Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Red Ribbons – Louise Phillips

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

This is the perfect example of a good thriller, there is a cohesive plot line, not too many instances where the reader has to suspend belief and characters who you feel you know.

Red Ribbons is told from three main different viewpoints. Dr Kate Pearson who is a psychologist helping the police to discover the profile of a killer. A young girl was found buried in Dublin Mountains with red ribbons in her hair, soon afterwards another young girl is found, again with unknown red ribbons. Ellie Brady who is a patient in an asylum, incarcerated 14 years previously and our killer who is bored of his job, his colleagues and brooding over the recent death of his mother. As a reader there are plenty of clues to fit together, including how does Ellie’s story connect to those of the recent dead girls? The Police are battling against time to stop the killer taking any more young lives and Kate is doing her best to guide them in the right direction whilst dealing with a less than happy domestic situation.

I found this book totally absorbing; one that I had to keep reading to find out how all the pieces of the puzzle would fit together. I am delighted to hear Louise Phillips has written The Doll’s House due out August 2013.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Game Changer – Louise Phillips

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

I am a huge fan of Louise Phillips and so I was delighted to be given a review copy of The Game Changer by her publishers, Hachette Ireland. This is the fourth in the series featuring criminal psychologist Kate Pearson.Kate Pearson really is the staring character of this novel, despite having decided to take a break from working with the police after her last case. Kate is now spending more time with her son Charlie and enjoying a domestic partnership, without the complications of work, with DI O’Connor, and as the book opens in Dublin we get the feeling that life is on the up for Kate.

Of course this isn’t going to last, and following an anonymous note Kate begins digging into her own past, to a time when she was abducted, a time that she is simply unable to recall. Meanwhile DI O’Connor working to confirm whether the recent death of a retired headmaster is a suicide, he is contacted by Detective Lee Fisher in New York about a gruesome murder there – it appears that there is a link with the dead man. Lee Fisher is an excellent addition to the characters we have come to know and love from the previous books, I’m hoping we are going to meet him again in the future.

I am fascinated by the way memory works so the element of the book that concentrates on the blanks in Kate’s past were always going to be a winner as far as I am concerned, and Louise Phillips deals with this subject in a realistic way; there is no magic key that suddenly brings the past back to life, but that’s not to say that the lack of memory means that the pieces of the puzzle can’t be put together again. To do this Kate needs to start retracing her childhood steps, to talk to her former neighbours and to start writing down what she is certain are facts. These facts lead Kate in many directions all while she is becoming increasingly paranoid that she is being watched. Is her mind playing more tricks on her?

There is such a lot packed into this book including the device where the reader is treated to words from the killer, a risky step for an author to take although I’m pleased to confirm that their identity remains a mystery. Our killer treats us to their chilling ‘20 Steps to Self-enlightenment Programme’ which even the most sheltered of readers will be able to identify with the behaviour of leaders of cults. We soon meet some of the ‘Game Changers’ recruits, chilling not only because of the experiences that have made the 20 steps appealing, but because we know that this decision isn’t likely to end well. To back up how realistic the manipulation of a group can be, we are treated to the tragedies caused by this type of leadership, with references to both the murders committed by Charles Manson and the Jonestown massacre.

So we have cross jurisdictional murder, missing memories and a cult all interweaved to create an exceptional in-depth psychological thriller and not only that but it is well-written and features a couple of likeable investigators. If that wasn’t enough it is published today, 3 September 2015 so why don’t you go and get yourself a copy?

If you haven’t already read them I highly recommend the previous books featuring Kate Pearson:

Red Ribbons
The Doll’s House
The Last Kiss

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (March 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them! Here is January’s and February’s top five, but onto March!

2011

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock was one of my first reads through the Amazon Vine program, a book that I couldn’t resist as it is set in Guernsey – I do wonder why there are no similar books set in Jersey, it seems unfair that being smaller they get all the good books written about them including a recent favourite The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Schaffer & Annie Burrows

The Book of Lies

Blurb

Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.
A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable–going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.
Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey–from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted–in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words–recorded on tapes before his own death– a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story. Goodreads

2012 yr

Another Vine offering in March 2012 introduced me to Camilla Läckberg, an author who is now one of my favourites with the sixth in the Patrick Hedstrom and Erika Falck series; The Drowning

