BookReview: The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore @orionbooks #TheDarkRoom #damppebbles #15BooksofSummer (5/15)

the dark room.jpgThey thought they’d buried their secrets 
Homicide inspector Gavin Cain is standing by a grave when he gets the call. Cain knows there’s something terrible in the coffin they’re about to exhume. He and his team have received a dying man’s confession and it has led them here.

But death doesn’t guarantee silence
Cain is summoned by Mayor Castelli, who has been sent sinister photographs of a woman that he claims he doesn’t know and a note threatening that worse are on their way.

And now light will be shone on a very dark place…
As Cain tries to identify the woman in the pictures, and looks into the mayor’s past, he finds himself being drawn towards a situation as horrifying and as full of secrets as the grave itself.”

Welcome to damppebbles. I am delighted today to be sharing my review of The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore which I have selected as one of my #15BooksofSummer challenge reads.  The Dark Room was published by Orion Books on 27th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats. I received an eARC of The Dark Room but this has in no way influenced my review.

I read Jonathan Moore’s The Poison Artist back in 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was whilst sharing that review that a fellow book blogger, someone whose opinion I really respect, suggested I give The Dark Room a go.  Unfortunately, due to being the slowest of readers and having a burgeoning NetGalley TBR, I have only recently gotten around to it.  The Dark Room felt a little different to The Poison Artist in tone but is still a very enjoyable read.

Inspector Gavin Cain of the San Francisco Police Department is about to get some answers as he stands by the recently exhumed grave of a thirty-year-old corpse.  That is until his Lieutenant calls and orders him to the Mayor’s Office – she’s sending a chopper and there’s no time to waste.  Cain arrives, is introduced to Mayor Castelli and takes what seems like an instant dislike to the man.  The Mayor confides that he has received a number of potentially incriminating photographs in the post along with a threatening note.  These are the first four snaps.  There are another eight to come.  The note suggests that maybe the Mayor would like to commit suicide before the photographs fall into the wrong hands and he is exposed.  Castelli claims to not know who the woman is and wants Cain to discover her identity.  But the Mayor is hiding something and the further back into the Mayor’s past Cain digs, the more secrets he uncovers…

This is a slow burn, noirish thriller set in San Francisco.  The slow drip of information as you watch the case unfold and as Cain joins the dots makes it an enjoyable read.  Helped along by the wonderful setting and the fascinating characters.  And, having read this author before, I can safely say he likes to throw the odd shock twist into the story to give his readers a bit of a start.  Cain is an interesting chap and one I would happily read more of if this were a series (it’s not, it’s a standalone).  He’s a very experienced SFPD Inspector and takes no bull (not even from the Mayor or his Lieutenant).  I don’t feel the reader really gets to know him though.  You learn so much more about his partner, piano teacher Lucy, than you do about him.  Maybe he’s meant to be more of an enigma – after all, there’s only so far you can go with a character when they feature in only one book.  Other characters in the book are well drawn, particularly the Mayor’s daughter, Alexa, who drove me crazy.

The ending absolutely fitted the story and it was the right way for the author to go but I was left feeling a little disappointed.  I think that says more about me than the writing though.  I wanted something a little more showy, more of a BANG than what we’re given.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes.  It’s an absorbing police procedural which pulls you in from start to finish – you just HAVE to know how this one is going to end.  If you’re a fan of a slower paced crime read with a cast of intriguing characters then absolutely, you will enjoy this book.  Recommended.

I chose to read and review an eARC of The Dark Room.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore was published in the UK by Orion Books on 27th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepository | Goodreads |

15 books of summer

about-the-author3

jonathan-moore.jpgJonathan Moore is a Bram Stoker Award nominated author of five novels. His third novel, THE POISON ARTIST, was a selection of the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. His novels have been translated into seven languages.

Before graduating from law school in New Orleans, he lived in Taiwan for three years, guided whitewater raft trips on the Rio Grande, and worked as an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. He has also been an English teacher, a bar owner, a counsellor at a wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and a textbook writer.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website |

 

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Martin Gore (@LaughingGravy71) #TheBeardyBookBlogger #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends.  Welcome to the blog today and a very happy Monday!  Today I am delighted to share another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post with you and my guest today (always wanted to say that!) is the fabulous Martin Gore of The Beardy Book Blogger.  If you haven’t discovered Mart’s blog yet then I absolutely insist you do. I promise it will become a new favourite.

