Anne Bonny #BookReview Never Saw It Coming by @linwood_barclay 4* #Mystery #Thriller @orion_crime ‘What happens when the scammer, gets scammed?’

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Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
My own copy
Synopsis:

Keisha Ceylon is a psychic. So she says. The truth is, she watches the news for stories of missing family members, gives it a few days, then tells these families she’s had a vision. She may be able to help. And by the way, she charges for this service, and likes to see the money up front.

Keisha’s latest mark is a man whose wife disappeared a week ago. She’s seen him on TV, pleading for his wife to come home, or for whoever took her to let her go. So she pays him a visit.

The trouble is, her vision just happens to be close enough to the truth that it leaves the man rattled. And it may very well leave Keisha dead . . .

NEVER SAW IT COMING is based on the novella CLOUDED VISION, which was published as part of the Quick Reads programme in 2011.

My Review:

I have read several Linwood Barclay novels now and haven’t been let down once! I am a huge fan of his style of writing and my favourite so far is definitely A Noise Downstairs.

Never Saw It Coming, centres around con artist ‘psychic’ Keisha Ceylon. She lives with her dead beat boyfriend Kirk and young son Matthew (10yrs). I think it is quite clear Keisha is motivated by financial means to ‘trick’ the bereaved into hearing what they want to hear. At first I felt uncomfortable reading her scenes thinking ‘how does she sleep at night?’ but then it became evident her tricks were soon to catch up with her. . . .

Keisha has recently pulled off a big con involving a local youth named Justin. When she sees the TV appeal from father and daughter Wendall and Melissa Garfield, pleading for the safe return of Ellie Garfield who is missing. It sparks an idea in Keisha and she begins her usual approach with the family in question. But Keisha isn’t quite prepared for Wendall and his offhand approach towards her. Wendall scares Keisha and for the first time, she begins to feel she may have picked the wrong family to con. . .

What happens when the scammer, gets scammed?

The novel is an intense psychological thriller, packed with shady characters and I really enjoyed the pace and the style. 4*
Next up on my Linwood Barclay TBR pile is Parting Shot.

LB
Linwood Barclay
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour I, Witness by @NikiMackayBooks #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @orionbooks ‘It is one hell of an intense psychological thriller. It kept me awake until 1am!’ #IWitness

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I, Witness by Niki Mackay
Review Copy
Synopsis:

They say I’m a murderer.

Six years ago, Kate Reynolds was found holding the body of her best friend; covered in blood, and clutching the knife that killed her.

I plead guilty.

Kate has been in prison ever since, but now her sentence is up. She is being released.
But the truth is, I didn’t do it.

There’s only one person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attallee, the first officer on the scene all those years ago.

But uncovering the truth means catching a killer.

My Review:

‘I was almost born for suicide. All the signs were there after all. Someone like me: fragile, breakable, a victim’

The novel opens with a dark scene. Straight away, I felt the author had set the bar exceptionally high.
The novel follows Kate Reynolds and her personal quest for justice. Kate has recently been released from prison for the teenage murder of her best friend. A crime she now believes she did not commit. But how Kate can prove this, remains to be unseen.

Kate’s history is fully explored, and we learn that the murder was brutal and savage. After pleading guilty and being convicted of murder, her father severed all ties with her. She has only received occasional postal contact with her brother. Her mother died when she was young. Her sister resides in a mental health facility.
Kate is alone with no one on her side.

Private investigator and ex-cop Madison Attallee is in her office with PA Emma one day. When in walks a blast from the past, it is Kate with the bold claim
‘I think I’m innocent’. . .

What makes this novel so intense is that Madison was the first officer on that murder scene all those years ago. She found Kate standing over the body of her best friend Naomi Andrews.

The novel explores the hectic lifestyle of unsupervised teens. The party that got out of control. The alcohol and drugs taken and the subsequent murder. But it also explores Kate’s situation upon release. She is briefly reunited with her brother Marcus and is introduced to his wife Claudia and young daughter Bethany.
But why would you allow a convicted killer so close, to your young child?

Kate’s relationships with her various family members adds some intense twists into the narrative. She is desperate for some information regarding her sister Martha; and the psychiatric ward she now lives in.

