Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2018

Cry for Help – Steve Mosby

Crime Fiction

A woman’s body is found. She hasn’t been stabbed or shot, instead she has been tied up and left to die of dehydration. Somehow seems far more brutal, and what on earth is the motive?

Dave Lewis is a man with plenty of baggage, his brother died as a child and his parents were consumed with grief. He works a magician and denounces those mediums who he feels preys on those like his parents, desperate to have some contact with their loved ones. Dave narrates his part of this story in the first person and we soon learn that tragically one of victims is known to him. He’s consumed with guilt that he didn’t try to find out how she was. How in this day and age where we are connected electronically to each other can people in your life fade so quickly into the background?

The detective is Sam Currie who has his own baggage to deal with. He has to put all of that to one side though and try and work out who the killer is and what they are trying to achieve. When a woman gets in contact pointing the finger at a suspect, he follows the lead, but is it the right one?

With the bulk of the book told from the third person covering the investigation and the other aspects to the case, it is fair to say this is a complex, and dark story. This multi-threaded story has a reoccurring theme of responsibility. Obviously our detective has responsibility for finding the killer, particularly one as twisted as this individual seems to be. But was Dave responsible for the death of his brother? Is it really up to him to stop the charlatans profiting from the grief-stricken, or should he allow those who want to believe so desperately to find solace where they can? On the much broader note, are we as a society less connected to each other than we were before the massive advancement of technology. Perhaps actually seeing your friends with your own eyes is more reliable than receiving a text message and assuming all is well. What happens though if that message isn’t sent by your friend and actually they are far from well? How do we know? This theme is meticulously carried through the book, and I do like books that make me reflect in this type of way.

That’s not to say Cry for Help isn’t a satisfying crime fiction novel in its own right, it is with plenty of action, twists and turns and red-herrings and expert plotting to hold this reader’s attention. I have to admit it did take me a while to settle into the style and work out what on earth is happening. I’m not particularly squeamish normally but I did find the descriptions of the girl’s deaths disturbing to say the least. I’m not always entirely sure where the line is between being inventive and going too far but I’d say this was on that very line!

This is the second book I’ve read by this author, the first being Black Flowers, another disturbing and memorable read and I bought Cry for Help after reading that one back in 2011. So you’ve guessed it, this is also a read for my Mount TBR Challenge 2018 being the 20th book I’ve read since 1 January 2018 from my own bookshelves purchased before 31 December 2017.

First Published UK: 2008
Publisher: Orion
No of Pages: 288
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 22)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

This week I’m sharing the opening paragraph of Cry for Help by Steve Mosby which has been sitting patiently on my kindle since August 2011!


Dave Lewis is a man with a history. Haunted by his brother’s murder when they were children, and scarred by his parents’ grief, he’s built a bitter life denying everything they ever stood for. He spends his time working as a magician, running a cynical magazine that derides his parents. New Age beliefs, and drowning his sorrows over his lost love, Tori. He’s trying to convince himself the past is the past. A promise he made to Tori has got him into trouble before, and Dave’s determined to move on and not let that happen again.

Detective Sam Currie is a man with a past. His failure to prevent his son’s death has ended his marriage and cast a shadow over his life and career. He’s directed his hatred towards the one man he sees as responsible, but he has other priorities right now. A killer is stalking the city, abducting girls and sending texts and emails to their families before he kills them. When Dave Lewis appears to connect both investigations, it’s an opportunity Currie can’t resist… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

There is a prologue to this book but I’ve skipped that for the purpose of this post.

Chapter One

Sunday 7th August

I met Tori by magic two years ago.
It was on an otherwise average night at Edward’s Bar in the city centre. It was one of those places where they don’t serve pints, only bottles, shots or cocktails, all at prices that make you feel you should be somewhere better. There was bar space for about five people, assuming they hunched their shoulders. If you actually wanted to sit with your drink, you had the choice of perching on stools with supermodel legs, or else hunkering down on fat leather settees round shin-high coffee tables. That was if you got in early. Otherwise you had to stand, and ignore the sensation of your shoes slowly sticking to the tiles.

That opening ring any bells with you, sadly it does only too loudly for me!

