Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Killer on the Wall – Emma Kavanagh

Psychological Thriller
4*s

Isla was just fifteen when she came across three dead bodies sat up against Hadrian’s Wall. Alongside them was the brother of one of the victims, injured but still alive. Isla ran to get help from her father Sergeant Eric Bell and he made it his mission to find out who committed this atrocity in the small town community of Briganton. Life was never the same again, the scars of the events of 1995 never quite healing.

In the present day Isla is Professor of Criminal Psychology, her way of trying to ensure that future killers are stopped before they inflict any damage. She is currently involved in a project to scan the brains of serial killers to see what, if any difference, she can find to contrast their make-up to the vast majority of the population who don’t feel the urge to kill others.

It is no great surprise that one of the candidates for her study is Heath McGowan the man convicted of the terrible crimes that she discovered. Isla has had to overcome her fear, she does it daily, running the same path along the wall to banish those demons from twenty years ago but will she be able to face up to this particular psychopath? Imagine Isla’s horror shared with the rest of the small community, when another victim is found positioned in a similar pose to those of all those years ago.

The face of the Police investigation should be Eric Bell whose career flourished after he found the killer back in 1995 but I was far more entranced by Detective Constable Mina Arian who wasn’t afraid to follow her instincts in coming up with an explanation why the killings have started again.

As with all her previous books Emma Kavanagh draws heavily on her background in psychology, having gained a PhD in the subject at Cardiff University, and so you can rest assured this is not pop psychology but the real deal. It is this underlying truth that make her books so fascinating. The Killer on the Wall is fundamentally about psychopaths and in part how to first spot them (face it, you will know at least one) and to know that they will lie and cheat to get what they want no matter the cost to others. Fortunately for the rest of us, not all psychopaths need to kill us but nevertheless this is a book that hits that nerve where you realise that even in a community where everyone knows each other, you’re not as safe as you would like to believe.

The plot is not as fast moving as in the author’s previous books but as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve come to appreciate the slower pace which gives you time to reflect on the knowledge gained so far and I firmly believe that it is this pace that gives headroom for those deep-seated fears so the tension comes from as much within the reader as the words on the page – far more scary!!

I’d like to thank Arrow for providing me with an ARC of The Killer on the Wall, this review is my thanks to them and the immensely talented Emma Kavanagh – thank you for providing me with a real mystery set in a small town where everyone is under suspicion whilst the majority are terrified out of their wits.

First Published UK: 20 April 2017
Publisher: Arrow
No of Pages:  384
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Other Great Reads by Emma Kavanagh

Falling
Hidden
The Missing Hours

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century – Peter Graham

Non-Fiction
4*s

New Zealand on a fine wintery day in June 1954 a woman, her daughter and her daughter’s best friend took a walk in nearby Victoria Park. The little group stopped at a tea kiosk for refreshments and then walked further into the park. The next thing Agnes Richie, owner of the tea kiosk knew was that the two girls turned up screaming that Pauline’s mother Mrs Rieper had fallen, and there was lots of blood. There was no fall, Mrs Rieper had been bludgeoned to death by the two fifteen year old girls.

Peter Graham takes a forensic look at the circumstances that led up to the killing of Mrs Rieper, soon to be known as Honorah Parker, in the newspapers, because if the indignity of being the victim of matricide wasn’t enough, Bill, Pauline’s father had to disclose that the couple had never married despite having had four children together. The natural place to start is the friendship between the wealthy Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, especially as the rumours were that the two girls were in a lesbian relationship and the author takes us through a comprehensive look at the facts, mainly supplied by Pauline’s diary but supplemented by the stories the two girls wrote and a few comments from contemporaries. He doesn’t leave it there the circumstances of both families are examined with microscopic detail to look for clues on where the seeds were sown for such an unnatural crime. Indeed rates of matricide, a fairly rare crime in itself, but when split by gender exceptionally so. Indeed those who commit this particular crime tend to be adult women living with elderly mothers, not teenage girls.

