The Silent Children by Carol Wyer #BookReview

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What’s it about?

The boy studied the bruise turning yellow at the base of his neck. With quick fingers his mother tightened his tie, and pulled his collar high above it. Her eyes alone said, We will not speak of this…

Years later, a man is found shot dead in a local park. On his phone is a draft text: I can’t keep this secret any longer. The recipient is unnamed.

Detective Robyn Carter knows this secret is the key to the case, but his friends and family don’t offer any clues, and all her team have to go on is a size-ten footprint.

Then a nurse is found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her staircase, and a seemingly insignificant detail in her friend’s statement makes Robyn wonder: are the two bodies connected, and has the killer only just begun?

When another body confirms Robyn’s worst fears, she realises she’s in a race against time to stop the killer before they strike again. But just as she thinks she’s closing in, one of her own team goes missing.

Buried in the past is a terrible injustice. Can Robyn uncover the truth before another life is lost?

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Review

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I’m not up to date usually reading a series but DI Robyn Carter is one of two exceptions I’ve made thanks to this author’s great writing. Carol Wyer just never fails to deliver an extraordinary story with every new novel that is published. All four books are entertaining, engrossing and if you like to read police procedurals then this series is absolutely one of the best and shouldn’t be missed out on. I adore police procedurals that are construed this way, with plenty of investigation, lots of possibilities to go through and where every tiny piece of information they gather seems to be a part of one big puzzle but can’t be pieced together right away. Robyn Carter is such a star in finding out how they all fit together.

Suffice to say, I very much liked this fourth novel and I believe it was the meatiest storyline yet, one which came with a whole slew of different characters that emerge one after another throughout the story and provide new questions and suspects. When starting this novel absolutely nothing gave me an indication where this story was going to wander off to and I was stunned when I saw the direction this took and the implications that came with making one important but – there’s no other way to see this in my opinion – quite immoral decision. Never did I suspect the people in the story to be connected in this way but it was fun to discover their connection and see the possibilities opening up. I did have an inkling of what might have been a motive once their connection was revealed but then I still didn’t know one hundred percent who was behind it all, even though I could follow someone’s story told from the time he was a child to the present day interspersed through the novel. I was really invested into these alternate chapters but still couldn’t figure out who he was and if this person was in fact responsible for people’s untimely deaths. I couldn’t predict the killer for a very long time which is what I love in these type of novels.

With every new novel I also get to know Robyn a little better and there are mysteries in her own life that continue to puzzle her as well, even though it wasn’t really explored very deeply yet. My only wish is I could have heard a little more about what happened on her late husband’s last day, I was so looking forward to it. Luckily she gets some diversion from little Schrödinger, a little black cat who reminds me of my own little furry friend and stole my heart from the minute I read about him. The novel ends with an interesting storyline in sight that could give some serious dilemma in the future for Robyn so I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m definitely continuing this series, it’s so good!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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The Good Samaritan by John Marrs #BookReview

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She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

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review-2

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Laura is a caretaker, a mother figure even for the other volunteers at The End of the Line. What nobody knows is that she acts compassionate for some, but is truly a silent killer for others. People who are at their lowest point and finally call and reach out to Laura are met with a professional lady on the other end of the line but one who clearly has a hidden agenda. She always sticks to the roadbook but she has her little ways to find out if people are willing to take the most drastic measures possible. She’s so self-centered and lacks any compassion for another human being and is so effective in hiding her true colours. She finds it a victory if she can add someone to her list. She sucks up the callers’ angst, their uneasiness, their desperation and their confusion. She lives off it and gets a thrill when hearing or imagining their last breath. It didn’t take long at all to realise how evil Laura’s character really was and I loved hating her.

The first hundred pages made my resentment towards Laura grow and grow and I could hardly wrap my head around it when reading how she justifies her actions that she’s ‘helping’ people. She’s got an amazing (awful) track record already and when she answers the phone to Steven who’s suffering depression she clocks a promising new candidate to guide towards the end. It won’t go exactly as she planned though and that’s the understatement of the year!

