Anne Bonny #BookReview The Brighton Mermaid by @DorothyKoomson #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Mystery @penguinrandom ‘Edgy crime fiction, with a journey into the 1990s’ #TheBrightonMermaid

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The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson
Review copy
Synopsis:

Brighton Beach, 1993

Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust…

Fast-paced and thrilling, The Brighton Mermaid explores the deadly secrets of those closest to you.

My Review:

This author is a new author to me. I saw the cover revealed on social media and instantly knew I wanted to review it. The cover is amazing and combined with the synopsis, gives the book its crime fiction edge. The mystery surrounding the Brighton mermaid; a murdered woman from 1993 and the young woman who found her body, now determined to get justice.

26th June 1993 Nell and her bestie Jude, having sneaked out in the night. Stumble across the dead body of a young woman. Nell feels the urge to help the dead woman and is in almost disbelief at what she is seeing before her. She can’t take her eyes from the detailed mermaid tattoo and it is this that will go on, to give the victim her name in the media.

‘She was still; tranquil, lifeless’

The novel then jumps to the present day 25yrs later. Nell has been working as a supermarket assistant manager for 8yrs, saving her every penny, to take a year off. A year off to pursue her own investigation into the Brighton mermaid case and the disappearance of Jude. I admired her dedication to the victims and you witness this throughout the novel.

Nell and Jude were severely mistreated in the 1990s, on the discovery of the victim. They weren’t treated as the child witnesses they were, but as potential suspects themselves. The racist policing in the 1990s is fully explored and the scenes are vividly played out before your eyes.

‘I looked into the faces of the police officers, saw how angry they were that we were wasting their time like this, and knew our lives were never going to be the same again’ – Nell

The scenes really got me thinking about 1990s policing. An era not only affected by institutional racism within the police force. But an era, where children/teenagers feared the authority of the police much more than they do now. An era where young people did not see the police as a figure of help or support.
I was also becoming addicted to the case of the Brighton mermaid.
What happened to the woman on the beach?
And why did Jude disappear?

In the present day, Nell has the support of her sister Macy, her partner Shane and children Clara, Willow and Aubrey. This is her little family and where she feels accepted. There are complications, due to the fact that Shane was originally Nell’s first teenage boyfriend. But her sister urges them both to put the past behind them. Nell and her sister Macy are very close.
But they Both have secrets.
Don’t we all?

In the past, after the discovery of the Brighton mermaid’s body. Enelle (Nell) and Judana (Jude) discuss the victim and their role in the case. Jude stole the victim’s charm bracelet as a keepsake and feels an attachment to the victim.

‘She looks like us Nell. That could be me or you strangled – and probably raped – on the beach and no one would care after a couple of weeks. It’s not right’ – Jude

Just a few weeks later, Jude goes missing, leaving Nell devastated and alone. Not only that the police circle in on Nell’s father, claiming him as a suspect due to his appearance as a “big. . . black fella”. Nell’s father faces on-going police and community harassment. That will not only change the way Nell views the police but in one way destroy her entire family. . . .

After the discovery of the Brighton mermaid and disappearance of Jude. Several other bodies were discovered and labelled as ‘mermaid’ victims also. It is then that Nell, begins to wonder is Jude a mermaid? Is that why she has never heard from her?

In the present day, the cop who harassed Nell’s father relentlessly pleads for her help. John Pope claims to have new evidence and possible links to the case. Can Nell trust him? How do you trust the man that destroyed your family?
They may make the most unlikely of pairings, but together could they solve the case?

I really enjoyed this novel. I found Nell to be daring, brave and driven. She is central to the plot and its unravelling throughout and this works extremely well. Nell is likeable, and I really enjoyed the time I spent with her, on her quest for justice. The tension within her surrounding relationships with others, creates a gripping ending!

Edgy crime fiction, with a journey into the 1990s 4*

DK
Dorothy Koomson
Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview Dunstan by Conn Iggulden 4.5* #HistoricalFiction @PenguinUKBooks @penguinrandom One man. Seven Kings. England’s bloody throne. . .

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Dunstan by Conn Iggulden
My own copy
Synopsis:

One man. Seven Kings. England’s bloody throne.

Tenth century England: a divided and broken country of misrule. Yet King Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, seeks to unite the kingdom under one crown. By his side is Dunstan of Glastonbury – priest, soldier, visionary and, some insist, traitor – whose task is to steward seven kings through fire, war, murder and fury to see Athelstan’s dream come true. But what stain will it leave on his mortal soul?

My Review:

Dunstan is a fictionalised account of the life of Dustan of Glastonbury, although it is heavily based on historical accuracy/fact. Which given the era, must be an incredible task to undertake. I was a huge fan of The Emperor series, which I read back in 2006/7. My husband actually bringing them back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan for me to read. The Emperor series focuses on the life of Julius Caesar and if you were ever a fan of the TV show Rome. Then you will LOVE the series.