The book is fascinating, it starts with the scene of the crime and then looks backwards into the family details before moving onto the questioning of the girls and their eventual trial. If anything a lot of the details about Henry’s work as a scientist seemed a little superfluous but if nothing else it gave context, and indeed contrast, between the lives the two girls lived. The author tries, and in my opinion fails, to come up with an underlying mental illness for either girl, but as in the examination of their family set-ups, he doesn’t ever impose his views, rather gives the facts and lets the reader come to their own conclusion.

The big difference in this account is that we know what happens after the trial, after the two girls were released mainly because one of them became a famous author, of crime fiction. Her identity was discovered when in 1994 Peter Jackson directed the film Heavenly Creatures about this crime, then thirty years after the event. Anne Perry was alive and well, living in Scotland having succeeded in becoming a successful author. It is hard to put out of your mind the stories to the two friends wrote together, heavily inspired by the films they watched and their fertile imaginations. Pauline Parker was also tracked down by keen journalists, she also no longer lived in New Zealand but had settled in England under a new name.

This was a fascinating read although it is often the truth that as much as we want to, we learn little from murderers through true crime. The two girls in this instance, hatched a plan without any idea of what killing someone really entailed and as a result were quickly caught. Their plans to go to America and meet the film stars and become writers, didn’t come true… but for one of them it almost did.

I chose to read this book when I learned that Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge was inspired by this crime which was front page news around the world at the time. I thought that I would follow up with a book by Anne Perry herself, but to be honest I don’t have the stomach for that at the moment, but I have bought a copy of Heavenly Creatures to watch.

First Published UK: 2013
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
No of Pages: 325
Genre: Non Fiction – True Crime 
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Edinburgh #Portobello

botm-portobello

I am thrilled to welcome Joanne who blogs at Portobello Book Blog and Alison Baillie author of Sewing the Shadows Together to put a book on the map in the suburb of Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland. Joanne and Alison have taken the role of interviewer and interviewee to bring Portobello to life – they have kindly provided all the wonderful photos that accompany this piece.

Sewing the Shadows Together at Portobello

Sewing the Shadows Together gives us the beautiful setting of a seaside suburb of Edinburgh, Portobello, as the backdrop of a horrible crime, that of the murder of a young teenage girl, Shona McIver.
Can the mystery of who killed her possibly be solved more than thirty years later? Tom, Shona’s brother, hopes so having heard that the man who committed the crime is to be released from hospital which coincides with his return from South Africa to scatter his mother’s ashes and to attend a school reunion.

Portobello is a coastal suburb of Edinburgh the capital of Scotland.  This residential area has a promenade stretching between Joppa and Craigentinny.

Without further ado I will hand over to Joanne and Alison.

 

Hi Alison – when I first heard about your book, I knew I just had to read it as it’s not just set in Edinburgh, but right here in Portobello where I live! What made you decide to set the book here?

Portobello, the beautiful seaside area of Edinburgh, is where my mother was born and brought up. As a child I spent all my holidays here with my grandparents so it has always been a very special place for me. I love the long golden beach, the promenade running along it and the grey-stone Victorian villas. Later my first teaching post was at Portobello High School and it was then that the idea for Sewing the Shadows Together first came to me.

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Abercorn PArk affectionately known by all as the Daisy Park

 

Thanks Alison – I know that you were inspired (if that’s theright word) by really awful events which took place in and around Edinburgh. Can you explain about that and say a bit more about what the book’s about?

The Sea at Portobello
The Sea at Portobello

Yes, Joanne. Around that time there were two tragic events that made a lasting impression on me. Firstly, in 1977 two seventeen-year-old girls disappeared from the World’s End pub on Edinburgh’s Roval Mile. I knew this place well as it was near Moray House College where I had done my teacher training. The bodies of the girls were found a few days later, but the identity of the murderers was not discovered for many years. This uncertainty and lack of closure had a devastating effect on the families, and I think every young person in Edinburgh at that time felt very aware of the crime. It could have been any one of us who went out for a drink on a Friday night.

