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

The Burning Air – Erin Kelly

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

Lydia opens her diary, picks up her pen and prepares to commit her sins to its pages. Overwhelmed by her illness she finishes her entry by stating ‘A good mother loves fiercely but ultimately brings up her children to thrive without her. They must be the most important thing in her life, but if she is the most important thing in theirs, she has failed.’ These words underpin the rest of one of the darkest stories I have read.

Set over a weekend from 1st to 3rd November 2013 Lydia’s family get together at Far Barn in Saxby, Devon to spread her ashes. Lydia’s husband Rowan, her adult children Sophie, Tara and Felix gather together along with an assortment of partners and offspring. Without a television or mobile signal and only a tape deck and record player for music being at Far Barn is like going back in time and that is without the family memories of former holidays. The scene is set for a claustrophobic weekend where the consequences of the past make themselves known. When Felix’s new girlfriend disappears with Sophie’s baby on bonfire night the secrets of the past come tumbling out with each character having a part to play in this well-crafted story.

This was a riveting read with carefully presented twists along the way. Erin Kelly showcases her talents as a master of plotting. The characters that inhabit the pages of this book were distinct and when revelations were made about them these assimilated with previous knowledge with no jarring at all.

This is right up there as one of the best books I have read this year; I’d go as far as to say Barbara Vine has a rival.

Erin Kelly is the author of two other books both of which I thoroughly enjoyed

The Poison Tree
The Sick Rose

Her next book, The Ties That Bind, is due to be published by Hodder next May, which I  am really looking forward to.

Learn more about Erin Kelly  and her books on her website.

Cleopatra’s Top Ten Books Published in 2013, 2014 & 2015

Cleopatra’s Top Ten Books Published in 2013

 

2013 was a great book reading year for me, I have read many great books of a variety of genres, although as usual the majority were crime fiction! It has been a real struggle to whittle this list down to 10 but here they are, in no particular order!

Click on the book covers to read my reviews.

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

My list starts with a book set in a bookshop. This was a great book for this booklover, with references as diverse as Paddington Bear and 1984 littering the pages, great characters and a bookshop I wanted to work in!

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them…
The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.
A superb psychological thriller set in Devon over one claustrophobic weekend in November 2013 this book rivals Barbara Vine for one of the best books in this genre.

Dot by Araminta Hall

Women's Fiction 5*
Women’s Fiction
5*

a long-forgotten photograph of a man, his hair blowing in the breeze. Dot stares so long at the photograph the image begins to disintegrate before her eyes, and as the image fades it is replaced with one thought: ‘I think it’s definitely him.’
Secrets and female relationships dominate this book. Full of delightful characters with an undertone of humour to lighten the emotions that must surely melt the hardest of hearts.

Apple Tree Yard
by Louise Doughty

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

Safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement, but you can never buy them back.

This powerful book was my surprise find of 2013. A women in court but how and why? At its core this is a book about how we perceive ourselves, through our own eyes and what is reflected back to us in the eyes of others.

Entry Island by Peter May

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

I had the final part of the Lewis Trilogy down as a favourite of 2013 but have decided Peter May can’t have two books on the top ten (but if you haven’t read the Lewis Trilogy I suggest you do!) so have decided his latest book set between a past on the Isle of Lewis and the present in Canada was the winner for fantastic characters along with a well plotted tale of a woman accused of murder and a past that must be found.

What Lies Within by Tom Vowler

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

when a convict escapes from nearby Dartmoor prison, their isolation suddenly begins to feel more claustrophobic than free. Fearing for her children’s safety, Anna’s behaviour becomes increasingly irrational. But why is she so distant from her kind husband Robert, and why does she suspect something sinister of her son Paul? All teenagers have their difficult phases…

This was another great find part psychological thriller but containing elements of so much more; a mystery, a crime and relationships.

A Funeral for an Owl
by Jane Davis

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

Times have changed since Jim Stevens chose to teach. Protocol designed to protect children now makes all pupil/teacher relationships taboo – even those that might benefit a student.

This is one of those stories that stays with you long after you have closed the book. Jane Davis Davis really does bring characters to life, mothers, fathers, friends, teachers are all perfectly described along with their actions and reactions to events. (oh and if you have copy I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements!!)

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Women's Fiction 5*
Women’s Fiction
5*

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in – and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.
Lisa Jewell really knows how to write a great story, her books never fail to delight me as they are so much more than ‘chick-lit’ they deal with serious issues without becoming depressing. This is my favourite (I think) of all her novels.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Women's Fiction 5*'s
Women’s Fiction
5*’s

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read
My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Another great story-teller (I read What Alice Forgot after this one) with all the ingredients included; a believable plot, characters that are well-developed and writing that pulls the reader in from the first page, plus this isn’t the story you think it is going to be!

The Cry by Helen Fizgerald

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

He’s gone. And telling the truth won’t bring him back…
When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.

A lot of tension in this book, this is definitely not light reading but it is certainly absorbing and haunting.

Cleopatra’s Top Ten Books Published in 2014

2014 was a fantastic reading year for me although even I was shocked to see that I’d marked a whopping 42 books as 5 star reads this year! Yes that’s quite a lot but to be honest I award stars on instinct when I review and (conceitedly) assume those who look at my reviews read the words, rather than depend on this arbitrary system. One reason I enjoy choosing my Top 10 is because it is interesting to see whether on reflection this instinctive scoring holds true for me. Surprisingly it does and I didn’t feel I had to downgrade any of my choices this year but for those of you who assume I ponder and deliberate and weigh up the merits of one five star read against another, I’m sorry, I don’t.

Fortunately as this post concentrates on books published in 2014, I’ve been able to remove a few of my choices, but as you can imagine it was quite a task to get the list whittled down to just 10. As a compromise some books that I love were featured on my blog post Reading and Reviewing in 2014 !

To help with the decision making I have decided to pick the best from some other genres too starting with Historical Fiction. The winner this year is my most recent five star review

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

The Paying Guests

What can I say, beautiful engaging writing, three-dimensional characters, great period detail and…. a crime! This book has a slow start but don’t let that fool you, I had to slow down my reading towards the end as I didn’t want the story to end. Set in the early 1920’s Sarah Waters captures the herald of change with the classes and the genders having to adapt to a new way of life.

My Non-Fiction choice isn’t strictly a book that was published in 2014, that originally occurred back in 1974 but it was republished in 2014 (and this is my blog so my rules!)

Victorian Murderesses by Mary S. Hartman

Victorian Murderesses

This book looks at Middle Class Victorian Murderesses in the United Kingdom and France during the Victorian period. It is far more than a recap of the crimes as the author makes a link between the time, place and class of woman to commentate on women’s lives during this period. A fascinating and far more scholarly work than I anticipated.

My Surprise Find of the year:

Interlude by Rupert Smith

Interlude

I don’t know what made me choose this book, but I’m so glad I did. Told between past and present this has a book in a book, historical details and a cast of characters whose actions are at times reprehensible but who are entirely human made up of good points as well.

