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

Persons Unknown – Susie Steiner

Crime Fiction
5*s

With this, the follow-up to Missing Presumed, being marketed as a literary crime novel, I have to confess I’m not entirely sure what that is, but if it is a multi-layered story that touches on real-life issues as well as having a crime at its centre, with an involved and intricate plot, then this fits the brief.

DI Manon Bradshaw has moved from London back to Cambridge, in part for Fly, her adopted twelve-year-old son in an attempt to keep him away from being stopped and searched purely based on his colour. They live with Manon’s sister Ellie and her two-year old son Solly, oh and Manon is five-months pregnant and assigned to the cold cases. It’s fair to say the whole family are struggling to find their feet when a man named Jon-Oliver is murdered in a nearby park. This sets off a whole chain of events which couldn’t have been predicted.

While this doesn’t have the feel of a standard police procedural, at times feeling as much a commentary on the time we live in, I was hooked right from the start. The storyline is linear with the main part running over a few weeks starting in December with each section featuring the date and chapter headed up by the name of the narrator and where necessary the place because whilst for the most part the action is in Cambridge, some takes us back to Kilburn, London. Normally where we have multiple places and narrators I put a warning into my review about how this isn’t one to read when you are tired but I have to confess I started this one night expecting to read a dozen or so pages and struggled to put it down, even the fact that I was exhausted that particular night didn’t strain my brain. Instead my warning is the short chapters are deceptive and it is only too easy to say I’ll just do one more and then I’ll  turn out the light only to find yourself bleary eyed and still going!

Why did I enjoy this so much? Well the plot is tight, and yes it’s complex especially as the connections between the characters are not what you normally get in a police procedural. I loved the characters, I felt that Manon was a more sympathetic character in this book, not quite as abrasive as she is actually outside the investigation and her love for Fly, her adopted son really brings out a different side to her personality. In fact I had a lot of sympathy for a number of the characters whilst others I’m pleased to say got their just deserts. Persons Unknown was involved and had plenty of clues, including the obligatory red-herrings that had me suspecting everyone at one time or another. Having won me over with some of the key characters I was thoroughly engaged, needing to know whether x had visited y at z time to prove my theory or otherwise, which is always the mark of a good book.

When the characters are so well-defined it can be the case that the plotting is looser, but not in this book with both aspects having an equal weighting although perhaps there was a coincidence or two which felt a little too convenient they in no way spoilt my enjoyment.

There is no doubt in my mind that Susie Steiner’s next book will be on my ‘must read’ list she has really proved herself to be a writer of many talents indeed. If character led crime fiction is what floats your boat, this series is on my highly recommended list.

I received my copy of Persons Unknown through Amazon Vine.

First Published UK: 29 June 2017
Publisher: The Borough Press
No. of Pages: 368
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (September 6)

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

I am currently reading Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell which is a prequel to A Man With One of Those Faces and The Day that Never Comes which was published on 26 August 2017.



Blurb

For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.

It’s 1999 and his hard won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain in the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He’s set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbery gang in Irish history. So the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.

Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn? Amazon

I recently finished Her Deadly Secret by Chris Curran which had something fresh to offer in the missing child scenario.

Blurb

THE SECRET YOU CAN’T FORGET

A young girl has been taken. Abducted, never to be seen again.

Joe and Hannah, her traumatized parents, are consumed by grief. But all is not as it seems behind the curtains of their suburban home.

Loretta, the Family Liaison Officer, is sure Hannah is hiding something – a dark and twisted secret from deep in her past.

This terrible memory could be the key to the murder of another girl fifteen years ago. And as links between the two victims emerge, Joe and Hannah learn that in a family built on lies, the truth can destroy everything… NetGalley

Next up I will be reading Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner, the following up to Missing, Presumed, both featuring Manon Bradshaw.

 

Blurb

Manon Bradshaw is back.

As dusk falls a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls; cradled by a stranger, a woman’s name on his lips in his last seconds of life.

DI Manon Bradshaw can’t help taking an interest – these days she only handles cold cases, but the man died just yards from the police station where she works.

She’s horrified to discover that both victim and prime suspect are more closely linked to her than she could have imagined. And as the Cambridgeshire police force closes ranks against her, she is forced to contemplate the unthinkable.

How well does she know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder? Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 7)

Weekly Wrap Up

So it’s the first week of May and a whole year since I chose the new theme for my blog and although I’ve been experimenting with new ones, I’ve decided to leave it be simply ringing the changes by updating my header with a new selection of books.

I’ve also opened a new Facebook page featuring my blog posts (now I’ve learnt how to make my blog post the picture I want it to)  and other bookish items from around the web – feel free to visit me here

This Week on the Blog

I started the week with my review of a lighter variety of book than normal, The Other Us by Fiona Harper which has a ‘sliding doors’ theme with forty-something Maggie getting the chance to see what her life might have been like had she taken Jude up on his offer to run away with him, instead she married Dan.

