#Review #EvilGames by @WriteAngie Angela Marsons @bookouture 5* #CrimeFiction #Series

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Evil Games by Angela Marsons
Synopsis:

The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game…

When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal.

My review:

I have heard lots about this series, from my blogger friend Sarah Hardy over at By The Letter Book Reviews. But sometimes it takes me awhile, to get round to reading a book recommendation. I am so glad I finally got round to reading the DI Kim Stone series. I now plan on buying ALL the others in the series. I must acknowledge for fairness, I started with this one, not at the start of the series. I often do this, if a specific synopsis appeals to me. Having worked in adult mental health previously for ten years, this was the perfect novel for me.
There are some amazingly on point, examples of mental health. So to my review…

I would describe this as police procedural and also very realistic. As DI Kim Stone and her team battle to solve multiple cases. I really liked Stone, as broken as she is inside, it only made me admire her more! She is savvy, feisty and ruthless in her pursuit of justice. The novel opens with her raiding a paedophiles property and taking his two young daughters into protective custody. You can feel Stone’s anger at the dire situation the young girls were placed in and she completely empathises with the victims.
She is determined to uncover everything about what took place, in Leonard Dunn’s cellar of depravity.

Across town Dr Alexander Thorne is attempting to help rape victim Ruth, heal after her brutal attack. The knowledge that her attacker has been released from prison, has caused a recent suicide attempt. Ruth is not well and desperately needs some support. Alex asks her to visualise stabbing her victim and obtaining ‘her light back’ and so the manipulation begins……..

Stone is called out to a crime scene where a convicted rapist has been found murdered. Viciously murdered in a stabbing. The reader is obviously aware of the two overlapping victims. But Stone is not, what comes next will pit these damaged women against each other. The developing mind games between Stone and Alex plays out, almost reminiscent of Batman and the joker. Both determined to break the others will.

There is a wealth of characters in the novel and many struck at my heart strings. The character of Shane, a childhood sexual abuse survivor, was heart-breaking. I began to despise Alex myself and every manipulative stunt she pulled angered me more and more. I would possibly go as far as saying she is one of the vilest characters I have ever read!

When the team discover evidence that another person was present in Leonard’s cellar, they rush to find out who. Attempting to gather information from the young victims Daisy and Louisa, proves fruitless. But then DNA evidence is uncovered, now the team just need to find a credible suspect. As Alex begins to dig into Stone’s past, Stone is returning the favour. One thing is clear, when these two finally come head to head. It is going to be, one epic showdown! The novel had me hooked from beginning to end and the author even saved an epic twist, for right at the very end. I am now off to buy the rest in this series and devour them as and when I can!
Highly recommended.
A huge bright and shiny 5*

AM
Angela Marsons
Authors links:
Website: http://angelamarsons-books.com/
Twitter: @WriteAngie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7942666.Angela_Marsons
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaMarsonsAuthor/

#BlogTour #GuestPost #FoxHunter by @authorzoesharp #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Action

*I have swapped #BlogTour dates with the lovely Ayo from Shotsmag Confidential, due to being in hospital, apologises to the author & publisher*

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Fox Hunter by Zoe Sharp
Synopsis:
The dead man had not gone quietly … There was a time when I would have given everything I owned to be the one responsible for that.’

Charlie Fox will never forget the men who put a brutal end to her military career, but she vowed a long time ago she would not go looking for them.

Now she doesn’t have a choice.

Her boss and former lover, Sean Meyer, is missing in Iraq where one of those men was working as a private security contractor. When the man’s butchered body is discovered, Charlie fears that Sean may be pursuing a twisted vendetta on her behalf.

Sean’s partner in their exclusive New York close-protection agency needs this dealt with—fast and quiet—before everything they’ve worked for is in ruins. He sends Charlie to the Middle East with very specific instructions:

Find Sean Meyer and stop him. By whatever means necessary.

At one time Charlie thought she knew Sean better than she knew herself, but it seems he’s turned into a violent stranger. As the trail grows more bloody, Charlie realises that unless she can get to Sean first, the hunter may soon become the hunted.