The Drowning

Christian Thydell’s dream has come true: his debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?
When crime writer Erica Falck, who discovered Christian’s talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the author’s mysterious past…
Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality.
But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed? Amazon

2013yr

In March 2013 I found an another now must-read author, Louise Phillips who wowed me with Red Ribbons

Click on the book cover to read my review
Red Ribbons

Blurb

A SERIAL KILLER
When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl’s body 24 hours later.
THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST
Desperate to find the murderer, police call in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the serial killer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar as her own past threatens to cloud her investigations.
AN ACCUSED WOMAN
Ellie Brady has been institutionalised for 15 years, for the killing of her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy. After all this time, does Ellie hold the key to finding the killer of the Dublin schoolgirls?
What would you do if you were accused of killing your own daughter? What if those closest to you turned their back on you? And when everyone stopped listening, what next, when even you believe you’re guilty?
THE BAD MAN IS EVERYWHERE Goodreads

2014yr

March 2014 was a bumper month for 5 star reads but I chose Precious Thing by Colette McBeth for the sheer addictiveness that caused me to try and cook and read which was an epic fail!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Precious Thing
Blurb

Remember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? Still your best friend? Or disappeared from your life for good?
Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever.
They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Now in their late twenties Rachel has everything while Clara’s life is spiralling further out of control. Then Clara vanishes.
Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it. Goodreads

2015yr

The best book for March this year has to go to a book I’ve been waiting an age for; Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall which deals with a difficult subject in an intelligent and sensitive way, definitely a book to make you think!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Humber Boy B
Blurb

A blur in the sky, a brick no, a trainer, red falls to the water… There seems to be a scuffle… a hand grabbing at the dangling child. Then, with the awfulness of inevitability, the hanging child drops, gravity takes him. A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B s reintegration into society. But the general public s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play? Amazon

