Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (March 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them! Here is January’s and February’s top five, but onto March!

2011

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock was one of my first reads through the Amazon Vine program, a book that I couldn’t resist as it is set in Guernsey – I do wonder why there are no similar books set in Jersey, it seems unfair that being smaller they get all the good books written about them including a recent favourite The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Schaffer & Annie Burrows

The Book of Lies

Blurb

Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.
A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable–going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.
Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey–from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted–in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words–recorded on tapes before his own death– a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story. Goodreads

2012 yr

Another Vine offering in March 2012 introduced me to Camilla Läckberg, an author who is now one of my favourites with the sixth in the Patrick Hedstrom and Erika Falck series; The Drowning

The Drowning

Christian Thydell’s dream has come true: his debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?
When crime writer Erica Falck, who discovered Christian’s talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the author’s mysterious past…
Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality.
But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed? Amazon

2013yr

In March 2013 I found an another now must-read author, Louise Phillips who wowed me with Red Ribbons

Click on the book cover to read my review
Red Ribbons

Blurb

A SERIAL KILLER
When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl’s body 24 hours later.
THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST
Desperate to find the murderer, police call in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the serial killer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar as her own past threatens to cloud her investigations.
AN ACCUSED WOMAN
Ellie Brady has been institutionalised for 15 years, for the killing of her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy. After all this time, does Ellie hold the key to finding the killer of the Dublin schoolgirls?
What would you do if you were accused of killing your own daughter? What if those closest to you turned their back on you? And when everyone stopped listening, what next, when even you believe you’re guilty?
THE BAD MAN IS EVERYWHERE Goodreads

2014yr

March 2014 was a bumper month for 5 star reads but I chose Precious Thing by Colette McBeth for the sheer addictiveness that caused me to try and cook and read which was an epic fail!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Precious Thing
Blurb

Remember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? Still your best friend? Or disappeared from your life for good?
Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever.
They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Now in their late twenties Rachel has everything while Clara’s life is spiralling further out of control. Then Clara vanishes.
Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it. Goodreads

2015yr

The best book for March this year has to go to a book I’ve been waiting an age for; Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall which deals with a difficult subject in an intelligent and sensitive way, definitely a book to make you think!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Humber Boy B
Blurb

A blur in the sky, a brick no, a trainer, red falls to the water… There seems to be a scuffle… a hand grabbing at the dangling child. Then, with the awfulness of inevitability, the hanging child drops, gravity takes him. A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B s reintegration into society. But the general public s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play? Amazon

Posted in Books I have read

Humber Boy B – Ruth Dugdall

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

Ruth Dugdall has used one of the most emotive subjects for the basis of this, her third novel featuring probation officer Cate Austin, that of children who kill. This book will stay with me for a long while because it is a book that makes you reflect on how the justice system manages these, thankfully rare, events.

The blurb tells us that a boy fell from the Humber Bridge and two brothers were convicted of being involved in his death but this book starts at a point eight years after the event, on the release day of Humber Boy B, now known as Ben following his change of identity, moved to an area far away from his home in Hull and unsurprisingly his struggle to adapt to a world that he hasn’t been part of since he was ten years old.

The story is told through multiple viewpoints from those who were there on the day of Noah’s death including Cheryl who was with her father Roger Palmer, a teacher who tirelessly tries to rescue the young boy. This structure can be confusing but the chapters are clearly labelled, some as The Day Of, others with the present day story with the narrator’s name and what unfolds is all the more chilling for the lack of melodrama on that fateful day. The story in the present time follows Ben on his release including a facebook page which has been set up by Noah’s mother, an anonymous and frequent commentator, Silent Friend, seems to want to help her to find Ben and the answers she longs for. Reading these posts was more unnerving despite their briefness, as they seemed so much like those comments that you’d rather not read on all types of social media.

This is an intelligent book that clearly defines the different roles involved in Ben’s new life. The police see Ben as a different boy to Cate who delves through his case files to gain an understanding of someone who needs help with everyday life as well as finding a job and needing protection from any lurking vigilantes who may work out who he really is. This is unsurprising as Ruth Dugdall worked in units not unlike the fictional young offenders units where Ben spent his sentence, and in her own words helped boys like Ben.