If you’ve never come across #R3COMM3ND3D2018 before then please let me explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D is a chance to share your love of three books published in a particular year.  At the moment, due to ill health at the end of last year, I am sharing recommendations from 2018.  However, #R3COMM3ND3D2019 will start on 1st November so if you already have three books in mind then pop your details, along with the books, on the form below.

Without further ado, here are Mart’s choices…

the darkness.jpg

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
Ragnar is a writer already known for his superb ‘Dark Iceland’ series of books featuring his young police detective Ari Thor Arason, published by Orenda Books. This book is the start of a new series (from a new publisher, Penguin), collectively known as ‘Hidden Iceland’ and features a new protagonist, Hulda Hermannsdottir, a detective at the end of her career and still struggling to break through the glass ceiling that, it appears, is still firmly in place in the Icelandic police service. This is the first in a trilogy of books that are told in reverse chronological order (unlike the Dark Iceland series that were intentionally released out of sequence in the UK), and this book hits you like a brick wall coming at you at 70mph! Hulda is a great creation, with Ragnar only hinting at things and events from her past that will be revealed in the coming books and will undoubtedly be different to what we will be expecting. He is a great storyteller and The Darkness will definitely leave you wanting more. ‘Nuff said.
https://beardybookblogger.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/the-darkness-ragnar-jonasson/

the seven deaths of evelyn hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Astoundingly this is the *debut* novel from Stu, and, boy oh boy, what a debut it is. This book is a superb body hopping murder mystery wrapped up in a time-travelling Agatha Christie cardigan. This is one book that is probably best experienced blind. I don’t mean you should close your eyes when reading it…oh, you know what I meant! Some people may come out of it even blinder than when they went in, but I found it to be so skilfully plotted and executed that at no time did I feel that I had lost my way – unlike our protagonist, poor old, or young, Aiden. If you like your murder mysteries to be of the classic ‘whodunnit’ type, but with a very modern, sci-fi twist, then this is definitely the book for you. But even if you don’t, give this book a try and you – probably* – won’t regret it 😉 *totes won’t
https://beardybookblogger.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/the-seven-deaths-of-evelyn-hardcastle/

death of a diva.jpg

Death Of A Diva (Limited Edition Hardback) by Derek Farrell
Ok, ok, I admit, I am cheating just a smidge with this one *cough*. [DP: very loud, very irritated SIGH]. DoaD was originally published in 2015, BUT, Fahrenheit Press published a shiny new hardback edition last year so, in my eyes, this qualifies it 😉 [DP: The same very loud, very irritated SIGH]. The reason why I’m so desperate to include this book here is simples: YOU HAVE TO READ THIS SERIES! Sorry to shout, but I LOVE THESE BOOKS! Sorry-not-sorry, again. This is the 1st in a series and it is truly brilliant. It follows the exploits of our hero Danny Bird, and his attempts to quietly get on with his life running the Marquess of Queensbury pub in South London whilst those around him, fate, local gangsters, ex-boyfriends, the police and pretty much everyone else, tries to do its best to spoil it for him. The books are peppered with truly memorable, eclectic and wonderful characters and Derek’s writing is wonderfully funny, sharp and moving. His characters remain believable even if the situations they often find themselves in most certainly are not. Go on, give them a go!
https://fahrenheit-press.myshopify.com/collections/limited-edition-hardbacks/products/derek-farrell-death-of-a-diva-limited-edition-hardback-1

Rules are rules, people! Anyway, I will remain calm and overlook this small infringement of the very clear, very easy to understand rules and commend you, Mart, on your excellent choices.

If Martin has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books he recommends, please see the following links:

| The Darkness by Ragnar JónassonThe Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart TurtonDeath of a Diva by Derek Farrell (Limited Edition Hardback) |

About Martin:
A beardy bloke just enjoying his books and wants everyone else to know it 😉

Martin’s Social Media Links:
The Beardy Book BloggerTwitter @LaughingGravy71 |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Paula Bardell-Hedley (@GaiaBird1) #BookJotter #damppebbles

Hello book fans! Welcome to the blog and to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 to round off the working week.  Today I am delighted to welcome Paula Bardell-Hedley to damppebbles.  Paula blogs over at Book Jotter so head on over and check it out.

