Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Promise – Alison Bruce

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

What I want from a police procedural is a solid mystery and Alison Bruce came up with a plot for this, the sixth outing for Gary Goodhew in this mystery series based in Cambridge.

At the beginning of this book Gary Goodhew is still off sick after the events of the previous instalment and Susan Scully comes across something that she believes that Gary should be made aware of, but before she can decide how to break the news there is a murder! Ratty a well-known homeless man who Gary has used for information in the past has been murdered and now the team need to find out who he is and what the motive for his murder was.

I do like this series, the author has come up with a great cast of solid characters. The location is well-described and the secondary characters far more than cardboard cut-outs which all makes for a good background to the serious business of the investigation.

With Gary’s backstory being fleshed out and a bit of uncertainty with Marks due to retire imminently the book has the potential to be slightly confusing for those of us who haven’t read the entire series, but I found that despite only reading the first two books it worked well as a stand-alone even though I hadn’t kept up to date with everyone. This book really bought the homeless community in Cambridge to life so that I felt that the victim of the murder was intentionally chosen both by the fictional killer but more especially the author for a purpose.

We are also introduced to Kyle Davidson, a fairly new father as his life is beginning to unravel following his return from Afghanistan. With his wife spending levels high and her inability to put their son Harry at the centre of her life, and Kyle not being the same man he was before his latest tour of duty, I could only speculate how big the fall-out was likely to be. Kyle’s younger sister Leah was another great character, the author having realistically portrayed the life as a teenager without resorting to the tired clichés.

This was a solidly good read written at a good pace, not so fast that it is hard to keep up with all the action leaving no time to ponder on the clues left but neither were there plodding areas where you wonder when something is going to happen. Although nowhere near as brutal as some crime books, there were some descriptions that are best avoided if you are particularly squeamish but fortunately these weren’t dwelt upon for any more than necessary!

I am sorry that I have missed some of the books in this series and with this one seemingly pivotal in revealing much of Gary’s backstory, I’m not sure whether I will go back to read the missing episodes but I’m certainly well-motivated to read the future ones as I do enjoy the original yet not outlandishly so plots.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers, Little Brown Book Group UK who allowed me to read this book for which I have returned the favour by writing this review.

The Promise will be published on 4 February 2016

Previous books in the DC Gary Goodhew Series

Cambridge Blues
The Siren
The Calling
The Silence
The Backs

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 27)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

My current read is The Promise by Alison Bruce, the sixth in the DC Goodhew series which will be published on 4 February 2016.

The Promise

Blurb

In a single night, Kyle Davidson’s life is derailed. His relationship is over, he is denied access to his young son and everything important to him is at risk.
His thoughts stumble between fear and revenge. Kyle Davidson has a choice to make.
Meanwhile, after the tragic end to a previous case, DC Gary Goodhew finds himself questioning his reasons for returning to work until the badly beaten body of a homeless man is found on Market Hill. Having known the homeless man for several years Goodhew feels compelled to be part of the investigation – but routine lines of enquiry soon take a dark and unexpected turn.
Suddenly the Cambridge back streets hold deadly secrets for Goodhew and the only person who has the answers is planning one final, desperate act. NetGalley

I have recently finished the latest in the Ruth Galloway series; The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

The Woman in Blue

See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book.

Next up I have The Ex by Alafair Burke, a new to me author whose synopsis was just too tempting to resist.

The Ex

Blurb

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene since the shooting of his wife by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman who eerily but thrillingly echoes his past. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a “Missed Moment” item online and days later, a woman responds…
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she gets the phone call informing her that her former fiancée, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him – and why?
For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, and the hurt she caused him, but as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him? NetGalley

The Ex will be published on 4 February 2016

So that’s my choices. What do you all have to read at the moment? Do share!

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Siren – Alison Bruce

Crime Fiction 3*s
Crime Fiction
3*s

Set in Cambridge this is the second book in the series that features the young DC Gary Goodhew who along with the team are under pressure when an arson attack is seemingly linked to a child abduction.

It is a long time since I read Cambridge Blue, the first in this series but powerful enough for me to remember the complex crime that showcased Alison Bruce’s accomplished writing with a good plot backed up with a detective in a newer mould than many we meet in police procedurals. The Siren is no different except that perhaps the why was somewhat elusive somewhat spoiling the many strands reaching back into the past that got us there.

