#Blogblitz Dying Day by Stephen Edger #Review @StephenEdger @Bookouture

IMG_2953

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the Dying Day by the awesome and very talented Stephen Edger #Blogbitz tour. Dying Day is published by one of my very favourite publishers on the planet Bookouture. You don’t even have to wait to buy yourself a copy of this gripping crime thriller as it was published yesterday, so you can hop over to Amazon and “click” the buy now button, before you do you might just want to read my review or maybe not!

Book description

Some mistakes you live with. Others you die for…

When the body of a young woman is found in the boot of an abandoned car near the Southampton Docks, Detective Kate Matthews is ordered to stay well away from the scene.

Exactly a year ago, Amy, a junior detective on Kate’s team, was murdered when she was sent undercover to catch a serial killer targeting young girls. Kate never forgave herself for letting the killer slip through her fingers and her team are worried this coincidence might push her over the edge…

When another girl’s body is uncovered days later with similar bruising around the neck, Kate launches an investigation of her own, determined to connect new evidence to the old to catch this monster before more innocent lives are taken…

Mysterious sympathy cards sent to the victims’ families finally lead Kate to the twisted individual from her past. But if she’s found the killer, why does the body count keep rising?

An absolutely heart-stopping crime thriller that will have you sleeping with the lights on. Perfect for fans of Robert Dugoni, James Patterson and M.J. Arlidge.

My review

Flipping heck I just loved Dying Day it’s much darker and than the first book in the series, and do you know what? that’s just the way I like a crime thriller to be, make of that what you will! Dying Day is the second book in the Detective Kate Matthews series, personally I think this book could be read as a standalone, but if like me you prefer starting a series at the beginning it’s definitely worth reading Dead To Me  first. Stephen Edger draws the reader in with a prologue that leaves you desperate to learn more and keeps you in his clutches until you reach the “OMG I never saw that coming” conclusion.

Dying Day has an extremely spine tingling premise, Young women brutally murdered and left naked, exposed, in public places. As the body count rises Detective Kate Matthews is determined to connect the killer to past crimes which resulted in Amy a young Detective being killed whilst under cover hunting down the killer. If I’m honest, I disliked Kate’s character in Dead To Me but I was surprised to find she’s actually growing on me. Burdened by guilt over the death of Amy, she is determined to seek justice for her by hook or by crook. Her feelings of guilt give her a sense of vulnerability that was lacking in the previous book.

I love the way the author has written this book alternating chapters that move between the current investigation and the POV of Amy before her death, the two threads work well and there’s a constant sense of unease reading about Amy, and the chapters around the police investigation add a sense of urgency to the plot. Perfectly paced, the author misdirects the reader at every opportunity which I just love in a crime thriller. I don’t know about you, but I’m left feeling slightly miffed when I guess the killer early in a book! Crime series are two a penny so for me to continue to invest in a series, each book has to be better than the last, and I’m thrilled to report Dying Day is a worthy addition to this series and I’m excited to see where the author goes from here.

Print Length: 326 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Nov. 2017)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

IMG_3230

Stephen Edger is a British crime writer, who has been writing since 2010. In that time he has written and published eleven novels, and five short stories. He writes mysteries and thrillers focused on crime.

Stephen was born in the north-east of England, grew up in London, but has lived in Southampton since attending university in the year 2000. Stephen works in the financial industry, and uses his insider knowledge to create the plots of his books. He also has a law degree, which gives him a good understanding of the inner workings of the UK justice system.

Stephen is married, and has two children, and two dogs. He is passionate about reading and writing, and cites Simon Kernick and John Grisham as major influences on his writing style.

Author links:   FacebookTwitterWebsite

Print Length: 326 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Nov. 2017)

IMG_3231

Cruel Secrets by Kerry Barnes #Review @KerryBarnes1

IMG_3233

Book description

A gripping thriller that will shock you to the core.

Controlled all her life by her religious mother, fifteen-year-old Kelly Raven commits the ultimate sin.
She soon discovers that running away to the cold, frightening streets of London is less harsh than her previous life.
A drug dealer, two fraudsters, and a prostitute are her new family now and she becomes the woman she was destined to be.

