4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall. @RuthDugdall @LegendPress

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My Review:

It isn’t usual that I will read a series out of order, but that is most definitely what I have done with the Cate Austin books. The first one that I read was book four, Nowhere Girl, which I thought was a brilliant book. Keen to read more I then read Humber Boy B which is number three and was even better than Nowhere Girl. And now I have read book one, The Woman Before Me.

I actually don’t think that it has mattered reading them out of sync and I found it quite amusing reading this book and knowing how far Cate as a character develops over the series.

Although this book is the start of the Cate Austin series, Cate herself is very much a minor role in The Woman Before Me, although a very crucial one.

Rose is most definitely the main character and the majority of the book is told by her. She’s a complex character and I was never sure how reliable she was, as we follow her as she hopes for parole. The book goes back to the past when Rose met her partner and the birth of her little boy Joel.

We know that Joel died and we know that Rose is in prison for the murder of another little boy called Luke, and as the story evolves the truth about what really happened becomes clear. I have to admit that I worked it out quite early on but I still really enjoyed it and a few times I decided that I had got it wrong.

Dugdall is a great storyteller and I love her characters, she has a real way of making them feel real. I love how her characters deal with what life throws at them, there’s no dramatics in her writing and as a result the characters are more believable.

I’ve really enjoyed the Cate Austin series and think that they get better and better. I now need to read number two to complete the set!

Thank you to Legend Press for a copy of The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

‘An absolute tour de force that left me thinking for days.’ Alex Marwood

They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days.

Rose Wilks’ life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect.

Now, having spent nearly five years behind bars, Rose is just weeks away from freedom. Her probation officer Cate must decide whether Rose is remorseful for Luke’s death, or whether she remains a threat to society. As Cate is drawn in, she begins to doubt her own judgement.

Where is the line between love and obsession, can justice be served and, if so… by what means?

New Edition includes exclusive material and author Q&A.

About The Author:

ruthdugdallRuth Dugdall was born in 1971. She holds a BA honours degree in English Literature (Warwick University) and an MA in Social Work (University of East Anglia). She qualified as a probation officer in 1996 and has worked in prison with offenders guilty of serious crimes, including stalking, rape and murder. This has informed her crime writing. Since she started writing, Ruth has won awards in several writing competitions, and has had short stories published in the Winchester Writers’ Conference and the Eva Wiggins Award anthologies.

 

The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog blast, blog tours, book review

#BlogBlitz The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash. @PJNash2 @Bloodhoundbook #bookreview

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My Review:

When I read the blurb for The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash I knew that I wanted to read it, actually it was just the cover that made that decision for me, how could you not love it?

Having visited Australia and knowing how vast the country is and how the outback would make a great setting for any thriller I was excited to read this book. I also have a bit of a thing about Dingos but of course in this book the Dingo in question isn’t actually an animal but a person.

The Hunt For The Dingo is a really fast paced read, it has short chapters that keep the tension going and although it isn’t a long book at under 200 pages the author keeps the reader wanting more right to the very end.

I just wished that I had been able to get to know some of the characters a little bit more, perhaps if a few more pages had been added to the book with more details about the characters within then this book would have really worked, because although I really enjoyed reading it I felt a little bit disconnected from the characters.

Overall a great read, I look forward to reading more from the author.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for a copy of The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash. I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

 P.J. Nash - The Hunt for the Dingo_cover_high resA fast paced serial killer thriller
In the arid expanses of Australia’s red deserts, a killer is preying on British female backpackers. Dubbed ‘The Dingo’ by the media, he stalks his prey then disappears without a trace.
In a bid to catch the man responsible, the local police call on the talents of Melbourne’s finest, ex British cop, Lawrence James and leading criminal psychologist Jesse Sandersen.
Meanwhile, James has unfinished business with Melbourne crime kingpin, Cyrus Bain, a gangster who will do whatever it takes to stay out of jail.
When another young girl disappears, it is a race against time to catch the killer.
Can James bring The Dingo to justice?
Will he escape with his life intact?
In their hunt for the murderer, James and Sandersen unearth some disturbing secrets that many would rather remain buried.

About The Author:

P.J+NashP.J Nash was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the birthplace of George Eliot and Shakespeare, respectively. Not surprisingly he decided he’d like to be a writer too.

After studying history and working in PR for a few years, he was running a second hand bookshop, when wanderlust and destiny in the form of his future wife took him to Prague.