She practically begs Madison to help her. But can Madison help? Does she want to?
There are various spin-off themes within this novel. The characterisation is brilliantly crafted. It is one hell of an intense psychological thriller.
It kept me awake until 1am! 4.5*

NM
Niki Mackay
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A Noise Downstairs by @linwood_barclay 5* #CrimeFiction #Mystery #NewRelease @orionbooks @orion_crime ‘The novel is packed with twists and turns, it has an EPIC ending!’

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A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay
Review Copy
Synopsis:

EVERY STEP…
Paul Davis forgets things – he gets confused, he has sudden panic attacks. But he wasn’t always like this.

TAKES YOU CLOSER…
Eight months ago, Paul found two dead bodies in the back of a co-worker’s car. He was attacked, left for dead, and has been slowly recovering ever since. His wife tries her best but fears the worst…

TO THE TRUTH…
Therapy helps during the days, but at night he hears things – impossible things – that no one else can. That nobody else believes. Either he’s losing his mind – or someone wants him to think he is.

Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean it’s not happening…

My Review:

A Noise Downstairs, is the new psychological thriller from Linwood Barclay. It is a stand-alone and is insanely gripping! I started reading this alone, late at night by lamp light and it really added to the eerie feeling that is constantly bubbling away under the surface of the novel.

‘There were a lot of sides to Kenneth, and Paul still wasn’t sure he knew all of them’

The novel opens with Paul Davis pulling over to assist work colleague and fellow college professor Kenneth Hoffman, late one night. What Paul isn’t aware of until he steps out of the car, is that there are two bodies in the boot of Kenneth’s car.
Once he discovers the bodies of the two females, Kenneth attacks, leaving Paul for dead. .

‘Then everything went black’

The novel then jumps forward eight months. With Kenneth arrested and in jail. Paul is still making process with his recovery. He begins with therapy with Dr Anna White, we learn he suffers both physical and mental symptoms from the attack. Paul is plagued by headaches and bizarre dreams which cause insomnia. The victim’s Jill Foster and Catherine Lamb; were known to Paul and in some way, he feels responsible.

‘Monsters can be very good at disguising themselves’ –
Dr White

Paul develops an obsession with the crimes Kenneth committed and a deep desire to research and understand the psychology behind his behaviour.
What Paul doesn’t realise at the time, is the dangerous journey this will take him on.

“Was Kenneth evil? Is Kenneth Evil?” – Paul

Through the novel we come to know all the characters personally. Kenneth left behind a devastated wife Gabriella and young son Len. Paul’s girlfriend Charlotte becomes a big part of his journey to getting healthier and taking back control of his life. For their relationship and Paul’s relationship with his young son Josh. Dr Anna White lives with her father, who has dementia and often accidentally interrupts her counselling sessions. She also has a sinister new client named Gavin Hitchins. Gavin enjoys stalking and tormenting his victims, he is in court ordered therapy.
Nothing and no one is what they seem! Everyone feels on edge and I felt on edge as I am introduced to the new characters.

Paul is an English Literature professor, he is on a long-term sick leave from work when he begins his research into Kenneth and his crimes. The media named Kenneth the ‘apology killer’ due to the nature of his crimes. He plead guilty and has been sentenced to life in prison. Yet despite this Paul needs more answers. . .

‘I’m not so sure Kenneth’s head is a place you want to be’ – Charlotte

Charlotte buys Paul a gift, in the form of an old typewriter. Which late at night Paul can hear tap, tap, tap, tapping away!!!!
At first, he assumes he must be hearing things, but then the typewriter begins producing notes. Notes that appear to be from the victims. . .

Is Paul losing his mind? Why would the victims haunt Paul?
What answers do they seek?

I was completely and utterly taken in by this plot. The fear of an inanimate object might sound irrational, in the daytime. But reading alone, late at night I felt scared!
The novel is packed with twists and turns, it has an EPIC ending! Which left me shocked!
Outstanding 5*

*This is the first novel I have read by Linwood Barclay. So, I will be adding his entire back catalogue of novels to my TBR pile.*

LB
Linwood Barclay
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview TH1RT3EN by @SSCav #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @orionbooks @orion_crime #ThatBookThatHook #EddieFlynn ‘This novel does not disappoint, not one single page!’

