Code Name: Lise by Larry Loftis

4 Stars from me

This is a truly remarkable story which follows the experiences of Odette Sansom who begins by tentatively offering to help out and is quickly snapped up and deeply embroiled in the fight against the Germans as a spy code-named Lise.

The most startling part of this ‘story’ is that it is true – this seemingly mild mannered mum of 3 really did step out of her mum role into the cold hard shoes of a spy.

I don’t truly understand how Odette Sansom isn’t a well known name – she should be celebrated loudly and heralded for her bravery and commitment to the cause and her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.

Part war story, part love story, part thriller and all round captivating read, Code Name: Lise will have you hooked. Odette uses a mix of cunning, guile and sheer determination to guide her through the many trials and tribulations that she faces – including capture, torture and long periods of awful treatment. It is virtually impossible to comprehend how she found the strength to keep going and it is very clear that she deserved to be highly decorated for her heroism.

I haven’t read much non-fiction before but having recently read and loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz I just knew I would love Code Name: Lise – it feels quite an honour to read Odette’s story.

My thanks to Mirror Books and Larry Loftis for letting me be a part of the Code Name: Lise blog tour.

Blurb: The true story of the woman who became WWII’s most highly decorated spy

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.

As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.

In Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis paints a portrait of true courage, patriotism, and love—of two incredibly heroic people who endured unimaginable horrors and degradations. He seamlessly weaves together the touching romance between Odette and Peter and the thrilling cat and mouse game between them and Sergeant Bleicher.

Two Years After by Paul J Teague

5 Stars from me

I raced through this nasty little psychological thriller from Paul J Teague! The pages virtually turned themselves while I did my best to hold on and enjoy the ride.

Poor Rosie, what a time of it she has had – how fortunate for her that her job has remained open… What lovely new friends she has made at work – with the exception of deliciously creepy Mr HR Manager of course.

Really can’t praise this enough, fabulous escapism at its finest with a fast pace, intriguing storyline and an unpredictable ending.

Loved it.

My thanks to BOTBSPublicity and Paul Teague for letting me take part in this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: An unsettling psychological thriller with a chilling twist…

A shattered life. A tortured mind. A return to work that becomes a living hell …

When Rosie Taylor returns to work after a long recovery from a tragic accident, she can’t believe how much things have changed for the worse.

Not only is there a new HR guy in charge, everybody’s fighting to keep their job and there are some new recruits with very unusual habits.

Rosie needs this job.

Social services are threatening to take her child, she’s struggling to recover from mental illness and if she doesn’t bring some money in fast, she’ll lose the house.

But somebody at work has got it in for her and she’s struggling to hang on to what’s left of her shattered life.

Two Years After is an unsettling psychological thriller which will have you looking over your shoulder next time you go to work.

Author Bio:

Paul Teague writes thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction books.
Writing as Paul J. Teague, he is the author of the Don’t Tell Meg and Morecambe Bay trilogies as well as several standalones such as Dead of Night, Now You See Her (with Adam Nicholls) and So Many Lies.
Paul is a former teacher, DJ, waiter and BBC radio producer, presenter and journalist.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulTeagueUK

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

Thriller website: https://paulteague.co.uk/

Avenge the Dead by Jackie Baldwin

4 Stars from me

It was great to catch up with DI Frank Farrell again – I last encountered him in Dead Man’s Prayer.

DI Farrell pushes the boundaries of ‘messed up cop’ to the absolute limit but I found that made me root for him all the more.

He is a complex but doggedly driven character who just never seems to give him (except on himself) and that drive and determination means that he pursues the culprit to the bitter end – no matter what.

Avenge The Dead has a clever and multi-layered storyline and Jackie Baldwin’s knowledge of the area and the legal profession really give this book an edge of credibility.

My thanks to @JackieMBaldwin1 and #damppebblesblogtours for letting me be a part of this stonking book tour! I feel honoured to be in such great company.

 

Blurb: Sometimes murder is the only way to get even… 

Four friends with dark secrets. One killer out for revenge.

DI Frank Farrell and DS McLeod are tasked with investigating the brutal murder of a defence solicitor’s wife in Dumfries.

