Neighbours From Hell by Steven Suttie

Neighbours from hell5 Stars From Me!

I absolutely adored this book! The characterisation is sublime. I was literally hooked from the beginning and the way the central characters came to life on the page was an absolute masterclass.

Neighbours From Hell is gripping, engaging, funny, sweet and frustrating and all because you find yourself feeling the injustice, love, pain as you read along.

I can’t remember the last time I was so immediately sucked into a story and felt it burst into life in this way.

I haven’t read One Man Crusade but I am literally off to go and buy it now!

Fabulous work, Steven Suttie, I am a new fan and can’t wait to read more.

…one tiny thing… SPOILER ALERT PLEASE LOOK AWAY – I was disappointed that DCI Miller was so gullible.

Synopsis: The Haughton Park development just outside Manchester is an exclusive new suburb of expensive homes for professional families. When the developer fails to sell half of the properties, the project is thrown into financial chaos.The local council steps in with a workable solution. They propose to use the unsold homes as social housing for homeless families, in return for the much needed cash injection that the developer needs to pay the bills.

It’s a win-win situation. Or is it?

Many of the home-owners are up-in-arms at the proposal. They don’t want the place over-run with the poor. They start a media campaign to stop the plans. But they are defeated. The homeless families are given temporary accommodation on the swish development.

Mum of four Rachel Birdsworth is one of the new residents, and she’s determined to get past these stupid class differences. She does her very best to get along with everybody and make new friends. It all starts off quite well. But when she realizes that the home-owner across the road is a wife-beating bully, and that his wife is a virtual prisoner in the home, she wants to help. But this kind of help has deadly consequences.

DCI Andrew Miller is back, trying to get to the bottom of what exactly has happened over at Haughton Park in this heart-stopping, dark thriller from One Man Crusade author Steven Suttie.

WARNING, Contains bad language at times, particularly when the poor are talking. Includes the very worst swear word (on two occasions). Please do not purchase if offended by swearing. Thank you. 

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No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary

No Other DarknessAfter enjoying Someone Else’s Skin so much I went straight on to read No Other Darkness, also by Sarah Hilary, and I’m glad I did as it is just as excellent.

Marnie Rome is back as our central police character and this time she is delving into an even more sinister set of people and circumstances as she tries to solve a seemingly cold case involving two dead brothers.

No Other Darkness kept me guessing all the way through as my brain tried to piece together all the little snippets about people and come up with a conclusion. There are two stories that you know will converge at some point and it is interesting trying to pin down who you think is ‘good or bad’ as the story unfolds.

Another resounding success as far as I am concerned, my only stumbling point with these books is that to me they feel more as though they are set in America than in the UK. Not really a negative point, I just had to keep reminding myself that it was in London.

Synopsis:

Two young boys.
Trapped underground in a bunker.
Unable to understand why they are there.
Desperate for someone to find them.
Slowly realising that no-one will…

Five years later, the boys’ bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome’s career begins.

Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.

For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this…

Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary

Someone Else's Skin

Oooh loving Sarah Hilary‘s writing! In fact I loved this book so much that I immediately read No Other Darkness straight afterwards!

Marnie Rome’s character is strong, she brings feistiness and inspiration to this sad tale centring around the lives of women in a refuge.

All of the women are in the refuge for different reasons and each have their own demons and secrets.

Someone Else’s Skin lifts the lid on this private world and offers many different view points while Marnie and her colleagues attempt to solve the case.

Loved the bit with the radio, very satisfying!

Synopsis: Winner of the Theakston’s 2015 Crime Novel of the Year, and a 2014 Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Devastating and brilliant, Sarah Hilary’s SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN has been acclaimed as ‘stunning’ by Mark Billingham and ‘superbly disturbing’ by the Observer.

Called to a woman’s refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder.

Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons.

Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most…

Hammerhead by Mark Black

Hammerhead3.5 stars from me

I read Hammerhead on kindle so I didn’t have any prior ‘feel’ for it, and to me it felt like quite a short book which I wasn’t really expecting. It was a quick read that focussed around one central character, Mark Foster, and his current target ‘prey’ Mark Allingham (calling them both Mark, odd).