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TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh
Review copy
Synopsis:

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life.
He’s done it before.
But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century.
And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail.
Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered

My Review:

The synopsis of this novel instantaneously grabs the readers interest! It grips you straight from the prologue, and refuses to let go.
This novel does not disappoint, not one single page!

The synopsis details, a celebrity murder trial of the century mixed with the mystery of the killer being on the jury! But the novel is in fact, much more detailed, a plot full of twists and turns that slowly unravels throughout. I was so engrossed in the plot, I didn’t want to miss one single word of the story.

The prologue is outstanding! Easily one of the best I have EVER read! The writing style of the prologue was so breathing taking, it reminded me, of the ending of the cult move, The Usual Suspects. But instead of who is Keyser Soze? It is who is Joshua Kane?
Joshua Kane, where do you begin with such an incredible character as Joshua Kane? He is ruthless, psychopathic and methodical in his killing. The murders are planned right down to each meticulous action before, during and after the murder!
Joshua Kane in an enigma, a dark and disturbing killer, yet bizarrely you admire his commitment to his ‘work’.

The novel opens with Eddie Flynn, at Manhattan criminal court with a routine hearing. Ex-hooker Jean Marie, is his client and she is looking at hard time for her second drug offence within the same year. Eddie breezes through the case with ease and for those new to the series, this is a great indication of what makes Eddie Flynn such a great lawyer and character.

After the case Eddie is accosted by slick lawyer Rudy Carp. He wishes to requisition Eddie for a case due to start in just three days. A high-profile case, with an even more high-profile client, movie star Robert (Bobby) Soloman. Eddie is reluctant at first for various reasons, which are detailed with some amazing thoughts and quotes from Eddie.

“It’s not about the money. I don’t roll for the guilty” Eddie

But Rudy continues to profess Bobby’s innocence and asks Eddie to at least consider the case evidence.

“If Robert didn’t kill those people, who did?”

A combination of Eddie’s inquisitive mind and a random twist of fate. Have Eddie agreeing to view the notes, although offering no obligation to assist and second chair the case. Whilst Eddie arranges to view the hard drive of evidence at Rudy’s office. He comes face to face with suspected killer Bobby Soloman.

“Someone murders your family, lover or friend and you are the one standing trial while the murderer goes free. There’s nothing else like it on earth. And it’s the same look, all over the world. An innocent man falsely accused, looks the same in Nigeria, Ireland, Iceland, you name it. If you’ve seen that look before, you never forget it. It’s rare to see that look”

“Bobby Soloman wore that look. And I knew I had to help him”

Bobby’s past is explored, and we learn that he came from very humble beginnings. He stands accused of murdering his wife Ariella and chief of security Carl Tozer. Both victims found naked and dead on the marital bed! Bobby pleads his innocence and it is believable. As the reader, you urge Eddie to take the case!
But Eddie suspects that Bobby is holding back, a secret possibly? He refuses to help, until he has completed reading all the evidence available.

“Bobby Soloman was a scared kid with the prospect of a life in jail hanging over his head” Eddie

“But you can’t act your way out of a double murder” Rudy

Eddie eventually opens the case notes and evidence. It is not for the faint hearted, this is a brutal murder, unleashed by a fierce and savage individual. Ariella was stabbed multiple times and Carl was viciously beaten with a baseball bat. What grabs Eddie’s intrigue is the dollar note stuffed inside Carl’s mouth, after death. What does the note mean? Is this a clue to the killer’s reasoning, motivations? Eddie just can’t get this case out of his mind, despite how hard he tries to.

“A violent death tells its own story. It’s written on the victims. In their wounds. On the skin. Sometimes in their eyes. I’d never seen anything like this” Eddie

With one of the murder weapons still missing and so many unanswered questions. Eddie calls in some help, in the form of ex-FBI investigator Harper, to assist. The details of the scene are analysed, and it makes for intense and eye-opening reading.
What motivates such a vicious slaying?

As the novel unfolds, there are chapters from Eddies perspective and alternate chapters from Joshua Kane’s scheming. One thing is for certain Kane’s plans have been months in the making. The psychology of a killer like Kane is intense. The writing makes the killer come alive on the page, a rare talent and exceptionally creepy in this case.

