#BookReview: Exiles by Jane Harper @panmacmillan #Exiles #damppebbles

“A mother disappears from a busy festival on a warm spring night.

Her baby lies alone in the pram, her mother’s possessions surrounding her, waiting for a return which never comes.

A year later, Kim Gillespie’s absence still casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather to welcome a new addition to the family.

Joining the celebrations on a rare break from work is federal investigator Aaron Falk, who begins to suspect that all is not as it seems.

As he looks into Kim’s case, long-held secrets and resentments begin to come to the fore, secrets that show that her community is not as close as it appears.

Falk will have to tread carefully if he is to expose the dark fractures at its heart, but sometimes it takes an outsider to get to the truth. . .

An outstanding novel, a brilliant mystery and a heart-pounding read from the author of The DryForce of NatureThe Lost Man and The Survivors.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Exiles by Jane Harper. Exiles was published yesterday (that’s Thursday 2nd February 2023) by Macmillan and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow. I chose to read a free eARC of Exiles but that has in no way influenced my review.

I am the BIGGEST fan of Australian crime fiction. If you’re a regular visitor to the blog then that may not come as much of a surprise to you. I try to prioritise Aussie crime fiction above everything else and read as much as humanly possible, because it’s become a bit of a passion (obsession?!) for me. What started me on my journey, waaaay back in 2017, was picking up a copy of The Dry, the first book in the Aaron Falk series by Jane Harper. From there on in, I was officially hooked. Harper’s latest release is the long awaited third book in the superb Aaron Falk series. I had been so looking forward to meeting up with Falk again that I felt a little apprehensive starting Exiles. But there was no need to worry. Exiles is literary perfection from start to finish and I loved every single moment I spent in the Marralee Valley.

Kim Gillespie tragically disappeared on the opening night of the Marralee Valley Annual Food and Wine Festival, leaving her young baby, Zoe, alone and unattended in her pram. Now, one year later, and with the shadow of Kim’s disappearance still hanging over the small community, Aaron Falk has arrived in the Valley to join Kim’s friends and family as they welcome a new addition to the family. Falk has finally managed to get a much deserved break from the AFP’s Financial Division but despite being on leave, his interest is piqued by Kim’s story.  The more he digs into what happened that day, the more confusing things become. Witness statements are muddled, sightings don’t quite ring true and those closest to Kim aren’t telling the whole truth. It’s down to Falk to peel back the layers of this small community and discover the secrets they’re desperate to keep hidden…

Exiles is an utterly compelling, completely engrossing mystery which delivers on every count. Harper creates the most beautifully drawn, believable characters who are thoroughly engaging and pull the reader into their world. You live each and every moment alongside them and for a fan of character-driven novels (that’s me!), it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. Add to the superb characterisation the compelling mystery which has you questioning everyone you meet along the way, plus Harper’s incredibly vivid, almost dreamy setting and you have a top notch mystery novel from the Queen of rural Australian crime. It was such a joy to be reunited with Falk again after the previous two books. There’s something so eminently likable about him and I enjoyed seeing him in a much more relaxed environment. This is the third and final book in this trilogy and the author has ended Falk’s journey on the most perfect note. A very satisfying conclusion to a must-read set of books.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I would definitely recommend Exiles plus the earlier books in the series – The Dry and Force of Nature (not forgetting the two standalone non-Falk novels – The Lost Man and The Survivors, which are also excellent) to all mystery fans. Harper’s writing is exquisite, her characters are a masterpiece and the way she tells a story is captivating from the first word to the last. The mystery unfolds at a gentle pace, tension building throughout the book until you reach the startling conclusion. A highly entertaining, thoroughly immersive read which I devoured with utter glee. Jane Harper remains one of my favourite authors and if you haven’t discovered her books yet then I urge you to change that as soon as you can. Perfection on a page! Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Exiles. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Exiles by Jane Harper was published in the UK by Macmillan on 2nd February 2023 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Jane Harper is the international bestselling author of The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man.

Jane is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, and has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year.

Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with The Dry in production as a major motion picture starring Eric Bana.
Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

#BookReview: Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza #DevilsWay #damppebbles

“THE TRUTH HIDES IN THE DARK

When Private Investigator Kate Marshall is rushed to hospital after being pulled into a riptide current in the sea, the near-death experience leaves her shaken. During her recovery, she befriends Jean, an elderly lady on the same ward. Jean tells the harrowing story of how her three-year-old grandson, Charlie, went missing eleven years ago during a camping trip on Dartmoor.

By the time Kate is well enough to go home, she’s agreed to take on the case, but when Kate and her trusty sidekick Tristan start to look at the events of that fateful night, they discover that Jean has a dark past that could have put Charlie in jeopardy.

Was Charlie abducted? Or did he fall into Devil’s Way? A rushing river that vanishes into a gorge close to where they were camping.

When Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns about Jean and her daughter was found brutally murdered shortly after Charlie vanished, it makes them question everything they thought they knew about the family…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza. Devil’s Way is the fourth book in the Kate Marshall Thriller Series, is published by Raven Street Publishing today (that’s Thursday 12th January 2023) and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read a free ARC of Devil’s Way but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to the team at Raven Street Publishing for sending me a finished copy.

I am a HUGE fan of Robert Bryndza’s writing and his Erika Foster series. I have a full-blown girl crush on Erika, and the arrival of the seventh book after a small wait was one of the highlights of my year in 2022. However, and I am hanging my head in utter shame here, until recently I hadn’t had an opportunity to pick up any of Bryndza’s Kate Marshall novels. I know. Fan girl fail of epic proportions, right? But I have now righted that wrong, phew. Devil’s Way was my introduction to Kate and Tristan and I loved every single second of it.

