#BookReview: The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste (@LucaVeste) @simonschusterUK #TheBoneKeeper

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“What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?

He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.

Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.

Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper. Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood. But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.

The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.”

Look at that cover! That stunning cover plus that incredible sounding blurb made The Bone Keeper a must read for me. This is the third book by author Luca Veste that I have read, previously having devoured book one (Dead Gone) and book two (The Dying Place) in his Murphy and Rossi series (unfortunately both were before the blog so I have no reviews to share. I really MUST find some time to read books three, four and five!).

The Bone Keeper, however, is a cracking standalone and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has its creepy moments and I am a huge fan of the crime/horror crossover which I think this book wants to be. But for me, it fell firmly into the crime thriller category. It certainly packs more of a punch than your average police procedural and I know other reviewers have said how nervous it made them feel, how creepy they found the story but I, unfortunately, didn’t experience it in the same way. I’ve obviously become immune after reading so much horror and crime over the years. Dangit!

DC Louise Henderson is an intriguing character who I instantly liked. There’s something there that others may not necessarily warm to but I really liked her. I also liked her DS, Paul Shipley and the bubbling undercurrent of chemistry between the pair of them. As investigative teams go, Henderson and Shipley could be new favourites.

The story starts with a chilling scene in the woods. The entire premise of this book is set on a myth, renowned in the Merseyside area. If you live in Merseyside, you know all about the Bone Keeper from a young age. And that’s all it is, right? A myth? Maybe. Maybe not. Four kids dare each other to play in local woodlands. Only three return. Years later, a bloodied woman is found wandering the streets. She’s been brutally attacked and is muttering the bone keeper song to herself. DC Louise Henderson is on the case. Henderson and her DS, Paul Shipley are sent to interview the victim once she regains consciousness. Shortly afterwards more bodies are discovered in the woods; strange carvings are discovered on the trees nearby that make Henderson and Shipley doubt this is the work of anyone other than the Bone Keeper. But Louise knows there’s more to this investigation. She fears the woods and wants to stay as far away as possible. What secrets are they hiding? What’s keeping her away?

I found Henderson to be quite mysterious. There are things the reader doesn’t know about her. Hints are laid, here and there but I, for one, never really felt I had the measure of the character until the end of the book. There were MANY things to love but a couple that leapt out at me were; the high number of deaths within the pages (Not normal, I know but hey, that’s me!). This book really satisfied my need for a high body count. Something that has been missing from many of my recent reads. Another thing I absolutely loved was that I could never be 100% sure whether it was someONE in the woods, or someTHING (something not quite human). Brilliantly written and although I didn’t get the sense of creepiness others readers have, I was never quite sure who was killing the lost and lonely souls.

Although I enjoyed this book, it really came alive for me towards the end. What an amazing ending and one I didn’t expect. Veste had convinced me the story was going one way only to totally flip it in a different direction. I LOVED the ending of this book. Dark, malevolent and so wonderfully unexpected. It was a joy to read!

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. I hope this is isn’t the last we see of Henderson and Shipley. In fact, let’s get this down on paper (or in print!). Luca Veste, I would love to see more of these characters in a future novel. Particularly if they return in a ‘verging on horror’ investigation. When an author creates a character that is a little bit different, a little bit darker than the rest – well, that makes me sit up and take notice. Surprising, different and very compelling. I really enjoyed The Bone Keeper.

Four and a half out of five stars.

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

The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste was published in the UK by Simon & Schuster on 8th March 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

luca veste

Luca Veste is a writer of Italian and Scouse heritage, married with two young daughters, and one of nine children. He is the author of the Murphy and Rossi novels and forthcoming standalone The Bone Keeper. His books have been translated and published in the USA, Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland.

Part psychological thriller, part police procedural, the Murphy and Rossi novels take place in the city of Liverpool. Taking in both sides of a contrasting city, they explore the changing landscape of Liverpool and “bad” things which can happen within it.

His first standalone novel – The Bone Keeper – will be published in March 2018 and is a slight departure from the series. Part thriller, part horror, it has been described by as like ‘Silence of the Lambs meets Candyman’.

He was the editor of the Spinetingler Award nominated charity anthology ‘Off The Record’, and co-editor of ‘True Brit Grit’, also an anthology of short stories for charity.

He is a former civil servant, actor, singer and guitarist (although he still picks it up now and again). In his acting days, he appeared as a “background artist” – read: extra – on a number of Brookside and Hollyoaks episodes and also once spent three nights in a black leather mini-skirt and high-heels, in front of an ever-dwindling audience in a Liverpool theatre.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |


#BookReview: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole (@Daniel_P_Cole) @TrapezeBooks

ragdoll.jpg“A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes & Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?”

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole is a book which has been sat on my bookshelf for some time now giving me the eye.  I have been desperate to read this intriguing tale for such a long time, and I have finally managed to do so!  Let’s face it, regular readers of the blog will know that I like my crime fiction with lots of bodies and blood.  In fact, the gorier, the better.  So on hearing that the killer creates a ragdoll made of severed limbs and various other body parts….well, there was no way I could pass this one by!

Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes is a rather notorious figure in the MET.  His career hit an all-time low during the trial of London’s most feared serial killer, The Cremation Killer.  After taking several years to himself Wolf is back in the midst of the action and facing down a new killer.  Except this one has provided a list of the intended victims and the dates they will die, alongside a macabre ragdoll which, coincidentally, points with a long-dead finger to Wolf’s newly leased apartment.  Wolf and his former partner, Detective Emily Baxter are on the case but will they be able to save the victims before it’s too late…?

