Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Chosen Ones by @HowardLinskey 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #TheChosenOnes @MichaelJBooks Trapped. An unknown kidnapper. No way out. #FreeEva Ebook just 99p

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The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey
Review copy
Synopsis:

Eva Dunbar wakes in a large metal box.

She has no idea who has taken her.

She has no way out.

She isn’t the first young woman to disappear.
And with no leads Detective Ian Bradshaw has precious little time.
When at last a body is found, the police hope the tragic discovery might at least provide a clue that will help them finally find the kidnapper.
But then they identify the body – and realise the case is more twisted than they ever imagined . .

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Howard Linskey’s crime fiction novels and also his ww2 novel Hunting The Hangman. He certainly is a man of many talents. The Chosen Ones centres around the disappearance of several women in 1997. It is not for the faint of heart, the opening scenes set the tone perfectly.

Eva Dunbar awakens in a large metal box, she is terrified of her surrounding and unsure how she ended up there. She is aware she is wearing different clothes and her bra is missing. She feels hazy as though she has been drugged. But it is at the moment of noticing some markings on the wall that her reality sinks in.
The markings signify the number 5, 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? Or 5 years? And with that Eva descends into a screaming frenzy.

DS Ian Bradshaw is back, in the previous novel we witnessed a sick twisted killer attempt to get inside Bradshaw’s head. I wondered what tricks the author would have up his sleeve this time that would add to the torment of Bradshaw. They start almost immediately when he is summoned to DI Kate Tennant’s office. With eight coppers suspended over a recent corruption sting. The police force is undermanned and overworked. Bradshaw is quickly and without any real say, handed the case of ‘the disappeared’.
He has the case file exactly 5 minutes when a call comes in of a body found.

Bradshaw is met at the scene by DC Hugh Rennie, who is close to retirement. The victim has been tied to a tree in an almost ritualistic manner. But she is too old to be one of ‘the disappeared’ that is until Rennie takes a closer look and recognises her from a previous case.

With a link established between the victims. The coppers are left to wonder if this is the same killer and if so why has he struck again. Bradshaw asks DC Malone to trawl through the case files from 1979. What she uncovers is, five women went missing in 1979-1980. Only one was ever recovered. . . until now!

Due to the lack of staff and support, Bradshaw is allowed to bring in investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton. I really love this angle to this series and the dynamic the three personalities bring to the case.

Meanwhile, across Durham a young woman named Jenna Ellison starts receiving threatening and intimidating notes…
‘I know who you are’

As Bradshaw, Tom and Helen attempt to establish a link between the victims, they find none. Nothing links these five current missing victims. They all have different appearances, colour of hair etc.

When Bradshaw attends the post mortem of the current victim from a 1979 abduction. It adds more mystery than clues. The victim was suffering from severe liver and kidney damage. She also had a severe case of rickets. Did the woman abuse alcohol? Has she been forcibly malnourished? Where has she been for the last 18yrs?

There are scenes from Eva’s point of view in captivity, they are tense and scary. You begin to urge the police to find something, some clue that can free Eva.

This novel is intense but what really struck a chord with me, is that it is so close, to a possible true story. The sort of story you’d read online in sheer horror and disbelief. 5*

HL
Howard Linskey
Twitter
Website
My review and Q&A – Hunting The Hangman
My review – The search

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview My Little Eye by @crimethrillgirl Stephanie Marland 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease 99p Ebook @TrapezeBooks I spy with. . . my little eye. . . my next victim. . .

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My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland
Synopsis:

Can a group of true crime addicts take on the police to catch a serial killer?

A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.

As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in to their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.

As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.

My Review:

This novel has a unique concept on the cat and mouse theme within a detective novel and it works instantly from the opening pages. I love the combination of modern social media and a crime thriller. My Little Eye will have huge appeal to those whom love a modern serial killer thriller.

The novel opens with a brutal scene of a young woman and her killer. The killer has set the scene with low-lighting, red wine and music. This lulls his victims into a false sense of security and adds to his fantasy of ‘wooing’ his victims.
I knew this was going to be dark and scary!

‘Kate Adams had a secret, and secrets are often the things that get people killed’

The two central characters on the hunt for the killer carry their own baggage and personal demons. Clementine and Dom are both determined and driven towards justice, as they attempt to follow the clues and put ‘The Lover’ in jail.
But who will catch the killer first?

Clementine is a university PHD student. Her doctorial study intends to prove that crowd-sourced crime solving would never be achievable. But it isn’t long before she becomes immersed in the online group Crime Stop. The online group is a form of specialised social networking for fans of true-crime. Clementine must navigate the members and provide live updates as the case unfolds. But can she trust the other members? How does she know whom lurks behind the screens?