Recovering in hospital from a riptide which nearly killed her, Kate Marshall starts to chat to Jean, the elderly woman in the next bed. Jean shares a heart breaking tale of a family holiday gone horribly wrong. Camping on the moors one evening with her daughter, her daughter’s partner and their young son, Jean, who was sharing a tent with young Charlie, became distracted for a few moments allowing Charlie to disappear. Eleven years later and Charlie is still missing. The devastation caused in that one moment tore the family apart and still consumes Jean’s thoughts. Realising Kate is a private detective Jean asks her to investigate Charlie’s disappearance. Still recovering from nearly drowning, Kate agrees. As Kate and Tristan start to investigate it becomes clear that Jean has a dark past. Could she be the reason Charlie vanished? Or did Devil’s Way, a fast flowing river near to where they were camping, wash Charlie away…?

Devil’s Way is a skilfully written, immersive, slow burn mystery which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was my first introduction to the character of Kate Marshall and it’s safe to say, I cannot wait to be reunited with her. So much so, I now have all three earlier books on the TBR waiting for me. I will be interested to see if Kate’s traumatic past, which is referred to in Devil’s Way a couple of times, is covered in depth in one of the earlier books. I am so intrigued and I want to know everything that’s happened to this woman! What I will say, being a crime fiction reader and having an unspoken rule about not starting a series part-way through (normally!), I found this book so easy and straight forward to dive into, not knowing anything that’s happened to these characters before. Often, when starting a series part-way through, I feel quite lost. Events are referred to that you know nothing about. Relationships are discussed and it can get confusing. Who? What? Where? Huh? That was definitely not the case here. This is the most standalone-part-of-a-series novel I can remember reading. Ever. It’s incredibly well done and I commend the author on making it easy for the reader to pick up and just enjoy. If you haven’t read this series before then please don’t worry. Devil’s Way works incredibly well as a standalone. But I guarantee you’ll be doing the same as me and adding the first three books to your TBR when you reach the end!

Eleven years is a long time. Evidence gets lost. Memories change, sometimes changing altogether and witnesses are no longer around to talk to. Kate and her assistant, Tristan, struggle to make head way on the case. Not helped by Kate’s slow recovery following her near drowning. I was completely immersed in the lives of the characters and the investigation as a whole. As each stone was unturned, I became more gripped. The book is beautifully paced keeping the reader fully within the pages of the story, desperate to discover what happened to Charlie. As it’s a cold case, it does move at a more sedate pace in parts, but for me, I love that gradual unravelling which the author has done so well here. And of course, being a Robert Bryndza novel, there are perfectly placed moments of high tension which had me holding my breath. Marvellous stuff!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I loved Devil’s Way and I cannot wait to read the first three books in the series as soon as humanly possible. This is such a well-written mystery with superb characterisation and the most breath-taking setting which the author brings to life with ease. I loved everything about Devil’s Way and will be recommending it to everyone. Yes, it’s the fourth book in the series but it absolutely DOES work without having read the others. Robert Bryndza remains one of my favourite authors and I’m very excited about the author’s first standalone psychological thriller, Fear the Silence, which is hitting bookshelves this Summer! All in all, an eminently readable, thoroughly enjoyable, completely gripping and atmospheric cold case investigation featuring a new favourite character. Nice to have a private detective at the helm for a refreshing change of scene. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza was published in the UK by Raven Street Publishing on 12th January 2023 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook DepositoryGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Robert Bryndza is best known for his page-turning crime and thriller novels, which have sold over five million copies. His crime debut, The Girl in the Ice was released in February 2016, introducing Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Within five months it sold one million copies, reaching number one in the Amazon UK, USA and Australian charts. To date, The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1.5 million copies in the English language and has been sold into translation in 29 countries. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller (2016), the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle in France (2018), and it won two reader voted awards, The Thrillzone Awards best debut thriller in The Netherlands (2018) and The Dead Good Papercut Award for best page turner at the Harrogate Crime Festival (2016).

Robert has released a further five novels in the Erika Foster series, The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets, all of which have been global bestsellers, and in 2017 Last Breath was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Mystery and Thriller. Fatal Witness, the seventh Erika Foster novel, has just been published.

Most recently, Robert created a new crime thriller series based around the central character Kate Marshall, a police officer turned private detective. The first book, Nine Elms, was an Amazon USA #1 bestseller and an Amazon UK top five bestseller, and the series has been sold into translation in 18 countries. The second book in the series is the global bestselling, Shadow Sands and the third book is, Darkness Falls.

Robert was born in Lowestoft, on the east coast of England. He studied at Aberystwyth University, and the Guildford School of Acting, and was an actor for several years, but didn’t find success until he took a play he’d written to the Edinburgh Festival. This led to the decision to change career and start writing. He self-published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels, before switching to writing crime. Robert lives with his husband in Slovakia, and is lucky enough to write full-time.

#BookReview: Dead Man’s Creek by Chris Hammer @Wildfirebks #DeadMansCreek #damppebbles

“Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her hometown, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a ‘file and forget’.

But this is no ordinary cold case, her arrival provoking an unwelcome and threatening response from the small-town community. As more bodies are discovered, and she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her, Nell realises that finding the truth could prove more difficult – and dangerous – than she’d ever expected.

