The Trespasser by Tana French

5 stars from me!

Wow! What an incredible book.

During a recent trip to Dublin I perused the shelves of the delightful (and award winning) The Gutter Bookshop and The Trespasser was highly recommended. Having now finished it, I can see why!

Now, for a girl like me who is a fan of the fast paced Simon Kernick esque style of writing, I have to confess that the slower pace of Tana French was a bit of a shock to the system. Please don’t mistake ‘slower pace’ for ‘slow’ because it isn’t, it is just told in a more indulgent style – each scene is delivered to you in glorious technicolour, none of the words seem superfluous and at no point was I bored. If anything, this steadier than usual pace made the book feel luxurious as though the author had taken extra time and care to ensure the resulting story was just right.

The Trespasser has a real feel to it, the characters and their personal and working habits all ring true – within these pages are solid, well-defined individuals who live and breath in their own right. The awkwardness, trust, deceit and burgeoning friendships all feel right and segments throughout this book are exceptionally well observed.

The story itself is doled out in manageable pieces, making your brain work as you get swept along and I am delighted to say that it didn’t have a disappointing ending.

I haven’t read any of Tana French’s other books but I will be making a point of adding them to my, ever growing, ‘to be read’ pile.

Synopsis: In The Trespasser being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?


For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood

5 stars from me!

I really enjoyed this fabulous debut and am therefore delighted that there are others in the series to get stuck into already! Huge thanks to Michael Wood for his swift work as there are another 3 books to read 🙂

DCI Matilda Darke is a perfect character for our lead role, she fits the bill entirely with a disastrous recent past, disheveled appearance, low self-esteem, alcohol dependancy, loyal colleagues and moments of brilliance peppered throughout a dogged and determined pursuit of the truth.

All of the characters in the story were incredibly well defined and I have to say (in addition to Matilda) I felt a strong connection to Jonathan Harkness. He vividly came alive on the the pages and I couldn’t help but be drawn to this peculiar yet endearing man.

I can’t praise this book enough and if you are a fan of detective crime thrillers which tear along at a cracking pace then you will love this book. I found the story clever (without being pretentiously complex), gripping, fast paced (without cutting corners) and incredibly hard to put down.

I can’t wait to go on to the next books in the series.

Synopsis: Two murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more…

A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.

DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.

Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

4 stars from me!

What a solid debut from Shari Lapena – I am so looking forward to A Stranger in the House now!

I loved the start of this book, the unease of the situation and the ever so typical politeness of a dinner party that no one seems to want to be at.

The Couple Next Door is a smash and grab thriller that you will race through as you move from one scenario to another changing your mind constantly about who/what/why and where.

Mainly unpredictable and a definite page turner.

This is another book of mainly unlikeable characters, all of whom it seems are working to their own hidden agenda.

Hold on to your hat, there are plot twists agogo packed into these pages!


Synopsis: It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors – a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all – a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family – a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Stanley Smartpants and the Mackerel Robberies by Alexander Martin

4 stars from me!

What is there not to like about this super cat based thriller? A mystery to solve, a town full of cats and a cleverly created cat-police force – what can I say, you had me at miaow.

This book is aimed at the young reader and I sincerely hope it will pave the way for the next generation of plot hungry literary sleuths.

A crime has been committed in Cat-Haven-on-Sea and Sargeant Stanley Smartpants and the rest of the delightfully kooky cat-haven cat-police must follow the clues to find the culprit.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a simple tale, oh no, a lot of craftsmanship has gone into constructing a town and well defined characters, not to mention a mystery to solve.

I am sure that younger children will enjoy having the book read to them, just as much as young readers will race through the pages independently when they can – giggling at the antics of the cat-detectives – as much as adults will genuinely look forward to following the story too.

Synopsis: Sergeant Stanley Smartpants is the coolest cat detective in town! In the town of Cat-Haven-on-Sea that is. His boss is Chief Inspector Derek Dimwit, and as you might guess he’s not a very bright cat. Together they investigate a series of robberies. At each one of the crime scenes they discover the skeleton of a dead mackerel.