A Slow Burner of a novel award goes to:

That Dark Remembered Day by Tom Vowler

That Dark Remembered Day

This superbly written book invites the reader to absorb every word as it lays the groundwork for what happened on the day in question. The groundwork begins in 1983, the year I became a teenager and the details took me right back to that era. It’s no coincidence that Tom Vowler’s debut novel What Lies Within made my top ten listing for 2013 with this almost understated but perceptive writing.

Best Debut Novel:

Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Unravelling Oliver

One of my favourite types of novel that concentrate on the why of a mystery rather than the who. Unravelling Oliver peels back the layers of the man who starts this book by saying ‘I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.’ The multitude of narrators that have interacted with Oliver through his life create a satisfactory background to the man and it isn’t as straightforward as you may imagine.

Favourite book from an established Crime Series. This was a tough one as all the latest books from series I follow, especially Sharon Bolton’s and Peter James’ produced great books this year, however my final choice for this category features Maeve Kerrigan

The Kill by Jane Casey

The Kill

DC Maeve Kerrigan is caught up in a spate of police killings in the fifth in this series. Once again Jane Casey gets the balance of the police investigation to the personal lives of the characters we know and love (I admit to a little crush on DI Josh Derwent) with a story that is told at the perfect pace. If you haven’t read this series I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Best Start to a New Crime Series goes to a series that features another woman, Detective Grace Fisher, a crime reporter and missing students.

Good Girls Don’t Die by Isabelle Grey

Good Girls Don't Die

There was so much to love in this book, a great plot multiple storylines, well-rounded characters all backed up by a decent plot, in fact there was so much going on in this book to enjoy I felt like I’d read a banquet of a book by the time I’d finished.

There were two New to me author’s whose books were so good I had to read more – and after tossing a coin between the winner and Colette McBeth I award this one to:

Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Keep Your Friends Close

This choice is another book peopled by well-rounded, if flawed characters. Natty’s husband Sean falls in love with her friend Eve but it appears that this isn’t the first time Eve has behaved in this way, the fallout is spectacular.. After reading this book I immediately bought a copy of Just What Kind of Mother Are You? which was equally as good.

My final two choices are simply two excellent books that I loved and have recommended far and wide ever since I read them.

The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place

When a boy is found murdered in the grounds of an exclusive girl’s school the police need to penetrate the secretive world of teenage girls, not a task for the faint-hearted. Not only does this book have all the requisite ingredients for a great read; characters, plot and pace, it is also an enormously fun read, so much so I dubbed it ‘Mallory Towers for Grown Ups’

Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Little Lies

Another book set in a school, this time in a primary school and the action takes place at a fund-raiser. Liane Moriarty has created such wonderful characters, brilliant dialogue and the most bizarre murder scene ever. This is a book that packs a punch with much more lurking beneath the seemingly light exterior. This author also made my 2013 top 10 list with The Husband’s Secret.

Cleopatra’s Top Ten Books Published in 2015

Top 10 2015

Well 2015 has provided me with a great selection of books, so good that I originally had 50 (yes 50!!) books that I had awarded the highest five stars too – now even I can’t pretend that 48 books equals 10. What to do? Well as I decided back in 2013 when I started this blog to feature books published in that year I got to discard some of the older books and two got carried forward to next year – that left me with a mere 39 books to select from.

With such a selection to choose from I’ve had to accept that it is inevitable that some great books are not featured this year but I’ve finally settled on my final list which despite me assuming that my best of each month posts would reflect these closely, this exercise has just proved to me that sometimes it is after letting a book settle a while that you realise those that have really made an impact.

This year is particularly crime heavy, even for me but I hope I’ve managed to show what is available across the spectrum, it isn’t all serial killers and missing children you know!

So in no particular order here we go:

If you click on the book covers you can read the full review for each book

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

The Kind Worth Killing

A modern take on Strangers on a Train which is ingenious; Ted and Lily meet in an airport lounge and for a bit of fun Lily suggests they should only tell each other the truth. On the flight Ted reveals that he wants to kill his wife as she has been unfaithful, Lily taking the moral high-ground offers to help him. If you like your book with plenty of twists and turns, this could be just the right book for you.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Pretty Baby

Perhaps you, like me enjoy books that really delve into the psyche of the characters? If so Pretty Baby will provide just that along with a story which will keep you gripped. Heidi decides to befriend a young woman, Willow when she sees her at a train station with a young baby. Unsurprisingly her husband Chris isn’t totally up for the idea especially as Willow and Ruby look like they are becoming a permanent fixture in their lives with little thought for their own daughter Zoe. The placing of the narratives by Chris and Heidi in the past in relation to Willow’s, as told to a third-party, in the present casts a dark shadow over each episode and the full story is gradually revealed.

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse

The only non-fiction choice this year not only had a killer of a title, but it also had one of the most riveting stories I’ve ever read, more so because it was true! The book covers the story behind a number of court cases that spanned a decade which all centred on the belief that Thomas Charles Druce, the owner of a Victorian Bazaar was actually the 5th Duke of Portland, an eccentric and reclusive man. As I say this is a fascinating look at not only the court cases but also gives the reader a glimpse of how real people behaved during the late Victorian and Edwardian periods which isn’t quite how the history books portray it.

Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly MacMillan

Burnt Paper Sky

Ok so now we do have one missing child story for the mix, but there is far more to this book than the heart in the mouth search for a lost child. Set in Bristol this book gave me an idea of what sort of information I react to when I read or see media reports about crime – what triggers in the news cause me to make snap judgements about the truth behind the news? A very clever book that made me think as well as being totally entertaining from an investigative perspective with this unfolding chronologically I needed to know the outcome.
Note readers in the US can read this under the title What She Knew in 2016

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Lost Girls

Angela Marsons had her debut novel published in February 2015 and this was her third book featuring the likeable Detective Kim Stone – yes you read that correctly, this is the third in the series. I could easily have included all of her books but this was my favourite premise. More lost children I’m afraid… Two friends are kidnapped but the kidnapper has an extreme way of pushing up the money they will receive, the two sets of parents are pitted against each other! As you can imagine the fallout is spectacular.

Disclaimer by Renée Knight

Disclaimer

Back in April I predicted this book would make my top ten reads of the year, and it has, one book that didn’t need to settle, I knew this was a hit more or less from the first page. It was also one of the hardest to review as there is so little that can be said about the plot without inadvertently spoiling it for others. I liked that the author skilfully manipulated my emotions, over and over again. If you want a book that is full of surprises, choose this book. I have recommended this far and wide (in the real world) and everyone who listened, has loved it!

Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths

Smoke and Mirrors

Missing children again, but this time back in history being set in Brighton in 1951. In the second in the Max Mephisto the book is far more a complex puzzle with a feel of an old-fashioned detective novel with clues rather than forensics at the fore. Tied in with a production of Aladdin there is links to another murder years before all to be solved by a wonderful cast of characters. Fancy trying a different type of crime fiction – this could be for you.

A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah

A Game for all the Family

The queen of psychological thrillers completely wowed me with this, a stand-alone novel which had me utterly and completely confused. Now I see you scratching your heads because that doesn’t sound like fun but therein lies the genius of this book. Told in part in a story written by a teenager and part in real-life the writing was thoroughly entertaining even if I couldn’t for the life of me work out what the point was – rest assured there was a point and I don’t think I’ll ever forget this amazing read.