The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more treacherous her path becomes. Can she survive to root out the truth, and what price will she have to pay for it?

Gripping and atmospheric, Dead Man’s Creek is a stunning multi-layered thriller from Chris Hammer, the award-winning author of Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year Scrublands (2019) and Times Crime Book of the Month Opal Country (January 2022).”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Dead Man’s Creek by Chris Hammer. Dead Man’s Creek is published by Wildfire Books today (that’s Thursday 5th January 2023) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow in the Summer. I chose to read and review a free ARC of Dead Man’s Creek but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Caitlin at Wildfire Books for sending me a finished copy.

I am a huge fan of Australian crime fiction and Chris Hammer has rapidly become a favourite author of mine. So when I heard a new book was on the horizon I, of course, jumped at the chance to read it. Something you can always guarantee with a book by this author is that the story will be intelligent, beautifully plotted and gripping to the end, the setting will be vivid and by the conclusion you will believe the characters are living, breathing people. What more could a reader ask for?

Newly promoted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns with senior Detective Ivan Lucic to her hometown to investigate what appears to be a cold case. Nell finds it difficult to understand the rationale for their involvement in Tulong. They are homicide detectives after all and the bones that have been unearthed appear to be decades old. It’s hardly the exciting first case she was hoping for! However, Nell’s connection to the area and her knowledge of those that live there means she’s able to access information that otherwise wouldn’t be so forthcoming. As Nell digs into what happened to the body buried under the dam in the Murray River, startling new information comes to light about the past and present, putting Nell in increasing danger. Because for Nell Buchanan, this investigation is very close to home…

Dead Man’s Creek is a riveting and intricate crime novel that’s both beautifully plotted and totally immersive. The reader can’t help but be pulled into the book by the author’s skilful storytelling and once you’re in, there’s no way you’re going to want to leave. Everything about Dead Man’s Creek is pitched perfectly. The characters are multi-layered and fascinating from start to finish. Over the course of the two books featuring Nell Buchanan I have really warmed to her character. As said in my opening paragraph, these characters – and Nell in particular – feel very real to me. The reader really gets to know the bones of her in this novel as the story is set both in the past and the present, revolving to a large degree around the Waters/Buchanan family. Because of this there are a quite a few supporting characters to get your head around and relationships to remember. But I found I was soon able to bring to mind the relationship between characters and a brief backstory. But Nell ultimately shines through with her dogged determination to get the case solved and uncover any previous wrongdoing. No matter what the cost…

The story is set in both the past and the present and I really appreciated the information the author provides about Australia’s part in the Second World War. It was fascinating to read about the impact of conflict on the country, something I’m ashamed to say I know nothing about. The book is well paced and draws the reader in, keeping you glued to the pages (all 469 of them!). If the thought of a longer novel is something you find daunting then believe me when I say it’s well worth investing in Dead Man’s Creek. It’s a compelling, tense and immersive read which flew by in the blink of eye.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Dead Man’s Creek is a superb follow up to Opal County, Nell and Ivan Lucic’s first adventure. Dead Man’s Creek stands perfectly well on its own so there’s no need to read Opal Country first but I heartily recommend both books. Why not pick up both and really get to know Ivan and Nell? Add in the Martin Scarsden series too which starts with Scrublands. I am always impressed with how incredibly vivid the author’s settings are. They’re a living, breathing part of the storyline alongside the very lifelike characters.  Chris Hammer is a favourite author of mine for good reason. A superb sense of place, totally believable characters and a plot that won’t let you go until you’ve read the final word. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Dead Man’s Creek. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Dead Man’s Creek by Chris Hammer was published in the UK by Wildfire Books on 5th January 2023 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Chris Hammer was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. For many years he was a roving foreign correspondent for SBS TV’s flagship current affairs program Dateline. He has reported from more than 30 countries on six continents. In Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, current affairs correspondent for SBS TV and a senior political journalist for The Age.

His first book, The River, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award and the Manning Clark House National Cultural Award.

Chris has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in international relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra with his wife, Dr Tomoko Akami. The couple have two children.

#BookReview: The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard @CorvusBooks @CapitalCrime1 #TheNothingMan #damppebbles

I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man.
Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…

You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man.

The more Jim reads, the more he realises how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard. The Nothing Man was published by Corvus Books on 6th May 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. My copy of The Nothing Man arrived at damppebbles HQ thanks to the brilliant Capital Crime Book Club which I heartily recommend to all crime fiction fans!

Eve Black was the sole survivor of The Nothing Man, a prolific serial killer wreaking havoc in Cork at the turn of the Millennium. Now she’s written a tell-all book about her experience. It’s an instant bestseller and propels both Eve and The Nothing Man back into the spotlight nearly nineteen years after his terror filled reign. Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle happens upon the book one shift and instantly his world is  turned upside down. Because Jim knows everything there is to know about The Nothing Man. Jim IS The Nothing Man. He becomes obsessed with the book and with Eve. Grasping every opportunity he can to sneak a few more chapters. What is clear to aging Jim is that Eve is getting closer to unmasking him. Which can mean only one thing. She must be stopped…

Oh my goodness, I loved The Nothing Man! This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I swear I’ll be reading everything Ryan Howard has written as soon as humanly possible. I loved the story, which was very compelling, I loved the writing style, I even loved how it was formatted and presented to the reader. It’s a book within a book, which you can’t really go wrong with in my opinion! The Nothing Man is a highly original, unnerving, creepy read which I read over the course of one day because I just couldn’t put it down.

