Unwrapping the #BookPost with the book review café

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The book review café is back, I haven’t been around for a couple of weeks, life has been so busy lately I just haven’t had the time to blog.  So I’m starting with another post featuring my #BookPost. Originally it was a post to say thank you to the lovely publishers and authors who send me ARC’s but I have also been sharing books that I have had sent to myself😂. This post mainly features my own books and I must admit I may have got a bit carried away, like any bookworm/blogger I just cannot help adding books to my shelfs even if that means I need to live to be at least 200 to read them in all 🙈

 Catching A Serial Killer by Stephen Fulchet

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Book description

On the evening of Saturday, 19 March 2011, D.S. Stephen Fulcher receives a life-changing call that thrusts him into a race against the clock to save missing 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan, who was last seen at a nightclub in Swindon. Steve knows from experience that he has a small window of time to find Sian alive, but his hopes are quickly dashed when his investigation leads him to Christopher Halliwell, a cabbie with sick obsessions.

Following the investigation as it develops hour-by-hour, Steve’s gripping inside story of the cat-and-mouse situation that ensues shows how he hunted down Halliwell – his number-one suspect – which led him to the discovery of Sian’s body and another victim, Becky Godden-Edwards, who had been missing since 2002. The murders shocked the nation and Halliwell become one of the most hated men in Britain. Since then, he has been linked to several murders and disappearances, and has been called ‘sick in the head’ by an ex-cellmate for his unrelenting hatred of women.

Catching a Serial Killer is a thrilling, devastating and absorbing look at a real-life murder case and potentially one of the UK’s most prolific serial killers.

Dead Lock by Damien Boyd

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Book description

Early on a cold Somerset morning, ten year old Alesha Daniels is reported missing by her father, a violent alcoholic. Her mother, a known drug addict, is found unconscious, but it’s her mother’s boyfriend the police are keen to trace.

As the hunt for Alesha gathers pace, a second local girl is taken, plunging another family into the depths of despair.

Cutting short his holiday, DI Nick Dixon races home to join the Major Investigation Team, but no sooner has he identified a network of local suspects than they begin to show up dead.

At odds with his superiors, Dixon is convinced the child abductions are anything but random, but nobody is prepared for the investigation to lead quite so close to home.

Can Dixon and his team crack the case before all the suspects are silenced? And will he find the missing girls before it’s too late?

My thanks to Thomas & Mercer for my review copy

Sewing The Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

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Book description

Can you ever get over the death of your sister? Or of your best friend?

More than 30 years after 13-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah.

“Shona had been gone for so long but the memories still came unexpectedly, sometimes like a video from the past, sometimes distorted dreams, but she was always there.”

When modern DNA evidence shows that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona? Sarah and Tom are caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and suspicions fall on family and friends. The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears. Dark secrets from the past are uncovered, and there is another death, before the identity of the real killer is finally revealed…

Set in Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides and South Africa, Sewing the Shadows Together is a thoroughly modern murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Filled with characters who could easily be friends, family or people we work with, it asks the question:

Do we ever really know the people closest to us?

The Devil’s Half Mile by Paddy Hirsch

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Book description

Golden Hill and The Alienist meet Gangs of New York in this sweeping historical crime drama set in 18th century New York.

New York, 1799: Justy Flanagan, lawyer, soldier, policeman, has returned to his native city, bloodied and battered after fighting in the Irish Rebellion against the English. Determined to hunt down the man who murdered his father, his inquiries lead him to Wall Street and the fledgling stock market there.

But as his investigations into the past move ahead, the horrific murders of young slave women in the present start to occupy his time. Convinced that there is a link between his father’s murder, the deaths of the young women, and amassive fraud that nearly destroyed New York’s economy, Justy can trust no one.

As the conspiracy deepens, it becomes clear that those involved will stop atnothing to keep their secrets. Justy is forced to choose: will he betray his father’s memory, compromise his integrity, and risk the lives of his closest friends, to get to the bottom of a tale so dangerous, it could change the landscape of America forever?

