The Trespasser by Tana French

5 stars from me!

Wow! What an incredible book.

During a recent trip to Dublin I perused the shelves of the delightful (and award winning) The Gutter Bookshop and The Trespasser was highly recommended. Having now finished it, I can see why!

Now, for a girl like me who is a fan of the fast paced Simon Kernick esque style of writing, I have to confess that the slower pace of Tana French was a bit of a shock to the system. Please don’t mistake ‘slower pace’ for ‘slow’ because it isn’t, it is just told in a more indulgent style – each scene is delivered to you in glorious technicolour, none of the words seem superfluous and at no point was I bored. If anything, this steadier than usual pace made the book feel luxurious as though the author had taken extra time and care to ensure the resulting story was just right.

The Trespasser has a real feel to it, the characters and their personal and working habits all ring true – within these pages are solid, well-defined individuals who live and breath in their own right. The awkwardness, trust, deceit and burgeoning friendships all feel right and segments throughout this book are exceptionally well observed.

The story itself is doled out in manageable pieces, making your brain work as you get swept along and I am delighted to say that it didn’t have a disappointing ending.

I haven’t read any of Tana French’s other books but I will be making a point of adding them to my, ever growing, ‘to be read’ pile.

Synopsis: In The Trespasser being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?

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For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood

5 stars from me!

I really enjoyed this fabulous debut and am therefore delighted that there are others in the series to get stuck into already! Huge thanks to Michael Wood for his swift work as there are another 3 books to read 🙂

DCI Matilda Darke is a perfect character for our lead role, she fits the bill entirely with a disastrous recent past, disheveled appearance, low self-esteem, alcohol dependancy, loyal colleagues and moments of brilliance peppered throughout a dogged and determined pursuit of the truth.

All of the characters in the story were incredibly well defined and I have to say (in addition to Matilda) I felt a strong connection to Jonathan Harkness. He vividly came alive on the the pages and I couldn’t help but be drawn to this peculiar yet endearing man.

I can’t praise this book enough and if you are a fan of detective crime thrillers which tear along at a cracking pace then you will love this book. I found the story clever (without being pretentiously complex), gripping, fast paced (without cutting corners) and incredibly hard to put down.

I can’t wait to go on to the next books in the series.

Synopsis: Two murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more…

A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.

DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.

Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…

 

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

4 stars from me!

What a solid debut from Shari Lapena – I am so looking forward to A Stranger in the House now!

I loved the start of this book, the unease of the situation and the ever so typical politeness of a dinner party that no one seems to want to be at.

The Couple Next Door is a smash and grab thriller that you will race through as you move from one scenario to another changing your mind constantly about who/what/why and where.

Mainly unpredictable and a definite page turner.

This is another book of mainly unlikeable characters, all of whom it seems are working to their own hidden agenda.

Hold on to your hat, there are plot twists agogo packed into these pages!

 

Synopsis: It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors – a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all – a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family – a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

4 Stars from me!

What can I say, I loved One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis! It’s a great book and I can see it easily being a best selling film too.

I found myself immediately drawn to the writing style and immersed in the different characters.

The book flips between the present day and the past and you know they will eventually converge revealing the full situation behind the dramatic life change taken by our lead character, Emily Coleman.

All of the roles in the story are well defined and I found that I had clear and distinct thoughts about each new person as they were introduced and their back story was drip fed.

Emily/Cat is likeable and so clearly hiding and healing from an ‘event’ which lead to her running away from everything and everyone. I find I usually guess the answers to things like this one very early on in books whereas with ‘One Step Too Far’ I had a few ideas floating around in the my head before the final answer was uncovered.

The tension and suspense really builds up as you read on and I think I read the last 50% of the book in one (heavily coffee fuelled) sitting as I simply had to know what happened next!

This is truly a really engaging book to lose yourself in and I hope you love it as much as I did.

 

Synopsis: Tina Seskis’s stunning debut novel, One Step Too Far, is a gripping and haunting psychological thriller.
An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life? How will she survive? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past? No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?

If you love The Girl on the Train we promise that you will love One Step Too Far, an absolutely unputdownable story of secrets and heartbreak.

 

Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

4 stars from me

Well I was utterly gripped by the very first few pages in this book – super scary and engaging, Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler is most certainly a page turner.

