Anne Bonny #BookReview Crime Scene by Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman @JesseKellerman #CrimeFiction @headlinepg @bookbridgr ‘The novel covers the theme of redemption and a person’s moral obligation to right their wrongs…..’

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Crime Scene by Jonathan & Jesse Kellermen
Review copy
Synopsis:

Natural causes or foul play? That’s the question deputy coroner Clay Edison must answer each time he examines a body. Figuring out motives and chasing down suspects aren’t part of his beat – until a seemingly open-and-shut case proves to be more than meets his highly trained eye.

Eccentric, reclusive Walter Rennert lies cold at the bottom of his stairs. At first glance the scene looks straightforward: a once-respected psychology professor done in by booze and a bad heart. But his daughter Tatiana insists that he has been murdered, and she persuades Clay to take a closer look at the grim facts of Rennert’s life.

When Clay learns that Rennert’s colleague died in a nearly identical manner, he becomes even more determined to discover the truth behind the man’s death. The twisting trail Clay follows will lead him into the darkest corners of the human soul.

It’s his job to listen to the tales told by the dead. But this time, he’s part of a story that makes his blood run cold.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this novel focused around a deputy coroner. It reminded me of my teens watching episodes of Quincy. I think the angle of the protagonist being a coroner, worked incredibly well. Although there are multiple references of death and methods of dying obviously.

‘When I meet new people, they’re usually dead’

The novel opens with Deputy Coroner Clay Edison called to the scene of a dead body. The victim is 18yr old Seth Lindley Powell, it is unclear at first how he died, and this gives you a whole new respect for coroners and pathologists. The work they do, to get results for the family.

‘There are an infinite number of ways to die but only five manners of death. Homicide, suicide, natural, accidental and undetermined’

Seth’s death involved multiple factors, was he drinking? Did he fall? Was he pushed? Eventually it is ruled an accident. But it is still on Edison’s mind 5yrs later when he is called back to the same town.

‘My job begins with the dead but continues with the living’

Edison is called to the residence of Dr Walter Rennert a 75yr old retired psychologist. His daughter Tatiana is at the scene and found the body. She is adamant it is not an accident and a case of murder. Edison gives her time, respect and most importantly listens to her story. He then continues to evaluate the scene.

The scene suggests an accidental fall, but on further search the team discover a bottle of Risperidone (anti-psychotic) only 5 days old and prescribed by a different doctor to Rennert’s usual physician. Why is a psychologist administering anti-psychotics to himself, when he knows the impact of the medication with his heart problems? Something about the medications presence unnerves Edison and leads him to investigate further. . .

‘A lying doctor; the echo of a fall; a murderer walking the streets’

The case of Walter Rennert’s death is extremely complex and goes deep into his past and career. Specifically, a study the doctor organised on the theme of media violence on the developing brain. Which led to the murder of a young student Donna Zhao.
The young man convicted of the murder seemed to fit the ‘perfect’ police profile.

‘Most mentally ill people – the vast statistical majority – weren’t violent’

How does Walter’s fall down the stairs relate to the conviction of Julian E Triplett? Where is Julian? Why are the doctors involved in the study so secretive?

The novel covers the theme of redemption and a person’s moral obligation to right their wrongs. It is a stark insight into the American justice system. 4*

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Jonathan Kellerman
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Jesse 1
Jesse Kellerman
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Anne Bonny #Review You Will Pay by @readlisajackson 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @MulhollandUK @bookbridgr #YouWillPay

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You Will Pay by Lisa Jackson
Synopsis:

It starts as a prank – a way to blow off steam after a long summer at Camp Horseshoe. Monica O’Neal has it coming, and no one will really get hurt…

Twenty years later, detective Lucas Dalton is investigating the discovery of human remains at the old campsite. Lucas worked there during the infamous summer when two girls went missing.

That’s why he’s called five former counsellors back to town – including Bernadette Warden, the woman Lucas has never forgotten. Each one knows something about that terrible night. And as they reunite, a new horror unfolds. First comes a simple, terrifying message:
YOU WILL PAY

My review:

The novel revolves around one summer at Camp Horseshoe twenty years ago. The location of a Christian summer camp, set deep in the Oregon woods sets the scene immediately. The cast of characters, is mostly the teens who stayed there the fateful summer two teenagers went missing, never to be seen again…..

The chapters flip between then and now. There are a wealth of characters, which may at times be confusing but also generates various perspectives.
It certainly keeps the reader on their toes.

In the present day, Lucas Dalton is now a senior detective with the sheriff’s department. When he is informed human remains have been located at the camp. But Lucas isn’t just any local cop investigating. Lucas knows the camp very well, as his father was the preacher who owned it.

‘The sins of the past about to reveal themselves and Lucas Dalton was there, front and center’

Lucas’s father Jeremiah Dalton is the sort of man who believes wholeheartedly in Christian standards. As long as, they apply to other people. However, running a camp full of hormonal teenagers, it isn’t long until Jeremiah has some sinners in the woods.

