My February Reads

What a wonderful booky month it’s been for me (and my first full month as a fully fledged blogger). I’m already rather addicted to this blogging malarkey and have to keep reminding myself that I can’t read ALL the time….can I?

51CjTamKd8L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I started February by reading Follow Me by Angela Clarke.  A fast paced serial killer thriller investigated by two old school pals – one now a detective, the other a journalist.  A killer is using social media to taunt the police.  I enjoyed Follow Me and gave it four and a half stars out of five.

 

Keeping with the ‘follow’ theme I then moved onto Follow You Home by Mark 24833801Edwards. A  chilling story about a couple taking a trip of a lifetime to Europe before settling down.  As with all good psychological thrillers, things don’t go quite as planned.  I gave this book four stars out of five and look forward to reading more from Mark soon.

 

N518PJZuIj8L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_ext up was Dust and Desire by Conrad Williams which introduced me to my new favourite PI, Joel Sorrell.  Not only is this book full of action but it’s also quite witty, which I found refreshing.  Looking forward to the next Joel Sorrell adventure so please don’t leave me waiting too long Mr Williams.  Five out of five stars.

 

My second NetGalley read of the month was The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft. 41eYy9hJGzL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Simone and Matt’s 6 month old daughter, Helena, is snatched whilst in the care of her grandmother.  Helena is never found but one day Grace appears in Simone’s life.  Who is Grace and what does she know about the missing Helena?  Four out of five stars.

 

I 51wcWEzFGQL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_decided that I needed some familiarity at that point so turned to a well known and much loved series, DI Sean Corrigan.  I read the 4th book in the series The Jackdaw by Luke Delaney which I enjoyed.  It’s a series that keeps getting better and better, but I still don’t like Sean (sorry Luke Delaney!).  Four out of five stars.

 

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama was my third NetGalley read of the month.  I love 513QdLqfCxL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_Japanese crime fiction so jumped at the chance to review this.  There are 600+ pages to this book and it is a bit slow going at times.  That said, the story was a good one and I gave it three out of five stars.  Due for publication in the UK on 3rd March.

 

I41461a-upyL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ volunteered to read Beyond Evidence by Emma L Clapperton as part of THE Book Club on Facebook.  It’s not my usual cup of tea (a medium assists the police in their hunt for a serial killer) but it was a good read and I would recommend to fans of the paranormal.  I gave this book three out of five stars.

 

51RYjWh+EWL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris is receiving a lot of hype at the moment and it deserves every inch of praise.  It’s fantastic.  Turns out the perfect couple might not be so perfect after all.  This book is very creepy and at times it made my skin crawl.  I still haven’t forgiven the postman!  Five out of five stars.

 

Hex-by-Thomas-Olde-Heuvelt-CoverHEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a book I still want to read!  I had seen this advertised and was quite desperate for it.  I have a request in with the publishers on NetGalley but I was able to find the first 10 chapters so instead of waiting for the whole thing, I made a start there and then!  A wonderful horror novel which I am desperate to get my paws on.  Four out of five stars for the first 10 chapters.

 

51YUfeWBcfL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_And this is my current read, Little Boy Blue by M J Arlidge which I am enjoying as much as all of the previous Helen Grace novels.  I love Helen Grace and I was thrilled to be approved to review this via NetGalley.  My review will be published as soon as I have finished.  Little Boy Blue will be published in the UK on 10th March 2016.

 

So there you have it, my 8 and a half reads of February.  I hope to expand the blog a little over the next few months; maybe become involved in a blog tour or do an author Q&A.  If you’re a fellow blogger I would appreciate any advice on how I go about doing this (as I’m quite clueless really!).

Happy reading everyone.

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HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

51M2je1i7yL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_“Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.

The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiralling into a dark nightmare.”

This will be a short review as I have only read the first ten chapters of this book, which is available to all NetGalley members without the need for approval.  I have requested the full book but I’m still waiting on the publishers.  I guess I could have waited for the whole novel but I was rather keen on this one so decided to plough on in.

So I’m sure you’re thinking, this doesn’t look very much like a crime thriller novel; Emma’s usual fare.  And you’d be right.  This book falls into the horror genre which I like to dabble in every so often.

