Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Murder in Slow Motion – Rebecca Muddiman

Crime Fiction
4*s

Andrew returns home to find his partner Katy missing. The last text he had received was to let him know that she was visiting their neighbour. When he goes to find her there is nobody there but blood has been spilt. When DI Michael Gardner and DS Nicola Freeman talk to him they are inclined to think he is panicking unnecessarily despite the fact that the once confident Katy has recently been made redundant and seemingly doesn’t go anywhere. To find Katy they have to find her friends but that’s easier said than done when a person’s life has contracted to be contained within four walls.

The pair soon realise that one half of the neighbouring couple is also a police officer Dawn Lawson and she called in sick and no-one, including her boyfriend knows where she is either.

This is an incredibly claustrophobic novel and one where DI Gardner is so fired up by Dawn’s disappearance he often almost forgets that Katy is also missing. With the subject matter focussing on domestic abuse it is also a book that makes the reader think. Yes, we are in 2018 and domestic abuse is no longer the hidden subject it once was but this book shows us the different forms that it can take and of course, the effects it can have on the victim. It is also a sad reflection of the way that even though violent rows are overheard by others living nearby few take any action at all.

So the book has a big ‘issue’ but it is also a police procedural, albeit one where DI Gardner stretches the bounds of the law to the nth degree to ensure that he gets to the bottom of the women’s disappearance. As the investigation intensifies we see that both women had secrets and their lives from the outside were not at all like the reality.

There is plenty of action but overall this is a thoughtful book. The key drivers are the personalities, of Gardner and Freeman whose relationship is easily familiar although with a hint of irritation about their differences. But it is the supporting cast, the ones off page whose personalities intrigue us just as much. What did the shy Katy share with Dawn, or was it the other way around? Surely it can’t be a coincidence that they both have vanished at the same time? Their partners are also in the spotlight although neither can be placed at anything like the scene of the (almost) non-existent crime. Our pair of detectives have to work hard to sort this puzzle out.

I have enjoyed the two previous books I read in this series and have vowed to get around to the missing third episode. Fortunately they do work as standalones because like a lot of my favourite these contemporary writers, Rebecca Muddiman manages to give a different ‘feel’ to all her books despite keeping the key characters in place. This is definitely a police procedural that is as much about the why as the who.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the author who provided me with a copy of Murder in Slow Motion – sorry it took me so long to get around to reading the book and writing this unbiased review.

First Published UK: 25 February 2018
Publisher: Independently Published
No of Pages: 388
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Books in the Gardner & Freeman Series

Stolen
Gone
Tell Me Lies

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 4)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy 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

Now that I’ve read all the millions of books which were being published on 5 April 2018, I hoping to squeeze some of my own books into April’s schedule as well as some exciting upcoming publications.

I am currently reading Smash all the Windows by Jane Davies which will be published on 12 April 2018.

Blurb

For the families of the victims of the St Botolph and Old Billingsgate disaster, the undoing of a miscarriage of justice should be a cause for rejoicing. For more than thirteen years, the search for truth has eaten up everything. Marriages, families, health, careers and finances.

Finally, the coroner has ruled that the crowd did not contribute to their own deaths. Finally, now that lies have been unravelled and hypocrisies exposed, they can all get back to their lives.
If only it were that simple.

Tapping into the issues of the day, Davis delivers a highly charged work of metafiction, a compelling testament to the human condition and the healing power of art. Written with immediacy, style and an overwhelming sense of empathy, Smash all the Windows will be enjoyed by readers of How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall and How to be Both by Ali Smith.

That was after catching up on the seventh in the superb DI Kim Stone series, Broken Bones by Angela Marsons before the eighth is published in May!

Blurb

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers in the Black Country are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what at first looks like a tragic abandonment soon takes an even more sinister turn.

When another young woman goes missing, the two investigations bring the team into a terrifying, hidden world, and a showdown puts Kim’s life at risk as secrets from her own past come to light.

As Kim battles her own demons, can she stop the killer, before another life is lost? Amazon

And next I am catching up on another series, this time Rebecca Muddiman’s Murder in Slow Motion, the fourth in the Gardner and Freeman series which was published on 25 February 2018.

Blurb

Katy Jackson is missing, last seen at her neighbour’s house. DI Gardner and DS Freeman think Katy’s boyfriend, Andrew, is overreacting. She’s been gone just a few hours. But next door there’s evidence of a struggle and blood throughout the house. When they realise Katy’s neighbour is police officer Dawn Lawton, and that Dawn is missing too, it becomes impossible for Gardner to put his personal feelings aside, driving him to put his own career on the line as he tries to find his friend.

