#Review 5* #DeadToMe by @LesleyPearse @MichaelJBooks

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Dead To Me by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

Two very different women, one unlikely friendship. In the chaos of war-torn Britain, can any relationship survive?

Dead to Me is a story about loyalty, love and the strength of friendship in the face of adversity, from international number one bestselling author Lesley Pearse.

Spring 1935.
On London’s Hampstead Heath two girls meet by chance: well-mannered and smartly dressed Verity and dishevelled and grubby Ruby. Yet the mismatched pair form an instant friendship strong enough to survive their parent’s disapproval.

When war engulfs the country – sending Ruby to Devon while Verity struggles to find a new beginning under a shadow from her past – the girls are convinced they will always be there for each other.

Until the day one breaks the other’s heart . . .

Can Verity and Ruby find a way back to each other before it’s too late?

My Review:

I have been a fan of Lesley Pearse’s for many, many years! With my favourite novel of hers being, Remember Me. I am also a huge WW2 geek and love WW2 non-fiction and Fiction books. I have a very impressive collection!
So this novel was an obvious choice for me.

Spring 1935

The novel is ultimately a story of friendship and the strength of the bonds we make, with those whom, we share no blood. The friendship is between Ruby and Verity, who meet by accident one day in their childhood on Hampstead Heath. The girls come from very different walks of life one from exceptional wealth and one from abject poverty. As they witness a dead drunk being pulled from a pool Ruby remarks “no one cares why poor people die”. This intrigues Verity, on how the other half life and so begins a friendship. But neither girl has any idea what fate has in store for them and how their lives are about to change……………

Ruby (14yrs) agrees to show Verity (13yrs) the sides of London she has never seen before and in turn Verity will teach Ruby some manners of the middle class. This unlikely friendship mixed with the ‘coming of age’ of the girls age, really adds to the story. The divide between wealth and poor, clear to see in such young children. Ruby’s mum is a renowned local prostitute, who cares very little for Ruby’s safety and well-being. Verity has grown up in wealth at Daleham Gradens, with a distant mother but a loving housekeeper.
Their worlds couldn’t be further apart!

The novel moves through the years and features the trials and tribulations the girls endeavour as they bloom into young women. But when a tragedy occurs and one girl blames the other. A letter is sent containing only the words “YOU ARE DEAD TO ME”. With both girls no left feeling alone in the world, who will they seek out for comfort? What trouble lurks in the darkness, waiting to strike?

This novel has many dark themes within it, but it is displays how friendship may encounter great struggles but can last a lifetime. The WW2 setting adds to the emotions within the story and creates a fantastic backdrop to the novel. There are characters you will love, like Wilby (Mrs Wilbeforce) she reminded me very lovingly of my granny Winnie. Also characters you will despise more and more with the building of the novel, namely Archie (Verity’s father).
This novel touches upon a wide-range of emotion.
A thoroughly good read 5*

LP
Lesley Pearse
Authors Links:
Via Penguin: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/lesley-pearse/21763/
Twitter: @LesleyPearse

 

#BlogTour 5* #Review #IKnowASecret by @tessgerritsen @TransworldBooks #NewRelease

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I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen
Synopsis:

I have a secret.
And someone wants to make sure I never tell . . .

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.

Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?

One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.

But she has a secret that she has to keep . . .

My review:

This is Rizzoli & Isles #12 but can easily be read as a standalone novel. Detective Jane Rizzoli and forensic pathologist Maura Isles, are a crime solving due in Boston, USA. With a young woman found dead, with links to high-profile solved case from years ago.
This is no easy case to solve by any measure…..

The novel starts quite slow in the beginning and I longed for the usual, complete and utter engrossment, I get with novels by this author. However, at 50% in, things took a monumental turn and I realised this was the work of a very clever author and writing style. It felt as though the first half of the novel, the author is leaving tiny, tiny breadcrumbs and clues to the plot. Which at the halfway mark, blew me away!

The novel opens with unreliable narrator Holly, attending the funeral of childhood friend Sarah. Sarah having been victim to a fatal house fire. I didn’t like Holly from the onset but the way she delivered little riddle like clues, that had me hooked!
Five rode the school bus that afternoon, only 4 remain alive…….

