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

Kill Me Again – Rachel Abbott

Crime Thriller 5*s
Crime Thriller
5*s

I am a huge Rachel Abbott fan and have been since I read the first book in this series which features Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas back in 2012. I have been eager to get each subsequent book full of anticipation to see what is served up next. This may be a series but the ‘feel’ of each of the books is quite different, often looking at a different type of criminal or victim and really getting to the heart of the thoughts of those involved.

In Kill Me Again we first witness a woman opening the door to two figures, their faces covered by Chinese masks and speaking with surprisingly refined accents. We don’t know who the woman and this is a chilling opening and intimates that the crimes that are going to be revealed are scary on a whole different level!

Next we meet Maggie Taylor, a defence lawyer, new to the firm and Manchester and being the chosen one to speak to a man she believes ‘is the devil himself.’ Maggie’s ambition to work with more complex criminal cases has got off to a tough start, after all she’s there to figure out the best defence possible for Alf Horton. Already spooked when she is driving back home she receives a call from her son, her husband has left eight-year old Josh and five-year old Lily alone in their secluded vicarage. Duncan it seems had received a message and just walked out, where he has gone and why, is a complete mystery. Over the next few days Maggie is forced to contemplate just how much she knows about her husband.

We don’t have too long to wait until we are back with the police and a corpse has been found and the victim looks like Tom’s ex-girlfriend Leo, DI Becky Robinson doesn’t know what to do but decides that involving their boss Detective Superintendent Philippa Stanley is her only option.
As all this is going on we also have some excerpts which appear to relate to crimes committed some twelve years ago, crimes that Tom was investigating on and yet remained unsolved.

As in her previous books the crimes are complex, the story-lines interesting and appealing. Not only is there a puzzle to be solved, a murderer to be found but as the storyline unfolds there is also plenty to ponder on obviously the motives of the perpetrator and in this instance how easy it can be to become a victim of lies whilst appearing to be the least likely person to be taken in by an out-and-out liar. Kill Me Again explores the psychology of psychopaths and sociopaths, it poses some good old-fashioned moral dilemmas and allowed me to play the game of ‘what would I do?’ Yet it does all this without once dropping a thread in the at times seemingly disparate threads, slowly weaving the tale together all the while ramping up the tension and giving a more than a few heart-stopping moments with some furious action.

I’ve given all this authors books five stars, they are my favourite kind of read with plenty to think about, and believe me that doesn’t stop when you’ve turned the last page, but this surpasses the previous novels, I was wowed by Kill Me Again on many different levels and the fact that I got one small piece of the puzzle figured just made me feel like perhaps I wouldn’t make a completely rubbish detective after all!

I have to say a huge thank you to Rachel Abbott who provided me with the advance review copy of this book to read, believe me you could do much better than pick up a copy of this book which will be published on 17 February 2016.

You can also contact Rachel Abbott at the following places and if you act quickly you can join in with her launch party next week which I will be attending, the previous ones have been loads of fun!

Web : http://www.rachel-abbott.com

Blog: rachelabbottwriter.com

Twitter: @RachelAbbott

Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer

The DCI Tom Douglas Books in order:

Read more about the previous books in the series:

Only The Innocent

Only The Innocent

Blurb

When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead –
brutally murdered – and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman.
In a marriage that has taken her from the glamorous five sar luxury of London, Venice and Positano to a bleak and draughty manor house in rural Oxfordshire, Laura has learned to guard her secrets well. She is not alone. It would appear that all the women in her husband’s life have something to hide.
But there is one secret that she has never shared, and when the investigation reaches its dramatic and horrific climax, she realises that she has no choice. She has to give Tom Douglas the final piece of the puzzle. And this changes everything, leaving Douglas with a terrible dilemma: whether to punish the guilty, or protect the innocent.


The Back Road

Back Road

Blurb

A girl lies close to death in a dark, deserted lane.
A driver drags her body to the side of the road.
A shadowy figure hides in the trees, watching and waiting.
The small community of Little Melham is in shock.
For Ellie Saunders, last night’s hit and run on the back road could destroy everything she has. She was out that night, but if she reveals where she was and why, her family will be torn apart. She is living on a knife-edge, knowing that her every move is being observed.
Ellie’s new neighbour, former Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas has moved to the village for some well-deserved peace and quiet, but as he is drawn into the web of deceit his every instinct tells him that what happened that night was more than a tragic accident.
As past and present collide, best-kept secrets are revealed and lives are devastated. Only one person knows the whole story. And that person will protect the truth no matter what the cost.

Sleep Tight
click on the book cover to read my review

Sleep Tight

Stranger Child
click on the book cover to read my review

Stranger Child

Nowhere Child
click on the book cover to read my review

Nowhere Child

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Defence – Steve Cavanagh

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

Meet Eddie Flynn a con-man, turned lawyer so already we know that this is a man who is prepared to play dirty to win. The setting is New York, the opposition, why only the Russia Mafia, what else would you expect? The stakes, well that would be Eddie’s young daughter who has been kidnapped by aforesaid gang and if Eddie doesn’t buy enough time for the head honcho, Olek Volchek, to escape then young Amy and Eddie himself will be toast.

The story gets right into the action immediately with the reader getting to know the chief protagonist via his present story interspersed with his background which explains his journey from hustler to lawyer, two jobs Eddie is at pains to explain are closer in skill-set than you might imagine. With a group of convincingly clichéd Russians to snarl, threaten and menace at every given opportunity we could forgive Eddie for feeling more than a little anxious, not least because he has a bomb strapped to his back and the detonator is in the hands of Volchek’s right-hand man, but valiant Eddie sits down with a suitcase full of case files and prepares for the courtroom fight of his life.

