Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman

4 Stars from me

Killing Pretties does exactly what it says on the tin but with an unhealthy mix of swinging, torture, lies and corruption thrown in!

I would have loved to have seen the faces of the author’s friends and family when they first read this book…

Khenan Malice is a superb character, flawed as hell and happy to operate by fair means or foul.

I have to confess that my favourite characters, however, were actually the Kaplans. They were so incredibly messed up and yet somehow managed to find each other – as an aside, that is something I’ve always found fascinating in general, how do the likes Brady/Hindley, the Wests etc find their ‘kindred spirits’?

Kelly Pietersen’s character was a good one, I look forward to reading more about her in future stories – she was a slower burn for me than Malice but I liked her by the end and thought they made a good pairing.

Elsa was fabulously awful throughout the story. She oozes sexuality and knows it and uses it, is obsessed with power and appears utterly devoid of any empathy for others. Why she was this way never really came to light. Damian, however, was a sad and broken individual who at times was almost likeable and certainly the more relatable of the two. It felt as though with a different upbringing – and had he never have met Elsa – he could potentially have led a normal life.

The pottery was a wonderful touch.

Are we all just two steps from madness?

My thanks to BOTBSPublicity and Rob Ashman for letting me take part in this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: Detective Sergeant Khenan Malice is a rubbish ex-husband, a crap father but a damned good detective. It’s a shame he spoils his only redeeming quality by being a bent copper.

Detective Kelly Pietersen joins the team to help find a missing woman. But she has a secret…

Damien Kaplan is a leading criminal barrister and a keen amateur potter. He also happens to be a serial killer with a chilling approach to creating his art. He’s married to Elsa, though she considers him more of a possession than a husband. She controls those around her using sex and procures men and women for her husband to play with but only after she’s finished with them first.

Killing Pretties is his passion, having sex with them is hers. It is difficult to say which one is worse.

The missing woman brings all four crashing together – an incendiary mix that doesn’t end well.

Rage and Retribution by Lorraine Mace

4 Stars from me

There is a lovely little moral dilemma running through the core of Rage and Retribution – the question of whether two wrongs make a right.

In the story, we soon learn that there is a person ‘Nemesis’ who is enacting revenge upon rapists, so far so good right… However, Nemesis has taken the act of retribution to its darkest edge and, much like in Retriever of Souls, Lorraine Mace leads us into some very uncomfortable, brutal and graphic scenes.

I’m a bit on the fence regarding my opinion of DI Paolo Sterling – most of the time I like him but there isn’t just something about him that rankles a little. Dave however seems like a top guy whereas the rest of the team seem 50/50.

There are some interesting little subplots throughout the story which add depth to the lead characters making them more real.

Overall a very interesting take on ‘can two wrongs make a right’ within a fast paced race to unearth the culprit.

My thanks to Lorraine Mace and Damp Pebbles for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: Can two wrongs ever make a right?

A man is found by the side of a canal, comatose and brutally attacked.

It quickly becomes clear that someone is abducting men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. After three days they’re released, fighting for their lives and refusing to speak.

A councillor is accused of fraud.

Montague Mason is an upstanding member of the community. That is until he’s publicly accused of stealing the youth centre’s funds – an accusation that threatens to rip through the very heart of the community and expose his best-kept secret. But how far would he go to protect himself?

Two cases. One deadly answer.

As the two cases collide, D.I. Paolo Sterling finds he has more questions than answers. And, when torture escalates to murder, he suddenly finds himself in a race against time to find the killer and put an end to the depravity – once and for all.

The Resident by David Jackson

5 Stars from me!

Oh I absolutely loved The Resident! David Jackson somehow manages to elevate what should be a really creepy and disturbing book into a pure genius black comedy.

Thomas Brogan – depraved serial killer – is bizarrely likeable and by far my favourite character (except maybe the little old lady). I really found myself rooting for him and at times was almost willing him to do bad things – David Jackson, what have you done to my mind?

Not your traditional crime thriller by any means but absolutely readable, absolutely brilliant and highly recommended by me!

Blurb: THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN. AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE…

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer, and he has nowhere left to hide. At least until he finds an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he discovers that he can access three other houses through the attic space, the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Brogan enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

30 Days in June by Chris Westlake

4 Stars from me

Super creepy and loads of tension – 30 Days in June is a book that you will struggle to put down.