Reviews by Author M – Z

M

Clare Mackintosh – I Let You Go

Clare Mackintosh – I See You

Clare Mackintosh – Let Me Lie

Gilly Macmillan – Burnt Paper Sky

Gilly Macmillan – The Perfect Girl

Imran Mahmood – You Don’t Know Me

Iain Maitland – Sweet William 

Cesca Major – The Silent Hours

Derek Malcolm – Family Secrets

Michael J Malone – A Suitable Lie

Lucy Mangan – Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading

David Mark – Dark Winter DS Aector McAvoy #1

David Mark – Dead Pretty DS Aector McAvoy #5

David Mark – Sorrow Bound DS Aector McAvoy #3

John Marrs – The Wronged Sons

Ngaio Marsh – Off With His Head

Angela Marsons – Blood Lines Kim Stone #5

Angela Marsons – Broken Bones Kim Stone #7

Angela Marsons – Dead Memories Kim Stone #10

Angela Marsons – Dead Souls Kim Stone #6

Angela Marsons – Dying Truth Kim Stone #8

Angela Marsons – Evil Games Kim Stone #2

Angela Marsons – Fatal Promise Kim Stone #9

Angela Marsons – Lost Girls Kim Stone #3

Angela Marsons – Play Dead Kim Stone #4

Angela Marsons – Silent Scream Kim Stone #1

Alex Marwood – The Darkest Secret

Alex Marwood – The Killer Next Door

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich – The Fact Of A Body

Alex Masters – A Life Discarded

Peter May – The Chessmen

Peter May – Coffin Road

Peter May – Entry Island

Peter May – I’ll Keep You Safe

Peter May – Runaway

Anna Mazzola – The Story Keeper

Anna Mazzola – The Unseeing

Gillian McAllister – Anything You Do Say

Gillian McAllister – Everything But The Truth

Gillian McAllister – No Further Questions

Colette McBeth – An Act of Silence

Colette McBeth – Precious Thing

Colette McBeth – The Life I Left Behind

Morgan McCarthy – The House of Birds

Kimberly McCreight – Where They Found Her

Mary McCluskey – Intrusion

Kimberly McCreight – Reconstructing Amelia

Nigel McCrery – Silent Witnesses

Val McDermid – Out of Bounds

Caimh McDonnell – A Man With One of Those Faces Dublin #1

Caimh McDonnell – Angels in the Moonlight Prequel Dublin

Camih McDonnell – The Day That Never Comes Dublin #2

Brian McGilloway – Preserve the Dead

Claire McGowan – A Savage Hunger Paula Maguire #4

Claire McGowan – Blood Tide Paula Maguire #5

Claire McGowan – The Dead Ground Paula Maguire #2

Claire McGowan – The Killing House Paula Maguire #6

Claire McGowan – The Lost Paula Maguire #1

Claire McGowan – The Silent Dead Paula Maguire #3

Jill McGown – A Perfect Match Lloyd & Hill #1

Jill McGown – Redemption Lloyd & Hill #2

Molly McGrann – The Ladies Of The House

Mel McGrath – The Guilty Party

Melanie McGrath – Give Me The Child

William McIlvanney – Laidlaw

Monica McInerney – Hello From The Gillespies

Sinclair McKay – The Lady in the Cellar

Sinclair McKay – The Mile End Murder

Sophie McKenzie – Trust In Me

Deborah McKinlay – That Part Was True

Adrian McKinty – I Hear Sirens In The Street

Russel D. McLean – Mothers Of The Disappeared

Kathryn McMaster – Blackmail, Sex and Lies

Kathryn McMaster – Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?

Alison Mercer – After I Left You

Anne Meredith – Portrait of a Murderer

Louise Millar – Accidents Happen

Louise Millar – The Hidden Girl

Sue Miller – The Arsonist

Denise Mina – The Dead Hour Paddy Mehan #2

Denise Mina – The Field of Blood Paddy Mehan #1

Denise Mina – The Long Drop

Denise Mina – Sanctum

G.J. Minett – Anything For Her

G.J. Minett – The Hidden Legacy

G.J. Minett – Lie In Wait

Caroline Mitchell – Don’t Turn Around

Lottie Moggach – Kiss Me First

Stephen Molyneaux – The Marriage Certificate

Santa Montefiore – The Summer House

Thorne Moore – A Time For Silence

Wendy Moore – Wedlock

Kate Moretti – The Blackbird Season

Beside Myself – Ann Morgan

Kate Morganroth – They Did It With Love

Liane Moriarty – The Husband’s Secret

Liane Moriarty – The Hypnotist’s Love Story

Liane Moriarty – The Last Anniversary

Liane Moriarty – Little Lies

Liane Moriarty – Nine Perfect Strangers 

Liane Moriarty – Truly Madly Guilty

Liane Moriarty – What Alice Forgot

Kate Morton – The Lake House

Kate Morton – The Secret Keeper

Steve Mosby – Cry for Help

Steve Mosby – The Murder Code

Jojo Moyes – After You

Jojo Moyes – The Girl You Left Behind

Jojo Moyes – Me Before You

Jojo Moyes – Night Music

Jojo Moyes – The One Plus One

Rebecca Muddiman – Gone Gardner & Freeman #2

Rebecca Muddiman – Murder in Slow Motion Gardner & Freeman #4

Rebecca Muddiman – Stolen Gardner & Freeman #1

Paul Thomas Murphy – Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane

Yannick Murphy – This Is Water

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Amy Sue Nathan – The Good Neighbor

Sarah J Naughton – Tattletale

Rhiannon Navin – Only Child

Nele Neuhaus – Snow White Must Die

Netta Newbound – Mother Knows Best

Linda Newbury – Quarter Past Two On A Wednesday Afternoon

Vicky Newham – Turn a Blind Eye

John Nicholl – White Is The Coldest Colour

Nuala Ní Chonchúir -The Closet of Savage Mementos

Barney Norris – Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain

Barney Norris – Turning for Home

Liz Nugent – Lying In Wait

Liz Nugent – Skin Deep

Liz Nugent – Unravelling Oliver

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Deborah O’Connor – My Husband’s Son

Ann O’Loughlin – The Judge’s Wife

Caroline Overington – I Came To Say Goodbye

Caroline Overington – Last Woman Hanged

Caroline Overington – Sisters of Mercy

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Joan Paisnel – The Beast of Jersey