Hidden by Emma Kavanagh

Hidden

Want a mixture of investigative and psychological crime fiction? Hidden opens with a shooting at a Welsh hospital and the descriptions aren’t for the faint-hearted. What follows is an in-depth look at the crime from multiple viewpoints over an ever-changing time period before and after the shooting.. the result is amazing – this complex structure worked, against all odds.

The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minnet

The Hidden Legacy

This debut novel is another book that has an opener that will become seared on your memory when a young boy sets fire to two girls in a school playground yet the opening is backed up by a thoughtful, deep and in places deeply moving novel with some of the most consistently rounded characters I have ever had the pleasure to read about. With a mystery legacy for one woman and secrets bubbling throughout, this is a book that made me think about all manner of moral questions. Most definitely the surprise hit of the year for me!

So my top ten is just that – ten great books that have stamped themselves onto my memory in a variety of ways.

If you want to see more of the 144 books I’ve read in 2015

Reading and Reviewing in 2015
Reading Bingo for 2015
2015 Book Reviews with links

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

He Said/She Said – Erin Kelly

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

Erin Kelly has once again proved that she is an extremely talented writer, one who weaves a tale full of twists and turns, yet without resorting to cheap tricks. This is a book that stands proud in a now crowded genre, one that relies on superb plotting and brilliantly nuanced characters, the result being I was convinced by both.

In 1999 Laura and Kit were at Lizard’s Point in Cornwall to watch the total eclipse of the sun. For Laura this was her first experience but Kit and his twin brother Mac had, along with their father Lachlan, travelled far and wide as part of a group of eclipse chasers to see this rare phenomenon. In Cornwall Mac, his girlfriend Ling and Kit had decided to make some money to cover the trip by selling hot drinks at the festival but with the British weather being, well, British, the event isn’t as well attended as expected. Laura turns up having travelled down later and watches the eclipse with suitable awe and then stumbles across a young woman, her own age, being raped. Or that is what she believes.

With the story moving backwards and forwards from 11 August 1999 to fifteen years later when Kit is planning to travel to the Faroe Islands, chasing another eclipse, we learn what an impact that meeting had on all four characters and the ripples haven’t decreased with the passing years.

He Said/She Said
looks at the issue of rape from a number of perspectives with the court room reflecting the crux of the matter, as the title indicates. Jamie, the accused says that Laura got it wrong, he was having consensual sex with Beth when he was interrupted by the couple. Beth maintains it was non-consensual but she froze in the moment. Kit didn’t see anything, he was lagging behind but followed Jamie when he left the scene at Laura’s behest. There are other elements familiar from news reports of some recent big trials not least the fact that Jamie’s family are wealthy, he has a top lawyer and his family, including his fiancée, are in the courtroom supporting him. Who will the jury believe?

So we have a very modern tale told in the main by Laura and Kit which should have concluded the day the trial was over but Beth needing support from those who were there turns up at their London flat and is welcomed, at least by Laura. Kit is less sure, worried that if there is an appeal, that the girls have undermined any chance of a retrial by potentially being accused of colluding with each other. Three’s a crowd begins to be a very apt saying as tensions increase.

This is an involved and thoughtful tale, one that really did make me think but I’m delighted to report that Erin Kelly never forgets that she is writing to entertain her reader and she avoids bashing the reader over the head about rape, and the trials that all too rarely follow such an accusation. I believe it is a sign of a writer who has confidence, not only in herself, but of her readers to air the important issues this way.

I’m not going to say any more about the plot, which is excellent not only in the premise but also in its execution. The pace had me travelling through the chapters, headed up by images of the sun at various points of an eclipse, as I became more immersed in a story and characters that I truly believed in.

Trust me, you really don’t want to miss out on this book!

First Published UK: 20 April 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
No of Pages:  416
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Erin Kelly

The Poison Tree – 2010
The Sick Rose – 2011
The Burning Air -2013
The Ties that Bind – 2014
Broadchurch: The Novel – 2014

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (October 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!

2011

In October 2011 I was introduced to a series which is now a firm fixture on my reading list when I was offered a copy of The Reckoning by Jane Casey by Amazon Vine. I was so captivated by Maeve Kerrigan I instantly got myself a copy of The Burning which was the first in the series.

The Reckoning

Blurb

To the public, a killer who targets paedophiles is a hero. And even the police don’t regard the murders as a priority. Maeve Kerrigan is shocked by the violence inflicted during these kills – the victims were made to suffer. She believes no-one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. However, as this serial killer’s violence begins to escalate, she is forced to decide how far she’s prepared to go to ensure justice is served … Goodreads

2012 yr

My choice for October 2012 is a tough one as I was on holiday during this month and, as always, had spent an age choosing the best books for the trip. The book that made the most impact was The White Lie by Andrea Gillies, a story that spans many years where a number of secrets are slowly but oh so assuredly revealed.

The White Lie

Blurb

On a hot summer’s afternoon, Ursula Salter runs sobbing from the loch on her parents’ Scottish estate and confesses, distraught, that she has killed Michael, her 19 year old nephew.
But what really happened? No body can be found, and Ursula’s story is full of contradictions. In order to protect her, the Salters come up with another version of events, a decision that some of them will come to regret.
Years later, at a family gathering, a witness speaks up and the web of deceit begins to unravel. What is the white lie? Only one person knows the whole truth. Narrating from beyond the grave, Michael takes us to key moments in the past, looping back and back until – finally – we see what he sees. Goodreads

2013yr

My choice for October 2013 was also made from my holiday reading choices, so competition was again fierce but in many ways easier as I read one of my favourite psychological thrillers of all time; The Burning Air by Erin Kelly. If you haven’t read this yet, now is a good time as the storyline spans Bonfire Night!

The Burning Air

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.
The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.
The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on – but when they leave her looking after Sophie’s baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest… Goodreads

2014yr

In October 2014 I read Good Girls Don’t Die by Isabelle Grey, a rich book with multiple storylines all rounded up with a good plot – a complete banquet of a book. It has recently been announced that the second in this series, Shot Through The Heart, will be published in March 2016

Good Girls Don't Die

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

You’d know if someone close to you was capable of lethal violence, right?
Dead wrong.
Accused of grassing up a fellow officer and driven brutally out of home and job, Grace Fisher is thankful to survive some dark times and find haven with the Major Investigation Team in Essex.
One female student is missing, last seen at a popular bar in Colchester. When a second student, also out drinking, is murdered and left grotesquely posed, the case becomes headline news.
Someone is leaking disturbing details to a tabloid crime reporter. Is it the killer? Or a detective close to the case?
With another victim, and under siege by the media, the murder enquiry hits a dead end. The review team brought in to shake things up is headed by Grace’s old DCI. Who is going to listen to her now? Amazon

2015yr

October 2015 has been a good reading month but my favourite is The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell which was a rich and engrossing read. With the ‘past’ element of the story was set in 1980 to 1981, years that I clearly remember events from, I felt slightly disconcerted that my lifetime is being portrayed as history… A deeper book than I would have suspected from the cover!

