Reading Round Up – February 2020

I’d read some excellent books in February. Here are my reviews.

Would You Die For Her by Linda Prather.
Dakota has been through a terrible ordeal that has left her broken, both physically and mentally. In an effort to forget what happened to her she’d built walls to protect herself, but when other young women begin being treated like she was, she vows to track her tormentor down.

This book was perfectly paced. There was always something happening, something new discovered about what Dakota had been through. As the walls she built begin to crumble she wonders if she can trust herself. I really liked the four main protagonists, and also thought that the contradictions in Christian’s personality were really well done.

As I got further and further into the book and found out Dakota’s plans, I kept thinking (and hoping,) that surely that won’t happen. But it did. This was a great read and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fast paced, action packed and dark, crime thriller.

In The Woods by M. K. Farrar
Throughout most of this story the main character, Cass, is alone after being abducted and chained/handcuffed to a tree. Although alone, Cass has support from an unexpected source.

This book, at times, did remind me of Gerald’s Game (by Stephen King,) due to how, Like King, Farrar manages to keep you interested in just one character for so long. Both books focus on a lone female being left in a dangerous situation but manage to maintain the tension.

I like the supernatural edge to the story and how it enabled Cass to give a voice on behalf of other women. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’m interested to see what else she has written.

The Escape by C. L. Taylor
Parents Jo and Max both say that they only want what is best for their 2 year old daughter, Elise, but they disagree on what that ‘best’ should be.

Jo is threatened by a woman who seems to know too much about her her and then things go down hill fast as Jo battles to keep Elise with her.

This story moves along at a good pace and there’s plenty of times that things were revealed that I didn’t see coming. The chapters from the POV of someone following Jo work well to increase the tension.

This was a really good thriller in which I didn’t know what I thought of Jo and Max until near the end – I kept changing my mind. The ending gathered all the threads of the story together nicely.

 Into The Darkness by Sibel Hodge
I was pleased to discover that both Mya and Mitchell feature in this story after meeting them in Untouchable. It was nice to see how they both were, but this novel can still be read as a stand alone.

Mitchell is called to track down Toni, his best mate’s teenage daughter. He soon realises that she is in danger. At the same time the police are looking into the murder of an elderly couple. How are the cases linked?

I liked Mitchell’s personality in Untouchable and still do. We’re on the same page with how we see many things. The chapters from Toni’s point of view give glimpses of what she’s about to endure and how she deals with it. These chapters are very tense.

I don’t think there’s any chance of me having a look into the darkness. Hodge has done a great job highlighting the dark web and all the dangers of getting lost in it. Highly recommended.

You by Caroline Kepnes
I’d watched the Netflix series based on this book and then wanted to see how the book compared.

Joe falls in love with Beck at first sight and then makes it his life’s mission to keep an eye on her and remove toxic things from her life. The book is written from Joe’s POV, so every thought and conversation he has makes it into the story.

I liked how the book examines Joe’s motivations, morals and thoughts about relationships. There were times that I found myself agreeing with him even though he is portrayed as the antagonist.

I didn’t like Beck in the TV series, and my opinion wasn’t changed by the book! She’s selfish and just out for what she get, and I kept wondering what the hell Joe saw in her.

Some of the language is coarse and seemed to be used a little too much, but overall this is a well written and thought out psychological thriller.

 

What have you been reading recently? What would you recommend?

Thank you for the continued support.

Best wishes,

Mark.

Reading Round Up – January 2020

2020 got off to a great start reading wise. I’ve read four fantastic books this month, here are my reviews:

Black Summer by M. W. Craven
Poe and Tilly are back in the follow up to The Puppet Show. Still socially awkward but determined to help Poe, Tilly sets about finding how something supposedly forensically impossible, has been made possible.

The case being investigated is complex but Craven, through Poe, takes you through it step by step. Poe’s friendship with Tilly really works, although you’d think it shouldn’t based on their different personalities and outlooks on life. They always have each other’s back though, and sometimes in funny ways.

Keaton is a great antagonist. Self absorbed and a narcissist, he thinks he’s covered all bases to protect himself, but he never banked on Tilly’s research and investigative talents.

Although not as emotive as The Puppet Shoe, I enjoyed this case just as much and look forward to number three.

 

The Whisper Man by Alex North
I like crime thrillers and I’m partial to a touch of the supernatural, and this book combines the two perfectly. There has been a lot of praise for this book so I began reading it hoping it would live up to the hype. It did.

The kidnap and murder of two young boys 20 years apart are leaving the police of Featherbank frustrated. They are struggling to do their job and have run out of leads. Tom and his son Jake move to Featherbank after the death of Jake’s mum, Rebecca. There is much about the village they don’t know about until a gruesome discovery is made.

Jake was my favourite character and the father-son relationship was well done. The little misunderstandings between them are realistic, as are both their uncertainties about their new life. Jake’s relationship with his imaginary friend gradually develops through the story until the significance of his ‘friend’ is revealed. This revelation is emotive as is the very end of the book.

An excellent thriller that has lived up to the hype and then some!

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My Top 10 Reads of 2019

I’ve read some great books this year. Some, by authors I’ve already read books by and enjoyed, others were new to me. Here’s my top 10 book picks of 2019.

Good Samaritans by Will Carver.

The Dead Won’t Sleep by Anna Smith.

 Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite

 Winterscroft by Anita Waller

 A Patient Man by S Lynn Scott.

 The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

 Legion by Shani Struthers

 Monkspike by Sarah England

 Broken by Betsy Reavley

and my top read of the year was Untouchable by Sibel Hodge.