B.A. Paris – Behind Closed Doors

B.A. Paris – Bring Me Back

Adele Parks – The Image of You

Adele Parks – The Stranger In My Home

Tony Parsons – The Murder Bag

Shona Patel – Teatime For The Firefly

Mary Paulson-Ellis – The Other Mrs Walker

AJ Pearce – Dear Mrs Bird

Helen Pearson – The Life Project

Daniel Pembrey – The Candidate

Daniel Pembrey – The Harbour Master

Wendy Percival – Death of a Cuckoo

Charlotte Perkins Gilman – The Yellow Wallpaper

Jayne Anne Phillips – Quiet Dell

Louise Phillips – The Doll’s House #2

Louise Phillips – The Game Changer #4

Louise Phillips –  Last Kiss #3

Louise Phillips – Red Ribbons #1

Jodi Picoult – Small Great Things

Paul Pilkington – The One You Love

Sarah Pinborough – Behind Her Eyes

Raymond Postgate – Verdict of Twelve

Christine Poulson – Cold, Cold Heart

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Jenny Quintana – The Missing Girl

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K.J. Rabane – Taken At The Flood

K.J. Rabane – Who Is Sarah Lawson?

Caro Ramsay – Night Hunter

Caro Ramsay – Rat Run

Caro Ramsay – The Tears of Angels

Olivia Rayne – My Mother the Psychopath

Sarah Rayner – Another Night, Another Day

Sarah Rayner – The Other Half

Ruth Rendell – The Face of Trespass

Ruth Rendell – The Girl Next Door

Ruth Rendell – The Monster in the Box

Ruth Rendell – No Man’s Nightingale

Kate Rhodes – A Killing Of Angels

Kate Rhodes – Hell Bay

Kate Rhodes – The Winter Foundlings

Rachel Rhys – A Dangerous Crossing

Rachel Rhys – Fatal Inheritance

Eva Rice – The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

James Rice – Alice And The Fly

Hannah Richell – The Peacock Summer

Hannah Richell – The Shadow Year

Marnie Riches – The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die

Miranda Richmond Mouillot – A Fifty Year Silence

T.R. Richmond – What She Left

Jane Riddell – Water’s Edge

Alison Ridley Cubitt – Castles in the Air

Lucinda Riley – The Midnight Rose

Mary-Jane Riley – After She Fell Alex Devlin #2

Mary-Jane Riley – The Bad Things Alex Devlin #1

Mary-Jane Riley – Dark Waters Alex Devlin #3

Mary-Jane Riley – Gone in the Night Alex Devlin #4

Kelly Rimmer – A Mother’s Confession

Kelly Rimmer – Before I Let You Go

Suzanne Rindell – The Other Typist

Suzanne Rindell – Three-Martini Lunch

Kate Riordan –  The Girl In The Photograph

Rachel Florence Roberts – The Medea Complex

Jane Robins – The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams

Jane Robins – The Magnificent Spilsbury and the cases of the Brides In The Bath

Jane Robins – White Bodies 

Peter Robinson – Before the Poison 

Steve Robinson – Dying Games Jefferson Tayte #6

Steve Robinson – Kindred Jefferson Jefferson Tayte #5

Steve Robinson – The Last Empress Jefferson Tayte #4

Steve Robinson – Letters from the Dead Jefferson Tayte #7

Shelan Rodger – Twin Truths

Vanessa Ronan – The Last Days of Summer

Claudia Rowe – The Spider and the Fly

James Ruddick – Death At The Priory

Jane Rusbridge – The Devil’s Music

Jessica Rushton – The Darker Side Of Love

Jessica Rushton – The Lies You Told Me

Leigh Russell – Cut Short Geraldine Steel #1

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Saskia Sarginson – The Other Me

Saskia Sarginson – The Stranger

Saskia Sarginson – The Twins

Andrea Maria Schenkel – The Dark Meadow

Sarah Schmidt – See What I Have Done

J.A. Schneider – Shoeless Child

Jenny Scotti – The Bridesmaid

Lisa Scottoline – Keep Quiet

Claire Seeber – 24 Hours

Claire Seeber – The Stepmother

Elisa Segrave – The Girl From Station X

Tina Seskis – A Serpantine Affair

Tina Seskis – One Step Too Far

Tina Seskis – When We Were Friends

Diane Setterfield – Bellman & Black

Sarah R Shaber – Simon Said

Mary Ann Shaffer – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Jane Shemilt – Daughter

Mel Sherratt – Follow The Leader (Allie Shenton #2)

Mel Sherratt – Only The Brave (Allie Shenton #3)

Mel Sherratt – She Did It

Mel Sherratt – Taunting The Dead (Allie Shenton #1)