As Gardner and Freeman unravel both Katy and Dawn’s secrets, they discover neither woman’s life is what it seems. And when everyone has something to hide, how do you know who to trust? Amazon

So what do you think? Have you read any of these? Would you like to?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (March 4)

Well this has been an interesting week! While the UK was under mounds of snow good old Jersey managed a massive 1 cm (in places) by Thursday morning which meant that I had no excuse not to tramp to work complete with laptop which I’d taken home on the promise of some real snowfall. I hope all of you have managed to stay safe and warm during the ‘real’ snow.

This Week on the Blog

I was in Leicester last weekend celebrating a friend’s birthday and so didn’t do my normal wrap up last week. What I did have was a very generous 15% discount code for World of Books – if you didn’t see my post and you want to take advantage of the discount, it runs until the 31 March 2018.

On Monday I posted my review for Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer which was published on 27 February 2018.

My excerpt post came from The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal which is out on 22 March 2018.

This Week in Books featured the authors Clare Mackintosh, Simon Bourke and Mary-Jane Riley

On Thursday I posted my review for one of my favourite non-fiction reads of all time: Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan.

Friday had me featuring 5 five star reads from February 2014 to 2018 a reminder of how brilliant books don’t ever fade.

Finally another list, this time my preparation for the Classic Club Spin which will take place on Friday – spin gods, if you could give the first five lengthy books a miss, I’d appreciate it as I have about a thousand books due a read and review before 5 April!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Quieter than Killing by Sarah Hilary. This is the fourth book in the series featuring DI Marnie Rome and her partner DS Jake Noah and another which uses contemporary issues as a basis for the crimes, in this instance the pair find themselves investigating the gangs and their increasingly young recruits. There is outstanding characterisation, not just of the main protagonists, but many of the secondary characters too. With perfect plotting and plenty of twists and turns Sarah Hilary’s books are not to be missed.

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover


Blurb

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

I have a copy of Rebecca Muddiman’s latest book Murder in Slow Motion which is the fourth in the Gardner and Freeman series and was published on 24 February 2018. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and am now wondering if I can fit in the third before reading this one – I suspect not since the author would probably like the review before the end of 2018!!

 

Blurb

Katy Jackson is missing, last seen at her neighbour’s house.

DI Gardner and DS Freeman think Katy’s boyfriend, Andrew, is overreacting. She’s been gone just a few hours. But next door there’s evidence of a struggle and blood throughout the house.

When they realise Katy’s neighbour is police officer Dawn Lawton, and that Dawn is missing too, it becomes impossible for Gardner to put his personal feelings aside, driving him to put his own career on the line as he tries to find his friend.

As Gardner and Freeman unravel both Katy and Dawn’s secrets, they discover neither woman’s life is what it seems. And when everyone has something to hide, how do you know who to trust? Amazon

And from NetGalley I have a copy of The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic which will be published on 2 August 2018. This is another author whose previous books have wowed me!



Blurb

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life.

It was the only way to keep her daughter safe. But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt. And that’s when Susanna realises she was wrong.

She doesn’t know him.
He knows her.
And the girl he plans to hurt is her daughter. NetGalley

Do either of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have only read 4 books and since I have gained rather more than 4 thanks to David the nice man from World of Books, my TBR has risen to its highest level yet this year 188

Physical Books – 113
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books –21

I haven’t banked any book tokens this week but nor have I bought any books, so I’m still 2 whole books in credit!

Posted in Books I have read

Gone – Rebecca Muddiman

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

When the body of a sixteen year old girl is found buried in woods the news that it is Emma Thorley, a girl who went missing eleven years previously is leaked to the media and a number of people around the country are glued to the coverage for reasons known, in the most part only to themselves.

Right from the start there are delays, Emma was adopted and her father, now in his early seventies isn’t clear on the events that surrounded his daughter’s disappearance which had followed the death of her mother and her subsequent escape with drugs. With no blood relatives to ask for a blood sample, DNA identification is out of the question and the police need to use other methods to positively identify the body.

For DI Michael Gardner the discovery brings back unwanted memories of an unhappy time as well as a measure of guilt that he simply didn’t try hard enough to locate Emma, believing she was just another runaway teenage girl. When the violent, misogynistic yet charming Lucas Yates becomes aware that DS Nicola Freedman is leading the investigation into the murder, he decides to conduct his own counter measures, not least because he was a former boyfriend and knows that it won’t take long for his name to surface in the investigation. Louise Taylor follows the news but seems to want to keep her interest in events hidden from those around her while the police are facing a wall of silence to every question they ask of those who knew Emma. What is everyone hiding?

