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.

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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?

In The Dark by Cara Hunter

5 stars from me

Clever clever book.

I absolutely loved Close to Home so was almost concerned that I could only like In the Dark less, simply because the only way left was – in theory – down. How wrong I was. To start with you leap straight into a police procedural and I was wondering in my head whether I was enjoying the style – then had to laugh to myself as I realised that I’d had a cup of tea, two cups of coffee and some toast and I was 49% through the book.

Cara Hunter is the queen of ‘unputdownable’, you find yourself utterly sucked into the story and needing desperately to know what happens next.

I look forward to reading more DI Adam Fawley books and I hope that his current colleagues will still be in the team, particularly Gis, Somer, Quinn and Everett. Very intriguing sub plots run alongside the main story without detracting from it.

There were so many different strands to In the Dark, it is a very clever and well put together tale. It moves fast and you should do yourself a favour and cancel your weekend plans so that you can get comfy, get the kettle on and read!

My thanks to NetGalley for a review copy 🙂

 

Synopsis: DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive…

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. And the elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock – how could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . .

A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood

5 stars from me (can I give it 6?)

This book hits you hard from page 1 and simply does not stop.

A Room Full of Killers is sheer brilliance; Michael Wood has excelled himself with not only his characterisation of DCI Darke but also the base elements of humanity, the melancholy that resides within us all and a simply brilliant story.

I think if I were a detective I’d be like Matilda, single, relentless and living in a house filled with books – although you may have to swap the treadmill for a couple of cats. That’s what makes her so fabulous, so tangible, it’s her realness, her flaws and her fallibleness that all make her so believable. She truly is the perfect heroine, and if I were ever wrongly convicted I would like it to be her who looked into my case.

The characters in this book – from the main stayers to those in the sidelines – all come to life within the pages and all of them are real and solid. I can totally see this series being televised and I cannot wait to see who plays Matilda.

As ever, Michael Wood plays homage to some of the crime thriller greats and I love this ‘nod’ to his peers and contemporaries.

As well as being a cracking crime thriller, A Room Full of Killers takes on some pretty weighty issues. Is a killer born or created? Is it nature or nurture? Can you ever truly atone and repent? Should we – society – allow killers to obtain a first class education from within prison, allowing them a potentially brighter future than someone who went through the mill of a comprehensive education? Is it right for a killer to be given a new life and a fresh slate – how well do you ever know anyone?

Although I am sure this would make for a great standalone, I urge you to begin with the first in the series For Reasons Unknown so that you have some history that will add depth and resonance to A Room Full of Killers.

So, thank you Michael Wood for this series which I am enjoying immensely and for bringing DCI Matilda Darke and her team into my life. Sometimes, just sometimes, I could almost forgive you for not being that keen on cats.

 

Synopsis: ‘DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine’ Elly Griffiths

The third book in Michael Wood’s darkly compelling crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.

Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…

Feared by the people of Sheffield, Starling House is home to some of Britain’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison. Now the building’s latest arrival, Ryan Asher, has been found brutally murdered – stabbed twelve times, left in a pool of blood.

When DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, they uncover the secrets of a house tainted by evil. Kate Moloney, the prison’s manager, is falling apart, the security system has been sabotaged, and neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.

There’s only one person Matilda believes is innocent, and he’s facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate. And find a murderer in a house full of killers…

 

Mine by J L Butler

4 stars from me!

I confess to struggling for the first few pages – maybe a different writing style, maybe the sex, maybe just my own expectation – but then, suddenly, BAM, I was hooked!

The further I read into this book the less I was able to put it down. In truth, I read a couple of chapters yesterday morning and then read the entire rest of the book today. It is most definitely a page turner AND I didn’t guess whodunnit!

Really loved the psychology and the legal talk and most definitely felt echoes of Apple Tree Yard. For me, I have gone with 4 stars rather than 5 because the sex nearly put me off the book. Not because I am a prude, but because I almost mistook it for a lesser book than it actually is – I had a horrible feeling I’d stumbled into 50 shades novel, I know it is meant to get across that there is passion, risk and obsession but it felt cheap.

On the whole though, it is a really great read and you won’t want to put it down!

My thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

Synopsis: Fatal Attraction meets Apple Tree Yard. This debut novel is compulsive and will be your new obsession.

My CLIENT
My LOVER

Francine Day is a high flying lawyer about to apply for silk, ambitious and brilliant. She just needs one headline grabbing client to seal her place as queen’s counsel … Martin Joy. The attraction is instant. Obsessive.

They embark on a secret affair and Francine thinks she can hold it together. But then Martin’s wife goes missing. And Martin is the prime suspect. Francine is now his lawyer, lover and the last person to see Donna Joy alive.

As the case unravels so does Francine.

Her HUSBAND
My OBSESSION

The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

5 stars from me

I received this book as a birthday present from my son which allowed me to indulge in the luxury of reading a hardback!

I read The Woman in the Window in three sittings, and if I hadn’t have had to go out (i.e. to work!) it would have been two. Is this a compliment, I hope so, I thought A J Finn was a woman as they captured Anna’s perspective so well. Reminiscent of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train – only in so much as they are all absolute slam dunks!

The story telling and the creation of poor Dr Anna Fox’s world is magnificent. I lived and breathed her locked in world with her and saw life through her eyes. The old movie references throughout were utterly sublime and made me crave a slice of her bonkers existence!

A few have bemoaned that they saw twists coming. I thought I had as well but on reflection I wonder if some of the ‘twists’ are so obvious that you are meant to suss them out because you then read on with that knowledge in your head, which I feel enhances the depth of the story in a lot of ways.

I didn’t guess the overall ‘whodunnit and why’ and I truly enjoyed racing my way through these pages. I simply have to give it 5 stars as I now feel slightly bereft that its over and I can no longer dip into Anna’s world.

A great, fast paced, wham bam thank you mam of a read.

 

Synopsis: Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Stanley Smartpants and the Mackerel Robberies by Alexander Martin

4 stars from me!

What is there not to like about this super cat based thriller? A mystery to solve, a town full of cats and a cleverly created cat-police force – what can I say, you had me at miaow.

This book is aimed at the young reader and I sincerely hope it will pave the way for the next generation of plot hungry literary sleuths.

A crime has been committed in Cat-Haven-on-Sea and Sargeant Stanley Smartpants and the rest of the delightfully kooky cat-haven cat-police must follow the clues to find the culprit.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a simple tale, oh no, a lot of craftsmanship has gone into constructing a town and well defined characters, not to mention a mystery to solve.

I am sure that younger children will enjoy having the book read to them, just as much as young readers will race through the pages independently when they can – giggling at the antics of the cat-detectives – as much as adults will genuinely look forward to following the story too.

Synopsis: Sergeant Stanley Smartpants is the coolest cat detective in town! In the town of Cat-Haven-on-Sea that is. His boss is Chief Inspector Derek Dimwit, and as you might guess he’s not a very bright cat. Together they investigate a series of robberies. At each one of the crime scenes they discover the skeleton of a dead mackerel.

Stanley and his team of cat-detectives, like Jumping Jack (he’s very frisky!) and Marmalade Marmaduke (he just loves his toast and marmalade!), meet many crazy cats and get involved in hilarious situations. But they soon have a prime suspect, Beastly Boris, also known as Yuri Katakov, a former Russian ice-skating champion and part time dishwasher-cat. But is he the criminal-cat?

 

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

4 stars from me!

What a topsy turvy, twisty turny little thriller this is!

I think the best way to read this book is literally just to get on an read it, ignore all the existing reviews, clear your mind and dive in.

You will need your wits about you to keep up with the storyline which cleverly unravels – often leading you further along to yet another wrong conclusion.

Some likeable characters but actually not that many, which I always find to be a brave move from the author or authors in this case as I’ve noticed now that there are two names listed on the cover. (I wonder how that whole process works?)

All loose ends are tied up as the story comes to a close but brace yourself as there are lots of loose ends and lots of pieces of information which pull together to tighten the noose around a cracking read.

I’ve seen lots of reviews which compare this to Gone Girl and, although I see why, I personally don’t think The Wife Between Us would make for a blockbuster movie – maybe I’ll be proved wrong on that one.

 

Synopsis: When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. 

You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.

Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

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 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.