It’s been over a year since they left the town after an investigation robbed them of a dear friend. But now they’re back and must find a way to move on.

When the son of another defence solicitor is murdered, a strange tattoo etched on his body, the case takes them into darker, more disturbing territory.

It leads them back into the past – to a horrific fire in a cottage that took a woman’s life, to four friends harbouring dark secrets – and finally to a killer waiting patiently for revenge.

#AvengeTheDead #DIFrankFarrell @JackieMBaldwin1 @0neMoreChapter_ @KillerReads @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

About Jackie Baldwin:

Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead was published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. She later retrained as a hypnotherapist. Married with a grown family, she recently moved from Dumfries to East Lothian.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieMBaldwin1

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

Website: http://jackiebaldwin.co.uk/

 

Exit by Belinda Bauer

5 Stars from me

So good!

If Exiteers aren’t a thing then they totally should be.

I loved this book from start to finish, it is beautifully sharp and funny in all the right places.

I found the characters to be engaging and I simply couldn’t read the book fast enough – I raced through the pages needing to find out what happens to Felix.

Great story, great ending, highly recommended.

 

Blurb: The sensational new crime novel from the bestselling author of SNAP

IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE MURDER . . .

Pensioner Felix Pink is about to find out that it’s never too late . . . for life to go horribly wrong.

When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of kindness and charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath . . .

But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life.

Now his routine world is turned upside down as he tries to discover what went wrong, while staying one step ahead of the law.

Exit is the heart-pounding, heart-breaking, and often hilarious new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Belinda Bauer.

Ted Bundy: The Only Living Witness by Stephen G Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth

5 Stars from me

Wow, just wow. What a hugely interesting and insightful deep dive into the world of infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy.

I found this book to be truly fascinating. The first section is a horrible glimpse into his victims and the seemingly arbitrary method in which he chose them – or, in some cases, it seemed the virtually chose themselves.

Not a comfortable read that’s for sure – this section of the book had me sleeping with the landing light left on!

To read how close Bundy came to getting away with his crimes is really quite shocking. He was blatant, and acted seemingly with impunity when ‘picking up’ his – often initially willing – victims.

The little touches – like going out to get his hair cut and parting it on the other side when knowing he was to take his place in a police line up – are astonishing. As though he saw the whole thing almost as a game.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in crime, true crime, profiling, psychology, criminology and law, it is absolutely captivating.

Blurb: ‘This is the most complete self-portrait ever painted by a serial killer… as unique a document as Bundy was a killer. There are lessons in this book for everyone’ ROY HAZELWOOD, FORMER FBI PROFILER

Charismatic. Articulate. Evil. Killer.

Two journalists with unprecedented direct access speak to Ted Bundy and those closest to him – friends and family.

What follows is a candid and chilling full account of the life and crimes of the most notorious serial killer in history.

What Bundy had to say in over 150 hours of face-to-face interviews is as relevant today as it was at the time.

 

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

4 Stars from me

Another book full of characters that you’ll love to hate! I seem to have stumbled across a few of these lately.

The family at the heart of Our Little Cruelties is dysfunctional to the max – all seemingly stemming from the mother’s infatuation with herself.

There are some great descriptive elements of the years as the story moves from the past into the present day, including the typical impact that poverty could have upon a family – the Christmas day from the 1970s in particular.

More of a family drama than a psychological thriller, however the story will keep you turning the pages and wanting to discover more.

Blurb: Three brothers are at the funeral. One lies in the coffin.

Will, Brian and Luke grow up competing for their mother’s unequal love. As men, the competition continues – for status, money, fame, women …

They each betray each other, over and over, until one of them is dead.

But which brother killed him?

The Harlech Beach Killings by Simon McCleave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars from me

This was my first introduction to DI Ruth Hunter and I found her to be an easy to engage with lead character.

Having recently holidayed in Wales it was easy for me to conjure up images of the area and found this added to the atmosphere of the book.

I feel the need to go back and read book one to find out more about Hunter’s need to re-integrate with the police and her team – there’s clearly a great back story here.

Her partner Nick is an interesting character, classic alcoholism and a dangerous vendetta – what’s not to love?