It’s creepy, you have a sense of foreboding throughout and Katherine gives me the heebie jeebies, but you would expect that seeing as she is a seventeenth century witch who appears in Black Spring homes without warning.  She also has her mouth and eyes sewn shut so not much of a looker either!

The book was originally written in Dutch and I believe that it has been snapped up by Warner Bros. who are adapting the story into a TV series (one I will not be watching as I’m sure it will be far too scary for me!).

So how do you rate only 10 chapters of a book?  I can see the story progressing well and the characters developing.  It has the potential to be terrifying and I think I will really enjoy this book once I get my hands on the entire thing.

Four out of five stars.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with the first ten chapters of Hex in exchange for an honest review.

Hex-by-Thomas-Olde-Heuvelt-Cover.gif

Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

51RYjWh+EWL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_“Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.”

This book is receiving a lot of interest at the moment.  Lots of brilliant reviews and hype attached to it which, for me, can be a little off putting.  I never seem to enjoy hyped up books as much as I’m led to believe I will.  This is certainly not the case with this brilliant piece of fiction.  What an amazing, chilling read this is.  The sense of foreboding I had a few chapters in was giving me goosebumps.  Seriously scary stuff.

Grace and Jack Angel are perfect in every way.  Their home is exquisite, their holidays to Thailand are the stuff dreams are made of and their friends are envious.  However, appearances can be very deceptive and not everything is as it seems.

The story is told from Grace’s perspective and I was on her side from the moment I met the couple.  I don’t want to give anything away but you could tell that something quite horrible was going to happen to her and her beautifully written sister, Millie.

At times during this book my skin was crawling.  There I was, sat reading in my lounge. The house was silent and my little one was napping upstairs. All of a sudden the postman delivered the mail and I jumped out of my skin!  My heartbeat is still a little irregular now and that was an hour or so ago.  That’s how engrossed in the story I was.

I love this book.  I’m finding it very hard to say much else as everything I type gives something of the plot away and I would much rather you read it for yourself.

Do whatever you can to get a copy of this book.  It’s one that you just can’t miss.

Five out of five stars.

Amazon UK | Amazon

 

 

Beyond Evidence by Emma L Clapperton

41461a-upyL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_“In an alley way of the back streets of Glasgow there lies a decomposing corpse of a slain female baking in the midday heat. No one has found her yet, but medium Patrick McLaughlin knows she is there. It is not the first time he has dreamt of death… and he soon finds out that it is not to be the last.

Meanwhile, the local police start to request DNA samples from twenty something men in the bustling city of Glasgow where several bizarre murders have taken place.

Through a hunch and in the belief that the terrifying dreams hold the key to the identity of the murderer, Patrick works alongside the police to track down the predator before they can strike again.

The nightmares do not ease up and begin to tear at Patricks sanity and in the midst of the investigation, at what cost would Patrick have to pay to stop the killer striking again?
His friends?
His family?
His life?”

Ghosts. Pah! No such thing, right?  Well that’s my standpoint anyway.  I am a sceptic. However when I read the blurb of this book I thought “why not?  I’m an open-minded kinda girl”.  And who doesn’t love a serial killer thriller?  I’m glad I did because I enjoyed this book and have the utmost respect for Emma L Clapperton as a self published author.

There is a serial killer loose in Glasgow.  The number of murdered young women is on the rise and strange things are happening to bar worker Patrick.  Patrick is psychic.  The love of his life, Jodie, is also a psychic but when the spirits of the dead woman start communicating with the couple things start getting scary.

It’s a race against time to catch the killer before Jodie becomes one of his victims.  There are twists and turns to keep you hooked.  I enjoyed the writing style and warmed to Patrick quite early on.  I kept wanting to pick the book up to read it and that in my opinion is always the sign of a good story.

This is the first novel in the Patrick McLaughlin series and I will be adding book two to my TBR soon.

Three out of five stars.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Emma L Clapperton and the THE Book Club for the opportunity to read it.

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

“SIX FO513QdLqfCxL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_UR.
THE NIGHTMARE NO PARENT COULD ENDURE.
THE CASE NO DETECTIVE COULD SOLVE.
THE TWIST NO READER COULD PREDICT.