The infamous summer two girls went missing, one assumed drowned and washed out to sea. The other feared murdered by an escaped convict on the loose. Whilst Lucas should be scrambling for clues, forensics and evidence. He is actively seeking to remove evidence of his own involvement. What does Lucas know? Why is he so desperate to cover his own tracks?

The novel opens with a distressed pregnant teen Elle, feeling suicide is her only option. On the dark rainy night, she hangs over the edge of the bay in tears…. She is pushed……

‘Your baby. Your problem. Take care of it’

But Elle isn’t the only pregnant teen at Camp Horseshoe and she certainly isn’t the only one with secrets. In the present day, five of the former campers make their way back to Oregon. They aren’t returning to see justice is set in motion. They are returning to ensure their version of the truth is enforced. But not all the campers are happy with this plan.

Jo-Beth, Reva, Sosi, Bernadette and Annette return. Each has their own agenda for ensuring their stories are maintained. Their motives vary and the each show a side of the girls, they dislike. The side you never want your parents to see.
Jo-Beth is the self-imposed queen-bee. She was a domineering bully over the other girls. Only now they are grown, and they plan on finally standing up to her.
They are no longer, easily led teenage girls.

‘Jo-Beth was as close to a psychopath as she’d ever want to meet’

The plan that fateful night, was set in motion by Jo-Beth. Jealous and angry, she plotted the takedown of one of her peers. But what started as a simple ‘scare’ rapidly developed to ‘put the fear of god’ into the girl.

Camp rules are made to be broken

One of the former campers, is now a reporter and she implements herself into the investigation at every turn. But what she lacks in facts, she makes up for, in her determination to get to the truth. The secrets will be revealed.

The whole theme of ‘the sins of their youth’ coming back to haunt the girls, works incredibly well. The scheming and viciousness of the girls is second to none. There is a saying hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, only this time, it is teenage girls and they are unashamedly furious!!!!!!!!
As you read the novel, you do feel an emotional pull towards some of the girls. But others, you hope you never have the unfortunate chance to come across.

‘Teenagers run in herds and have an us-against-them mentality’

The novel reminded me of a TV series, I watched years ago called Harper’s Island. By this I mean the remote location and angst of the characters. However, there’s also a whole Friday 13th vibe. I can easily see the appeal to mature/older readers of YA. I think teenagers work incredibly well as protagonists, they are complex and emotional. Yet can be wise beyond their years. The ending is full of twists and turns, whilst some a little too far-fetched for me. I can see they’ll appeal to most readers.
Scattered with teenage angst and emotional pain 5*

LJ
Lisa Jackson
Website
Twitter

#Review Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn @SceptreBooks @bookbridgr

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

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Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn
Synopsis:
Set in Northfield, an understaffed military psychiatric hospital immediately before the NHS is founded, Walking Wounded is the story of a doctor and his patient: David Reece, a young journalist-to be whose wartime experiences in Burma have come back to haunt him violently; and Daniel Carter, one of the senior psychiatrists, a man who is fighting his own battles as well as those of his patients.

This moving and impressive debut explores violence and how much harm it does to those forced to inflict it in the name of war. It also captures the dilemmas of the medics themselves as they attempt to ‘fix’ their patients, each of whom raise the question of what has happened to their humanity, what can be done to help them, and what we are willing to sacrifice in the name of healing.

My review:

If you already follow my blog, you will be aware I am a HUGE ww2 fiction and non-fiction fanatic!
I was intrigued by this novel. Not only its themes of world war two but the treatment of mental health and in particular PTSD brought on by combat stress. The era of 1947 offered little in the way of research and psychiatry was a relatively new field. Especially in terms of, actually achieving any worthwhile outcomes.
The UK psychiatric/psychological sectors were heavily influenced by their American counterparts. This was at a time when America had just ‘discovered’ the lobotomy………

Northfield military psychiatric hospital is the setting of the novel. An asylum on the brink of closure, due to the new formation of the national health service. Dr Daniel Carter is the physician for which we follow throughout the novel. Dr Carter is tormented by a case from his own past and whilst his colleagues relish the chance at the new surgical theories from America. Dr Carter is determined to find another way.

Cpl David Reece is a newly arrived patient. Prior to the war David had some experience in journalism, but this has since been abandoned; due to his psychological trauma of his experiences of Burma during the war. David arrives at the hospital a year after being demobbed, after an altercation only referred to as the ‘incident’.
But the reader becomes well-aware that the ‘incident’ holds a greater relevance to David’s backstory, his experiences in the war and his mental wellbeing. Can Dr Carter unearth the significance of this incident?

