#BlogTour #Review #BreakingBones by @robwhite247 – Robert White @EndeavourPress #CrimeFiction #Preston

*Delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for this fantastic gritty northern novel!
I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review.*

Breaking_Bones
Breaking Bones by Robert White
Synopsis:

The streets of Preston are alive with music and banter.

But nothing can drown out the sound of breaking bones.

Inseparable since childhood and feared by their community, Tony, Eddie and Frankie are beyond the reach of justice.

The brutal gang, The Three Dogs, are a law unto themselves.

Detective Jim Hacker has watched The Dogs grow from thuggish youths to psychotic criminals. He seems to be the only one who wants to see their empire fall.

Meanwhile Jamie Strange, a young Royal Marine, finds himself embroiled in the lives of The Three Dogs when his girlfriend, Laurie Holland, cuts off their engagement… to be with the most dangerous of The Dogs: Frankie Verdi.

Jamie vows to save Laurie, before Frankie damns them both.

Every dog will have its day.

This gritty, addictive crime story, fizzes with the energy of the eighties.

My review:

Breaking Bones is set in my home town county of Lancashire. The novel centres around a criminal gang The Three Dogs. From their early years adolescence to their adulthood criminal empire. The copper attempting to take them down Detective Jim Hacker is met with a wall of silence.
The Three Dogs run the Moor Nook estate in Preston, they rule with drugs, money, violence and fear! Everyone is terrified of being on their bad side!

The Three Dogs, themselves as a gang, form an interesting mixture of violent gangsters. Preston’s answer to the Krays but set in the 1980s.
Leader of The Three Dogs, is Frankie Verdi. A violent psychopath, with no respect for anybody outside of his gang. Verdi is a terrifying individual, one you would hope never to meet.
Tony Thompson is the biggest in size of the three, but with learning difficulties, he is merely the muscle of the organisation. I would say Tony is the only one, that comes close to holding any empathy/sympathy for others.
Finally, we have Eddie Williams, Eddie is a complex character. He is a man living with a secret and a deep obsessional love for womaniser Verdi. He is ruthless with his ambition and devoted to the gang!
All three ‘dogs’ have a extremely strong bond of brotherhood. One that has already withstood many tests. By adulthood the bond is simply unbreakable. Making them an untouchable, savage and brutal gang!

Detective Jim Hacker is close personal friends with Harry Strange. They met when Hacker worked the investigation into Harry’s wife’s death. Harry’s young son Jamie is in the Royal Marines. Throughout the novel he faces war in the Falklands and the troubles of Northern Ireland. Usually with best friend and fellow squaddie Richard ‘Birdman’ Valance, by his side.
I felt the portrayal of Jamie and ‘Birdman’ as military best friends, very accurate indeed. My husband is a veteran of 15 year’s military service, it really is a brotherhood that never dies!
Jamie is dumped by fiancé Laurie Holland, as he returns to camp after his mother’s funeral. Laurie has set her sights on Frankie Verdi, a decision she will no doubt come to regret.
Laurie’s character has had a turbulent and abusive childhood, leading her to believe that access to power, respect and fear will bring safety! Laurie is sadly misguided in this belief.

“I’ll have you Laurie, make no mistake nothing and no one will stop me”
Frankie Verdi.

As the plot unravels we see all the characters mature and develop. Jamie experiences the brutality of war, which changes every man it touches. The Three Dogs rise in their criminal enterprises and Laurie learns some harsh truths, as the life of a gangster’s moll.
This novel is incredibly detailed, and I most definitely recommend! It has violence, gangs, drug empires and portrays the life of a violent gang kingpin. It vividly depicts how the love of money is the root of all evil!