My excerpt post this week came from The Cleaner by Elisabeth Herrmann about a crime scenes specialist.

This Week in Books featured books from Jonathan Trigell, Peter James and Felicity Everett.

My review on Thursday was for the fabulous debut novel You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood. Narrated entirely by a defendant giving his own closing speech not only was the structure different so was the content.

I followed up with a review for a historical crime fiction novel The Scent of Murder by Felicity Young which took me back to the Edwardian period and the early forensics of that era.

My week was rounded off with a review for The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett which was all about toxic friendship within a sharply observed and entertaining contemporary fiction novel.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Little Bones by Sam Blake an investigation started by Detective Garda Cathy Connolly soon becomes something much more sinister when some tiny bones are found sewn into the hem of a wedding dress. One of the things that I liked most about this book was the three women featured all display strengths although they are all very different. This novel was complex with many different mysteries needing solving before the plot can be resolved.

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

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… Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Well the resolution of the last couple of weeks has worn off, in part because my holiday is next month and I have already started sorting out my reading selection and of course new books are required! Other people may do this with clothes but I need at least a month to whittle my books down to make sure I get the perfect mix to take away.

After reading so many stunning reviews of The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins I was lucky enough to download a copy from NetGalley before it got archived.



Blurb

How far would you go to save your reputation? The stunning new noir thriller from the author of the bestselling The Missing One and The Other Child. Perfect for fans of I Let You Go and The Ice Twins.

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation? NetGalley

From Amazon Vine I have a copy of Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner, which will be published in June, the next in the series from Missing Presumed which I read last year.



Blurb

Manon Bradshaw is back.
As dusk falls a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls; cradled by a stranger, a woman’s name on his lips in his last seconds of life.

DI Manon Bradshaw can’t help taking an interest – these days she only handles cold cases, but the man died just yards from the police station where she works.

She’s horrified to discover that both victim and prime suspect are more closely linked to her than she could have imagined. And as the Cambridgeshire police force closes ranks against her, she is forced to contemplate the unthinkable.
How well does she know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

And I have bought a copy of The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis after reading Natalie’s review of this book on her blog the owl on the bookshelf, which made me think it would make for perfect holiday reading especially as it is currently at a bargain price!!

Blurb

Somehow she’d always known that she would end like this. In a small square room, in a small square flat. In a small square box, perhaps. Cardboard, with a sticker on the outside. And a name . . .

An old lady dies alone and unheeded in a cold Edinburgh flat on a snowy Christmas night. A faded emerald dress hangs in her wardrobe; a spilt glass of whisky pools on the floor.

A few days later a middle-aged woman arrives back in the city she thought she’d left behind, her future uncertain, her past in tatters.

She soon finds herself a job at the Office for Lost People, tracking down the families of those who have died neglected and alone.

But what Margaret Penny cannot yet know, is just how entangled her own life will become in the death of one lonely stranger . . . Amazon

And then I saw two reviews by bloggers I trust for The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie, one by Portobello Book Blog, the other by The Quiet Knitter which convinced me that I needed a copy for myself, and of course this has gone onto the holiday reading list!

Blurb

It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.

More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents.  His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams.

He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time. Amazon

What have you found to read this week? Do share, I’m always on the lookout for a good book!

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained 4 which means we now have a slight increase to 186
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 61
NetGalley Books – 13

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

Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

I enjoyed this slow-burner crime novel which follows the investigation into the disappearance of Edith Hind who vanished after a night out with her best friend Helena. Edith is beautiful, a Cambridge graduate with a good-looking and charming boyfriend. The investigation doesn’t have much to go on, there is no trace of Edith whose front door was open. Inside investigators find a trail of blood, two wine glasses, one broken and all her coats on the floor.

DS Manon Bradshaw is part of the investigation team, a single woman aged 39 who can be on the abrasive side with her colleagues, but will she be able to solve the mystery? With so many different leads but no real indication that a crime has been committed the police are also hampered by previous criticism by the media, they are also wary of them based on previous crimes committed in a Cambridgeshire. With the book referencing how the media hampered the investigation into the (real life) Soham murders along with more recent cases at times it was hard to remember that this is ‘just a story!’ The relations between the investigative team are on the whole both realistic and healthier than they often appear in fiction.

I’m a fan of crime novels that handle multiple viewpoints well – this novel has many from Lady Hind, Edith’s mother, to Davy from the police, her friend Helena and an assortment of other characters this novel really feels like you get to know the characters and understand the emotions of all involved. And what a bunch of characters they are, ranging from criminals to the head of the Home Office, university graduates to men who do ‘business’ this book manages to avoid easy stereotypes better than many. This is crime fiction that initially presents as an in-depth police procedural but it has an edge on so many of those with all the characters, not just the police and the victim becoming fleshed out, life-like people with thoughts and feelings. The biggest difference is that the characters have thoughts about more than just Edith which surely reflects real-life than those novels where everyone is immersed in one case for weeks on end?

