Review: Quieter Than Killing

March 7, 2017 in Book Reviews, Crime

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Quieter Than KillingQuieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary
Series: DI Marnie Rome #4
Published by Headline on 9th March 2017
Genres: Crime
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

For the past few years, my most-anticipated release list has included Sarah Hilary’s latest works. We’re now onto the fourth book of the DI Marnie Rome series and Hilary never fails to impress me. Her storytelling sweeps me up, diving into her books is like meeting up with old friends – and I love it!

The case in this book is compelling. There has been a series of attacks and Marnie and Noah are tasked with finding the culprits. Are the attacks connected? One again Hilary has woven her narrative, teasing and tripping me up along the way.

For me though, what I really enjoyed most about this book was spending more time with Marnie and Noah. I feel that by now, book four, we have a good handle on their characters, we know their histories and Hilary ensures we become even more invested in our protagonists.

I feel that I say this after every Hilary book, but Sarah handles the issues involved in Quieter Than Killing with great respect. It’s one of the things I love about her writing; she takes care and consideration with any issues she addresses, yet doesn’t detract from the story or lose any of the impact. If anything, it adds more impact!

I could sit here and gush about Sarah Hilary’s novels all day long. Her stories are realistic and believable, her characters relatable. Hilary references real-life news events to anchor her stories into our lives. I love her ongoing development of Marnie and Noah’s lives, and feel we are being drawn in closer with each passing page.

All in all, Quieter Than Killing is a fantastic addition to the series. It will raise many questions, but not all of them having answers!

five-stars

Review: Ragdoll

February 22, 2017 in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Crime

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: RagdollRagdoll by Daniel Cole
Published by Trapeze on 23rd February 2017
Genres: Crime
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the 'ragdoll'.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William 'Wolf' Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The 'Ragdoll Killer' taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the Ragdoll blog tour today! Make sure you check out all of the other victims too!

Ragdoll blog tour

If you frequent Twitter, you are probably aware of the hype surrounding this book. For this reason, I couldn’t wait to read it but, as ever, was worried it might not live up to the hype. I’m so glad to say that it absolutely did – I really enjoyed this debut novel. I couldn’t put it down!

DS William Fawkes, known as Wolf, is an interesting character with a somewhat chequered past. When a corpse is found that is actually body parts from six corpses sewn together, Ragdoll, Fawkes and his colleagues undertake the murder investigations. However, the killer has released a list of his next victims along with the dates he intends to murder them. Wolf’s name is on that list. As the team try to uncover the identities of “Ragdoll”, prevent the deaths of the listed and trace the killer, they face a battle against the media who ensure that the world is watching.

This book kept me glued from the outset. The case, the twists and turns all had me craving more information.

Despite his flaws, I really liked Wolf. I also really enjoyed the interaction between him and his colleagues. I find that I often struggle to connect with the ‘colleagues’ in this type of novel, however that absolutely wasn’t the case. I felt we got to know Baxter, Edmunds and Finlay, and appreciate their characters too.

Despite the nature of this book, I found myself chuckling at times. There’s some great banter and one-liners that help to distract from the darkness of the story.

It’s always a good sign when you reach the final chapter of a book and realise that you aren’t quite ready to leave its characters behind. This is undoubtedly the case with Ragdoll and so I’m delighted to see that it’s the first book in a series.

This book is thrilling, fast-paced (to the point I had to go back and reread some pages to make sure I had absorbed all of the information) and most definitely memorable. I can’t wait to read Coles’ next instalment!

four-half-stars

Blog Tour & Review: The Dry

January 13, 2017 in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Crime, Mystery

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour & Review: The DryThe Dry by Jane Harper
Published by Little Brown UK on 12th January 2017
Genres: Crime, Mystery
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

I am very excited to be one of the stops on The Dry blog tour today!

friday

In rural Australia, the town of Kiewarra is in drought – it hasn’t rained for two years. The farming community, and subsequently the entire town are struggling. So when three members of the Hadler family are found dead, with Luke, the father, having seemingly taken his own life, the community are appalled but not entirely surprised – perhaps he was seeking a way out of the struggles for his family.

Aaron Falk, Luke’s childhood best friend, returns to the town he left twenty years ago for his friend’s funeral. Being back is hard. He can’t wait to return to his job as a Federal Agent in Melbourne and leave the memories behind. However, there’s a twenty-year secret that Luke and Aaron shared and it’s possible Luke’s death will bring the secret to light. This, coupled with Luke’s parents’ request that Aaron helps them investigate their son’s death, leads Falk to spend a lot more time in his hometown than he’d planned.

This book grabbed my attention from the first page and I honestly couldn’t put it down. This is Jane Harper’s debut novel and what a debut it is! Her scene-setting, the description of a rural Australian town desperate for rainfall is fantastic. I could almost feel the heat (impressive in a Scottish winter), taste the dust and crave the water myself.

The story itself flits between the real time post-Hadler murders and Aaron & Luke’s teenage years. This allows us to feel as though we know the dead man and, of course, helps us to understand Aaron himself more.

The mystery aspect of this book had me guessing throughout, with Harper’s writing and storytelling keeping me glued until the final word.

