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 Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 24)

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

My current read is All The Good Things by Clare Fisher which will be published on 1 June 2017 by Penguin.

Blurb

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life.

So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone – even a 100% bad person – deserve a chance to be good? Amazon

I have recently finished In Deep Water which is the second in the Cathy Connolly series set in Dublin by Sam Blake. Little BonesA real thriller of a read, it was great to catch up with Cathy Connolly after her first outing in

Blurb

Good intentions can be deadly . . .

Cat Connolly is back at work. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her workload once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane, daughter of a Pulitzer-winning American journalist, goes missing.
Her father is uncontactable, but her mother reports that he’d believed Sarah Jane was investigating something dangerous – yet the only records Cathy can find suggest that Sarah Jane was just involved in a seemingly innocent children’s project. Sarah Jane was last seen leaving her workplace – a popular Dublin restaurant – but seems not to have made it home. And then a body turns up, and Cathy fears they have failed to save her friend.

But when it transpires that the dead woman is not Sarah Jane, she realises that this case is only just getting started . . . In the world of missing persons, every second counts, but with the clock ticking can Cathy find Sarah Jane before it’s too late? NetGalley

Next I plan to read Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett who wrote one of my favourite reads of last year, The Versions of Us. Greatest Hits will be published on 15 June 2017 by Orion.

Blurb

One day. Sixteen songs. The soundtrack of a lifetime…

Alone in her studio, Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past. After a silence of ten years, the singer-songwriter is picking the sixteen tracks that have defined her – sixteen key moments in her life – for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits album.

In the course of this one day, both ordinary and extraordinary, the story of Cass’s life emerges – a story of highs and lows, of music, friendship and ambition, of great love and great loss. But what prompted her to retreat all those years ago, and is there a way for her to make peace with her past?

Daughter. Mother. Singer. Lover. What are the memories that mean the most? NetGalley

So what are you reading this week? Have you read any of these choices? Do you want to?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Little Bones – Sam Blake

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

Kickboxing Detective Garda Cathy Connolly is called to a break-in at Zoe Grant’s house in Dublin which opens up a crime far bigger than the burglary that she was sent to investigate. Amongst the scattered clothing in Zoe’s bedroom is a beautiful wedding dress with added decoration which seems way out-of-place, some small bones have been sewn into its hem. And if that wasn’t enough for the Garda, the FBI believe a double murderer who needs urgent apprehension has entered Ireland, and they want him found.

The story that follows is complex, told from the viewpoints of three women; Cathy, Zoe and Emily Cox, a woman who works with the elderly in London. I always rejoice when fiction gives us women who are more than decoration and to get three such women who all display their strengths in very different ways really is exceeding expectations Ms Blake! Zoe is the most vulnerable of the three, understandable when her house has been ransacked which is shortly followed by the unexpected death of her grandmother but she forges on setting up an exhibition of her art despite it all. Emily demonstrates not only her caring nature when she befriends an elderly woman who is suffering with confusion, but also her steely side when she persuades her husband, a consultant psychiatrist to help out in practical ways. And then there is Cathy, a woman who despite turmoil in her personal life doesn’t resort to histrionics but makes plans and follows them through, although I’m quietly pleased to confirm she’ll break a few rules if required.

The underlying plot to this novel is complex, there is plenty of switching of viewpoints and a fair few mysteries that need unravelling. The author walks the line with grace between providing the reader with action, great characters and a credible plot with an equally believable solution and creating utter confusion with so much going on. This is a huge accomplishment for a debut novel, although this is a book that requires a certain amount of concentration as unusually the viewpoints switch within chapters. The headings to some of the chapters involve sewing terms bringing the reader’s attention back to those gruesome alterations that the unknown seamstress made to the wedding dress, and as when or why is also a mystery, they were quite clearly carried out for the purpose of concealment.

The author keeps the tension levels high by adhering far more to the actual time-lines of carrying out the necessary tests than many popular dramas we may watch. Despite the grimness of the wedding dress, this isn’t a depressing read, something achieved by some genuinely realistic yet appealing relationships between some of the characters. It is nice to see a police force not beset by one-upmanship and unrealistic expectations, Cathy and her partner Detective O’Rourke are mutually supportive and we understand why when we hear a little of their back story.

So in case you couldn’t tell, I was incredibly impressed by Little Bones, another great author to come out of the Bonnier Publishers imprint Twenty7 books. If you like your crime fiction to involve the more traditional police procedural, one that has a little more complexity to the generic, this may well be a book that you will really enjoy.  This book has also confirmed my suspicion that Twenty7 have a huge talent in spotting these debut novelists, four out of the four I have read have been seriously impressive – a pretty good bet by anyone’s standards. If you have a manuscript that you think might be suitable for them and live in the UK or ROI, you might want to enter their competition but don’t delay it has a closing date of 31 May 2016.

I’d like to say thank you to the publishers for allowing me to read this book ahead of the publication in eBook format on 17 May 2016. This review is my unbiased thanks to them.

If you’re still undecided, you can read the synopsis and the opening lines here

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 4)

This Week In Books

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

At the moment I am reading Little Bones by Sam Blake, a book that will be published in eBook format on 17 May 2016.

Little Bones

You can read the synopsis and a short extract from this book in yesterday’s post.

The last book I finished was The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan kindly sent to me by the publishers Penguin Ireland.