I found the writing style a little stilted at first but that issue quickly resolved itself as I became more involved as the suspects mounted up and were systematically investigated by the police while I was busy trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together – needless to say I failed miserably but in many ways the mystery didn’t feel like the whole point of the book.

If you like your crime fiction to take you to the heart of an investigation, you need to look out for this one which will be published on 25 February 2016. My copy came from Lovereading.co.uk in return for my honest opinion. My conclusion is that I will be looking out for more novels by Susie Steiner and I’m hoping that DS Manon Bradshaw will appear again.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 9)

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 reading Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans, another book that has been lingering on the TBR for way too long!

Crooked Heart

Blurb

Longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2015.
When Noel Bostock – aged ten, no family – is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he winds up in St Albans with Vera Sedge – thiry-six, drowning in debts. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.
The war’s thrown up all manner of new opportunities but what Vee needs is a cool head and the ability to make a plan. On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.
Together they cook up an idea. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all . . . NetGalley

I have recently finished The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton which will be published tomorrow.

The Exclusives

You can read the synopsis and a taster from this book in yesterday’s post

Next I am planning on reading Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner as I need to post a review for Lovereading ahead of publication in February 2016

Missing Presumed

Blurb

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.
Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.
As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.
A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her. Goodreads

What are you reading this week? Do share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (December 5)

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.

Mindful of the TBR, and you can see quite how bad this is in this post, I have only added a few books to my pile in the last two weeks but I think they are good ones, what do you think?

First I have a non-fiction book, The Life Project by Helen Pearsons, I’ve had a peek inside and it seems to be an immensely readable study of how our lives have changed, and how they’ve stayed the same.

The Life Project

Blurb

On March 3, 1946, a survey began that is, today, the longest-running study of human development in the world, growing to encompass six generations of children, 150,000 people, and some of the best-studied people on the planed. The simple act of observing human life has changed the way we are born, schooled, parent and die, irrevocably altering our understanding of inequality and health. This is the tale of these studies, the scientists who created them, sustained them, and perhaps most importantly, the remarkable discoveries that have come from them. The envy of scientists around the world, The Life Project is one of Britain’s best-kept secrets. Goodreads

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner for review for Lovereading.  Missing Presumed will be published on 26 February 2016

Missing Presumed

Blurb

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.
Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.
As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.
A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her. Goodreads

From NetGalley I requested a copy of The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith. I simply couldn’t resist the 1920s setting!

The Jazz Files

Blurb

“It stands for Jazz Files,” said Rollo. “It’s what we call any story that has a whiff of high society scandal but can’t yet be proven… you never know when a skeleton in the closet might prove useful.”
Set in 1920, The Jazz Files introduces aspiring journalist Poppy Denby, who arrives in London to look after her ailing Aunt Dot, an infamous suffragette. Dot encourages Poppy to apply for a job at The Daily Globe, but on her first day a senior reporter is killed and Poppy is tasked with finishing his story. It involves the mysterious death of a suffragette seven years earlier, about which some powerful people would prefer that nothing be said…
Through her friend Delilah Marconi, Poppy is introduced to the giddy world of London in the Roaring Twenties, with its flappers, jazz clubs, and romance. Will she make it as an investigative journalist, in this fast-paced new city? And will she be able to unearth the truth before more people die? NetGalley

I have a copy of The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton from the publishers twenty7 who concentrate on debut authors. The Exclusives will be published in e-book format on 10 December 2015.

The Exclusives

Blurb

1996. Freya Seymour and Josephine Grey are invincible – beautiful and brilliant, the two best friends are on the cusp of Oxbridge, and the success they always dreamed they’d share.
2014. Josephine hasn’t heard from Freya for eighteen long and tortured years. And then Freya gets in touch, wanting to meet.
Beginning with one ill-fated night, The Exclusives charts the agonising spiral of friendship gone wrong, the heartache and betrayal of letting down those closest to you and the poisonous possibilities of what we wouldn’t do when everything we prize is placed under threat.
And in the end, as she realises she cannot run for ever, Josephine must answer one question: can she face the woman that she used to know?
The Exclusives is Rebecca Thornton’s powerful debut novel about the pressures of life in an exclusive boarding school. Goodreads

Lastly I am exceptionally grateful for a copy of The Ballroom by Anna Hope, whose debut novel Wake was a huge favourite of mine. The Ballroom will be published on 16 February 2016

The Ballroom

Blurb

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors,
where men and women are kept apart
by high walls and barred windows,
there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.
For one bright evening every week
they come together
and dance.
When John and Ella meet
It is a dance that will change
two lives forever.
Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, THE BALLROOM is a tale of unlikely love and dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which. NetGalley

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

 

 

PicMonkey Collage TBR

So since the 6 November when I counted up the TBR disappointedly I found 2 books I’d missed from the originally cataloguing so my total then should have been 175.
Since my last count I have read 7 books, and gained 5, leading to a grand total of 170 books, so the figures are inching slowly in the right direction – aren’t they?

85 physical books
70 e-books
15 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?