Mel Sherratt – Watching Over You

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir – The Legacy

Lionel Shriver – Property

Graeme Simsion – The Rosie Effect

Graeme Simsion – The Rosie Project

Rupert Smith – Interlude

Rachel Sontag – Daddy’s Rules

Jasmine Sparks – Dolly

Muriel Spark – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 

Jon Stasiak – Standing In The Shadows

Susie Steiner – Missing, Presumed

Susie Steiner – Persons Unknown

M.L. Stewart – Tales For The Tube

Nina Stibbe – Love Nina

Linda Stratmann – The Secret Poisoner

Noel Streatfeild – Tea by the Nursery Fire

Noel Streatfeild – The Whicharts

Elizabeth Strout – My Name Is Lucy Barton

Julie Summers – Stranger in the House

Kate Summerscale – Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace

Kate Summerscale – The Wicked Boy

Peter Swanson – Before She Knew Him

Peter Swanson – The Girl With A Clock For A Heart

Peter Swanson – Her Every Fear

Peter Swanson – The Kind Worth Killing

Katharine Swartz – The Lost Garden

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C.L. Taylor – The Accident

C.L. Taylor – The Escape

C.L. Taylor – The Lie

C.L. Taylor – The Missing

Leslie Thompson – The Detectives Daughter

Rebecca Thornton – The Exclusives

Rosie Thornton – Ninepins

Robert Thorogood – A Meditation On Murder

Robert Thorogood – Death Knocks Twice

Robert Thorogood – The Killing of Polly Carter

Andrew Tierney – The Doctor’s Wife is Dead

Colm Tóibín – Nora Webster

Jeffrey Toobin – American Heiress

Jonathan Trigell – Boy A

Ronnie Turner – Lies Between Us

Stuart Turton – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Harriet Tyce –  Blood Orange

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Lisa Unger – The Burning Girl

Lisa Unger – In The Blood

Lisa Unger – The Whispers

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Sarah Vaughan – Anatomy of a Scandal

Alan Veale – The Murder Tree

Fiona Veitch Smith – The Jazz Files

Fiona Veitch Smith – The Kill Fee

Adrian Vincent – A Gallery of Poisoners

Barbara Vine – The Child’s Child

P.D. Viner – The Last Winter Of Dani Lancing

P.D. Viner – Summer Of Ghosts

Louise Voss & Mark Edwards – Killing Cupid

Tom Vowler – That Dark Remembered Day

Tom Vowler – What Lies Within

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Jan Costin Wagner – Light In A Dark House

Martin Wagner – Deutschland

A.J. Waines – Lost in the Lake

Rebecca Wait – The View On The Way Down

Helen Walsh – Go To Sleep

Milton O’Neal Walsh – My Sunshine Away

T.M.E. Walsh – For All Our Sins

Louise Walters – A Life Between Us

Louise Walters – Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase

Sarah Ward – A Deadly Thaw Connie Childs #2

Sarah Ward – A Patient Fury Connie Childs #3

Sarah Ward – In Bitter Chill Connie Childs # 1

Sarah Ward – The Shrouded Path Connie Childs #4

Ruth Ware – In A Dark Dark Wood

Ruth Ware – The Death of Mrs Westaway

Ruth Ware – The Lying Game

Ruth Ware – The Woman in Cabin 10

Kirsty Wark – The Legacy Of Elizabeth Pringle

Helen Warner – The Story of Our Lives

Sarah Waters – The Little Stranger

Sarah Waters – The Night Watch

Sarah Waters – The Paying Guests

S J Watson – Second Life

Camilla Way – The Lies We Told

Camilla Way – Watching Edie

Tim Weaver – Fall From Grace David Raker #5

Tim Weaver – What Remains David Raker #6

Tim Weaver – Broken Heart David Raker #7

Mae West – Love As Always Mum xxx

Edith Wharton – Ethan Frome

Gillian White – Copy Cat

Gillian White – The Sleeper

Lucie Whitehouse – Before We Met

Rebecca Whitney – The Liar’s Chair

Kerry Wilkinson – Think Of The Children

Marcia Willett – Postcards From The Past

Andrew Wilson – A Talent For Murder

Colin Wilson – The Corpse Garden

Monica Wood – The One-in-a-Million Boy

Jake Woodhouse – After The Silence

Evie Woolmore – Equilibrium

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Nathan Yates – Beyond Evil

Margaret Yorke – A Small Deceit

Margaret Yorke – The Small Hours Of The Morning

Felicity Young – The Anatomy of Death #1

Felicity Young – The Insanity of Murder #4

Felicity Young – The Scent of Murder #3

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Koren Zailckas – Mother, Mother

Kothi Zan – The Never List

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Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Last Kiss – Louise Phillips

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

Dr Kate Phillips is a psychologist who works with the Irish Police force assisting by providing profiles of suspects. If you like Criminal Minds, this series is so much better!

