Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride

5 Stars from me

It’s fair to say that Stuart MacBride had me at Cold Granite

Now We Are Dead focuses on Sergeant Roberta Steel who has taken a bit of a tumble down the ranks after fitting up a suspect. Not one to learn from her mistakes she is hell bent on seeing him behind bars and, despite numerous colourful warnings, pursues him in her own special way.

Steel is a fabulous character, she is loveable yet should be detestable and must be an absolute nightmare to work with. I love love love her funny ways and how she is always shuggling her errant underwire and eyeing up anyone female who crosses her path.

I did miss Logan but it is testament to MacBride’s mastery of a incredible storyline that this book is brilliant even without it’s star player being involved.

Another absolute stonker from Stuart MacBride – reading his books makes me so happy 🙂

Synopsis: From the No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series, comes a standalone spinoff featuring DS Roberta Steel. Sergeant Roberta Steel has recently been demoted after being caught fitting up a suspect. The trouble is, the man she got sent down has had his sentence quashed now he’s back on the streets. And women are being attacked again. But if DS Steel goes anywhere near him his lawyers will get her thrown off the force for good. The Powers That Be won’t listen to her not after what happened last time. Besides, she’s got more than enough ongoing cases to keep her busy perhaps she should focus on solving them instead of harassing an innocent man?

But Steel knows he’s guilty and the longer he gets away with it, the more women will suffer. The question is: how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop him? 

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The Girl Before You by Nicola Rayner

3 stars from me

I can’t put my finger on why but I struggled to get into this book, I couldn’t engage with the characters and found the whole uni sexuality thing over egged and drawn out.

George just came across as a bit of an arrogant arse and I struggled to see who anyone could become so infatuated with him, let alone all these obviously beautiful and intelligent women.

I can see the book has a lot of great reviews and I guess I just missed something with this one but it’s not for me.

Synopsis: She was his. She was perfect. And then, she was gone.

Alice has always been haunted by the women from her husband’s past. As an MP and now a TV personality, George Bell’s reputation as a ladies’ man precedes him. But when Alice falls pregnant, her unease becomes an obsession.

And there’s one ex in particular she can’t get out of her head: a beautiful student George dated in his first year, who went missing before they finished university. Ruth.

When Alice sees a woman who looks just like Ruth, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to her disappearance than George has been telling her. But does she really want to know what her husband has been getting up to behind her back all these years?

An addictive and twisting psychological suspense that will have fans of Shari Lapena and Ruth Ware hooked.

 

Fatal Fortune by Miranda Rijks

4 Stars from me!

Fatal Fortune hooks you at the very beginning as Dr Pippa Durrant learns that her photo is being splashed across the media stating that she is brutally murdered lottery winner Leanne Smith. At this early stage we meet her brother who sounds like an absolute sweetheart and get a glimpse into her troubled personal life.

Pippa is well respected and busy psychologist who has a healthy business and a fractured family – with the exception of her much beloved dog Mungo. She has never met Leanne Smith and yet the murdered woman’s family have clearly confirmed to the police that the photo is of Leanne, but why?

The book also focuses heavily on the life of Donna – Leanne’s daughter – and her somewhat questionable husband Ricky. Donna seems quite a naive creature and it is easy to feel sympathy for her… although her life and her morals soon come into question.

Very soon there is a whole raft of potential suspects – including Leanne’s father – and DS Joe Swain is brought in to try and solve the case. Is this the first in a series featuring Pippa and Joe? A few sparks seem to fly between them as they do the age old ‘will they, won’t they’ dance… or is he just using her to gauge reactions of his other suspects?

Soon things seem to start going wrong for Pippa and then there is another murder, the tension builds nicely and there are a few moments of potential peril for Pippa who seems quite carefree with her own safety.

This books felt to me like a roller coaster that chugged and chugged its way up to the peak and then suddenly tipped over into free fall as the plot cleverly weaves around itself and killer is finally revealed!

I would also heartily recommend I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks and would like to thank Emma from Damp Pebbles for the opportunity to take part in the Fatal Fortune blog tour.

Synopsis: Is someone trying to frame psychologist Pippa Durrant for the brutal murder of a woman she’s never even met?

It certainly seems that way when Pippa’s photo is found on the body of murdered lottery winner, Leanne Smith.

Pippa soon finds herself a suspect at the centre of a huge media storm. But she has an invaluable skill set – she is a human polygraph, expertly trained to spot lies and deceit. Skills she will need to help her to solve the mystery of who killed Leanne before it destroys her career – and her life.

But every cloud has a silver lining and this one arrives in the shape of DS Joe Swain. Initially suspicious of Pippa, he comes to trust her and to value her lie detection skills. Soon it’s clear there’s a definite spark between them….

Then, when another body turns up, Pippa realises her reputation isn’t the only thing in danger. Can she identify the killer before she becomes the next victim?

