A Killing Fire by Faye Snowdon

4 Stars from me

A very solid 4 stars for this epic tale. A Killing Fire is a slow burn (no pun intended) but slow as in melting molasses or as in a perfectly slow cooked chilli.

This book is atmospheric and reading it I could almost taste the dry dusty air and feel the sticky plastic in the diner when little Raven and her daddy went in for dinner. Deliciously descriptive.

The story itself is good and complex, Raven Burns is a truly tortured cop who suffered years of torment at the hands of her serial killer father – so much so that she still feels him and hears him every single day, as though her thoughts and emotions aren’t really her own.

As the plot thickens and the story unravels it becomes clear that Raven is entwined deeply within the tale – but how far did the apple fall from the tree…?

No spoilers from me! A Killing Fire is the perfect book for those who enjoy getting drawn into a story rather than reading a ‘wham bam thank you mam’ thriller.

My thanks to Random Things blog tours for letting me take part.

 

Synopsis: The first time Raven Burns saw her father kill, the victim was her mother. Afterwards, Floyd “FIRE” Burns set the house on fire, making Raven watch as the flames slithered across the yard like some unknowable language. Then he took her on a multi-state killing spree. She could’ve told or killed him in his sleep. But there were his constant whispers, his wet lips close to her ear saying that little girls who told were sent to hell, and their mothers were called down from heaven to take care of them.

By the time he is executed, Raven has become a cop with the sole purpose of putting men like him away. But she can’t escape Floyd’s terrorizing voice in her head, somehow guiding her steps while reminding her of the horrors he had forced her to witness. And she can’t escape the questions that continue to haunt her: Did witnessing make her complicit? Had the same evil that lived in her father taken residence in her soul?

The town of Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana appears to have made up its mind. The community accepts that Raven had nothing to do with Floyd’s crimes. But when Raven shoots a teenager who points what turns out to be an unloaded weapon at her, stories about Floyd resurface. The whispers begin. No voice is louder than wealthy socialite Hazel Westcott. When Westcott turns up dead in the backyard of her Big Bayou Lake estate, the doubting voices reach a deafening crescendo, and the ghosts of her past rise up to greet her. To catch Westcott’s killer, Raven must come to terms once and for all with who she is. And who she is not.

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Someone Else’s Baby by Ruby Speechley

5 Stars from me!

I was sucked into this story immediately and raced through the pages, Someone Else’s Baby is an immersive dive into the world of surrogacy and fast paced psychology thriller to boot!

Charlotte and Steve seem to have a genuinely lovely relationship – they live in tiny flat with hardly any money but that old adage ‘money can’t buy happiness’ has never been more true for them seem very together and very in love.

As such it is both weird and yet totally believable that they decide to go ahead with surrogacy. I found it really quite beautiful how supportive he was of her – I know his motivations were more financial but still I would imagine a lot of men wouldn’t find it easy to support their partner as lovingly as he did.

The complex relationship between Charlotte and her mum – along with her reason for wanting to become a surrogate – was well handled and the emotional play between the two women was a nice touch.

I won’t spoil the storyline, there’s lots I could say about Malcolm and Brenda but I will resist! Yes there was something that I assumed all the way along and I was right but it didn’t ruin anything for me. Even having said that, this book is packed full of surprising moments and exciting revelations as the story unfolds.

I’ve not read anything by Ruby Speechley before but it is a name I will look out for in the future as Someone Else’s Baby was a gripping read with the added benefit of being about an unusual subject matter – really quite interesting as well as being a fast paced thriller!

Synopsis: She gave away her children. Now she wants them back.

Charlotte Morgan knows how it feels to desperately want a baby. As a child, seeing her mum devastated by losing her longed-for babies, Charlotte wished another woman could give her mother what she so craved.

Now Charlotte’s a mum herself, and knowing how much love her daughter, Alice, brings into her life, she vows to help others achieve their dreams of becoming a parent.

When she meets Malcolm and Brenda on a surrogacy website, it seems that she has found the perfect couple. In their late forties, they’ve spent their life building a successful business and travelling the world, but there’s just one thing missing – a child of their own.

When Charlotte falls pregnant with twins, the pair are overjoyed. And while Charlotte’s heart breaks as she hands them over, her reward is knowing how much happiness the two tiny babies are going to bring into their life.