The introduction grabs you by the throat as it details a teenage girl giving birth to her baby in the wood.  What happens within the first three pages is haunting and sets the chilling scene for the rest of the book.

In the present day an art dealer is found dead, brutally stabbed to death in a hotel room, his body arranged to mirror the Hangman from the tarot cards. Detective Mark Lynch is revelling in his position in charge when he calls Kate in to help out and she begins reading the crime scene examining it for insights into the killer’s mind.

I love Louise Phillips writing which switches between characters; we hear from a married woman devastated to find evidence on her husband’s computer which indicates that he is having an affair. She seeks the assistance of her close friends but becomes more afraid when items in her house are moved about. Kate Pearson gives us updates on the progression of the investigation while the killer is also allowed a voice which gives the reader clues about their identity but also the opportunity to see how good Kate is at her job.

In this book we have the contrast in life between rural Ireland, the more cosmopolitan Dublin and then the continent where Kate and DI O’Connor fly off to Paris to examine the death of a man involved in S&M. The distinction between the opulence of the dead man’s hotel room vying with that first scene as well as the artistic devices used by the killer to capture the right image both of herself and her victim are powerful in bringing the visual aspect to the written word.

I loved both the previous books in this series Red Ribbons and The Doll’s House and this book easily matches these two, and maybe even surpasses them in terms of the depth and complexity of the plot. This is a dark book with the inclusion of the S&M and Tarot cards so that when the killer and their motives are unmasked, it left me with a feeling of profound sadness, as if this were all somehow more than just fiction.

A big thank you to Louise Phillips for my copy of this book which was delivered to me via her publisher, Hachette, in return for my honest review. If this sounds like something you would enjoy it is released on  7 August 2014 – yes today!

Louise Phillips On Her Inspiration for Last Kiss

‘On a cold January day in 1984, Ann Lovett, aged fifteen, having started labour, took a detour to the local graveyard instead of returning to school. She laboured for hours in the rain. Ann and her baby died that day. Last Kiss is not the story of Ann Lovett or her son. Nonetheless the story stayed with me. A question arose in my mind. What would happen if a baby survived the death of their mother and in the context of this fictional story was reared by someone evil?
In writing Last Kiss, the theme of nature versus nurture, good versus evil, fascinated me. The fictional killer I created pushed my boundaries as a writer, and I hope you agree it was a story worth telling.’

Although I don’t think reading the series in order is necessary, this book would work perfectly well as a stand-alone, there is a story arc in relation to Kate Pearson and her private life as well as insight into the key Police Officers in charge that would enhance your enjoyment of this book.

Read my reviews of her debut novel, Red Ribbons and second in the series The Dolls House by clicking on the covers below.

Red Ribbons

 
The Doll's House

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (July 18)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

After last weeks extravagant amount of Friday Finds this edition is much more restrained.

My kind friend had to go to the last book sale by herself as I was on holiday but she bought me a copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling) because she knew I’d been on the look-out for this one.

The Cuckoo's Calling

Blurb

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this. Goodreads

From NetGalley I have a copy of Trust in Me by Sophie McKenzie whose novel, Close My Eyes sat on my wishlist but was never purchased.

Trust in Me

Blurb

Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United fifteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy’s sister, Kara, they’ve always told each other everything.
Or so Livy thought.
So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot come to terms with the news that she chose to end her own life. The Julia that Livy knew was vibrant and vivacious, a far cry from the selfish neurotic that her family seem determined to paint her as.
Troubled by doubt but alone in her suspicions, Livy sets out to prove that Julia was in fact murdered. But little does she realise that digging into her best friend’s private life will cause her to question everything she thought she knew about Julia. And the truth that Livy discovers will tear the very fabric of her own life apart. NetGalley

I also have a review copy on the way from the author of Last Kiss; Louise Phillips. I read both her debut, Red Ribbons , and the follow-up The Doll’s House last year.

