Tag: Crime

Secrets of A Serial Killer by Rosie Walker

Zoe is a typical teenager – loves her mum, obvs, but wants the freedom to dress how she wants and go out with her mates, schoolwork can wait. Helen and Tony are divorced with Zoe living with Helen and going to her dad’s some weekends. It’s Tony’s turn to have Zoe but she’s quick to eat her evening meal, fiddle with her phone and run off out saying she’ll be back at 10.30pm – only she doesn’t come back. Zoe has met up with her boyfriend and gone to a pub to meet her friend Abby and Abby’s boyfriend, but Abby is being her usual controlling self and gets Zoe talking to a guy at the bar who plies them with drink.

Helen is shocked, stunned that her daughter is missing and that little seems to be happening with the police to get her back. She doesn’t yet realise that she holds a vital clue, but something is niggling her mind, like picking a scab, that someone knows something of Zoe’s kidnapping.

The chapters when Zoe tells her story are harrowing yet exciting. We all love the gory bits, and this book is quite graphic and gory in places. (There’s no nasty sex or rape scenes if that bothers you). Zoe is a likeable character and I felt sympathy and compassion when reading about her.

There is also an aside story of two young cousins, daring each other into doing scary things and visiting the nearby lunatic asylum which closed several years ago. Both stories run parallel and then intertwine to give a semi-conclusive ending.

Secrets of A Serial Killer is cleverly plotted and very well written. It flows well and we get a good back story to each character so we know their personality and understand their thoughts. I would definitely recommend this book and I look forward to more from Rosie Walker.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

four-stars

 

Out of nowhere and starting with a bang, Dead Inside is Noelle Holten’s debut novel and begins a new police procedurals series.  Holten is a former Senior Probation Officer and has used her skills and experience in creating this gripping crime thriller.

DDead InsideC Maggie Jamieson has been reassigned from homicide to a new team dealing with domestic abuse.  More is actually learned of her move from homicide in the second book in the series, Dead Wrong, after convicting “The Chopper” of several murders. Lucy Sherwood works for the probation services and works closely with the police, especially when the violent men Lucy is working with start to pile up in the morgue.  There are quite a lot of characters, which throws in red herrings for who-dun-it, but all play a necessary role.

Dead Inside is a quick read and so compelling that I immediately followed on with book two – which is even better!

 

 

 

 

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond

Five Stars 1

I first read The Teacher shortly after it first came out in March 2016 and it was so remiss of me not to review this amazing debut at the time. The plot and writing is superb and I’ve been a fan of Diamond’s work ever since. I recently picked up the audio version from my library just to revisit the beginning of the Miles/Grey series, and to see if their ‘voice’ and intonation was as I imagine.

The Teacher

Set in the Cathedral city of Exeter, a spate of gruesome, ritual style murders has the city’s constabulary running round in circles. We are introduced to DS Adrian Miles and DS Imogen Grey, how they were placed together as partners and a little of their complex personal lives which continues through the series. Miles made an error in a past case which has him in the dog house with his bosses, but Miles knows personal details which he sees as an insight to the serial murders and begs to be back on the case.

We meet Abigail and Parker, both flawed and complex characters who are natural loners but actually manage to get on with each other. There are some amazing characters and descriptions in this book, we all have insecurities, shyness and complexities which are beautifully choreographed into these characters.

Each of the Miles/Grey books in the series can be read alone and you will get a full story with a satisfying conclusion, but to get the best from the series, you need to read them in order starting with The Teacher.

 

She Did It by Mel Sherratt

4 and half 1

 

Mel Sherratt is a crime, police procedurals and psychological suspense writer, and if you’ve not read any of hers before, She Did It is a great stand-alone one to start with.

She Did It

The two main protagonists, Tamara and Ester, are both liars and have their own agenda but for different reasons. Tamara runs a publicity business but is broke, lonely and needs to prove herself to her parents. Ester is aggressive, devious, a thief and murderer and Tamara wants to be best friends. The two women are poles apart in class and wealth but while the two rub along well together, there’s no denying that they each know their place. There’s never a dull moment following Ester wearing wigs and disguises, as she picks pockets to fund herself. But then there’s the small question of a gun and dead body.

This is an absolutely riveting read, one I couldn’t put down. It felt special, like the first time I read a Martina Cole.