Myohmyohmy what a twisty turny novel this is! I felt I was watching a ping-pong match and I was waiting for the flatliner announcing the end of the game but there was no such thing.. it just went on and on! There were a lot of punches thrown in The Good Samaritan, both literally and metaphorically speaking. At the start of the novel I didn’t know what to expect really (ok I didn’t read the blurb again after I received it and my memory isn’t what it used to be so I really went in blind and I can highly recommend) but I wasn’t expecting this rollercoaster of events. Once I reached that one pivotal moment in this novel about a hundred pages in, I didn’t want to put it down anymore. After a while, I just didn’t know how this was going to end any more, there was no stopping this woman. The ending was perfect though, it was so unexpected, it left me speechless.

Laura is someone you just have to get to know. There’s so much more to her than meets the eye and she and Ryan made this book such a thrill to read. I already knew John Marrs was a great author (I loved The One) but god he’s really outdone himself again with this one, so orginal and full of suspense, a real must-read.

I received a free copy of this novel from the author via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Sacrifice by Alec Caruso #BookReview

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What’s it about?

London, England. Dr. Ted Conway has committed suicide. A case that should be easily closed.

After a forced break, Detective Inspector Rei Yoshima is thrust back into work, overseeing the suicide of Dr. Conway, only to discover that things with this case is not what it seems to be.

Trying to determine the unforeseeable truths from hidden lies, clues start finding their way together. As the case begins to unravel, it forces Yoshima into a whirlwind of discoveries, sending her to Cologne, Germany.

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Review

star three and a half

The Sacrifice is the first novel in an exciting new detective series and the story flicks between two different teams of detectives, each one operating in another country. DI Rei Yoshima is partnered with newbie Liam Nolan at The Criminal Investigative Department in London and 500 miles further Müller and Morgan work for the Cologne Police Department. While this might seem plenty to follow, the chapters are short and snappy so it turned out to be easy to read instead and wasn’t confusing at all. Müller and Morgan are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman found murdered in their apartment. Yoshima and her partner’s investigation into a suspicious death puts them into contact with their colleagues in Germany and before you know it they have joined forces which created a good dynamic for the story.  I still felt that Yoshima was the real lead detective of the foursome though, the one who brings the most input to the table and she’s the one to be reckoned with the most. The investigation progressed logically and was well-paced. It defiantly let the story flow nicely when the investigators get new ideas and continually follow up on new leads.

The plot had me second guessing for the largest part of the novel and was well thought out. A few details were relevant but it was impossible to detect their importance to the plot. All through the story I was wondering what those newspaper articles and references to Syria have to do with the story but the truth is only slowly revealed. The Sacrifice also ends with a satisfying climax. I love it when everything starts to fall into place. In the final 30 pages I was hit by a whirlwind of revelations and actions and I kept thinking there wouldn’t be enough pages left to wound the story up but the author left no loose ends, safe one or two. You see, all through the novel Yoshima seems to operate at the back and call of a man called Gabriel, a shady criminal type. It is however never explained who he is or why he has such a hold on her, which only makes me wonder even more what their story is and yes, it’s perfect to make me want to read the second book in the series to find out.

I did feel the blurb didn’t give much away and the cover jacket of the novel is even shorter so I really didn’t know what to expect. Unfortunately this caused me to leave this book lying around way too long and I’m almost ashamed to say that I picked The Sacrifice up twice before I finally started reading it. Every time I started it I put it back down again when I flipped it open to the first page and saw the opening chapter of a newspaper article reporting about the Syrian refugee crises. I want to read so I can escape everyday’s misery and that must be why I wasn’t really attracted or captivated from the start, but I can reassure everyone that there’s no politics involved and it turned out to be a different and better story than I expected so we really started on the wrong footing and I urge everyone who has The Sacrifice in their hands not to pin it down to that first chapter. Overall I can conclude this was a good read and credible debut.

I received a free paperback copy of this novel from the author (you can also read the guestpost I posted earlier here). This is my honest opinion.

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton #BookReview

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What’s it about?

Juliette loves Nate.
She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.
Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.
And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

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Review

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What a stunning debut! Nate and Juliette are meant to be together, that’s crystal clear for Juliette and when a woman – especially this one – is determined, you know there’s no other way!