 

Then in July 1983 something happened in Portobello that affected me deeply. A five-year-old girl disappeared while playing on the prom. Her body wasn’t found until twelve days later, three hundred miles away. She was one of the victims of the serial killer, Robert Black. Even though I didn’t know the family, I could identify with them so much as my sons were about the same age and we often played on the beach near the place where she disappeared.

In the days before she was found the atmosphere in Portobello was charged with fear and bewilderment. The whole town was on edge, desperately hoping the little girl would be found. Rumours and suspicions ran through the community, and even my granny’s garden and shed were searched by the police, I will never forget that mixture of hope and apprehension before the body was discovered.

a photo from the Joppa end looking along the prom
a photo from the Joppa end looking along the prom

I wondered then how her family and friends would ever be able to come to terms with what had happened. And so the seeds of Sewing the Shadows Together were sown. In it the lives of Tom, the brother, and Sarah, the best friend, of a teenage girl murdered in Portobello are scarred by the tragedy for their whole lives. They meet up again at a school reunion many years later and when the local misfit who’d been convicted of the crime is proved innocent, suspicions fall on family and friends. They discover dark secrets before the real killer is eventually revealed.

I remember being in holiday in the Borders then and the police searching the river for the missing Portobello girl. I didn’t live here then: I lived in Leith. Both places have a really strong sense of community. When you and I were first in touch we realised we knew a lot of people in common in Portobello. That sense of community is one of the reasons I love living here. Do you have a favourite place in Portobello? 

The sense of community is very strong in Portobello, and it is one of the reasons I loved it, especially as a child. My grandparents had both been born and brought up in Portobello, so they seemed to know everybody and we had relatives on every corner. My grandfather was very sociable and it took ages to walk along the High Street with him as he stopped to tip his hat and greet everyone we met. I loved walking round with my grandmother too as she could talk about the history, the long-gone pier, the ice-cream parlours and the first family to have a motor-car.

portobello
Portobello Swim Centre, a beautiful old Victorian building right on the prom.

My favourite places have to be the beach and the prom. When I go back to Portobello now I always walk there, looking across the Firth of Forth to Fife and smelling the sea air. Sewing the Shadows Together starts with Tom coming back to Portobello and walking along the prom and for him like me the place is full of memories, such as the red-stone swimming baths where we learnt to swim.

Another favourite place has to be my grandparents’ house in St Mary’s Place, a quiet street not far from the prom. I loved it, a typical grey-stone Victorian villa, which I used for HJ Kidd’s house in the book. It was a very short walk down James Street to the beach and when I go back to Portobello I always walk down from there to the prom as I did as a child. My grandmother had lived in one of the red-stone tenements on the corner of James Street and the prom when she was young, and I used that flat for Tom’s childhood home. Just writing about this takes me back to this place I love.

 

portobello-4
Sunrise on the morning of 23 January 2017

Yes I love the prom too. I walked along the beach this morning and even though it was dull and a bit misty, it was still beautiful as the sea was so calm and peaceful.  When I was reading Sewing the Shadows Together, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the geography wasn’t quite as it should be and some places had different names. Why did you decide to do that?

 

I wanted to capture the atmosphere of Portobello, rather than be strictly geographically accurate. I also didn’t want to the scene of tragic events, for example where the body was found, to be too recognisable. I therefore invented an imaginary park, moved buildings to fit in with the story and changed the names of institutions, like the school, because they were not true to life.


Well I think you did an excellent job of making Portobello a character in itself in your book. As you know, I really enjoyed Sewing the Shadows together. If anyone would like to read my review you can read it here

portobello-joanne
Alison Baillie on the Prom Portobello

Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere

Sewing The Shadows Together

Reviewed by Being Anne who tweets @Williams13Anne

Reviewed by Chelle’s Book Reviews who tweets @ChellesBookRevi

Reviewed by By The Letter Book Reviews who tweets @sarahhardy681

 

the-booktrail-logo

Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan The Book Trail to see the details of the book setting on her wonderful map.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to both Joanne and Alison for this wonderful post which I had a sneak preview of before recently reading Sewing the Shadows Together. It is wonderful to see the pictures, to read the inspiration behind the story and of course read the book itself which is my favourite type of crime fiction, one that brings the past and the present together.