The novel also, has the individual juror memo’s throughout, so we begin to learn about each member on a personal scale. Eddie’s broken marriage is explored, and we learn of his motivations to find an easier job role, one with less risks to him and his family. Eddie is so much deeper than the usual lawyer protagonist. But it is when Harper finds a history of similar cases, closed cases, that the story explodes!!!!!!

This novel is sheer brilliance in its writing style and structure. The characterisation is massively on point and you root for all the characters. Alarmingly even Kane at points!
A superb legal thriller, with an unforgettable, edgy and haunting serial killer!
In my humble opinion, John Grisham and Michael Connelly, should be aware, Steve Cavanagh has arrived!
5* genius
*Review previously published on 25th January 2018*

SC
Steve Cavanagh
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Presumed Dead by @MasonCrossBooks 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #CarterBlake @OrionBooks @orion_crime So why are they convinced she’s still alive?

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Presumed Dead by Mason Cross
Carter Blake Book 5
Review copy
Synopsis:

‘What do you know about the Devil Mountain Killer?’

THEN

Adeline Connor was the Devil Mountain Killer’s final victim. After she was gunned down, the murderer disappeared and the killing spree ended.

NOW

Carter Blake has been hired to do what he does best: to find someone. But this time he’s hunting a dead girl – Adeline Connor’s brother is convinced she’s still alive.

But this town doesn’t want an outsider digging up old business. And as Blake gets deeper into the case, it starts to become clear that the murders didn’t ju st stop fifteen years ago.

The killer is on the hunt again.

My Review:

This is the fifth novel in the Carter Blake series. I must confess that it is the first novel by Mason Cross that I have read. I think the novel can be read as a stand-alone, I thoroughly enjoyed it as such. Carter Blake is different to the usual kind of protagonist I read within the crime fiction genre, as he is much more action based. He is likeable and comes over brilliantly on the page.
Carter Blake gets the job done!

The novel opens in the present day, when Blake attends a funeral at Ravenwood. At the funeral he comes across Lauren Day, she is mother to his old school friend Karen. Karen Day went missing in 1995, after leaving work, she was never seen alive again. Her body was discovered after a storm and the family were able to gain some form of closure. Blake as a young teen was part of the search teams and it has been a case that has always stayed with him. Lauren informs him, that she now runs the Missing Foundation, to help other families in their search for truth and justice. Lauren asks Blake to look into a case for her. . .

“He says he saw his sister. Alive” – Lauren

The case in question has ties to the Devil Mountain killer. A serial killer in NEC Georgia that murdered nine victim’s execution style. The crimes took place between Aug 2002 – Oct 2003. There were five male victims and four female victims. The victim in question, is Adeline her body was never discovered but she was declared dead. Her murder was tied to the case, when the killings ceased. Lauren pleads with Blake to meet with her brother David Connor and offer his expertise.

Blake establishes contact with David Connor and a meeting is scheduled. Blake makes his way to Lake Bathany the nearest town to Devil’s Mountain. He hopes to establish contact with the local Sheriff’s department and solve the mystery once and for all. Is Adeline dead or alive? Who is the mysterious woman David saw?

The rural location is described brilliantly, and the author really sets the scene, of the small town where the plot will take place. However, once Blake arrives it is not to any form of welcome. The local police are hostile and dismissive of Blake and David. It would appear the town would rather David left, so they could all move on.
But what does David have, to move on to?

Deputy Isabella Green and Deputy Haycox are wary of the newcomer to town. But they both have a vested interest in the Devil’s Mountain Killer case. So, over time they become more intrigued by his presence in their town.

‘Small towns have long memories’

Blake meanwhile is finding nothing but dead ends and old leads. Even David’s description of seeing his sister is doubtful. How can he be so sure?

‘Adeline Connor was dead and gone. So why did her brother think he had seen her alive and well in downtown Atlanta’ – Blake

This novel is jam packed with secrets, suspicion and mystery. There are twists and turns galore! The action-packed ending was so cleverly constructed, it may leave some fans of crime fiction on the fence. But this little crime fiction addict LOVED it! 4*

MC
Mason Cross
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Presumed Dead is released today!