 

 

 

Have You Seen Her by Lisa Hall

4 and half 1

 

Laurel goes missing on Bonfire Night under the noses of her mother Fran, and nanny Anna.

Have You Seen Her

Immediately tension is high as the evening’s organisers and then police are called in to search for the little girl. It quickly becomes clear that Anna has something to hide about a previous nanny job and is frightened of being recognised by the press and having her past dug up. There are also obvious problems with Laurel’s parents’ relationship, Fran and Dominic, who struggle to hold it together in front of the police. This is a story of every parents’ nightmare.

There are revelations, twists and red herrings at every chapter end and the pace is quick and exciting. Lisa Hall is a great writer and I can thoroughly recommend all her books if you like an edge-of-your-seat read with massive twists.

 

 

His And Hers by Alice Feeney

Five Stars 1

 

His and Hers

Alice Feeney never fails to give a good depth crime thriller with tension and suspense. In this one, we get His, DCI Jack Harper, and Her, TV presenter Anna Andrews, perspective of a series of murders centred around a village from their past.

We quickly learn that Jack and Anna used to be married and that the first murder victim is known to both DCI Jack Harper and Anna Andrews. After murders two and three it looks like Anna’s circle of school friends are being targeted. It’s also clear that the DCI Jack Harper is being framed, or at least he thinks so.

I found this story to be utterly gripping, full of twists and at any one time I could fit any of the characters into being the murderer.  I very much recommend this and all other novels by Alice Feeney.

 

Rules For Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

4 and half 1

 

Rules For Perfect Murders

I’ve been meaning to read Peter Swanson’s books for a while and this is a perfect introduction to his clever plotting and unique writing style. Each of his books are stand alone stories so you can start with any book.

Malcolm Kershaw owns a bookshop called Old Devils which specialises in crime and mystery novels. He loves classic crime and he once listed his eight favourite murders on the bookshop’s website, ones he thought were impossible to solve. It seems there is a link between some recent deaths and the perfect murders listed by Malcolm.

This is a cleverly plotted whodunnit style crime novel. It’s written in first person which I really like, it gets you inside the head of the character, and I found the whole book to be gripping, fast moving and very entertaining.

 

 

This Is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield

Four Stars

This is not my usual kind of story at all but the blurb of the book sounded so intriguing, I just had to read it. Just to give you a slight idea of the Dark Web – it is over 500 times bigger than the web as most of us know it and is 99% of the internet you can’t Google. It’s not illegal to access and you can’t ‘accidentally’ find yourself in there.

This Is Gomorrah 1

Azi is a hacker working on the Dark Web in his garden shed. He sees himself as mostly a good guy hacker, he doesn’t exploit companies or hold their data to ransom but he’s capable of severe meddling. After seeing some serious terrorist related information passed to him by an internet ‘friend’ he is within minutes visited by unknown people who persuade him to arrange to meet his friend Munira, and leave the country. For a while in the book I was unsure who were the good guys and who were bad, so I just kept reading with an open mind and accepted it as told until it more fully unfolded. I don’t want to say more about the actual story, but I did find it quite gripping, also amazing, and wondered where the story would end up.

It has a dual storyline with Azi and Munira in the main but also Kabir in Syria trying to make his escape. It also occasionally goes back to Azi’s childhood when he first started his passion for computers. I’ve been around since “dial up” using a 3.1 machine, in fact before then I used a Vic 20 without internet access, so sympathised with Azi in his frustrating early days – kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it.

This Is Gomorrah is well worth a read and think it might suit men and those with computer and internet knowledge more than others – though I enjoyed it so give it a go. It’s well written and Tom Chatfield has certainly got a technological, streetwise and astute mind.

 

 

Thin Air by Lisa Gray


Four Stars

 

Jessica Shaw is a private investigator. She specialises in missing persons and while trawling through online pictures of various missing people wondering which job to take up next, she receives an email with a picture of a three year old with the message ‘your next job’. Jessica recognises the little girl as herself, and with a little bit of investigation realises that she was once that missing person.

Thin Air

The investigation which she obviously has to take up, makes her feel her whole life was a lie and she just has to find out what happened to her murdered mother, who the man was who brought her up, and who her real father is. Someone from the past wants to keep things in the past, and as Jessica faces things head on she unwittingly puts her life in danger.

