#BookReview: Little Bones by Sam Blake (@samblakebooks) @BonnierZaffre

little bones.jpg“Attending what seems to be a routine break-in, troubled Detective Garda Cathy Connolly makes a grisly discovery: an old wedding dress – and, concealed in its hem, a baby’s bones.

And then the dress’s original owner, Lavinia Grant, is found dead in a Dublin suburb.

Searching for answers, Cathy is drawn deep into a complex web of secrets and lies spun by three generations of women.

Meanwhile, a fugitive killer has already left two dead in execution style killings across the Atlantic – and now he’s in Dublin with old scores to settle. Will the team track him down before he kills again?

Struggling with her own secrets, Cathy doesn’t know how dangerous – and personal – this case is about to become…”

That blurb!  I love that blurb.  When I was offered the chance to read Little Bones there was no way I was going to say no.  I also remembered a number of influential bloggers being totally smitten with this book when it was first published last year as an eBook.  So I just had to see for myself.

And the verdict?  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It has a good, strong story-line with believable and maybe more importantly, likeable characters.  The opening chapters with the discovery of the bones grab your attention and you’re not released from the story until the very end.  Probably muttering the words…’woah’ or ‘…seriously?…’ under your breath.

Cathy Connolly is a very likeable lead protagonist who is only made more human by the situation she finds herself in.  I instantly warmed to Cathy and was cheering her on from start to finish (for those who have read the book, particularly at the end….!).  When Cathy is called to what seems like a run-of-the-mill burglary, she is shocked to discover what appears to be small bones sewn into the hem of a wedding dress.  But it’s not the only case Cathy and her boss, DI Dawson O’Rourke are tasked with investigating.  They are also on the hunt for a cold blooded killer from overseas who has reportedly landed in County Dublin.  I really enjoyed the relationship between Cathy and O’Rourke.  There’s a deep understanding between these two characters which I found very appealing.  I’m keen to see where Sam Blake will take this particular relationship.

The author has managed to spin several seemingly unconnected threads throughout the story and I couldn’t work out how they were all going to tie together.  But they do, and the bringing together and the rounding up of the these sub-plots is done with great style.  I want more Cathy Connolly and I’m excited to see that book two in the series is due for release later in the Spring.

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would.  It’s a dark, chilling read and I really enjoyed it.  Cathy Connolly is instantly likeable and I can’t wait to read more from Sam Blake soon.  Definitely a debut writer to watch out for.

Four out of five stars.

Little Bones by Sam Blake was published in the UK by Twenty7 | Bonnier Zaffre on 23rd February 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, who is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland for (almost) more years than she lived in the UK. Married to a retired member of An Garda Siochana she has two children, three cats and a fish, and runs the world’s only national writing resources website, as well as a publishing consultancy – she is Ireland’s leading literary scout.

Author Links:Website | Twitter | Facebook |

 

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#BookReview: My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor (@deboc77) @BonnierZaffre

6159lmdigml-_sx323_bo1204203200_You’d always recognise your own son. Wouldn’t you?

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.

Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.

By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.

But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.

Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . “

Back in June 2016 I was thrilled to join the blog tour for this fabulous book.  At the time I was a little snowed under with reviews (erm…OK, I still am!) so featured an incredible guest post from author, Deborah O’Connor.  That guest post, to this day, is the most visited page on damppebbles.  If you would like a reminder of how brilliant it is, or if you missed it the first time round, please click here.

Heidi and Jason are a couple brought together by grief and by the loss of their children. Heidi’s daughter, Lauren was snatched from outside their holiday home and brutally murdered.  One year later, Jason’s son, Barney is taken whilst out with his mum.  Lauren’s body was discovered, Barney has never been found.  Five years later, Heidi sees a child who she is convinced is Barney.  She’s so sure that she takes Jason to the place where she saw him so he can see for himself.  But he’s not so sure.  Surely he would know his own son, get some sort of…’feeling’.  But he doesn’t.  The child is not Barney.  Heidi however is convinced, making it her mission to find out the truth.  But even with the best intentions, will she be able to cope with everything she discovers…?

I’M VERY CONCERNED THAT THE REST OF THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS SO I’M GOING TO LEAVE THIS HERE, JUST IN CASE IT DOES!

I’ve been so busy reading for blog tours over the last few months that I’m afraid this book, despite my strong desire to read it, was put to one side.  Everytime I opened my Kindle, there it was, begging me to read it.  So by the time I found a spare 10 hours (I’m a slow reader) to read My Husband’s Son my expectations were unusually high.  But I wasn’t the slightest bit disappointed.  It’s a brilliantly written, eerie psychological thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Jason and Heidi have a strange relationship which made me feel a little uncomfortable.  It felt at times more of a marriage of convenience than one built on love.  A case of ‘Oh, this person understands what I’m going through, they’ll do!’.  I found it hard to warm to both characters, although I will say that I loved Heidi’s determination towards her cause.  Despite being told countless times that she was wrong there was no way she was going to stop looking for Barney.

The other predominant relationship in the book was the one between Tommy and Heidi and boy, did it made my skin crawl!  I was repulsed by Tommy and the invisible hold he seemed to have over Heidi.  I wanted her to run as far away from him as possible and his revolting lecherous ways.  Brilliant writing from Ms O’Connor, it’s not often that this level of disgust is raised within me by one character!

You may have read other reviews that mention a big twist as you approach the end of the book.  You may have also seen reviewers say that they had to go back and read the final chapters a second time.  Well, I can tell you, it’s a corker of a twist and testament once again to the incredible writing and storytelling prowess of Deborah O’Connor.  I was struggling to see how the book was going to end so the reveal knocked my socks off!

Would I recommend this book?  If you’re in the mood for an eerie, heart pounding psychological thriller then make a beeline for My Husband’s Son.  I really enjoyed it and would read more from Ms O’Connor in a heartbeat.  And can you really bear to miss out on THAT twist…?

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of My Husband’s Son.

My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor was published in the UK by Twenty7 on 6th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Twenty7Books |

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Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. She lives in London with her husband and daughter.

Author Links:Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Facebook |