I really wanted to like both Wolf and Emily Baxter but I’m afraid neither managed to provoke much of a reaction in me, I neither liked them or loathed them.  Out of the two characters, Emily Baxter was the harder to like as she came across as quite needy at times and her desire to be more than colleagues with Wolf was quite stomach churning.  But that’s me, I would happily go without a romantic interest in the books I read for, well, all eternity if I could.  Fawning over a bloke, particularly a bloke like Wolf, made her feel quite cringe-worthy to me.  This may be due to Ragdoll being the first book in the series.  There have been several occasions before where I haven’t like the lead characters in book one, only to warm to them as the series progresses.  I’m excited to see what Cole is planning next, and the good news is we don’t have to wait long.  Hangman, the second Ragdoll book, will be published in March 2018!

What I absolutely loved and what I have to commend the author on, is the fabulously inventive and original ways in which he killed off a number of the characters.  Reading this book and discovering how the next murder was carried out was like catnip to me.  I had to carry on reading, I became quite feverous wanting to know what ingenious way the killer was going to strike next.  Absolutely blinking brilliant from start to finish and I couldn’t stop reading.  I also enjoyed how Cole linked the past and the present, making sure Wolf was fully aware that he was involved in this process, whether he liked it or not!

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, I would.  This is a must read if you’re a fan of grisly crime fiction (a bit like me really!).  I can’t wait to see where Cole will take his characters next, particularly with that chilling last line of Ragdoll.  Incredibly compelling, highly inventive and full of surprises.  I very much enjoyed Ragdoll.

Four out of five stars.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole was published in the UK by Trapeze Books on 19th October 2017 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats (the following Amazon links are affiliate links)
| amazon.co.ukamazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

daniel cole

Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer, and most recently for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Ragdoll is his first novel. He lives in Bournemouth, England.

Author Links: Twitter |

Fade To Dead by Tara Moore

51fLCDE9GpL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_“A serial killer, The Director, is on the loose in South London. He’s snatching young women off the street to ‘act’ in his movies. He’s got a type: barely legal, blonde and beautiful.

Newly promoted DI Jessica Wideacre is tasked with heading up the investigation. But with few clues to go on and a rising body count, Jessica begins to fear she isn’t up to the job. Her boss is breathing down her neck. Her marriage is in jeopardy and the pressure is driving her to drink.

Meanwhile, The Director has another victim in his sights. He’s rolled out the red carpet, he s got a killer script, and now he s got his star. It’s a dream role, but not for her.”

When I first read the synopsis of this book I was hooked.  Simple as that.  I had to read it, there were no other options. And I’m so glad I did as this is a totally absorbing serial killer thriller with shed loads of punch.  It’s my kind of book.

Thanks to a killer who calls himself ‘The Director’ the body count in South London is on the rise.  Young girls with a very specific look are being targeted, only to meet a horrific death at the hands of a deranged killer.  Ballsy, newly promoted DI, Jessica Wideacre, is in charge but the clues are few and far between and progress is slow.  The situation is not helped by her DCI keeping a very close eye on her progress and thinking her not up to the job (a man would be much more suited). But Jessica has her own problems; her marriage is on the rocks and her family are THE family from hell!  Can Wideacre and her team piece together the flimsy evidence and stop The Director before the end credits roll on his leading lady..?  (Sorry, cheesy pun. I couldn’t help myself!).

DI Wideacre is a mess.  She’s aggressive, she’s unpopular  and the way she treats her team puts her on the cusp of a disciplinary hearing.  But she’s also driven and determined to get results.  If that makes her even more unpopular then so be it, she doesn’t give a rat’s bottom!  Wideacre is the type of character that I normally adore but for some (still unknown) reason, I didn’t really warm to her.  Saying that, I didn’t dislike her.  It’s just that there were other characters in the book I liked more than our heroine.

Having pondered on this conundrum it for a few minutes, I have come to the conclusion that I liked Wideacre more towards the end of the book when her relationship with arch nemesis and superior officer, DCI Beckwith, started to mellow.  I think throughout the book I was more a part of #TeamBeckwith than #TeamWideacre.

The investigation is slow and the body count is high.  There are lots of red herrings along the way to keep you guessing and I didn’t see the twist coming (that always gets extra points from me).

I enjoyed Tara Moore’s style of writing. The plot progressed well and at a enjoyable pace. Would I recommend this book?  Heck yes.  Even though my relationship with DI Wideacre has started off a little on the tentative side, I hope to read more about Jessica and team in the future.  This is a brilliant start to a great new series.

Four out of five stars.

Thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications for providing me with a copy of Fade To Dead in exchange for an honest review.

Fade To Dead by Tara Moore was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 11th May in eBook format and 19th May in paperback format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

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Born into a military family in Co. Kildare, Ireland, Tara spent much of her childhood moving around the country, as well as spending a period in the Middle East. During that time, she lived in Damascus and Jerusalem, where the family had a house on the Mount of Olives. For a short while she attended school there, learning rudimentary Arabic. After that, the family moved to Israel, where she attended a convent run by French nuns. At the commencement of the Six Day War, they returned to Ireland and settled in Dublin. She is one of six children. In 1985 she left Dublin for the brighter lights of London and within a year met and married her first husband, a fiery Spanish Moroccan. The marriage produced two sons, but ended in 1999. She relocated to the pretty harbour town of Ramsgate on the East Kent coast in 2005 and, within months, met her second husband, Dr David Moore. They married in Sorrento on 2008.

Although previously published under the pseudonyms Tara Manning and Emily Sage, she did not commence writing full time until 2010, working ‘for her sins’ in a series boring but stable jobs, including insurance, banking, accountancy and law.  Connect with Tara on Twitter via @TaraMoore2.