A Litter Of Bones by JD Kirk

5 Stars from me!

THIS IS SO GOOD! I genuinely can’t recommend A Litter of Bones highly enough, I was absolutely blown away by this debut novel and if I didn’t know better I would have sworn it was written by one of the crime thriller greats.

It is so good in fact that I can almost (almost) forgive JD Kirk for calling his main character DCI Logan. I say that because, for me, there is only one Scottish detective called Logan

DCI Logan is a great character, he has the right balance of flaws and assets to make him a great lead and the supporting cast of his temporary team was equally well constructed.

Clever and innovative storyline, yes I guessed ‘whoduunit’ but that didn’t spoil anything for me – if anything it added to the build up. I raced through the book and loved (almost*) every second of it as the story unfolded. It was well observed, had tangible and likeable characters, had an intense build up of suspense and was peppered with intelligent humour in among the gloom – literally the perfect book?

If you like Stuart MacBride you will love this book, in fact if you are fan of crime thrillers you will love this book.

*If you are a mad ole crazy cat lady then there are a couple of pages you may want to skip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author bio: JD Kirk lives in the wilds of Scotland, where he spends his days making stuff up and writing it down. He lives with his wife, two children, one dog, and – if his daughter has anything to do with it – a cat in the very near future.

Having been writing in various genres for over a decade, JD turned his attention to crime fiction in May 2019, and hasn’t looked back. A Litter of Bones is his first crime novel, and the first of his hundred-plus books that his wife could bring herself to read.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jdkirkbooks/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jdkirkbooks

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19106689.JD_Kirk

Website: http://www.jdkirk.com

Synopsis: Was the biggest case of his career the worst mistake he ever made?

Ten years ago, DCI Jack Logan stopped the serial child-killer dubbed ‘Mister Whisper,’ earning himself a commendation, a drinking problem, and a broken marriage in the process.

Now, he spends his days working in Glasgow’s Major Incident Team, and his nights reliving the horrors of what he saw.

And what he did.

When another child disappears a hundred miles north in the Highlands, Jack is sent to lead the investigation and bring the boy home.

But as similarities between the two cases grow, could it be that Jack caught the wrong man all those years ago?

And, if so, is the real Mister Whisper about to claim his fourth victim?

A Litter of Bones is the explosive debut crime thriller novel from JD Kirk, an exciting new voice in Scottish crime fiction.

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The Good Neighbor by Cathryn Grant

4 Stars from me

Wow! To say this book ‘packs a punch’ is such an understatement – it more ‘smacks you around the head with a 9 iron!’

The Good Neighbor starts off softly, albeit with a traumatic and shocking event – 14 year old Brittany has disappeared during the night, seemingly snatched from her bed. I have to confess I was lulled into thinking it would jog along nicely so boy was I taken by surprise!

The pace accelerates and accelerates before plunging you into free fall as more and more of the story is revealed. There were twists and turns around every corner all neatly packaged within this highly readable tale.

Be warned though, there are several moral questions hidden within these pages… Would you? Could you? How far would you go if you were in Taylor’s shoes, Moira’s shoes, Crystal’s shoes, Brittany’s shoes?

I haven’t read anything by Cathryn Grant before but she is certainly an author I will look out for now!

My thanks to @CathrynGrant and @damppebbles for letting me be a part of #damppebblesblogtours

Synopsis: Sometimes the past just won’t stay buried.

When 14 year old Brittany Cushing disappears one night, her parents are devastated, certain she has been taken.

They can’t bear to think about who has done this and why, about what might be happening to their precious daughter.

Their neighbor, Taylor, is a rock, doing everything she can to help – organizing search parties, setting up a Facebook page, …

As this affluent California community becomes focused on the hunt for the missing girl, it slowly becomes clear that her disappearance is linked to terrible secrets from the past.

Secrets that must be kept hidden at all costs….

The Good Neighbor is a gripping psychological thriller that twists and turns as it races towards its nerve-shredding climax. Perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Teresa Driscoll and Mark Edwards.

About Cathryn Grant:

Cathryn’s fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines, The Shroud Quarterly Journal, and The Best of Every Day Fiction. Her story “I Was Young Once” received an honorable mention in the 2007 Zoetrope Fiction contest.

She’s the author of the Alexandra Mallory Psychological Suspense series, Psychological Thrillers, Suburban Noir novels, The Haunted Ship Trilogy, and the Madison Keith Ghost Story series.

When she’s not writing, Cathryn reads fiction, eavesdrops, and tries to play golf without hitting her ball into the sand or the water. She lives on the Central California coast with her husband and two cats.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CathrynGrant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CathrynGrant.Writer/

Website: https://www.cathryngrant.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cathryngrant_fiction/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cathryn-Grant/e/B004G1I484?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1566901527&sr=8-3

Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater

4 Stars from me (for sci-fi fans)

The phrase ‘less is more‘ is thrown about sometimes, losing its meaning. But here, Karl Drinkwater manages to remind us just how powerful this can be by crafting an atmosphere for us that is genuinely unsettling. And I love it!