Marcus is an unusual character and I found him a little hard to truly like most of the time – but I guess that stems from the catalogue of horrors that have formed his life.

When, 30 years after a serial killer first strikes, someone calls Marcus by his old name, he is ricocheted back into the past and immediately fearful for his life. However it seems that the depraved – and patient, right – serial killer wants to play a game first.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for ‘Marcus’ and his family – they well and truly went through the mill didn’t they!

Marcus meets some eclectic ‘allies’ along the way as he struggles to fight the serial killer who almost took his life 3 decades before and for the month of June the clock ticks down to a final confrontations – but who will survive?

30 Days in June is a compelling read with a steady pace – albeit with a rapidly building tension – with a satisfying ending.

My thanks to Chris Westlake and Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for letting me be a part of this book tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: On the 1st day of June 1988, the residents of south Wales were thrown into a state of panic when a married couple were brutally murdered in their own home. The killer, nicknamed Spartacus by the media, did not flee the scene immediately; instead, he stayed to carve Roman Numerals onto his victims’ chests.

This was the beginning of a month-long killing spree, each murder taking a step closer to home.

Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Allen was to be the final victim, on the final day of the month. Instead, he became the only survivor, and the only real witness. The killings ended as suddenly as they began. Jeffrey relocated to London, changing his name, and his identity, to Marcus Clancy. His past life became merely a dark secret.

On 1st June 2018, 30 years to the day since the first killing, a mysterious figure refers to Marcus by his old name, through closing lift doors.

Is Spartacus back? If so, has he returned to finish what he failed to do thirty years ago?

And so begins 30 days of terror for Marcus Clancy, culminating in dramatic fashion on the final day of June.

30 DAYS IN JUNE is Chris Westlake’s third novel, and his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second crime thriller, and is on schedule to have it completed in 2020.

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

4 Stars from me

Classic Coben! The book packs so much in that you will fast be immersed in the story and invested in the characters.

Wilde is a ‘Jack Reacher’ style guy with an incredible past that ties him to the family of ruthless criminal attorney Hester Crimstein. He is liked and respected by men and adored by (several) women.

The story focuses on a missing teenager and a murky political past but also manages to weave in some nice emotive touches and several peaks of tension.

Overall, very Coben and very readable!

Blurb: A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

The Split by Sharon Bolton

4 Stars from me

This fabulous thriller will keep you guessing!

I had no idea what to expect from The Split and was soon engrossed in the storyline which begins with Felicity Lloyd fleeing someone across the ice on the remote island of South Georgia before whizzing back to the weeks and months that lead up to this point.

The Split is a fast-paced, multi-faceted thriller with some great characters – all of whom seemed to have an interesting backstory! Joe and his mum were an unconventional pairing although I liked their dynamic.

Felicity herself I found hard to connect with. I enjoyed the counselling conversations although there are some bits and pieces that I now need to go and research!

Have to say I also found the parts about South Georgia and the ice/wildlife fascinating!

Blurb: She’s got nowhere else to hide…and now he’s searching for her.

Two years ago Felicity Lloyd desperately signed up for an extended research trip working on the remote island of South Georgia.

It was her only way to escape.

And now he’s coming for her.

Freddie Lloyd has just got out of prison for murder and is on his way to where Felicity is hiding.

And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.

Because no matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you…

Tense, gripping and with a twist you won’t see coming, Sharon Bolton is back in an explosive new thriller about a woman on the run…

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

5 Stars from me!

There’s a song by the Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow, and is what this book is BOOM, BOOM, POW!

I loved ‘I Know Who You Are’ and I devoured it in one day, I just had to keep reading and going back to it as I couldn’t for the life of me fathom how it was going to turn out.

I was hooked very early on and found both story strands to be equally compelling and brilliantly clever even though they each have a completely different pace and tone.

Alice Feeney has created hugely engaging story and I am thrilled to note this is her second book so there is another out there for me to read too. I’ve just spotted from her twitter bio that she’s had 10 years of rejections – wow, I guess there are some agents out there who are kicking themselves now!

