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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***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Spark Girl by @Fionajourno 4* #ww2Fiction #Saga #HistoricalFiction @orionbooks Can her fight for her country fix her broken heart?

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The Spark Girl by Fiona Ford
Review copy
Synopsis:

Can her fight for the country fix her broken heart?

A knock on the door early one morning shouldn’t be cause for concern but it is 1941, Britain is at war, and Kitty Williams’s fiancé is far from home fighting Hitler with the Navy.

As her heart is shattered hearing the news she had been dreading, Kitty becomes more determined than ever to do her bit for the war effort.

Signing up to the Women’s Army is just the sort of challenge Kitty needs but when bombs start to fall on her home town of Coventry, and allies turn against her, Kitty must find the strength she never knew she had to save her family, fix her broken heart and help her country to victory.

My Review:

April 1940, Kitty Williams is a 21yr old woman just trying to get through each day, until her fiancé Joe Simmonds returns from war! Joe was conscripted to the Navy, just the summer previously. Kitty was brought up in a children’s home, after being orphaned at 8yrs old. She has no real family to speak of. Just a kind-hearted landlady (Mrs Carswell) and a job at a factory to occupy her days. That is until one fateful day, Joe’s mother brings her news of a telegram.

‘We regret to inform you’

Kitty is left reeling from the news of Joe’s death, as her grief takes over her mind and soul. It pushes her to think like Joe and a desire to make a difference is born.
Kitty decides to enlist.

The novel details her experiences through basic training at barracks in Leicester. She meets fellow trainees Mary and Peggy. Mary Holmes-Fotherington is quite the character herself, born to a wealthy father, Mary has never known hardship. That is until she rebelliously joins up and learns first hand, how the other-half live!

Kitty’s lifestyle changes dramatically. She has a new ambition in her life, letters of warmth from her old friend Arthur and growing friendship with the girls. Kitty’s life is looking up, or is it?

‘She couldn’t shake the strange, uneasy feeling that life was never that simple, and trouble was sure to be just around the corner’

Kitty is posted to Northampton as a ‘spark girl’ aka a driver. It is at Northampton; the reader gets to know the military lifestyle in all its glory! The inspections, chain of command, perfect uniform and hierarchy of the trainees fast becomes daily life. Sgt Hopson is constantly watching Kitty and waiting for opportunities to arise, so that he may punish her for insubordination.
What motivates Sgt Hopson? Or is this just part of military life?

When Kitty finds herself confined to barracks with extra duties, due to Hopson’s relentless bullying. She immerses herself in her letters, but someone is watching Kitty. Watching her every move.
The female characters develop from naïve young girls to strong independent women. But as some, go from strength to strength, Kitty is left exposed to blackmail and it isn’t long until her head is filled with secrets and betrayal. Isolated and alone, she has no one to turn to in her hour of need.

‘Nobody could save her now’

The novel packs a huge twist! One that I did not see coming, at all. The letters scattered throughout the novel add a sense of realism. The harsh reality of the war upon the women of the era, is fully explored.
Kitty’s story is perfect for cosy Sunday afternoon reading by a log fire. 4*

FF
Fiona Ford
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***Coming soon – 9th August – Summer reads***

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The Spark Girl’s Promise by Fiona Ford
Synopsis:

January 1941. Peggy Collins has learned a lot during her time as a Spark Girl. Posted to Swansea, as a driver to the squadron leader, she often hears things she shouldn’t and she knows to be discreet, understanding how serious the phrase loose lips sink ships really is.
Peggy meets and falls in love with pilot Jim Hudson, but her heart is broken when he becomes missing in action and Peggy is left fearing the worst. That isn’t the end of the shocks in store for Peggy and she is forced to remember a promise made long ago. But can she keep her word while the bombs fall?

 

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!

Anne Bonny #Review Where The Missing Go by @emma_rowley 4* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction Just 99p @orionbooks @orion_crime #WhereIsSophie

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Where The Missing Go by Emma Rowley
Synopsis:

MY NAME IS KATE.

I volunteer at a missing persons helpline – young people who have run away from home call me and I pass on messages to their loved ones, no questions asked.

I don’t get many phone calls, and those I do are usually short and vague, or pranks.

But today a girl named Sophie called.

I’m supposed to contact her parents to let them know their child is safe.

The problem is, Sophie isn’t safe.

AND SOPHIE IS MY DAUGHTER.

My review:

“Too late to go back now
He’ll be waiting”

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Harlow went missing two years ago. Her mother has been left devastated and isolated since her disappearance. The case remains open, but there is no active investigation. Her mother has dedicated herself to tireless work at the message in a bottle helpline. A helpline service for people who have ran away and wish to leave a message with their family members. With the police classing Sophie as a ‘voluntary run away’, her mother Kate has little hope……

‘The thing about the missing is that they don’t always want to be found’

One night working at the helpline with Alma, Kate receives a call. But this is no ordinary call. The line has quiet and broken at times, but Kate believes that the call is from her daughter. Calling alone, scared and in desperate need of help.
Is it really Sophie? Is Kate hearing what she wants so desperately to hear?

Come home Sophie

The novel then goes further into detail about Sophie’s past, her disappearance and her family circumstances. The disappearance has cost Kate heavily. Her desperation and questioning keep’s you in suspense throughout the novel.
Kate is more or less friendless, except for elderly neighbour Lily. Lily is confused and makes several references to ‘Nancy’ and ‘her little boy’. When Kate finds a connection to a missing teenager from 20yrs ago. She attempts to connect the dots.

‘She’s alive. She called me. She’s reaching out. That’s all I need to think about, for now’

What makes the case more complex, is Sophie’s note that she left and the postcards that Kate receives regularly. The postcards inform Kate, that Sophie is safe and wants to be left alone. They offer a different viewpoint and create more mystery in the plot. The note shows complicity and defiance from Sophie, in the aftermath of her disappearance.

“I’m sorry everyone. But I need to get away please try not to worry about me, I’m going to be fine.
I love you all, Sophie x x x”

Where is Sophie?
Does she need saving?
Is Kate headed for a breakdown?
What made Sophie run away?

The novel is a thoroughly modern crime thriller. With modern technology playing a huge part in the search. I can see the appeal of this novel for the fans of Angela Clarke and the social media series. The emotional pull of the mother’s love for her missing teenage daughter, had me glued to the page. 4*