If you’re new to damppebbles and you’re wondering what #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is all about then let me explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish types to share the book love.  Three titles you just have to shout about; any genre, any author, any publisher providing they were published in 2018.

So without further ado, here are Paula’s choices…

where the world ends.jpg

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean
A beautifully written YA novel with enormous crossover appeal!
https://bookjotter.com/2018/09/02/book-review-where-the-world-ends/

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Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn
A brilliantly crafted, often harrowing, powerfully intense novel that deserves to be read.
https://bookjotter.com/2018/01/04/book-review-walking-wounded/

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The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
A truly magnificent piece of writing!
https://bookjotter.com/2018/08/10/book-review-the-silence-of-the-girls/

Thanks for your choices, Paula. These are all new authors to me but those covers are all very striking!

If Paula has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughreanWalking Wounded by Sheila LlewellynThe Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker |

About Paula:
Blogger, theatre goer, nature lover and an avid reader of books.

Paula’s Social Media Links:
Book JotterTwitter @GaiaBird1Facebook Group |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about, then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada #MurderInTheCrookedHouse #damppebbles #15BooksofSummer (4/15)

murder in the crooked house“By the author of The Tokyo Zodiac Murders – a fiendish Japanese locked room mystery

The Crooked House sits on a snowbound cliff at the remote northern tip of Japan. A curious place to build a house, but even more curious is the house itself – a maze of sloping floors and strange staircases, full of bloodcurdling masks and uncanny dolls. When a guest is found murdered in seemingly impossible circumstances, the police are called. But they are unable to solve the puzzle, and more bizarre deaths follow.

Enter Kiyoshi Mitarai, the renowned sleuth. Surely if anyone can crack these cryptic murders it is him. But you have all the clues too – can you solve the mystery of the murders in The Crooked House first?”

Welcome to damppebbles and to my review of Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada.  Murder in the Crooked House was written by Soji Shimada and published in Japanese in 1982.  It has since been updated and this translation by Louise Heal Kawai into English was published earlier this year by Pushkin Vertigo.  I received a free eARC of Murder in the Crooked House but this has in no way influenced my review.

I have a bit of a thing for Japanese crime fiction.  There are two standout novels which I always recommend to people.  One of these is The Tokyo Zodiac Murders which is also by Soji Shimada (and also published in English by Pushkin Vertigo).  I LOVED The Tokyo Zodiac Murders which was also Shimada’s debut.  So you can imagine my excitement when I saw Murder in the Crooked House, another locked room mystery, was available on NetGalley.  This was a must-read for me.  So much so, I added it to my #15BooksofSummer list to make sure I got it read sooner rather than later.

I wanted so desperately to love this novel as much as The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.  I certainly enjoyed parts of it and it bears a number of similarities to Shimada’s debut.  But it didn’t captivate me like the first book did.  Once again, you, the reader, are invited to solve the crime.  The clues are all there.  But can you solve the mystery and most importantly HOW the crimes were committed before the somewhat inefficient local detectives do.

I have to confess that towards the last half to a third, I started to lose interest a little and began skim reading sections.  These sections mostly seemed to be the local detectives discussing ANOTHER way the murders ‘could’ have been committed or ANOTHER possible MO they had dreamt up for the house-bound group of suspects.  The story then switches when a familiar detective is brought in to stop the dilly-dallying and make some arrests, Kiyoshi Mitarai from The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.  What I found surprisingly hard at this point was switching from third person to first person.  The entire book is told in third person up until this point.  I struggled to get my head around the change.