I read a lot of crime and in particular serial killer thrillers, which by no means makes me an expert on the subject. Not in the slightest. But I have noticed that when the experts are talking about the psychology of a serial killer their reasons for suddenly stopping can vary. They get caught, they themselves die or they just burn out. And that’s what made The Nothing Man so incredibly fascinating for me. I don’t think I’ve read a book before where the killer just decides that they’ve had enough, they’re too old, or the need to kill has just…gone. Seeing things from Jim’s point of view, this plain, ordinary man who used to be the talk of the town, had my attention 100%. I loved it. He’s a horrible human being, as you would expect, but I found him utterly intriguing.

I really liked Eve Black who is determined to find the man who killed her family, putting herself back in the spotlight to do so. Eve teams up with Detective Inspector Edward Healy who was involved in the original Nothing Man case all those years ago, and together they plough through everything they have, leaving no stone unturned. There must be something the original investigation missed and they’re going to find it. All of the attacks and murders are revisited in Eve’s book which made for riveting reading. I was hooked!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Nothing Man is a compulsive, unsettling and thoroughly intriguing read. A completely different take on the serial killer thriller and I devoured it, captivated by the author’s well-written tale. True crime fans in particular will find something to love within the pages of The Nothing Man. I was gripped from start to finish and savoured every moment I had with this excellent book. And as a result, I look forward to reading more from the author very, very soon. All in all, a cleverly plotted novel unlike anything I’ve read before. Highly recommended.

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard was published by Corvus Books on 6th May 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.uk | WaterstonesFoylesBook Depository | Goodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Catherine Ryan HowardCatherine Ryan Howard is an internationally bestselling crime writer from Cork, Ireland. Her debut novel, DISTRESS SIGNALS, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger. THE LIAR’S GIRL (2018) was shortlisted for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. REWIND (2019) was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year and is currently being developed for screen by Clerkenwell Films (Misfits, Lovesick, The End of the F***ing World.) THE NOTHING MAN was a no. 1 Irish Times bestseller and a no. 1 Kindle bestseller (UK) and was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Her latest novel, 56 DAYS, was published in August 2021. It is a thriller set in lockdown that Catherine wrote while she was in lockdown.

Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida. She still wants to be an astronaut when she grows up.

#BookReview: Hunting Evil by Chris Carter #HuntingEvil #damppebbles

Every story has a beginning…

They met for the first time in college. Two of the brightest minds ever to graduate from the prestigious Stanford University. They met again in Quantico, Virginia. Robert Hunter has become the head of the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. Lucien Folter has become the most prolific and dangerous serial killer in FBI history.

Hunter caught Lucien. He’s been in prison for years. But Lucien has just escaped. And he’s angry. He’s going to make the man who put him away suffer.
 .
That person … is Robert Hunter.

And every story must come to an end…

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Hunting Evil (Detective Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter. Hunting Evil was published by Simon & Schuster on 19th March 2020 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats.

For those of you with a good memory you may recall that Hunting Evil was one of the books I chose for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge this year. (Let’s face it, no one but me is gonna remember that, but still… 😂.) Carter’s Robert Hunter series is one of my very favourite crime series (I know, how many times can you use the word ‘series’ in one sentence?) out there, so I was a little disappointed I didn’t manage to get around to it. But I did promise in my challenge wrap up post that I would put the effort into reading the handful of books I missed. Which meant this was the first book I selected when a short break in my reading schedule came up. It’s the tenth book in the series and in a way (which the author discusses himself at the start of the novel) it’s a sequel to An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6). To get the full impact of this book I think it’s important that you’re familiar with the characters of An Evil Mind, the history between them and the background they share.

Lucien Folter, ex friend and college roommate of Detective Robert Hunter and now the most evil serial killer on US soil, has escaped from a high security prison leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. After Hunter finally managed to capture Folter several years ago, Folter has been biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to make his escape. And what an escape it was! Now all Folter wants is to be reunited with the man responsible for his incarceration and his number one obsession, Detective Hunter. He intends to make Robert’s life hell on earth and he’ll stop at nothing to achieve that. And he’ll enjoy every single second of Robert’s suffering. Detective Hunter will pay the ultimate price….

I LOVE the Robert Hunter series. It’s one I always recommend to readers looking for a action-packed, thrilling read. It’s dark and gruesome, all the things I love in a book! I love this series. But I struggled with Hunting Evil. First off, these books tend to be a little fantastical in parts but in this latest instalment, I feel the author (who I respect and admire greatly) went a little OTT. Certain events felt a lot more theatrical than they normally are and that left me shaking me head with a frown on my face.

For those that haven’t read any of the books in the series Robert Hunter is a highly intelligent, highly driven man who sees the solution to problems others don’t. I would LOVE to see Robert’s character move on and develop from that a little. I’m beginning to find him quite flat and one dimensional. He feels very robotic to me but I can see why that appeals to readers and why the author writes Hunter that way. Perhaps this isn’t a series for me anymore, which makes me terribly sad. Other characters in the book are well-written and my love for Robert’s partner in the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit, Carlos Garcia, continues to grow.

