Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Murder Mile – Lynda La Plante

Crime Fiction
4*s

Jane Tennison has made it to a Detective Sergeant by the time Murder Mile begins, although being 1979 she is known as WDS just in case anybody should be any doubt that she is female. The widespread strikes that occurred in the ‘Winter of Discontent’ mean that rubbish is piling up in the streets and the rats are becoming brave. All is quiet on the night shift though until an unidentified woman is found dead, amidst the rubbish on the streets of Peckham, a less than desirable area of London.

I love this series which takes us back to Jane Tennison’s earliest years. The fairly well-to-do young woman who defied her mother to become a policewoman instead of making a desirable marriage always had the spark of the woman we know she became (through the TV series Prime Suspect) but she is raw, prone to thinking and talking far too much for her junior rank, and most crucially being female in what was very much a man’s world.

By 1979 she has been promoted and is fairly established, now the sexism is less overt, but not by any means eliminated but although these elements are not only present, but absolutely fascinating, fortunately the author has remembered that readers of crime fiction want a solid mystery to solve as well as enlightenment about the (relatively) recent social history.

So we have one dead body which despite some elementary mistakes made during securing the crime scene, is quickly promoted to a murder. With Jane forgoing sleep to secure herself a place on the investigation team she follows a lead. Where it takes her has trouble written all over it in very large letters. Alluding to interference from the Masons many of whom she knows to be in the police force, has Jane learnt how to hold her tongue at the right time.

There have recently been a few debates on crime fiction series in the book blogger world, and here we have an acclaimed writer making the most of the form by using it to develop her character. This character development is all the more believable because we know the finished article so to speak.

Having started with a fairly meek young woman, by this, book four in the series we have a far more firm and decisive woman, one who is no longer so easily put off her stride by her peers and is learning that no matter how brilliant her deductive skills, policework depends on an entire team. That tightrope is now being walked a little more carefully by the young detective.

Great characters can only take us so far in crime fiction though and of course in the hands of such an assured writer as Lynda La Plante the reader is guaranteed a solid plot, fairly told with enough red herrings to keep those brain cells ticking over and evaluating the facts while the clues unfold at a pace that feels natural to the background investigation. In fact, everything I look for in my crime fiction.

I’d like to thank the publishers Bonnier Zaffre for allowing me to read an advance review copy of Murder Mile which will be published on 23 August 2018. Not a book to be missed for those who enjoy a trip back to the past alongside good quality crime fiction.

First Published UK: 23 August 2018
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 384
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books in the Tennison Series

Tennison: Prime Suspect 1973
Hidden Killers
Good Friday

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

Don’t Make a Sound – David Jackson

Crime Fiction
5*s

David Jackson’s series featuring DS Nathan Cody is on my ‘must-read’ list and I was suitably thrilled to hear that he was making his third appearance on 3 May 2018.

This is one creepy book, no need for gruesome scenes for this author, instead he lets you imagine the worst from his well-chosen words.

A young girl, a mere six years of age, has disappeared from her bed and Nathan Cody is investigating. This investigation is high profile, no one wants to think that there is a child snatcher in the neighbourhood and yet it seems like whoever took Poppy was invisible as there is no trace. Yes no clues to follow and that means that Cody has to painstakingly follow a number of different theories simultaneously to see which one holds water.

We meet Poppy’s parents, Craig and Maria in the wake of her disappearance and we have Cody, DC Meghan Webley, FLO, Jason Oxburgh and data expert Grace Meade amongst others who under the tough leadership of DCI Stella Blunt of Liverpool’s police. We also have ten year old Daisy living with her parents Malcolm and Harriet, home-schooled she is a little lonely and has that peculiar manner of children who spend all their time in the company of adults. All these characters are acutely drawn with everyday events underscored by a level of tension that you simply won’t believe until you read this book for yourself. Never in my life have I had to hold my breath while reading about a game of darts!

Although this is one of my favourite genres, a good solid police procedural there is a strong element of the psychological woven through the storyline. As we observe the different relationships I found I was in on the action trying to work out why some were behaving the way they were, for instance, in the all too familiar media interview I felt I was on the other side of the camera, alongside the police watching and waiting for a sentence that would provide a key to unlocking at least something vaguely useful to explaining what had happened. Because the reader knows more than the police, a dicey device in any but the most assured writer’s keyboard, you’d expect the tension levels to be lower. Not so, I could feel my heart racing at far too many parts of this book to mention. I needed it all resolved, and as the levels increase unrelentingly until the truly outstanding ending. This book should come with a free ECG to make sure your heart is up to reading it!