This is a very intriguing storyline – not knowing you’re a missing person – and it is cleverly written with a dual story of a very brutal murder of a young student. The two stories seem to be separate, and so many years apart, but all is revealed at the end.

 

 

 

If He Wakes by Zoe Lea

Five Stars

Rachel suspects her husband is having an affair after finding messages on a Twitter account which has been left open on her laptop. She goes to the hotel she believes he is meeting someone, only to see her husband’s car hitting a pedestrian and driving away from the scene of the crime.

If He Wakes

Meanwhile, Rachel’s friend and business partner Suzie, is having an embarrassing time at the bank after finding that her bank cards don’t work. Her account has been suspended because of her massive unauthorised overdraft with the threat of her flat being called in as security. Suzie, of course, knows

nothing of the debt.

Two very gripping and interesting storylines from the very start and the tension just keeps building.

The police question Rachel and her husband about the hit and run, and Suzie is trying to piece together what the missing money has to do with her missing boyfriend. This very quickly becomes one of the most gripping and suspenseful books I’ve read. There is an intense feeling of the runaway train having left the track and is heading towards disaster with nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Very well written, fabulous characters and nails bitten to the quick!

 

Zoe Lea

 

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

 

4 and half 1

I love Karin Slaughter’s writing style and how she’s developed and matured over the years, from her early days of the Grant County series and through the Will Trent series. Pieces of Her is her fourth full length standalone novel. It’s cleverly written over two timelines thirty-two years apart which are not at all confusing, you won’t get them mixed up, although the plotline itself is quite complicated.

Pieces of Her

In the first chapter we meet Laura who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer, and her daughter Andrea, at a restaurant chatting about Laura’s illness and that Andrea should move out of the family home and get a place of her own. Andrea’s life is stale and stagnant and needs something to give her a push to the next chapter in her life. While they are chatting, a gunman opens fire on people around them and Laura is caught in the gunfire. Andrea is like a frightened rabbit and can’t move from behind her mother and is almost shocked into a stuttering silence when Laura speaks with the shooter and one of them ends up dead.

Andrea’s life then takes off in a completely different orbit as she tries piecing her life together, questioning her mother’s past and now facing much danger. The story goes back to events over thirty years ago and we start to understand the events then with what is happening in Laura and Andrea’s life today.

This is a fast paced crime story, sometimes graphic and gory but always gripping. At times it’s heart stoppingly intense and fast paced with chases and danger at every turn.

 

Karin Slaughter

 

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The Promise by Katerina Diamond

Five Stars

If you’ve been following Katerina Diamond’s Grey and Miles series you certainly won’t be disappointed in The Promise, fourth in the series. If you haven’t read any of the earlier books in the series it’s best to start with The Teacher, but The Promise works well as a complete story in itself.

In the opening chapters a young woman, Erica Lawson, is found strangled, sexually assaulted and bleached clean; then it happens again to another woman. When a third body is discovered, Grey and Miles know they’ve got a serial killer on their hands.

The Promise

The book is written in three interweaving parts:

– A back story, almost in diary form, of a young woman first meeting her boyfriend who becomes very abusive. This part of the story, at first, doesn’t seem to have much relevance to the main story but later on, it is the key main part.

– The return from America of Connor and his abusive father. This kid is such a mixed up, angry and impassioned character. Diamond writes so competently about the mental complexities of teenage children.

– Present day in the busy run up to Christmas, with Imogen Grey and Adrian Miles desperately trying to stop further murders which they know will take place if they don’t catch this serial killer. These two have come a long way since The Teacher in their own individual relationships as well as their working partnership.

There’s never a dull moment, hardly a chapter end you want to stop at even to go to bed. Katerina Diamond has fast become my favourite crime writer and I just know I will love every book she writes.

KD

 

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The Imogen Grey & Adrian Miles series, in order (so far.)

 

 

 

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Four Stars

This is an old fashioned who-dun-it style crime story but with a fantasy twist. No year is mentioned but I feel it is set around 1900 – give or take a decade or two.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered each evening for seven days. Aiden Bishop has the task of solving the crime from the perspective of eight guests at the celebratory party at Blackheath before he can leave the house. Each morning he wakes in the body of a different guest and re-lives the same day using the skills of the ‘host’ body to his advantage. Some host bodies seem, at first, to be of little use in solving the murder but each has something, even if it’s only being in the right place or hearing the right conversation, to find who did it.