Would I recommend this book? If you’ve read An Evil Mind, don’t mind stories with a large dollop of artistic license and you’re looking for a book that will entertain from start to finish then yes, I would recommend Hunting Evil. I’m glad I’ve read it. I certainly won’t be giving up on the series yet and I am definitely in the minority here looking at the plethora of five stars on Goodreads. Believe me when I say, this is one of my favourite crime series. If you’d like proof here’s my review of book eight in the series, The Caller. Carter is not afraid to turn his readers’ tummies with a spot of gore here and there, the action never stops and the author always comes up with the most fascinating and unique ways to kill lesser characters off. There is no one else out there doing what Chris Carter is with his series. No one. These books make great reading and I still stand by that. This one just wasn’t for me.

Hunting Evil by Chris Carter was published in the UK by Simon & Schuster on 19th March 2020 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.uk | WaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Chris CarterBiographies can be an absolute drag, so I won’t bore anyone with a long life story.

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well-known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full-time writer.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook |

#BookReview: The Buried by Sharon Bolton @orionbooks #TheBuried #damppebbles

“AN OLD ENEMY IS LAID TO REST . . . AND A NEW CRIME IS DISCOVERED

Florence Lovelady, the most senior serving policewoman in Britain, visits convicted serial killer Larry Glassbrook in prison. Larry is coming to the end of his life but has one last task for Florence: to learn the identity of the remains discovered at children’s home Black Moss Manor. The town Florence escaped narrowly with her life still holds many secrets. Will she finally learn the truth? Or will time run out for her first?

The latest Florence Lovelady thriller, set shortly after the bestselling first novel The Craftsman in the chilling, new series from Richard and Judy bestseller Sharon Bolton”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Buried by Sharon Bolton. The Buried is the second book in The Craftsman Series and was published by Orion Books in hardcover, audio and digital formats last week (that’s Thursday 10th November 2022). I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Buried but that has in no way influenced my review.

The Buried is the much-anticipated sequel to one of my favourite books of 2018, The Craftsman. I say sequel but it’s more of a prequel combined with a sequel. Which is a very impressive achievement! As soon as this book landed on my radar, I knew I had to read it. One of the things I loved most about the first book was the character of Police Constable Florence Lovelady. So the chance to be reacquainted with her and to return to creepy Sabden at the foot of the Pendle Hills, where witchy goings on were regularly reported, was an opportunity I could NOT miss!

Serial killer, Larry Glassbrook, has been in prison for thirty years for murdering three teenagers. The police officer responsible for his capture, Florence Lovelady, was a lowly probationary WPC and the first and only female officer working out of Sabden at the time. Now she’s the most senior serving female officer in the Met and despite their history, Florence has been keeping in regular contact with Larry. But Larry is ill and is nearing the end of his life. With the discovery of children’s remains near Black Moss Manor, a children’s home that was closed in 1969, Larry has one last task for Florence. To discover the identity of the victims. Because according to Larry, the children buried near Black Moss died more recently than official channels are claiming. But to carry out Larry’s final request, Florence must return to Sabden. The town that almost destroyed her…

A cleverly written police procedural told in the past and the present with a witchy twist. The Buried is everything I hoped it would be. It was a joy to be reunited with Florence Lovelady again – older, wiser and forever tied to Sabden, no matter what she does to sever that tie. Something I do need to say before I go any further though is that I strongly recommend you read The Craftsman before picking up The Buried. A lot happened in the first book and. whilst the author ensures the reader is briefed enough to follow the flow of the story, there were moments where I, as someone who read The Craftsman four years ago, found myself getting muddled. With hindsight, I wish I had re-read The Craftsman first before making a start on the prequel/sequel. Looking at other reviews, it seems other readers feel the same. But that does not take away from the fact that this is a cracking second book in the series and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. But please make sure you’re familiar with the storyline of The Craftsman before making a start on The Buried. I enjoyed the dual timeline and hopping from the late 60s to the late 90s. The characters were once again expertly drawn, as I have come to expect from this author. The plot was well paced with an overarching feeling of dread permeating the pages of the book from the very start, all the way to the tense conclusion. The author excels at writing suspenseful plots which pull the reader into the narrative and keep them hooked, wanting to discover how the story will end. I truly hope this isn’t the last we see of Florence and Sabden. I’m such a fan of this unique series and I find myself preferring the author’s setting, plot and characters to more traditional police procedurals. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to crime fiction fans who are looking for something a little different. But make sure you read The Craftsman first! Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Buried. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Buried by Sharon Bolton was published in the UK by Orion Books on 10th November 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Sharon (formerly SJ) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer.

Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

#BookReview: Outback by Patricia Wolf @emblabooks @bonnierbooks_uk #Outback #damppebbles

“Two missing backpackers. One vast outback.

DS Lucas Walker is on leave in his hometown of Caloodie, taking care of his dying grandmother. When two young German backpackers, Berndt and Rita, vanish from the area, he finds himself unofficially on the case. But why all the interest from the Federal Police when they have probably just ditched the heat and dust of the outback for the coast?

As the number of days since the couple’s disappearance climbs, DS Walker is joined by Rita’s older sister. A detective herself with Berlin CID, she has flown to Australia – desperate to find her sister before it’s too late.

Working in the organised crime unit has opened Walker’s eyes to the growing drug trade in Australia’s remote interior, and he remains convinced there is more at play.

As temperatures soar, the search for Berndt and Rita becomes ever more urgent. Even if Walker does find the young couple, will it be too late?
This deeply atmospheric thriller is the gripping opening of a new crime series for fans of The Dry by Jane Harper, Cara Hunter and Chris Whitaker.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Outback by Patricia Wolf. Outback is published by Embla Books today (that’s Tuesday 8th November 2022) and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read a free eARC of Outback but that has in no way influenced my review.