I’m sure this would read very well as a standalone but I don’t recommend it. A Tapping at my Door, the first in the series, is one of my favourite crime books of all time, and the second, Hope to Die gives us more insight into Nathan Cody as well as being another full-on read so you’ll be missing out if you can’t wait and chose to start with this book but I’m almost certain you’ll need to pick up the previous two if you can’t wait.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for allowing me to read a copy of Don’t Make a Sound ahead of publication on 3 May 2018. Thank you also to David Jackson for giving my heart a workout, I can’t wait to see what will happen next. This is an unbiased review written by Cleopatra Loves Books.

First Published UK: 3 May 2018
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
o of Pages: 3528
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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

Anything For Her – G.J. Minett #BlogTour #BookReview

Psychological Thriller
5*s

Well once again G.J. Minett has demonstrated that he knows not only the ingredients required for great story-telling but also when to whisk the mixture slowly and when to turn the speed up, the result a story that may make you wonder if you should have caught on a little earlier but ultimately leave you feeling satiated.

So what’s it all about? Well Billy Orr is back home visiting his older sister, Mia who is ill. He stays on the train at Ashford International – as Billy says the name brings out the cynic in him.

‘It came across as just that little bit too desperate to impress, as if seeing to confer upon the place a status, a sense of glamour and mystery which was never entirely warranted by the town itself. Even the positioning of the word felt lie an afterthought, almost a pose if you like.’

Right from this point, in other words very early on, I liked Billy, saying to myself, he thinks the way I think.

Billy is home in Rye to keep Mia company while her husband Matthew travels for work and although they’ve both assured him that Mia will be ok, the bond between brother and sister is especially close given that Mia, nine years his senior, looked after Billy following the sudden deaths of their parents when he was still in his teens.

The story elegantly shifts backwards and forwards in time, from the present day to an event in 2002, thirteen years before the heart of the story. In the present Mia and Billy go to the supermarket in Tenterden and he’s browsing the cereal aisle when who should he see but his first love Aimi. Now it is clear almost immediately that Mia was not impressed by this chance meeting but she’s content to let them have a five-minute chat, her about her marriage to the son of the local ‘Mr Big’ but she knows that her leaving Billy as a teenager had broken his heart and their closeness has translated into a slightly overbearing attitude as to Billy’s well-being. Aimi wants to talk to Billy but wants him to keep it a secret and sadly the poor bloke doesn’t realise that he should walk away without a backwards glance.

I’m not actually going to say anything else about the plot except to say that the seemingly disparate pieces of information are anything but. I think the author must have had a massive wall of sticky notes to keep track of all the information! Not that this book is complex to read, far from it, but neither is it packed full of irrelevant details, the extra words only ever coming in to paint an evocative scene, a sense of place or time.

Then the clouds came scudding across like locust swarms, treacle black, thick as molasses chasing the light from the sky and squatting over the West End like some malevolent entity. Nature’s literal five o’clock shadow.

The people are well-drawn the ‘at home’ scenes between Mia, Matthew and Billy only too believable, far more so I think than those books where families sit around having witty chats with one another – here there are several points where it is all too obvious that manners keep the family together but their true selves are at times somewhere entirely elsewhere. There are people to hate, people to wonder at, people who remind you of yourself or others and at some point you are going to realise some of these people are hiding something, what is the question?

I am very grateful to the publishers who provided me with a copy of Anything For Her, and of course to be invited to be part of this blog tour. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and to Graham for providing me with another brilliant read. If you haven’t read this author’s previous work, I would urge you to do so each one so different yet at the same time the complex plots are effortlessly read leaving a sense of deep satisfaction.

      Graham Minett

 

 

 

 

 

First Published UK: 30 November 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Psychological Thriller 
Amazon UK
Amazon US – currently unavailable

Books by G.J. Minett

The Hidden Legacy
Lie In Wait

Don’t forget to catch the other stops on the blog tour!

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

Good Friday – Lynda La Plante

Crime Fiction
5*s

Reading Good Friday I realised how much great crime fiction I’ve missed out on by somehow eschewing Lynda La Plante’s previous books. Indeed it was only the pull of going back to the 1970s that persuaded me to watch the recent TV series Prime Suspect 1973 which I think covers the first book, Tennison: Prime Suspect 1973. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed the TV series so when I was offered this book, I was delighted to accept and prepared myself for a trip back to 1975 when the IRA were active in the UK.