All books featured in this #BookOnTheMap project will get a place on the Master Page listing crime fiction by their destination with links to the wonderful collaboration between authors and bloggers.

Please email me at cleopatralovesbooks70@gmail.com if you would like to participate in this feature.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Books I have read

Relativity – Antonia Hayes #BlogTour

relativity-blog-tour-19-january-2017
Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.
His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.
Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.
Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Antonia Hayes, who grew up in Sydney and spent her twenties in Paris, currently lives in London with her husband and son. Relativity is her first novel.

For further information please contact Clara Diaz on
020 3122 6565 | clara.diaz@littlebrown.co.uk

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My Review

This book starts with a heart-stopping opening of four-month old Ethan having stopped breathing this is a book that really defies pigeon-holing as a distinct type of book. There is the discovery ten years later of what happened on that day, but there is also a lot about physics, a boy living with a brain injury and the relationship between a mother and her son to name but a few of the topics covered in this immensely readable novel.
Twelve year old Ethan lives in Australia with his mother Claire and he can ‘see’ physics. He is the nerdy child in the class, his friends now scoring any gift that is academic and is finding it hard to find his place in the world. He is also a boy who knows practically nothing about his father, least of all the fact that Mark was convicted of harming him as a baby.

Antonia Hayes walks an incredibly delicate line when reaching back into the past to discover what happened to Ethan one day when he was in the care of his father and she does so without resorting to clichés which in turn makes this a book that has all the shades between black and white. For that alone she deserves the plaudits that she has received across the world for Relativity. Into that mix she uses a lot of physics metaphors to explain both physics and life. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what worm-holes (except for those made by worms) are though because the explanations never get so complex that this relatively simple soul could follow the theory.

At its heart though, once the physics and the searching for the truth are taken out of the equation, this is a story about relationships of which we are treated to many. There is the most important one to Ethan, that between him and his mother. The woman who has protected and cared for him for his whole life, and so once the revelation comes that she hasn’t been honest with him, he has to renegotiate his view. When admitted to hospital Ethan strikes up a relationship with a girl who suffers with severe epilepsy and discovers true friendship, not like that he shared with his boyhood friend Will but one where the two don’t have to share each other’s interests but can use them to discover truths in their own lives. There is also the relationship that Ethan wants with his father, and all the difficulties that brings with it especially as Mark himself has a fractured relationship with his dying father and his brother.

Ethan’s narrative was believable given his gift for physics and although I guess his age was chosen to make some of the decisions he made and the lack of supervision realistic, he did come across at times as someone younger, except of course when discussing his phenomenal knowledge of theoretical physics! Children’s voices are always hard to do well and

Relativity is a touching story which thankfully falls well-short of every becoming mawkish thanks in part to the physics which, while at times lends a whimsical feel, actually keeps the book taut in its execution by removing the need for endless navel-gazing. I really do prefer books to allow the actions and dialogue do the talking, thereby allowing the reader to reach their own conclusions and this is one such book.

First Published UK: 7 April 2016
Publisher: Corsair
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

hayes-antonia-credit-angelo-sgambati

Antonia Hayes credit Angelo Sgambati

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (December 13)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opener this week is from The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer, the only one of this author’s books that I haven’t read, there is no reason, especially since I’ve owned my copy since February 2015. Anyway having enjoyed her latest book The Beautiful Dead so much, I decided it was high time I got around to reading it!

the-facts-of-life-and-death

Blurb

On the beaches and cliffs of North Devon, young women have become victims in a terrifying game where only one player knows the rules. And when those rules change, the new game is Murder.

But a madman on the loose feels very far from the crumbling, seaside home of ten-year-old Ruby Trick. Instead she lives in constant fear of school bullies, the dark forest, and the threat of her parents’ divorce.

Helping her father to catch the killer seems like the only way to keep him close.

