Anne Bonny #BookReview The Boy Who Saw by @simontoyne 5* #CrimeFiction #Thriller #KindleDeal @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam ‘This novel is phenomenal, I opened the pages and fell into the story 100%’

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The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne
My own copy from tbr pile
Synopsis:

A MURDER
An elderly tailor is found tortured and murdered in the ancient town of Cordes. Written in blood beside the body are the words: FINISHING WHAT WAS BEGUN.

A SECRET
But the dead man has left a cryptic message for his granddaughter and her son, Leo – one that puts them in immediate danger.

A RACE
They are forced to go on the run, accompanied by the enigmatic Solomon Creed. What began as small-town murder becomes a race to uncover a devastating secret dating from World War II. The few men who know the truth are being killed by a powerful organization, and only one man stands in its way.

Only Solomon Creed can stop the murders.
Only he can save the boy.

My Review:

This is one of those novels that is so much bigger than its synopsis! I am new to Simon Toyne and the Solomon Creed series, but I am well and truly awoken now!
The novel is an impressive read and I look forward to further novels in the series.
I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for future releases.

The novel opens with Josef Engel being brutally tortured and murdered. The murder is quite graphic, and savage and you begin to wonder what has enraged someone so much that they want to eradicate Josef’s existence completely. The killer taunts Josef that he should have been killed in the past and it is well-known Josef is a holocaust survivor. The killer finishes by cutting a star of David into Josef’s chest and you are left under no illusion about the depravity of this killer.

‘Josef had not been this afraid since the war, when pain and death had been commonplace in the labour camps’

We are then briefly introduced to Solomon Creed at Madjid Lellouche’s property. It is an unusual meeting and difficult to describe. But it gives you a firm indication of Solomon’s character and how he will continue to come across on the page.

Commandant Benoit Amand of the police nationale is at the scene of vandalism. A swastika has been written on a Jewish memorial. He is disgusted by the crime, as he glances at the nearby banners celebrating 70yrs since the end of ww2.
He is deep in thought about who in the town would have done such a thing, when he is alerted that Josef Engel has been found murdered in his nearby shop.

Solomon is following vague clues, such as a label on his suit with an address in Corde-Su-Ciel. Solomon’s reasoning for memory loss is explained further on in the novel and makes for intense reading. But I loved the way the character was self-assured as he followed vague cryptic clues. Especially as that is exactly how you could summarise the man himself. I have never read a protagonist quite like Solomon before.

The novel is scattered with the real-life accounts of the holocaust written by Herman Lansky. They make for shocking reading and the harsh cruelty of the holocaust is brought alive on the page. But is Josef’s murder linked to the past? If so how?

‘The souls of the damned had been reclaimed’

Marie-Claude is Josef’s granddaughter and she has recently began to research her grandfather’s history. Beginning with the Die Schnider Lager – The Tailors Camp. She knows her grandfather was one of four individuals that somehow survived their death sentence and she is determined to track the other survivors down. This is a course of action that will have huge ramification for Marie-Claude and her young son Leo.
A course of action Josef warned her against.

‘We known that knowledge is sometimes a curse. And you can never unlearn something once it is known’ – Josef Engel

Amand receives an Interpol alert warning that Solomon Creed is highly intelligent and extremely dangerous. An alert that unravels Solomon’s past history and care under Dr Magellan. We also become aware Solomon’s headed straight towards Marie-Claude and that her and Leo are in great danger. A letter she holds and the suit Solomon wears are somehow linked to the recent murder. Marie-Claude knows she must do as her grandfather instructed and deliver the letter.

‘Do not trust this task to anyone. You must deliver it yourself’ – Josef Engel

The chapters from the perspective of Herman Lansky offer a glimpse into history and a stark reminder of the dangers of hate and fascism.
‘Only now, looking back, do I realise that Samler was not a man at all. He was something else, something that looked human but had no soul. A devil in a beautifully cut uniform’
The man he describes is Artur Samler, one of the Nazi high command. Samler ran the first camp to use a crematorium and was involved in the fuel machines program.
Yet I was growing more and more intrigued to learn how the past fitted into murder of Josef Engel. I found myself racing through the pages, not able to read quick enough!