By the time this, the third in the prequels to the Jane Tennsion series, opens Jane is now a Detective working out of Bow Street in London. She’s feeling a little frustrated at being given the lowly jobs and seeking a way to find a route to a more exciting future. She’s still young, still very much trying to break free from her parent’s expectations but old enough to be tiring of life in the Section house. One morning after she’s climbed up the steps at Covent Garden Station (the lift was out of order otherwise unless you want to have the life sucked out of your lungs on the dizzy climb up the spiral staircase, you don’t attempt that climb, I’ve done it once and said never again!) she sees a woman shouting after a man who has left a rucksack. Sadly the rucksack contains a bomb that goes off and Jane immediately is caught up in the aftermath of tending to the injured.

                        Covent Garden Staircase

It is interesting to see that despite being set over forty years ago, the media play a key role in the story. Although Jane is clear that she didn’t get a proper view of the suspected bomber, she goes to a press conference where an e-fit picture is given to the press. Unsurprisingly this puts Jane not only in the firing line of the media attention, but also potentially compromises her own safety.

Through all the mayhem, trauma and fear that follows the bomb explosion, Jane’s new boss in CID is adamant that she should attend the annual CID dinner at St Ermin’s Hotel, so she has a posh dress to find. All of this lends a somewhat congruous edge to the hunt for the bomber as I’m used to reading books where no-one gets leave, certainly time to prepare for a dinner wouldn’t be top priority, and yet in some ways it felt realistic, Jane after all, despite being important as a witness is not part of the main investigation.

                    St Ermin’s Hotel

As well as the investigation into the bombing we see Jane move away from the Section House into a small flat of her own, complete with disasterous room-mate. We see the stringent rules imposed by the Police Service on its officers at that time, and we also get a glimpse of what life was like for a young woman in the capital during the 1970s. Jane hasn’t yet got the steely edge she will acquire later on, but she does show us some of the tenacity and brilliant thinking which will emerge into the light later in her life. Alongside this there is some ingenious plotting so which had me turning the pages faster than the speed of… well as fast as I could read them!

This was a brilliant read by an author whose work I will be belatedly seeking out during 2018 and I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy of Good Friday, this review is my unbiased thanks to them and to Lynda La Plante for a wonderful read.

First Published UK: 24 August 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No. of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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

Sweet Little Lies – Caz Frear

Crime Fiction
5*s

Cat Kinsella is a Detective Constable in the Met, in keeping with the fictional detectives we know and love she does a bit of a shady back-story and is being closely mentored by the SIO DCI Kate Steele after falling to pieces following a recent murder but as we are to find out there is something far darker in her background.

This is a police procedural with a dash of psychological thriller elements and has an overwhelming original feel to it that I was drawn in instantly into Cat’s tale. With the majority of the book set in the present day at the Met following the discovery of a woman’s body in park in Islington, London. What Cat doesn’t tell her fellow officers is that she knows the victim, Maryanne Doyle, or rather knew her, from a holiday to Mulderrin, on the west coast of Ireland back in 1998. Cat was just eight whilst Maryanne was a glamorous teenager who had no time for little kids, unless they had a Tinkerbell necklace that matched her belly button piercing. You’ll have to read the book to find out what that little mystery is about because as the readers find out first-hand through the younger Cat’s eyes as we travel back in time, most convincingly, to an age when Cat was keen on the Spice Girls, adores her father although the secrets they share sometimes make her feel uncomfortable. Why? Well she saw him flirting with Maryanne Doyle before she disappeared sparking a police search, and then he told the police he didn’t know her.

For all the frivolity of the Spice Girls and the like from the 1990s and the appealing character of Cat, at both ages, this book has a complex plot and the investigation throws up all sorts of problems not least when Maryanne’s husband realises that what he thought he knew about her life was false with a capital F. The officer’s biggest problem is to try to sift the truth from the lies. That brings me to the title, none of the lies are ‘sweet’ or even ‘little’ so perhaps Caz Frear should be held accountable for a misleading title? I forgive her though because this is definitely one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year. As Cat struggles with her feelings towards her father, her fears that he knows more than he’s letting on this is a portrait of a dysfunctional family that doesn’t go overboard. Instead we are treated  a family who to the untrained eye rubs along as well as most, even if Cat is keen to avoid them over the festive turkey!