But are Malcolm and Brenda all they seem? As secrets become unravelled, Charlotte is forced to face that she has handed her babies over to virtual strangers. And when Malcolm and Brenda disappear without a trace, Charlotte is plunged into a frantic search for the babies she carried – before it’s too late…

A gripping psychological thriller with a heart stopping ending – readers of The Wife Between Us, Rachel Abbott and C.L Taylor will not want to put this down… 

Author Bio:
Ruby Speechley, graduated from Sheffield Hallam university in 2009, with an MA in Creative Writing. She is a Faber Academy alumna and prolific writer whose work has been longlisted for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction prize, the Exeter Novel Prize, the Caledonian Novel Award, the Bath Novel Award and has won the Retreat West First Chapter Competition.
Ruby is a mum of three, lives in Bedfordshire and was born in Lisbon, Portugal at the time of the first earthquake there in 200 years! Her debut novel, Someone Else’s Baby is published by Hera Books on 25 July 2019.
Twitter: @rubyspeechley
Facebook: Ruby Speechley Author
Instagram: rubyjtspeechley

Deserve to Die by Miranda Rijks

5 Stars from me!

Practically the perfect page turner! This book should be your beach side summer read… but keep an eye on your children…

Dom and Stacey have an enviable life, the sort of people you would equally love and hate to know as they have it all and a perfect, solid marriage to boot.

Pretty, perfect, perky Tamara on the other hand seems like a gift from god when she arrives with almost Mary Poppins-esque timing and grace and swoops in to magically fill the shoes of Dylan who died in tragic circumstances. In no time at all this beautiful, considerate and uber organised woman proves herself to be invaluable to Dom.

But then things start to go wrong for Stacey. Poor Stacey with her charmed life, dream career, darling children and her handsome, dedicated, husband. Suddenly she can’t seem to catch a break – its almost as if something, or someone, is conspiring against her.

I won’t spoil the story, other than to say it’s absolutely brilliant – as was Fatal Fortune so I can’t say I’m surprised! Brilliant author with gripping and well constructed books; I can’t wait to read more and highly recommend.

#DeserveToDie @MirandaRijks #InkubatorBooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Dom and Stacey have the perfect life. Until they meet Tamara. Brilliant, beautiful, she hides a horrifying secret. One that may destroy them all.

Happily married with two beautiful children, Dom and Stacey have it all. He runs a successful design agency, she is finding fame as an author of children’s books.

Everything is perfect. Until they meet Tamara.

Because Tamara is a woman with a plan.  She executes it step by step – patient, systematic, methodical.

And as her plan unfolds, Dom and Stacey find their lives slipping out of control.  Taking them from heaven into the deepest, darkest hell.

About Miranda Rijks:

Miranda Rijks is a writer of suspense novels.

Miranda has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

Miranda loves connecting with her readers, so you can reach out to her at www.mirandarijks.com

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirandaRijks

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

Website: www.mirandarijks.com

Wicked Girl by I V Olokita

3.5 stars from me!

Wow – where to even start with reviewing this book?!

Wicked Girl by I V Olokita has a striking cover and for once you can judge a book by its cover as it is a truly striking read.

I can honestly say I have never read anything like this before and I found myself to be as compelled as I was repulsed by the events that unfolded.

It is a shortish, fast paced read and I am left still pulling threads to unravel the storyline as my brain does its best to catch up. Is John inherently evil? Is Grey? Are Barry and his wife? Is Elsie?

I think this is a book you could read again on a different day and end up with an entirely different view on who was the hero and who was the bad guy – the only thing I feel 100% sure of is that Doggo was a good boy!

Wicked Girl, part dreadful nightmare stuff, part hilarious Villianelle style dark comedy – the only way you’ll know for sure is to read it for yourself. Be warned though, not for the feint hearted.

My thanks to #damppebblesblogtours and IV Olokita for the review copy and for letting me take part in the blog tour.

Synopsis:

“Even if a dog goes mad, it will always be a dog.”

So said a small white sign hung on a wall in Birmingham Mental Institution Ward number 3. It had a black frame, written in a hand they were all well acquainted with. The letters had faded over time. In the end, among all the calligraphy in the frame, one could detect a blurred signature. It was mine.

John Wilcox is a young idler who loathes people except for young women. His destiny brought him near Birmingham Mental Institution during an earthquake. At that time Wilcox saves Elsie, an eccentric, half-deranged teenager. John pulls out every manipulation at his disposal to convince her that he is the right person to help her recover. Grey, Elsie’s father, goes on a quest for his lost daughter. She, too, like her mother, was trying to escape him. And so, began the tragic story between prey, and it’s supposed predator.

Wicked Girl is a psychological crime fiction, where a sequence of accidents generates cold-blooded, and blood-curdling actions. It is a fascinating combination of romance, tension, and humour, unpredictable to the very end. Presented in a clear, straightforward way, yet its plot is packed with wit, action, and surprises grabbing the reader’s attention all the way to the last word.

