Need You Dead by Peter James. Read April 2017.

The 13th in the Roy Grace series. Peter James never disappoints and this book is one of his best.

“When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open-and-shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves…and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.”

For fans of this series a treat is in store as familiar characters are involved in the increasingly complex case. But there are also some new faces introduced, giving a promise of more intrigue in future books. I’m struggling to provide more detail without spoiling things for readers who haven’t read the previous books in the series so I’ll move on.

There are some breathtaking action scenes that show the author’s skill with the balance between pace and plot. And of course the depth of research the author undertakes is evident when detailing police procedures.

Roy’s home life comes into focus a lot in this story. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the family in future. Again, sorry to sound so vague for fear of spoilers.

Highly recommended for all crime fiction fans. Book 13 would be an odd starting point but the book could actually read and enjoyed as a standalone as could any of the Roy Grace books.

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

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You Think You Know Me by Clare Chase. Read April 2017.

Suspense, intrigue and thrills in a story that kept me guessing throughout.

“Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad.

Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is…flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths.”

All the characters, even minor ones, are three-dimensional and believable and they all have their part to play in the intricate plot. I found the details of the workings of the art world fascinating and I’ll use that as my excuse for totally failing to spot whodunnit. The writer has the knack of making you suspect everyone until your head is spinning.

The slow build up through the first three quarters of the book felt frustrating at times but once I’d got my breath back after the tension of the last few chapters I could see how cleverly plotted it all was.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy well written, thought provoking suspense.

My copy was purchased from Amazon Kindle store.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Another great read from one of my favourite domestic noir authors.

 
“Can you push your child too far? Paula Daly’s latest gripping domestic thriller explores how far a tiger mother would go to achieve perfection, and the damage this can cause to a family.”

If you’re a fan of twisty plots and dark stories with realistic characters this is the book for you.

Once again the author has created a scenario where the most frightening aspect is the everyday setting. The writing style draws you in until it feels like you’re a part of the family – and what a family. Mum is obsessed with pushing her youngest child into excelling at every activity. She doesn’t realise she’s pushing her to breaking point until it’s too late.

The dynamics of the family are fascinating and distracted me from the mystery that brought back a recurring character from earlier books. The one thing that slightly spoilt things for me was how this character acted (trying hard to avoid spoilers here!) but who am I to judge?

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a well written, thought provoking psychological thriller.

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

Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary. Read January 2017.

This is Book 4 in the Marnie Rome series – and the best yet.

” A vigilante is at loose on the streets. A child is in danger. Sometimes staying silent is the only way to survive…”

As usual with the book series I enjoy most, what keeps me hooked is the way the recurring characters interact. Returning to the world of Marnie, Noah, Stephen and the rest of the author’s compelling cast of characters I knew I’d be in for a gripping and thrilling read.
 
The plot is gloriously twisty. I thought about claiming I’d worked out whodunnit but really I only worked it out about two pages before the reveal.

Highly recommended for fans of police procedurals and psychological thrillers – the Marnie Rome books give you the best of both worlds. As always I strongly suggest reading the other books in the series – Someone Else’s Skin; No Other Darkness; Tastes Like Fear; – to benefit from all the characters’ back stories.

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

Her Husband’s Lover

A gripping page-turner that reaches a whole new level of psychological thriller.

“After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start…Her husband Sam is dead…she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie. And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.”

This is a twisty, disturbing and shocking read – I loved it. The main characters are skilfully developed through a compelling present day story and flashbacks to the origins of the drama. The opening is one of the most memorable I’ve read – a real shout out loud moment.

Even minor characters are drawn so well that they play a part in creating a believable background to the events that unfold. The everyday activity going on around the nightmare scenario being played out by the main characters makes it all the more real.

I don’t want to go into details for fear of spoiling the effect of reading this book with no clue as to what’s happening. But I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys trying to spot the twists in a clever plot.

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

Top Ten Reads 2016

Here are my top ten books of the past year, chosen from those I gave 5 stars on Goodreads:

 

1. Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

Review


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

2. I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

3. The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

4. Daisy In Chains by Sharon Bolton

Review


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

5. When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

6. Love You Dead by Peter James

Review


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

7. Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinéad Crowley

Review


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

8. Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

Review


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

9. Made To Be Broken by Rebecca Bradley

Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

10. Dancers In The Wind by Anne Coates

Review


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Three Weeks Dead by Rebecca Bradley. Read October 2016.

A prequel to Shallow Waters and Made To Be Broken, but intriguingly it doesn’t focus on the main character of those two books.

“How far would you go if someone took your wife?
Especially if you buried her a week ago.”

When I read the blurb I expected to find the plot too far fetched but the author has the knack of making the characters’ actions believable. The story is fast paced and, being a novella, this is a quick read.

I enjoyed finding out more about Sally and relating it to her actions in the later books. I think Rebecca Bradley has hit on a winning idea by writing a prequel for different characters.

This was a gripping and satisfying read with elements of whodunnit and why. I’d be interested to see what this author can do with a psychological thriller rather than a police procedural.

Thank you to the author for the advance copy e-book to review.

Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall. Read October 2016.

This started as a slow burn but then sparks began to fly and I was hooked.

“Don’t. Trust. Anyone. It was supposed to be a fresh start…But can you ever really start again? Or does the past follow you wherever you go…”

The story is set in London but mainly focused on the homes of the main characters and their neighbours. This gives a claustrophobic feel to the action and adds to the tension when Steph’s world starts to crumble around her. The author is skilled at (mis)directing the reader’s attention towards the various other characters involved. I lost count of the number of times I changed my mind about what was going on – a sign of an excellent mystery plot.

Steph is a brilliantly developed character. I found myself veering between compassion for the situation she has found herself in and frustration at some of her actions. Naming no names, for fear of spoilers, there are also some excellent baddies in this book.

Lisa Hall has followed up her fabulous debut, Between You and Me, with another gripping read that I recommend to all psychological thriller fans.

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

Dancers In The Wind by Anne Coates. Read September 2016.

Challenges preconceptions you never even knew you were nurturing.

“Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence.”

The main character, Hannah, is an independent woman juggling a writing career with child care and trying to keep afloat financially. She could have done without Princess embroiling her in a web of intrigue and danger. Hannah’s decisions and actions in the face of this drama make for a gripping and thought provoking read.

The story is set in the early 90s and the author evoked the era well. I enjoyed the author’s writing style which brings each character to life. I particularly enjoyed the development of the relationship between Hannah and Princess.

With its strong plot and the way the reader is made to doubt whether characters can be trusted, this book kept me interested throughout. I also think this story would work well as an audio book.

This book will haunt me for a while. It made me think about my own reactions to news stories and the preconceptions that can cloud your opinions.

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

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe. Read September 2016.

A masterclass in multiple points of view.

“How do you survive the unthinkable? Passengers boarding the 10.35 train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.”

This cast of characters will stay with me for a long time. Each one is realistic and believable – they could be my neighbours or people I went to school with. They’ve been thrown together on this train, into a nightmare situation, and I turned each page with a sense of impending doom. Telling the story from nine points of view must have been a challenge but it works brilliantly.

The book kept me engaged right up to the last page and although “enjoyed” seems the wrong word it was certainly a powerful and gripping read. I admire the author’s skill in moving the story along with realistic dialogue and even humour during some of the most traumatic scenes.

Highly recommended – but expect to be put through the mill emotionally.

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