It has a phenomenal ending, which literally reads right to the very last page!
4.5*

RW
Robert White 
Authors links:
Website: http://www.robertwhiteauthor.co.uk
Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/robertwhiteauthor/
Twitter: @robwhite247

Endeavour Press
Website: http://www.endeavourpress.com
Twitter: @EndeavourPress
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourPress/
Instagram: @endeavour_press

#Review The Mountain by Luca D’Andrea @maclehosepress #NewRelease 4.5* @CorinnaZifko @bookbridgr @HowardCurtis49

*I received an arc via Bookbridgr in return for an honest review*

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The Mountain by Luca D’Andrea
Translated by Howard Curtis
Synopsis:
A CURSED PLACE. A COLD CASE. A KILLER WHO LEFT NO TRACE.
Jeremiah Salinger blames himself. The crash was his fault. He was the only survivor. Now the depression and the nightmares are closing in. Only his daughter Clara can put a smile on his face.
But when he takes Clara to the Bletterbach – a canyon in the Dolomites rich in fossil remains – he overhears by chance a conversation that gives his life renewed focus. In 1985 three students were murdered there, their bodies savaged, limbs severed and strewn by a killer who was never found.
Salinger, a New Yorker, is far from home, and these Italian mountains, where his wife was born, harbour a close-knit, tight-lipped community whose mistrust of outsiders can turn ugly. All the same, solving this mystery might be the only thing that can keep him sane.
Translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis

My review:

WOW! This novel is so much more in-depth than its synopsis! At the beginning I found the novel to be rather, slow burning and jumps from one event to another. However, once it gets going it is HIGHLY addictive!
The characterisation is brilliant, you slowly warm to protagonist, Jeremiah Salinger.
But once he had me, I was completely gripped at watching the plot unravel, through Jeremiah’s eyes!

Jeremiah Salinger, known as Salinger. Is married to the beautiful Annelise and has a young daughter Clara. Salinger is a documentary film maker with her best friend Mike McMellan. When Salinger’s career begins to struggle, his wife recommends a trip, to her native isolated home of Siebenhoch in Italy.
A break Salinger welcomes.
But Annelise may live to regret………..

Once arrived at the atmospheric location of Siebenhoch, Salinger has lengthy conversations with his father-in-law, Werner. Siebenhoch is a small remote village situated at an altitude of 1400 metres. The now, elderly Werner delights Salinger with tales from his time running and operating the Dolomite mountain rescue. This inspires Salinger to re-start the mountain rescue team. A move that does not go according to plan!
When a rescue mission goes wrong and leaves everyone dead except Salinger, he becomes a shunned man in the village. Combine that with the mental trauma of being the sole survivor and you have a very broken and devastated Salinger……….

It is during his recovery from this disastrous rescue mission, that Salinger learns of the Bletterbach killings of 1985! A case that could destroy not only Salinger but everything and everyone he holds dear. But without the beauty of hindsight and Salinger’s curious investigative mind. A re-opening of the case is born…..

“I’ll tell you everything I know without leaving anything out, and in return you promise me that you won’t let yourself be devoured by this story” – Werner

Salinger must be discreet, his wife has ensured he take a vow of sabbatical, from work, for at least a year, after the devastating rescue. But it isn’t long until Salinger is seeking out the help of local police officer Chief Max Krun. Salinger learns that three young adults went up to the secluded area of Bletterbach and were slaughtered in a brutal murder. The killer was never found, and the small village has never recovered from the deaths of Evi, Markus and Kurt. The crime scene is described in graphic detail, various limbs and heads missing from the victims. The aftermath of the crime plunged the surviving parents into a life of alcoholism and suicide.
Something, Salinger himself understands, only too well.

“That horror went inside you and you couldn’t leave” – Werner

There was little media coverage of the crime due to the remote location. There were no viable suspects, despite everyone in the area being investigated. There was no identifiable motive!
Who killed the group? And why?
Salinger just can’t get the case out of his head. He becomes determined to solve it once and for all.
Salinger’s investigation continues in secret but at quite a rapid pace. The novel may open slowly, but the investigation ignites the pace and makes for gripping reading! The locals react rather hostile towards Salinger and he learns that he must be-friend them before, he asks prying and painful questions.

“The Bletterbach is just a graveyard for monsters” – Verena

“Let’s leave the dead where they are they’re happier than us” – Hermann

The novel contains some fantastic writing and a twist you will NOT see coming! I was genuinely amazed at how much this seemingly cold case, gripped me. In the process of his case Salinger uncovers revelation after revelation, some of which shake him to his core!
I am so pleased that the novel is being translated into 30 languages, so that more readers can enjoy the amazing writing of, debut author Luca D’Andrea! 4.5*

“Some say you become an adult when you bury your parents; others, when you become a parent yourself. I didn’t agree with either of these two philosophies. You become an adult when you learn to apologise” – Jeremiah Salinger

#BlogTour #Review Can You Keep A Secret? by @KarenPerryBooks @PenguinUKBooks @penguinrandom

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Can You Keep A Secret? by Karen Perry
Synopsis:

It’s time for a reunion
Lindsey hasn’t spoken to Rachael in twenty years, not since her brother’s 18th birthday party at their parents’ remote country house.