The Shadow Year
Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again.
Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?
The Shadow Year is a story of secrets, tragedy, lies and betrayal. It’s a tale that explores the light and dark of human relationships and the potential the past has to not only touch our present, but also to alter our future. Goodreads

January Five of the Best
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Posted in Books I have read

A Great Crime Novel Recommendation for Petrona Remembered

This post has been blogged at Petrona Remembered in memory of book blogger Maxine who loved crime novels, please visit the blog to learn more about Maxine and to see what other books have been recommended to her.

When I originally signed up to recommend a novel to Maxine I foolishly thought the task would be easy, I’ve read loads of crime fiction and give people recommendations on what to try frequently enough that the names of those authors trip off my tongue. Giving a recommendation to someone who was as well read as Maxine was tough, so I concentrated on the aspect of crime fiction writing she found most appealing, those that covered a social issue, a political idea or troubling aspect of the human condition. I believe I found the perfect book my choice definitely covers two of these, with a hint of the other, and it is one of my favourite crime reads of all time.

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

The Burning Air

Lydia opens her diary, picks up her pen and prepares to commit her sins to its pages. Overwhelmed by her illness she finishes her entry stating ‘A good mother loves fiercely but ultimately brings up her children to thrive without her. They must be the most important thing in her life, but if she is the most important thing in theirs, she has failed.’ These words underpin the rest of one of the darkest stories I have read.

Lydia and Rowan McBride had a successful life, Rowan a headmaster at a prestigious private school and Lydia a magistrate with altruistic nature. Their three children Sophie, Tara and Felix grew up with all the benefits this background afforded them attending their father’s school. Lydia’s husband Rowan, her adult children Sophie, Tara and Felix gather together along with an assortment of partners and offspring over a cold November weekend to scatter her ashes at Far Barn, the scene of many happy family holidays. Without a television or mobile signal and only a tape deck and record player for music being at Far Barn is like going back in time. And so the scene is set for a claustrophobic weekend where the consequences of the past make themselves known. When Felix’s new girlfriend disappears with Sophie’s baby on bonfire night the secrets of the past come tumbling out with each character having a part to play in this well-crafted story.

So where you might ask are those aspects so beloved by Maxine? Well this is a book about obsession which sparks acts of violent revenge, a human condition which left unchecked can cause utter devastation as this novel demonstrates. The cause of the vengeance is someone who believes the family were responsible for a bright, intelligent child from a mixed-up background missing out on the chance of attending the private school, the one that the younger McBride’s attended because their father was headmaster. This single event sparked an obsession with the McBride family that lasted many years the pursuit of revenge having a corrosive effect on all who stepped into its path.

This is a fascinating look at some views about private education, does it provide an advantage regardless of the ability of the child attending? Likewise the converse, if a child is intelligent would they thrive in any educational facility? What does a private school offer children of all abilities that aren’t available in the state system? Or is it perhaps a little more complex than any of those questions? Isn’t it a social as well as a political issue that an education that can be bought is more desirable than the one that the vast majority of children attend?

In many ways The Burning Air is a book about moral issues with degrees of guilt and innocence being far more important, certainly in the background to this story, than the absolutes of right and wrong. I prefer my reading matter not to be black and white and so I think this book will be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on how morally responsible the reader holds the perpetrator.

As I hope you can see there is plenty to think about in this novel but just for avoidance of doubt, it is also a great read, with plenty of twists and turns which I have done my level best to avoid spoiling whilst writing this recommendation post for Petrona Remembered.

Posted in Books I have read

Broadchurch: The End Is Where It Begins

Short Story 4*'s
Short Story
4*’s

This will be a short review of what is essentially a bit of background to Broadchurch Season Two. There is one short story released at midnight following the airing of each of the eight weekly episodes and this is the first.

Having missed the first series of what was a ‘must-watch’ show I caught up with this via Erin Kelly’s book from series one of the ITV Television series simply named Broadchurch. I loved the book so much that I then watched the series to compare and contrast the book and the series and came to the conclusion that each medium had their merits, of course the mystery wasn’t as great while watching this on TV since I knew what had happened, but I am very fond of David Tennant and there was plenty to absorb with the character interactions to make that more or less irrelevant. So I was ready and waiting at 9:00pm on Monday night and watched the first episode of the second series and wow.. I wasn’t expecting that.

I’m not usually gullible especially where marketing is concerned but when I saw that each episode had a book well surprise surprise, I couldn’t resist, particularly as once again this has been penned by Erin Kelly who is one of my favourite authors (but maybe I’d prefer her to write another great book like The Burning Air)

This episode covers what happens to Ellie Miller when she leaves Broadchurch following the end of series one. There was nothing in this story that appeared the first episode but it does serve to give us some background into Ellie’s life since the uncovering of the murderer; her feelings, her life in a new place, her job serving for a different police force and her hopes for the future. I wonder if the other books will cover the background of the other characters or whether they will follow a different format.

An engaging read that is a useful addition for ardent fans of the show this short story was well worth the 99p that I spent on it despite the fact it is only 17 pages long and I just know that I’m going to have to read the other seven that will appear.

Did you watch on Monday? What do you think about having books, albeit short ones, to accompany the series?

Reviews by Author A – L

A

Rachel Abbott – And So It Begins

Rachel Abbott – The Back Road DCI Tom Douglas #2

Rachel Abbott – Come A Little Closer DCI Tom Douglas #7

Rachel Abbott – Kill Me Again DCI Tom Douglas #5

Rachel Abbott – Nowhere Child DCI Tom Douglas #4.5

Rachel Abbott – The Sixth Window DCI Tom Douglas #6

Rachel Abbott – Sleep Tight DCI Tom Douglas #3

Rachel Abbott – Stranger Child DCI Tom Douglas #4

Aimee Alexander – The Accidental Life of Greg Millar

Judith Allnatt – The Moon Field

Buffy Andrews – The Moment Keeper

Isabel Ashdown – Little Sister

Lindsay Jayne Ashford – The Woman On The Orient Express

Lucy Atkins – The Missing One

Lucy Atkins – The Night Visitor

Kate Atkinson – Life After Life 

Margaret Atwood – Alias Grace

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Fredrik Backman – My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises

Fredrik Backman – The Scandal

Fredrik Backman – Us Against You

Alison Baillie – A Fractured Winter 

Alison Baillie – Sewing The Shadows Together

Beryl Bainbridge – An Awfully Big Adventure

Beryl Bainbridge – Harriet Said

Beryl Bainbridge – Master Georgie

Beryl Bainbridge – Sweet William

Beryl Bainbridge – Winter Garden

Lisa Ballantyne – Little Liar

Lisa Ballantyne – Redemption Road

Laura Barnett – Greatest Hits

Laura Barnett – The Versions of Us

Helen Barrell – Poison Panic

Graham Bartlett – Death Comes Knocking

Fiona Barton – The Child

Fiona Barton – The Suspect 

Fiona Barton – The Widow

Belinda Bauer – The Beautiful Dead

Belinda Bauer – The Facts of Life and Death

Belinda Bauer – Rubbernecker

Belinda Bauer – The Shut Eye

Belinda Bauer – Snap

Nina Bawden – Ruffian On The Stair

Nina Bawden – The Solitary Child

Simon Beckett – The Chemistry of Death David Hunter #1

Simon Beckett – The Restless Dead David Hunter #5

Simon Beckett – Stone Bruises

Deborah Bee – The Last Thing I Remember

Gail Bell – The Poison Principle

Kimberly Belle – The Marriage Lie

Marie Benedict – Carnegie’s Maid

John Bennett – The Cromwell Street Murders 

Flynn Berry – A Double Life

Mark Billingham – Die of Shame

Mark Billingham – The Dying Hours

Mark Billingham – Love Like Blood

Mark Billingham – Rush of Blood

Mark Billingham – Time of Death

Amy Bird – The Good Mother

Amy Bird – Hide and Seek

Katarina Bivald – The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Jenny Blackhurst – Before I Let You In