Fatal Fortune is the electrifying first book in the Dr. Pippa Durrant Thriller Series. If you like edge-of-your-seat action, clever sleuths, and shocking twists, then you’ll love Miranda Rijks’ gripping crime novel.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

5 stars from me

This is a proper creepy little tale! I loved all the sinister little Grimms’ Fairy Tales references and the unsettling nature of the entire books which leads you through ‘is this real or is she unwell?’, it is very cleverly done.

Little Darlings has the perfect storm of components – a determined cop, a questionable reporter, a shady husband, a neurotic mother, doubting professionals and a sprinkling of pure fear! As the story developed I found myself questioning everyone – except our determined cop Jo Harper – but everyone else came under suspicion in my mind, especially those babies!

Really great book which kept me turning pages until the end. I won’t give any spoilers but would love to know what you thought of the ending!

 

Synopsis: “Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

THE TWINS ARE CRYING. 
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.

LAUREN IS CRYING. 
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.

Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

Eighteen Below

3.5 Stars from me

Fabian Risk is an unusual ‘lead’ in that he doesn’t always fit the standard ‘profile’ of the crime thriller lead cop. He seems more vulnerable somehow than most. Dunja Hougaard seemed more interesting to me and I enjoyed her elements of the books – much more grit and determination in her belly!

I loved Braids character the most from this book and actually believe this would possibly work better as a TV series than as a novel. For me, some of the characters blurred a little and I found myself having to work hard to place people and their relevance – which side tracked from enjoying the story. I think if it were televised it would come across better and I know it’s the type of thing I’d love to watch.

Overall, it’s a clever storyline.

Sysnosis: A high-speed chase ends in tragedy when a car crashes into Helsingborg harbour. In the front seat is one of Sweden’s most affluent IT entrepreneurs. Initially all signs point to an accident, but a closer examination of the body shows that it has been frozen. Stranger yet is the time of death: two months before the crash.

Two years have passed since the events of Victim Without a Face. Fabian Risk has taken advantage of the quiet at work to focus on patching things up with his family, while across the strait Dunja Hougaard has donned the uniform once more, this time as a police officer. When a homeless man is brutally beaten to death, Dunja can’t stop herself from starting an investigation of her own. Before long the clues take her to Sweden and Helsingborg, where Risk is investigating the peculiar case of the frozen millionaire.

Gritty and chilling, Eighteen Below Zero is the third stand-alone thriller in the internationally bestselling Fabian Risk series.

Cruel Acts by Jane Casey

5 Stars from me!

I haven’t read anything by Jane Casey before so I had no idea what to expect from Cruel Acts and I was very pleasantly surprised by this dark and nasty little tale.

Cruel Acts is aptly named and packed full with deeply disturbing characters and a very clever plot. Balanced by some genuinely pleasant interactions between Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent who make for a pretty much perfect leading pair.

Even though this is book 8 it worked very well as a standalone (or could equally have been book 1 as it so obviously begged to be part of series) which is of huge testament to the skills of Jane Casey.

I thoroughly enjoyed Cruel Acts and look forward to enjoying the series from book 1.

Synopsis: From award-winning author Jane Casey comes another powerful Maeve Kerrigan crime thriller which will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page!

Leo Stone is a killer. A year ago, he was convicted of murdering two women and sentenced to life without parole. But now, a juror from his trial has revealed the jury was prejudiced, and a retrial is called.

Detectives Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent are tasked with re-examining the evidence. Before long, they uncover links between Stone and a possible third victim.

But with Stone behind bars, a fourth woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer out there, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start? And will Maeve discover the truth before another innocent victim is killed?

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

5 Stars from me!

There’s a song by the Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow, and is what this book is BOOM, BOOM, POW!

I loved ‘I Know Who You Are’ and I devoured it in one day, I just had to keep reading and going back to it as I couldn’t for the life of me fathom how it was going to turn out.

I was hooked very early on and found both story strands to be equally compelling and brilliantly clever even though they each have a completely different pace and tone.

Alice Feeney has created hugely engaging story and I am thrilled to note this is her second book so there is another out there for me to read too. I’ve just spotted from her twitter bio that she’s had 10 years of rejections – wow, I guess there are some agents out there who are kicking themselves now!

Also, this book is SO devious, SO clever – you know you can sometimes win competitions to have ‘lunch with an author’ (I saw one earlier today in fact to win lunch with Lee Child – something I could never do as all I would end up doing is saying ‘Really? Really, Tom Cruise? Are you kidding me?’ which is probably rude) well suffice it to say if you end up going for lunch with Alice Feeney’s dark and ingenuitive mind it might make sense to let someone know where you are!

Synopsis: l Know Who You Are is the brilliant tale of two stories. One is about Aimee Sinclair—well-known actress on the verge of being full-on famous. If you saw her, you’d think you knew her. One day towards the near-end of her shoot on her latest film, Aimee comes home from filming to find her husband’s cell phone and wallet on the dining room table. He never goes anywhere without them. But he’s nowhere to be found. She’s not too concerned—they had a huge fight the night before. They both said things they didn’t mean. He might have done things he didn’t mean, things she can’t forget. Even though she has a history of supposedly forgetting. After all, she’s a very good actress.