A night that shattered so many friendships – and left Rachel’s father dead.
Now Thornbury Hall is up for sale, and the old gang are back there, together again.
A weekend to say goodbye to the old place, to talk about the past.
But twenty years of secrets aren’t given up lightly. Some won’t speak about what happened that night.

While others want to ensure that no one does.
Surviving the weekend is going to depend on whether you can keep a secret . . .

My review:

This novel is set between two eras the present day 2017 and the 1990’s. The novel consistently reflects between the protagonist’s adult lives and their childhood, in particular Patrick’s 18th birthday party spent at Thornbury Hall in 1991.

The novel opens with Lindsey assessing the forensics at a nearby crime scene in Ireland. She decides to pay a call on Thornbury Hall, where she enjoyed many summers with her childhood best friend Rachel. When she arrives she is greeted by Rachel’s brother Patrick, they reminisce over the old days and eventually become quite close. Lindsey is plagued by ill health, a brain tumour behind her optic nerve. When she is off work and recuperating romance blossoms. It is at this point Patrick decides to sell Thornbury Hall, promising Lindsey a future full of travel and dreams.
But not before one last big reunion……….

Lindsey isn’t keen on this idea, but relents as it is what Patrick wants. The novel continues with reflective chapters and we learn that Rachel and Lindsey are now, more like sworn enemies. All due to a secret long held in the past. But what causes friends to hate one another? And how will that factor into Lindsey and Patrick’s plans for their future?

It isn’t long until all the old gang assemble at Thornbury Hall and the secrets and lies begin to surface. There are sinister secrets, dark pasts and betrayal.
Will all the jealousy and anger bubble over?

To learn more of the secrets of Thornbury Hall, you will have to read the novel!

karen-perry
Karen Perry
Paul Perry & Karen Gillece
Authors bio:

Paul Perry is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books. A winner of The Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year Award, he is a lecturer in creative writing at Kingston University, London, and course director in poetry at the Faber Academy in Dublin.
Karen Gillece is the author of four critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland).

Authors Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenPerryAuthor/
Twitter: @KarenPerryBooks

#Review Dark House by @helenphifer1 @bookouture #DILucyHarwin #CrimeFiction #Series #MooreAsylum

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Dark House by Helen Phifer
synopsis:

A shadowy figure in the dark was dragging something heavy behind them. Lizzy pulled the covers over her head, then realised what was being dragged…

For years, the Moore Asylum housed the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But now, a man is found brutally murdered in the derelict building, strapped to a steel trolley, launching a terrifying investigation for Detective Lucy Harwin.

Lucy quickly discovers the victim was once a Moore Asylum doctor, and when a woman also linked to the home is found murdered on her doorstep, Lucy knows she must dig into its history. What dark secrets lie within the asylum’s walls – what was the scandal leading to its closure thirty years ago?

With her own demons to fight, Lucy starts to uncover the heartbreaking tale of the Moore Asylum children, and begins to wonder: who will be the next victim?

My review:

Detective Lucy Harwin #1
A new series by an author whose novels I have previously enjoyed!
I was quite easily #Sold!
I realised the second the series, Dying Breath was due for release and decided to catch up with the first in the series beforehand!
So hold fire, my review for Dying breath, will be following shortly!

The synopsis details the location of Brooklyn Bay and more importantly the crumbling Moore Asylum! Once a home for mentally ill children, the asylum is now a decaying mess left to rot. Much like its patients of 30 years ago. But what was the scandal that finally closed the asylum?

The prologue opens back in September 1975, there are several chapters from this era which slowly unravel the brutality rolled out within the asylum’s walls.
The prologue tells us about Alice (15yrs) and Lizzy (9yrs), their budding friendship and what they witness happen to little Tommy with his ‘treatment’.
Make sure you hug and kiss your children, before you tuck in to read!