This is an exceptionally well told tale with the action alternating between the past, 1999 and the present 2010, in short yet engaging chapters so that the full story emerges of the past while the present is full of plenty of action, a format that kept me turning the pages to learn just another snippet to add the picture emerging.

This appears to be a realistic reflection of an actual investigation with the police being frustrated at every turn as the evidence needs to be forced to fit the prime suspect. DS Freedman is tenacious and takes no nonsense, in her personal life which is not in the perilous state of many fictional lead detectives but still has enough interest to make her feel authentic. DI Gardner had his problems in Blyth and moved away yet manfully faces up to what happened all those years before. A good pair of detectives who share a common goal and act like real people, no instant sharing of issues for these two.

All of the civilian characters have flaws with the main one seemingly being shared; a determination that life should turn out as they wanted it to. From the drug counsellor Ben to the scared girl with a secret to the awful Lucas they all want events to go their way and they appear to be willing to lie freely, to themselves as well as others, to preserve their image of what happened in 1999. Despite their flaws the characters keep the right side of parody, even Lucas falls short of becoming a pantomime villain, just but then I do enjoy having a character to loathe.

This had everything I look for in my crime fiction, a good range of characters tied to a story that allows the reader to think for themselves revealing pieces of information like the breadcrumbs for Hansel and Gretel right up to an ending that neither veered off course nor fizzled out.

I received my copy of this book from the publishers, Mulholland Books via Bookbridgr and it is one that I will be widely recommending. Gone was published on 15 January 2015.

Previous books by Rebecca Muddiman

Stolen

When Abby Henshaw is brutally attacked by two strangers in the countryside, her first thought is for the safety of her baby daughter, Beth. But what follows is a mother’s worst nightmare: Beth is gone and Abby’s world collapses around her. As DI Michael Gardner begins to investigate Abby and her family, he discovers lives built on secrets and betrayals. Under pressure from his bosses to find the missing child and to unearth the truth, Gardner finds himself struggling to stay emotionally removed from the case, and from Abby herself. After the authorities finally shelve their investigation, Abby receives a message telling her where she can find her daughter. But how can she convince those around her that the girl really is Beth when they are the very people she knows least? A gripping and haunting debut, Stolen is a richly imagined psychological thriller from an exciting new talent in crime writing. Amazon

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (January 19)

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
• What are you currently reading? What do you think you’ll read next? What did you recently finish reading?

A sick child always deserves a new book and for one very poorly little girl aged just five I selected the amusing Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr complete with a set of bookmarks to decorate.

Clever Polly and the Stupid WolfScratch Art Bookmarks

This was a favourite read aloud story to my children who loved to see Polly outsmart the wolf, which she does with alacrity every single time and I’m hoping that this book, first published in 1967 can work its magic once again.

I am currently reading The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths,

The Zig Zag Girl

Blurb

When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.
The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.
Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.
Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in danger… Goodreads

 

I have just finished Gone by Rebecca Muddiman  
watch out for my review later this week

Gone
Blurb

250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. 91% of those reported to police are found within 48 hours. 99% of cases are solved within a year. And 1% stay gone. 11 years ago, troubled teenager Emma Thorley went missing. The police assumed she was a runaway. But now a body has been found in woods near Blyth. DI Michael Gardner knows he didn’t take Emma’s disappearance seriously enough back then, and is determined to make up for it now. But when he and DS Nicola Freeman start to reinvestigate, they discover that nothing is as simple as it seems.

Next I plan to finally read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and her niece Annie Burrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Blurb

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways. Goodreads

What book would you recommend to cheer up a five year old? What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (December 19)

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).

This week I’m going to start with my favourite find courtesy of the lovely Quercus publishers. Earlier this week a copy of Runaway by Peter May plopped through my letterbox, you may have heard the squeals of delight!

Runaway

Blurb

The decision for five teenage boys to leave their homes in Glasgow in 1965 and head to London is led by Jack Mackay when he is expelled from school. His friends need little incentive to run away from their abusive families and dead end jobs to pursue fame and fortune as a band. However, the boys find their dreams to be devastatingly different from reality, and within less than twelve months of their departure, only three of them return home, their lives irrevocably damaged.
Fifty years later in 2015 a brutal murder takes place in London and the three men, who are now in their sixties, are forced to return to the city to confront the demons which have haunted them and blighted their lives for five decades.
Runaway is a gripping crime novel spanning two cities and half a century. This extraordinary work by Peter May, explores how aspirations and expectations shape us and the pivotal yet changeable role that friendships have in our lives. Quercus

Runaway is inspired by events in Peter May’s own life. The leading character Jack Mackay is based on Peter’s own experiences of being expelled from school at the age of 16 in the mid sixties. After enduring 3 months in a dead end job, Peter told his 3 band mates that he was leaving home for London and they immediately decided to join him. Much like the characters in the book, Peter and his friends found surviving London unrelentingly difficult and after some time, broke, hungry and filthy, Peter and his friend Stephen returned home without the record deal that they had dreamt of but having learned a lot of life lessons. Due to be published 15 January 2015.