Little does she know that Eddie Raven is coming for her, but she is no sweet four-year-old child and he is certainly no doting father.
The Raven’s blood may run through her veins, but in her case, blood is not thicker than water.

My thanks to fellow book blogger Shell Baker over at Chellesbookreviews for recommending this author to me.

My review

I get so excited it when I come across a new author and even more so when When I pick up their book and it exceeds all my expectations. Cruel Secrets by Kerry Barnes falls into this category and WOW I can’t believe I haven’t picked up a book by this author before, in fact I’m kicking myself, how have I never heard of this author before? The author writes what I call “grit lit” and it’s a genre I really enjoy reading, Kerry Barnes writing has been likened to that of Martina Cole, I would agree there are some similarities but in my opinion the author has her own unique style that made Cruel Secrets an exciting and very gritty read.

What I really loved about Cruel Secrets was the abundance of characters, all of whom appear lager than life, you have the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Kelly is a brilliant character you can’t help rooting for her, as someone who starts off as the underdog I loved the way her character evolved, she’s a mass of contradictions gentle but tough, caring but hard as nails when people cross her, but she also has an air of vulnerability that make the people she meets along her journey want to care for her and protect her. Unfortunately her father Eddie Raven, the epitome of a gangster thug is definitely not a likeable character, in fact I ended up despising him, to the “why” I felt like this you will just have to read the book and see.

Cruel Secrets explores the underbelly of the crime world, so expect violence and plenty of swearing, for me this added a gritty authenticity to the plot. The author certainly knows how to write a story that packs a punch. From the first chapter it’s one of those books that just grabs your attention with a wicked plot and characters who get under your skin and worm their way into your heart (but definitely not Eddie Raven). Kerry Barnes brilliantly delivers a story of violence, treachery and family ties, a fab book to read and an impossible one to put down. I will definitely be pre-ordering the sequel Wicked Lies which will be published in 2018.

Print Length: 479 pages

Publisher: ONCE UPON A BOOK (1 Nov. 2017)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond #Review

IMG_3101

Book description

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil? You’re wrong…

The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

 

I must be one of the few book bloggers on the planet who hasn’t read The Teacher by Katerina Diamond, but I’ve finally rectified that. Prior to publication of The Teacher, I remember there was a lot of hype on social media regarding this book, add to that a tag line definitely “not for the faint-hearted hearted” and you would think I would have bought it straight away but no me being me I decided to wait until all the hype had died (excuse the pun!) down, also with a huge TBR pile I just never found the time I’m afraid.

My review

I really have mixed feelings about The Teacher it was a book I really enjoyed reading, but there was a small part of me that was expecting something far more gruesome, now this could be because I read such a large amount of crime books I’ve become accustomed to descriptions of murders that might turn other readers stomachs, but I really don’t think it was that disturbing or gruesome. On the other hand if you don’t like well described murder scenes this may not be the book for you I’m afraid.

To begin with I admit I found myself confused each chapter introduces new characters, so by the half way mark there were an array of characters that I found difficult to keep tabs on, but then it happened! The Teacher began to make sense and I realised just how clever the author had been, she set the scene and then cunningly bought all the characters together in a dark and troubling tale. From the title I pretty much had the plot worked out in my head, but rather like the book nothing was as it seemed and it wasn’t long before I realised I had been pretty much misdirected by the blurb.

The Teacher introduces a new partnership DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles, and I’m intrigued by the pair as I’ve come to expect in a crime thriller they both appear to be messed up, but I’m interested to see how there partnership will evolve over the series. The Teacher is very much about good V evil, I never expected to have any sympathy for a killer that could do such awful things to other people, but I did, as to the reasons why, well I’m not about to giveaway spoilers so you will just have to read the book and see.