If you’re a regular visitor to damppebbles then you may be aware that my favourite obsession at the moment is Australian crime fiction. I will drop everything else to read a well-written piece of Aussie crime fiction. Which is exactly what Outback is. From the glorious atmospheric cover to the gripping plot to the eminently likeable lead in DS Lucas Walker, I loved everything about this book!

Rita and Berndt, backpackers originally from Germany, go missing in the vast Australian outback on their way to a job at Glen Ines Station. They were seen by locals in Caloodie before embarking on the long, hot journey. But they never arrived at their destination. On compassionate leave in Caloodie, caring for his gravely ill grandmother, DS Lucas Walker of the Australian Federal Police is tasked with finding the two backpackers. Suspicious as to why the AFP are getting involved in a simple missing person’s case, and sure the backpackers have changed their minds and headed for the cool of the coast, Walker begins to investigate only to fall at every hurdle. When Rita’s police detective sister arrives from Germany to help with the search, an unlikely partnership is formed. Will Walker and Barbara Guerra be able to find the missing backpackers before it’s too late…?

I loved this deeply atmospheric, skilfully written debut which takes a long hard look at the escalating drug trade in Outback Australia. Everything about Outback worked for me. From the superb characterisation to the vividly drawn, heat-drenched setting, from the compelling plot which builds over the course of the book to the thrilling, ‘hold your breath’ conclusion. I savoured every moment I spent with this book and I am already looking forward to the second book in the series which publishes in May 2023.

I really liked DS Lucas Walker and quickly became invested in the character. He’s returned to the small town his grandmother raised him in until he was 11 years old and to a house full of happy memories, love and familiarity. Now his grandmother is nearing the end of her life, and Walker has been granted leave to spend time with the woman he feels raised him. The interactions between Lucas and his grandmother were full of warmth and compassion. I appreciated these thoughtfully written softer moments in amongst the darker themes of the novel. Walker’s sadness as his grandmother nears the end along with his clear love and fondness for his younger sister, Grace, show the reader that DS Walker is a cop with a heart.

But this is a crime thriller after all and it’s certainly not all hearts and flowers. The plot is gripping and dark, told from several different points of view. Each of which kept me turning the pages and fully immersed in the story. The opening prologue immediately puts the reader on edge. The impending sense of doom is palpable, and I loved it. From there the story unfolds gradually, drawing the reader further and further into the dark world these characters inhabit. As Walker’s investigation stalls he’s joined by Rita’s older sister, Barbara Guerra who is a police detective herself. I loved the relationship between these two characters. Barbara is well aware that she is not a police officer in Australia. That she is very limited in what she can and can’t do, but will Walker be able to crack the case without her help? Well, you’ll just have to read the book yourself to find that out!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I loved Outback. It’s such an accomplished, compelling debut which I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. I loved the characters. In particular the working relationship between DS Walker and Barbara Guerra. It was a real highlight for me as not only am I fan of Australian crime fiction I also love German crime fiction too, so Outback really was a joy for me to read with influences from both. The plot was fascinating and drew me into the story. I was keen to discover what had happened to Rita and Berndt, which kept me turning the pages. I adored the setting with its wide horizons and emptiness which despite being vast still felt oddly claustrophobic. The author paints a beautifully vivid, atmospheric picture for the reader which I can’t help but applaud. All in all, I loved Outback and would recommend it not only to fans of Australian crime fiction but to anyone who enjoys a well written mystery full of suspense. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Outback. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Outback by Patricia Wolf was published in the UK by Embla Books on 8th November 2022 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.uk | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Patricia WolfPatricia Wolf has been a journalist for more than 15 years, a regular contributor to titles including The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Independent and The Telegraph, among others. She grew up in outback Australia, in a mining town called Mount Isa in far north-west Queensland – eagle eyed readers will have spotted a small reference to it in her first book, OUTBACK. Patricia loves the rugged beauty, indigo sky and wide horizons of the outback, but left Australia after university to travel the world and became a journalist. She lives in Berlin, Germany, but the outback always calls her home. In 2019, just before the covid pandemic locked us all in, Patricia spent two months in northwest Queensland, taking a four-week road trip. As she drove and spent nights and days surrounded by the beauty and rugged harshness of the outback, DS Lucas Walker and his stories came to be.

#BookReview: True Crime Story by Joseph Knox #TrueCrimeStory #damppebbles #20booksofsummer22

‘What happens to those girls who go missing? What happens to the Zoe Nolans of the world?’

In the early hours of Saturday 17 December 2011, Zoe Nolan, a nineteen-year-old Manchester University student, walked out of a party taking place in the shared accommodation where she had been living for three months.

She was never seen again.

Seven years after her disappearance, struggling writer Evelyn Mitchell finds herself drawn into the mystery. Through interviews with Zoe’s closest friends and family, she begins piecing together what really happened in 2011. But where some versions of events overlap, aligning perfectly with one another, others stand in stark contrast, giving rise to troubling inconsistencies.

Shaken by revelations of Zoe’s secret life, and stalked by a figure from the shadows, Evelyn turns to crime writer Joseph Knox to help make sense of a case where everyone has something to hide.

Zoe Nolan may be missing presumed dead, but her story is only just beginning”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of True Crime Story by Joseph Knox. True Crime Story was published by Penguin on 17th March 2022 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats.

