Tag Archives: New Releases

The book review café book of the month **July 2019**

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Oh WOW can you believe we’re in August? and even more incredible is the fact that I’ve managed to post on the 1st of the month 😂

I have read some fabulous books again this month, and go me I’m still on a mission to make my book of the month, actually ONE book, can I manage to complete a whole year, well here’s hoping😂.

How do I choose my book  of the month?

I go for a book that I find 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.

So without further ado here’s my book of the month for July.

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Child’s Play by Angela Marsons

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Once again the author has written a crime thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, taut with tension and bursting with malevolence and trepidation, it’s a book that crime thriller lovers will race through. Angela Marsons has again delivered a riveting read, with an original plot, all to human characters and a style of writing that immerses the reader from the start. I cannot wait for the next book in this ‘unmissable’ series. My full review can be found here…….Child’s Play by Angela Marsons

Highly recommended

 

 

 

You can read my full reviews here…..

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah #BookReview #SummerReads @HQstories @KiaAbdullah

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager #BookReview #SummerReads @riley_sager @EburyPublishing @penguinrandom

#Inborn by Thomas Enger #BookReview @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks #BookShelfReads

The closer I get by Paul Burston #Review @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks #MustReads

Books I’m hoping to read in August

I’m hoping to have an Orenda binge this month which I’m really looking forward to, along with a couple of other books I’m hoping to fit in.

 

 

 

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah #BookReview #SummerReads @HQstories @KiaAbdullah

Today I’m sharing my review for Take It Back by Kia Abdullah, a powerful and emotional court drama. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description……

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The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Whose side would you take?

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a glittering career at the Bar. All before hanging up her barrister’s wig to help the victims who needed her most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

Jodie’s own best friend doesn’t even believe her claims that their classmates carried out such a crime. But Zara does. And Zara is determined to fight for her.

Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price?

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Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a modern day story that explores some pretty tough but current themes, sexual assault, racial tensions, prejudice, and poverty. Some readers may give this book a wide berth because of the subjects mentioned, personally I would ask you to think again, its one of those books that offers so much more, it’s a book that’s thought provoking, a relevant if not disturbing tale of our times. This is one of those books that would make the perfect book club read, it explores current and relevant topics that will make for lively, thought-provoking discussions.

Sixteen-year-old Jodie Wolfe enters a sexual referral centre, wanting to share her story,  she reveals an appalling tale to lawyer Zara Kaleel, a horrific crime has been committed and Jodie firmly points the finger at four Muslim boys. This sets the scene for an explosive courtroom thriller, where no one could foresee the far-reaching consequences for Jodie, Zara, four teenage boys, their families and the local Muslim community. It’s very much a case of ‘she said’ versus ‘they said’ but whose to be believed? Jodie a young girl who is bullied and tormented for her facial deformities, dragged up by an alcoholic mother? Or the four teenage boys, handsome, popular and from decent hardworking families? The odds aren’t stacked in Jodie’s favour that’s for sure! 

Jodie Wolfe couldn’t foresee her case would develop into a high profile one,  steeped in controversy, where everyone has an opinion, and sides are taken. Kia Abdullah ensures the reader is kept captivated, with a cast of unreliable characters,  it’s nigh on impossible to know who to believe. Truth and lies become blurred, the opinions of professionals, the evidence from witnesses, I found my thoughts constantly changing throughout the court scenes, making for a tense and unpredictable read. 

Characters are such an essential part of a well-told story, and the author has created some exceptional ones, Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds appears strong and determined but look under the flawless, public front and you will find a woman burdened with guilt at not being the perfect ‘Muslim girl’ that her family want her to be. Then you have Jodie who will pull at your heartstrings, dragged up by a mother who resents her, bullied and ridiculed by her peers for being disfigured, her story is desperately sad and yet very credible. There are other characters that will make your blood boil, or rouse sympathy but one thing I can guarantee you, you will question each one’s variation of the truth!  