‘If Die Schnieder Lager was hell, then Samler was the devil. And death was his command’ – Herman Lansky

Herman Lansky published his memoirs in 1949, living in Britain at the end of the war. He was found dead in a case of ‘misadventure’ after he was gassed during a fire. Everything ties back to a horrific memory of the holocaust, and the scars the men carry both physically and mentally.

The police continue their investigations, but they are slow on the uptake as they endeavour to uncover Solomon’s background first.
We become aware of a fascist modern-day group that are somehow tied to the case and seeking revenge on Marie-Claude. Leaving Leo is grave danger.
Can Solomon protect him?

The fascist group in question is the PNFL – similar to the BNP in their demand and ‘cause’ if you can even call it that. This part of the novel is incredibly timely with the rise in Nazi ‘sympathy’. However, it becomes very clear that the greatest danger is a lack of education, ignorance and manipulation. That is how these groups operate and sustain their membership.
‘You needed a police state, and a strong hand. A dictatorship. Democracy didn’t work because most people were stupid’ – Jean Baptise
Yet again the most ignorant and intolerant are usually the loudest!

This novel is phenomenal, I opened the pages and fell into the story 100%. The backstory of the holocaust and ww2 is not only insightful but historically accurate.
The writing is powerful and reflective to modern day politics. 5*

ST
Simon Toyne
Website
Twitter

***The Ebook in currently on Kindle deal for just £1.99 in the UK***

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #JoonaLinna #Series – It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die. . .

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The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler – Joona Linna #6
My own copy from my TBR pile
Synopsis:

It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die…

The sixth gripping thriller in Lars Kepler’s bestselling series featuring Joona Linna. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.

There’s a face at the window.
A stranger wearing a mask stands in the shadow of a garden. He’s watching his first victim through the window. He will kill him slowly, make it last – play him a nursery rhyme – make him pay.

A killer in your house.
There’s only one person the police can turn to – ex-Detective Joona Linna – but he’s serving time in a high-security prison. So they offer him a chance to secure his freedom: help Superintendent Saga Bauer track down the vicious killer known as the Rabbit Hunter, before he strikes again.

Only one man can stop him.
Soon another three victims have been murdered and Stockholm is in the grip of terror. Joona Linna must catch a disturbed predator, whose trail of destruction leads back to one horrific night of violence – with consequences more terrifying than anyone could have imagined…

My Review:

I am a huge fan of the Joona Linna series. If I remember correctly we were left on a huge cliff hanger, of an ending for quite some time. Knowing that there was both positive and negative outcomes for Jonna’s future.
I pre-ordered this novel and read as soon as it was delivered! It did not disappoint. The backstory of Joona is immense and the series is best read from the beginning. This is not my favourite of the series, as it lacked that insight into Joona, that we have come to know and love in every other edition to the series.

The novel opens with a brutal scene, of sexual degradation. A call girl arrive at a prestigious address in Germaniqviken, to a ‘date’ with a mysterious new client named Wille. Sofia has been an escort for 3yrs and is experienced in her work and the dangers it brings. But nothing can prepare her for the moment, Wille turns. He spits in her face and it is in this moment Sofia realises she has been drugged. A Cat and mouse game of sexual assault takes place until at last Sofia is saved by a figure wearing a mask. But who is the masked individual? And where did they come from?

Before Wille is shot by the intruder, they share some sinister words. . . .
‘I know that Ratjen opened the door and now. . .’ – Intruder
‘Who’s Ratjen?’ – Wille
‘And now hell is going to devour you all’ – Intruder
But what does it all mean and who is Ratjen?

Superintendent Saga Bauer nis working for counter terroism, when she receives a code platinum, the highest threat to national security. She arrives at the scene to find the dead body of the foreign minister (Wille), a hooker in handcuffs and an intruder that has fled the scene.

Janus Mickelson is put in command of the operation. But it is clear from the off, something is not at all right. The victim was shot in the stomach as distance, then momentarily later shot in each eye socket. What does it mean? Why did the killer, kill in this manner? The killer spent the time an effort to ensure no evidence this was left behind, this was not the work of an amateur but a trained killer.
Was he hired for the job?