So what do you think? Would you keep reading

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (April 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!


Black Flowers by Steve Mosby was one of those books I picked up because it was recommended by Amazon. This is a book within a book and boy what a story it tells! It was far more terrifying than I expected but it is up there in the mental list of books I simply will never forget reading.

Black Flowers


This is not a story about a girl who disappears. This is the story of a little girl who comes back. As if from nowhere, she appears one day on a seaside promenade, with a black flower and a horrifying story about where she’s been. But telling that story will start a chain reaction of dangerous lies and deadly illusions that will claim many more victims in the years to come.
Neil Dawson has grown up wanting to be like his father—a writer. When his father commits suicide, he is devastated. But through his grief, Neil knows something isn’t right. Looking through his father’s papers, he finds a copy of an old novel, The Black Flower. Opening it will take Neil into an investigation full of danger, pain and subterfuge. Hannah Price is also mourning her father. She followed his footsteps into the police force, and knows she has a big reputation to live up to. When she gets assigned to Neil’s father’s case, it will lead her on a journey into her own past and to the heart of a shattering secret. Goodreads

2012 yr

In April 2012 I read The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood in one straight sitting as was fascinated of this tale which flips backwards and forwards between the day of murder twenty-five years ago and the present day. With themes of how the media presents a version of the truth and at its heart this was a story about whether there can ever be redemption for those who cause revulsion.

The Wicked Girls


One fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.
Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day when they were just children. But with new lives – and families – to protect, will they really be able to keep their secret hidden? Goodreads


What Lies Within by Tom Vowler came to me courtesy of Amazon Vine and I was impressed with the fresh feel that this book bought to the genre with as a prisoner escaping from a nearby jail sparks a series of unforeseen events.

What lies Within

Click on the book cover to read my review


Living in a remote Devon farmhouse, Anna and her family have always been close to nature, surrounded by the haunting beauty of the moor. But when a convict escapes from nearby Dartmoor prison, their isolation suddenly begins to feel more claustrophobic than free. Fearing for her children’s safety, Anna’s behaviour becomes increasingly irrational. But why is she so distant from her kind husband Robert, and why does she suspect something sinister of her son Paul? All teenagers have their difficult phases… Meanwhile, a young idealistic teacher has just started her first job, determined to ‘make a difference’. But when she is brutally attacked by one of her students, her version of events is doubted by even those closest to her. Struggling to deal with the terrible consequences, she does what she can to move on and start afresh. As the two narratives converge, the tension builds to a devastating denouement, shattering everything you thought you believed about nature, nurture and the true meaning of family. Amazon


In April 2014 I read The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, a book I fell in love with from the very first page. A story that painfully but beautifully takes the reader through the aftermath of a doomed affair.The End of the Affair

Click on the book cover to read my review


The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession. Amazon


April 2015 has been full of great reads but the best of them all is the debut, Disclaimer by Renée Knight which with its unusual premise and brilliant execution has had me recommending this one far and wide since I read it.


Click on the book cover to read my review


Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction, The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day Catherine became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew–and that person is dead.
Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine’s world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day even if the shocking truth might destroy her. Goodreads

I hope you have enjoyed my trip through my April reads, if you missed the previous months you can find them here:

January Five of the Best
February Five of the Best
March Five of the Best

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (December 4)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Wronged Sons by John Marrs has finally made it to the top of the pile.

The Wronged Sons

This is a gripping book which I am really enjoying so thanks again Book Lovers Attic for pointing me in the right direction for this one.

The Wronged Sons Amazon UK

I have just finished The Murder Code by Steve Mosby.  Will Andy crack the murder code?

click on the book cover to read my review

The Murder Code

The Murder Code Amazon UK

Published 3 December 2013

And for once there is no doubt at all about my next read which has been on pre-order for what seems like ages, but is out on kindle on 5 December 2013; The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood
The Killer Next Door

I read The Wicked Girls, the author’s debut novel, by chance fairly soon after it was published and loved it so I have high expectations of this one.