This book is quite unique and requires a high level of concentration to remember what has already been learned and to keep up with new perspectives of repeated events.  It’s very well written and the author must have an amazingly well organised mind to create such a faultless and intricate plot as this one.

 

Now You See by Max Manning

4 and half 1

 

Max Manning has created a modern serial killer who likes to upload photos of his victims moments before and after their deaths. He is always one step ahead of the police and taunts them with his messages and following on Twitter.

Now You See

Chief Inspector Dan Fenton is in charge of the investigation but things become personal when his daughter’s nanny is targeted by the killer.

Blake’s ex-girlfriend is the first to be murdered and is a prime suspect for no reason other than being the ex-boyfriend. When Fenton finds himself thrown off the case, he and Blake set out to catch the killer.

This is quite a clever concept, well written, very fast paced and kept me guessing to the end who the killer was.

The Angel by Katerina Diamond

five_stars

This is an absolutely stunning book, a great story perfectly executed.  It was one of the few books that I had to have a day to get over, I just couldn’t start another book because it played around my head for hours.

We start with a prologue from back in 1986 and I tried to keep all this in mind whilst reading the rest of the book knowing that there would be some relevance later.  When I finished the book, I totally got it but had to come back and re-read the prologue, just to reassure myself.

The Angel

Chapter 1 starts right up to date in 2017 with the opening line Gabriel Webb was a killer.  He didn’t know it yet, but before the day was out he would know what it felt like to take someone’s life. I was intrigued from the start and just had to know who had died, how and why Gabriel would take someone’s life.

Gabriel is a complex character, in fact all the characters are flawed and complex but this makes for excellent reading.  He and his girlfriend, Emma, are both Goths, they dress for themselves and are misfits in society, but underneath all the black trousers, chains and face paint are two loving and caring people.  As the first line indicated, by the end of the day Gabriel was sitting in a police cell being questioned about a body.

The two detectives, Imogen Grey and Adrian Miles, could solve this case quickly but Imogen has a nagging feeling and a soft spot for Gabriel, and too many coincidences play on Adrian’s mind, that they have to dig deeper. They have their work cut out to solve the murder and obvious mystery surrounding it, the case is not at all straightforward and it really takes its toll on both of them, particularly memories coming to the surface for Imogen. The murder is not simply about one person killing another, it’s so multi-faceted, wheels within wheels that in reality, it’s doubtful the case would really be solved.

The chapters mostly run in turn with Gabriel’s life and then the two detectives. I couldn’t wait to get back to Gabriel’s chapters to find out how he was surviving in the young offenders’ detention centre. He had such a hard and violent time and was totally unprepared for it – a real eye opener.

I loved all the characters, Imogen and Gabriel particularly, and they were so well constructed that they felt like real people, someone I might know.

This is the first book I’ve read by Katerina Diamond and although this one is book 3 in the detective series it is a complete story and can be read as a stand alone novel. I would totally recommend starting with book 1, The Teacher, and move on to book 2, The Secret – I’ve already loaded them onto my Kindle ready to start over again.

KD

 

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The series so far (in order)

The TeacherThe SecretThe Angel

 

 

 

 

 

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington

Five Stars

Gripping and intense, laced with mystery and intrigue, this is a real page turner.

Briefly, (and without spoilers) seventeen year old Sophie is brought home from a drunken Saturday evening out with her friends by the police. She was found in a dazed and drunken state close to where the body of her friend is later found. Sophie has no memory of the whole of the evening.

Her parents are in a strained marriage and her mother, Karen, has panic attacks and agoraphobia since she herself was attacked two years earlier. The story is told from three main perspectives in short sharp chapters – Sophie, her mother Karen and Detective Inspector Lindsay Wade. We deftly move between the three characters in a race to find the killer of Sophie’s friend, Erin, before the stalker who Sophie realises is following her, strikes again.

The book touches on several issues – anxiety, agoraphobia, grief and loss as well as teenage secrecy and withholding information. Sam Carrington is a confident writer of crime and suspense and I found it a real pleasure to tramp through the book as fast as I could. I thoroughly recommend Saving Sophie and will be watching out for future publications by Sam Carrington.

Sam Carrington

 

Sam Carrington’s Website