The author keeps the reader on tenterhooks almost to the very last page, there were many surprises hidden within the pages that were unexpected but added to the over all tension. I have seen reviews that compare Zara Kaleel‘s writing to that of best seller Jodi Picoult, in many ways I would have to agree, the format feels the same, but I think the author has created her own style, the court scenes felt far more tense and hard-hitting, and I found the characters to be more relatable, the plot to be far from predictable.  Take It Back is a touching and powerful novel that makes for a disquieting read but it’s one I would highly recommend to those who appreciate a count drama, with a challenging storyline. 

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (8 Aug. 2019)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Child’s Play by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #ChildsPlay #CrimeSeries #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for one of my favourite crime series Child’s Play by Angela Marsons, but first the book description……..

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Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killer’s they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

The addictive new crime thriller from multi-million copy, number one bestseller Angela Marsons explores the dark side of child prodigies and will have you absolutely hooked.

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I’ve thought long and hard about writing a review for Child’s Play by Angela Marsons, not because I didn’t enjoy it, in fact I bloody loved it! But it’s the eleventh book in the series and I’ve reviewed every book,  and I’m not sure I have anything original to say, unlike the author! Am I biased towards the author? Definitely not if I love a book i will shout about it, if I dislike a book  I tend to keep my opinions to myself! I keep expecting this series to lose momentum, or the latest book to be a pleasant read, but not one that sets my heart racing with excitement, and yet the latest instalment of the ‘Kim Stone’ series is just as good, or even better than previous books in the series, and just as thrilling, Angela Marsons is an author who was born to write crime thrillers.

Child’s Play opens with a blood curdling scene, there’s no slow build up here the author goes straight for the jugular, no pun attended! Which immediately draws you into Child’s Play. Diverting from her usual format the author has uses two plots to engage the reader, personally I sometimes find this affects the flow of a book, but that’s definitely not the case with Child’s Play. The first focuses on the investigation of the gruesome murder of Belinda Evans, a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. The second focuses on DC Penn whom we were introduced to in a previous book. By weaving both plots together we learn more about Penn’s personality and learn more about his strengths  and weaknesses during a reopened investigation.

The strength of this series lies in its characters, Kim Stone and her team are so well developed, they jump out of the pages. Like any team they each have a place, they have their disagreements, their banter is second to none and yet they are a ‘work family’ who always have each other’s back.  The relationship between Kim and her sidekick Bryant goes from strength to strength, the humour better the pair adds light relief to the contrast of a dark plot. A new member temporarily joins the team, Tiffany aka ‘Tinks’  her character fits in really well with the dynamics of the team, even if Kim finds her irritatingly cheerful! I hope she makes a return in future books, as I think she would definitely make a worthy addition to the team.  

As I’ve come to expect the author’s research into her plot and characters is impeccable, she also gives an incredible insight into the psyche of her troubled characters. In this book the author spotlights child prodigies, a subject which I found intriguing but at the same time alarming, these children are often seen as oddities, they are bullied, ostracised, isolated because they are ‘different’. Marsons explores the difficulties child prodigies face, alongside the ramifications on siblings and families. Child’s Play seems such an innocent title, it’s one that conjures up images of children’s laughter, and childhood games, but Angela Marsons turns it into something dark and far more sinister. 

Once again the author has written a crime thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, taut with tension and bursting with malevolence and trepidation, it’s a book that crime thriller lovers will race through. Angela Marsons has again delivered a riveting read, with an original plot, all to human characters and a style of writing that immerses the reader from the start. I cannot wait for the next book in this ‘unmissable’ series. Highly recommended by me. 

  • Print Length: 359 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (11 July 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza #BookTrailer #MustReads @RobertBryndza @TheCrimeVault @kirsteenastor

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing something that I’m really, really excited about, it’s a trailer for the awesome Robert Bryndza’s latest book Nine Elms. In case you don’t follow my blog I’m a huuuuuuuge fan of the author’s books and I can’t wait to read this one, of course I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! This is the first book in a brand new series featuring Kate Marshall, and as I mentioned it’s available for pre-order right now links included below Here’s the very intriguing book description first…….