Although I enjoyed The Teacher I did find it a slightly disappointing read, I think because of all the hype surrounding this book I expected something more, but in fairness that’s my problem and not the authors. I do think The Teacher was a great start to a new crime series, deliciously dark with an eclectic mix of characters and I will certainly read the next two books in the series at some point.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Avon; UK (10 Mar. 2016)

When You Disappeared by John Marrs #BookReview

IMG_2737

Book description

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing–except him.
Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn’t just leave her. He wouldn’t leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth–about why he left and what he’s done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon’s halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He’s doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can’t hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.
And wish she’d stayed in the dark.

Revised edition: Previously published as The Wronged Sons, this edition of When You Disappeared includes editorial revisions.

My review

Imagine one day your husband disappears, you have no idea what has happened to him, as time passes you grieve, you go on to build a life without him and then when you least expect he turns up on your doorstep, I’m sure you would be shocked to say the least! and even more so when he reveals what he’s been up too! And this is pretty much the premises for When You Disappear. The story opens with the day Simon left and follows the impact this has on his family, and on Simon himself, when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he really is, and that’s when the book gets really interesting as there are shocks and dark buried secrets galore. 

I absolutely loved The One by John Marrs so I really wanted to read When You Disappeared the author’s debut novel. Although it made for a good read I did have mixed emotions regarding the book as a whole some parts I really enjoyed and other parts I struggled with. Personally I felt this book read more like a mystery until just over the halfway mark when the psychological thriller element kicked in. I do have to mention Simon what an evil, cold hearted individual John Marr’s has created he doesn’t have one endearing feature, and at times he literally made my blood boil, sometimes I think having strong feelings for a character even if they are negative ones can actually heighten my enjoyment of a book, but unfortunately I disliked him so much it actually distracted from my enjoyment of When You Disappeared.

When You Disappeared is told in alternating chapters past and present from the two main characters POV, unfortunately I did find the constant change sometimes made the chapters feel disjointed. Although I can see why the author used this ploy I did find it slightly distracted from my enjoyment of this book. I would describe this book as a Character driven family drama and so I found the pace quite slow, although I do feel the author builds on the suspense and tension as he slowly reveals Simon’s darkest secrets. There is no doubt the author has written a captivating tale that many readers will enjoy with an original plot. It’s an impressive debut and one I’m sure many readers will enjoy.

Buying links:   amazon UK 🇬🇧     amazon US 🇺🇸

Length: 350 pages

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (13 July 2017)

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture

IMG_2899

Book description

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

Design

My review

There are so many Crime detective series on the market that it’s almost impossible to keep up with them all. There are a few series that come high or hell water I wouldn’t miss the latest instalment of and Angela Marsons Detective Kim Stone series is one of them. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of Broken Bones that I didn’t even read the book description, but then I have such faith in this author’s ability to deliver a riveting read. Was my faith misplaced? Hell no despite this book being the seventh in the series Angela Marsons has only gone and written another worthy nail biting addition to what is a compulsive series.

Detective Kim Stone is one of my favourite crime Detectives and I feel as the series has evolved so has her character, interestingly in Broken Bones there is more emphasis on Stacy and Dawson valuable members of Kim’s team. This works perfectly as the reader learns more about the dynamics of her team, and each character has a very different story to tell, so as the reader you feel a connection to the team as a whole.

I will say one thing for the author, she certainly doesn’t hang about and waste words, no siree Angela Marsons grabs the reader’s attention with a disturbing prologue, one which promises the reader an intense and unputdownable read. From the first page to the last the author keeps the reader firmly in her clutches, as Kim and her team investigate two crimes that involve human exploitation and cruelty you will be hard pressed to put this gripping book down. As usual the author doesn’t shy away from writing about difficult subjects, prostitution, modern day slavery, grooming to name but a few, but that’s what make her books so original there dark, gritty and disturbing, but one thing they can never be called is “dull”.

I could wax lyrical about Broken Bones from morning through to night the characters, the plot and the heart racing moments, and so much more but then in doing so I could possibly spoil the read for others, so all I’m going to say is “read this book at the earliest opportunity” and to those who have yet to read this series well your definitely missing out on one of the best crime series out there at the moment.