Maura Isles is visiting a terminally ill, cancer patient, who also turns out to be a psychopathic serial killer. Nothing new there, due to her role as a forensic pathologist would often mean engaging with such killers, after they have been caught. Except this killer Amalthea Lank, is Isles birth mother…….
They have a fraught discussion and you can see Lank’s attempts to draw Isle’s into some form of emotional blackmail with mind games. The relationship between the two in the novel, makes for eerie reading and displays the psychology of familial bonds.
The crosses we all bear due to DNA.

Detective Jane Rizzoli and detective Barry Frost are attempting to analyse the crime scene, where the young victim lays sprawled across the bed, with empty eye sockets and an eye in each hand. The crime scene is grotesque and this is not a novel for the faint hearted. The victim Cassandra Coyle, a young wannabe film maker positioning resembles a similar case in Dallas. A case where 3 young college girls were murdered but the perpetrator was caught.
Is someone trying to send a message to the police?
Does this mean there will be more bodies?

Someone is watching Rizzoli and Isles

The investigation continues with much speculation and theories, but theories don’t catch killers! The autopsy turns up more mystery than hard evidence and the CCTV displays nothing more than a silhouette of a tall man. Not to mention the warring parents at the funeral of the victim. Rizzoli and Isles have little more than some sketchy theories and links to a previous new age cult. When the body of a dead man shows up, with similar findings. The duo know they have the work of a crazed killer on their hands.

“oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive” Holly

There appears no obvious link to the victims, other than a ‘mechanism of death’ used in the murders. *See I told you this was not for the faint hearted!*
The mechanism of death and theories that surround the case, make for fascinating reading. They force the duo to investigate painful cold cases and contact victims, who would rather forget the past.

I can’t give away anymore, with regards to the plot, because to do so would leave spoilers. I do look forward to hearing other readers shock and awe, when they hit the halfway mark! Because this novel has an insanely epic turn!
There are themes of revenge, abuse, family dynamics, religion and the pain of the past.
It is one hell of a good read! 5*    

TG
Tess Gerritsen
Authors Links:
Web page: http://www.tessgerritsen.com/
Twitter: @tessgerritsen

I Know a Secret - BT Banner Websites

 

#Review 5* #TheSummerOfImpossibleThings by @rowancoleman @EburyPublishing

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The Summer Of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman
Synopsis:

If you could change the past, would you?
****Get ready to believe in Impossible Things with the new book from international bestseller, Rowan Coleman. ****
How far would you go to save the person you love?
Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life.
Even if it means sacrificing her own.

My review:

Wow, wow, wow, I have just finished this novel and I can honestly say I am blown away! I haven’t felt this emotional since reading, For One More day by Mitch Albom shortly after my mother passed away. I had read many positive things about this novel, prior to buying it and I was intrigued to read the novel, all the book bloggers were raving about.

Having experienced the bereavement of a parent and in particular, my mother. The synopsis had a huge appeal to me. Wouldn’t we all like to meet our mothers, before we ever existed, to be there friend and know their views on the world etc. I know I personally would give anything to see my mother’s face again or hear her voice. I have a treasured photo of my mother taken in 1976, it is one of my favourites. She looks absolutely beautiful, she is just 16yrs old, so young and no idea, that the future would bring her so much happiness in her short life. I thought of that photo as I turned every page and for that I would like to thank the author!
cof
My mum 1976

Anyway this isn’t my story, it is Luna’s story. So on with the review, I shall press on…..

“Have faith in love, and let it guide you, and you never know. Impossible things happen all the time”

The novel opens up in June 2007 with sisters Luna and Pia dealing with the aftermath of their mother’s death. Their mother has passed via suicide and left many revelations in her wake! The sisters bond together to unravel the mystery’s that surrounds and unlock the secrets of their mothers past. They decide to travel to Bay Ridge in New York to learn more about their mother before she fled the states, whilst tying up financial responsibilities. Not knowing what happened to your mother or what drove her to suicide must be an eternal pain. This pain unifies the sisters and their bond is beautiful reading throughout the novel. They soon discover a series of parcels/messages their mother has left behind………

The novel continues to unravel its secrets, jumping between the past and the present and the simply impossible. For me, it felt like a journey of discovery and I could see the novel being very therapeutic to those, like myself who have lost their mother. The novel deals with some extremely difficult themes but always sensitively. I didn’t just read this novel. I devoured it and I will admit I wept a few tears at the end.
This novel is simply beautiful 5*

RC
Rowan Coleman
Authors Links:
Twitter: @rowancoleman
Web site: http://rowancoleman.co.uk/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/327467.Rowan_Coleman

5* #Review Q&A #IAmMissing @TimWeaverBooks @penguinrandom #WhoIsRichardKite #TheLostMan

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I Am Missing by Tim Weaver
(David raker #8)
Synopsis:

When a young man wakes up bruised and beaten, with no memory of who he is or where he came from, the press immediately dub him ‘The Lost Man’.