As long as the killer doesn’t catch her first. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

It hadn’t stopped raining all summer, and the narrow stream that divided Limeburn ran deeper than Ruby Trick had seen it in all of the ten years she’d been alive.
The ditch that marked the crease in the gorge usually held a foot of tumbling, tuneful water. Enough to wet your knees but not your knickers.
But this summer was different. This summer the sun had only shone apologetically through short gaps in the Devonshire clouds, and the stream was fast and deep and dark. And although Adam Braund could still jump from one mossy bank to the other if he had a run up, the children all gathered to watch him now because if he fell in, it was just possible that he might drown.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I really think I’m going to enjoy this. Belinda Bauer has a brilliant way with words. I don’t know about you but I can picture that stream and can only wonder what will happen next to poor Ruby.

So… would you keep reading? Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Pariah – David Jackson

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

NYPD detective Callum Doyle is the star of this book set in, yes you guessed it New York! He’s in a bit of a pickle though as the other detectives are already worried about working with him following the death of his partner in the corner of a car park complete with a hooker… but it only gets worse.

This fast-paced thriller puts us in the shoes of a man who is forced to cut himself off from those closest to him when their lives appear to be in danger just by being associated with him. Unable to go to work and investigate the murder of his partner he decides to go it alone and try to track down the killer not an easy task when everyone he talks to is in danger. Who is watching Callum Doyle and what do they want from him?

With tension oozing off every page I read this with my heart in my mouth. How could the killer be found when those Callum turns to are either threatened or die a terrible death? This book is not for the faint-hearted, there is a fair amount of violence as the killer goes on the rampage, seemingly unstoppable. Fortunately Callum’s well-timed humour, just stopped this book from becoming too grim for words and he seems a genuine kind of guy although understandably confused by the situation he has found himself in. In many ways I think we learnt a lot about the man behind the badge as much from his interactions in his personal life, as those in what seems like a team with issues! I certainly don’t think this book would have worked so well without the many facets of the man’s character.
There are a wealth of other intriguing characters with as many great ones from the edges of society as well as his colleagues from the NYPD. As Callum becomes increasingly desperate he walks into lion’s dens of varying descriptions as he tracks pimps and heavies to try to find out who is behind the explosion of violence so close to home.

Although the plot itself isn’t complicated, and is told in a straightforward linear time-frame, it is well-structured and underpinned by some terrific action. If you like fast and furious then Pariah is probably a book you’d enjoy. The clues to the killer’s identity are released at a good rate although that didn’t have me any closer to guessing who was behind the mayhem until pages before the final reveal.

The writing style is confident, especially for a debut novel, and I was drawn into the storyline immediately and this is despite the fact that crime fiction involving gangsters isn’t high on my list of reading favourites. The interplay between the characters was pitch-perfect and didn’t rely on endless clichés, something that is tough to pull-off when there is danger around every corner as far as Callum is concerned.

This is also a book with a backstory, which doesn’t really fully come out in this book, so I’m going to have to keep reading the other books in the series to find out more! This really is a talented start to a new crime fiction series.

First Published UK: 20 August 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
No of Pages: 304
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 31)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening this week comes from My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor, a book which will be published by Twenty7 Books on 16 June 2016.

My Husband's Son

Blurb

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . . Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Prologue

He appears from behind the door like a gift. He is alone, his stare daydream-soft.
She sees a chance, steps forward and puts a finger to her lips in warning. Keep quiet. His gaze narrows. But he is not scared, not yet.
She hesitates. Despite everything, he is not hers to take. then, he smiles. Gap-toothed and cresting a thick patch of blond hair. His eyes are dark, almost black brown. A beautiful child. She reaches for him.
‘Let’s go.’
He tilts on his heel wary.
Her hand around his wrist, she leads him into the corridor. She decides against the lift and heads for the stairs. Before they descend she checks to see if they have been followed.

Chapter One

The day I stumbled upon him was just like any other. I’d been out of town, at a sales presentation, and I was on my way home. I was tired and I wanted to get some wine to have with dinner and so, even though it wasn’t the nicest of streets, I stopped at the first place I could: an off-licence.

These extracts comes from a proof copy.