Juliette was the perfect girlfriend when she was with Nate so it came as a complete surprise when he told her he needed space and shipped her off somewhere far away, forcing her to live in what she calls a shoebox of an apartment. Out of sight isn’t out of mind for Juliette though, not even close. She’s not going to just stand by and let things go like he wants and the woman is taking on her self-appointed task as a true vocation. She’s thorough and has every angle covered, all while biding her time. She can’t believe he’s denying her everything she wants, putting a rather abrupt stop to her dreams of a shiny future: all she wanted was Nate, the comfortable lifestyle, his families’ acceptance and kids. Was that too much to ask for? When you know where she’s coming from and witnessed how crappy her early life actually was you can’t help but understand on some level why she’s clinging so hard to keep the man of her life.

She starts out with some cheeky actions like looking up his working hours so she knows where he is and checking his facebook profile but her actions spiral way WAY beyond anything classified as normal behaviour.. and all the time he is oblivious! Juliette is a lying manipulative capital B and I loved following her around. How can I even be in such awe for someone so malicious? I don’t have an answer to that one.

It’s been a long time since I met a character like Juliette. I know I shouldn’t make comparisons and I don’t have a habit of doing so but Juliette is so cunning and calculated and she can adapt to whatever scenario is playing out for her, it reminded me of an Amy, if you get who I mean.

I liked this novel very very much and it’s a big contender to get on my fav list of this year. I can highly recommend if you like psychological thrillers and a girl with a vengeance!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher, Headline Books, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Rattle by Fiona Cummins #BookReview

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What’s it about?

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

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Review

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This book gave me serious goosebumps. On a scale from one to ten the level of creepiness is definitely a 9, especially in the beginning… maybe it got down to an 8 but only at the end when the mystery of the villain was more resolved and we got to know him a bit better :-)!

Rattle is about a guy who I thought at first was Jack The Reaper. The similarities are uncanning, down to his stature and his hair, and I was wondering if he really was the precipice of death. Well he was, but not in a ghost-like way anyway, no he was very very real.

Fitzroy is the detective who investigated the disappearance of a girl Grace a few years ago and now the disappearance of a girl called Clare. While she’s chasing a ghost (I couldn’t resist hehe) we see a young boy Jakey who is suffering from the Stone Man Syndrom. I didn’t actually know a lot about this condition before reading this novel but I feel like I woke up really fast when it came to learning all about his condition and the consequences of this disease. It was quite heart-wrenching seeing this little boy suffer so much and seeing his parents caring for him but not being able to do anything at all.

Detective Etta Fitzroy is a great detective and she’ll need to be at the top of her game too because The Bone Collector is very succesful at staying undetected. The cat and mouse game that ensued was gripping and tense and I was wondering along with the detective who this man really was.

Rattle is a novel with a distinctly dark and sinister vibe and The Bone Collector is definitely one of the creepiest characters ever. His persona combined with the uniqueness of the children’s conditions made this an orginal and very intriguing read.

The story was well rounded but the ending also had a little cliffhanger that immediately made me crave for more. The story continues in The Collector and I can’t wait to read how it goes on from here!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher, Pan Macmillan, in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Secret by Katerina Diamond #BookReview

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What’s it about?

Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

When Bridget Reid wakes up in a locked room, terrifying memories come flooding back – of blood, pain, and desperate fear. Her captor knows things she’s never told anyone. How can she escape someone who knows all of her secrets?

As DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a horrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder right under their noses in Exeter.

And as the past comes back to haunt her, Grey must confront her own demons. Because she knows that it can be those closest to us who hurt us the most…

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Review

star three and a half

This is the second novel in the DS Imogen Grey detective series. I didn’t read the first novel, The Teacher, but this can be read as a standalone without a problem. I did think  that I missed an important piece of information at first when I learned that unnerving things happened in the past to Imogen, which resulted in her having big scars on her body. It was a mystery to me how she got those and I was under the assumption that this was a thread from the first novel but all of it is actually explained near the end of this novel through flashbacks and the author is actually working her way towards these events.

The story opens almost immediately with a gripping scene where a girl walks in on the body of her dead friend and from thereon the rollercoaster took off on high speed. The author weaves one BIG web with multiple plotlines running both in the present and the past. It was a little bit confusing at first when there was a time shift and Imogen suddenly had another partner called Sam. It’s only that he also appears in the present which was why I had to think hard which investigation I was following again. A bit confusing the first few times but the further into the story, the clearer both separate storylines were and it became easier to switch and understand the who’s who and what’s what.