My thanks to Corvus for my review copy.

Forgotten Voices Of The Holocaust by Lyn Smith

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Book description

The great majority of Holocaust survivors suffered considerable physical and psychological wounds, yet even in this dark time of human history, tales of faith, love and courage can be found. As well as revealing the story of the Holocaust as directly experienced by victims, these testimonies also illustrate how, even enduring the most harsh conditions, degrading treatment and suffering massive family losses, hope, the will to survive, and the human spirit still shine through.

The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley

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Book description

The Pearl Sister is the fourth book in the number one international bestselling Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley.

CeCe D’Aplièse has never felt she fitted in anywhere. Following the death of her father, the elusive billionaire Pa Salt – so-called by the six daughters he adopted from around the globe and named after the Seven Sisters star cluster – she finds herself at breaking point. Dropping out of art college, CeCe watches as Star, her beloved sister, distances herself to follow her new love, leaving her completely alone.

In desperation, she decides to flee England and discover her past; the only clues she has are a black-and-white photograph and the name of a woman pioneer who lived in Australia over one hundred years ago. En-route to Sydney, CeCe heads to the one place she has ever felt close to being herself: the stunning beaches of Krabi, Thailand. There amongst the backpackers, she meets the mysterious Ace, a man as lonely as she is and whom she subsequently realizes has a secret to hide . . .

A hundred years earlier, Kitty McBride, daughter of an Edinburgh clergyman, is given the opportunity to travel to Australia as the companion of the wealthy Mrs McCrombie. In Adelaide, her fate becomes entwined with Mrs McCrombie’s family, including the identical, yet very different, twin brothers: impetuous Drummond, and ambitious Andrew, the heir to a pearling fortune.

When CeCe finally reaches the searing heat and dusty plains of the Red Centre of Australia, she begins the search for her past. As something deep within her responds to the energy of the area and the ancient culture of the Aboriginal people, her creativity reawakens once more. With help from those she meets on her journey, CeCe begins to believe that this wild, vast continent could offer her something she never thought possible: a sense of belonging, and a home . .

Almost A Murder by Jody Seay & Jim Lloyd

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Book description

In this REAL-LIFE COURTROOM DRAMA, Seay and Lloyd recount how a wealthy “Son of Oklahoma ” is slain by his delicate foreign wife. To police, the brutal facts are clear: she cracked his skull with a bat, shot him twice, strangled him, dumped his body, lied to the police and then, when cornered, she confessed. Everyone believes it’s going to be a slam-dunk murder trial.

Cub lawyer, Jim Lloyd, puts his family and future in jeopardy to defend a killer with no friends, no money, and who barely speaks English. They stand against powerful political and financial forces in this epic battle between retribution, truth and American law. Ultimately this REAL-LIFE LEGAL THRILLER is one of the most studied legal clashes in US law today.  Read an award-winning author’s spellbinding account of the struggle to determine what’s right.

This one was sent all the way from the USA 🇺🇸, my thanks to Koho Pono publishing.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

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Book description

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story … with a tragic heart.

My thanks to Orenda books for this stunning ARC

I watched Appropriate Adult a British crime drama television film shown in two parts on ITV, based on the true story of Gloucester serial killer Fred West and his wife Rosemary West, which I thought was really well done. As I like reading true crime books I bought this one to add to my true crime reads

Fred & Rose by Howard Sounes

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Book description

During their long relationship the Wests murdered a series of young women, burying the remains of nine victims under their home at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, including those of their teenage daughter, Heather. What was left of Fred West’s eight-year-old stepdaughter was dug up from under the Wests’ previous Gloucester home; his first wife and nanny were buried in open country outside the city. Several victims had been decapitated and dismembered, their remains showing signs of sexual torture. These twelve are just the ones the police found when the Wests were arrested in 1994. There may be more whose bones have not been located.