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Robert Bryndza is ready to take the world by bestselling storm again with the introduction of Kate Marshall, a woman with a dark secret and a powerful sense of justice.

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

Now, years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Nov. 2019)

pre-order links:   Ebook published 1st November 2019 Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Hardback:  published 9th January 2020 Amazon UK 🇬🇧

About the author

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Robert Bryndza is a crime writer and his books have sold 3 million copies, and they’ve been translated into 28 languages. He’s British and lives in Slovakia. In addition to writing crime fiction, he has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels.

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller THE GIRL IN THE ICE, which is the first in my Detective Erika Foster series, and to date, it has sold over one million copies. There are six books (so far) in the Erika Foster series, and they can be read as a series, and also work as stand-alone books, so can be read in any order;

THE GIRL IN THE ICE
THE NIGHT STALKER
DARK WATER
LAST BREATH
COLD BLOOD
DEADLY SECRETS

NINE ELMS, the first book in new crime thriller private detective series, is now available to pre-order, and it will be published in the USA and UK on November 5th 2019.

You can find out more about him at www.robertbryndza.com

and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

Sign up to his New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

And now what you’ve all been waiting for

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Here you go click on the link below to watch the trailer ⬇️⬇️

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza trailer

Well what did you think? I 🖤🖤this trailer it literally gave me goosebumps and now I’m even more eager to read Nine Elms. And don’t forget ⬇️⬇️

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#Inborn by Thomas Enger #BookReview @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks #BookShelfReads

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Inborn by Thomas Enger. This is the first book I’ve read by the author so I wasn’t sure what to expect. You can read on for my thoughts….

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When a teenager is accused of a high-school murder, he finds himself subject to trial by social media … and in the dock. A taut, moving and

chilling thriller by one of Nordic Noir’s finest writers.

.When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock … for murder?

.Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously … and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community. As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?

It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.

.But can we trust him?

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I have a confession to make **whispers quietly** I have never read a book by Thomas Enger! So yes maybe I’m late to the party where this author is concerned, but what an entrance. I absolutely loved Inborn, it’s a novel that’s intense, deliciously dark and each page is filled with a mystery that captivates the reader. This is one of those books that should come with the tagline **Assume nothing, question everything** my favourite kind of read, this nothing more satisfying than reading a book where the author misdirects the reader at every opportunity, where nothing is as it first seems, and where each character placed in the spotlight adds to the growing sense of mistrust. 

Inborn is set in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim, when the local high school becomes a murder scene, the finger of suspicion is directed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, Evan finds himself judged on social media, everyone in the insular village has an opinion, ‘guilty to proven innocent’ seems to be the general consensus. As Even tries to unravel the truth and clear his name, it becomes clear that some villagers have hidden secrets, ones they would prefer to stay very much hidden. Inborn is narrated In alternating story lines, one focuses on the courtroom with Even testifying, and the other follows the events after the murders leading up to the trial. Both of the storyline’s merge perfectly, drawing the reader further into the author’s tangled web whilst maintaining a sense of trepidation that continues to grow as the story unfolds.

Thomas Enger has created a fascinating bunch of characters, Even especially is one of those characters you are drawn to, he’s a young man whose whole life comes crashing down, once popular and liked by all, he finds himself the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons, speculation is rife and Evan is left bewildered, angry and scared. Although I wondered if I could trust Evan, after all “there’s no smoke without fire” so they say, or was I been directed by the whispers of the small-minded townsfolk?  Chief Inspector Yngve Mork who leads the enquiry, is another character I felt a deep connection to, he’s haunted by grief after loosing his wife whose recently died of cancer.

Inborn is a relatively short read, at 276 pages but “the best things come in small packages” and what it lacks in pages, it more than makes up for in content and drama.  A small Norwegian village is the perfect setting for this novel, it feels claustrophobic, a place where gossip becomes the truth, and the relationships of the townsfolk are shrouded in lies and deceit. This book is so many things, courtroom drama, a crime thriller, merged with mystery and lashings of suspense. The author is now definitely on my “must read” authors list,  and in case you were wondering “yes” it’s a book I would recommend to anyone who’s looking for a crime read that’s different on so many levels.