Jenny Blackhurst – The Foster Child

Jenny Blackhurst – How I Lost You

Jenny Blackhurst – The Night She Died

Sam Blake – In Deep Water Cat Connolly #2

Sam Blake – Little Bones Cat Connolly #1

Victoria Blake – Mrs Maybrick

Chris Blamires – A Time of Myths

Sharon Bolton – The Craftsman

Sharon Bolton – A Dark and Twisted Tide Lacey Flint #4

Sharon Bolton – Daisy In Chains

Sharon Bolton – Dead Woman Walking

Sharon Bolton – Here Be Dragons Lacey Flint Short Story

Sharon Bolton – If Snow Hadn’t Fallen Lacey Flint Short Story

Sharon Bolton – Like This Forever Lacey Flint #3

Sharon Bolton – Little Black Lies

Sharon Bolton – Now You See Me Lacey Flint #1

Jan Bondeson – The Ripper of Waterloo Road

Simon Booker – Without Trace

Simon Bourke – And the Birds Kept on Singing

William Boyd – The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth

John Boyne – Crippen: A Novel of a Murder

John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

John Boyne – The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Mary Elizabeth Braddon – Lady Audley’s Secret

Melvyn Bragg – Grace and Mary

Rebecca Bradley – Shallow Waters

Carys Bray – The Museum of You

R.C. Bridgestock – When a Killer Strikes

Ray Britain – The Last Thread

Vera Brittain – Testament of Youth

Frances Brody – A Snapshot of Murder #10 Kate Shackleton

Frances Brody – Death at the Seaside Kate Shackleton #8

Frances Brody – Death in the Stars  Kate shackleton #9

Chris Brookmyre – Want You Gone

Dea Brøvig – The Last Boat Home

Antony M Brown – The Red Address Book

Alison Bruce – The Promise DC Gary Goodhew #6

Alison Bruce – The Siren DC Gary Goodhew #2

Elizabeth Buchan – The New Mrs Clifton

Suzanne Bugler – The Safest Place

Alafair Burke – The Ex

Graeme Macrae Burnet – His Bloody Project

Alexandra Burt – Little Girl Gone

Sian Busby – A Commonplace Killing

Sian Busby – The Cruel Mother

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Alex Caan – Cut To The Bone

Jane Cable – The Faerie Tree

Graeme Cameron – Normal

Louise Candlish – The Disappearance of Emily Marr

Louise Candlish – The Intruder at Number 40

Louise Candlish – Other People’s Secrets

Louise Candlish – Our House

Louise Candlish – The Sudden Departure of the Frasers

Louise Candlish – The Swimming Pool

Joanna Cannon – Three Things About Elsie

Truman Capote – Breakfast at Tiffany’s 

Truman Capote – In Cold Blood

Laura Carlin – The Wicked Cometh

Elisabeth Carpenter – Only a Mother 

 Emmanuel Carrère – The Adversary

Jane Carter Woodrow – Rose West: A Making of a Monster

Tania Carver – The Doll’s House

James Cary – Crossword Ends In Violence (5)

Jane Casey – After The Fire Maeve Kerrigan #6

Jane Casey – Cruel Acts Maeve Kerrigan #8

Jane Casey – The Kill Maeve Kerrigan #5

Jane Casey – Left for Dead Maeve Kerrigan #0.5

Jane Casey – Let The Dead Speak Maeve Kerrigan #7

Jane Casey – The Stranger You Know Maeve Kerrigan #4

Steve Cavanagh – The Defence

HS Chandler – Degrees of Guilt

Eve Chase – Black Rabbit Hall

Eve Chase – The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde

Agatha Christie – The A.B.C. Murders

Agatha Christie – And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie – Hickory Dickory Dock

Agatha Christie – The Murder at the Vicarage

Agatha Christie – Murder is Easy

Agatha Christie – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie – One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems

Ann Cleeves – Raven Black Shetland #1

Ann Cleeves – Silent Voices

Rory Clements – Martyr

Nicci Cloke – Lay Me Down

Deborah Cohen – Family Secrets

Tamar Cohen – The Broken

Tammy Cohen – Deadly Divorces

Tammy Cohen – Dying For Christmas

Tammy Cohen – First One Missing

Tamar Cohen – The Mistress’s Revenge

Tamar Cohen – Someone Else’s Wedding

Tammy Cohen – They All Fall Down

Tammy Cohen – When She Was Bad

Emma Cole – Every Secret Thing

Kate Colquhoun – Did She Kill Him?

Barbara Comyns – Our Spoons Came From Woolworths

Michael Stewart Conway – Caversham Lock

Michael Stewart Conway – Caversham Road

Barabara Copperthwaite – Flowers for the Dead

Elizabeth Cooke – Rutherford Park

Natasha Cooper – No Escape

Julie Corbin – Now That You’re Gone

Jane Corry – Blood Sisters

Jane Corry – My Husband’s Wife

Andrew Cowan – Worthless Men

Edmund Crispin – The Moving Toyshop

Kathryn Croft – The Girl With No Past

Kathryn Croft – The Girl You Lost

Kathryn Croft – While You Were Sleeping

Julia Crouch – Her Husband’s Lover

Julia Crouch – Tarnished

Julia Crouch – The Long Fall

Sinéad Crowley – Are You Watching Me? DS Claire Boyle #2

Sinéad Crowley – Can Anybody Help Me? DS Claire Boyle #1

Sinéad Crowley – One Bad Turn DS Claire Boyle #3

Fiona Cummins – The Neighbour 

Chris Curran – Her Deadly Secret

Judith Cutler – Green and Pleasant Land

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Suellen Dainty – The Housekeeper

Paula Daly – Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

Paula Daly – The Mistake I Made

Paula Daly – Open Your Eyes

Paula Daly – The Trophy Child

Sandra Danby – Ignoring Gravity

Nina Darnton – The Perfect Mother

Bea Davenport – In Too Deep

Bea Davenport – This Little Piggy

Caitlin Davies – Family Likeness

Caitlin Davies – The Ghost Of Lily Painter

Jane Davis – A Funeral For An Owl

Jane Davis – Half-Truths And White Lies

Jane Davis – I Stopped Time

Jane Davis – Smash All The Windows 

Jane Davis – These Fragile Things

Elizabeth Day – Home Fires

Kit de Waal – My Name is Leon

Kit de Waal – The Trick to Time

Luke Delaney – The Toy Taker

Robert Dinsdale – Little Exiles

Anthony Doerr – All The Light We Cannot See

Charlie Donlea – Don’t Believe It

Emma Donoghue – Room

Louise Doughty – Apple Tree Yard

Louise Douglas – The Secret By The Lake

Louise Douglas – Your Beautiful Lies

Renita D’Silva – Monsoon Memories

Renita D’Silva – The Forgotten Daughter

Renita D’Silva – The Stolen Girl

Ruth Dugdall – Humber Boy B #3

Ruth Dugdall – Nowhere Girl #4

Ruth Dugdall – The Sacrificial Man #2

Ruth Dugdall – The Woman Before Me #1

Sabine Durrant – Lie With Me

Sabine Durrant – Remember Me This Way

Sabine Durrant – Take Me In

Sabine Durrant – Under Your Skin

Claire Dyer – The Last Day

Claire Dyer – The Perfect Affair

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Piu Marie Eatwell – The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse

 Mark Edwards – The Magpies

Mark Edwards – Because She Loves Me

Martin Edwards – The Arsenic Labyrinth Lake District Mystery #3

Martin Edwards – The Cipher Garden Lake District Mystery #2

Martin Edwards – The Coffin Trail Lake District Mystery #1

Martin Edwards – Dancing for the Hangman

Martin Edwards – The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books 

Elsebeth Egholm – Dead Souls

Susan Eliot Wright – The Things We Never Said

Susan Eliot Wright – The Secrets We Left Behind

J.T. Ellison – No One Knows

Nuala Ellwood – My Sister’s Bones

Jennie Ensor – Blind Side

Jennie Ensor – The Girl in His Eyes

Colin Evans – The Killing of Georgie Moore

Elizabeth Evans – As Good As Dead

Harriet Evans – A Place For Us

Lissa Evans – Crooked Heart

Natalie Meg Evans – The Dress Thief

Felicity Everett – The People at Number 9

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Jane Fallon – Faking Friends

Jane Fallon – My Sweet Revenge

Jane Fallon – Skeletons 

Jane Fallon – Tell Me A Secret

Natalie Fergie – The Sewing Machine

Clare Fisher – All The Good Things

Helen FitzGerald – Bloody Women

Helen FitzGerald – The Cry

Helen FitzGerald – The Exit

Helen FitzGerald – My Last Confession

Helen FitzGerald – Viral

Rebecca Fleet – The House Swap

Emma Flint – Little Deaths

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl

Lucy Foley – The Book of Lost and Found

Margaret Forster – My Life in Houses

Margaret Forster – The Unknown Bridesmaid

Karin Fossum – The Drowned Boy

Karin Fossum – The Murder of Harriet Krohn

John Foster – Nine Times In Ten

N.J. Fountain – Painkiller

Christopher Fowler – The Book of Forgotten Authors

Dorothy Fowler – What Remains Behind

Margalit Fox – Conan Doyle for the Defence

Patty Francis- The Liars Diary

Ros Franey – The Dissent of Annie Lang

Sarah Franklin – Shelter

Caz Frear – Sweet Little Lies

Kimberley Freeman -Wildflower Hill

Nicci French – Friday On My Mind Frieda Klein #5

Nicci French – Saturday Requiem Frieda Klein #6

Nicci French – Sunday Morning Coming Down Frieda Klein #7

Nicci French – Thursday’s Child Frieda Klein #4

Nicci French – Waiting for Wednesday Frieda Klein #3

Paul French – Midnight in Peking

Tana French – Broken Harbour

Tana French – The Secret Place

Tana French – The Trespasser

Tana French – The Wych Elm

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Christine Gardner – Not Guilty

Helen Garner – This House of Grief

Pascal Garnier – The A26

Pascal Garnier – Boxes

Pascal Garnier – Moon in a Dead Eye

Alison Gaylin – What Remains of Me

Hélène Gestern – The People in the Photo

Elizabeth Gifford – The Secrets Of The Sea House

Elizabeth Gill – The Fall and Rise of Lucy Charlton

Andrea Gillies – The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay

Lesley Glaister – Nina Todd Has Gone

Holly Goddard Jones – The Next Time You See Me

Celina Grace – Hushabye

Celina Grace – Requiem

Celina Grace – Imago

Eliza Graham – Another Day Gone

Eliza Graham – The One I Was

Peter Graham – Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century

Camilla Grebe – The Ice Beneath Her

Graham Greene – The End of the Affair

Iona Grey – Letters to the Lost

Isabelle Grey – The Bad Mother

Isabelle Grey – Good Girls Don’t Die Grace Fisher #1

Isabelle Grey – Shot Through The Heart Grace Fisher #2

Isabelle Grey – The Special Girls Grace Fisher #3

Isabelle Grey – Wrong Way Home Grace Fisher #4

Michael Griesbach – The Innocent Killer

Elly Griffiths – The Blood Card Stephens & Mephisto #3

Elly Griffiths – The Chalk Pit Ruth Galloway #9

Elly Griffiths – The Dark Angel Ruth Galloway #10

Elly Griffiths – The Ghost Fields Ruth Galloway #7

Elly Griffiths – The Outcast Dead Ruth Galloway #6

Elly Griffiths – Smoke and Mirrors Stephens &  Mephisto #2

Elly Griffiths – The Stranger Diaries

Elly Griffiths – The Stone Circle Ruth Galloway #11

Elly Griffiths – The Woman in Blue Ruth Galloway #8

Elly Griffiths – The Vanishing Box Stephens &  Mephisto #4

Elly Griffiths – The Zig-Zag Girl Stephens & Mephisto #1

Rebecca Griffiths – A Place to Lie

Lauren Groff – Fates and Furies

Heather Gudenkauf – Little Mercies

Heather Gudenkauf – Missing Pieces

Heather Gudenkauf – Not A Sound

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H

Araminta Hall – Dot

Araminta Hall – Our Kind of Cruelty

Kate Hamer – The Doll Funeral

Penny Hancock – A Trick of the Mind

Helene Hanff – 84 Charing Cross Road

Jean Hanff Korelitz – You Should Have Known

John F Hanley – Against The Tide

John F Hanley – The Last Boat

Kristen Hannah – The Nightingale

Sophie Hannah – A Game For All The Family

Sophie Hannah – Did You See Melody?

Sophie Hannah – The Carrier

Sophie Hannah – The Narrow Bed

Sophie Hannah – The Telling Error

Emma Hannigan – The Summer Guests

Emma Hannigan – The Heart of Winter

Kathryn Harkup – A is For Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie

Claire Harman – Murder by the Book 

Fiona Harper – The Other Us

Jane Harper – The Dry

Jane Harper – The Lost Man

L.P.Hartley – The Go-Between

L.P. Hartley – The Shrimp and the Anemone

Mary S. Hartman – Victorian Murderesses

C.J. Hartner – Rowan’s Well

David Hastings – The Many Deaths of Mary Dobie

Paula Hawkins – The Girl On The Train

Antonia Hayes – Relativity

Samantha Hayes – Until You’re Mine

Samatha Hayes – Before You Die

Samantha Hayes – You Belong To Me

Elizabeth Haynes – Behind Closed Doors (DCI Louisa Smith #2)

Elizabeth Haynes – Human Remains

Elizabeth Haynes – The Murder of Harriet Monckton

Elizabeth Haynes – Never Alone

Elizabeth Haynes – Promises to Keep

Elizabeth Haynes – Under A Silent Moon (DCI Louisa Smith #1)