Last Kiss
Blurb

Saundra Neville’s husband is having an affair. The other woman wants her life, following her like a shadow, moving objects around her home, playing mind games to push her over the edge. But who does the killer really have in her sights? Meanwhile, criminal psychologist Dr. Kate Pearson and Detective Inspector O’Connor are brought in to investigate the vicious murder of businessman Rick Shevlin, who was tied up and butchered in a Dublin hotel room. They soon find themselves plunged into an investigation which spreads across Europe. Will they find the killer before Saundra discovers a truth far deadlier than anyone can imagine? Goodreads

Lastly something for my wishlist, due to be published 9 September 2014 The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. Poirot meets Sophie Hannah, this I must read!

The Monogram Murders

Blurb

‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’
Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…Goodreads

So what have you found this week?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Doll’s House – Louise Phillips

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

So here is my review for the first of the books named The Doll’s House.  I chose this book by Louise Phillips for my holiday reading as I’d been really impressed with Red Ribbons  which I read earlier this year.  I didn’t find this as outstanding as the debut but Louise Phillips again demonstrates her ability to weave a cracking good tale.  Following on from Red Ribbons we catch up with Kate Pearson, who is a criminal psychologist who again called in to work with Detective Inspector O’Connor.

Set in Ireland this tale, like her debut, is told from multiple viewpoints of Kate Pearson, Clodagh McKay and the shadowy figure of the murderer himself.  Personally I found Clodagh’s story by far the most interesting and engaging of the book.  Clodagh is the mother of a teenage daughter, has a marriage which has all but dissolved, and a drink problem. Crucially she is the owner of the Doll’s House.

The story begins with the murder of the presenter of a TV show which allows members of the public to air their dirty laundry in exchange for five minutes of fame on daytime TV (yes you know the type) and it is presumed that he will have made a few enemies along the way.  Within pages another body is added to the pile….

One of the aspects of this book which I enjoyed the most was the uncovering of memories. Clodagh visits a hypnotist to try and remember key events in her childhood while Kate, as if she wasn’t busy enough, is trying to help an anorexic girl in her practice who suffers from memory gaps.  This added another dimension to the puzzle of the motive and perpetrator of the murders as I willed Clodagh to remember what had really happened all those years before.  Themes of memories and the effects childhood trauma run throughout the book as Clodagh fights to find out what is being kept from her along with the reasons for the truth being withheld.

In conclusion an absorbing read although I found it a little off-putting that Clodagh appeared to believe that the dolls knew the answers despite realising that this was the device used to uncover those shadowy events of childhood!

To see my review of Red Ribbons please click the book cover.

Red Ribbons

Posted in Books I have read

Super Six Sunday (25 August)

What a lovely meme and such a pretty image to go with it!

SuperSixSunday1
Super Six Sunday is an original bookish meme hosted at Bewitched Bookworms and inspired by “Top Ten Tuesday” from The Broke and The Bookish . You can see the weekly schedule of themes here.

We’re happy to see so many people participating, so check back later and visit the other Super Six Sunday posts to spread the love!

Super Six Books of 2013 so far!

1

Apple Tree Yard

2

The Husband's Secret

3

Dot

4

Red Ribbons

5

Worthless Men

6

The House We Grew Up In

Posted in Books I want to Read

Too many books not enough time

I have come to the conclusion that the amount of time I spend looking at books that I want to read is seriously impinging on my available reading time.

At the moment I look at the recommendations on Amazon, look at what friends have read on Goodreads thereby swelling my wishlist which is held on Amazon on a regular basis. Today the number of books that I have on said wishlists (of course they are split into groups) is 78, given that on average I read just under 100 books per year is that too many? I do every now and again look at reviews of books that were added before they were published and remove those that no longer appeal but…. too many books and not enough time.

I have about 6 weeks until my holiday where I have promised myself that I won’t take books from Netgalley or Amazon Vine I will choose some from my wishlist so my next task is to decide which ones make it to this exclusive club

On the list so far:

The Dolls House – Louise Phillips
A Killing of Angels – Kate Rhodes
The Stranger You Know – Jane Casey
The Silent Tide – Rachel Hore
Until You’re Mine – Samantha Hayes

Five books by authors whose previous books have hit the spot

Louise Phillips

Red RibbonsRed Ribbons by Louise Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the perfect example of a good thriller, there is a cohesive plot line, not too many instances where the reader has to suspend belief and characters who you feel you know.