The author has balanced the need for memorable characters in the police procedural without letting their lives overshadow the crime itself. Although I was rooting for Caz, I liked this young woman who was living what I imagine is a fairly typical contemporary life, in a room in a house in London, no fancy riverside apartments for our detective! She has split loyalty of the most fundamental kind and so it is easy to wonder not only what she is going to do, but what I would do in the same position.

With brilliant characterisation alongside inspired plotting this is a book that you will not want to put down until you turn that last page. I’m not at all surprised that it won the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition 2016, it is very hard to believe that a book that ticks all the boxes so decisively is a debut novel.

I’d like to say thank you to the publishers Bonnier Zaffre who sent me a copy of Sweet Little Lies  months ago, before it was first published in June! I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it but belated thanks for allowing me to read such a fresh and inviting book. I can’t wait to see what Caz Frear comes up with next.

Crime fiction lovers, if you haven’t read this book yet it appears to be at an absolute bargain price for the kindle with the paperback version having been published just this week.

First Published UK: 29 June 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No. of Pages:  470
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Shelter – Sarah Franklin

Historical Fiction
4*s

It’s springtime 1944 and two lonely people find themselves in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, both have already suffered during the war years and now, amongst the closed community of Foresters, they learn new skills while they face the next hurdle in their journey of life.

I knew as soon as I heard about this book that I wanted to read it because it is set in the Forest of Dean, the place where I grew up and in the World War II time period which is of huge interest to me, especially when it focusses on the changing role of women. Sarah Franklin surpassed my expectations weaving a story about a Lumberjill alongside that of an Italian POW.

Connie Granger hails from Coventry until the war her life was going along predictable lines, but this is a young woman who wanted more than working in the factory until she met a man and got married. Connie wants to see the world and when the Americans come to the UK there is nothing she likes more than to don her pretty dress and dance with them. Maybe one of these young men could be her ticket to seeing more than Coventry, more than helping her mother out with her younger siblings and more than the life she sees stretching before her on a path strewn with a generation of expectations. Connie veers off the path and has joined the Timbre Corps and has been sent to the Forest of Dean for her training.

The true woman finds her greatest joy in life in building up a ‘happy home for her husband and children’.
Advertisement, Dean Forest Mercury, 7th April 1944

Nearby Seppe is contemplating his fate in a truck transporting him to the POW camp at the top of a hill. Seppe carves wood, he is good with his hands and he’s relieved he has been captured. This was one young man who was fighting a war that he doesn’t believe in but that just means he also feels apart from many of his fellow prisoners some of whom hail from the same small town he does, a place where his father doesn’t just rule his family with a sharp tongue and an even worse bite; a whole community reveres the man.

So our two main protagonists have had a tough time with the causes not just created by the war when they are put to work in the Forest to clear the timber to keep up with the quotas demanded by the Ministry of War and we witness the struggle as Seppe and Connie make life-changing decisions

The strength in this book is not just the accurate portrayal of a community one that even when I lived their in the 80s was distinctly separate from those that surround it, at a time when for those living there leaving the Forest was a big deal, but also in the brilliant characters Sarah Franklin has created. Every character is special, these lifelike people take in not just Connie and Seppe, but the whole supporting cast from Amos whose house Connie lives in, a house where she sleeps in his son’s bed while Billy is off fighting his ow war, to Joyce the next door neighbour who has a heart of gold but is no pushover, all are real people with characteristics that reminded me of the older generation of Foresters that I grew up amongst. They also give depth to a story that is both emotional and yet speaks of a generation for whom duty was threaded through their bodies despite what their hearts yearned for.

With letters home from Billy and excerpts from the paper lightly scattered in between the, at times, heart-wrenching story, there was simply so much to savour and enjoy in this historical novel.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for an ARC of this wonderful tale that took me back to my roots (pun fully intended) and to Sarah Franklin who made me almost homesick for a place that I detested as I grew up amongst the trees and the customs. You made me recall the inevitable Dean Forest Mercury which confirmed just how little in the way of excitement was to be had and yet now, with older and wiser eyes I see the comfort in a world that was almost untouched by events outside it while the community within protected each other.

