Eye for Eye by J K Franko

5 Stars from me

What is it they say about not judging a book by its cover… Well with a cover as striking as this one I couldn’t help but be intrigued and Book 1 of the Talion Series – Eye for Eye by JK Franko did not disappoint.

Eye for Eye has it all from murder, mystery, clever cover ups and hidden secrets to police questioning, allegations of rape and many questions of morality along the way. The characters are well defined and relatable and the scene imagery is stunning, you’ll see for yourself when you read it but there are so many descriptive passages that leap off the page and into your mind.

Although this is primarily a crime thriller, there is a subtle undercurrent of a wicked sense of humour throughout which particularly appealed to me.

This is a beautifully crafted example of an intelligent thriller. I can honestly say I was hooked from the first few pages of the book and I can’t wait for the next one in the series; this debut author has truly made his mark.

As ever, no spoilers from me!

If having a brilliant book isn’t enough, there is a brilliant book launch coming up soon too – details are here if you fancy coming along to Covent Garden https://jkfranko.com/2019/03/01/limited-vip-fan-tickets-giveaway-be-part-of-the-story-at-eye-for-eyes-london-book-launch/

 

Synopsis: When I first met Susie, she appeared to be a normal, happily-married woman dealing with tragedy.

Then, I uncovered her secrets.

While I could understand everything that she’d done, I could never approve.

But, knowing what she was capable of, it became clear that if I was going to survive her, I had to play by her rules.

And, the first and most important rule is… leave no singing bones.

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Run Away by Harlan Coben

4 Stars from me

This is a solid standalone by literary legend Harlan Coben and is a good, well orchestrated read.

Simon’s love for his family is pure and admirable and he is a man on a mission throughout this book – his mission to find and save his daughter, Paige.

The descriptive elements are lovely, having been to New York at sat where Simon sat to watch Paige I could very easily picture the area and Harlan Coben captured the feeling of the place beautifully. In fact all of his descriptive passages are highly evocative.

The emotions throughout and are and tangible and they are what pull this book up. However, there were some parts of the book where I find myself thinking ‘sorry who are these guys?’ and flicking back to try and find out who/what/why which detracted a little from the main story.

Overall, any thriller fans out there are likely to enjoy this book.

 

Synopsis:

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, quite by chance, you see her busking in New York’s Central Park.

But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is wasted, frightened and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Where criminal gangs rule, where drugs are the main currency, and murder is commonplace.

Now it’s your life on the line. And nowhere and no one is safe.

 

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty

4 stars from me

Harper McClain is a fab character who has turned my viewpoint of reporters on its head. Usually the ‘hacks’ are blood thirsty vultures portrayed as despicable figures feasting on the raw misery of others, whereas Harper brings a whole new take to the role.

She is a great character anyway, and highly likeable, but her reason for chasing the story comes across as helpful, caring and to the benefit of the victim, their family and the investigative team – it’s made me think again about journalists.

Great story, I loved how and where it was set and I will certainly look out for more by this author.

Synopsis: From Christi Daugherty, author of The Echo Killing, comes another pulse-pounding suspenseful thriller featuring crime reporter Harper McClain.

For a woman, being killed by someone who claims to love her is the most ordinary murder of all.

With its antebellum houses and ancient oak trees draped in a veil of Spanish moss, Savannah’s graceful downtown is famous around the world. When a woman is killed in the heart of that affluent district, the shock is felt throughout the city. But for crime reporter Harper McClain, this story is personal. The corpse has a familiar face.

Only twenty-four years old, Naomi Scott was just getting started. A law student, tending bar to make ends meet, she wanted to change the world. Instead, her life ended in the dead of night at the hands of an unseen gunman. There are no witnesses to the crime. The police have three suspects: Scott’s boyfriend, who has a criminal past he claims he’s put behind him, her boss, who stalked another young bartender two years ago, and the district attorney’s son, who Naomi dated until their relationship ended in acrimony. All three men claim to love her. Could one of them be her killer?

With the whole city demanding answers, Harper unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy. But the pressures on her go beyond the murder. The newspaper is facing more layoffs. Her boss fears both their jobs are on the line. And Harper begins to realize that someone is watching her every move. Someone familiar and very dangerous.

Someone who told her to run before it’s too late…

Kill For Me by Rebecca Bradley

5 Stars from me!

Such a brilliant concept! I feel like I’ve waited for a book like this one, without knowing I was doing it. It packs a punch from the first few pages and keeps hitting right till the end.

The storyline is genius, puts me in mind of Needful Things, it is simple yet oh so clever and really challenges you to think ‘what would I do?’. Rebecca Bradley has created the perfect thriller.

I raced through this book, work became an annoying impingement on my available reading time as I sped through the pages.

The characters – from old favourites Hannah and Aaron, to single mum Lucy and the rest of the pawns in this game are all so well defined that they feel like people you know.

Can’t praise it enough. Witty, intelligent and fast paced – what more could I ask for.

Synopsis: A deadly game. An unstoppable killer. The perfect alibi.

Lucy Anderson is late collecting her daughter from nursery. A mistake that could prove fatal.  
Her daughter is gone and there is only one way Lucy can get her back. The ransom is simple, she has to kill someone…

And this is just the beginning. A deadly game with a domino effect has started as the real killer forces others to do his bidding.

Can detective inspector Hannah Robbins find the killer’s next puppet before they’re forced to strike or will this be the case where her opponent has found the perfect way to kill?

Pick up Kill For Me for impossible choices and moral dilemmas and see where you would fall.

For fans of Peter James and Angela Marsons.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

5 Stars from me

Wow, this is a crime thriller, whodunnit, court room drama with a difference!