About I.V. Olokita:

I.V. Olokita has been providing medical care most of his life, specializing in management of medical aid to disaster areas all over the world. He also has a BA degree in logistics, and an MA degree in emergency and disaster situations management. He volunteers to rescue missions in disaster areas all over the world. I. V. Olokita is a happily married father of two adolescents and a foster father of five cats and two dogs.

Olokita’s first book (in Hebrew), Ten Simple Rules, was published in 2014. It won an Israeli literary prize, and immediately made an online bestseller. The following year, another book by Olokita, The Executioner From The Silent Valley, made a local bestseller in Israel. In May 2016, his third novel, Wicked Girl, was published, to great success, and is now presented in English. Olokita’s books are characterized by direct writing, twists and turns, requiring the reader to delve into and maintain vigilance from the beginning of the book to its surprising end.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OlokitaI

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iv.books/

Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer

4 Stars from me

Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer is an unusual comedy – not for feint-hearted or easy to offend! I’m going to focus this review on the first of the three novellas contained within the book.

Aptly named, Dirty Barry, is a despicable dentist (now in my book they are all despicable anyway but that’s another story…). He believes himself to be irresistible to women and has a variety of ways of ascertaining which of his female clients will succumb to his dubious charms. By all accounts of a fair few of them do and become members of the 5 o’clock appointment club where he seduces them and then films them in the act.

Well, he does until he encounters our unexpected hero in the shape of a cowboy named Cullen who seems set on his path of righting wrongs as he walks along the moral high road.

I won’t spoil the story for you but suffice it to say the dentist gets his comeuppance and there are plenty of laughs and much cheese along the way!

I read this as part of the http://www.damppebbles.com #basecowboys blog tour – my thanks to Emma for the opportunity.

Synopsis:

BASE COWBOYS is a comic crime trilogy set in the Scottish Borders. It is the sixth laugh-out-loud book in the CULLEN series written by Borders author Mark Farrer and will appeal to readers of Christopher Brookmyre, Carl Hiaasen, Nick Spalding or Tom Sharpe. The book tells the stories of three amoral ne’er-do-wells, their unfortunate and accidental intrusion into Cullen’s life, and the imaginative ways he finds of ensuring (his) justice is done:

Dirty Barry

The first casualty of adultery is… the tooth!

Barry Sullivan is a sordid dentist who resorts to blackmail to keep his string of married women in line. But now Cullen has toothache – and a very different interpretation of the dental code of practice.

Bronchial Billy

Meet Billy – the fastest gun in a vest.

Billy is a geriatric slum landlord desperate to win first prize in a Country & Western gunfight competition. But his trigger-happy birthday celebrations provoke Cullen, and now Billy must pay. Will he meet his High Noon at the Grand Ole Opry or will he go out with a bang? Whatever happens, there’s sure to be fireworks.

Pale Ale Rider

There’s trouble brewing…

Tyler is a teenage tearaway with the eyes of a serial killer. But when he decides to rob Big Paul’s local pub, he gets more than he bargained for. Will Tyler lose his bottle, or just get smashed? Cullen thinks he’s seen dead eyes like those before, and now he has a plan: he’s not bitter, he’s just a little twisted.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

5 Stars from me!

Poor Tess, the grief just oozes from these pages as she struggles even to exist following the aftermath of the plane crash which kills her husband. Day to day tasks seem impossible and Tess soon recognises that she isn’t being a good enough mum to their son, Jamie, who seems to mirror her feelings and emotions as he struggles to process his own.

Fortunately for Tess salvation arrives in the shape of grief counsellor Shelley who fast becomes her number one confidante and best friend as well as someone who steps in to help with Jamie – playing his favourite playstation games, cooking with him and generally being a stand-in mum while Tess flounders. But is she too good to be true?

As if the poor woman hasn’t been through enough, her brother-in-law starts demanding money – saying he’d lent it to her husband – someone is following her, someone is making menacing calls and before long she has no idea who she can trust.

I have to confess, I got to about 89% before I sussed what was going on… well I say I sussed it, I’m pretty sure it was spelt out! Such clever and well engineered plotting from Lauren North.

I also, having lived in Colchester for over 10 years, completely loved the locations noted!

Avoid any reviews containing spoilers and enjoy this book – it’s a fast paced read that will keep you guessing and defy you to work out who she can trust.

Huge thanks to Emma from Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for allowing me to take part.

Synopsis: After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.
When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind, and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.

But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

About Lauren North:
Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lauren_C_North
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenNorthAuthor/

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.