I enjoyed the courtroom action although I had a sneaky suspicion that Eddie’s inspired cross-examinations were perhaps assisted by the fact that the prosecution seemed slightly less brilliant than we were led to believe, I decided to go with the flow and suspend my belief as Eddie went from courting danger in and out of the courtroom in his desperation to save his daughter’s life. Eddie is forced to ask for favours to help him out and who should he ask? Why his friends of course, who just happen to be a gang leader from another gang and a senior judge, what luck!

This is a fast-paced story with plenty of action but along with that there is a touch of humour, a book that knows its place and is all the more appealing because of that. A book to read for pure entertainment to get into the moment and roll with the punches, gasp at the twists and to hold your breath when everything gets all too much! This would be ideal reading for a long journey, not too complex but fun but don’t choose one with too many changes or you might just end up at the wrong destination.

I have to admit I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did, I’m not a big fan of crime fiction featuring gangs as they are often violent, there is the ever-present suggestion of violence in Steve Cavangh’s book but most of the action takes place off-page, and the mobsters abide by rules that aren’t understandable to any sane human being but although I wouldn’t go as far to say I warmed to Volchek and his side-kicks I didn’t feel the contempt you might expect.

I am sure this won’t be the last we hear of Eddie Flynn and I will be first in the queue to pick up the next instalment having been won over by this likeable if flawed character.

The Defence is due to be published on 12 March 2015 by Orion books but if you want more of a preview I suggest you visit The Official Website of Steve Cavangh & Eddie Flynn. I received my copy from Amazon Vine in return for this honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Toy Taker – Luke Delaney

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

DI Sean Corrigan is having a bad time, he is recovering from a wounded shoulder, there have been no new cases for some time and his officers are getting restless.  Out of the blue he is asked to move to Scotland Yard to form a Special Investigation Unit, designed to get results on the more unusual cases.  No sooner have Corrigan and his team put all their belongings into boxes for the move from Peckham to Victoria than George Bridgeman, just four years old, is taken from his bed.

Now child abduction is a tricky subject to write about, after all someone who can come into your home and steal your child while you sleep is every parent’s worst nightmare, but Luke Delaney handles the subject in a far more sensitive way than I had expected.

As Corrigan sets about his investigation he considers the reason why someone would want a child.  However when as time goes by he worries that he has lost his powers of intuition that have guided him in the past.

The book is well-paced I kept turning the pages to see if the likeable DI Corrigan could find the link that will give him his culprit.  Dave Donnelly and Sally Jones are distinct characters with depth, although the story’s focus is Corrigan they are well-rounded with nuanced interactions with the their boss, and the rest of the team.   The Toy Taker certainly has an authentic feel, it is quite a reflective book for a crime novel and gives the reader an insider’s view of a team of officers trying to beat the clock to get the result they need.  Modern policing means using the media to get results and here ‘the brass’ hold press conferences in a bid to find The Toy Taker both for a platform for public assistance as well as warding off criticism from the public for not saving this angelic looking child.

If you want a meaty crime thriller I’d recommend this author, although I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series.

I received a free copy of this book from Amazon Vine in return for this honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Stone Bruises – Simon Beckett

Crime Fiction  4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

This is a crime thriller with a big difference, the reader doesn’t know what crime has been committed. All the reader knows is that when we meet Sean he is hiding his battered and blood-stained car in France one hot summer day. He leaves the car picks up his rucksack and walks into the unknown. Here is a man without a plan but it is apparent he is hiding and determined to stay hidden.

Told expertly and consistently in the first person this is a subtle story of a mystery man on the run. Sean ends up at a farm-house where things only take a turn for the worse. The claustrophobic feel intensifies as he appears to have been trapped on a farm inhabited by a Monsieur Arnaud, his two daughters, Mathilde and Gretchen and his grandson, little Michele. The only contact Sean has with the outside world is Georges the old man who looks after the sanglochons, a pig which has been bred with a boar.

The reader is treated to snapshots of Sean’s background from the interjections of life in London. A life that included Chloe an artist and joy. The contrast of these short excerpts to the claustrophobic atmosphere in the baking heat in France couldn’t be more dramatic. Be warned though, Beckett makes the reader wait a long time to connect the links between the past and the present.

Despite not knowing what Sean was running from I instantly felt sympathy for him, I wanted for the unpredictable Monsieur Arnaud to ignore him at the same time as trying to work out the cause of the complex tensions in the household one that was closed to everyone outside the family. It was clear that the Arnaud’s were hiding from something or someone too.

This understated book has an underlying thread of violence running through it which serves to build the tension before the inevitable catastrophe which changes everything, forever.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers Random House UK in return for this honest review. This book will be published on 30 January 2014.

I hadn’t read any of Simon Beckett’s previous books but I am going to be seeking them out now. This book shows that this is a man who knows how to wield his pen to maximum advantage. He gets my vote as I’d never heard of sanglochons before which is a French contraction of pig and boar, and the sanglochons have a part to play in the story so it wasn’t just a writer being clever! But better than that this book used one of my favourite words, doppelganger, in a sentence that sang to me “The Skylight is fogged with condensation. Rain sweeps against it with a noise like a drum roll. Our smudged reflections hang above us as we lay on the bed, misted doppelgangers trapped in glass.” Enough of a reason I think to read this book!