Humber Boy B is published by Legend Press who were kind enough to give me a proof copy for review purposes, it will be out for the kindle on 1 April 2015 but you can already buy a paperback copy.

Previous Books featuring Cate Austin

The Woman Before Me

The Sacrificial Man

Other books about child killers:

Non Fiction
As If – Blake Morrison

Fiction
The Child Who – Simon Lelic
The Wicked Girls – Alex Marwood
The Guilty One – Lisa Ballantyne

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (March 25)

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

I am currently reading Green and Pleasant Land by Judith Cutler

Green and Pleasant Land

Blurb

Retired police detective Fran Harman discovers that someone doesn’t like her digging up the past when she re-opens a 20-year-old cold case.
Twenty years ago, a car was found abandoned, with a desperately ill baby in the back. The child’s mother was never seen again. Newly-retired, ex-Chief Superintendent Fran Harman and her partner Mark have volunteered to help reinvestigate, and it soon becomes clear key witnesses aren’t telling them the whole truth… NetGalley

I have recently finished reading Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall which deals sensitively with the case of a child murderer

My review will follow shortly but you can read the opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.

Humber Boy B

Next I am planning to read The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey

The Harbour Master

Blurb

Maverick cop Henk van der Pol is thinking about retirement when he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. His detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his case. But Henk’s bigger challenge is deciding who his friends are – not to mention a vicious street pimp who is threatening Henk’s own family. As his search for the killer of the woman in Amsterdam Harbour takes him into a corrupt world of politics and power, Henk finds himself facing some murky moral choices. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Tuesday ~ First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (March 24)

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 post this week is from Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall where we meet the probation officer Cate Austin after her outings in The Woman Before Me and The Sacrificial Man.

Humber Boy B

Blurb

A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity.
Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B’s reintegration into society. But the general public’s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the
secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate’s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play? Amazon

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

July 2013

Down the grassy bank, under the shadow of the Humber Bridge, a teenager walks on her hands in the shallows, blonde hair hanging into the water so the tips are soaked dark. Flipping back up, she sees black specs of grit on her palms from the waterbed and tries to wipe them off along her upper thighs, newly fleshed out. Her swimsuit digs in at the top of her legs; it’s too small now but she hasn’t got any other and it’s a warm day and she longs to be in the water. Too warm, there must be a storm coming.

Please note the quote is from a proof copy, the book is due to be published on 1 April 2015

Do you want to know more? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (February 13)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

I have had some really exciting book post this week from Ruth Dugdall whose I first came across by reading her book The Woman Before Me. I loved it and read The Sacrificial Man which was published soon afterwards back in 2011 and to my absolute delight the author used a quote from my review when releasing the paperback version in 2012. Well she has finally written another book, and has kindly sent me a proof copy of Humber Boy B I’m just a little bit excited if you can’t tell!

Humber Boy B

Blurb

A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B’s reintegration into society. But the general public’s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate’s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play? Goodreads

I also received a review copy of The Distance by Helen Giltrow, signed with a lovely postcard from the author inside which I’m also looking forward to reading despite the fact that I rarely read straight ‘thrillers’

The Distance

Blurb

A blistering debut thriller that introduces the coolest heroine in contemporary suspense fiction.
They don’t call her Karla anymore. She’s Charlotte Alton: she doesn’t trade in secrets, she doesn’t erase dark pasts, and she doesn’t break hit-men into prison.
Except that is exactly what she’s been asked to do.
The job is impossible: get the assassin into an experimental new prison so that he can take out a target who isn’t officially there.
It’s a suicide mission, and quite probably a set-up.
So why can’t she say no? Goodreads

From NetGalley I have been approved for a copy of The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson which I had to request after reading an excellent review on Crimepieces blog, another excellent source of books to add to the TBR.
The Kind Worth Killing

Blurb

‘Hello there.’
I looked at the pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar seat next to me in the business class lounge of Heathrow airport, then up into the stranger’s face.
‘Do I know you?’
Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?
Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?
A sublimely plotted novel of trust and betrayal, The Kind Worth Killing will keep you gripped and guessing late into the night. NetGalley

And last I have a copy of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons Which has had some fantastic mentions on Twitter before the publication date of 20 February 2015.

Silent Scream

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late? NetGalley

So what have you found to read this week? Please share your finds in the comments box below.