We follow our of protagonist, who is accompanied by a vastly powerful AI, as she ventures into a decaying ‘lost ship’.  What then follows is a mix of fast paced action scenes with a militaristic hunter / dangerous prey dynamic, and some slower and more horrifying parts.

Don’t be put off by me saying slower parts as these are where I find this book really shines. The sense of dread and uneasiness I got while reading this was enjoyably real, and I would have loved for there to be more of it – scare me, make me feel uneasy! Also, our story exists in what feels to be a super interesting world, and it’s unfortunate we get to see and hear very little of it throughout the book as I would have loved to read more about it… I wonder if that develops in the future?

My thanks to Anne Cater #RandomThingsTours and Karl Drinkwater for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.

Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.

Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.

Can she face her demons and survive?

The Lying Room by Nicci French

5 Stars from me!

I found The Lying Room to be a highly engaging, fast paced read that I absolutely raced through as I just kept on wanting to know what happened next!

Central character, Neve, is one of those perfect people who everyone adores yet is utterly unassuming and apparently unaware of her magnetism. Friends, colleagues, even strangers are seemingly drawn to this calm, warm, efficient woman who busily spends her life making things right for others.

She treads carefully around the feelings of her husband and her daughter, she keeps a watchful eye on her sons and is the only person who ever notices that the guinea pig hasn’t been fed. She buoys up her colleagues at work and his the central pin of a decades long friendship group. She also does all the shopping, endless loads of laundry and cycles everywhere. She and her husband share most other domestic chores and their days and nights revolve around keeping all these plates spinning. So much so that she is susceptible to the attentions of a man who notices her – in a way that she hasn’t felt noticed by anyone for a very long time and they begin an affair.

As mentioned in the synopsis (full synopsis at the bottom of this page) one day she discovers that her lover has been murdered and rather than calling 999 she makes the snap decision to try and cover up any evidence that she was ever in his life.

I really liked the police character, DI Hutchings and felt thoroughly immersed in Neve’s world as I read this book. If you ignore the affairs, murders and deceit… it is a pretty enviable life.

Great book, great characters, fast paced and compelling – highly recommended.

Also, about the authors… I had no idea that Nicci French was actually two authors! Here are the details: Nicci Gerrard was born in June 1958 in Worcestershire. After graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University, she began her first job, working with emotionally disturbed children in Sheffield. In that same year she married journalist Colin Hughes.

In the early eighties she taught English Literature in Sheffield, London and Los Angeles, but moved into publishing in 1985 with the launch of Women’s Review, a magazine for women on art, literature and female issues.

In 1987 Nicci had a son, Edgar, followed by a daughter, Anna, in 1988, but a year later her marriage to Colin Hughes broke down.

In 1989 she became acting literary editor at the New Statesman, before moving to the Observer, where she was deputy literary editor for five years, and then a feature writer and executive editor.

It was while she was at the New Statesman that she met Sean French.

Sean French was born in May 1959 in Bristol, to a British father and Swedish mother. He too studied English Literature at Oxford University at the same time as Nicci, also graduating with a first class degree, but their paths didn’t cross until 1990. In 1981 he won Vogue magazine’s Writing Talent Contest, and from 1981 to 1986 he was their theatre critic. During that time he also worked at the Sunday Times as deputy literary editor and television critic, and was the film critic for Marie Claire and deputy editor of New Society.

Sean and Nicci were married in Hackney in October 1990. Their daughters, Hadley and Molly, were born in 1991 and 1993.

By the mid-nineties Sean had had two novels published, The Imaginary Monkey and The Dreamer of Dreams, as well as numerous non-fiction books, including biographies of Jane Fonda and Brigitte Bardot.

In 1995 Nicci and Sean began work on their first joint novel and adopted the pseudonym of Nicci French. The Memory Game was published to great acclaim in 1997 followed by The Safe House (1998), Killing Me Softly (1999), Beneath the Skin (2000), The Red Room (2001), Land of the Living (2002), Secret Smile (2003), Catch Me When I Fall (2005), Losing You (2006) and Until It’s Over (2008). Their latest novel together is What To Do When Someone Dies (2009).

Nicci and Sean also continue to write separately. Nicci still works as a journalist for the Observer, covering high-profile trials including those of Fred and Rose West, and Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr. Novels include Things We Knew Were True (2003), Solace (2005) and The Moment You Were Gone (2007). Sean’s last novel is Start From Here (2004).

Synopsis: In this thrilling standalone from the internationally bestselling author of the Frieda Klein series, a married woman’s affair with her boss spirals into a dangerous game of chess with the police when she discovers he’s been murdered and she clears the crime scene of all evidence.

One little secret between a married woman, her lover, and a killer.

It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel.

After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting?

An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair…. 

A Cruel Deception by Kim Booth

3.5 stars from me

It has been quite an hour to read A Cruel Deception knowing that it is the first hand account of the policeman who cracked the case. Truly a privilege to follow his thought processes and procedures as he closes in on the perpetrator.