Howard Sounes broke the first major story about the Wests as a journalist, and covered the murder trial of Rosemary West, before writing this , the classic book about the case. Beginning with Fred’s and Rose’s bizarre childhoods, Sounes charts their lives and crimes in forensic detail, creating a fascinating and truly frightening account of a marriage soaked in blood.

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**Blog tour** #TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh @SSCav @orion_crime @Lauren_BooksPR @Tr4cyF3nt0n #thatbookthathook

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh, which means I can finally share my review for this fabulous book.

Anyone who follows my blog may have noticed I have never read or reviewed  a book by Steve Cavanagh, it’s not because I haven’t  wanted to, in fact I have the first in the series sat on my TBR shelf, I’ve just never got around to reading them. So why jump in at the fourth book in a series? I’m hearing, in all honesty it was the tag line? THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL. HE’S ON THE JURY... I’m a sucker for a plot line with a serial killer, and going back a few years ago (pre-blogging) I used to read nothing BUT legal thrillers, could Steve Cavanagh make me fall in love with this genre once again? Read on for my thoughts……

Book description 

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

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I loved, loved Thirteen, with an unique plot, fabulous characters and a thrilling storyline I was hooked from the word go. Despite it being the fourth book in the series it can be read as a standalone, but if you choose to read it first then like me I bet you buy the previous books in the series way before you reach the final page.  Although a legal thriller it has so many elements that make this book special, with more than an hint of crime and suspense mixed in, Steve Cavanagh has written one of the most original and exciting books I’ve read this year.  It’s not something I say very often but “If Thirteen doesn’t make it to the top sellers list I will be very surprised, in fact I would be astounded, it really is fabulously brilliant”.

What a fascinating character Eddie Flynn turned out be a conman turned lawyer, there were so many sides to him that made him a very engaging character, funny, charming with the gift of the gab. I’m now desperate to go back to the earlier books in the series to see how his character has evolved. Joshua Kane what an absolutely incredible character, smart, highly intelligent and a master manipulator, he made this book such a page turner. Steve Cavanagh has created characters that are engaging and fascinating, and for me that’s what made Thirteen such a brilliant read.

Thirteen was a page turner, the plot is tense and gripping, the author doesn’t give the reader time to draw breath as Thirteen reaches its thrilling conclusion. I loved every page of this well written legal thriller, no words or scenes are irrelevant, each character has their place. As for the court rooms scenes they were real “nail biters” as you really aren’t sure which way the jury are going to vote, which heightens the tension tenfold. This review maybe vague but I want it to be, Thirteen is a book you definitely need to read for yourself , my advice just BUY It I’m positive it won’t disappoint.

Steve Cavanagh has been compared to John Grisham (who by the way used to be one of my favourite authors) personally I think Steve Cavanagh’s writing is even better, it’s fresh, innovative and with an engaging protagonist I’m sure this series will go far. Would I recommend this book? You bet I would in fact if like me you’ve haven’t read any books in the series  just buy  the whole damn series as your in for a real treat.

This is going to come as no suprise but I’m giving Thirteen  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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Buying links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thirteen-serial-killer-isnt-trial-ebook/dp/B076PKVQJV

https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Steve-Cavanagh/dp/1409170667

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Books in the series

1. The Defence

2. The Plea

3. The Liar

4. Thirteen

The Cross an Eddie Flynn novella 

*Each Eddie Flynn thriller can be read as a standalone or in series order*

To learn more about Steve Cavanagh or buy books in the series click here

Click here for author info and to buy books in the series

 

Who is Steve Cavanagh?

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Steve Cavanagh is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and lawyer. He is also one half of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. His latest novel, Thirteen, is out in ebook now and paperback in June.