All in all a good read with the promise of more to come in the next book it the series!

My thanks to Simon McCleave and Damp Pebbles for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Blurb: A murdered millionaire. A brutal drug operation. Can a detective with a haunted past stop the next assassination?

Detective Inspector Ruth Hunter is still struggling to deal with her stress. So when the body of a businessman washes up on a secluded North Wales shore, the former London cop is anxious to prove she can lead the local investigative team and nail the killer. But as she digs into the dead millionaire’s business affairs, DI Hunter discovers a disturbing link to an infamous Merseyside drug lord…

Tracking down clues alongside a hot-headed partner, she worries his private vendetta could seriously jeopardize bringing the gangster to justice. And between botched raids, tight-lipped suspects, and a slew of cold case murders, she’s sure the criminal mastermind must have corrupt police officers in his pocket…

Can Hunter take down the mobster before he orders a highly personal hit?

The Harlech Beach Killings is the second book in the gripping Ruth Hunter Crime Thriller series. If you like chilling police procedurals, true-to-life characters, and psychological twists, then you’ll love Simon McCleave’s page-turning thrill ride.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author_simon

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

Website: www.simonmccleave.com

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

Hidden Steel by Stuart Field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars from me

This is book 2 of a series featuring John Steel, the hero, who is on a cruise ship ‘Neptune’ where he has a matter of days to work out what is going on and beat the bad guys.

I wonder if John Steel is a bit marmite – will you love or loathe his all action hero style? He is a bit of Bond, Bruce Willis (from every Bruce Willis movie), Siegal, Cruise et al pretty much rolled into one ‘dude’ who has ladies falling at his feet.

Meanwhile back in New York, Sam McCall, is busy clearing down some cases which all appear to be separate but soon begin to show links… to each other and to the Neptune.

There follows a fast paced race to find answers, with rapid scene and point of view changes and definitely a high octane read!

Synopsis: In the UK, Detective John Steel is investigating the organization who killed his family. When he comes across information that something big is going to happen on the cruise ship Neptune, Steel goes undercover. He has fourteen days to figure out what is going to happen – and to stop it.

In New York, Steel’s NYPD partner, Detective Samantha McCall, is investigating a series of deaths. All seems run of the mill for the homicide detective until they find out that the deaths are somehow connected to the cruise ship John Steel is on.

McCall is convinced there is a mole in the department, but can she figure out who he is – and who he’s working for? Meanwhile, Steel is running out of options… and the clock is ticking.

All The Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

4 Stars from me

A gripping tale which follows FBI agent Reed Markham as he tries to delve deep into his own past to discover who murdered his mother – while he slept in a cot.

The story is rich and full of layers and depth – it crosses the timespan very well and with an authenticity.

Along with Reed is Ellery Hathaway who would appear to be someone who he rescued many years before – this back story is one I want to read more about and I will be backing a point of going back to book 1 to learn more! Their relationship develops during this book and it is clear that Reed has very genuine feelings for Ellery.

Reed’s family life is hugely privileged on one hand but also hugely complex on the other. His father is a certainly an interesting character and he fits the ‘all american bigshot’ brief well and truly!

Overall, this is a well put together whodunnit with interesting backstory.

Synopsis: FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

5 Stars from me!

This is book 12 in the Logan ‘Laz’ McRae series so don’t be a numpty – go back and start with book 1, Cold Granite.

Once you’ve done that and read your way up through all of the books in the series, then, and only then, will you be worthy of appreciating book 12 – All That’s Dead.

This book – this work of genius – is stuffed full of cleverness and cuttingly witty observations.

In All That’s Dead we follow Inspector Logan McRae – who is presently fulfilling a role working for Professional Standards (a version of AC12, think ‘Line of Duty’) and is essentially only involved in the case because he is monitoring DI Frank King who is successfully hitting self destruct.

As well as a great storyline, we get treated to some exceptional throwaway comedic moments between Steel, McRae and Tufty and somehow among all the gore, horror and swearing there is a very tangible human side to all involved.

Pure brilliance – go buy it!

Synopsis: Darkness is coming…

Inspector Logan McRae was looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…

The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.

Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.