I have been wanting to read a book by Joseph Knox for a number of years now. I’ve heard only good things about his Aidan Waits novels, a gritty Manchester based thriller series which sounds just my cup of tea! But then True Crime Story hit the shelves and the book world (the book world I inhabit anyway!) went bonkers for it. So, to celebrate the opening of a brand-new shiny Waterstones near where I live, I decided to treat myself to a new book – I picked True Crime Story. Well, that was over a year ago now, but I finally managed to find a gap in my reading schedule to squeeze it in. And what a treat it was!

Zoe Nolan, new to Manchester University alongside her twin sister Kim, disappears one December evening in 2011 without a trace. Seven years later aspiring author Evelyn Mitchell decides to write a book about Zoe’s disappearance, turning to bestselling author Joseph Knox (yes, THAT Joseph Knox – the guy with his name on the cover!) for help and advice. Evelyn manages to interview most of Zoe’s friends and family, slowly piecing together the mystery surrounding Zoe’s disappearance. What she is told from those who knew Zoe best rings true. Their stories, their points of view are the same. But Evelyn can’t ignore the startling differences she also discovers. Will Evelyn, with the help of Joseph, be able to solve the mystery of Zoe’s disappearance before it’s too late…

In True Crime Story the author strives to give the reader the feeling that this is an actual true crime story. And he does. In spades. I finished reading this book several weeks ago and despite knowing this is 100% fiction, I still can’t shake the belief that it’s not in some way real. When I was a few chapters into the novel, I found myself googling Zoe Nolan, just in case someone by that name had ever gone missing. I’ve read other novels with a fictional true crime angle before but in my mind they’ve been just that, fictional. There was something about the way the author has written this story, perhaps immersing himself in the narrative in such a strong way, that totally worked for me. I know it’s not real but oh my gosh, it felt so true to life. The way the characters behave and act, their flaws and their idiosyncrasies, their relationships. I believed every single word.

The story is told using written and verbal transcripts collected by Evelyn Mitchell and sent to Joseph Knox for his thoughts, feelings and input. There are quite a few characters involved in the story – Zoe’s sister, her parents, her university friends, teaching staff and those investigating what happened in an official capacity. They all get to share their observations of Zoe (and each other!) in the lead up to the night of her disappearance. The book is presented in quite a different way that I can’t recall seeing before. There’s very little spoken dialogue as each character’s account is delivered to the reader as it was put to Evelyn. There’s no discussion, no sharing of ideas. She doesn’t ask questions or interrupt their memories. I know many readers don’t like a lot of dialogue between characters in their novels, that there can be a point where there’s too much and it detracts from the story, but I think I need that interaction. So much so that I did on occasion find myself drifting away from the story a little.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. If you enjoy well-written mysteries and you’re looking for something very different to the norm then True Crime Story is a must read. It’s a highly original, intelligent story delivered in such a way that it’s hard to forget. I would LOVE to listen to the audiobook version as I think that could be a slightly different experience, in a strange, inexplicable way. The author has done a masterful job in making his plot, his characters and the Manchester of the book totally believable, which I take my hat off to. I can only imagine the amount of work which went into plotting and planning Zoe’s story. What I do know for sure is that I am excited to read more by Knox and my copy of ‘Sirens’ will be moving to the top of the terrifying TBR as soon as possible. Recommended.

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox was published in the UK by Penguin Books on 17th March 2022 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Joseph Knox

Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke-On-Trent and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London. He runs, writes and reads compulsively.

Sirens, his debut novel, was a Sunday Times bestseller, and his work has now been translated into 18 languages.

The Sleepwalker, his third novel, was released in July, 2019.

#BookReview: The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher @ViperBooks #TheWayItIsNow #damppebbles

WHO SHALL INHERIT THE SINS OF THE FATHER?

Twenty years ago, Charlie Deravin’s mother went missing, believed murdered. Her body has never been found, and his father has lived under a cloud of suspicion ever since.

Now Charlie has returned to the coastal town where his mother vanished, on disciplinary leave from his job with the police sex-crimes unit, and permanent leave from his marriage. After two decades worrying away at the mystery of his mother’s disappearance, he’s run out of leads.

Then the skeletal remains of two people are found in the excavation of a new building site… and the past comes crashing in on Charlie.
From the multiple Ned Kelly Award-winning author of Consolation comes a stunning new standalone thriller, for readers of Jane Harper, Ian Rankin and Chris Hammer.

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher. The Way It Is Now was published by Viper Books on 4th August 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Way It Is Now but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rosie at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

Regular visitors to the blog may be aware that I’m what you could call ‘a little bit obsessed with Australian crime fiction’. Only a little, mind you 😜. One of the big names in Aussie crime fiction that I have been desperate to read for some time now is Garry Disher. I’ve been accumulating his Paul Hirschhausen books over time but gaps in my reading schedule have been few and far between, meaning I haven’t had a chance to pick one of Disher’s titles up as yet. Until now, that is. I jumped at the chance to read The Way It Is Now, a standalone novel by this much revered and respected author of Australian crime fiction. And what a treat it was!