During his time behind the counter in the shop and travelling on trams between English lessons he wrote his first crime novel, The Hunt for the Dingo featuring maverick British expat cop , Lawrence James and and his hunt for a serial killer in Australia. On his return to the UK, he drew on his Bohemian adventures to write his second crime novel featuring Lawrence James and his co-investigator, Dr Jessie Sandersen.  He currently lives on a narrowboat with his wife Clare and grumpy cat, Lulu.

In his past life P.J. Nash was a Special Constable for the Warkwickshire police.

Nash is also a member of the CWA and International Thriller Writers.

www.facebook.com/pjnash.501

The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour: 37 Hours by J.F. Kirwan. @kirwanjf @UKCarina @rararesources

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My Review:

Having read and enjoyed book one in the series I was looking forward to reading 37 Hours and finding out what was next for Nadia and Jake and what they were going to get themselves into this time.

The book did not disappoint because once again Nadia gets herself caught up in a whole lot of trouble. Once again the threat is nuclear and it takes all that Nadia has along with the help of MI6 as they race against time to find a stolen warhead.

37 Hours had many twists and turns and lots of unexpected events that kept the pace going and the tension rising. I had really like the character Jake in the first book and I was disappointed that he didn’t feature more in this book but hopefully book three will make up for that.

The diving remains a central part of the plot but this time there are also some recreational dives to enjoy which I liked, although sharks were a little too demonised in my opinion which was a shame.

I do think that to fully understand the plot of 37 Hours the reader needs to have read the first book in the series, 66 Metres as Nadia especially has so much history that there would be big gaps missing if you hadn’t started the story at the beginning.

Overall this is a great read, it’s fast paced and will keep the reader hooked and guessing what will happen next. I’m now looking forward to reading book three in the series.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of 37 Hours, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

37 Hours_FINALAfter two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

About The Author:

KIRWAN Barry 01 ret 6x8J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels.

An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

33 Hours by J.F. Kirwan is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

You can also read my review of book one in the series, 66 Metres here.

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood. @DKHood_Author @bookouture

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My Review:

It isn’t often that I read two books from a series in a row but that is what I did with Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood. I read it right after I finished reading part one, Don’t Tell a Soul. As is usual with books in a series book one does a lot of scene setting and character introduction and generally having read book one helps you to understand what is going on it subsequent books. While I think that you could read Bring Me Flowers without having read Don’t Tell A Soul it would definitely be helpful to start at the beginning.

The main characters, Sherrif Alton and Deputy Kane both come with complex pasts which need to be fully understood to appreciate what great, multi-dimensional characters they are.

I enjoyed Don’t Tell A Soul but Bring Me Flowers is even better, somehow the storyline worked in a way that it hadn’t quite in the first book and the more established characters worked well as a team. It was a great read, one of those that you think about when you aren’t reading and go to bed early so that you have a bit of extra reading time. I like Alton and Kane more than I did in book one and, well let’s just say that when I finished Bring Me Flowers I was disappointed that there wasn’t book three waiting for me to read next.

This is definitely a series that is going places and if you like reading books from the point of view of the police, which is how most of the book is told, although we do hear from the perpetrator, victims and some other characters too, then you will enjoy Bring Me Flowers. I am now waiting, not so patiently, for book three.

I received a copy of Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood from Bookouture, I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

 

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Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood.

 

She didn’t know he was watching. Until it was too late.

She’d walked this path hundreds of times before, she knew every twist and turn. But today was different. She didn’t know someone was waiting for her, hidden away from view. She didn’t know this was the last time she’d walk this path.

Hidden deep in the forest, schoolgirl Felicity Parker is found carefully laid out on a rock with nothing but a freshly picked bunch of flowers next to her lifeless form. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate the gruesome discovery.

With the body found just off a popular hiking route, Jenna believes the killer is a visitor to the town… until a second local girl is discovered.

Within days, Kate Bright, a school friend of Felicity’s, is found brutally murdered at the local swimming pool and once again, the killer has displayed his victim in a terrifying manner and left flowers at the scene.

The town is gripped with fear and Jenna and her deputy, David Kane, now know that the killer is living amongst them, and that he’s picking off school girls one by one. But they don’t know who is next on the list.

As the trail goes cold, Kane and Alton are forced to sit and wait for the killer to make his next move. But now he has a new victim in his sights, and he’s looking much closer to home …

If you love Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott you’ll love this nail-biting thriller from D.K. Hood.

About the Author:

17096652I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour, and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.
My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine tingling stories with you.

D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DKHood_Author

Website: www.dkhood.com

Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog blast, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour Captor by Anita Waller @anitamayw @Bloodhoundbook

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My Review:

I like Anita Waller, she writes good books that have lots of twists and turns and keeps you hooked. She has a real skill when it comes to creating characters that feel really real and relatable.

