Dead In Deep Water by Dave Sivers. Read October 2015.

Another gripping, well-plotted whodunnit featuring Archer and Baines, my latest favourite crime fighting team.

“When a teenage Olympic swimming hopeful is found drowned in a water-filled disused quarry..it looks as if fears that the local swimming hole was an accident waiting to happen have been fulfilled in the worst possible way. A few days later, a small-time thief turns up on an allotments site a few miles away, his head bashed in with a spade…As Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer and Detective Sergeant Dan Baines investigate, they realise that neither case quite adds up. The truth, and the motive behind each death, is much darker than they could have imagined.”

This second instalment in the Archer & Baines series builds on the strong character development in the first book, The Scars Beneath The Soul. I enjoyed the intriguing crime story but, as with all my favourite crime series, what I enjoyed most was finding out more about the personal lives of the main characters. For me, Dan Baines has already become one of the most interesting protagonists I have come across. His tragic and heartbreaking back story will have me waiting for Book 3 impatiently.

Highly recommended for fans of intelligent and satisfying crime fiction, but please read Book 1 first or you’ll miss out on important background to the characters. Also, for those who like to judge a book by its cover, this one is a real beauty!

Thank you again to the author for donating the signed paperbacks I purchased via the Authors For Nepal appeal.
  

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The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings. Read October 2015.

A gripping story with twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout.

“Will and Harmony’s seemingly idyllic marriage is left shattered after she loses a baby she didn’t realise she wanted…Removing herself from the crowd at a party, she encounters an enigmatic stranger whose advances she rejects, only to later discover that the handsome man is Will’s childhood friend from boarding school, Luke. 

When Will, struggling to confront the culture of bullying that marred his childhood, reveals a secret too painful for her to bear, Harmony is left caught between the husband she loves and the promises made by an obsessive stranger…”

The Judas Scar has been on my to-read list for far too long. Having been recommended by several book bloggers it kept being pushed back in the queue by new proofs until I recently decided to make a determined effort to read some of the books that I wanted to read rather than those I “should” be reading.

Now of course I’m kicking myself that I didn’t read it sooner. The characters are a fascinating cast, well developed and full of realistic traits and flaws. I don’t want to risk spoilers but I think it’s fair to say that none of the main characters comes out of this story entirely sympathetically. I was frustrated at times, shouting “Don’t do it!” and other advice – always a sign of a good read if I’m shouting at the book!

My one criticism would be that some of the plot twists were a little contrived but I was able to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story and enjoyed it as a whole, and I’m looking forward to more books by the same author.

My copy was purchased from Amazon Kindle Store.

  

The Silent Dead by Claire McGowan. Read October 2015.

The latest in the Paula Maguire series and it’s another great read.

“The officers at the crime scene know exactly who the victim is…one of five suspected bombers who caused the deaths of sixteen people.
The remaining four are also missing and when a second body is found, decapitated, it’s clear they are being killed by the same methods their victims suffered.
Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire is assigned the case but she is up against the clock – both personally and professionally.
With moral boundaries blurred between victim and perpetrator, will be Paula be able to find those responsible? After all, even killers deserve justice, don’t they?”

A harrowing read, as were the previous books in the series. Some of the descriptions made me wish I could read from behind a cushion but the author has a way of forcing you to keep reading even when you wish you could turn away.

All the recurring characters were developed in realistic and intriguing directions that left me wanting more. 

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