The present storyline follows Imogen Grey and her partner Adrian Myles who are looking into the disappearance of a missing police officer. Sam Brown is the girl’s boyfriend and as I said, he was also Imogen’s old partner. Imogen definitely has issues with him but it’s a bit of a blind spot why she’s got it in for him. Something major must have happened two years ago that caused her to relocate but it’s a mystery what it is. The story becomes even more complex when it becomes obvious the present case is in some ways linked to the past. Even if I’d wish to do so, I couldn’t even set out the storylines because they’re so complex I can’t recount them in a clear and organised way. Let me just tell you that it’s all one big hot mess and there are some major reveals at the end. Oh and then there are also ‘just a few’ other threads: the missing girl’s inner thoughts (which scenes I grew to really enjoy because she tries to hold it together and I was rooting that they’d find her so bad in the end), the boy who is groomed by his father to follow in his footsteps in the past and his voice in the present, an attack on a family to get to their baby, an abduction of a child, and Adrian’s son’s request to look into his stepdad… If you’re wishing for a complex story that is fascinating on its own but even better when all of it comes together in the end, then this one’s definitely recommended.

I enjoyed the convoluted story and twists but I did feel it was sometimes a bit all over the place and I really had to keep paying attention every single minute of the story. This is not a story to sit back and relax, no you have to be wide awake not to miss a thing. I’m not really used to it being this ‘much’ so this certainly made a big change. The only other thing that I want to remark and which might have bothered me just a teensy bit was that I didn’t really feel Imogen’s instant attraction to one of the bad guys and I thought her reaction towards him when provoked wasn’t ok. I felt better at the end of the story about it but she wasn’t really acting very professionally in that instance and that made me like her just a bit less in that moment. I like a detective who I can look up to and who’s a rough diamond white pit but she has a dark side herself and discovering this came as a little shock to me.

To round it all up I can conclude that this was a ‘wild ride’ but I felt quite satisfied in the end!

Cause of Death by Peter Ritchie #BookReview

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What’s it about?

DCI Grace Macallan’s career has hit a serious roadblock. When a covert police operation in Northern Ireland goes badly wrong, she’s faced with a painful decision – lie to save a young officer’s career or tell the truth and ruin her own reputation. For Grace, there can be only one answer.

Reassigned to the newly formed Lothian & Borders Major Crime Team, Grace Macallan is forced to rebuild her career and her reputation. But when a brutal attack on a prostitute turns into a series of murders, the Major Crime Team is under serious pressure. The tabloid headlines are lurid and the team badly needs a result.

With a new life to build in a new city, a new boss as smooth as an 18-year-old malt and a very high profile lawyer as the chief suspect, Grace soon begins to wonder if telling the truth is always the right thing to do.

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Review

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Hellooo gorgeous cover! It really was the cover that did it. I saw another blogger was reading this and I thought this cover was so tantalizing, I just wanted to read it without even knowing fully well what it was about!

Cause of Death took a slow start for me, especially if you are used to detectives getting involved into new cases a few pages into a novel. This was not the case as Peter Richie took its time showing first how everything works at the station where Grace finds herself on her first day and he explains where she is coming from and why she had no choice but to ask for a transfer. It wasn’t always easy for me to understand the language and references to the situation in Northern Ireland being a foreign reader (I’d never heard of ‘peelers’ before just to name one) but I do now! It did stump my enjoyment a little bit though that I wasn’t in on the lingo.

The writer, Mr. Peter Ritchie, is a retired senior police officer and his extensive expertise is dripping from the pages. It feels like he was there, like this is all very authentic. Cause of Death reads like a true crime novel, a police procedural turned real. It was interesting to see the interaction between detectives Grace, Mick and O’Connor, the politics in the office and outside. I really liked old-school copper Mick with a drinking problem but who got results nonetheless.

If you like to read a ‘true to life’ detective novel you might want to check this one out. Personally, I think I like the more romanticized versions, but don’t let that stop you!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.