Find out more at www.stevecavanagh.com or follow Steve on Twitter @SSCav

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The book review café’s book of the month **May 2018**

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Can you believe we’re nearly half way through the year? No me neither. As it’s the first of June it’s time to choose my book books of the month I really should rename this feature. I read so many fabulous books in May it’s impossible to choose just ONE book yet again so I’m sharing my THREE books of the month, good job “it’s my blog my rules” 😂 so without further ado here are the books I found to be outstanding reads this month in no particular order………

Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson

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Children going missing are a well used topic for crime fiction,  so what’s so special about this one I can hear you ask? OMFG where shall I begin, I literally loved this crime thriller, the characters, the plot, the writing, the pacing, every element of this book was on spot on. I’m not going to beat about the bush Don’t Make A Sound will definitely be on my top reads of 2018, it’s compelling, gripping and one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year. You can read my full review here…Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson #BookReview #MustReads @Author_Dave @BonnierZaffre

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

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I must admit I picked up Cross Her Heart with trepidation, I absolutely loved Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, you know the one I mean, it’s the one you probably saw all over social media with the #WTFhash tag. This one comes with the tag Don’t Trust Her Books, and never a truer word was written! I thought I pretty much had this book all worked by the first half, but then wham bam the author very deviously pulled the rug out from under me, not once but on several occasions. Brilliantly twisted, unsettling yet compelling this is a must read for fans of psychological thrillers. Full review can be found here……Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough @SarahPinborough @HarperCollinsUK #MustReads #Don’tTrustHerBooks,

Dying Truth by Angela Marsons

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Oh my giddy aunt Angela Marsons never fails to amaze me after reading every book in the series I have always said “it’s the best one yet” and guess what Dying Truth is definitely “the best one yet” . Here’s an author who has an incredible knack of making each book read like a “first” with heart thumping, exciting story lines that get under your skin, which stay with you long after you reach the last thrilling page. One word I never expect to use in a crime thriller read is “emotional” but Angela Marsons latest read broke me, I ended up a sobbing wreck not a pretty sight let me tell you!  Full review here……Dying Truth by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #MustReads

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Books I’m hoping to read this month

This month I’m hoping to read some of my own personal TBR pile as well as a couple of ARC’s

 

 

And finally I’ve decided to include a poll I would love to know which of my three books of the month you would have choosen as your book of the month?

#TopFiveThursday with #BookBlogger Yvonne at Me And My Books @yvonnembee

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Today I’m thrilled to have book blogger Yvonne pop by the book review café to share her #TopFiveThursday with me. Yvonne blogs over at https://vonnibee.wordpress.com/.  If you haven’t checked out Yvonne’s blog yet, it’s definitely one to take a look at, with a vast mix of book reviews I’m sure you will be adding books to your own TBR pile.

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Top Five Books you’ve read this year?

Johana Gustawsson – Keeper

Home at Honeysuckle Farm – Christie Barlow

Abel’s Revenge – Ross Greenwood

Hemlock Jones and the Angel of Death – Justin Carroll

Dear Mrs. Bird – A.J. Pearce

Oh please let me add more ☹ the book review café says no 😜

 

Top Five Authors  you think everyone should read?

I am going to change this slightly to the five authors books I would buy without reading the blurb 😊, for me this equates to the same thing that I think everyone should read.

Tony J Forder

Robert Crouch

David Lagercrantz

Philip Pulman

Tarn Richardson

I could easily add another 20-30 authors to this list, as well those from ,my first list.

Oh this is so hard to do, listing only five is so unfair. Can I do a top 50? 😊 Not a chance I’m afraid 😂

Top Five books you want to read before the year is out?

 Do you not realise I have over 500 books that I have and want to read lol

I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

The rest of Ragnar Jonasson’s series ( I’ve only read Snowblind)

Bluebird, Bluebird  – Attica Locke ( I have had this on my shelf since last year and still haven’t got to it yet)

Sleeping Beauties – Stephen and Owen King (only just bought this one)

 

Top five tips you would give  to other bloggers?

Things I wish I knew when I started 😉

Don’t be afraid to engage with the blogging community. It took me a long time to find my confidence and when I finally started to connect with people I found a wonderful group of crazy book loving fanatics who made me feel very welcome. Have fun, have a laugh and enjoy.

Your blog is your chance to share your thoughts with other people. Be honest and constructive and if you didn’t like something in a book then then don’t be afraid to say why that was.