So what do you think? Would you keep reading?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the comments box below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 22)

Weekly Wrap Up

 

Last Week on the Blog

I started the week with a review for one of my favourite contemporary crime series; Play Dead by Angela Marsons which I awarded five stars for this brilliant fourth book.

On Tuesday I featured the intro from my favourite series of all time featuring Roy Grace in readiness for publication of the twelfth book in the series later in the week.

And on Wednesday I kept you updated on my reading choices for the week which include the exciting looking My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

My review of Love You Dead by Peter James went up on publication day 19 May 2016 and this book met all my expectations and more – a superb read!

Friday saw me looking at the recent phenomenon of authors producing short stories to tie-in with longer novels. What’s your opinion?

Yesterday I looked at book discoveries I’d found by chance and for which I’m eternally grateful.

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News

Bloggers Bash Awards 2016

On Thursday I was thrilled, and quite frankly amazed, to find out I’d been nominated at 2nd  Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2016 in the category Best Book Review Blog Award

Which book reviewer do you love? This isn’t about being prolific this is about quality reviews. Who’s the most thoughtful reviewer? Perhaps their thoughts on a book persuaded you to read it, maybe they use their blog as a platform for authors as well, or perhaps you love them for their scathing honesty!

If you click on the logo you can view all the categories and the nominees.

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Stacking the Shelves

I’ve had a few additions to the TBR this week – I confess to a NetGalley splurge but in my defence the publication dates are for the most part way away.

First up I have a genealogy mystery which the author M J Lee kindly gave me called The Irish Inheritance and it will be published on 16 June 2016

The Irish Inheritance

Blurb

June 8, 1921. Ireland.
A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.
November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.
Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.
How are the two events linked?
Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past
The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.
It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective. Amazon

I also pounced before the sale ended in the kindle sale and bought the second in the Callum Doyle series; The Helper by David Jackson on the strength of my enjoyment for A Tapping At My Door

The Helper

Blurb

An anonymous caller is willing to give you clues that will help you solve a series of murders.
But there’s a catch: You can’t tell anyone about the help you’re getting.
What do you do?
If you turn the offer down, you will have nothing to go on, and more people could die.
But if you accept it, and fail to interpret the clues correctly, they will still die, and you will have concealed information that could have stopped a killer.
Such is the dilemma faced by New York detective Callum Doyle.
The decision he takes will have consequences that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Amazon

Too Close by Gayle Curtis is to be published in eBook format on 30 June 2016 by Twenty7 books, who publish debut novelists.

Too Close

Blurb

A devastating and unsettling story of a powerful and unshakeable twin bond, Too Close is a twisty and gripping tale of secrets and lies. For fans of The Twins by Saskia Sarginson.
Cecelia and Sebastian have a connection like no other – more than just brother and sister, they’ll go to any lengths to protect each other. Growing up in a bleak old farmhouse, their mother gone and their father violent and abusive, the twins have only each other to keep them alive.
But when the secrets of their mother’s disappearance start to emerge, and truth and lies are thrown into question, events take a terrifying turn . . .
As Cecelia tries to break away from the ties that bind her to her brother, Sebastian is determined that the twins should be together – whatever the costs. Amazon

I also have another from Twenty7, this time due for publication in eBook on 16 June 2016; My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor, another psychological thriller

 

My Husband's Son

Blurb

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . . NetGalley

From the publishers Zaffre (also part of the Bonnier publishing house) I have yet another psychological thriller The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe – so my vow to cut back on this genre seems to have fallen by the wayside! But how could I resist this compelling sounding synopsis?

The Ice Beneath Her

Blurb

The Ice Beneath Her is a gripping and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession that is impossible to put down. Fast-paced and peopled with compelling characters, it surprises at every turn as it hurtles towards an unforgettable ending with a twist you really won’t see coming . . .
A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway. The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.
But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete? Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation. As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover? NetGalley

Lastly from NetGalley I was extremely surprised and excited to be invited to read a copy of I See You by Clare Mackintosh, the author of I Let You Go which was a huge hit last year.

I See You

Blurb

You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . . NetGalley

I See You will be published on 28 July 2016!