The Last Days of Summer

Blurb

She can forgive. They can’t forget.
After ten years in the Huntsville State Penitentiary, Jasper Curtis returns home to live with his sister and her two daughters. Lizzie does not know who she’s letting into her home: the brother she grew up loving or the monster he became.
Teenage Katie distrusts this strange man in their home but eleven-year-old Joanne is just intrigued by her new uncle.
Jasper says he’s all done with trouble, but in a forgotten prairie town that knows no forgiveness, it does not take long for trouble to arrive at their door … Amazon

The Last Days of Summer will be published tomorrow, 5 May 2016.

Next I am going to read the highly anticipated, the author’s previous two books were great and so different from each other, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for me this time! Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica which will be published on 19 May 2016 by Mira UK.

Don't You Cry

Blurb

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.
Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbour town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where 18 year old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted rollercoaster ride that builds to a stunning conclusion. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Do share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 3)

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.

The book I am featuring this week is another from the publishers Twenty7 Books; Little Bones by Sam Blake which will be out in eBook format on 17 May 2016.

Little Bones

Blurb

Attending what seems to be a routine break-in, troubled Detective Garda Cathy Connolly makes a grisly discovery: an old wedding dress – and, concealed in its hem, a baby’s bones.
And then the dress’s original owner, Lavinia Grant, is found dead in a Dublin suburb.
Searching for answers, Cathy is drawn deep into a complex web of secrets and lies spun by three generations of women.
Meanwhile, a fugitive killer has already left two dead in execution style killings across the Atlantic – and now he’s in Dublin with old scores to settle. Will the team track him down before he kills again?
Struggling with her own secrets, Cathy doesn’t know dangerous – and personal – this case is about to become… NetGalley

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

PART ONE

Coming Apart at the Seams

In clothing: where two pieces of material come apart and the garment can no longer be worn. Often caused by a weakness and break in the thread.

1

The door to the back bedroom hung open.
Pausing at the top of the narrow wooden stairs, Garda Cathy Connolly could just see inside, could see what looked like the entire contents of the wardrobe flung over the polished floorboards, underwear scattered across the room like litter. The sun winter weak, played through a window opposite the door, its light falling on something cream, illuminating it bright against the dark denim and jewel colours of the tumbled clothes on the floor.

So what do you think? Would you keep reading?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the comments box below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (April 24)

Stacking the shelves

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

Well my TBR is now truly out of control… From NetGalley I have the following irresistible books:

From Twenty7 books who publish debut authors I have Little Bones by Sam Blake which will be published in eBook format on 17 May 2016.

Little Bones

Blurb

Attending what seems to be a routine break-in, troubled Detective Garda Cathy Connolly makes a grisly discovery: an old wedding dress – and, concealed in its hem, a baby’s bones.
And then the dress’s original owner, Lavinia Grant, is found dead in a Dublin suburb.
Searching for answers, Cathy is drawn deep into a complex web of secrets and lies spun by three generations of women.
Meanwhile, a fugitive killer has already left two dead in execution style killings across the Atlantic – and now he’s in Dublin with old scores to settle. Will the team track him down before he kills again?
Struggling with her own secrets, Cathy doesn’t know dangerous – and personal – this case is about to become… NetGalley

I was also lucky enough to get a copy of Angela Marsons fourth book in the Detective Kim Stone series, Play Dead, the first three had me hooked in 2015.

Play Dead

Blurb

The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.
The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.
Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.
Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?
As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …? NetGalley


Play Dead
will be published on 20 May 2016 by Bookouture.

Lastly I have a copy of The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena which will be published by Random House UK on 14 July 2016.

The Couple Next Door

Blurb

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.
Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.
Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.
Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race upstairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.
You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.
What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I’m posting this a day later than normal and there was a reason, that being that today was one of the Island’s book sales for the blind ,and so in the name of charity I have a few more books to show you. I would like to say as mitigation I put back a few and I resisted picking up many more!

Book Sale April 2016

 

I have a copy of The Sixth Heaven to go with The Shrimp and the Anemone which I already have sitting on the TBR following my love-in with The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley last year.

I always pick up an Agatha Christie book at these sales, it is a challenge that involves finding the best copy that I haven’t bought in previous excursions, this year’s pick is one I don’t remember (at the moment) Murder is Easy.

I’m a huge Barbara Vine fan and my copies  mainly have the classic orange spine by penguin, but I don’t (didn’t) own a copy of The House of Stairs; I did read this one but seem to remember I didn’t particularly rate it but want to check just in case it was a case of reading it at the wrong time.

So after the very recent success of Harriet Said as a reading experience I picked up the only two Beryl Bainbridge books I could find, both in immaculate condition; An Awfully Big Adventure and Winter Garden

I love Carol Shields’ writing and her book The Stone Diaries rates among one of my favourite reads so I just had to pick up Dressing Up for the Carnival, a book of short stories.

And I’m ashamed to say but I haven’t actually read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne so this is my opportunity to correct that.

It was a lovely morning, I always go with a close friend and so we had lots of chit-chat about books and other (less) important stuff, visited a garden centre and rounded the morning off with a lovely cup of coffee at a gentile tea shop neither of us had visited before – see even on a tiny island we can find new and exciting things to do!

So what has all this done to the TBR?

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 7 books, and gained, 10 so the total has shot up to 180 books!
96 physical books
67 e-books
17 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Please don’t tempt me too much!