Naming himself Richard Kite, he spends the next ten months desperately trying to find out who he is. But despite media appeals and the efforts of the police, no one knows him.

Richard’s last hope may be private investigator David Raker – a seasoned locator of missing people. But Raker has more questions than answers.

Who is Richard Kite?

Why does no one know him?

And what links him to the body of a woman found beside a London railway line two years ago?

Could Richard be responsible for her death – or is he next?

My review:

I am a fan of the authors David Raker, missing persons, private investigator series. I find the theme of missing persons, very interesting, whenever I read real-life cases. I am often curious as to the circumstances someone disappeared and the lack of sightings or evidence. There is a case local to me, of a teenage boy that disappeared 20 years ago, never to be seen again. I cannot even begin to imagine the families pain and how much they must long to know what happened to their son.

With this novel in the series, the author has added a new unique spin into the plot. It is the missing person, seeking his help. Richard Kite was found broken and bruised by an RNLI station, in Southampton waters. He now suffers from dissociative amnesia, meaning he has limited memory and sadly that includes most of his personal details. He has no recollection of his real surname and no one has come forward to claim him, despite persistent help from medical professionals, a local reverend and police. The media have dubbed him #TheLostMan who is Richard Kite and what is his story?

PI David Raker begins his investigations by gathering further information from those in Kite’s life currently. His London based therapist and the local Reverend that has offered him help and support. When Raker gathers conflicting accounts, he decides to dig further. Raker soon discovers Kite’s phone contains spyware and he suspects Dr Naomi Russum of being involved. But why would she hinder Kite’s recovery? Why does she persist to show him photographs of an unknown female? Who is the unknown female?

Alternative chapters show the childhood background story of sisters Penny and Beth. Also extracts from an article written by Andrew Reece. At first I found these confusing, that was until, at the halfway mark, the novel takes a monumental turn and the penny drops! As the reader, you are never sure who to trust and their motives, within the plot. Which makes the novel unpredictable, edgy and never for one single page, boring!

It is impossible to leave a full review, as to give away parts of the plot/themes in the second half of the novel, would be to give spoilers. I am insanely impressed with this novel. Its complex multifaceted plot, that can only truly be appreciated when you turn the very last page…….
Highly recommended 5*

Q&A:

Q) I have followed your missing persons PI series, for quite some time. For any readers who may not know. Can you give a summary of yourself and David Raker?

A) Well, I’m much less interesting than David Raker, so I’ll get the boring bit out of the way first. I flunked my A-Levels and, more through luck than judgement, ended up at a publishing company as a magazine journalist, writing about games and tech mostly, but also some film and TV too. After that, I became an editor, running magazines rather than writing for them, and a long time after that (about twelve years!), I made the leap into full-time writing, mainly thanks to Richard and Judy, who picked my fourth book, NEVER COMING BACK, for their Book Club. I’m now on Book 8, I AM MISSING, and thanks to the support of all the wonderful readers out there, am still able to do what I do best: staring out of the window, praying for inspiration J

David Raker, meanwhile, has led a much more colourful life. He’s an ex-newspaper journalist who spent time in places like South Africa, the US, Iraq and Afghanistan, and then kind of stumbled into a career finding missing people after his much-loved wife, Derryn, lost a long battle with cancer. Looking for the missing helped him grieve, it gave him a purpose, and pretty soon, it became his entire life. He’s a smart, single-minded, brave, emotional, often vulnerable man, and damaged in a different way to some of the classic thriller heroes: except his weakness isn’t alcohol, or drugs, or women, it’s this persistent inability to adjust to his wife’s passing. He’s really quite a lonely soul.