The other patients are slowly introduced into the plot. John Bain a deserter arrives stating “Treatment means the blues”. Dr Hunter is a physician very much in favour of the medical model of surgery. Not to mention Freddie, a patient having spent much of his time at the hospital in silence, staring into space.
The patients are locked into the unit, until they’ve been assessed by a doctor. Something that doesn’t sit easy with David.

“I can’t see how it will ever be OK again. Not for any of us loonies and misfits in here” – David Reece

The novel then goes into greater detail of the individual characters backgrounds. Their war stories, relationships and hopes for the future.
Young men whose hopes for the future were already dashed once, on the outbreak of war. How do you piece these men back together again?

‘The Great British soldier was expected to count himself lucky he’d come through it and just get on with it’

The themes of survivor’s guilt and depiction of the war scenes the soldiers have witnessed struck a chord with me.
Are we not still failing our soldiers, in the exact same way now? A true lack of understanding and a lack of a desire to understand, what war does to the mind of the brave!

The novel continues at a slow burning pace. There is no need to rush the stories of the individuals. The veteran’s or the doctor’s, and we learn that some of the doctors are just as complicated as the very men they treat.
The novel debates the theory of ‘compulsory mourning’ treatment administered by Dr Main. A theory some may find horrifying!
The author has done a fantastic amount of research into the mental health care and treatment available in the era. The differing opinions of doctors and the impact on patients.

‘Thou shall not wallow’ Commandment of all military psychiatrists.

There are heartfelt moments, when John Bain explains his alter ego to David. How it made him feel human again. It is then that you realise, that is all these men want, their humanity back.
But can Dr Carter perform, what seems the impossible, before surgical routes are explored instead?

This novel reads like a fictionalised autobiography. The two protagonists are Dr Carter and David Reece. I felt at times this lessened the impact of their stories. I feel the novel would have been better constructed from one central protagonists point of view.
At 261 pages, this is a shorter novel. Yet I felt there was so much more room for added characters or depth of the central characters. I loved the historical accuracy, setting and general plot of the novel. I just failed to fully connect with any of the characters on a deep level. I wanted to root for David’s recovery and John’s freedom, instead the novel played out in a very blunt manner, without much further explanation or emotion.

I would recommend to fans of the world war two genre and anyone with an interest of the mental health treatments of yesteryear. 4*

 

My #BlogTour #Review of #TheConfession by @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks #CrimeFiction #NewRelease 5* by @annebonnybook

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

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The Confession by Jo Spain
Synopsis:

SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE NOT ALL THEY SEEM…
SOMETIMES THE TRUTH HIDES A SECRET…
SOMETIMES A CONFESSION IS THE BEGINNING… NOT THE END

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. It looks like Harry’s many sins – corruption, greed, betrayal – have finally caught up with him.

An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself in, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.

Has Carney’s surrender really been driven by a guilty conscience or is this confession the first calculated move in a deadly game?

My review:

This is one of them novels that has ALL the hype and it is totally and utterly deserved!
As you read the novel your opinions on the individual characters change with every chapter! At times you loathe them and at times you have so much empathy for their plights! I didn’t know if I was coming or going, with regards to the characters, but they are so engrossing, they read right up until the very last page………….

The novel opens with the scene of a barbaric and violent assault on Harry McNamara. As the reader, the scene instantly conjures up a million questions! Why did the killer strike at Harry? What is the motive? Who is the killer?

The pace of the novel then slows a little, as it details the life story of Harry and wife Julie. How they came to be married, what has occurred in Harry’s career and ultimately, why someone may hate him enough, to take a golf club to his head!!!!!

On the other side of the Irish town John Paul Carney (JP) hands him into the police station. He confesses to the crime of murder and the detectives are left baffled at to the reasoning. JP claims to have no vivid memory of the assault and admits that he simply ‘lost it’. But why what is JP’s link to Harry? Why target Harry? One thing is for certain, this was no random attack……..

The novel then details JP’s early life from childhood to adulthood. The poverty, abuse and mistreatment he has endured is laid bare, for all to see. Yet he still sticks to his original story. This continues to frustrate and rile DS Alice Moody, as she becomes convinced of a connection. Does an abusive childhood nurture a future killer?

“Seamie was a shit dad, but everyone knew the system was a cesspit for kids” – JP

JP’s internal dialogue continues to have the reader engaging with his personal story. I started to warm to his character and almost became defensive of this violent killer!!!

“What mad me this way?
I don’t know. Can you ever really know why you are the way you are?” JP

This novel has it all revenge, betrayal, loyalty, honour and unbreakable bonds. With a toxic marriage at its core, I was absolutely hooked on the blame triangle between Harry, Julie and JP.
If you are a fan of the psychological/thriller genre, then you will LOVE this novel! 5*

“Everything about that night had fate, written all over it”

JS
Jo Spain
Authors page
Twitter

Don’t miss the other blogs on the #BlogTour

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#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