Hidden by Emma Kavanagh. Read March 2015.

A distinctive, quirky writing style sets this author’s books apart from the crime fiction crowds.
A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He’s unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently…As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman’s next target will be. But he’s there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks…”
I’ve spent a while trying to work out how to review Hidden without spoilers but haven’t figured it out. The event towards which all the book’s action is hurtling is described in the first few pages. The author’s skill is in drawing the reader into the stories surrounding each of the main players so that at times the inevitable ending is forgotten.
I recommend Hidden to fans of twisty plots and well developed characters. I’m already dusting off a place in the to-be-read pile for Book 3.
Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advance copy e-book. 

 

The Lie by C L Taylor. Read March 2015.

A combination of psychological thriller, intriguing mystery and action adventure.
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist..,Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves…”
I read The Lie in just a couple of days and as I’m a slow reader that shows me that I was hooked. The action switches between present day Jane in her new life and the events of 5 years earlier. The flashback chapters build up into a fast paced and horrifying story that I can’t really hint at without spoilers. The present day events are skilfully developed with the suspense levels cranked up to the maximum.
Recommended for readers who like a well woven plot and gritty (at times shocking) writing.
Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advance copy e-book. 

 

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton. Read March 2015.

Sharon Bolton’s best book yet. Prepare to have your emotions put through the wringer then stomped on with army boots.

“What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?…How long before revenge becomes irresistible?With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?

So now what’s the worst thing you could do to your best friend?”

The three main characters take a turn at narrating the story and each one has their own version of the misery of the past three years. Entwined with the current drama of the search for a missing child, their stories keep the reader well and truly hooked.

As usual with this author the book is beautifully written and at times the description of the islands distracted me from the plot. I feel as though I’ve spent the past few days in the Falklands even though it’s a place I’d previously only heard of in news bulletins.

Highly recommended.

Thank you to the publisher for the proof copy to review.

 

Disclaimer by Renee Knight. Read March 2015.

A highly original plot and a compelling read to the very end.
When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine’s bedside table, she curls up in bed and begins to read.

But as she turns the pages she is sickened to realise the story will reveal her darkest secret. A secret she thought no one else knew…”

If this had been a film I would have had to watch it from behind a cushion – some of the scenes were so painful they made me very uncomfortable. 

Having said that the book is so well written and ingeniously plotted that I was compelled to keep reading.

I kept searching for which of the characters I was meant to identify with or find sympathetic, only to conclude it was none of them.

Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advance copy e-book 

 

Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jacquiery. Read March 2015.

One of my most eagerly anticipated reads this year.

“Phnom Penh, Cambodia; the rainy season. When a French man, Hugo Quercy, is found brutally murdered, Commandant Serge Morel finds his holiday drawn to an abrupt halt…Opening his investigation, the Parisian detective soon finds himself buried in one of his most challenging cases yet…A deeply atmospheric crime novel that bristles with truth and deception, secrets and lies: Death in the Rainy Season is a compelling mystery that unravels an exquisitely wrought human tragedy.”

I thoroughly enjoyed being reunited with Morel having loved Book 1 – The Lying-Down Room. As well as a superbly plotted story, this time we learn more about Morel’s family history but I missed the close involvement and intrigues of his Parisian colleagues.

One of the things I appreciate most about the author’s writing style is the way she slowly builds up background and atmosphere with all the characters and weaves them into an intricate plot. This makes her books irresistible and addictive (this is me trying to avoid the word unputdownable).

Death in the Rainy Season could easily be read as a standalone novel – this from a reader who is usually a stickler for reading series in order. I know I won’t be the only reader impatiently awaiting the next instalment.

Thank you to the publisher, Mantle, for the advance review copy of the book.



The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer. Read March 2015.

I’m glad I don’t read the blurb on books before I read them, as this one might have put me off because I’ve always tended to avoid anything to do with the supernatural or psychic powers. Then I would have missed a great read that had me biting my nails towards the end.

“Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.

And now they are all his mother has left.
Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.
When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…
But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?
Or is he something far, far worse?”

The Shut Eye is full of strong characters, with even the bit part players described in a way that brings them to life. 

The author grabbed me from the first few chapters and it was one of those books that stay in your mind even when you’re not reading. One thing that makes it particularly memorable is that even when the tension was almost unbearable, there would be a quirky turn of phrase that made me smile or even laugh out loud.
Recommended for readers who like something different and who can suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.

Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the e-book to review.