The prologue opens, with Dustan leading the narrative, he speaks as if in reflection of his life once lived. As he writes his story, you are aware death haunts him at every turn.

‘I have broken my vows. I have betrayed those I loved and those who loved me. I have murdered innocents’

‘There never was a sin I could not learn to love’ – Dunstan

Behold The Boy – AD 934: Part one
The novel then opens with Dunstan in his teenage years. His younger brother Wulfric, who he endlessly torments but is fiercely protective of. Their father Heorstan takes the boys to meet Father Clement – the abbot. It is a meeting, that will change all of their lives. It will certainly leave its mark upon Wulfric.

‘I always wanted to protect Wulfric, but some lives are touched by the dark’ – Dunstan

Upon arriving Dunstan is fascinated at his first sighting of a pulley. It is then you become aware of what primitive times the characters are living in.

‘There are many wonders in the world, if you look’ – Dunstan admiring a pulley.

The hierarchy of the era is fully explained. I personally had no clue, despite being a huge fan of multiple historical novels and TV dramas. The roles of the thane, bishop, earls, common men and slaves are explored.
But where does Dunstan fit into this social hierarchy?

When Abbot Clement agrees to take both the boys of their education, until Christmas. It will be a move that’ll change the boys lives and the last time they’ll ever see their father.

‘A father gives strength and makes a man. A mother tempers that iron with tears and love. Too much of either makes weakness’

The boys catch the eye of brother Casper, who brutalises Dunstan at every given chance. The physical punishments and beatings, have Dunstan plotting revenge.
Brother Encarius is only young and wishes to study Dunstan’s shakes that he irregularly displays. He conjures various potions and cures. Which keeps Dunstan safe from Casper, for now. . .

The boys go through a very brutal ‘coming-of-age’ experience. The death of their father and for Wulfric learning to overcome adversity. The choices they face in their youth, are in fitting with the era. But shocking on-par with today’s society.

‘We all make our choices: some for good and some that lead to destruction’

But Dunstan finds himself with a new opportunity. One of great advantage surrounded by Lords and Lady’s at the Kings courts.

Behold The Man – AD 936: Part two
Winchester – Aethelstan’s capital
‘Men are all the same, in their desire to follow. It is too simple a description, but men are either kings or slaves’

Dunstan enters the capital with a future promise of becoming the kings hand in a year. If he can just learn how to navigate the various figures of power and authority. At the Witan council, Dunstan gets his first glimpse of the life of royalty. The warring Lords and the imminent war. It isn’t long until he finds himself on the battle field.

Upon return from battle, Dunstan finds himself being watched and then freed from his oath to the king. The king declares that he will return to an Abbot’s life and not return to Winchester. A young Dunstan is devastated. But must learn to make the best of a bad situation, if he is to survive.

‘I had come back to Glastonbury with a King’s authority. There are worse homecomings’ – Dunstan

The novel continues to detail Dunstan’s life and the events that will shape him to be the man, he will come to be. Conn Iggulden brings alive historical figures on the page, with superb detail and it makes for fascinating reading. Iggulden is a must read of this genre. 4.5*

I am thoroughly looking forward to the next new release by the author, The Falcon Of Sparta. Which holds huge appeal for me, check out the cover and synopsis below.
TFOS
The Falcon Of Sparta by Conn Iggulden
Available 3rd May 2018

Synopsis:

In the Ancient World, one army was feared above all others.

401 BC. The Persian king Artaxerxes rules an empire stretching from the Aegean to northern India.

As many as fifty million people are his subjects.

His rule is absolute.

Though the sons of Sparta are eager to play the game of thrones . . .

Yet battles can be won – or lost – with a single blow. Princes fall. And when the dust of civil war settles, the Spartans are left stranded in the heart of an enemy’s empire, without support, without food and without water.

Far from home, surrounded by foes, it falls to the young soldier Xenophon to lead the survivors against Artaxerxes’ legendary Persian warriors.

Based on one of history’s most epic stories of adventure The Falcon of Sparta masterfully depicts the ferocity, heroism, and savage bloodshed that was the Ancient World.

CI
Conn Iggulden
Via Penguin
Via Penguin Random

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Location #Cornwall Miss Boston & Miss Hargreaves by @RachelMalik99 @PenguinUKBooks @penguinrandom

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Miss Boston And Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik
Synopsis:
When Rene Hargreaves is billeted to Starlight Farm as a Land Girl, far from the city where she grew up, she finds farmer Elsie Boston and her country ways strange at first. Yet over the days and months Rene and Elsie come to understand and depend on each other. Soon they can no longer imagine a life apart.

But a visitor from Rene’s past threatens the life they have built together, a life that has always kept others at a careful distance. Soon they are involved in a war of their own that endangers everything and will finally expose them to the nation’s press and the full force of the law.

#GuestPost Location Cornwall:

Place is incredibly important in Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves. The two central characters, Elsie Boston and Rene Hargreaves, lose the first home they share – Starlight Farm in Berkshire – during the Second World War. For many years after, they must travel through England looking for work and for somewhere to live. They spend time near the Lakes, in Yorkshire, in Devon and in Cornwall, where they find, just outside the village of Rosenys, a cottage, Wheal Rock, to which they are strongly drawn.