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as ‘Six Four’. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.

For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.”

The first thing I need to say about this book is that it’s a slow burn….but it’s worth it.  To build the story and to set the scene the author has given us a lesson in Japanese police procedure and the politics therein.  And fascinating it is, but there is an awful lot of it.  Once I started the book and realised there were over 600 pages I did feel a little daunted but I LOVE Japanese crime fiction so wanted to persevere.

The story is very clever and the twist is unexpected.  There were certainly several heart pounding moments which had me willing Mikami on.

The only downside I would raise is that the majority of the main characters in the book all have very similar names and I found it quite difficult at times to differentiate between them.  I understand why this was done but found it quite confusing as I progressed through the story.

If you’re looking for an epic read then this could be the one.

Three out of five stars.

Thanks to Quercus and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Jackdaw by Luke Delaney

51wcWEzFGQL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Guilty or not guilty?

A lone vigilante is abducting wealthy Londoners and putting their fate in the hands of the public. Within hours of disappearing, the victims appear on the internet, bound to a chair in a white room.

Revenge or mercy?

Their crimes of greed and incompetence are broadcast to the watching thousands who make up the jury. Once the verdict is cast, the man who calls himself ‘The Jackdaw’ will be judge and executioner.

Live or die?

DI Sean Corrigan and his Special Investigations Unit are under pressure to solve this case fast. But as The Jackdaw’s popularity grows, Corrigan realizes he’s hunting a dangerously clever and elusive adversary – one who won’t stop until his mission is complete.”

DI Sean Corrigan is a marmite character.  This is the fourth book of the series (I have read and enjoyed all three previous outings) and I’m afraid I still don’t like the guy!  However, I think that is exactly what Luke Delaney wants to achieve.  I expect you’re asking yourself why I keep on with this series when I don’t like the lead character.  Well, it’s because they are brilliant!

Thanks mainly to a traumatic childhood, Sean is able to identify with the psychopaths and sociopaths he now hunts.  He has a unique ability to see crime scenes through the perpetrator’s eyes.  A gift or a curse?

High flying financiers become the target of his latest nemesis…The Jackdaw.  The Jackdaw abducts his victims, takes them to a purpose-built room and puts them on trial via a video streaming website.  Will the public click guilty or not guilty?

I had no idea who the ‘bad guy’ was until the reveal and oh my, it’s a clever one.  I loved the drama and the build up to the conclusion.  Real nail biting stuff.  Oh, and I love Dave Donnelly.  There’s a chap you would want on your side!

A series which gets better with each new release.  Four out of five stars.

 

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft

41eYy9hJGzL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_“Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them.

Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her?

When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her daughter and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts.

Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory.

Simone lost her baby. Will she lose her life trying to find her?”

What a wonderfully sinister and dark feel this book has about it.  I was instantly drawn into Simone and Matt’s story, feeling their grief at losing their daughter.

On a normal day 18 years previous, doting grandmother Miriam takes her 6 month old granddaughter, Helena out for a walk.  Little do her thankful parents know that whilst they have some quality ‘grown-up time’ together, their baby daughter is being stolen from them.

The consequences of this are obviously devastating for all involved.  Simone vows to never give up the search for her daughter, despite the failed efforts of trained police and a private detective.

Then Grace appears and everything changes for Simone and Matt.  Can they trust her?  Can they trust anyone?

From there Simone is unwillingly dragged into a dark and dangerous world, all in the hope of finding out something (anything!) about Helena’s disappearance.  And of course, Grace’s connection to her.

Full of twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.  It isn’t until the very end of the book that you get to see the full extent of the lies and secrets.  And oh boy, what a secret it is!

Four out of five stars.

Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and Kathryn Croft for allowing me to have a copy of The Girl You Lost for review.