You are going to make mistakes, you will beat yourself up about it. But you know what, these things happen. They will happen again at some point. You will learn from your mistakes and there are always new ones to catch you out. Only a few days ago I wrongly attributed a tour organiser for a blog tour i was on, I was horrified and absolutely gutted, but the organiser was lovely and supportive. I changed what I could change as soon as she let me know. These things really do happen.

Don’t over commit and accept every book request that lands in your email box. Yes been there and have learnt that not all books are for me. If I have not enjoyed a book I always send an email back to the author with an apology that it didn’t work for me and wish them all the best.

Share carefully on Twitter.  Three times since starting my blog, I have found myself in Twitter jail. I am such a nice, kind and wonderful person’ ( yeah even I am laughing at this point)  and that I really to share book posts.

Top five blogs you follow?

Again I would love to add a whole load more than five, these are blogs that I look forward to reading each day. These bloggers read a good mix of books that are similar to ones I also like and I have found lots of new to me authors this way. These, along with many other and of course your own blog Lorraine, are responsible for my TBR mountain and YES I have bought books based on their reviews.

Eva at Novel Delights http://www.noveldeelights.com

Ronnie Turner http://ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Abby Slater http://annebonnybookreviews.com

Nicky https://thesecretlibrarysite.wordpress.com/

Emma at http://damppebbles.com

Who is Yvonne? Can you tell us a little about yourself?

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Up until the start of 2017 I had not really read mainstream or even newly released books. I had a couple of years reading classics, before that I would genre binge, horror, espionage, fantasy and after a while I would find them a little bit samey. I decided at the beginning of 2017 that I wanted something a bit more modern and up to date.  After a couple of months I discovered this fantastic world of blogging and book reviews, this was when Me and My Books was born. I have also discovered how behind I am on many series and new to me authors that have been publishing for many years. Blogging and tours are a brilliant way for me not to get stuck in one genre, I love to hop between many. That is when I have the time between working, gardening, art, studying, and photography in beautiful and sometimes sunny Cornwall.

A picture of me ermmm really does LOL here.  I admit to wanting to take a selfie with my two dogs Billy and Buster. That didn’t turn out too well so this is me 😊

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I am Yvonne ( Me and My Books)

https://vonnibee.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/yvonnembee

https://www.facebook.com/meandmybooks24/

https://www.instagram.com/meandmybooks24/

My thanks to Yvonne for taking part in  #TopFiveThursday, it’s much appreciated. 

#ThePuppetShow by M.W.Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK #MustReads

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I’m not one of those readers who takes much notice of a book cover, I’m more likely to be attracted to a book by its description, but as soon as I seen the cover The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven it just shouted “read me”, it’s only after you have read the book and take a closer look at the cover you realise how chilling it is. What a fabulous read this one turned out to be, you can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……….

Book description 

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

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There is nothing more satisfying than coming across a new crime series that sets the pulse racing. I read so many crime thrillers that I find it’s getting more difficult to find one that really excites me, but hells bells The Puppet Show by the very talented M.W. Craven blew my socks off! What a fabulous start to a “must read series”.I knew from the shocker of an opening chapter The Puppet Show was going to be an exhilarating and thrilling read, I loved this novel for so many reasons, with a gripping storyline and fabulous characters The Puppet Show has “best seller” written all over it.  

Dark and gruesome are my favourite kind of crime thrillers, (make of that what you will!) and The Puppet Show fits the bill perfectly. As serial killers go this ones pretty terrifying, burning people alive, carving into theit charred remains, the author certainly has a vivid imagination, and his descriptive writing help you to visualise the gruesome scenes. With no clues the police are helpless, and enlist the most unlikely pairing I’ve come across in crime fiction,  Washington Poe (love this name for a detective, not one you will forget in a hurry) and socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw.

The stars of this book are definitely the characters, oh how I loved them, Tilly was like a breath of fresh air, her naivety and innocence contrast beautifully with Poe’s cynical views, their budding relationship was endearing, and the dialogue between the two offered lots of humour in what could have become a dark and depressing read (due to the difficult subject matter). M.W. Craven has created  characters who are unique and engaging, and I would go as far to say they are probably two of the most exciting characters I’ve come across in a crime thriller for a long time.