Yes, I know who really killed the Hadler family – and I highly recommend you find out for yourself!

four-stars

Review: Tastes Like Fear

April 4, 2016 in Book Reviews, Crime

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Tastes Like FearTastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary
Series: DI Marnie Rome #3
Published by Headline on 7th April 2016
Genres: Crime
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He's the head of her new family.

He's Harm.

DI Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.

Because when Harm's family is threatened, everything tastes like fear...

As ever, I close the final page of a Sarah Hilary novel and I am in awe. It’s not just the plot that leaves me feeling this way but her writing. I can see each of her books so clearly in mind’s eye and Tastes Like Fear is no different. I’m left feeling more like I’ve watched a movie than read a book.

As with her previous books, Hilary tackles an emotional and challenging subject in her plot. Once again she handles it with great care and respect. This is, for me, one of the reasons that Sarah Hilary is such a fantastic writer.

DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake (I like to think of them as ‘The Dream Team’) are back with a new case to solve – the disappearance of a teenage girl. When a young girl causes a fatal car crash and disappears from the scene, Marnie and Noah are called to investigate. Is this the girl they’ve been looking for?

This incident opens up their case as they realise that it’s not just one girl that in trouble, there seem to be more.

In fact a man, Harm, collects runaway girls. He keeps them ‘safe’ – unless they break his rules.

The topic of runaway teenagers is obviously an emotional one. Hilary not only captures the mindset of the runaways but she examines the families that they leave behind.

There’s more to Hilary’s work than a ‘who dunnit’. She makes us care about her characters, consider their lives and the situations they find themselves in. She gives us a glimpse into the minds of the victims, their families and the criminals themselves.

She does all this while weaving an intricate plot with carefully crafted prose.

Naturally, I enjoyed catching up with Marnie and Noah. As ever, I like the way Hilary takes us into their personal lives, as well as professional. It’s this, for me, that really bring home how real these scenarios are. It’s easy to forget that police have their own lives. Professionally they may have to deal with murders, accidents, assaults, deaths, but at the end of the day they still go home to a partner, a beer and a meal. Personally, I’ve always felt that Hilary doesn’t glamorise her fiction, she keeps it very real, which makes it all the more powerful.

Yes, I’ve not really discussed the plot but I’m not going to – you’ll just have to read it! What I will say though is that you haven’t read Someone Else’s Skin and No Other Darkness yet then get reading as this is a series of books you don’t want to miss!

Let me finish with a rather bold statement – Sarah Hilary is my favourite crime writer. If you’re a fan of the genre you need to read her books. Tastes Like Fear is a stunning third novel in a tremendous series.

five-stars

Review: Pretty Is

January 15, 2016 in Book Reviews, Crime

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Pretty IsPretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
Published by Orion Genres: Crime
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
two-stars

Everyone thought we were dead.

We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think?

They were glad to have us back, of course. But nothing was the same. It was as if we had returned from the dead, as if we were tainted somehow. We were not the same.

And it was true, though not in the way they thought.

Lois and Carly-May are just twelve years old when they’re abducted and imprisoned for two months.

That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they form a bond which will never be broken…

Decades later, both Lois and Carly-May have built new lives and identities for themselves.

Lois and Carly-May are drawn together again to face the truth of their beautiful, terrible story.

As 12 year olds (back in the 90s) Carly May, a beauty pageant frequenter, and Lois, a Spelling Bee champ, were abducted. They were held captive in a cabin in Adirondack woods for six weeks that summer by a man they called Zed.

Fast forward to the present day and we find that, through the insistence of their families, the girls have lost touch with one another. Carly May is now Chloe, an actress, while Lois is a college professor specialising in 18th century literature. Lois is also the author of best selling novel Deep In The Woods, a fictionalised account of her childhood ordeal. She hides her past though by writing under pseudonym, Lucy Ledger.

This novel narrates from the perspectives of both Lois and Chloe. We see their present lives as well as their memories and reflections on their kidnapping. There’s actually a whole part of this book that is written as an excerpt of Lois/Lucy’s novel. This part gives us an insight into the relationships formed by Carly May, Lois and Zed from Lois’ perspective.

When Lois’ book is optioned for a movie, Chloe (as an actress) reads the script and knows immediately that she is reading her own story. As Chloe tries to secure a part in this film of her life, Lois is being troubled by a student called Sean who is taking an excessive interest in her past.

I wanted to enjoy this novel but I just didn’t. In all honesty I was counting the pages to the end, which is never a good sign!

I was drawn to the concept of looking at an abduction, from the perspective of the victims, almost 20 years down the line. I was eager to find out how those 6 weeks spent in a remote cabin as 12 year olds would have impacted the girls later in life.

The thing is that it just wasn’t what I’d hope it would be. Now obviously I’m not saying anything about Mitchell here, I just had my own preconceived idea of what this book would be and it turned out to be quite different from the actual novel itself. I’m afraid I can’t even claim to have become caught up in the writing itself, it just didn’t do it for me.

I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about this. I do hate to be negative. I guess I just liked the concept of the book but wasn’t so keen on the execution.

two-stars