Genre: Crime

Hide & Seek by MJ Arlidge

Posted August 18, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Hide & Seek by MJ ArlidgeHide and Seek (DI Helen Grace #6) by M.J. Arlidge
Published by Penguin Books (UK) on 8th September 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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I was absolutely over the moon when I received the notification from NetGalley that I had been selected to receive an ARC of Arlidge’s latest book in the Helen Grace series. Little Boy Blue finished on a cliffhanger and this book picks up from where LBB left off.

Obviously I can’t say too much about the story as the book isn’t released until next month, but what I will say is that it is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!! It picks up the storyline really well, and the events which unfold once again leave the reader on the edge of their seats wanting to know what will happen next.

Thankfully, Hide & Seek wraps up the story started in LBB, but the ending will still have you racing to know what happens next.

Another fantastic book from MJ Arlidge who is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors!!

No Way Back by MJ Arlidge (3/5)

Posted August 11, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

No Way Back by MJ Arlidge (3/5)No Way Back Published by Penguin UK on August 11th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Crime, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, General, Suspense
Pages: 40
Format: Kindle
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A treat for fans of DI Helen Grace: an ebook short story from Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author M. J. Arlidge.
Jodie's arriving at her third children's home. She's only fifteen.Maybe this time will be different. She'll be safe. Looked after.
But the truth is Jodie has no one left to protect her.She must defend herself. She must change.
'Helen Grace is one of the greatest heroes to come along in years' JEFFERY DEAVER'The new Jo Nesbo' JUDY FINNIGAN
'Fast paced and nailbitingly tense ... gripping' SUN
'DI Helen Grace is a genuinely fresh heroine ... MJ Arlidge weaves together a tapestry that chills to the bone'Daily Mail'Chilling stuff' Fabulist
'A chilling read' My Weekly 'A grisly, gripping thriller' Sunday Mirror
'Gruesomely realistic, intriguing and relentless. Arlidge's fledgling army of fans is about to grow' Sunday Sport
'Eeny Meeny debuts one of the best new series detectives, Helen Grace. Determined, tough and damaged, she must unravel a terrifying riddle of a killer kidnapping victims in pairs. Mesmerizing!' Lisa Gardner
'Expertly pulled off. It has a devious premise. DI Helen Grace is fiendishly awesome. It's scary as all hell. And it has a full cast of realistically drawn, interesting characters that make the thing read like a bullet' Will Lavender
'A fast-paced, twisting police procedural and thriller that's sure to become another bestseller' Huffington Post

I’m a huge fan of MJ Arlidge and have read and reviewed all his books released up until now. With the exception of one, I have loved them! I’m also eagerly awaiting the 6th book in the series – Hide and Seek – which is due to be released next month. So when I spotted on Twitter that there was a new short story out, I bought it straight away.

This is a prequel to the Helen Grace series, and as such really needs to be read after the main series of books in order to give the necessary background and context. Without wanting to give away too much about the stories in the series, it covers Helen’s time in a children’s home immediately following the death of her parents.

It’s a very short book – 40 or so pages, which I read in about 20 minutes. But priced at 99p it’s not the biggest financial outlay and it was an entertaining story. I could have done with it being longer – but that’s only because I love Arlidge’s writing so much and wanted to get more into the characters. But even at such a short length, it still packs a punch.

Dead Pretty by David Mark (1/5)

Posted August 1, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Dead Pretty by David Mark (1/5)Dead Pretty (DS Aector McAvoy, #5) by David Mark
Published by Mulholland on January 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback
Source: BookBridgr
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Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days.
One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won't let either of them go until justice can be done.
But some people have their own ideas of what justice means...
DEAD PRETTY is the stunning new novel from one of Britain's most original crime writers.

First of all I would like to thank Bookbridgr and Mulholland for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. I know there are plenty of fans of David Mark’s books, and I can see from other reviews on GoodReads that my 1* review is very much the exception, rather than the rule. Perhaps it’s because this is the 5th book in the series, but the first that I’ve read, so I found it hard to get into the characters. Who knows. Either way it wasn’t for me.