Red Ribbons is told from three main different viewpoints. Dr Kate Pearson who is a psychologist helping the police to discover the profile of a killer. A young girl was found buried in Dublin Mountains with red ribbons in her hair, soon afterwards another young girl is found, again with unknown red ribbons. Ellie Brady who is a patient in an asylum, incarcerated 14 years previously and our killer who is bored of his job, his colleagues and brooding over the recent death of his mother. As a reader there are plenty of clues to fit together, including how does Ellie’s story connect to those of the recent dead girls? The Police are battling against time to stop the killer taking any more young lives and Kate is doing her best to guide them in the right direction whilst dealing with a less than happy domestic situation.

I found this book totally absorbing; one that I had to keep reading to find out how all the pieces of the puzzle would fit together. I am delighted to hear Louise Phillips has written The Doll’s House due out August 2013.

View all my reviews

Kate Rhodes

Crossbones YardCrossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Crossbones Yard is where Alice Quentin finds a woman’s body, just outside the memorial gates to the graveyard where fallen women were buried from the 16th Century.

This crime novel works well, Alice is a psychologist with a difficult past who is asked by the police to interview Maurice Cley a man who is due to be released from prison. Maurice was a close friend of the serial killers Ray and Marie Benson who had killed 13 young women . With a potential copycat killing Alice becomes more involved helping the police. Alice has plenty of other worries; her brother Will is mentally ill, her friend homeless, she is doubtful about her current relationship and she has a busy workload.

I enjoyed reading the snippets of Alice’s cases in her daily working life. The characters were well drawn and realistic although the constant reference to Alice’s dislike of lifts and love of running began to grate by the end of the book. The writing sets this book apart with a great pace bringing the book to its dramatic conclusion.

I believe this is the first of a three book deal for Kate Rhodes and I look forward to the next book in this series.

I was lucky enough to receive this book from the Amazon Vine Programme

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Jane Casey

The Last GirlThe Last Girl by Jane Casey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the three previous books by Jane Casey The Missing, her debut novel, The Burning and The Reckoning featuring DC Maeve Kerrigan, I was keen to see what the next installment would bring. This book begins with Lydia’s mother and twin sister found dead, her father received a blow to the head but she escaped unhurt. What happened in the house that evening, what was the motive and who is keeping secrets?

Jane Casey’s books don’t just stick to one investigation they are realistic and there are a number of things going on in the Met at the same time. Maeve is still coping with her arrogant boss Derwent and her personal life isn’t quite as good as she’d hoped but she fights on with spirit. The police characters are well defined the cases to be solved have the feel of authenticity without boring us with paperwork etc. The secondary characters were all sufficiently awful to provide many suspects to consider. The only reason why I didn’t give this book 5 stars was because I didn’t find this case quite as exciting as those in the previous books but being well written the story flowed along leaving the reader to ponder who did it and why

View all my reviews

Rachel Hore

The Memory GardenThe Memory Garden by Rachel Hore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Memory Garden is set in Merryn Hall in Cornwall. Mel takes a sabbatical from lecturing to write a book about Cornish artists whilst recovering both from the death of her mother and a painful split from her long-time boyfriend Jake.

The split is fairly even between the past and the present and both stories are engaging, Pearl a daughter of uncertain parentage goes to work as a servant at Merryn Hall in 1912 taking with her a box of paints. In the present day, Mel helps Patrick, the new owner of Merryn Hall, to renovate the garden hoping to restore it to it’s former glory. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that both Mel and Pearl face similar relationship problems in their quest to be happy.

I have read all Rachel Hore’s previous books and although I liked this book it wasn’t as good as the The Glass Painter’s Daughter which was outstanding.

This is an easy read with quite a range of characters, all well developed and engaging, I have A Gathering Storm on my wish list.

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Samantha Hayes

UnspokenUnspoken by Samantha Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book written from the viewpoint of a couple, Murray and Julia, on the verge of divorcing and Mary Julia’s mother.

Mary is found mute by her daughter who visits for Christmas Day and the story revolves around what happened to cause this. Running parrallel is about a local girl who Julia finds badly hurt nearby. The local GP David steps into help with Mary and Julia falls hard for him.

I’m not going to ruin the story because although a lot of it is fairly obvious I found myself eager to find out exactly what happened to all concerned. Some parts of the story are not convincing at all but still well worth a read.

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