Q) I was absolutely gripped by this novel and it was insanely difficult to review, due to the huge turn halfway through. I was adamant to not spoil this. What was the inspiration behind this twist?

A) It’s very hard to talk about the twists in the novel, or even their inspiration, without massively giving away the plot, so I’m going to dance around this question. What I will say is that I put a lot of time into trying to come up with new and interesting ways to surprise the reader, and this was no different. Also: thank you for not spoiling anything!

Q) The series runs with a missing persons theme. Something which fascinates me, also. Was there an individual case that inspired this novel?

A) Most of the books are amalgam’s of different, true-life investigations, but I AM MISSING was more directly inspired by a case from the States, where a man called Benjamin Kyle woke up, badly beaten, outside a Burger King, with no memory of who he was or where he’d come from. Authorities weren’t able to locate his identity, or a family, so he existed in this kind of hinterland, where he couldn’t get a social security number – and, therefore, become a part of the system – because he had no ID to prove who he was. There was a semi-happy ending for Kyle, but there’s a great Reddit thread where he talks about the challenges (physical, emotional, psychological) when you lose your memory.

Q) so many missing person’s cases have drawn my attention and I have continued to follow the story over many years even. From high profile to smaller, virtually unknown cases. Local to me, at the Isle Of Wight, there is a specific case of a young teenage boy, who vanished over 20 years ago and has never been seen since. The one thing the family struggled with in the early years of the investigation is the lack of media coverage. What are the virtually unknown cases, you have stumbled across in your research?

A) Oh, there’s tons of cases that didn’t get much publicity, but one that I always find very disturbing is the disappearance of Tara Calico. She was a 19 year old girl who vanished from her home town of Belen in New Mexico in 1988. There’s a great summation of the case here. If you’re a parent – or even if you’re not – it’s the sort of stuff to give you nightmares.

Q) What are your recommended reads in both fiction and non-fiction which cover missing person’s cases?

A) There are so many! I’ll give you a few you might not have read, though.

On the fiction side, I love Four Corners of Night by Craig Holden, which is an under-appreciated gem about two detectives working the case of a missing girl in America’s midwest, and who start to realise the disappearance is linked to another investigation they worked seven years before. I’m a huge fan of John Connolly’s early work as well, and The Unquiet – his sixth – handles difficult subject matter with a delicate hand as his protagonist Charlie Parker hunts for a missing psychiatrist and possible child abuser. And then there’s Night Film by Marisha Pessl, about a journalist’s hunt for a reclusive film director: this one is flawed, no doubt about it, especially the second half, but there’s just something about the world she creates that I absolutely love.

At the non-fiction end of things, a good one to check out is The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It’s not exactly a barnstorming page-turner but, if you have the patience, it’s an absolutely fascinating account of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, inter-connecting two stories: that of architect Daniel Burnham, who helped shape the look of modern-day Chicago, and the life of HH Holmes, one of the world’s first, documented serial killers. Him and his ‘Murder Castle’, the hotel he ran in the city, were responsible for tens – possibly hundreds – of disappearances in the run-up to the Fair.

Q) This novel differs from previous cases in the series. In that it is the missing person seeking to be found, himself. What was the research process for this and in particular into dissociative amnesia?

A) Obviously, it’s very important to get the details right, especially as dissociative amnesia is a very specific type of memory loss where the person forgets everything – not just individual events, or a few hours, or days, but absolutely all of themselves. But I treated my research into this much the same way as I treat my research into everything: as a balancing act. Too little research and the world you’ve built doesn’t feel genuine; too much, and it begins to feel like an encyclopaedia. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle.

People buy thrillers to be thrilled. If you can learn a few things along the way, then that’s perfect, but predominantly, it’s about entertainment. So, I always try to ensure the characters, their motivations, their histories, their specialisms, feel correct and realistic, but I take liberties as well. The liberties I take, I (hope!) I’m careful to disguise, but I’d never try to shoehorn in some interesting research or tons of facts at the expense of pace and tension.

Something else too: when you go out and chat to experts in the field, you end up with hours and hours of recordings, 99% of which is massively interesting, because the people you talk to are fascinating. One of the hardest bits of the job is trying to decide which bits to use, and which to leave out.

Q) This novel is extremely intense and I found myself completely engrossed in the plot and characters lives. What is your writing process? Do you write for long hours, until the story, themes and characters have moved from your imagination to the page?