Stanley and his team of cat-detectives, like Jumping Jack (he’s very frisky!) and Marmalade Marmaduke (he just loves his toast and marmalade!), meet many crazy cats and get involved in hilarious situations. But they soon have a prime suspect, Beastly Boris, also known as Yuri Katakov, a former Russian ice-skating champion and part time dishwasher-cat. But is he the criminal-cat?


The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

4 stars from me!

What a topsy turvy, twisty turny little thriller this is!

I think the best way to read this book is literally just to get on an read it, ignore all the existing reviews, clear your mind and dive in.

You will need your wits about you to keep up with the storyline which cleverly unravels – often leading you further along to yet another wrong conclusion.

Some likeable characters but actually not that many, which I always find to be a brave move from the author or authors in this case as I’ve noticed now that there are two names listed on the cover. (I wonder how that whole process works?)

All loose ends are tied up as the story comes to a close but brace yourself as there are lots of loose ends and lots of pieces of information which pull together to tighten the noose around a cracking read.

I’ve seen lots of reviews which compare this to Gone Girl and, although I see why, I personally don’t think The Wife Between Us would make for a blockbuster movie – maybe I’ll be proved wrong on that one.


Synopsis: When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. 

You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.

Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

Fighting Monsters by Rebecca Bradley

5 stars from me!

Fighting Monsters is a great book in the DI Hannah Robbins series of novels.

In addition to Hannah herself, there are some really good and strong characters who are brought to life within the pages of the book.

Lee’s character was very clear to me and his sadness seemed to ooze off the pages.

Pasha – who tries so hard – became clearer as the book went on, I look forward to reading more about her.

I also really enjoyed Aaron’s role within the book and I am very pleased that his Aspergers is written so well and so respectfully. Hannah went up even further in my estimations for her interactions with him.

I love the way Rebecca Bradley writes and have also enjoyed her previous books – the fact that she is a former DC must go some way to adding credibility to her words I guess and Fighting Monsters rings all too true as you delve deeper into the story.

As ever, I have no intention of giving any of the storyline away, suffice it to say this is a great crime/police thriller and I would recommend that you download the back catalogue and then treat yourself to all of Rebecca Bradley’s books in order!


Synopsis: 24 hours after he walked away from court a free man, cop killer and gang leader Simon Talbot is found murdered. In his possession; the name of a protected witness from his trial. 


For DI Hannah Robbins, it’s a race against time to find Talbot’s killer, and locate the bystander before it’s too late.


But as Hannah delves deeper into the past, she begins to question the integrity of the whole operation.  

Where do you turn when you can’t trust the police?


One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

4 Stars from me!

What can I say, I loved One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis! It’s a great book and I can see it easily being a best selling film too.

I found myself immediately drawn to the writing style and immersed in the different characters.

The book flips between the present day and the past and you know they will eventually converge revealing the full situation behind the dramatic life change taken by our lead character, Emily Coleman.

All of the roles in the story are well defined and I found that I had clear and distinct thoughts about each new person as they were introduced and their back story was drip fed.

Emily/Cat is likeable and so clearly hiding and healing from an ‘event’ which lead to her running away from everything and everyone. I find I usually guess the answers to things like this one very early on in books whereas with ‘One Step Too Far’ I had a few ideas floating around in the my head before the final answer was uncovered.

The tension and suspense really builds up as you read on and I think I read the last 50% of the book in one (heavily coffee fuelled) sitting as I simply had to know what happened next!

This is truly a really engaging book to lose yourself in and I hope you love it as much as I did.


Synopsis: Tina Seskis’s stunning debut novel, One Step Too Far, is a gripping and haunting psychological thriller.
An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life? How will she survive? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past? No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?