No. 23 has a secret. In this gloomy, bedsit-riddled South London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, a horrifying collection quietly waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide.
Collette is on the run from her ex-boss; Cher is an underage children’s home escapee; lonely Thomas tries to make friends with his neighbours; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a ‘quiet man’ nobody sees try to keep themselves hidden. And there for them all is Vesta, a woman who knows everything that goes on in the house – or thought she did.
Then in the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the six into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim…

The Killer Next Door Amazon UK

Posted in Books I have read

The Murder Code – Steve Mosby

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction

This book starts with the interview of a young boy by police officers but this is a tantalising start; the nature of the incident being investigated isn’t revealed until much later.

The main story follows a murder investigation which starts with a woman who is bludgeoned to death outside her home. Steve Mosby doesn’t stint on the horrors inflicted, making this a book to avoid by the squeamish, but if you have the stomach for it, and the underlying plot is outstanding, original and most importantly well-written.

Andy Hicks is the officer in charge, a policeman whose wife is expecting their first child, an event it is fair to say, that is causing him some anguish. Laura, who he partners, role is more about soothing the families of the victims and questioning the theories put forward by Andy. Andy believes that statistics and probabilities will be the route to finding the killer and holds much store by his personal theories about murderers whereas Laura is the more intuitive of the two.

As in Black Flowers, the only other book I’ve read by this author, family relationships play a big part of the novel, for both victims and perpetrator. Even though the description of the violence is at the upper end of what I am comfortable reading, this is a character led book. The characters are superbly drawn, from the distraught mother of the first victim to the young boy being interviewed in excerpts throughout the book.

The book is split into the days of the investigation and although there are mentions of the force being drafted in for assistance, the action concentrates on Andy Hicks and Laura with little in the way of the management of the investigation.

I will now be searching out for the many books I have missed by this author since he has scored a hit with me for both that I have read.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest review.

The Murder Code


The Murder Code was the eighth book read for the COYER challenge

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Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (November 27)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently (still) reading Love Nina by Nina Stibbe

Love Nina
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life

This book of letters is great to pick up and put down in spare minutes as it consists entirely of letters from nanny Nina to her sister during the 80’s. Great fun

I have very nearly finished The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt which will be published 16 January 2014.

The Moon Field


A poignant story of love and redemption, The Moon Field explores the loss of innocence through a war that destroys everything except the bonds of human hearts.
No man’s land is a place in the heart: pitted, cratered and empty as the moon…
Hidden in a soldier’s tin box are a painting, a pocket watch, and a dance card – keepsakes of three lives.
It is 1914. George Farrell cycles through the tranquil Cumberland fells to deliver a letter, unaware that it will change his life. George has fallen for the rich and beautiful daughter at the Manor House, Miss Violet, but when she lets slip the contents of the letter George is heartbroken to find that she is already promised to another man. George escapes his heartbreak by joining the patriotic rush to war, but his past is not so easily avoided. His rite of passage into adulthood leaves him believing that no woman will be able to love the man he has become.
A poignant story of love and redemption, The Moon Field explores the loss of innocence in a war that destroys everything except the bonds of the human heart. Amazon

The Moon Field

This is a fantastic read, one that doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war with its scenes from the battlefield in Ypres.

I have just finished Water’s Edge by Jane Riddell

Click on the cover to read my review

Water's Edge
Water’s Edge

I plan to read The Murder Code by Steve Mosby next, publication date 3 December 2013 by Open Road Integrated Media

The Murder Code


Detective Inspector Andrew Hicks thinks he knows all about murder. However horrific the act, the reasons behind a crime are usually easy to explain. So when a woman is found bludgeoned to death, he suspects a crime of passion and attention focuses on her possessive ex-husband. But when a second body is found, similarly beaten, Hicks is forced to think again.
When more murders arrive in quick succession, Hicks realizes he is dealing with a type of killer he has never faced before, one who fits nowhere within his logic. Then the letters begin to arrive . . .
As the death toll rises, Hicks must face not only a killer obsessed with randomness and chaos, but also a secret in his own past. If he is to stop the killings, he must confront the truth about himself . . . Netgalley

The Murder Code

I’m looking forward to this one as I read Black Flowers a couple of years ago and was impressed by the fantastic storytelling