Meanwhile, the witness Sofia dissolves into further emotional instability. Relieved to have survived an attempted savage rape, she is now faced with unorthodox treatment by the counter-terror squad. Saga is quick to bring in psychologist Jeanette Fleming to assess the witness and determine if she is too a victim.

Saga reflects back upon the previous foreign minister Anna Lindh’s murder via stabbing. She wonders if this crime scene is politically motivated at all.
If so why? And to what gain?

The counter-terror team, trace links to Salim Ratjen, who is serving a lengthy prison sentence for narcotics. Here’s the moment where Joona Linna will come back into the story. Saga asks Joona to covertly gather intel from Ratjen. A feat which is no easy task in maximum security jail, where nobody trusts anybody and Joona is well-known as an ex-cop. Will he do it? Will Joona help with the case?
After everything the police have put him through.

The novel continues with further twists and turns. It is cleverly plotted and incredibly detailed. Is it Lars Kepler’s finest novel to date? Nope, sorry! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fantastic thriller. I may have been guilty of personally putting this novel on far too high a pedestal. Initially I assumed a terrorism angle, but it is so much deeper than that.
This crime is a personal crime, a crime of revenge. 4*

LK
Lars Kepler
Website
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Cross Her Heart by @SarahPinborough 5* Genius #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #CrossHerHeart

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Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
Review Copy
Synopsis:

SOMEONE IS LIVING A LIE… BUT WHO?

Is it Lisa?
Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world…

Is it Ava?
When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy’s life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions…

Is it Marilyn?
Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house—she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day…

One moment will change these three women’s lives forever.
And the secrets they’ve been keeping could destroy them all.

My Review:

This novel, ticks all the boxes of an ‘award winner’.
So, straight off the bat, I am calling that one (on 21st January!).
After I finished the novel, I just sat there thinking
‘how do you even learn to write like that?’.
The novel is jam packed full of twists and turns. You never really know if you’re coming or going, making the novel unpredictable and insanely gripping. The twists are planted early on, literally from page 30 onwards.
When I reached the last 100 pages, I don’t think I dared move or breathe……

The novel opens with a note ‘Don’t try and find us’ being left for an angry volatile man. At this point all we are aware of, is a sinister man in the background. The novel quickly introduces Lisa, Ava and Marilyn, with chapters told from each perspective. I found the mother and daughter relationship between Lisa and teen Ava fascinating. They have the usual, over protective mother and desperation to be and adult scenario.
Which all play out well, until small daily occurrences, start to set off Lisa and she doesn’t know who she can trust!

“In any gaggle of women, there’s always one you have to watch” – Marilyn

Marilyn has created the ‘perfect life’  which is far from perfect. Ava is trying hard to prove she can make adult choices, putting herself at serious risk. Lisa is trying to hold it all together. But they all have secrets, only some are more treacherous than others….

‘She is not the person she was then’

The complex mother and daughter stand-off, continually develops. Then one-day Ava saves a young boys life, leading to media attention and a plot explosion I never saw coming. It is at this point that the novel timeline changes and we get to see everyone’s secrets laid bare. By 150 pages in, I was absolutely engrossed in the plot and the characters. Sarah Pinborough really has excelled herself, yet again!

There are themes of jealousy, secrets, childhood trauma, revenge, scheming and rejection. The little twists build and build, keeping you constantly guessing and increasing the suspense with every page.
You’ll never guess the ending, that I can promise you, cross my heart…….
5* Genius

Trust Sarah Pinborough. Don’t trust her books.

SP
Sarah Pinborough
Website
Twitter

***Cross Her Heart is released on 14th May in Ebook and Hardback and is available for pre-order*** – Go on! Treat yourself!
My Q&A with Sarah

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder by @sarahsky23 #NewRelease @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #BeeLarkham #PaintYourOwnProof #Winner #Review

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The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris
Winner copy – Paint your own proof
Synopsis:

Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…

Jasper is not ordinary.
In fact, he would say he is extraordinary…

Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder.