#GuestPost:

THE IRAQ WAR AND CHARLIE FOX

Zoë Sharp

I deliberately did not set out to put Charlie Fox down into the middle of the Iraq wars. For a start, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that led to the Gulf War took place in 1990-1991, which is rather early for Charlie to be involved unless she enlisted in the army as a very young girl soldier. The second major Iraq War with Western allies, which ended in the fall of Saddam Hussein, finished in 2011, by which time Charlie had been back in civvy street for some time.

 

Considering the way time can be stretched and compressed in the world of a book, though, there’s no reason she couldn’t have played an active military role in any of the conflicts of the late 1990s or early 2000s. After all, when Robert B Parker wrote the first of the books to feature his classic private detective, Spenser, (THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT, published in 1973) the character was described as a veteran of the Korean War of 1950-1953. This would have made Spenser a somewhat elderly (but still remarkably agile) man by the time the fortieth novel in the series, SIXKILL, came out in 2011, a year after Parker himself died at his desk. However, because book-time was in play Spenser was able to remain ageless to the last, existing in a kind of floating ever-present.

 

I deliberately did not want to place Charlie into a full-blown military situation in my latest book, FOX HUNTER, as that period of her life belongs in the past. I know Lee Child has returned several times to Jack Reacher’s service as a military cop, but I have already made it clear that Charlie’s time in uniform did not end well, and I didn’t want to take her back there.

 

Not yet, anyway.

 

I do intend to return to Charlie’s army past in the project I’m currently working on, which will be a prequel to the series. It will detail not how she came to be thrown out of Special Forces training, but what she had to do in order to be chosen for it in the first place.

But that, as they say, is another story.

For FOX HUNTER, I wanted to take Charlie to the Middle East in general—and Iraq in particular—but in more contemporary, post-war times. I wanted to explore the roles of women in this uncertain and shifting landscape, both those working in the male-dominated profession of the private military contractor, and those living day-to-day amid the threat of violence and retribution. In this situation, Charlie is both an outside observer, able to empathise only too well with victims, and very much an active participant.

 

By focusing down onto individual stories rather than global themes, I hoped to portray a broader picture of this troubled area, where good and evil are rarely clear cut, and everyone has their own idea of what it means to behave with honour. Somehow, that felt easier to write in such an unsettled location. Having said that, as I read the news reports at home every day I think this story could have been transported back here just as easily.

We live, as the Arab curse has it, in interesting times …

Zoë Sharp was a photojournalist for almost twenty-five years before she quit to write fiction full time. She loves to travel—and has done so by all means including horseback, camel train, motorcycle, yacht, skidoo, and steam locomotive, as well as by more conventional forms of transport. She has so far achieved well over a million words in print, and there’s no sign of her stopping any time soon. www.ZoeSharp.com

ZoeSharp-copyrightNickLockett2015
Zoe Sharp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Review In A Cottage In A Wood by @CassGreenWriter @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK

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In A Cottage In A Wood by Cass Green
Synopsis:

Her dream home will become her worst nightmare…

A dark and twisty psychological thriller from the No.1 ebook bestselling author of The Woman Next Door.

A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.

An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge. The solution to all her problems.

A twisted secret
But when Neve arrives, alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare – a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…

My review:

The synopsis and the cover, had me massively intrigued! I followed the blog tour posts and simply HAD to HAVE this book!

The novel opens with Neve, a 30yr old woman, living with her sister Lou and her young family. The situation is strained and not helped by the fact that Neve appears to act rather selfishly. She is making her way home one night, across Waterloo bridge, when she stumbles across a dishevelled young woman. The woman is disorientated, she mutters some words and plunges from the bridge to her death!
But who is this woman? Why did she commit suicide?

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. And keep it, if you can bear to” Issabelle

The young woman, Issabelle is later found dead. It is discovered she took certain provisions prior to the suicide, to ensure it was a succes and some provisions that will impact Neve, more than she can ever imagine……….

Christmas day at Neve’s sisters house ends in disaster and Neve is left feeling more and more distant from life. In the coming January she receives a letter from a solicitor. Neve has inherited Isabelle’s property a cottage in Cornwall. With nothing left to keep her in London, Neve flees to Cornwall.