Charlie Deravin’s mother disappeared without a trace twenty years ago. Now Charlie, a police officer on enforced leave following an altercation with his boss, is determined to find out what happened to her. However, Charlie cannot catch a break and comes up against dead end after dead end following years of searching for the truth. Speculation within the town where the Deravins lived has always been rife with Charlie’s father, Rhys, an ex-detective himself, firmly in the spotlight. Then one day the remains of two bodies are found in the grounds of a derelict property and life for the Deravin family will never be the same again…

The Way It Is Now is a very compelling and hugely absorbing mystery featuring an extremely well-written and multi-layered lead character in Charlie Deravin. This is Charlie’s story, documented across many years detailing his grief at the loss of this mother and his obsession with finding out what happened to her. Her car was abandoned one day with her possessions strewn across the road. To the casual observer it looked as though Rose Deravin had been abducted. But the police investigation failed to get off of the ground, particularly as the police already had their prime suspect in their sights. Now all they had to do was prove Rhys Deravin guilty, one way or another. Did Rhys kill Rose twenty years ago to prevent their divorce and the sale of their family home? What I loved about The Way It Is Now is that you can never really be sure of Rhys Deravin. Whether he’s guilty or innocent. There were always questions in my mind. Things which didn’t quite add up. I felt he was untrustworthy, part of the old boy’s network of cops back in the day, ‘turn a blind eye because he’s one of us’ and all of that. It made for gripping reading and kept me turning the pages late into the night.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed The Way It Is Now and I am even more excited to get started on Disher’s Paul Hirschhausen series now. The Way It Is Now is a tense, unsettling, slow burn mystery with strong characterisation, a vivid setting and a highly intriguing storyline which I couldn’t get enough of. I really liked how Disher developed Charlie over the course of the book. There were softer, more emotional moments which were unexpected but endeared me to Charlie’s character even more. All in all, I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to experiencing the author’s writing again very soon. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Way It Is Now. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher was published in the UK by Viper Books on 4th August 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, 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.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Garry DisherGarry Disher lives in Australia and is the author of over 40 books: novels, short story collections, writers’ handbooks, history textbooks and children’s fiction. His Challis and Destry police procedurals, and his Wyatt crime from the inside thrillers, are gaining international recognition, winning best crime novel of the year awards in Australia and Germany and appearing on best books of the year lists in the USA. Garry has toured Germany twice and the States once, and counts a scholarship year spent in the Stanford University creative writing school, early in his career, as one of his most important formative experiences.

#BookReview: The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell @orionbooks #TheSoundofHerVoice #damppebbles #20booksofsummer22

Detective Buchanan remembers every victim. But this one he can’t forget.

The body of a woman has been found on a pristine New Zealand beach – over a decade after she was murdered.

Detective Matt Buchanan of the Auckland Police is certain it carries all the hallmarks of an unsolved crime he investigated 12 years ago: when Samantha Coates walked out one day and never came home.

Re-opening the case, Buchanan begins to piece the terrible crimes together, setting into motion a chain of events that will force him to the darkest corners of society – and back into his deepest obsession…

Shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Best Crime Novel of the Year award, The Sound of Her Voice is a brilliantly gripping crime thriller for fans of Sirens by Joseph Knox, Streets of Darkness by A.A. Dhand, Stuart Macbride and Ian Rankin.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell. The Sound of Her Voice was published in the UK by Orion Books on 28th November 2019 and is available in paperback format. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Sound of Her Voice but that has in no way influenced my review.

The Sound of Her Voice follows Detective Matt Buchanan over the course of his twenty year (or thereabouts) police career. From his days as a rookie cop being called to a shooting, only to discover the victim is his best friend from police training, bleeding out on the asphalt, to the case which still haunts him to this day – the disappearance of a teenage girl twelve years earlier. Buchanan torments himself with his failure to solve Samantha’s disappearance and reunite her, one way or another, with her grieving family. He remembers every case he’s been involved in, but Samantha’s case is the one that hits the hardest. So when Buchanan spots similarities between a new case and Samantha’s disappearance, it leads him on a path he never expected and fuels an obsession which will consume him…

The Sound of Her Voice is a dark, gritty slice of New Zealand noir which I found both gripping and very unsettling. The book is set out quite differently to other detective novels with the story starting fairly early on in Buchanan’s career. The disappearance of Samantha doesn’t feature strongly until much later in the novel, which made me feel as though I was reading a collection of interconnected short stories featuring the same cast. Matt is assigned a case, he does the leg work and brings the investigation to a close. Then the process starts again. Matt Buchanan is a complex character and the reader gets to see the different facets of his personality throughout the novel. He’s clearly a troubled man with the weight of the world on his shoulders but I loved how edgy, how driven and how reckless he could be at times.

The different format of the book means the pace of the novel doesn’t really let up at any point, keeping the reader fully immersed in Buchanan’s dangerous world. I very much enjoyed the setting, being a fan of Aussie crime fiction (yes, I’m aware they’re quite different countries but they’re neighbours and that counts for something 😂). I’ve read crime novels set in New Zealand before but this felt quite different, in a good way.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Sound of Her Voice is a dark and gritty read which I enjoyed. It felt incredibly authentic and true to life, nothing was sugar coated and I loved the honesty of the author, an ex-detective himself. The themes within the book are dark and won’t be for everyone. There were moments I had to put the book down and take a breather because it was tough going but I did enjoy the book and would read more by this author. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Sound of Her Voice. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell was published in the UK by Orion Books on 28th November 2019 and is available in paperback format (please note, 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook DepositoryBook DepositoryGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Nathan BlackwellNathan Blackwell was raised on Auckland’s North Shore and attended Westlake Boys’ High School before commencing a ten-year career in the New Zealand Police. Seven of those years were spent as a Detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch, where he was exposed to human nature at its strongest and bravest, but also at its most depraved and horrific. He investigated a wide range of cases including drug manufacture, child abuse, corruption, serious violence, rape and murder. Because some of his work was conducted covertly, Nathan chooses to hide his true identity.