We first meet Kimberly Guyver with her friend Rachel Golinski plotting her getaway following the discovery of a body of a man in Spain. Both women know that the trail will lead back to them and Kimberly has no choice but to leave Cambridge if she is to protect her young son .Riley. Within hours Rachel’s house is set alight and Riley is missing. Kimberly has problems with authority, we glean why from the parts of the book that detail her background but she grows to trust the young detective Gary Goodhew. As in the first book our detective is apt to follow leads without keeping his boss DI Marks in the loop. In common with many police procedurals there is a smattering of politics this after all is a team and not one man solving a crime by himself, and through these exchanges I found Goodhew is developing as a far more rounded character as are some of his team, which include the obligatory self-serving detective, in this case, Kincaid. Kincaid and Goodhew are reluctant partners being as they are polar opposites with Goodhew’s main motivation in life being to solve the crimes whilst being a bit of a failure in his personal life while Kincaid wants to further himself, relishing the failures in others but seemingly having no problems tempting the women around him.

I am glad I read Cambridge Blue first and really although I really enjoyed the writing in The Siren which is steadily placed and entertaining, unfortunately. I wasn’t as gripped by this one. I need to understand the motivation of the main characters particularly the perpetrator and while the clues fitted I didn’t feel that there was enough justification for the crimes committed. I also had a few problems with Kimberly, although I knew a lot about her, we were left to assume why she took some of the decisions she did on fairly unsubstantiated grounds – I know I often complain about being spoon-fed information in books but this one just went a little too far in the other direction.

The pacing which started on the slow side, this isn’t a book to open and expect wall-to-wall action, which is fine by me, steadily picked up and the tension was high as the search for reached crisis point, with some outstandingly good writing which really gave a sense of the emotions of everyone involved.

Not an outstanding all-round read but a book with sufficient good points for me to look forward to another in the series.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (January 13)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

Alongside the TBR Reduction plan I am making an effort to read some of the older items that are lurking on it – these are usually in kindle format so I have started The Siren by Alison Bruce which was purchased on 29 July 2012 soon after I read the first in this series featuring DC Goodhew, Cambridge Blue. The choice was also prompted by the fact that I have the sixth in the series, The Promise, from NetGalley to read soon!

The Siren

Blurb

All it took was one small item on the regional news for Kimberly Guyver and Rachel Golinski to know that their old life was catching up with them. They wondered how they’d been naïve enough to think it wouldn’t. They hoped they still had a chance to leave it behind – just one more time – but within hours, Rachel’s home is burning and Kimberly’s young son, Riley, is missing.
DC Goodhew begins to sift through their lives, and starts to uncover an unsettling picture of deceit, murder and accelerating danger. Kimberly seems distraught but also defensive and uncooperative. Is it fear and mistrust of the police which are putting her son at risk, or darker motivations?
With Riley’s life in peril, Goodhew needs Kimberly to make choices, but she has to understand, the one thing she cannot afford is another mistake. Amazon

So that’s the something old, now for the something new…

I have just finished The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

The Things We Keep

See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book

And next I’m going to read one from ‘I should have read this ages ago’ pile; Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Buriel Rites

Blurb

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others? Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please leave your links in the comments section below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (December 19)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Mindful of the TBR, and you can see quite how bad this is in this post, I have only added a few quite a few books to my pile in the last two weeks but I think they are good ones, what do you think?

From the publisher MIRA I have a copy of Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris which will be published on 11 February 2016

Behind Closed Doors

Blurb

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie. Goodreads

Then I saw that two of the Lake District Mysteries written by Martin Edwards were on special offer on the kindle. Having vowed to read more by this talented author after enjoying Dancing for the Hangman plus a very enticing review of his latest, The Dungeon House by Fiction Fan’s blog and a short story in An Anthology of Murder I would have been silly to ignore this – the first The Coffin Trail wasn’t on offer but I need to start at the beginning so I have this one…

The Coffin Trail

Blurb

Oxford historian Daniel Kind and his partner Miranda both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy a cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District. But though they hope to live the dream, the past soon catches up with them. Goodreads

and… The Cipher Garden (Lake District Mysteries #2)

The Cipher Garden

Blurb

Warren Howe is surprised by a hooded visitor whilst working in a garden in Old Sawrey. Soon he is dead – murdered with his own scythe. As the years pass, the culprit has yet to be found. However, after an anonymous tip-off, DCI Hannah Scarlett is soon on the case. Then there is yet another horrifying death.