The next morning she goes for her morning run and then goes to her favorite coffee shop. But her card is denied. When she calls the bank they say her account has been emptied of $10,000. She immediately suspects her husband. But they say no, it was Aimee herself who closed out the account. And thus begins a bizarre rabbit hole into which Aimee finds herself falling where nothing is at it seems.

Alternating with Aimee’s story is that of a little girl who wandered away from home. We always tell our kids not to talk to strangers or bad things will happen. Well, bad things happen.

In I Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master at brilliantly complicated plots and twists after twists. 

 

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

5 Stars from me

Brilliant – I raced through this and read it in one day as I just couldn’t put it down. Main character Laura is flawed and likeable and the story revolves around her as her life is pretty much decimated by someone who seems hell bent on ruining everything for her.

Things quickly take a sinister turn as it begins to look as though ‘they’ may have had some involvement in her sisters death.

I felt really sorry for Laura throughout this, the more she tried to get help and work things out the worse everything looked for her – until she was virtually in a living nightmare.

This is one of those insidious ‘who can she trust’ type books that will get under your skin and you will just want to keep reading until the very last page.

I read this as part of a Damp Pebbles blog tour – huge thanks to Emma for the opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Laura Swallow is dead.
A life cut tragically short, says the newspaper obituary.
But that’s a lie.
Estate agent Laura did not die in a car accident. She is alive and well.
Laura thinks it’s a sick joke.
When the death announcements ramp up, Laura is plunged into a living nightmare. Her fragile, new life post-divorce crumbles.
Who can she trust? Her new lover? Her clients and work colleagues? What about her ex-husband and his smug fiancée? Can Laura rely on her best friends? And why is it that Laura’s present is so tied up with her sister’s death?
Whoever is announcing her demise, wants her to suffer. Wants her gone.

Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse

4 stars from me

I really felt for Lennie throughout this book – what a great kid!

Robin is her own worst enemy, she never quite knows when enough is enough, when to rely on other people and when to keep her mouth shut! But she pays one hell of a price for her actions and so does poor Lennie.

I thought Critical Incidents was a really solid 4 – the blend of investigations, intrigue and characterisation was spot on and the humiliation of being back in her childhood bedroom was tangible.

The storyline appears simple to start with but gets more complex as you read on, it certainly keeps you guessing and needing to keep on turning pages!

The only character I really struggled with is Luke, especially so at the very end, not sure at all of his motivation?

 

Synopsis: A gripping literary thriller and the first of a new crime series, from the bestselling author of Before We Met

Detective Inspector Robin Lyons is going home.

Dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders, unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she has no choice but to take her teenage daughter Lennie and move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18.

In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.

Only Corinna, her best friend of 20 years, seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. Can she trust them to find the truth of what happened? And why does it bother her so much that the officer in charge is her ex-boyfriend – the love of her teenage life?

As Robin launches her own unofficial investigation and realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, she starts to wonder how well we can really know the people we love – and how far any of us will go to protect our own. 

Death Before Coffee by Desmond P Ryan

4 Stars from me

This is a gritty, old school style crime thriller with a no-nonsense, rough n ready cop called Mike O’Shea at the heart of it.

Detective Mike O’Shea is a man’s man who likes things the way they were and probably wouldn’t fit well into the modern day police force – minding his Ps and Qs and small details like ironing his clothes don’t feature high up on his list of priorities.

What he is though is hard working, determined and hell bent on solving his cases – albeit not always by following the rules; which frequently lands him in hot water.

Putting his personal safety to one side throughout the book O’Shea and battling with scars from the past, O’Shea still manages to impress the ladies and I will certainly be recommending this book to my father in law as I know he’ll enjoy reading about old crumple pants!

My review forms part of the Damp Pebbles blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: By 2:27 on a Thursday afternoon, the one-legged man from Room 8 at 147 Loxitor Avenue has been beaten to death with a lead pipe. Twenty-eight minutes later, Detective Mike O’Shea is testifying in a stuffy courtroom, unaware that, within an hour, he will be standing in an alleyway littered with beer cans and condoms while his new partner—the man who saved his life thirteen years ago—flicks bugs off of a battered corpse with a ballpoint pen. When a rogue undercover copper prematurely hauls in the prime suspect, Mike blows a fuse, resulting in an unlikely rapport developing between him and the lead homicide detective sergeant, a woman known for her stilettos and razor sharp investigative skills. At the end of his seventy-two-hour shift, three men are dead and Mike O’Shea is floating in and out of consciousness in an emergency room hallway, two women by his side. Death Before Coffee, the second book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, weaves a homicide investigation through the life of an inner-city police detective intent on balancing his responsibilities as a son, brother, and newly single father with his sworn oath of duty. When faced with death, Mike is forced to make decisions that stir up old memories, compelling him to confront his demons while fighting the good fight.