I have an issue in general with detectives in murder/mystery/psychological thrillers having silly names, and “Aector McAvoy” is no exception. Aector?!! It’s a gaelic name according to the author, but not one I’ve ever come across. On top of that one of the characters insisted on calling him “Hector” throughout the book. I thought it was a typo at first, but it was so consistent I decided it must be a “character trait” even though it was intensely annoying.

I couldn’t get on board with the writing either. Another issue I have is the overuse of metaphors in writing, and this book is absolutely peppered with them. Open practically any page and you can find some ridiculous metaphor …

“Jez Gavan and his partner have burrowed in at number 17 like ticks in a dog’s back leg” (p68)

“‘I still receive a birthday card from Doug’, says Jackson-Savannah, like a teenage girl showing off a signed photograph from her favourite boy band” (p56)

“… a billion tiny raindrops hovering like flies” (p202)

And so it goes on. There’s even one comparing someone’s eyes to blue cheese, which annoyingly I can’t find in the book as I write this review. I really should keep notes as I go of such annoying turns of phrase.

There are also lot of repeated phrases including lots of “running his/her tongue over his/her teeth”, words “greasy” with regret, and lots of inaccuracies such as “scalped underarms” (you can only scalp a scalp!) and someone who was described as “making a fist with his toes” which almost had me throwing the book across the room in frustration!

All the literary annoyances aside, I couldn’t really get on-board with the storyline either. It starts with “Aector” being unable to leave a cold case behind and telling his wife, in-depth, all about a missing girl. It then gets very confusing with so many characters coming and going, so many (seemingly unrelated) accidents, gangsters, ex-convicts and police politics, it was hard to follow at times. Even when I finally got to the conclusion it was completely underwhelming.

As I say, this is the 5th in the series and there are plenty of fans of Mark’s books. I’m afraid I am just not one of them.

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (3/5)

Posted July 8, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (3/5)The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Published by Hachette UK on January 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Thrillers, General, Psychological, Contemporary Women, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.
My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family's holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.
When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco?
Over two intense weekends - the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father - the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...
Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable 'ripped from the headlines' novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know.

I must admit, this was my second attempt at reading “The Darkest Secret” after previously giving up on it. This time I persevered and I’m kind of glad I did.  It took me a while to realise the timeline was jumping between past and present events, as the present events aren’t dated, but the characters are the same, but once I’d untangled the characters and the style (jumping from emails to witness statements to storyline) I started to get into it and found it was quite gripping. Unfortunately I found the story tailing off somewhat from that point until it limped towards its “not very surprising” ending.

The characters are mostly unpleasant, self-centred, selfish and downright unlikable; so it’s hard to find something to hold on to as the story progresses. I also figured out the “twist” at the end way before it was revealed, so there wasn’t anything to really draw me in and keep me gripped to the storyline.

It was an OK read, and I may read more from Marwood, but not any time soon.

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry (2/5)

Posted July 5, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry (2/5)My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
Published by Penguin UK on May 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Contemporary Women, Crime, General, Psychological, Young Adult, Action & Adventure
Pages: 528
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A little white lie never hurt anyone...OR DID IT?The addictive psychological thriller everyone's talking about!'My head's still spinning from all the twists!' Mark Edwards
When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she's determined to make a fresh start. To leave the past behind. Even if it means a little white lie or two.
But then she meets a convicted murderer, who reminds her of someone she used to know. And soon Lily will risk anything to free him.
Where does the lying end...and murder begin?
MY HUSBAND'S WIFE is a thriller with so many twists you won't be able to put it down, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Clare Mackintosh and C. L. Taylor.
'Twisty, feverish and utterly gripping, My Husband's Wife is the perfect summer read' Eva Dolan
'This thrilling page-turner kept me guessing till the very end' Katerina Diamond
'A fantastic and powerful novel of heart-pounding suspense, expertly written to draw the reader in and never let go!' Kathryn Croft
'I have been thoroughly immersed in this novel...full of unexpected twists I didn't see coming! ' Luana Lewis
'My Husband's Wife had me gripped from the first page to the last. A fascinating cast of characters, each concealing a dark secret...' Ava Marsh
'Gripping and compelling, My Husband's Wife is a fascinating tale that you will think about long after turning the final page' Rowan Coleman
'My Husband's Wife is a thrilling page-turner that chronicles the nightmarish dynamics within a marriage.' Sarah Ward
'Corry has written a very impressive debut. I couldn't put it down!' LJ Ross
'A dark and gripping thriller that vibrates with tension. Jane Corry has created an exciting and complex tale that sank its teeth into me on the first page and never let go...A must-read for thriller lovers' Kate Furnivall
'[A] roller coaster of suspense and intrigue... A cleverly constructed novel in which we have no idea who we can trust' Rosanna Ley
'The two strong women characters and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat right through to the surprising and shocking ending' Mavis Cheek
'Pick up this book and you won't be able to put it down. A fast-moving story of drama, suspense and emotional entanglement with a good sprinkling of evil threaded through' Sandra Howard
'A compelling thriller! I thoroughly enjoyed every fast turning page' Vanessa Ronan, author of The Last Days of Summer
'A gripping page turner that twists and turns right until the very end' Catherine Alliott