Liz is struggling to adjust with her return to work after maternity leave, she misses her son and hates leaving him but she is comforted to know that he is in capable hands, but when she finishes work and goes to collect her son she finds her worst nightmare.

There are many levels to this story and it is told predominantly from Liz’s point of view, but also from other key characters that help to build the tension and tell the story.

I love how Waller is able to make a story with real heart, we know the reason why the crimes are being committed and often can relate and understand why. Less so in Captor than her other books but that’s ok.

My one gripe about Captor is that I never really felt that Liz’s son was ever really at risk which was a shame as it meant that there was less tension than there could have been, although whether I was right in that assumption I’m not going to say.

Overall Captor is an enjoyable read, Waller has definitely done it again and proves herself to be one of the best storytellers in the genre of murder, necessary murder, as she likes to say.

Thank you to Bloodhound books for a copy of Captor by Anita Waller, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

CAPTOR 4

Liz Chambers is a devoted mother who works for a successful law firm. She has two children, a husband and a blossoming career. But behind closed doors, Liz is harbouring a secret that could destroy her life.
Then the unthinkable happens, and in a frenzied attack her young son is snatched from the home of the nanny charged with looking after him.
As Liz’s life unfolds, it becomes clear that someone is out for revenge.
Desperate to get her baby boy back, Liz must work out who is responsible for his kidnap, and why.
But as the body count begins to mount, Liz’s concern grows for the safety of her child.
Who has taken her baby?
And why is Captor so determined on revenge?

 

About The Author:

 

anitawallerAnita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation.

As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.

34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

Winterscroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August, 2017.

So where next? Her new book, launching February 2018 and titled Captor, is a psychological thriller.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Links:

Anita Waller’s Amazon UK page

Anita Waller’s Amazon US page

Facebook page

Author website

Twitter

Captor by Anita Waller is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

I have also reviewed 34 DaysStrategy and Winterscroft by Anita Waller.

4*, book review, non-fiction, true crime

#Review The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton. @PenguinUKBooks

 

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The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton.

 

My Review:

I love reading crime and thriller fiction books and I enjoy watching true crime programmes on tv so when friends were discussing The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton I was immediately intrigued and wanted to read it.

The book is in many ways fascinating. Britton gives insight into many cases including many that I was already familiar with like Fred and Rose West, Rachel Nickell and James Bulger. He provided details of those cases that I had not heard or read before, at times it felt like a little bit too much information but generally it was fascinating.

Britton displayed some detachment to the cases that he talked about which is understandable, to stay sane when dealing with such horrific crime some detachment is necessary. But it did feel like an unemotional read.

The James Bulger murder is an event that I remember well and I, like many, was horrified when we found out that he had been murdered by two young boys. Britton gives quite a lot of detail on the case including what the boys did to James before and after they killed him. This is not easy reading and is definitely something that has stayed with me since I finished the book. Consider yourself warned.

What Britton had to say about the murder of Rachel Nickell was very interesting, he gives a lot of detail into her murder and his thoughts around who had murdered her. Colin Stagg is discussed at length including the police sting using a female police officer to try and get a confession from him. Given what happened since the book was written, where Britton himself was investigated by the British Psychological Association and at one point was charged with misconduct for his role in the Colin Stagg sting, the charges were later dropped but I couldn’t help but pay a little more attention to what he said about Stagg. What he does is go into great detail about how careful they were to make sure that Stagg was not coerced or led in any way, it felt quite defensive and very much like Britton was saying that he had done absolutely everything by the book and was not at fault in any way.

Whether he was at fault or not I don’t really know, but the theme throughout the book is that Britton is fantastic at his job, loved by the police that he worked with and relied upon to solve numerous cases that he was instrumental in ensuring that the perpetrators were caught and convicted. This did get a little bit wearing and made me start to question how much of each story we were really being told. In something as subjective as psychology and profiling it is surely impossible that someone involved in so many cases didn’t get it wrong once, not even a bit wrong, but that seems to be what Britton thinks, or at least wants his readers to think.

Since finishing the book I have tried to find out a bit more about Paul Britton and it is clear that views are mixed and far more complex than he tries to make his readers think. Some claim that he wasn’t as involved in the cases as he makes out and that he has taken credit for some ideas that came from others. Who knows. Whatever the truth is The Jigsaw Man is a compelling and interesting read that will give the reader insight into police investigations. It is a long book and gives details of crime after crime, all but one or two involving some very unpleasant murders or serious sexual assault, the blackmail case providing a small amount of light relief.