Katherine Hayton – Found Near WaterKatherine Hayton – Found Near Water

Julia Heaberlin – Black-Eyed Susans

Emma Healey – Elizabeth Is Missing

James Henry – Blackwater

James Henry – Frost at Midnight DI Frost Prequel #4

James Henry – Morning Frost DI Frost Prequel #3

Sally Hepworth – The Family Next Door

Sally Hepworth – The Mother-in-Law

Sally Hepworth – The Things We Keep

Patricia Highsmith – The Talented Mr Ripley

Sarah Hilary – Come And Find Me DI Marnie Rome #5

Sarah Hilary – No Other Darkness DI Marnie Rome #2

Sarah Hilary – Quieter Than Killing DI Marnie Rome #4

Sarah Hilary – Someone Else’s Skin DI Marnie Rome #1

Sarah Hilary – Tastes Like Fear DI Marnie Rome #3

Mark Hill – The Two O’clock Boy

Reginald Hill – A Clubbable Woman Dalziel & Pascoe #1

Reginald Hill – Bones and Silence Dalziel & Pascoe #11

Reginald Hill – Child’s Play Dalziel & Pascoe #9

Reginald Hill – Pictures of Perfection Dalziel & Pascoe #14

Reginald Hill – The Stranger House

Reginald Hill – Under World Dalziel & Pascoe #10

Susan Hill – Soul of Discretion

Victoria Hislop – The Island

Frances Hodgeson Burnett- The Shuttle

Andrea Hodgkinson – Spilt Milk

Jiliane Hoffman – All The Little Pieces

Phil Hogan – A Pleasure and a Calling

Eva Holland – The Daughter’s Secret

Anna Hope – The Ballroom

Anna Hope – Wake

Ellen Horan – 31 Bond Street 

Rachel Hore – Last Letter Home

Rachel Hore – The Silent Tide

Rachel Hore – A Week in Paris

Babs Horton – A Jarful of Angels

Jane Housham – The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane

Catherine Ryan Howard – Distress Signals

Debbie Howells – The Beauty of the End

Debbie Howells – The Bones of You

Lisa Howorth – Flying Shoes

Linda Huber – Chosen Child

Linda Huber – The Cold Cold Sea

Linda Huber – Ward Zero

Cara Hunter – Close to Home

Cara Hunter – In the Dark

Cara Hunter – No Way Out

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Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson – House Of Evidence

Kim Izzo – Seven Days in May

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David Jackson – A Tapping At My Door Nathan Cody #1

David Jackson – Don’t Make a Sound Nathan Cody #3

David Jackson – Hope to Die Nathan Cody #2

David Jackson – Pariah Callum Doyle #1

Maggie James – Blackwater Lake

Maggie James – His Kidnapper’s Shoes

P.D. James – The Lighthouse

P.D. James & T.A. Critchley – The Maul And The Pear Tree

Peter James – A Twist Of  The Knife

Peter James – Dead at First Sight Roy Grace #15

Peter James – Dead If You Don’t Roy Grace #14

Peter James – Dead Man’s Time Roy Grace #9

Peter James – Love You Dead Roy Grace #12

Peter James – Need You Dead Roy Grace #13

Peter James – Want You Dead Roy Grace #10

Peter James – You Are Dead Roy Grace #11

Rebecca James – Sweet Damage

Wendy James – The Golden Child

Wendy James – The Mistake

Wendy James – Out Of The Silence

Anna Jaquiery – Death In The Rainy Season

Charlotte Jay – A Hank Of Hair

Amanda Jennings – The Cliff House

Amanda Jennings – In Her Wake

Lisa Jewell – Before I Met You

Lisa Jewell – I Found You

Lisa Jewell – The Girls

Lisa Jewell – The House We Grew Up In

Lisa Jewell – The Making of Us

Lisa Jewell – Then She Was Gone

Lisa Jewell – The Third Wife

Lisa Jewell – The Truth About Melody Browne

Lisa Jewell – Watching You 

Jennifer Johnston – This is Not a Novel

Catherine Jones – Wonder Girls

Jack Jordan – Anything For Her

Alison Joseph – The Dying Light

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Stephen Kaminski – Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk

Emma Kavanagh – Case 48: The Kidnapping of Isaiah Rae Short Story

Emma Kavanagh – Falling

Emma Kavanagh – Hidden

Emma Kavanagh – The Killer on the Wall

Emma Kavanagh – The Missing Hours

Emma Kavanagh – To Catch A Killer

Linda Kavanagh – The Secret Wife

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: The End Is Where It Begins

Erin Kelly – Broachurch: The Letter

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Old Friends

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Over The Side

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Protection

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: One More Secret

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: The Leaving of Claire Ripley

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Thirteen Hours

Erin Kelly – He Said/She Said

Erin Kelly – The Burning Air

Erin Kelly – The Ties That Bind

Jim Kelly – The Water Clock

Claire Kendal – The Book of You

Christobel Kent – The Crooked House

Hannah Kent – Burial Rites

Hannah Kent – The Good People

Caroline Kepnes – You

Margot Kinberg – Past Tense

Judith Kinghorn – The Memory Of Lost Senses

Liza Klaussmann – Tigers in Red Weather

Renée Knight – Disclaimer

Renée Knight – The Secretary

Herman Koch – Dear Mr M

Herman Koch – The Dinner

Herman Koch – Summer House with Swimming Pool

Jeffrey H Konis – The Conversations We Never Had

Dorothy Koomson  – The Brighton Mermaid

Dorothy Koomson – The Flavours of Love

Dorothy Koomson – That Girl From Nowhere

Mary Kubica – Don’t You Cry

Mary Kubica – The Good Girl

Mary Kubica – Pretty Baby

Mary Kubica – When the Lights Go Out

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Lynda La Plante – Good Friday Tennison #3

Lynda La Plante – Murder Mile Tennison #4

Camilla Lackberg – Buried Angels

Camilla Läckberg – The Girl in the Woods

Camilla Lackberg – The Ice Child

Camilla Lackberg – The Lost Boy

Camilla Lackberg – The Stonecutter

Stephanie Lam – The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House

Ali Land – Good Me, Bad Me

Harriet Lane – Her

Shari Lapena – The Couple Next Door

Catherine Law – The September Garden

Deborah Lawrenson – The Sea Garden

Anthony Le Moignan – A Long Goodbye

Caroline Lea -When the Sky Fell Apart

Simon Lelic – The House

Simon Lelic – The Liar’s Room

Pierre Lemaitre – Blood Wedding

Pierre Lemaitre – Three Days and a Life

Judith Lennox – The Jeweller’s Wife

Judith Lennox – One Last Dance

H.A. Leuschel – Manipulated Lives

Luana Lewis – Don’t Stand So Close

Nell Leyshon – The Colour Of Milk

Alison Light – Common People

Alison Light – Mrs Woolf and the Servants

Elizabeth Little – Dear Daughter

Joan Lock – Dead Centre

Shari Low – One Day in December

Marie Belloc Lowndes – The Lodger

Natalie Lucus – Sixteen Sixty-One

Sofia Lundberg – The Red Address Book

Rosamund Lupton – The Quality of Silence

Jane Lythell – The Lie of You 

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Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (July 25)

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!