Also, this book is SO devious, SO clever – you know you can sometimes win competitions to have ‘lunch with an author’ (I saw one earlier today in fact to win lunch with Lee Child – something I could never do as all I would end up doing is saying ‘Really? Really, Tom Cruise? Are you kidding me?’ which is probably rude) well suffice it to say if you end up going for lunch with Alice Feeney’s dark and ingenuitive mind it might make sense to let someone know where you are!

Synopsis: l Know Who You Are is the brilliant tale of two stories. One is about Aimee Sinclair—well-known actress on the verge of being full-on famous. If you saw her, you’d think you knew her. One day towards the near-end of her shoot on her latest film, Aimee comes home from filming to find her husband’s cell phone and wallet on the dining room table. He never goes anywhere without them. But he’s nowhere to be found. She’s not too concerned—they had a huge fight the night before. They both said things they didn’t mean. He might have done things he didn’t mean, things she can’t forget. Even though she has a history of supposedly forgetting. After all, she’s a very good actress.

The next morning she goes for her morning run and then goes to her favorite coffee shop. But her card is denied. When she calls the bank they say her account has been emptied of $10,000. She immediately suspects her husband. But they say no, it was Aimee herself who closed out the account. And thus begins a bizarre rabbit hole into which Aimee finds herself falling where nothing is at it seems.

Alternating with Aimee’s story is that of a little girl who wandered away from home. We always tell our kids not to talk to strangers or bad things will happen. Well, bad things happen.

In I Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master at brilliantly complicated plots and twists after twists. 

 

Eye for Eye by J K Franko

5 Stars from me

What is it they say about not judging a book by its cover… Well with a cover as striking as this one I couldn’t help but be intrigued and Book 1 of the Talion Series – Eye for Eye by JK Franko did not disappoint.

Eye for Eye has it all from murder, mystery, clever cover ups and hidden secrets to police questioning, allegations of rape and many questions of morality along the way. The characters are well defined and relatable and the scene imagery is stunning, you’ll see for yourself when you read it but there are so many descriptive passages that leap off the page and into your mind.

Although this is primarily a crime thriller, there is a subtle undercurrent of a wicked sense of humour throughout which particularly appealed to me.

This is a beautifully crafted example of an intelligent thriller. I can honestly say I was hooked from the first few pages of the book and I can’t wait for the next one in the series; this debut author has truly made his mark.

As ever, no spoilers from me!

If having a brilliant book isn’t enough, there is a brilliant book launch coming up soon too – details are here if you fancy coming along to Covent Garden https://jkfranko.com/2019/03/01/limited-vip-fan-tickets-giveaway-be-part-of-the-story-at-eye-for-eyes-london-book-launch/

 

Synopsis: When I first met Susie, she appeared to be a normal, happily-married woman dealing with tragedy.

Then, I uncovered her secrets.

While I could understand everything that she’d done, I could never approve.

But, knowing what she was capable of, it became clear that if I was going to survive her, I had to play by her rules.

And, the first and most important rule is… leave no singing bones.

The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards

4 Stars from me

This clever tale is a psychological thriller which had me feeling at times as though I was on a roller coaster climbing towards the top of a slope that I knew would soon be hurtling me down the other side!

There are some really great (for great read awful, despicable, deplorable) characters within these pages who you simply can’t help but loathe – are you right or wrong about them though, that is the question.

I half thought this book wouldn’t live up to the blurb, I worried it might be too fluffy and possibly even a hybrid crossing the chic lit borderline; trust me, it isn’t, it is a stone cold psychological thriller that will well and truly leave you guessing!

Synopsis: A gripping psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies.

It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.

As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

4 stars from me!

Cracking debut, I love the DS Manon Bradshaw character and as someone else has said on a review – I didn’t want it to end.

Missing, Presumed is set in Cambridgeshire which made it all the more appealing to me as I am familiar with a lot of the place names and can picture them very clearly as I read.

Manon is just fabulous, she reminded me of a mix of DCI Matilda Darke, Vera Stanhope and Olivia Coleman – yes I know that is a meld of the living and the fictional! The rest of her team are also good solid players – I completely love Davy.

This is a brilliantly creative storyline, essentially focusing on a missing person yet with a whole host of side stories and sub-plots ensuring that the narrative stays alive, busy and engaging. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by Susie Steiner.

Synopsis: Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?