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Crooked House by Christobel Kent which is due to be published on 8 January 2015.

The Crooked House

Blurb

Alison is as close to anonymous as she can get: with no ties, no home, a backroom job, hers is a life lived under the radar. She’s a nobody; she has no-one and that’s how she wants it.
But once Alison was someone else: once she was Esme Grace, a teenager whose bedroom sat at the top of a remote and dilapidated house on the edge of a bleak estuary. A girl whose family, if not happy, exactly, was no unhappier than anyone else’s – or so she thought.
Then one night a terrible thing happened in the crooked house, a nightmare of violence out of which Alison emerged the only witness and sole survivor and from which she has been running ever since. Only when she meets academic Paul Bartlett does Alison realise that if she’s to have any chance of happiness, she has to return to her old life and confront the darkness that worked its way inside her family and has pursued her ever since. NetGalley

A Fifty Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot is a non-fiction memoir spanning decades.

A Fifty Year Silence

Blurb

In 1948, after surviving World War II by escaping Nazi-occupied France for refugee camps in Switzerland, the author’s grandparents, Anna and Armand, bought an old stone house in a remote, picturesque village in the South of France. Five years later, Anna packed her bags and walked out on Armand, taking the typewriter and their children. The two never saw or spoke to each other again, never remarried, and never revealed what had divided them forever.
A Fifty-Year Silence is the deeply involving account of Miranda Richmond Mouillot’s journey to find out what happened between her grandmother, a physician, and her grandfather, an interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials, who refused to utter his wife’s name aloud after she left him. To discover the roots of their embittered and entrenched silence, Miranda abandons her plans for the future and moves to their stone house, now a crumbling ruin; immerses herself in letters, archival materials, and secondary sources; and teases stories out of her reticent, and declining, grandparents.
The author reconstructs how Anna and Armand braved overwhelming odds and how the knowledge her grandfather acquired at Nuremberg destroyed their relationship. As she does so, Miranda wrestles with the legacy of trauma, the burden of history, and the complexities of memory. She also finds herself learning how not only to survive, but to thrive – making a home in the village and falling in love. NetGalley

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a story set during the World War II

The Nightingale

Blurb

FRANCE, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France… but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can… completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others. NetGalley

Lastly from Bookbridgr I have a copy of Gone by Rebecca Muddiman, a book I picked after having enjoyed her debut novel Stolen.

Gone

Blurb

250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. 91% of those reported to police are found within 48 hours. 99% of cases are solved within a year. And 1% stay gone. Eleven years ago, troubled teenager Emma Thorley went missing. The police assumed she was a runaway. But now a body with Emma’s ID on it has been found in woods near Blyth. DI Michael Gardner knows he didn’t take Emma’s disappearance seriously enough back then, and is determined to make up for it now. But when he and DS Nicola Freeman start to reinvestigate, they discover that nothing is as simple as it seems. As news of the discovery travels, the past will come back to haunt all those involved. Because there are consequences when good people do bad things, and some secrets cannot stay buried for ever… Bookbridgr

What did you find to read this week?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Stolen – Rebecca Muddiman

Crime Novel 4*'s
Crime Novel
4*’s

Abby Henshaw is forcibly removed from her car by two men following a deliberate collision. Her baby daughter Beth is left alone in the car. Before Abby is able to return she disappears. DI Michael Gardner is running the investigation into Beth’s disappearance and uncovers secrets and lies that cause Abby’s life to completely unravel.

This book details the long search for Beth both by DI Gardner who is battling negative publicity from the media as he becomes frustrated at the unresolved mystery. When Abby receives an anonymous tip off on where to find Beth she struggles to make anyone listen not least because DI Gardner now has another missing child to find.

Rebecca Muddiman has written a book moves along at a fair pace with enough twists and turns to keep the reader’s interest although the first few chapters were fairly predictable the tension soon ratcheted up as Abby’s obsession with finding her daughter seemed increasingly futile. A great holiday read.