First Published UK: 27 July 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 432
Genre: Historical Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

In Deep Water – Sam Blake

Crime Fiction
4*s

I do like it when despite being part of a series, the author takes an entirely different scenario for their subsequent book. Yes we have Cat Connolly, a boxer, feisty and willing to do what she thinks is right in her role in Garda Síochána, but rather than a crime that spanned generations which we had in Little Bones, In Deep Water focus is on a crime which is very much of the present when journalist, Cat’s best friend and training partner Sarah Jane Hansen goes missing.

The first inkling that all is not well is when Sarah Jane fails to make a training session with Cat and her coach and doesn’t answer her phone. When Cat takes a call from Sarah Jane’s mother saying that she’s worried and her husband Ted Hansen, a reporter for CNN currently on location had warned her off a story, it isn’t long before Cat formally reports her friend as a missing person.

One of the pleasures of reading series is that the successful ones develop the key characters by adding layers to what has already been gleaned; Sam Blake has fully achieved this brief as by the very nature of having Cat investigate the disappearance of her friend, we get to see more of her vulnerabilities. After the investigation in the first book we have more of an insight into her relationship with her boss, DI Dawson O’ Rourke, a man who has become more protective of her following the mental and physical scars that resulted from their previous investigation. This interplay is entirely convincing, a bonus as I do like to feel that what I read in crime fiction is realistic. Fortunately despite the horrifying end to the last book, it soon becomes clear that Cat, despite her struggle to regain her previous fitness levels, was her desire to be a profiler within Garda Síochána and so she is studying as well as training and working. I have to be honest Cat’s schedule exhausted me just reading about it.

Sam Blake doesn’t neglect the secondary characters either, each one was well-drawn and yet distinct and pleasingly quite diverse while avoiding the easy short-hand clichés. We meet the highly successful business men and women, the coach with his own battle scars, a young boy with autism and some young women who are living a life I simply didn’t want to imagine.

There is no doubt that this was a superbly well-researched novel, a proper police procedural with the aspects of the investigation qualified with plenty of explanations which only rarely impinged on the flow of the storyline.
In Deep Water steps into the darker areas of crime, giving the book a real edgy feel helped along by plenty of action. This is one scary ride as the team retrace Sarah Jane’s last known movements, a journey that takes in the seedier aspects of life, one that if dwelt upon could be very depressing. Fortunately with many strands of storyline to juggle there is no time to dwell as this accomplished author pulls the strands skilfully together.

I’d like to thank the publishers Bonnier Zaffre for allowing me to read a review copy of In Deep Water and for Sam Blake for writing such an enjoyable read. This review is my unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 6 April 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 416
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Hope to Die – David Jackson

Crime Fiction
4*s

So DS Nathan Cody has his second outing in his native Liverpool and this time he starts without his partner DC Megan Webley who is still recovering from a serious injury but fear not she soon returns. The murder Nathan Cody is investigating is a particularly gruesome one and one that has no obvious motive. Mary Cowper is a church going teacher who was killed while walking her dog by the Anglian Cathedral. No matter where they look they can’t see why anyone would want this woman dead, she’s as inoffensive as they come.

Meanwhile we learn all about the childhood of a young boy, a grim upbringing policed by a strict mother and God. I have to admit I’m always a little suspicious of excerpts from seemingly unrelated voices within crime fiction but David Jackson has his narrative spot on in this instance. It is fairly obvious that this is our killer but I couldn’t fit the childhood voice to any of the characters we were meeting, and nor could I separate the sad stories from the narrator which tell of a deeply anguished childhood, with the revulsion I felt over the killings of the women.

Hope to Die doesn’t just concentrate on the investigation which needless to say is soon expanded as another woman is found dead, we also get to understand a little more about Nathan Cody’s demons which haunted him in A Tapping at My Door and continue in this episode. When Megan Webley returns to work we also have the gaps between the two books filled in, with Megan understandably confused by Cody’s absence during her recovery but she’s the better person and extends the olive branch. The fact that the pair had a romantic liaison some time before Cody joined the team only serves the tension to crackle at times both at home and at work.

We have a new female addition to the team the data analyst, Grace, who is keen to show what she’s made of after a life-time of being ignored by her peers and I was pleased that DCI Blunt the no-nonsense, yet capable of compassion, a woman who is almost motherly in her dealings with Cody, is still in charge. All this gives not only a good ratio of both male and female police staff but a wide range of characters to give a good depth to the investigation.