Happy Friday! So this week I have a few more finds that have made their way into my house. NetGalley have provided me with some wonderful books starting for The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell which I really wanted to read as this contains crimes from the past and the present.

The Girl Next Door
Blurb

When the bones of two severed hands are discovered in a box, an investigation into a long buried crime of passion begins. And a group of friends, who played together as children, begin to question their past.
‘For Woody, anger was cold. Cold and slow. But once it had started it mounted gradually and he could think of nothing else. He knew he couldn’t stay alive while those two were alive. Instead of sleeping, he lay awake in the dark and saw those hands. Anita’s narrow white hand with the long nails painted pastel pink, the man’s brown hand equally shapely, the fingers slightly splayed.’
Before the advent of the Second World War, beneath the green meadows of Loughton, Essex, a dark network of tunnels has been dug. A group of children discover them. They play there. It becomes their secret place.
Seventy years on, the world has changed. Developers have altered the rural landscape. Friends from a half-remembered world have married, died, grown sick, moved on or disappeared.
Work on a new house called Warlock uncovers a grisly secret, buried a lifetime ago, and a weary detective, more preoccupied with current crimes, must investigate a possible case of murder.
In all her novels, Ruth Rendell digs deep beneath the surface to investigate the secrets of the human psyche. The interconnecting tunnels of Loughton in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR lead to no single destination. But the relationships formed there, the incidents that occurred, exert a profound influence – not only on the survivors but in unearthing the true nature of the mysterious past. NetGalley

Next I got a copy of Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach, I have loved so many of this author’s previous books and this sounds like a real winner.

Heartbreak Hotel

Blurb

When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for.
In possession of a run-down B&B that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from nowhere, he realises he needs to fill the beds – and fast.
Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle.
But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers find they have more in common than perhaps they first thought…NetGalley

… and another book that was on my wishlist, A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore, another of my must read authors.

A Week in Paris

Blurb

1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?
1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations. NetGalley

Lastly, yes only 4 from NetGalley this week, is Broadchurch by Erin Kelly. Now I didn’t watch the TV series and so I wasn’t planning on reading this book until I realised that it is written by one of my favourite authors, which you’ll know all about if you have read my rave reviews of The Burning Air and The Ties That Bind. Fortunately I’m sure I’ll enjoy the book having listened to others discussing the show.

Broadchurch

Blurb

It’s a hot July morning in the Dorset town of Broadchurch when Beth Latimer realises that her eleven-year-old son, Danny, is missing. As Beth searches desperately for her boy, her best friend, local police officer DS Ellie Miller, arrives at work to find that the promotion she was promised has been given to disreputable Scottish outsider DI Alec Hardy.
When Danny’s body is found on the beach Ellie must put her feelings aside as she works with DI Hardy to solve the mystery of Danny’s death. As the case becomes a murder investigation the news hits the national press, jolting sleepy Broadchurch into the national spotlight.
As the town’s secrets begin to unravel, members of this tight-knit community begin to consider those in their midst. Right now it’s impossible to know who to trust…NetGalley

Lastly after reading about Drawn from Memory by E.H. Shepard on Heavenali’s blog I simply had to own a copy – so I do! This autobiography of the man who illustrated my favourite childhood book, Winnie The Pooh is full of illustrations of his childhood in London towards the end of the nineteenth century. Heavenali’s description of this magical book, and later its sequel Drawn from Life is well worth a read, in fact I can confidently predict it won’t be long before you see the sequel featured here!

Drawn From Memory

Blurb

An evocative childhood memoir by the much-loved illustrator of Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows. In this autobiography, E.H. Shepard describes a classic Victorian childhood. Shepard grew up in the 1880s in Saint John’s Wood with his brother and sister. He was surrounded by domestic servants and maiden aunts, in a an age when horse-drawn buses and hansom cabs crowded the streets. Recalling this time with charm and humour, Shepard illustrates these scenes in his own distinctive style. Goodreads

So go on tempt me; what have you found this week?

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

The Ties That Bind – Erin Kelly

Psychological Thriller
Crime Fiction
5*’s

There is nothing more enthralling for me than reading about a writer researching a story, especially when the story being planned is about a murder!

Luke a journalist who blotted his copybook, is convinced his big break can happen if he can emulate the great true-crime book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. When he decides to leave Leeds for Brighton it is with the taste of failure in his mouth following the disappointment of a lost opportunity he finds the perfect subject to research; gangster turned philanthropist, Joss Stone whose partner in crime, Jacky Nye was murdered in 1968. Jacky Nye was strangled and thrown into the sea only to be discovered washed up at West Pier some days later, all evidence as to what had happened erased. Luke is convinced he has found the perfect story and sets about his research, throwing caution to the wind when he is repeatedly advised to find a different subject. It soon becomes clear that perhaps Luke should have heeded these warnings.

This is a fast-paced book with numerous twists and turns as Luke tries to find those who know the answers to the long ago mystery, including the young woman in the red dress who was seen fleeing the scene. In this book, you don’t only get a fantastic plot but also vivid descriptions and a theme of redemption running throughout. This changes The Ties That Bind from a straight mystery to something more complex, a book that made me think about the atonement of sins, both large and small.

Erin Kelly is one of my favourite writers with her last book The Burning Air being one of my favourite reads of 2014. The change in subject in this book just serves to underline that this is an author who writes distinctly different books but always manages that special array of characters that walk off the pages and into your imagination, so clearly that you miss them when the book is finished. In The Ties That Bind there is an abundance of different characters, Joss Stone is a puzzle, why did he turn his back on the gangster lifestyle? Why is Jem, Luke’s previous partner so controlling, and why, despite despising his behaviour, did I feel a vested interested in his well-being? And what was the relationship with the recently deceased Kathleen Duffy, whose house Luke is renting, and Joss Stone? You’ll have to read the book to find out?

I am extremely grateful that the publishers Hodder & Stoughton provided me with a copy of this book to review. This book was published on 8 May 2014.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (May 6)

Teasing Tuesday CB

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to

My Teaser this week is from The Ties That Bind by Erin Kelly

The Ties That Bind

Blurb

Luke is a true crime writer in search of a story. When he flees to Brighton after an explosive break-up, the perfect subject lands in his lap: reformed gangster Joss Grand. Now in his eighties, Grand once ruled the Brighton underworld with his sadistic sidekick Jacky Nye – until Jacky washed up by the West Pier in 1968, strangled and thrown into the sea. Though Grand’s alibi seems cast-iron, Luke is sure there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and he convinces the criminal-turned-philanthropist to be interviewed for a book about his life.
Luke is drawn deeper into the mystery of Jacky Nye’s murder. Was Grand there that night? Is he really as reformed a character as he claims? And who was the girl in the red coat seen fleeing the murder scene? Soon Luke realises that in stirring up secrets from the past, he may have placed himself in terrible danger. Goodreads

My Teaser

I’ll wait until you’ve got your taped confession, or some other supporting evidence – something to prove to me, and to potential publishers, that you really own this story. I think it’s for the best, after what happened last time.

I’ve only just started this book but based on how much I loved Erin Kelly’s The Burning Air ,I think I’m in for a treat.