Dust and Desire by Conrad Williams

518PJZuIj8L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_“AN EXTRAORDINARY KILLER HAS ARRIVED IN LONDON, HELL-BENT ON DESTRUCTION

Joel Sorrell, a bruised, bad-mouthed PI, is a sucker for missing person cases. And not just because he’s searching for his daughter, who vanished five years after his wife was murdered. Joel feels a kinship with the desperate and the damned. He feels, somehow, responsible. So when the mysterious Kara Geenan begs him to find her missing brother, Joel agrees. Then an attempt is made on his life, and Kara vanishes… A vicious serial killer is on the hunt, and as those close to Joel are sucked into his nightmare, he suspects that answers may lie in his own hellish past.”

I want to start this review by thanking my husband who (as part of my Christmas gift) gave me this book and introduced me to Joel Sorrell.  A million thank yous Ryan as I LOVED this novel.  You know me so well!

I was a little sceptical to begin with as I found out that Conrad Williams is known for his fantasy writing and the very last genre I will touch with a 10 foot barge pole is fantasy (sorry fantasy fans but that’s just the way it is).  However, Williams is a master of the written word so please accept my humble apologies for doubting you.

This is the first Joel Sorrell book of the series and wow, it’s started with a bang.  I believe this book was originally published with the title ‘Blonde on a Stick’.

Sorrell is a PI who trained as a police officer but decided he wasn’t cut out for the politics and red tape of the profession, deciding to go it alone like most other superheroes. Sorrell’s number one weapons are his wit and dark humour, which I found refreshing as it’s not often that you get the chance for a giggle while the bodies are being sliced up (having read that back it does sound a bit wrong, but you know what I mean….I hope!).

He answers a call for help from a woman trying to find her missing brother.  Nice and simple huh?  No, not really.  That’s when the bodies start piling up and the chase begins.

Gripping and full of action from the opening chapters to the end.  Life was pretty much put on hold whilst I read this book.  I couldn’t wait to find some quiet time and pick up from where I left off.

Very much looking forward to the next Joel Sorrell adventure.

Five out of five stars.

 

 

 

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

24833801“It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down. But after a perfect start, an encounter with a young couple on a night train forces Daniel and Laura to cut their dream trip short and flee home.

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what happened that night. But as they try to fit into their old lives again, they realise they are in terrible danger—and that their nightmare is just beginning…”

Another blinder from Mark Edwards.  I read The Magpies last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Edwards has hit the mark again with another ‘bad things happening to good people’ psychological thriller.  I read this book in two days and found it very hard to put down (bah! who needs sleep?).

There are so many things happening in this book and you don’t realise how entwined they are until the very end.

The action revolves around a middle class couple, Daniel and Laura, who decide to tour Europe before settling down and starting a family.  I instantly liked Daniel but found Laura harder to warm to.

Something ghastly happens to them in deepest darkest Romania but instead of calling in the international police, they decide to keep quiet.  Thanks to this very bad decision frightening inexplicable things start happening; not only to them but to their friends and associates too.

Only at the end of the book do you discover how far the lies and secrets have gone. A very gripping page turner which, if you like psychological thrillers (and who doesn’t?!), you will enjoy.

Four out of five stars.

 

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

51CjTamKd8L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

“LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …”

What a fantastic year this is turning out to be!  Another wonderful book found it’s way onto my Kindle – what a story.

On the surface this book is about the hunt for a serial killer but I thought it was much more than that.  It’s about friendship and the friends we have lost along the way.  It made me think of my school age bestie who I haven’t seen for years and that’s the whole point of books isn’t it?  To make you feel and to make you think.

Flighty, fun filled Freddie bumps into old school BFF Nasreen who is a straight-laced driven detective in the police force.  Freddie desperately wants the magic of their friendship to return whilst Nas just wants to get on with the job and lose touch with Freddie once again.  A secret bonds the two of them together, something they did during their teens.

And of course we have the hunt for a twisted evil serial killer who uses the internet and Twitter especially, to draw attention to their heinous crimes.  It made me sad to think that we are more inclined to be looking down at our phones rather than where we are going!  Very scary stuff indeed.

I didn’t see the whodunit coming (well, maybe it crossed my mind at one point but Clarke did an outstanding job of convincing me otherwise).  Towards the end I was biting my nails without even realising I was doing it.  A brilliant fast paced debut crime novel and I can’t wait to read the next instalment.

Four and a half stars out of five.