A) My writing process is rated S for Stressful! I’m not really a fan of planning. At a basic level, I find it a bit boring, but I also think it’s hard to get a sense of the characters, who they are, their motivations, and how they interact with other people, until they’re on the page. So, my planning for a book basically involves knowing the start – a mysterious and unexplained disappearance – and how it, potentially, might end, but everything in between is up for grabs.

I think a part of it harks back to your second question – how do you surprise the reader? I find the best way to surprise the reader is to surprise yourself. If I don’t know something is going to happen until I get there – a twist, a death, an event – then there’s a very good chance that the reader won’t see it coming either. In essence, if I’m surprising myself, I’ll probably surprise the reader.

I’ll be honest, it’s a scary and sometimes unpredictable way of working, because you’re never ‘ahead’ of the story – you don’t really know what’s coming and what the resolution will be until you’re literally putting the words on the page, and there’s always the chance what you’ll come up with will be awful. But, most of the time, thankfully, it hasn’t been. In fact, some of the very best and biggest moments in the Raker books – the things I get emails about from readers – are almost always the things that I never planned, or even thought about, until I got there.

*Huge thanks for agreeing to appear on my blog in a Q&A. I wish you every success with the release of I Am Missing 🙂

TW
Tim Weaver
Authors Links:
Web: http://www.timweaverbooks.com/
Twitter: @TimWeaverBooks

 

 

#Novella 5* #Review #ADeathInSarajevo by @AusmaZehanat @MinotaurBooks

So, to follow on from my #TheUnquietDead #Review by Ausma Zehanat Khan. I have also reviewed the #Novella which picks up right at the end of, The Unquiet Dead.
I am super excited to share this review and my love for this series.
From Anne Bonny Book Review #HappyAusmaZehanatKhanDay 🙂

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A Death In Sarajevo by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Synopsis:

Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are asked to help unlock the secrets of a woman killed during the Bosnian war in this captivating story from acclaimed author Ausma Zehanat Khan.

An old friend from Esa’s past has reappeared in his life, reaching out to ask Esa for help solving a mystery about the woman he once loved. But before Esa can travel to Sarajevo to help his friend, he and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, must make it through a government inquiry that will not only affect their futures on the police force, but also test the strength of their partnership. Ausma’s trademark complex characters, atmospheric writing, and intricate plotting will mesmerize fans and new readers alike.

My review:

Having previously read and LOVED The Unquiet Dead by the same author, I was becoming desperate for my next fix, in the series. I was delighted to see it is scheduled for an October 2017 release via publishers No Exit. I was even more delighted to discover a novella that fits between the two novels. It is possibly the fastest I have ever downloaded an Ebook ever!!!!!!

The novella opens, following on from the previous case in The Unquiet Dead. With the crimes of Christopher Drayton looming over the lives of both community police officers. Esa and Rachel are facing a week long enquiry and their personal lives are being dragged out for all to see. In particular, Esa’s personal faith and beliefs. With the court assessing if fair justice was delivered, as Esa is a practising Muslim himself. Rachel is rather angered and dismayed at this and to be completely honest I was with her 100%. Esa has proven he is a fair and just man, yet time and time again he is vilified for his faith.
Is Esa going to suffer a fall from grace?

The enquiry is wrapped up and Esa receives a call from an old friend. The friend reminds Esa of a town called Waverley and a girl named Amira. The pair arrange to meet in SaraJevo. In SaraJevo, Esa is reacquainted with his old friend Skender. He shows Esa a photo which shows Amira months after she is believed to have died, when serb forces brought down her apartment block. Not only does she appear alive and well, she is dressed in the uniform of the ‘Bluebird Brigade’ an all-female army unit. But where is Amira now? Did she survive? Can Esa solve the mystery?

The novella packs on hell of a punch. It is a moving story with a moral message. Ausma Zehanat Khan knows how to blend historical fiction, with personal stories of those involved, to create heart-breaking reading!
5*

“forgiveness is all we have. It’s what makes us whole”

AZK
Ausma Zehanat Khan
Authors Links:
Web: http://www.ausmazehanatkhan.com/
Twitter: @AusmaZehanat

#HappyAusmaZehanatKhanDay 🙂