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths, book eight in the Ruth Galloway series; The Woman in Blue will be published on 4 February 2016.

The Woman in Blue

Blurb

Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway returns in a new thrilling mystery from the best-selling Elly Griffiths.
The murder of women priests in the shrine town of Walsingham sucks Dr Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation.
When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear Cathbad’s vision was all too human, and that a horrible crime has been committed. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation, and soon establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital.
Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. Hilary has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.
Then another woman is murdered – a priest.
As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again… NetGalley

Back in 2012 I read Cambridge Blue by Alison Bruce and she was put on my ‘must read more of’ list and indeed I have one book on the TBR but then I saw The Promise which is to be published on 4 February 2016 (I now have three books to be reviewed before this date!)

The Promise

Blurb

In a single night, Kyle Davidson’s life is derailed. His relationship is over, he is denied access to his young son and everything important to him is at risk.
His thoughts stumble between fear and revenge. Kyle Davidson has a choice to make.
Meanwhile, after the tragic end to a previous case, DC Gary Goodhew finds himself questioning his reasons for returning to work until the badly beaten body of a homeless man is found on Market Hill. Having known the homeless man for several years Goodhew feels compelled to be part of the investigation – but routine lines of enquiry soon take a dark and unexpected turn.
Suddenly the Cambridge back streets hold deadly secrets for Goodhew and the only person who has the answers is planning one final, desperate act. NetGalley

And I’ve left the best to last – I have a copy of Coffin Road by Peter May. I absolutely adored the Lewis Trilogy so am so looking forward to this one which was sent to me by Midas PR.

Coffin Road

Blurb

A man stands bewildered on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris. He cannot remember who he is. He is physically shaken, borderline hypothermic, and overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. The only clue to his identity is a folded map of a path named The Coffin Road. He does not know where this search will take him.
A detective from across the border in Lewis sits aboard a boat, filled with doubt. DS George Gunn knows that a bludgeoned corpse has been discovered on a remote rock twenty miles offshore. Though, having grown used to a quiet and predictable routine, he does not know whether he has what it takes to uncover how and why.
A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father. Two years on from the pioneering scientist’s disappearance, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her, regardless of the extreme pressure placed on him by his research. She does not know his secret. Goodreads

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 5 books, and gained 6, leading to a grand total of 171 books!
83 physical books
72 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Books I want to Read

Book Releases September 2013

Reading Book  Well it’s nearly the end of the month and sadly Autumn will be with it before we  know it .

On the bright side those longer nights mean more time curled up with a book in the  warm.  Here are my picks of the releases for September only two have made it to my really Must Be Read list this month but I still have a backlog from August so…

Firstly The Backs by Alison Bruce

The Backs
Alison Bruce know how to tell a good story, I’ve enjoyed the previous outings of DC Goodhew books which started with Cambridge Blue. This one is due out September 19 on kindle at Amazon.co.uk

Blurb

A fresh start in a place you hate is even tougher with a killer watching…

Jane Osborne left Cambridge and vowed she’d never return. An unexpected twist of fortune results in DC Goodhew bringing her back to the remnants of her old life and a confrontation with the man who killed her sister.

Meanwhile a burning car on the outskirts of Cambridge leads to the discovery of the body of its owner, Paul Marshall. There seems nothing to connect it to either a recent assault, or to Jane Osborne, until a shocking discovery rips Goodhew’s investigation apart.

And secondly unusually for me I chose a bit of love; The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

The Longest Ride

Who can resist a bit of romance with some reminiscing about the war on a cool evening?

Blurb

Ninety-one year old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, with his mind fading, an image of his beloved, and long-dead, wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together – how they met, the dark days of WWII, and its unrelenting effect on their families.

A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko’s life is about to change. Recovering from a break-up, she meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a new and tantalising future for herself, but Luke has a secret which threatens to break it all apart.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples, separated by years and experience, whose lives are about to converge in the most unexpected – and shocking – of ways.