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 2 books, discarded 1 as I’d already read it and shifted 3 shorts – I have however gained 6 books – the total this week is now standing at 178 books!
94 physical books
68 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Please don’t tempt me too much!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 19)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My book this week is Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge, first published in 1972 and my version has the beautiful cover illustrated below.

Harriet Said
Blurb

A girl returns from boarding school to her sleepy Merseyside hometown and waits to be reunited with her childhood friend, Harriet, chief architect of all their past mischief. She roams listlessly along the shoreline and the woods still pitted with wartime trenches, and encounters ‘the Tsar’ – almost old, unhappily married, both dangerously fascinating and repulsive.
Pretty, malevolent Harriet finally arrives – and over the course of the long holidays draws her friend into a scheme to beguile then humiliate the Tsar, with disastrous, shocking consequences. A gripping portrayal of adolescent transgression, Beryl Bainbridge’s classic first novel remains as subversive today as when it was written. Amazon

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Harriet said: No you don’t, keep walking.’ I wanted to turn round and look back at the dark house but she tugged my arm fiercely. We walked over the field hand in hand as if we were little girls.
I didn’t know what the time was, how late we might be. I only knew that this once it didn’t really matter. Before we reached the road Harriet stopped. I could feel her breath on my face, and over her shoulder I could see the street lamps shining and the little houses all sleeping. She bought her hand up and I thought she was going to hit me but she only touched my cheek with her fingers. She said ‘Don’t cry now.’

I’ve been itching to read this book ever since I bought it a couple of days and from that opening, I think I’m in for a real treat. Have you read this book? What did you think?

Do you want to know more? Please leave your thoughts and/or links in the comment box below!

Posted in Books I have read

The Secret By The Lake – Louise Douglas

Historical Fiction 4*s
Historical Fiction
4*s

I need to preface this review by stating that I am not a lover of ghostly matters and The Secret By The Lake has plenty of spookiness spread amongst its pages. But… somehow this didn’t feel quite as out of place as it might have done perhaps because the book was set in the 1960s with reference back as far as the 1930s and they were allowed to have ghosts back then!

Amy worked for the Laurent family in their beautiful home in Deusables, France ever since she had left home which consisted of her father and his beloved pigeons and her Grandmother; Amy’s mother left home when she was a small child never to return. With that background the Laurent family became her second family and when the time came for her to return home to care for her dying Grandmother Amy desperately missed her charge, ten year-old Vivienne. Soon after her Grandmother’s death a letter arrives from Julia Laurent. In a sudden change of circumstances Julia and Vivienne are living in a dilapidated cottage on the side of a reservoir in Somerset.

This book goes in for eeriness in spades, the locals are at best reserved and at worst, well, this isn’t a village where I’d like to visit much less live! If making the cottage fit for sale wasn’t hard enough Julia is filled with melancholy. To make matters worse her return to the family home has stopped her escaping the memory of her elder sister Caroline, who died aged just seventeen under somewhat of a cloud. If Julia was the sweet pretty younger daughter, history states that Caroline was the exact opposite. With no money and a cold winter to contend with things are bleak for them all.

Despite my misgivings I was keen to find out the truth of what happened all those years before, even if I couldn’t quite believe that the dead were determined to communicate quite so frequently with the living. There is as to be expected, an element of romance which should have provided some light relief but sadly the ghosts of the past seem to want to interfere with that too! One thing’s for sure, they are determined little ghoulies! I like books that can successfully carry some side-plots, and Louise Douglas uses this to add real depth to her characters although I didn’t really warm to Julia, who even giving credence for her despair, was far too content to allow the action to happen around her for my liking. Fortunately Amy’s tenacity made up for this and her depiction of a 1960s child, the hardest characters for a writer to successfully make feel authentic, worked well within this storyline. The tension rose because of the intense feeling that the ghosts must be appeased before history repeated itself in some terrible way, and as the dramatic dénouement died away I was left with a real sense of satisfaction.

I’d like to thank the publishers Black Swan for allowing me to read an advance proof copy of this book which is published today, 19 November 2015, in return for my honest opinion.