When Neve arrives at Petty Whin cottage she discovers it is not the cosy cottage she has imagined. It is littered with rubbish, freezing cold and has bars on the windows.
The cottage has an uneasy eerie feeling and Neve feels more alone now, more than ever……….

Neve eventually befriends locals Sally, husband Will and son Matty. They become a lifeline of sorts and help Neve to understand who Isabelle was and why she would leave this cottage to Neve. Isabelle was known to suffer from mental health problems and in the weeks leading up to her death became convinced someone was watching her.
Was this a psychotic break? Or was someone really watching Isabelle?

The more Neve uncovers about Isabelle’s life, the more it appears to be a mystery. She finds random notes, photos of family memories and a link to Isabelle’s past. But what does it all mean? Then strange occurrences begin to happen and Neve becomes spooked herself. Frightened by the cottage but determined to reveal Isabelle’s past, Neve now has a new mystery to solve.

This novel is gripping and I read it in one day. At times I wish it had, been much darker, I could see how that could have fitted into the plot and kept readers on the edge of their seats. The protagonist of Neve, is very likable, despite her flaws. She felt like the younger sister, whom always makes mistakes. The background character of Isabelle echoes through the novel, long after her suicide. When the novel finally comes together, it has an intriguing twist. One I neither predicted, nor saw coming.
A fine edition to the crime fiction/mystery genre! 4*

CG
Cass Green
Authors Links:
Twitter: @CassGreenWriter
Goddreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15311100.Cass_Green
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolineGreenAuthor/
Website:https://cassgreen.co.uk/

#BlogTour #Review #RaceToTheKill by Helen Cadbury @AllisonandBusby

Race to the Kill BANNER
Race To The Kill by Helen Cadbury
Synopsis:

It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee. The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.

My review:

I am honoured to be part of this blog tour, in tribute to an author that has touched so many lives. I truly hope my review does the novel justice and inspires readers to check out the series.

The prologue opens with a female victim, but we are unclear on what is happening to her, only that she is in great fear and wants to be rescued. I love these eerie prologues, that set the pace of a novel and this one, is perfectly done. Vague and mysterious, yet intentionally done. PC Sean Denton and PC Gav Wentworth, on a routine stop for fuel. When they are met with a rather strange woman in the petrol station. She desperately tries to accosts them for help, but she is vague and has the appearance of a homeless person. When she grabs onto Sean, he starts to take her seriously and agrees to follow her, with Gav following closely by in the police car. They follow her to a boarded up old school, used locally as a squat. On their way there the woman (Mary) is spooked by dog and flees. Sean and Gaz decide to investigate further regardless. What they find is a dead body and a prime suspect……..

The body appears to have taken a violent beating to the head, but the team await crime scene manager Lizzie Morrison (Sean’s girlfriend) to confirm their suspicions. Whilst searching the upper areas of the school they discover Elyas Homsi a Syrian refugee. He claims the murder victim to be Abbas, his friend from northern Iraq. The squat has been used locally for junkie and immigrants as a shelter.
A scene is described and the coppers question, what a place this is to live or die?

Upon leaving the crime scene, Sean spots an ambulance outside his own father’s flat. This is where we start to learn more about Sean’s background. Including his upbringing and relationship with his father and half-sister Chloe. We also learn that Sean has applied and interviewed for a promotion. Beginning his CID traineeship during the novel.
PC Sean Denton is now DC Sean Denton and he is about to be part of a huge case……..

The case of the dead refugee is side-lined, when a rapist on bail absconds his bail conditions. But is he missing or has he run? Xavier Velasquez has spent four months on remand for a rape, he claims he never committed. When the rape victim fails to appear at court, he is granted bail. The police politics, of how a refugee’s murder is side-lined, for the rapist son of a ‘well to do’ family, is explored! I found this to be very accurate, often times we see cases in the media dubbed as ‘high profile’. But what makes one victim more/less deserving than the other.
I felt this was a clever subject thrown into a novel, packed with diverse characters.