He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly.

But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…

My Review:

This novel is possibly one of the quirkiest novels I have ever come across. The protagonist Jasper Wisham, has to be the ultimate unreliable narrator. As Jasper, as we come to know and love him, has learning difficulties. Which doesn’t mean that what he says is untrue/lies either, it just means his version of the truth maybe, his interpretation of the truth. There will always be an element of truth within it, but it may take some de-coding and that code is unique to Jasper.
I know this, and can adequately describe this (I hope), as I myself have been blessed with a child with learning difficulties. My son has Autism, his interpretations of the world around him, are completely unique to his experiences. But he also couldn’t lie or fabricate the truth, if his life actually depended upon it. Like Jasper, he has the quirk of what I call ‘brutal honesty’. If you ask my son a question, you will get the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth. It is never wise to ask him questions you may not, want a truthful answer too. As my sister learnt one day!

‘My life is a thrilling kaleidoscope of colours only I can see’ – Jasper

Back to the story, what makes Jasper’s world also unique is that he has a condition called synaesthesia. Which means he interprets the world in a multitude of colours. It is further expanded upon in the book and the person who best describes it is Jasper.
His story really is worth a read!

‘Bee Larkham’s murder was ice blue crystals with gritty edges and jagged silver icicles’

We open the novel on Tuesday (bottled green). Jasper is at the police station being interviewed by DC Richard Chamberlin. A school boy has made accusations against Bee. The police officer desperately tries to relate to Jasper. But fails to fully grasp what his father calls his ‘profound learning difficulties’. Jasper it appears, is lost within his own world. His father tries to protect him from the probing questions of the police officer. But at times Jasper can’t but help blurt out facts whether relevant or not.

‘Try to act normal, don’t flap your arms, don’t rock’

The interview is deemed a failure and Jasper is free to go.
But it is his own thoughts that are his own worst enemy.

‘I have to remember what happened the night I murdered Bee Larkham’ – Jasper

Jasper’s world doesn’t just consist of colours. He is an avid ornithologist and has a keen eye for art. Through the novel, we enter Jasper’s world and learn about his various obsessions and behaviours. He is an intelligent young man and I really liked his character. Well, actually I wanted to adopt him! I just found his unique world-view so beautiful. I just had to know, if he had committed a murder first. . .

‘I can’t stop seeing the colour of murder’ – Jasper

Jasper is 13yrs old, his mother was the only one to truly understand his world. He misses her terribly, as she passed when he was just 9yrs old. His father then left his career in the Royal Marines to take care of Jasper. Throughout the novel his father, is desperately trying to understand the world in which Jasper lives. This is evidenced when Jasper catches him reading a parenting guide to autism.
Which Jasper completely misinterprets. . . .
‘Trying to get a grip on why I’m difficult. Why I’m different from other teenage boys.
Why I am so hard to love’
The above quote really resonated with me. It actually made me cry. What people/parents/teachers forget when they try to ‘understand’ autistic people and get inside their individual worlds. Is that they are people too, with feelings. Autistic kids/teens are still capable of feeling emotional pain. This is something so over-looked, in an adult’s determination to ‘understand’ or ‘fix’ the child/teen.

The author has truly done an outstanding portrayal of an autistic character and how those around them can struggle to interpret their world. But she has also illustrated their vulnerabilities, which some people may manipulate.
And so we come to Bee Larkham. . . .

Bee Larkham befriended Jasper as soon as she moved into the neighbourhood of Vincent Gardens. She spotted his love of art, colour and parakeets. She knew exactly how to manipulate Jasper to her will.
But can you ever fully control someone, who systemically refuses to be controlled?
The intense friendship that develops, often made for uncomfortable reading.
But it has you desperate to uncover the truth of, what occurred the night Bee Larkham was murdered?

The last 130 pages were insanely gripping, as the plot finally unravelled, and the truth was revealed. Jasper Wishart is a character I will not forget in a long time! This novel hit close to home for me, but it only enhanced my enjoyment of it. Others with no experience of autism or learning difficulties may find it eye-opening reading.