‘True-crime fans never sleep’

Dom is the MET police officer in-charge of the case. There are already two previous victims, with Kate the third in a series of bizarre and ritualistic murders. The police have no obvious clues to go from, and are hounded by the press at every turn.
Dom is also battling a case from his past.
One that has landed him facing an IPCC investigation.

The online group consists of multiple members, who believe the police are either corrupt or incompetent. Their ‘leader’ Death Stalker sets individual tasks and insists on each member reporting back information or finding themselves kicked out the group. Clementine is faced with the pressures of the groups demands and that also of her professor. I began to suspect Clementine had her own secrets, the more I read on. . .

‘Hiding behind my own careful lies. Trying to understand those of others’

The crime scene is fully described, and this adds an element of realism. It is a dark and savage murder, with creepy love tokens left behind. The various police officers surrounding the case, are held back within the novel. As we learn more about Dom’s past with operation Atlantis. An undercover mission that was tainted before it ever began. I was unsure if I could trust Dom, is he one of the corrupt officers the group speak of?

‘Like a poisonous snake, he requires careful handling’

The novel has alternating chapters between Dom, Clementine and the killer’s perspective. You become aware that the killer is stalking a new victim and my head was full of the possibilities. Who is the killer stalking?

‘Make tough choices or you won’t survive’ – Clementine

Clementine is a constantly evolving character. I loved her background and emotional vulnerability. I felt it added depth to the plot. I was surprised to find her seeking more and more approval from the group. I began to wonder, is Clementine studying the group or are they studying her? The dynamics of the group and their agenda, is a whole novel within itself. I loved the desperate search for the true and their willingness to break new boundaries.

‘Could this group of true crime fans solve a live murder case?’

Perfect for crime fiction fans and fans of novels with a social media aspect!

SM
Stephanie Marland
Website
Twitter

***Don’t miss the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
Especially the awesome Joy Kluver – my blogger buddy for the day!
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Anne Bonny #BookReview His First Lie by @markhillwriter 5* #CrimeFiction #DIRayDrake #Ebook 99p @LittleBrownUK

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His First Lie by Mark Hill
Synopsis:

Do you want a thriller that grips from the first line?

Do you want a thriller to leave you gasping for air?

Connor Laird frightens people: he’s intense, he’s fearless, and he seems to be willing to do anything to protect himself and those he loves. He arrives in the Longacre Children’s Home seemingly from nowhere, and instantly becomes hero and villain to every other child there.
Thirty years later, someone is killing all of those who grew up in the Longacre, one by one. Each of them has secrets, not least investigating cop DI Ray Drake.
One by one the mysteries of the past are revealed as Drake finds himself in a race against time before the killer gets to him.
Who is killing to hide their secret?

And can YOU guess the ending?

My review:

The theme of historical abuse of children within a care setting is an extremely tough topic to put across in a novel. I did have some reservations regarding how this would be given a sense of realism. However, the author did not rely upon graphic visual scenes of abuse. Nor did he portray the adult victims in an unrealistic way. What the author has done, is show how truly devasting the effects of abuse can be, to the young mind.

I recall another book, recently released which received negative comments for making the reader feel uncomfortable with its themes of historical racism. His First Lie, reminded me of that in one way. The theme of racism or historical sexual abuse of children is supposed to be uncomfortable. Because it was horrendously uncomfortable for those that endured it. I personally think the author has done a fantastic job of writing about such an emotive issue. Regardless of your personal feelings to real-life or high-profile cases, open the novel and listen to the journey of Connor Laird.
It is an incredibly powerful and heart-breaking journey.

‘The boy loved his parents more than anything on this Earth. And so he had to kill them’

The novel opens on the English Channel in 1986. It is an intense read, right from the opening pages. We are aware that there is a young boy consumed by self-loathing due to an event in his past. I love that the author hadn’t used violence to shock the reader. But the psychology of a broken mind, trying to grasp a hold of sanity. I knew this was going to be an intelligent novel, carefully crafted.

The novel then jumps to the present day. A bunch of coppers gather in a pub, to celebrate a recent commendation. The coppers are then briefly introduced. The central detectives are DI Ray Drake and his newly promoted DS Flick Crowley. The partnership between an experienced male police officer and a female eager to prove herself, works very well throughout the novel.
Flick and Ray are called to the scene of a brutal murder. A scene where three victims have been bound and stabbed. Flick is put in-charge of the case. Ray finds it difficult to let go of the case, especially when he recognises one of the victims. . .

The victims are identified as Kenny Overton, his wife Barbara and one of his twin sons Phillip. The situation becomes much more sinister when we learn the sons were lured to the house via a text message from Kenny. Did Kenny lure his son to his own death? Or did the killer intend to wipe out the whole family?