I am not sure if this is a debut but if it is then it is very accomplished. I read it very quickly, mainly because I didn’t want to put it down!

There are some strong characters throughout the book, some likeable and some not so likeable, I would enjoy reading more books involvingDetective Inspector Turner and I hope this may be the beginning of a series. I admit to a teensy amount of disappointment that a certain love angle didn’t come to fruition – but hey, am sure Liz Lawler has further books up her sleeve so who knows!

I had an inkling quite early on as to who the perpetrator was, but not why so it was still satisfying once that became clear… A bit of an unusual motive and lots of red herrings to look out for.

All in all, this is a book to be devoured in one or two sittings. Don’t take it too seriously, enjoy it for the suspense and the drama and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Synopsis: Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.

The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

So compulsive you can’t stop reading.

So chilling you won’t stop talking about it.

A pitch-black and devastatingly original psychological thriller.

The Bone Field by Simon Kernick

5 stars!

I can see lots of people have opted to give this book 4 stars, however, for the sheer pace of it and the fact that I couldn’t put it down, I have to go with 5 stars.

The Bone Field offers some brilliant new characters alongside the much loved DI Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd; these two are literally made for each other.

I really enjoyed the storyline surrounding the character Ramon, without dropping any spoilers, I would have enjoyed reading more about him and his life.

As you would expect from Kernick, this book moves at breakneck speed, flitting across countries and timelines with careless abandon – all the while tightening the screw of suspense with each and every page.

To be fair, it’s a bit of a no brainer isn’t it, if you liked his previous books then you will love this!

 

Synopsis: From the best-selling author of Stay Alive, The Final Minute and The Witness.

When the bones of a 21-year old woman who went missing without trace in Thailand in 1990, are discovered in the grounds of an old Catholic school in Buckinghamshire, an enduring mystery takes on a whole new twist. Her boyfriend at the time, and the man who reported her missing, Henry Forbes, now a middle-aged university lecturer, comes forward with his lawyer and tells DI Ray Mason of the Met’s Homicide Command that he knows what happened to Kitty, and who killed her.

So begins a hunt for the truth that will focus on a ruthless crime gang, a rich, dysfunctional family with a terrible past, and a highly ambitious man so cruel and ruthless that he must be brought down at any cost…

A Dark so Deadly by Stuart MacBride

5 stars from me!

I just didn’t want this book to end! As much as I desperately wanted to know who the killer was, I felt like I could have kept on reading about these characters for ever.

Poor DC Callum MacGregor, sometimes life really does rain down on you from a great height doesn’t it but he is such a fantastic character throughout this book, so well defined, and the fact he is essentially just a really decent guy radiates from the pages.

The ‘Misfit Mob’ have all the markings of being more than just a standalone – or maybe they will be the launchpad for a whole new series starring DC Callum MacGregor; I hope so. Mother and her little band of rejects make for a very interesting read.

I also love the parallels between these characters and earlier MacBride genius inventions. The bag of jellybabies is not lost on us.

Really good book, inventive story, interesting new characters and I simply didn’t want to put it down.

 

Synopsis: Gripping standalone thriller from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series.

Welcome to the Misfit Mob…

It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?

The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay

4 stars from me

I’ve only given The Twenty-Three 4 stars but have now realised I haven’t read book 2 in the Promise Falls Trilogy! Whoops. This will have to be remedied and may will mean that the star count on this book will be adjusted!

I have read Broken Promise but am clearly now going to have to find myself a copy of Far From True. What a schoolboy error.

 

As ever with Linwood Barclay books, this is a fast paced story with many, many different threads to follow. You need to keep your wits about you in order to keep up.

The depth of this story is quite staggering, how on earth the author managed to keep everything intact and true to the earlier emergences of this story is so impressive. Did he have everything pegged out from day 1?

Judging it purely on this book alone, I got muddled with one of the characters and the reasons for his actions, I would have enjoyed more clarity on this which possibly I would have gained from reading book 2. I could kick myself for not reading them in order so I most definitely recommend you avoid my stupidity and read them as intended!

On the whole, this is a big book and yet I flew through it. There are so many characters and yet they are all different quirky and unique with their own back story and definitions – Linwood Barclay truly is the master of thriller writing and building depth to his books.