I think this novel is perfect for book groups, due to the various themes within. I also would love to see it being discussed in schools/colleges. It can offer a real insight into the world of learning difficulties and the protagonist is just so perfectly written! 4*

Winner – Paint your own proof – Images:
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My husband painted the proof cover:

cof

SJH
Sarah J. Harris
Website
Twitter

 

 

 

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Turn A Blind Eye by @VickyNewham 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @HQstories @fictionpubteam #DIMayaRahman #Series #London A Dead Girl. A Wall Of Silence. . .

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Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham
Review copy
Synopsis:

A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.

My Review:

DI Maya Rahman is a breath of fresh air, she brings a diverse edge to crime fiction and paints the picture of a truly modern London. I think the author has done an outstanding job, of covering various aspects of a diverse society. At times it is hard to believe this is a debut novel, as it is so incredibly well put together.

The first novel in the Maya series, centres around a case involving a strangled headmistress, in East London. The novel has added depth, by the bizarre and ritualistic elements attached to the case. Cryptic messages, prejudice and community secrets all play their part in making Maya’s case, a tough one to crack.

The novel opens at kala Uddin mosque in Bangladesh, December 2017. Maya is attending the funeral of her brother Sabbir.
We become aware he was burned alive in his flat. But are unsure why/how.
His death is an emotionally charged mystery, right from the opening pages.

‘Sabbir has endured a lifetime of anguish and was gone forever’

After returning to the UK, Maya quickly becomes aware of the case of the murdered head teacher. Fearing press intrusion and the investigation being turned into a sham. She agrees to return to work a day early from her leave.
Maya makes her way to the crime scene.

At the scene Suzie James, press nosey parker from the Stepney Gazette, is quick to fire off questions. Giving Maya little time to be brought up to speed. It would appear Maya was correct in her earlier predictions; the press is out for blood.

Maya is met by DS Maguire a new detective with the MET and a fast-tracked officer. His lack of experience shows, and it falls to Maya to show him the ropes. At the scene Dr Clark talks them through the victim’s presentation. The head teacher appears to have been strangled, it is a disorganised crime scene and she shows signs of defensive wounds. There are no signs of sexual assault and the motive for the attack is unknown. The head teacher has had her wrists bound, post death. The detectives are baffled as to why? It is at that point, they notice the ancient Buddhist precept left by the body.

‘Adinnadanna veramani sikkhapadam samadyani’
‘I shall abstain from taking the ungiven’

The cops interpret the note to mean that the victim may have taken something without any desire for thanks or for no benefit. But what/how/why? Remains a mystery.
Was the head teacher involved in some form of coercion, manipulation or exploitation? If so where is the evidence?

The head teacher presents as living the perfect life, prior to death. She had been a fundamental part of turning the failing Mile end high school around. She is well liked and respected in the community and worked well to unite the various cultures. Her husband is left so devastated at the news of her death, he has to be sedated.
Who wanted this woman dead and why?

‘People can be extremely good at keeping secrets when they need to be’

The novel has flashback scenes to Maya’s own school days. Coincidentally at Mile End high school. They give an insight into what it would have felt like to be part of a very small minority and referred to as ‘the Bangladeshi girl’. I think this added depth to Maya’s character and added to the whole theme of multiculturalism within the novel.

From further research into the Buddhist precepts, the police team learn that the one left by the victim, is the second precept! How do the precepts relate to the case and what do they mean?

1) I shall abstain from causing harm
2) I shall abstain from taking the ungiven
3) I shall abstain from sexual misconduct
4) I shall abstain from false speech
5) I shall abstain from all that clouds the mind

When the team learn that recently copious amounts of data had been being erased and they also learn the heads ex-husband is a Buddhist, the case really heats up! Everyone’s past will out in this investigation.

The novel is layered with the secrets of the past, I was hooked at reading them and found myself trying to read the book as quick as possible.
A diverse cast, a clever plot and set in the multicultural location of Tower Hamlets, London.
I look forward to the next in the series and wish the author all the best with the release of her debut novel. 5*

VN
Vicky Newham
Website
Twitter

***Don’t miss the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
Especially my blogger buddy for the day over at Live And Deadly
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