The novel has alternating chapters, rotating between the police case, the adult victims and the Longacre Children’s home of 1984. The scenes set in 1984 are harrowing, the powerless victims and their evil tormentor Gordon Tallis. But how did the abuse begin? Who knew about it? Did anyone cover it up? Longacre provides so many questions, as we the reader seek to understand the horror that occurred there.

Connor laird is found alone and wandering the streets of London. When he is collected and taken to Hackney Wick police station. From there he is taken to Longacre by Sally Raynor. We are aware that Sgt Harry Crowley is on the take, but for what, is not revealed. Are Sally and Sgt Crowley part of the cycle of abuse?

‘I’m nobody’s friend’ – Connor Laird

When Connor arrives at Longacre, it isn’t long before he asserts himself as the new ‘top-dog’. Leaving a young Elliot with a bloody nose and a bruised pride. But what does the duties of the ‘top-dog’ fully incorporate?
Has Connor just placed himself in serious danger?

In the present day, we meet a now-adult Elliot Juniper. Elliot is a low-level wheeler-dealer. He isn’t fully legit, but he is no criminal mastermind either. He is befriended and ripped off for £30K by a new friend ‘Gavin’. This drives him to the brink of a breakdown and then the calls begin. . .

‘She’ll know the kind of man you are’

The scenes from Longacre continue to add layer upon layer of tension. As you learn more and more, it is easy to understand how the events would have impacted the victim’s futures and their everyday relationships with others.
A victim’s past is never truly forgotten.

‘An evil from that home had been revived, he was certain of that. And if he didn’t take measures, it would be the end of him’

When the property of Kenny Overton is searched, the team become aware of a shoe box of news clippings and photographs. They directly link Longacre to a series of deaths.

Something happened at Longacre

Flick must trawl through Kenny’s notes regarding fellow residents of Longacre. She makes the shocking discovery that David, Karen, Regina, Ricky and Jason have all died in mysterious circumstances. With Elliot, Amelia, Deborah and Connor being the only survivors from the photos, but where are they now?

The background of Longacre is slowly exposed. The adults that ‘manage’ the home often abuse alcohol and suffer violent mood swings. Life at Longacre must have been hell on earth for the fragile young minds of the past. The children are frightened and have no real authority to stand up to the adults in-charge.
That is until Connor arrives. . .

‘Connor was a nutcase. It was the only explanation’

One of the news articles details a visit from high court judge Leonard Drake. A chairman of Hackney Children’s protection league. But why are Flick and Ray’s fathers tied to the history of Longacre? Will the sins of the father’s past, repeat on their children?

‘A refuge for many kids in the borough without a family’

The novel raises various thought-provoking topics and questions. The abuse of those whom wield all the power and control over their victims, must be unbelievably damaging. The psychology of child victims in the aftermath and into adulthood. The legal and justice system that allowed and effectively enabled these abusive ‘homes’ to flourish. The effect of institutionalising young children and the risks and social/psychological outcomes. There was an era of appalling abuse of society’s most vulnerable. I think this novel highlights the struggle the victims face and their desperation to eradicate their horrific pasts, wouldn’t you feel the same? I think this novel would be ideal for book groups and possibly for victim advocacy groups.

A powerful glimpse into the childhoods of children so overwhelmingly failed by a system intended for them to thrive. 5*

Mark_Hill-308
Mark Hill
Website
Twitter
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***His First Lie is currently on Ebook/Kindle offer for just 99p***

My picks of the Kindle Monthly deals April!

Every month there is a huge variety of Kindle Ebook’s that go on offer. These are my picks of books I have read and loved. Also what I treated myself to this month.

Picks:

fall of giants KFthe black echo MCMy name is leon KDW

Bella Poldark WGthe apprentice TGThe poet MC

The American Boy ATBloodstream LV

In no particular order:

Fall Of Giants by Ken Follett (Century Trilogy #1)
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch #1)
My Name Is Leon by Kit De Waal
Bella Poldark by Winston Graham (Poldark series #12)
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli & Isles #2)
The Poet by Michael Connelly (Jack Mcevoy #1) – Terrifying reading, so very good!
The American Boy by Andrew Taylor
Bloodstream by Luca Veste (DI Murphy & DI Rossi #3)

My buys this month:

The orphans Take PJInspector Chopra VKspotlight

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan (baby Ganesh agency #1)
Betrayal- The Crisis In The Catholic Church – Spotlight by The Investigative Globe (non-fiction)

Pam Jenoff has been on my wish list for quite some time, as I am a huge fan of the WW2 genre in fiction and non-fiction. I have been aware of the baby Ganesh agency series also, my daughter was desperate to read them due to her obsession with Indian culture. Spotlight, I watched the movie quite some time ago and found it very emotionally moving. I also bought it for my brother as he began studying journalism at University this September.

A variety of picks, hopefully something for everyone!