I was surprised about the level of information Britton gives on some very well known crimes and so if you are interested in true crime then this is a book for you, I think that it helps if you remember the main cases that he talks about but this isn’t essential as he will give you more than enough detail. I really did enjoy reading it and found it fascinating, but I would have liked Britton to make himself more human and show that he isn’t perfect and did sometimes get it wrong, and perhaps what he learnt from that. His failure to do that makes me question the book and how true to life it really is, especially when, for example, he states that he believed that The West’s had eaten some of their victims due to marks on the bones, I have not been able to find anything else to substantiate this and even though I know that it would be impossible for it to be proven given the death of Fred West and the silence of Rose, it is something that I would expect to be discussed somewhere if there had been any evidence of that.

It was a good but frustrating read. I’d still read more books by Paul Britton but I’d definitely take what he says with more of a pinch of salt than I did when I started reading this one.

Blurb:

Forensic psychologist Paul Britton asks himself four questions when he is faced with a crime scene: what happened: who is the victim: how was it done, and why? Only when he has the answers to these questions can he address the fifth: who is responsible?

An intensely private and unassuming man, Britton has an almost mythic status in the field of crime deduction because of his ability to ‘walk through the minds’ of those who stalk, abduct, torture, rape and kill other human beings. What he searches for at the scene of a crime are not fingerprints, fibres or blood stains – he looks for the ‘mind trace’ left behind by those responsible; the psychological characteristics that can help police to identify and understand the nature of the perpetrator.

Over the past dozen years he has been at the centre of more than 100 headline-making investigations, from the murder of Jamie Bulger to the abduction of baby Abbie Humphries, the slaying of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common, the pursuit of the Green Chain rapist and the Heinz baby food extortionist, the notorious Gloucester House of Horror and most recently, the murder of Naomi Smith.

Told with humanity and insight, The Jigsaw Man is Paul Britton’s absorbing first-hand account of those cases, and of his groundbreaking analysis and treatment of the criminal mind. It combines the heart-stopping tension of the best detective thriller with his unique and profound understanding of the dark side of the human condition.

About The Author:

paulbrittonHe is perhaps the UK’s leading psychological profiler.

Paul Britton was born in 1946. Following degrees obtained in psychology from Warwick and Sheffield universities, he has spent the last twenty years working as a consultant clinical and forensic psychologist. He has advised the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Crime Committee on offender profiling for many years and currently teaches postgraduates in clinical and forensic psychology. He is married with two children. Paul Britton is the author of Picking Up the Pieces and The Jigsaw Man, which won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for Non-Fiction.

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour Blue Night by Simone Buchholz and translated by Rachel Ward. @OrendaBooks @FwdTranslations @ohneklippo #BlueNight

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My Review:

I have to admit that I found Blue Night quite hard to get into but I kept going and soon got into the story of Chastity Riley, a prosecutor who is demoted to an office that consists of a desk in a cupboard and the role that nobody wants to do. However it is a role that she happens to be quite good at, managing to get through to a man who has been beaten so badly that his body is broken, he won’t talk to anyone but she chips away and he starts to open up to her.

Chastity finds herself drawn into a case that is nowhere near as dull as she’d expected it to be, and perhaps she can win favours and get back into the meatier jobs that she misses. I loved Chastity’s relationship with the other characters, she has a way of relating to people and although she appears to be very tough and capable, there’s a soft side to her that she sometimes lets others see.

This is the first book that I have read that has been translated from German into English and I have to admit that I’m not sure that it works as well as books that I have read from Iceland/Norway etc. Something didn’t quite flow with the words and I suspect that my dyslexic brain made it harder for me to put the story together and so reading the book took a lot of concentration.

But don’t let that put you off, it’s a fun story that kept me guessing and thinking. Chastity Riley is definitely a great new character that I’m sure will soon have many fans.

Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Blue Night. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived… Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.

About The Author:

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I was born in Hanau in 1972 and grew up in Spessart. I studied philosophy and literature, but not until the end.

I was a waitress, columnist and editor. I’m talking about love, death and football, I like Naples, Tahiti, St. Petersburg and basically Brooklyn, but I live in Hamburg, mainly because of the weather.

Always on New Year’s morning I search the port for bottle post. So if you’re stuck somewhere and need rum and cigarettes urgently, try contacting me .

 

About The Translator:

rachel-aboutHaving always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, I discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study Modern Languages at the University of East Anglia. I spent my third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saarbrücken, Germany. During my final year, I realised that I wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation. Since then, I have been working in Norwich, UK, as a freelance translator of literary and creative writing from German and French to English.

Blue Night by Simone Buchholz is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.