Pre-order links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 374 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (3 Nov. 2017)

Other books in the series:

 

 

 

 

 

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain #BookReview @panmacmillan 

IMG_2716

Book description

Steeped in history and filled with heart-wrenching twists, The Stolen Marriage is an emotionally captivating novel of secrets, betrayals, prejudice, and forgiveness. It showcases Diane Chamberlain at the top of her talent.

One mistake, one fateful night, and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever.
It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.

My Review

As anyone who follows my blog will know I mostly read crime and psychological thrillers but every once in a while I like to move away from the “dark side” and pick up a book that’s very different to my usual read. I’m a huge fan of Diane Chamberlain and have been for a number of years I love her style of writing and I always find I quickly get immersed her books once I start reading them.

The Stolen Marriage is a very compelling historical novel with an element of mystery thrown in, set in the 1940’s in Hickory, North Carolina, like many towns of that era the author depicts a authentic picture of a small town steeped in racial prejudice, a polio epidemic and the hardships faced by people during World War Two. One moment of madness leads to Tess finding herself trapped in a loveless marriage to Henry, as she tries to adjust to married life she realises there’s a lot more to her new husband than meets the eye. When a polio epidemic strikes the town Tess, who has a nursing degree, ignores Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Tess begins her story in crisis and self doubt but as The Stolen Marriage progresses she grows stronger through adversity.

The Stolen Marriage is an eye opener and thank goodness the 1940’s are well and truly behind us. Everything was so different then, interracial Marriage was prohibited and punishable by up to ten years in prison, and a woman working, unthinkable! these views sound unbelievable but unfortunately they were alive and kicking in the 1940’s, for me this novel gave an authentic insight into an age where things were so different. Diane Chamberlain has created a host of characters some more likeable than others, Henry Kraft was a character that I found hard to like, but I was surprised by the last third of the book I actually ended up feeling a great deal of empathy for him.

Diane Chamberlain has once again written a fascinating novel and one I’m sure her legions of fans will love. If I had one small criticism I thought the first half of the book was very slow, but in saying that the author uses this time to develop her characters. The one thing I really enjoyed about this book was the author’s attention to detail I really felt the town of Hickory came alive, it almost felt like I was stepping back in time to a town steeped in prejudice, snobbery and old fashioned views. It’s also obvious the author has spent a lot of time researching polio, and has written a very credible story. All in all I found this novel to be an throughly enjoyable read.The Stolen Marriage is a book that I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy a historical novel with some mystery thrown in.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 384 pages

Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (5 Oct. 2017)

The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst #BookReview @JennyBlackhurst @headlinepg

IMG_2904

Book description

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.
Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…

Design

My review

I do love a creepy and disturbing psychological thriller and The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst fits the bill perfectly. When a child is portrayed in a book as someone evil and not to be trusted I always find the read somewhat more creepy, I think it’s because children are seen as sweet and innocent you never expect them to scare the life out of you, but Jenny Blackhurst has created a character who gave me the heebie-jeebies. From the start this book made for a chilling and genuinely disturbing read that took me by surprise at every twisted turn.

Rather like the book description for The Foster Child I’m not going to go into plot details I think the vagueness of the description helped to make this book all the more thrilling as you weren’t sure what to expect. From my first introduction to Ellie I wanted to believe in her and I found myself hoping that “the bad things happening” to the people who upset her were a coincidence rather than something far more disturbing. As the story progresses you can’t help but feel for Ellie, a child who is bullied relentlessly and “whispered about by children and adults alike.

Malice and discord bubble away throughout making every chapter chilling,  I found myself becoming very anxious and increasingly unsettled as the author weaved her twisted tale. I’m very impressed by the author’s ability to create an imaginative and throughly creepy novel that messed with my over active imagination to such an extent that every creak, every noise in the house made me jump! The market is saturated with Psychological thrillers at the moment, but personally I think Jenny Blackhurst has done a fantastic job in making sure The Foster Child stands out, it’s unpredictable, compelling and genuinely disturbing.  Definitely a book I would highly recommend as it kept me guessing right up to the last thrilling, heart stopping chapter.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Headline (21 Sept. 2017)