Black Wolf by G D Abson

4 Stars from me

A bit deeper and and a more grown up read than my usual fluffy crime thrillers, Black Wolf is the sequel to Abson’s debut thriller Motherland and again features Captain Natalya Ivanova of St Petersburg’s Serious Crimes Unit.

The book begins with a beautifully described and atmospheric scene which dunks you straight into the cold, stark, brutal world in which the book is set. It took me a while to comprehend that this is truly based on modern day Russia.

Natalya has a case taken off her but can’t let go of it – the body of a young woman, found on a remote roadside who is found to have links to an anti-Putin activist group – Decembrists. Natalya knows that there will be no true attempts made to find the murderer and she continues her own investigation, even though doing so puts her job and possibly her life in jeopardy.

The beautiful, wintery back drop of St Petersburg and what feels like a private glimpse into Russian politics made this a fascinating read. Dishonesty and corruption are rife, freedom of speech/thought/deed are non-existent and there is a palpable sense of danger throughout.

No spoilers from me. This is a great book to get your teeth into and lose yourself in the icy and dangerous political climate of Putin’s Russia.

Synopsis: A young woman is found dead on the outskirts of St Petersburg on a freezing January morning. She has no injuries, and heavy snowfall has buried all trace of an attacker.

Government security services immediately shut down the case, and Natalya suspects the authorities have something to hide. When the dead woman is revealed to be an anti-Putin activist, Natalya has to go undercover to expose the truth.

But with her career at stake and her own family in danger, how far is she prepared to go?

A captivating, pacy thriller that plunges right into the beating heart of Putin’s Russia.

Advertisements

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.

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

5 Stars from me!

Having enjoyed ‘The Couple Next Door‘, I was keen to read ‘Someone We Know’ and I wasn’t disappointed. I was completely hooked by from start to finish. This is a highly accomplished psychological thriller that will keep you well and truly on the edge of your seat.

There are a few separate yet very linked stories running throughout the book and they all probably would have stood up well as main storylines in their own rights.

The book is packed full of ‘what would you do‘ theoretical conundrums and a fair sprinkling of infidelity and untrustworthy friends.

I literally hated putting this book down, I just wanted to keep on reading and find out what was going on. Throughout all of the domestic nitty gritty and suburban life there is a murder to solve after all. I usually guess the killer early on in these things but there were so many threads and viable would be murderers that it kept the pace fast and the story interesting.

Can’t recommend this enough, go read it!

 

Synopsis: “No-one does suburban paranoia like Shari Lapena – this slowly unfurling nightmare will have you biting your nails until the end.” 

–Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

The new domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House, and An Unwanted Guest, Shari Lapena

Maybe you don’t know your neighbours as well as you thought you did…

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much… My son broke into your home recently while you were out.”

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses -and into the owners’ computers as well-learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighbourhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide…

You never really know what people are capable of. 

When I Lost You by Merilyn Davies

4 Stars from me

A book of two distinct halves which wrap around each other – one following the present day police investigation into the death of a baby – and one following the fate of two young girls who were in care 30 years ago.

I found the storyline featuring the care system, and the two girls trying desperately to find love in all the wrong places, to be by far the more compelling and would happily have read more about their tragic lives. It put me in mind of the recently televised documents regarding the mystery surrounding the disappearance and suspected murder of Charlene Downes.

Concentration is a must with this book and I did find myself muddled a couple of times when reading the present day police investigation side of things. Having said that, the main characters throughout the book are well crafted and highly engaging.

I really enjoyed When I Lost You and look forward to more from this author.

Synopsis: When a young couple are the lead suspects for the murder of their only child, Crime Analyst Carla Brown and DS Nell Jackson are assigned to investigate.

The evidence seems conclusive, but something just doesn’t feel right.

The case is quickly cast into doubt when the lead forensic pathologist starts receiving threatening letters – containing details only the police should know.

Who’s sending them? What do they want? And how did they get hold of the information?

As Carla and Nell dig deeper, it soon becomes clear that this case isn’t the first of its kind.

They must stop at nothing to find the truth – even if it hits close to home.

FORMER CRIME ANALYST MERILYN DAVIES BRINGS TO LIFE A GRITTY, HEART-STOPPING CRIME THRILLER THAT WILL HAVE YOU UTTERLY OBSESSED

‘A compelling page-turner – assured, fresh, engrossing. I can’t wait to read more about Nell and Carla.’ – Mel Sherratt

Who Killed Ruby by Camilla Way

4 Stars from me

As the title suggests, this book is very much centred around the question ‘Who Killed Ruby?’. Ruby was Vivienne’s older sister who was murdered when they were children – with very young Vivienne’s testimony being the key to the conviction of Jack Delaney.

We meet Vivienne as an adult with a 14 year old daughter and a string of failed relationships. At first life seems to be going pretty ok for Viv as on the surface of things she has a successful business, a loving daughter, great friends and nice home. However, as the anniversary of her sister’s death approaches, things start to go wrong.

Who Killed Ruby follows Vivienne through a journey into the past which seems the only way to save her daughter from the same fate as her sister – but is the answer already in her head?

Clever little psychological thriller, packed full of red herrings and a proper thriller!

Synopsis:

The gripping new psychological thriller from Camilla Way, author of Watching Edie and The Lies We Told

You never know what’s going on behind closed doors…

If you passed it on the street, you’d see an ordinary London townhouse. You might wonder about the people who live there, assume they’re just like you.

But inside a family is trapped in a nightmare. In the kitchen, a man lies dead on the blood-soaked floor. Soon the police will come, and they’ll want answers.

Perhaps they’ll believe the family’s version of events – that this man is a murderer who deserved to die.

But would that be the truth?

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/