Would I recommend this book? If you’re a fan of a complex mystery and like to play the part of the detective and you have time on your hands then yes, absolutely, I recommend this book to you.  I’m putting a lot of how I feel about this book down to bad timing.  I should have put it to one side and come back to it at another time when there was less going on in my life.  My love for The Tokyo Zodiac Murders remains strong.  If you are looking for a Japanese mystery to read then I completely and utterly recommend you read The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Murder in the Crooked House.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada (trans. Louise Heal Kawai) was published in the UK by Pushkin Vertigo on 31st January 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesGoodreads |

15 books of summer

about-the-author3

soji shimadaBorn in 1948 in Hiroshima prefecture, Soji Shimada has been dubbed the ‘God of Mystery’ by international audiences. A novelist, essayist and short-story writer, he made his literary debut in 1981 with The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, which was shortlisted for the Edogawa Rampo Prize. Blending classical detective fiction with grisly violence and elements of the occult, he has gone on to publish several highly acclaimed series of mystery fiction. He is the author of 100+ works in total. In 2009 Shimada received the prestigious Japan Mystery Literature Award in recognition of his life’s work.

 

 

#BookReview: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #TheGoodDaughter #damppebbles

the good daughter.jpg“The Good Daughter will have you hooked from the first page to the last, and will stay with you long after you have finished reading!

One ran. One stayed. But who is…the good daughter?

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s childhoods were destroyed by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – a notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family consumed by secrets from that shocking night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer. But when violence comes to their home town again, the case triggers memories she’s desperately tried to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family won’t stay buried for ever…”

Welcome bookish friends to damppebbles and to my review of The Good Daughter by hugely popular author, Karin Slaughter.  The Good Daughter was published on 3rd May 2018 and has been lingering on my NetGalley shelf for far too long.  I received a free eARC of this book but that has in no way influenced my review.

Yes, yes, yes, I’m absolutely kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to read this book.  I used to read everything by Karin Slaughter like my life depended on it but I have to confess I haven’t picked up one of her books for a little while now.  I still remember parts of her book Blindsighted, the first book in the Grant County series, so vividly.  I think I was expecting something similar when I made a start on The Good Daughter but how wrong could I have been?! This felt like it was written by a completely different author to the Grant County or Will Trent novels.  I’ve always enjoyed Slaughter’s work.  The Good Daughter I absolutely loved.

Charlotte and Samantha Quinn are used to trouble.  Their father, Rusty, is the local defence lawyer and his reputation proceeds him.  But not in a good way.  Rusty is the reason some of the worst lowlifes in Pikeville, Georgia walk free.  So the family are often on the receiving end of angry, bitter abuse.  One day their lives turn upside down when two masked gunmen enter their home.  Rusty is at the office so the girl’s mother, Harriet, tries to calm the situation down and protect her daughters.  But the unthinkable happens and Harriet is killed in cold blood.  Her young daughters bearing witness to the tragedy.  The gunmen are forced to rethink their plans.  After all, there can be no witnesses – and now the girls must die too.  But Charlotte manages to escape.  Samantha, unfortunately, isn’t so lucky.  Now, 28 years later, Charlotte is a lawyer just like her father with problems of her own.  She unwittingly becomes involved in a terrifying school shooting which leaves the head teacher and a young girl dead.  The incident brings horrific memories of her own flooding back because the truth can’t be buried forever…

This book really is something quite special.  I was completely emotionally involved with it from start to finish and savoured every single word of The Good Daughter.  I didn’t want it to end and could have happily read another 500 pages or so.  There are so many brilliant moments within the story; young Charlotte’s palpable fear and indecision when the moment to escape comes – leaving her older sister to certain death, the wonderful twist fairly early on in the book that you just don’t see coming, the relationship between Charlotte and her father, when Lenore, Rusty’s secretary’s, story is revealed to the reader.  So many fantastic little touches that when added together make something truly magnificent.  It’s also very dark with a number of terrifying and upsetting scenes.

Would I recommend this book? I most certainly would.  It does include some very harrowing and disturbing scenes which involve a young Charlotte and her attackers.  I don’t want to give any spoilers away but it’s important you know that these scenes are distressing.  I fell in love with so many of the characters in The Good Daughter and I still, after having read this book a few months ago now, remember them vividly.  A book which will stay with me for a long time to come and will most likely feature in my top ten books of the year list.  Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review an eARC of The Good Daughter.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter was published in the UK by Harper Collins and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepositoryGoodreads |

about-the-author3

karin slaughter.jpgKarin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 37 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her novels Cop TownThe Good Daughterand Pieces of Her are all in development for film and television.

Author Links:FacebookInstagramTwitterWebsite |

Author photo and bio © https://www.karinslaughter.com/