Rather like the investigation team the reader has no idea who the serial killer is, when the killer was revealed I’m sure my jaw hit the floor, I can honestly say “I didn’t even come close” to working out the killers identify. The author taunts the reader by throwing in titbits of Poe’s past, which I’m desperately hoping will be the focus of one of the books in the series, very intriguing to say the least. You may have noticed my review is vague but I’m hoping it’s piqued your interest, my advice? Just buy it,  if you are a fan of crime thrillers then this is definitely one book you don’t want to miss. I’m already desperate to read the next book in the series, and have everything crossed that I don’t have to wait long.  Highly recommended 

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving The Puppet Show the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Constable (7 Jun. 2018)

 

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#TheJourney by Conrad Jones @ConradJones @BloodhoundBook #MustReads

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I read Brick by Conrad Jones  back last year, and I’ve always been meaning to read other books by this author. So when I saw the author had a new book release The Journey I read the book description I knew it was one I had to read. Read on for my thoughts…….

Book description 

The gripping story of a young boy and his family, driven from their home by war and indiscriminate violence. Like millions of others, they attempt the treacherous journey across their war-torn continent, trying to reach the safety of Europe. 

The truth is, Europe doesn’t want them and thousands die every month at the hands of thieves and profiteering men to whom life is cheap. Kalu believes that he can lead his family to safety, he has planned for this. They have money, a plan and Kalu is, after all, the smartest man in Monguno. 

The story is fast-paced, at times funny, at times heart-breaking but it will pull you along at 100 miles an hour. It will make you think, it will make you question your perceptions. Most of all it will make you ask, if your family was in peril, what would you do?  

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I am sat here flabbergasted after finishing The Journey, what a simply fabulous heart-breaking read this turned out to be, and what a talented and versatile author Conrad Jones is. I picked up The Journey and even after reading the book description I thought it would lean heavily towards being a crime thriller, but my god I was so wrong, It’s a story of Human resilience, and the incredible lengths people will go to protect their family. Although a fictional account of refugees, it never the less made for a haunting read and a very credible one at that.  

The journey is a modern day tale of our times, and follows the harrowing story of ten year old Beb and his family who flee their village of Monuno after Boko Haram attack their village. Beb’s story is unfortunately a very credible one, it’s the reality that thousands of innocent people face every day. Conrad Jones describes scenes which are rich in detail, the suffering, the violence, the author doesn’t sugarcoat the atrocities carried out by Boko Haram, but neither does he use them for shock value.  

The author has created a family whose characters engage you from the start, you can’t help but connect with Beb and his family and thanks to the incredible detailed descriptions you feel you are there alongside the family on their treacherous journey to reach Europe, you feel their desperation and uncertainty and their fear, you can’t help but urge this family on as they face the unknown. The Journey depicts the best and worse in human behaviour, it’s harrowing without a doubt, heartbreaking and yet amid the horrors there’s an underlying sense of hope for some. I’m sure this book and Beb will haunt me for weeks, so convincing was Conrad Jones’s writing. Highly recommended 

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 196 pages

Publisher: Bloodhound Books (14 May 2018)

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**Blog tour** #DeadLock by Damien Boyd #GuestPost @DamienBoydBooks @amazonpub

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Today I’m thrilled be opening the blog tour for Dead Lock by Damien Boyd to celebrate the occasion I have a guest post from the author himself. I was really excited about this post as the locations mentioned aren’t far from where I live and I’ve visited many of them. Damien Boyd has a new crime thriller out soon, it’s being published by Thomas and Mercer on the 31st May 2018, it’s the eighth book in the The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series. You can find details about the book further down this post. 

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Choice of setting is probably one of the most important decisions a series author needs to take, but it’s the one I gave the least attention to when I started out. As it turns out, I made the right decision for the right reasons. I just didn’t know it at the time.