The Moore asylum ‘treated’ a wide range of children’s needs. From those who are mentally ill, to those who would nowadays, live with their families in a much more accepting society. I myself, am the mother of an 11-year-old autistic boy. Who has exhausted main stream education settings. I was well aware, as I turned the pages, had he been born within a different era. Life wouldn’t have been so beautiful for him.
The mistreatment and abuse of children in settings, originally designed to protect and nurture them, is mainstream news. It is still happening to this very day!
But back in the 1970s, with fewer safeguards, abuse was rife!

DI Lucy Harwin is called to the derelict asylum, with reports of a dead body at the scene. Lucy, her partner Mattie and pathologist Dr Catherine Maxwell discover that the body appears to have sustained, a death inducing injury, similar to that of a lobotomy!
But who would want to lobotomise an old man? Why choose this location? And who is the victim?

Lucy’s personal life unravels throughout the novel and she makes for a likeable character and protagonist. Lucy is a career copper and has at times put duty before her family. Ultimately paying the toughest price in the breakdown of her marriage. Her teenage daughter now blames her and is rebelling beyond Lucy’s reach.
Lucy has it far from easy………

The case advances at an easy pace, allowing the reader to fully absorb all the details. The past of the asylum is explored and there are chapters from the killer’s perspective. I was gripped on the chapters from September 1975. I was desperate to learn more about the asylum and its former patients/inmates.

When another dead body is discovered, and the victim also has links to the asylum. The coppers know, the answers lie in the past.
How many more lives must be destroyed at the Moore asylum?

This novel is a police procedural, mixed with a creepy asylum backstory. The characters are interwoven perfectly!

HP
Helen Phifer
Authors links:
Website: https://www.helenphifer.com/
Twitter: @helenphifer1

#Review Degrees Of Darkness by @TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook #CrimeFiction

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Degrees Of Darkness by Tony J Forder
Synopsis:
A gripping serial killer thriller

Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank unravel the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

My review:

Author Tony J Forder has previously appeared on my blog for a guest post spot, and I knew his novels were very dark in theme! But just how dark, was quite terrifying!
The novel has some dark and disturbing characters, which makes this an exceptional serial killer thriller!

The novel opens as Janet Rogers checks on her children Gary (8yrs) and Laura (12yrs) before bed! Within three hours the family will be dead, and Laura abducted into the cold dark night!
The depiction of the abduction sets the pace/tone of this novel. If you can’t hack that, then don’t read any further……….

“I am the dark, Laura”

Frank Rogers is an ex-MET detective, turned debt collector. He separated from his wife Janet a year ago. A marriage broken by Frank’s dedication to his career. When DCI Nicky Loizou, best mate and upstanding copper, arrives at Frank’s workplace. Frank knows this must mean bad news! Nicky offers Frank access to evidence and official findings. So that Frank may work the case incognito.

It soon becomes clear the murders/abduction, aren’t a single crime but the work of a serial offender. The killer has destroyed seven families previously and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon! He won’t stop, until the police catch him!

“What I don’t understand right now is why he takes them. What does he want with them?” – Frank

Franks appears emotionless and I put this down to him being in shock and having the experience of a seasoned detective. Frank knows how these cases play out, he can predict the next move of the police. He is desperate to have his daughter back to safety. But he is also aware, hasty actions lead to mistakes!
Frank is a difficult character to debate. Did I warm to him, no. but did I think he was fascinating and intelligent, yes.
Frank’s experience and knowledge of killers, plays a significant role in making this plot work. Listening to Frank’s thoughts summarising the case, is haunting and yet compelling!
Frank knows that as you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares right back at you!

“Sometimes you had to bend the rules. Perhaps soon would come the time to break them”

One thing is for certain, the killer that lurks amongst the pages of this novel is a monster in a human guise.
There are chapters written from the killers thoughts and they make your skin crawl; terrifying and disturbing, yet I must read on………..

As the bodies begin to pile up. The detectives become aware, they are facing one of the sickest killers in their entire careers. Then the killer (using an alias of Oscar) calls in and begins to taunt Frank of his daughter’s dire situation.
Can Frank catch a killer? Or will Frank become a monster too?

Read, Degrees Of Darkness and decide for yourself…………

TJF
Tony J Forder
Author links:
Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/
Twitter: @TonyJForder