The title of this book drew me in initially, and I had high hopes for it as a psychological thriller. Unfortunately it was a distinctly average read.

The book is slow to start and jumps between the stories of the two main female characters – Lily, a married London lawyer, and Carla, a young school-girl who lives next door to Lily and her husband, Ed. The pace doesn’t really pick up until you’re a good part way through the book, and by then it’s obvious what’s going to happen. There’s no tension or thrill, and I found the relationships – between all the characters – tiresome and unrealistic and the storyline implausible.

In short – I just couldn’t buy into this book.

Follow you Home by Mark Edwards (3/5)

Posted July 4, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Follow you Home by Mark Edwards (3/5)Follow You Home by Mark Edwards
Published by Amazon Publishing on June 30th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Thrillers, General, Crime
Pages: 400
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It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down.
After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura's travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere. To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest...a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror.
Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning...
Follow You Home is a chilling tale of secrets, lies and deadly consequences from the author of #1 bestsellers The Magpies and Because She Loves Me.

I was recommended this book as being a spine-tingling thriller. I hadn’t come across this author before, so I was interested to see just how “spine-tingling” this book really was!

It starts off well, if a little slowly, with Daniel and Laura being thrown off a train in the middle of nowhere in Romania. From there things take a twist and turn until we’re back in London with Daniel and Laura unable to talk about what they found in the dark Romanian countryside that night.

From here the book plods steadily along, revealing the “unspeakable truth” about what happened.

However the writing is a little slow, and with so many ups and downs and twists and turns and ins and outs, it soon became a little tedious. By the time of “the big reveal” as to what actually happened, I was so disengaged with the book that I didn’t really care that much.

It didn’t thrill or scare me. It was a good story, but I wouldn’t pen it as a true psychological thriller, nor a horror story. The writing is good, and I’ll probably read more by this author. But the story just didn’t stack up for me.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Posted April 24, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is best described as a cross between Mallory Towers and Agatha Christie. Set in the 1950’s, 11 year-old Flavia, a chemistry enthusiast with a particular fondness for poisons, finds a dying man in the cucumber patch in the garden. The police are called, but Flavia decides to undertake her own […]

Liar Liar by MJ Arlidge

Posted April 14, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Liar Liar by MJ Arlidge

This is the fourth book in Arlidge’s Helen Grace series. This time Grace is plunged into an arson investigation. Numerous fires are being started every night in Southampton causing damage and putting lives at risk. As the nights go on, and the number of fires increases, Grace is under pressure to bring the perpetrator to justice. I have enjoyed […]

Tainted Blood by Arnaldur Indriđason (2/5)

Posted April 2, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Tainted Blood by Arnaldur Indriđason (2/5)

I specifically requested this book from Read It, Swap It as it’s set in Iceland, which would let me tick off another country on my Around the World in 80 Books challenge. The book covers an investigation into the murder of Holgar, a 69 year old man who has a murky past. Lead detective Erlendur thinks that the […]

The Doll’s House by MJ Arlidge (4/5)

Posted March 20, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
The Doll’s House by MJ Arlidge (4/5)

I’m rattling through the books this weekend! I have offered my collection of MJ Arlidge books to a friend, so I needed to catch up with books #3 and #4 in the series. After a disappointing experience reading Pop Goes the Weasel, the second book in the series, but loving Eeny Meeny and Little Boy Blue, books #1 and #5, […]