It’s also Eddie Flynn book 4 which I hadn’t realised but believe me it didn’t read as though you need the backstory this book just sings in its own choir!

I had to concentrate for the first few chapters while the scenes were being set and the characters were building and having absolutely adored Twisted by Steve Cavanagh I did briefly wonder if Thirteen would live up to my oh so high expectations and then, bam, suddenly I found myself being dragged along and racing through the pages at break neck speed.

I loved Eddie Flynn and really enjoyed his way of thinking, the plot/storyline was incredibly inventive – really clever. The characters within the story are flawed and solidly defined, Cavanagh makes each and every one come alive on the page; whether or not they are just in one paragraph or in the whole book.

I hate the idea that there really are cops as bent as the ones I’ve just read about, I guess there probably are – it’s one of those professions that would attract the wrong people as much as it would attract the right ones.

I will now need to read Eddie Flynn books 1-3 and find out his back story, also, Twisted is incredible, you should read that one too 🙂

 

Synopsis: THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

4 Stars from me

I haven’t read ‘Find Her’ so am able to say with conviction that you don’t ‘need’ to have read that one for Never Tell to make sense. I can see from other reviews that it would maybe have added some depth to Flora but for me the backstory was clear anyway and I honest didn’t feel it detracted from the story in any way.

Never Tell contains some really strong and distinct female leads and pulls no punches in terms of the battles that women fight every single day – without making it preachy.

The storyline is good and strong and hooks you in from the first few pages where you meet Evie literally holding a smoking gun. I enjoyed her character and her mixed up relationship with her mum.

Flora is a whole different kettle of fish – boy has she been through the mill! She’s a great character and I’m sure ‘Find Her’ is brilliant and although I say you don’t need to have read it in order to read and enjoy ‘Never Tell’, I would suggest that if you are planning to read both then definitely read ‘Find Her’ first. The reason I say that is because now I know that Flora survived her ordeal I don’t see the point in going back in reading it – if that makes sense.

D. D. Warren is also a great character, one tiny niggle though… reading D. D. as her name throughout the book felt really clunky. Deedee or even just Dee would have been easier on the eyes.

That said, this is a great thriller and look forward to reading more from this author.

 

Synopsis: A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

4 Stars from me

Much like in Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has created another tale with lots of strands of storylines that all delicately pull together.

The relationships that play out between our main character, Lisa, her best friend Marilyn and client Simon are just lovely, really tangible, thoughtful and believable feelings shine through. In fact, it is the connections between the characters throughout all of the strands which make this book shine.

This is one of those books you just don’t want to put down and I think it would be best enjoyed as a binge read – maybe a holiday read or a weekend where you can hunker down just lose yourself in a great book.

 

Synopsis: Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job, and her best friend Marilyn, but when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it’s time to let her terrifying secret past go. Then her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see. Lisa’s world explodes, and she finds everything she has built threatened. Not knowing whom she can trust, it’s up to her to face her past to save what she holds dear.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

4 Stars from me

This is a interesting one… On the one hand it is a straightforward tale on the fence of the ‘he said she said’ issue when it comes to rape, how does a jury ever truly reach a correct answer when only the two parties involved know the actual truth. On the other, it is an incredibly though provoking story that digs deeper into the ‘entitlement’ borne of privilege, the expectation that a wife will stand by her husband, the ‘protection’ afforded to those from wealthy, connected families and the weight of responsibility which rests upon the legal profession.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book (although very much not the subject matter!) and can easily see it being televised in a similar shocking, sensationalist style as Apple Tree Yard.

I don’t want to give any spoilers but suffice it to say I felt incredibly disappointed in Sophie, she sounded like a vibrant and intelligent young lady who should have known better!

 

Synopsis: An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart. Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes. Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience?

Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy. Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

4 Stars from me

I really struggled to get into this to start with and almost gave up on it. However, I persevered and am glad I did as once it ‘got good’ it really got good and hit a pace that I was keen to keep up with.

He Said/She Said is a typical psychological thriller which raises lots of moral questions along the way, almost too many, and boils down to the age old ‘your word against mine’ scenario. Most books of this type focus on a short span of time and a heightened period of awareness for all involved whereas this spans 17 years.

The little sub story of eclipse chasing is actually really lovely, it sounds like quite a special community. Though would Kit and Laura pursue this at such great expense (which they could ill afford), at such a crucial time in their lives and believing that there was the potential for them to encounter harm? No. No they wouldn’t. I honestly don’t believe either of them would have even entertained the idea.

Glossing over that, this is a belter of a book with maze of moral and emotional dilemmas which will keep you guessing with every turn of the page.

 

Synopsis: In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.

But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person?

15 years later, Kit and Laura are living under assumed names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past. 

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

5 Stars from me – can I give it 10?

It’s just bloody brilliant, go read it!

I could leave it there really, shortest review in history and truly accurate. I’ve not read anything by Steve Cavanagh before and I will now be seeking out a copy of Thirteen, the guy is a genius, mind you if I were his wife I don’t think I’d let him take out life insurance against me. Or have any sharp knives in the house. Or plastic sheeting. Or turn my back on him. Or ever sleep… Other than that, I expect it’s all good and nice and relaxed.

The writing style is superb, it is gripping, beautifully paced and has that magic quality of being ‘unputdownable’. I raced through the pages loving every twist and turn and yet desperately trying to slow down as I knew the book was coming to a conclusion.

I don’t want to give any spoilers – except maybe clear your diary and stock up on tea and biscuits – but if you enjoy a bit of clever killing with lots of twists and undercurrent of good humour then you need to read this book.

‘Kill your darlings’ love it and never has it been so true.

 

Synopsis: BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…