  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (22 Jan. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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TheJourney by Conrad Jones @ConradJones #BlogTour #BookReview @BOTBSPublicity

Good morning today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for The Journey by Conrad Jones. I read this book way back last year, but even now it’s a book that still haunts me. So today I’m re-sharing my review for The Journey, such a  fabulous heart-breaking read. Read on for my thoughts.

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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, it’s a compelling story full of review emotion.  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. Even though I read The journey over a year ago it’s a book that my thoughts often return too. Highly recommend.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Print Length: 196 pages

Publisher: (14 May 2018)

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Conrad Jones a 52-year-old Author, living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.
In March 1993 I was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.
I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank`and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’.
I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 20th novel, The Journey, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.
As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelley and his Harry Bosch Series.
Social Media Links:

Sarah Hardy

Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
Twitter: @BOTBSPublicity

 

Follow the blog tour

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Black Summer by M.W.Craven #BookReview @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault #WashingtonPoe #BlackSummer #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing my review for Black Summer by M.W.Craven the second book in the Washington Poe series, and one of my most anticipated reads for summer 2019. You can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……

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After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

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Ever since I reached the last page The Puppet Show  I have been (in)patiently waiting for Black Summer by M.W. Craven, the second book in the Washington Poe series. One of my favourite things about picking up a new book is when a crime author grabs your attention with a dramatic opening, as soon as I read the first page I just knew that this was a book I knew I would savour. Although Black Summer could be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to read both books in order, not doing so would be like ordering a dessert without the main course! Where’s the pleasure in that? This book is perfectly paced, with engaging characters, it’s definitely one of this year’s summer unmissable crime reads. 

Black Summer is the perfect title for this book, there’s a storm brewing with Poe planted firmly in the eye of the storm!  M.W. Craven puts our hero Poe through the wringer as he finds himself on the wrong side of a crime investigation, one that will question his integrity, and potential end his career.  A case from his past dramatically takes centre stage when Elizabeth Keaton staggers into a police station, nothing wrong with that you might think, but Poe helped to convict her father Jared Keaton, chef to the stars for her murder! A conviction  based mainly on forensic evidence. So it doesn’t bode well for Poe, aided by his colleagues, computer, science and maths genius, Tilly Bradshaw, Poe is in a race against time to prove his innocence. There’s nothing Tilly loves more than a complex the puzzle, if anything she embraces them, and M.J. Craven delivers a deliciously complex  case, one that allows Tilly to showcase her skills in helping to solve a bewildering case. 

There is so much I could say about Poe and Tilly the dynamic duo, they are both such fabulous depicted, compelling characters. Poe is complex & charismatic, complex, whereas the wonderful Tilly is still socially awkward, some of her comments need fine tuning, tact definitely isn’t her strong point but she’s a hell of a character all the same. The dialogue between the couple is endearing, charming and funny, but it’s these moments that add light to the darkness of the plot. There is an array of brilliant characters in Black Summer that are worthy of a mention. We are introduced to forensic pathologist, Estelle Doyle another quirky character, and one I hope will reappear in future books. As for the charming, charismatic Jared Keaton, without giving away spoilers, he’s the definition of a psychopath, chilling but so brilliantly depicted!  The author has a knack for creating characters that are multidimensional, quirky and unforgettable, always a definite plus. 

I loved how the author brought all the threads together culminating in a jaw dropping, but very satisfying and clever conclusion. Black Summer isn’t as dark or gory as The Puppet Show, but OMG if anything I probably enjoyed this book more, there’s so many questions, intrigue, and mystery, my perfect kind of crime read. This is one book that will definitely be on my top reads of 2019, I’m only sorry that we will have to wait another year for the next book in the series, but I will definitely read it and the one after that, and the one……… Black Summer is a book I would recommend without hesitation,  and for those of you who love a crime thriller that’s taut and brilliantly twisted it’s a ‘must read’

  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (20 Jun. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

And yes I’m giving a Black Summer my shiny Book hangover award, 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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