Throughout the chapters of investigation, we are introduced to a character named Sarah. Sarah is a schemer and always seems to be manipulating those around her. I initially didn’t like her, yet I was dying to know why, she is like she is and what she hopes to achieve. One thing is for certain, she is character you want to keep a close eye on! The investigation intensifies and further locations, characters and cases are drawn into this clever novel.

The novel is so cleverly weaved together. All the characters have exceptional depth. Especially the central characters to the case. DC Sean Denton works well as a detective and his ambition and drive is shown through his work ethic. This novel has layer upon layer of twists and turns, it makes a cracking crime fiction read.
I read the entire novel, on one rainy Sunday afternoon. 4.5*

*****As the author has sadly passed away, before release of the latest novel in her crime fiction series. I will be donating to the friends of Helen Cadbury charity. which hopes to raise enough funds, for a poetry bench in Helen’s memory in Glen gardens. I think this is such a worthy cause, for such an incredibly talented woman.*****

Link to the Facebook page Friends of Helen Cadbury: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1962289124050441/

 

#Review #TheBoyInThePark by @GraysonForReal @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #CrimeFiction 4.5*

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The Boy In The Park by AJ Grayson
Synopsis:

The Psychological Thriller that everyone is going to be talking about – once you’ve read it, it will haunt you for weeks!

Dylan goes to the same park every day. He starts to notice a young boy who comes down to the small boating lake and soon realises that all is not right with the child; he seems troubled and unhappy and when bruises start to appear on the boy’s arms, Dylan realises that he has to take action. As Dylan’s obsession with the boy takes hold, he embarks on dark, intense and powerful journey, where nothing is what it seems…

My review:

Wow, what a whopper! What an ending! I had recently finished two very emotive novels and was seeking something more gripping/psychological/darker! This novel was very unique, I got to 300 pages in, I had no idea what was going on! It’s one of those weird/bizarre novels that ‘reveals itself to you’!
But I mean this in a completely positive way!

The novel opens with loner and slightly oddball Dylan Aaronsen sitting on a park bench on his lunch break. Dylan sits here every day, his bench (in memory of Margaret Hoss) Margaret’s bench is his escape from his dull menial job. Dylan has routine life, one of insomnia, loneliness and being a tortured poet. Part of this routine is the young boy in the park that he notices every day!
A young boy, as seemingly lost as Dylan himself………….

The little boy wears worn and dirty overalls, with a dirty t-shirt underneath. He appears unkempt and sad looking. Dylan gathers he is around 4/5 years old. However, when he starts to appear featuring new injuries, daily. Dylan becomes concerned for his safety. Then one day the boy is gone! Dylan attempts to report this to the police but he has little to report, having never spoken to the child.
He begins his own investigations and what he uncovers is shocking………

There are intermittent chapters of a taped interview between forensic psychologist Pauline Lavrentis and a man named Joseph. Joseph makes repeated false claims of committing a murder. His memory is fragmented and his speech often appears confused and inconsistent. He continues to repeat that he has murdered his wife, suffocating her with a pillow over her face. But he has no wife and this is a mere delusion. But when Pauline points out there was no wife, no pillow but there was a boy. I began to realise this was a complex and mysterious novel.
“What you remember about the boy?”

Between Dylan’s investigations and the interviews, I knew there was the making for an epic ending. It did not disappoint, one bit! This novel is very tough to review without leaving spoilers or ruining the plot for other readers. It doesn’t all come together, until the very last few pages but when it does, it is mind-blowing! The novel has a very strong theme of mental health. Which is portrayed with a detailed accuracy. I should know, I worked for 10 years in adult mental health. The topic of how far we would go, to convince others of what we saw. Dylan’s obsession with the boy’s whereabouts, plunging Dylan into crisis after crisis. The writing style is very unique. I hope this not deter readers, who are used to a standard police procedural read. I was constantly questioning Dylan’s actions and behaviour; I began to suspect maybe the boy was just a mere delusion. Does the boy exist? Who is the boy? What is happening to the boy? Why is he so sad?
The boy does exist and all will be revealed. But the thing with delusional people is that they are utterly convincing! I shall finish this review with Dylan’s early thoughts on seeing the boy in such obvious distress.

“Every boy deserves soothing words when he’s done himself harm”

4.5*