The crime within A Cruel Deception (well, the main one as there are several little side stories and anecdotes which beautifully enhance and flesh out the pages, I can image an afternoon with tea and cake with Kim Booth is a meandering and uniquely fascinating experience) is one of a brazen fraud, carried out with breathtaking audacity over a period of many years. It is artfully captured within A Cruel Deception and the dogged and determined approach taken by the police to capture such a criminal without the use of modern day technology is to be admired.

As, begrudgingly, is Barbara Hendry who manages to pull of repeated cons against unsuspecting people without all the clever frippery of social media, computers and mobile phones – dreadful woman, obviously, but also clearly very devious.

As a fan of crime thrillers, it took me a little while to adjust to the slower pace of this – after all real – account. I only say that so that others can mentally adjust and expect this change of pace rather than be caught out by it.

Overall, an interesting and rare opportunity to witness some old-school policing first hand.

Book Description: ‘No one knows this horrifying true crime case better than the detective who cracked it. Kim Booth will take you on an unforgettable journey into lies, deceit, cunning and malice.’ Nick Louth
For Joan and Ted Warner, an innocent and trusting couple, a chance encounter with Barbara Hendry, a cunning con-woman who turned their settled lives into a living nightmare.
The Warners were not victims of a remote scam, carried out over the internet by fraudsters from afar. For six years, faking a friendship face-to-face, this plausible woman carried off the impersonation of a member of the nobility fallen on hard times, manipulating the emotions of her victims, deceitfully draining them of every penny they had set aside for their retirement, and plunging them into debt.
Hendrys intention was to slip away, having sucked the Warners dry of all their hard-earned savings. But for some dogged investigative work by a determined detective she would have succeeded- and remained free to prey on other vulnerable victims.
Follow this journey of fraud and depravity in the company of the one man who knows the full story – the British detective who cracked the case and brought Barbara Hendry to justice.
A Cruel Deception is an insightful and gripping work of true crime, which illustrates the depth of wickedness and the possibility that we can all be deceived.
The author retired from the Lincolnshire Police as Detective Inspector in charge of the Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit. He now provides anti-fraud advice and fraud investigation on a consultancy basis together with assisting authors with police procedural issues and story lines.
Author Bio:
Prior to joining the police I had numerous jobs, Worked in a chicken factory for next to nothing, In a Bakery, Royal Mail as a Postman, With my dad who was a civil engineer construction roads and sewerage works and finally in a hotel. Had dealings with the CID and thought “I can do that” and joined the police with the sole intention of being a CID man! Joined Lincolnshire Police in July 1975.

Degrees of Guilt by H S Chandler

5 Stars from me

Absolutely brilliant, I loved it!

Degrees of Guilt is a clever a thought provoking legal thriller / courtroom drama. It is packed full of emotion, soul searching questions and dilemmas.

There are some fabulous characters, not least of all Maria who is on trial for the attempted murder of her husband – and who is gutted that he didn’t die.

The jurors are a mixed bunch (I guess that’s the point) and I loved ‘the Tabithas’. Lottie, Cameron and Jack make for interesting reading as their characters and relationships develop. I was a little disappointed with Lottie but it gives a good example of how susceptible women (and men too I’m sure) are to the attentions of an attractive stranger when their own life is lacking a little in excitement.

Cameron… well I won’t say too much about him other than very interesting!

I absolutely loved the emotional roller coaster that this book took me on and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. Highly compelling and thoroughly entertaining.

So, was she guilty? You’ll have to read it find out!

Synopsis: ‘A compelling legal thriller – I loved it’ Katerina Diamond, Sunday Times bestseller

‘Timely, anger-inducing and very powerful – it’s excellent’ Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

A gripping, sexy and twisty novel for readers who devoured ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL, APPLE TREE YARD and HE SAID/SHE SAID.

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

4 Stars from me

This is one of those ‘clear a day as you ain’t putting this book down‘ type of books!

I was utterly hooked from the beginning and loved the roller coaster of pause / play / rewind as the story jumped around.

The insta famous aspect was really good too, probably a pretty accurate glimpse into the lifestyle of the accidentally famous.

Shanamore Holiday Cottages… what can I say except that I will now probably never stay in a holiday cottage on my own! Much like the ever present acute awareness I have in public toilets after watching the film Copy Cat!

Rewind contained some really interesting characters – from Andrew the pathetic and creepy weird, to Sean the good guy, slightly spoilt Natalie and slightly desperate reporter Audrey – Catherine Ryan Howard did a fantastic job of making them all seem real and plausible.

Very clever, addictive book which will keep you on your toes!

Synopsis: From the bestselling, multiple prize-shortlisted novelist Catherine Ryan Howard comes an explosive story about a twisted voyeur and a terrible crime…

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

‘Catherine Ryan Howard is a gift to crime writing. Her characters are credible, her stories are original and her plotting is ingenious. Every book is a treat to look forward to.’ Liz Nugent