I enjoyed Mark Foster’s character in the book, I’ve read that this is recommended to fans of Dexter and I can see why that connection has been made; although Hammerhead didn’t for me contain the humour of Dexter, it was certainly engaging.

Although I did enjoy reading it, for me it lacked a punch and various areas of it were just a little too far fetched (I know, I know, it’s a novel) but even though I frequently enjoy blatantly ficticious novels I guess some of them must feel more credible. Please don’t let that put you off, I would definitely read more by Thomas Black.

I loved the little shark snippets between each chapter.

Overall – a good, fast, enjoyable read.

 

Synopsis: Mark Foster is not just a passport controller. He is also a ruthless killer.

Everyone falls into two categories, he believes – murderers and victims. And he is no victim…

By the time hotshot City boy Mark Allingham strays across his deadly path, Foster has already caught his scent.

The self-styled ‘Shark’, Allingham is as arrogant and irredeemable as they come. Filthy rich with no sympathy for those underneath him, Mark ‘the Shark’ stops at nothing to line his pockets.

Watching from the wings, Foster’s bank account groans and his lust for blood sharpens.

Unable to control himself, this devilishly dark-minded passport controller delves into Allingham’s life, revealing untold secrets and dirty affairs.

Illegal deals. Corporate corruption. Illicit love affairs.

Stealing into Allingham’s apartment, Foster is about to learn what lies beneath the pompous yet clean façade.

Indeed, all is not well for this ambitious city-dealer.

But when he discovers that an officer from the Financial Services’ Authority is investigating the Shark as well, he must decide how to avoid getting caught.

Can he quench his bloodthirst without taking down Allingham?

Or has the game only just begun for the hunter and his ‘Hammerhead’ prey?

YOU by Caroline Kepnes

YOU4 stars from me!

I seem to be reading a lot of seriously creepy books at the moment and YOU by Caroline Kepnes is right up there with the best of them.

Main character and all round proper psycho, Joe Goldberg, is horribly fascinating and all too believable as he so swiftly and utterly invades the lives of anyone he fancies. His ability to switch between Joe the perfect dreamboat boyfriend into Joe the certifiably insane is slick and scary.

Probably the creepiest thing about this book is quite how easy it would be to fall prey to someone like Joe. It does make you want to wipe out your internet presence and deal in cash only!

All in all a perversely enjoyable read, it does get a little bit far fetched in a couple of places which is why I’ve scored it four stars rather than five – but even so I still highly recommend it if you like a book that will mess with your mind!

I can quite easily see this being made into a film and I can’t wait to read more by Caroline Kepnes.

As much as I’ve enjoyed this book, stalking is a horrible, invasive crime that all too frequently leads on to assault or worse. If you need any further information please see: http://www.stalkinghelpline.org/faq/about-the-law/

Synopsis: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. 

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.

Normal by Graeme Cameron

Normal5 Stars from me!

I grabbed this book on a whim while in Tesco and I’m so glad that I did! Normal is a brilliant read from start to finish and I have to confess I think I have a worrying crush on the main character who is quite unashamedly a sociopath.

I absolutely adored his character and also that of Erica, I felt that she could offer quite an interesting book of her own and was potentially a very suitable mate for him; although they’d both always have to sleep with one eye open. The other ladies in the book didn’t quite resonate in the same way.

I also really liked the ending although I would imagine some people may disagree – without giving anything away, I can totally see why it ended that way.

I will await with great anticipation the next book from Graeme Cameron.

Synopsis: This is a love story. No, really.

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you as you pass him and apologising with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving to let you into the lane ahead of him.

What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will–one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal…and it works. Perfectly.

Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room…the others. He doesn’t need any of them anymore. He needs only her. One small problem – he still has someone trapped in his garage.

Discovering his humanity couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

The Wicked Girls5 Stars from me!

The Wicked Girls centres around a handful of main characters and leads you on a journey between present day and a dreadful summer morning in 1986.