If you love The Girl on the Train we promise that you will love One Step Too Far, an absolutely unputdownable story of secrets and heartbreak.


Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

4 stars from me

Well I was utterly gripped by the very first few pages in this book – super scary and engaging, Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler is most certainly a page turner.

I am not sure if this is a debut but if it is then it is very accomplished. I read it very quickly, mainly because I didn’t want to put it down!

There are some strong characters throughout the book, some likeable and some not so likeable, I would enjoy reading more books involvingDetective Inspector Turner and I hope this may be the beginning of a series. I admit to a teensy amount of disappointment that a certain love angle didn’t come to fruition – but hey, am sure Liz Lawler has further books up her sleeve so who knows!

I had an inkling quite early on as to who the perpetrator was, but not why so it was still satisfying once that became clear… A bit of an unusual motive and lots of red herrings to look out for.

All in all, this is a book to be devoured in one or two sittings. Don’t take it too seriously, enjoy it for the suspense and the drama and you won’t be disappointed.


Synopsis: Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.

The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

So compulsive you can’t stop reading.

So chilling you won’t stop talking about it.

A pitch-black and devastatingly original psychological thriller.

The Bone Field by Simon Kernick

5 stars!

I can see lots of people have opted to give this book 4 stars, however, for the sheer pace of it and the fact that I couldn’t put it down, I have to go with 5 stars.

The Bone Field offers some brilliant new characters alongside the much loved DI Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd; these two are literally made for each other.

I really enjoyed the storyline surrounding the character Ramon, without dropping any spoilers, I would have enjoyed reading more about him and his life.

As you would expect from Kernick, this book moves at breakneck speed, flitting across countries and timelines with careless abandon – all the while tightening the screw of suspense with each and every page.

To be fair, it’s a bit of a no brainer isn’t it, if you liked his previous books then you will love this!


Synopsis: From the best-selling author of Stay Alive, The Final Minute and The Witness.

When the bones of a 21-year old woman who went missing without trace in Thailand in 1990, are discovered in the grounds of an old Catholic school in Buckinghamshire, an enduring mystery takes on a whole new twist. Her boyfriend at the time, and the man who reported her missing, Henry Forbes, now a middle-aged university lecturer, comes forward with his lawyer and tells DI Ray Mason of the Met’s Homicide Command that he knows what happened to Kitty, and who killed her.

So begins a hunt for the truth that will focus on a ruthless crime gang, a rich, dysfunctional family with a terrible past, and a highly ambitious man so cruel and ruthless that he must be brought down at any cost…

Fatal Crossing by Lone Theils

4 stars from me

I found Fatal Crossing to be a slow burn, but once it got going, it really got going and I read the last third of the book in record time!

Nora Sands character was, for me, both intriguing and frustrating. I liked and disliked her in equal measure but overall she was engaging and I cared about her while I was reading; actually I think it was all the bits with the will they/won’t they relationship which annoyed me. Oh, and of course her flagrant disregard of her own safety!

The story itself is good, I didn’t foresee how it would end and how the story of the missing girls would be resolved.

A few too many coincidences and unexplained fortuitous events for my liking but it is possible that some of these issues were caused by the translation process.

It may sound as though I am being negative about Fatal Crossing, whereas I actually thought it was a great book and I can see it going on to have great success and possibly even being made into a film. Actually, I think the story would translate better on film. It would be easier to build the tension.

The story winds tighter and tighter as the book progresses, I enjoyed the unexpected ending and found myself wanting to know what happens next.

Synopsis: When a picture of two Danish girls who disappeared on a boat bound for England in 1985 surfaces in an old suitcase, journalist Nora Sand’s professional curiosity is immediately awakened.

Before she knows it, she is mixed up in the case of a serial killer serving a life sentence in a notorious prison. The quest to discover the truth about the missing girls may be more dangerous that she had ever imagined…

‘A fast-paced and skilfully plotted thriller’
Barry Forshaw

‘A candidate for the best crime novel of the year’