I chose Somerset, and in particular the Burnham-On-Sea area — it was always going to be Burnham —  for the simple reason that it’s my home and I love it. 

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Although I live in Devon and have done since 1994, I still feel like I’ve come home when I arrive in Burnham. Always have done and always will too, I hope. My grandfather was the manager of the Bristol Redfield branch of the National Westminster bank and the family left the city during the bombing raids in 1943. They ended up in Herbert Road, Burnham-On-Sea, where we stayed until my parents finally sold up in 1998. 

So, I grew up there. It’s my childhood home and spiritual home too. 

That’s why I chose to set my series there, but it turned out to be the right decision for so many different reasons. 

Firstly, I know it like the back of my hand. Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s we had greater freedom to run wild as kids, always out and about on our bikes; on the beach too. On a purely selfish level, this kept the research down when I was starting out, because I was still a solicitor in private practice and working full time. I already knew the best and most sinister places to hide a body without spending hours trawling through Google Earth. I’d already spent hours rock climbing in Cheddar Gorge, for example, which became the setting for my first novel, As the Crow Flies.

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But, more importantly, it enables me to set the books at places I know and love which, I hope, shines through in my descriptions. Every time I sit down to write it’s like going home.

And seeing old friends. Many of the characters are real people who live in the town, some of whom I went to school with and have known since I was 7 years old! They know who they are…

Secondly, it gives me the opportunity to learn more about the place, as I look for new locations. For Dead Lock I spent hours researching the abandoned Somersetshire Coal Canal that ran from the coal fields around Paulton and Radstock to join the Kennet and Avon Canal just east of Bath. I’ve been caving in the Mendips, explored the Somerset Levels in the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding, and even been out in the local lifeboat! 

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Readers who have lived in Somerset all their lives find themselves being taken to places they have not been before or didn’t even know existed. That’s part of the challenge and great fun. 

Thirdly, there is Somerset itself. I am never ever stuck for an atmospheric spot! From Cheddar Gorge, to Berrow Beach, Brean Down, Taunton Racecourse, the Somerset Levels, caving on the Mendips, to the Somersetshire Coal Canal, the county offers every option a crime writer could ever need. 

Except perhaps the big city, I suppose, but the way round that is to have the first murder in Somerset, on Nick’s patch, then he can investigate a connected murder anywhere. Using that device he’s been to London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, for those like their crime to have an urban feel.

Lastly, and the best reason of all perhaps, is the people of Somerset themselves. Not only have they embraced Nick Dixon and encouraged me every step of the way, but they have been so very helpful too. I have had guided tours of the new Police Centre at Express Park, Bridgwater, and the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station site, been taken down Swildon’s Hole by members of the Wessex Cave Club, been out in the Burnham lifeboat, and the BARB Search & Rescue hovercraft. Nothing has ever been too much trouble and I can’t thank them enough!

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So, there we are. One of the easiest and best decisions I’ve ever made.

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Book description 

Early on a cold Somerset morning, ten year old Alesha Daniels is reported missing by her father, a violent alcoholic. Her mother, a known drug addict, is found unconscious, but it’s her mother’s boyfriend the police are keen to trace.

As the hunt for Alesha gathers pace, a second local girl is taken, plunging another family into the depths of despair.

Cutting short his holiday, DI Nick Dixon races home to join the Major Investigation Team, but no sooner has he identified a network of local suspects than they begin to show up dead.

At odds with his superiors, Dixon is convinced the child abductions are anything but random, but nobody is prepared for the investigation to lead quite so close to home.

Can Dixon and his team crack the case before all the suspects are silenced? And will he find the missing girls before it’s too late?

Pre-order link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Damien Boyd is a former solicitor turned crime fiction writer.

Drawing on extensive experience of criminal law as well as a spell in the Crown Prosecution Service, Damien writes fast paced crime thrillers featuring Detective Inspector Nick Dixon, Avon & Somerset CID.

My thanks to Damien Boyd for his fascinating guest post.

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