The pace is fairly fast particularly with the switches between the odd things that are happening to Cody away from the investigation and the information that is leaking out about the suspects, even if none of them appear to have a motive, there are lies and half-truths to be uncovered. You don’t want to start this book just before bed-time that’s for sure because not only will you be unable to relinquish your hold on the book as one more chapter turns into two, three and onwards, but because David Jackson creates a world which feels particularly unsafe for the unassuming and then throws some particularly weird activities into the mix… like clowns!

With tension aplenty, some relationship issues and an ending which will have you longing for the next book, this is not to be missed although I strongly suggest you read the first book in the series to get the most from the story arc. Hope to Die will be published on 6 April 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre who were kind enough to provide me with an advance review copy. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and the talented David Jackson.

First Published UK: 6 April 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages:  416
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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

Lie In Wait – G.J. Minett

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Crime Thriller
5*s

There are times when I’m reading that I just know that I’m in a pair of safe hands and this is exactly what I felt when I opened the first page of Lie In Wait. That despite not really knowing at the start what this book was going to be about, I could immediately tell though, that this was a different type of book to this author’s debut novel The Hidden Legacy, despite sharing some of the same themes.

The book opens with Owen, our protagonist, clearly a young man who struggles with the social side of life, but is exceptionally good with numbers. Owen has met up with one of his fellow students from the days before he was removed from secondary school to be home-schooled by his mother. As I said, luckily I felt I was in a pair of safe hands because this tale doesn’t go in the same direction as you might expect from such a character. Yes the book is about Owen but there is a whole cast of others that all have pasts and presents that are full of colour and surprises.

Without giving too much away Owen is hired by his old schoolmate Abi to redesign her garden and it is Abi who is the main link to the web of characters that flesh out the storyline. Abi is married to her childhood sweetheart, Callum who is a highly professional networker, hence the ready funds to use on a fancy garden. But there is a twist, Callum and Owen have their own history and the discord runs deep. Despite being successful in his own right Callum appears slightly put out in the change in Owen in the intervening years now he is a tall, well-built owner of his own gardening business.

At its heart there is a straightforward mystery, someone is dead and the police are looking to find out who caused the death. Surrounding this obvious crime there are many smaller crimes being committed, with some dastardly characters some with good intentions, many not so. The reader meets diverse characters such as security guards in the local shopping centre, policemen and friends of the main characters. What you can be sure of is that all of these characters matter to the plot in one way or another, no pointless filling for this author! Each of the chapters is headed with the name of the character narrating and the time period that it covers – yes it is one of those books that keep you on your toes switching not only character but time period. Thankfully the author has managed to give each of the narrators a very distinctive voice so despite the complexity of construction, following the plot as a reader is easy.

The switch in characters definitely kept me hooked particularly when the author tantalisingly ends a chapter with a revelation that you just know is going to have massive consequences and then the time period switches away from that particular cliff-hanger to provide a separate clue or maybe a red-herring to excite you. But what makes this novel so particularly clever, is that yet again G.J. Minett has produced a book that isn’t all action, rather it is has the essence of a psychological thriller in the purest sense. Not everything is spelt out for the reader but as information is revealed be it directly or ‘between the lines’ the reader is invited to think about the background to some of the characters and really evaluate why they behave the way they do.

It is important to me to have a sense of not only the time and the characters but of place. This book is set around Chichester, not a place I’ve been, but I didn’t for a moment doubt that this place exists; with its fancy houses and back alleys, the busy road and its retail park as well as the cinema where Owen treats himself to a solitary film and the fish and chip shop, where he buys his treat for afterwards. is all evocatively described I can believe I’ve visited, more than once.

I’ll be honest there are some parts of the plot which seemed to stretch my credulity, if not to the limit, at least to ‘ooh that’s a bit tight’ point, but by this time I was invested in the story, I wanted to know what happened because like the characters or despise them, they had all become important to me. After all this is what good storytelling is all about!

All in all this was a deeply satisfying read which has real depth to it which despite a complex plot which has been thought out to the nth degree it is an easy and enjoyable read. As an aside the construction of this novel would lend itself very nicely for TV, I would watch it even now I know what happens at the end!!

I received an advance copy of this book from the publishers Bonnier Zaffre, and this review is my unbiased thanks to them and the author for a superb read. Lie In Wait will be published in eBook format on 25 August 2016 with the paperback coming out in November 2016.

Published UK eBook: 25 August 2016
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US