The storyline is utterly compelling, I just couldn’t put it down and kept finding myself reading a chapter here and there – squeezing it in between tasks and wishing I could lock myself away to spend a whole day reading it!

The subject matter of The Wicked Girls isn’t great, to be honest it kept making me think of poor little Jamie Bulger but Alex Marwood doesn’t glorify or sensationalise this aspect of it at all – which made it possible for me to read it. The focus of the book isn’t on the crime but more on the aftermath.

I found myself completely hooked by this simple tale and couldn’t help but feel empathy for the murderers – not something I feel overly comfortable with but that just highlights the strength of Marwood’s writing.

This is perfect for a holiday read or a rainy weekend where you can devote yourself entirely to devouring this book. I can’t recommend this enough and I have already lined up a copy of The Killer Next Door to read next!

Synopsis: One fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.

Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day when they were just children. But with new lives – and families – to protect, will they really be able to keep their secret hidden?

 

Caedmon’s Song by Peter Robinson

Caedmon's Song5 Stars from me!

I loved Caedmon’s Song, it was fabulous from beginning to end.

Such a pleasure to read an artfully constructed story which doesn’t disappoint. The end of Caedmon’s song is just as riveting as the beginning and it keeps you hooked all the way through.

The turnabout from standard police procedural was very clever too, the police make only the tiniest of appearances throughout the story leaving the main characters capture your attention.

This really is a refreshing and engaging read and I heartily recommend it, although I suspect it may appeal more to women than men.

The quote on the front cover says ‘it would be easy to become addicted to Robinson‘ and I have to say I quite agree.

Synopsis: A psychological thriller from the author of the bestselling Inspector Banks series.

On a balmy June night, Kirsten, a young university student, strolls home through a silent, moonlit park. Suddenly her tranquil mood is shattered as she is viciously attacked.

When she awakes in hospital, she has no recollection of that brutal night. But then, slowly and painfully, details reveal themselves – dreams of two figures, one white and one black, hovering over her; wisps of a strange song; the unfamiliar texture of a rough and deadly hand…

In another part of England, Martha Browne arrives in Whitby, posing as an author doing research for a book. But her research is of a particularly macabre variety. Who is she hunting with such deadly determination? And why?

The Girl in 6E by A R Torre

Girl 6E3.5 Stars from me

What a rude book *blushes*

Rude as in saucy, racy, sexy – and way more so than I was expecting from reading the back cover! I’d think twice about lending it to someone purely because of this.

Having said that, it isn’t an arousing form of saucy so don’t rush out and buy it thinking it’s the next 50 Shades. (Not that I’ve read 50 Shades.) The, quite graphic, sexual descriptions relate to the web cam work that Jessica does to earn a living, it goes into detail and is clearly well researched. Have to admit though I found it overkill after a while, yes we get the idea. I loved Jeremy but I doubt he realistically would have got involved.

I wanted to rate this book much higher but in the end can’t do it as too much was fluffed over. I think it was a bit daft to portray her as a dangerous killer – simply the wrong stance. She could have been reclusive based on her experiences of life and that would have made sense but the ‘you aren’t safe around me’ stuff was a bit naff in the end.

Ignoring that, the book was excellent and without it (and with a bit less cam sex!) I would easily have been giving it 5 stars.

Still a good book and an enjoyable read all the same – although not one to read in a public place!

Synopsis: I haven’t touched a human in three years. That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it’s not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet.

I am, quite possibly, the most popular recluse ever. Not many shut-ins have a 200-member fan club, a bank account in the seven-figure range, and hundreds of men lining up to pay for undivided attention.

They get satisfaction, I get a distraction. Their secret desires are nothing compared to why I hide… my lust for blood, my love of death.

Taking their money is easy. Keeping all these secrets… one is bound to escape.

What if you hid yourself away because all you could think of was killing? And what if one girl’s life depending on you venturing into society?

Enter a world of lies, thrills, fears, and all desires, in this original thriller from A. R. Torre.