You’ll find some crime fiction, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, supernatural thrillers and horror in my list, so why not go and find out more about these books over on Amazon?

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2020!

Best wishes,

Mark.

Series Review – The Kat and Mouse Murder Mysteries by Anita Waller

I usually prefer to read stand alone novels as it takes something special to keep my attention in a series. This four book series by Anita Waller grabbed my interest in the first book and kept me coming back for more.

Kat (a local community Deacon,) Beth/Mouse (narrowly escapes death when badly beaten,) and Doris (Mouse’s Gran,) all first meet each other in book 1. Their friendships develop through the four books as they have a mixture of personal and criminal issues to tackle between them.

I know that many others who have also read these books will agree with me when I say that Doris regularly steals the show. Kat and Mouse are great personalities  (Kat’s inability to use the internet without breaking it made me laugh,) but 70 year old black belt Doris, has a wicked sense of humour that I really liked.

Anita has done a fantastic job with this series and I’ve heard that there may be more to come from Doris. I recommend reading the books in order as each one does follow on from events in the previous book very closely.

 

Here are the four books in reading order. Click on each cover to read my review of each book:

Murder Undeniable.
Katerina Rowe, a Deacon at the church in the sleepy village of Eyam, has a fulfilled life. She is happily married to Leon and her work is rewarding. But everything changes when she discovers the body of a man and a badly beaten woman, Beth, in the alleyway behind her husband’s pharmacy.

Drawn to the young woman she saved, Kat finds herself embroiled in a baffling mystery.

When Beth’s house is set on fire, Kat offers the young woman sanctuary in her home and soon the pair begin investigating the murder, with some help from Beth’s feisty grandmother, Doris. But neither the police, nor Leon, nor the criminals want Kat and Beth looking into their affairs and the sleuths quickly find themselves out of their depth…

Can Kat and Beth solve the mystery and walk away unscathed?

 

Murder Unexpected
Kat and Mouse are back.

Church Deacon Kat and her friend Beth, known as Mouse, have started a private investigation business in the sleepy village of Eyam.

Kat, whose estranged criminal husband, Leon, is on the run, has a lot on her plate running the new business whilst heavily pregnant.

When a widow asks the sleuths for help, Kat and Mouse find themselves searching for the birth mother of the widow’s husband. But when it becomes clear that the widow isn’t telling the whole truth, Kat and Mouse are drawn into a deadly chase where nothing is what it seems.

Meanwhile, Kat’s husband has come back to Eyam and has Kat in his sights.

Can Kat and Mouse solve the case and escape the dangerous Leon?

This time they might just be out of their depth…

 

Murder Unearthed
When DI Tessa Marsden is called to a road traffic accident, she is disturbed by the crime scene she must investigate. She now has a double murder to contend with; two dead girls from the same village.

Realising the murders aren’t linked, Marsden summons the help of the Connection Investigation Agency, run by Kat, a church Deacon, Beth, (known affectionately as Mouse), a computer expert, and Doris, Beth’s feisty grandmother.

When it is discovered that one of the murdered girls was pregnant the case takes an unexpected turn.

Can DI Marsden, with the input of Kat and Mouse, solve the case before another body appears?

Meanwhile, the agency has been asked to track down the long lost son of Ewan Barker. Will Kat, Mouse and Doris find him and reunite him with his father?

This might just be their toughest investigation yet…

 

Murder Untimely
Early one morning, in the grounds of Chatsworth, a body is discovered by one of the estate groundsmen. DI Marsden and DS Granger battle through snow-covered roads to begin their investigation.

Meanwhile, at the Connection Investigation Agency, Doris, Kat and Mouse are busy juggling their caseloads, while trying to show their new trainee receptionist the ropes.

When the police learn that the body belongs to Nicola Armstrong, a resident of the nearby village of Baslow, it soon transpires that Nicola was the mother of a child who disappeared ten years prior to her murder.

Soon, the Connection investigators are brought in to help but when a second body is found at Chatsworth, the case takes a disturbing turn.

Can the police and the female sleuths get to the truth before more life is lost? Or is the fate of those involved already sealed?

 

You can find all the books in the series, and the box set of all four books, over on Anita’s Amazon author page.
Anita is also active on her Facebook page too.

As always, thank you for your continued support, and as this is my last post of the year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Best wishes,

Mark.

 

Book Review: Highgate by Shani Struthers


Book Description
:
Highgate, perhaps the most famous cemetery in the world, is renowned for its Victorian Gothic splendour, famous residents, its vampire and, of course, ghosts…

Lucy Klein, 42, is not only obsessed with Highgate, she works there too, organising tours for those with an interest in some of the finest Victorian funerary architecture in existence. Single, and on the shy side, she is nonetheless content with her life, or so she thinks. When she meets the enigmatic Zak Harborne, she realises what she’s been missing and quickly falls in love. He’s everything she’s ever wanted…isn’t he?

1972, and Emma Matthews, a 19-year-old history student, also feels as though she’s on the outside. After visiting a derelict Highgate with a group of friends, she starts to feel a connection, a sense of meaning to her life, in amongst the tombstones, the crosses and the angels. Returning to Highgate over and over, she discovers both a paradise and a garden decidedly more savage.

Grace Derby is just 11 when she encounters the gentleman, tall and with a tall hat, a long black coat and a cape about his shoulders. It is the 1850s and street urchins such as her are not accustomed to kindness from those belonging to the upper echelons. Proffering money for food, for her and her family, he asks nothing in return. Curious about the man with the kind blue eyes, she follows him one day… all the way to Highgate.

For some, it seems, all roads lead to Highgate…

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