I just noticed today that my favourite ever Barclay book is being made into a film, I am SO excited. I can’t wait to see it! So if you haven’t yet read Never Saw It Coming, may I suggest you read that next 🙂

 

Synopsis: A dark cloud of suspicion and fear continues to hang over the town of Promise Falls.

A series of bizarre, ominously threatening incidents suggests someone is plotting to take revenge on the town. But who is the perpetrator, and revenge for what? Now the time for threats is over. And the inhabitants are about to discover the truth, with devastating consequences.

Killing Kate by Alex Lake

5 stars from me!

Well, first things first, I am now clearly going to have to go and find myself a copy of After Anna by Alex Lake as Killing Kate was so darn good!

My boys bought me this for mother’s day as they know how much I enjoy a good serial killer thriller!

Killing Kate did not disappoint. I was gripped early on and towards the end I was desperately racing through the pages to see what happened next – this is a really well paced, tension building thriller.

I had a few suspects in mind and therefore wasn’t entirely surprise by who the killer was but he did show his hand much earlier than I was expecting. From that moment on the book is roller coaster!

One teeny tiny gripe and POTENTIAL SPOILER so don’t read on if you don’t want to…. There is no way he would have let her have a phone in her hand. Absolutely no way. But, still a whooping 5 stars from me as it really was an entertaining read and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of After Anna!

Oh, and, I totally thought it was written by a woman.

 

Synopsis: A serial killer is stalking your home town.

He has a type: all his victims look the same.

And they all look like you.

Kate returns from a post break-up holiday with her girlfriends to news of a serial killer in her home town – and his victims all look like her.

It could, of course, be a simple coincidence.

Or maybe not.

She becomes convinced she is being watched, followed even. Is she next? And could her mild-mannered ex-boyfriend really be a deranged murderer?

Or is the truth something far more sinister?

Unspeakable by Tony Marturano

Unspeakable4 Stars from me.

Having recently had the pleasure of being part of the ‘reader’s group‘ for upcoming Novel, Psychosis, I knew I had to set about reading the back catalogue of the ever so talented Mr Marturano.

One of the others at the group said to me ‘If you like being scared, you’ll love Unspeakable.’

How could I not read it after that?

I didn’t know what to expect, I’ve taken a slightly odd stance recently of not reading the fly cover or a synopsis before starting a book. I am not yet sure if this is a good idea but it’s what I’m going with for now!

I found Unspeakable to almost be a book of two parts. The beginning was introductory, scene building, drawing me into the lives and minds of the key characters. Characterisation, as I would fully expect, was excellent. Well defined people came to life on pages before me as I read. The descriptive powers of Tony Marturano are really quite excellent – buildings, rooms, people, sensations and feelings are all clear and distinct.

Just when you get comfortable with this world, the tension changes. Stupidly (or maybe not) for me, I read the majority of the second half of the book at night… I know a book or film as got into my mind when I find that I don’t want to switch off the bedroom light and walk 10 feet to bed in darkness!

This is a deliciously dark and malevolent read. If you like a book with twists and surprises, you will like this book. If you like a book to make you feel uneasy, jump when you hear a noise, question whether or not you locked the back door, you will like this book!

Did I like the ending?

 

Because I know, if Tony reads this, he will welcome feedback:

Length – just right!
Characters – vivid and real.
Favourite character – Rupert.
Least favourite character – Elisabeth/Adam.
Favourite place – Heron Heights.
Was I scared – yes.
Buzz words (sadly not in a useful order): Intrigued, interested, scared, safe, envious, uncomfortable, peril, deceit, protection, fear.

Synopsis: “There’s something standing over there, in the shadows, and it’s watching me.”

Kenning Hall was more than a country home, it was a sanctuary away from London, until that day. What happened that day was so horrifying, so devastating, that the place was left to ruin, until now. 

A decade later, thirty-two year old Rupert Harrison, the only surviving heir to the Harrison publishing dynasty, has ordered Kenning Hall restored to its former glory. 

It’s time to go back. 

Now, if you think you’ve heard this story before, think again, for this is just the beginning. 

Something is waiting at Kenning Hall. 
Something vengeful, malevolent, and it will follow them home.