Cornwall is famous as a literary setting and I was very aware of this when I was writing Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves. Far from the capital, Cornwall’s peninsular geography can make it seem like a separate country, surrounded on three sides by the dangerous possibilities of water. When Rene returns to Rosenys from London she feels the boundary that she crosses:

[A]s the train left Plymouth and Devon and crawled across the homely Tamar, the journey caught up with her. At last she was going home. And then as she looked out of the window, everything outside started to come vivid. The tide was well out and in the sandy sludge of the river she could see waders, probably redshanks though it was hard to be sure looking for food … Each stop seemed to take an age: the train would squeal to a halt outside the station, and a brief lull of warmth and summer sound would come wafting through the open window. Rene would look out, often she could see the platform, almost within reach.

Many writers who have written about Cornwall, also lived there. One of my favourites, Daphne Du Maurier, spent childhood holidays in Cornwall and, most famously, leased ‘Menabilly’ a house near Fowey on the South Cornish Coast where she lived for over twenty-five years. Frenchman’s Creek plays on the differences between rule-governed London and the wilder shores of Cornwall. In Rebecca, Manderley, as a place and way of living, is clearly distinct from the artifice of Monte Carlo where the narrator meets Maxim de Winter for the first time, or from London (depicted as a combination of bohemian Soho and orderly, domestic Maida Vale). At Manderley, nature and tradition appear to combine in some ideal way. Except that the house is haunted. The sea – central to the Cornish geography – is central to this haunting. There are places in the house where there is no sight or sound of the sea, others where it is insistent. The sinister housekeeper, Mrs Danvers explains to the second Mrs De Winter:

‘”You know now”, she said, why Mr De Winter does not use these rooms anymore. Listen to the sea”’

It is the sea that brings Rebecca back to life.
Winston Graham who wrote the Poldark novels moved to Perranporth on the North Cornish Coast in 1925 when he was only 17 (he already knew he wanted to be a writer) and lived there till 1960. The first Poldark novel starts in 1783, just after the end of the American Revolutionary War and was published in 1945. The last Poldark novel ends in 1820 – it’s a period of dramatic change and conflict. In the Poldark novels, Cornwall is represented as less socially fettered than many other parts of the country, and many days ride from London. One of my favourite things about these books is how they trace the interdependent lives of a whole community. Much of the hazardous adventure in Poldark stems from Cornwall’s closeness to various other dangerous places: Ireland and above all France.

The Cornwall in which Rene and Elsie live is very different. It’s the 1950s, some of the harshness of post-war austerity is ending, but money is still very tight. The cottage they come to love, Wheal Rock, close to the chimney of an old mine, isn’t by the sea though it is never far away and water becomes very important as the novel reaches its climax. They live outside Rosenys, but they are also a tentative part of it, accepted by the village. When the two women are faced with danger, there is support for them from neighbours, even if some find them odd.

Early in the novel, Rene and Elsie have to leave a place they love and become wanderers, they must follow the work and when the work ends they have to move on. Without work, they are, quite literally, homeless. When they rent Wheal Rock, Rene and Elsie are reminded of the long lost Starlight, but they also see the possibility of a new beginning. Wheal Rock seems to offer the chance to make a real home (and not just a place to live). This is one of the key things the novel is about: the struggle to build a home and what people are prepared to do when that home and the security it offers are threatened.

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Rachel Malik
Website
Twitter

My #BlogTour #Review of, Faking Friends by @JaneFallon #NewRelease @penguinrandom by @annebonnybook

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*
I have just realised via a diary mishap, that I have mixed up the dates 11th & 12th January. My apologises to the author, publisher and publicist. 

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Faking Friends by Jane Fallon
Synopsis:
Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé.

Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it’s clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat.

There’s something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar . . . and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.

Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend – but instead of falling apart, she’s determined to get her own back.

Piecing her life back together won’t be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all.

My review:

Faking Friends is an unusual novel for me to read. I rarely read contemporary fiction, based on modern day relationships.
But with this novel, I was looking forward to reading something different. I regularly jump between novel genre’s.
I was drawn to the psychological element of the synopsis.

Aspiring actress Amy, returns to London to surprise fiancé Jack. Unbeknown to her, the surprise will be on her! As she arrives to find a woman’s things in her place, in her flat.
And not just any woman’s things, the items of her best friend Melissa……..

I was immediately drawn to the WOW factor of a shock surprise, of the ultimate betrayal. Amy is left devastated, how could her best friend from childhood betray her? How long has this love affair been going on? Why would Jack do this to her?

Amy cannot bring herself to face up to the answers to these questions. At least not just yet! She begins to plot her revenge. What follows is a toxic friendship on full display.
Amy’s inner-feelings of hurt at the betrayal are moving, you get a real sense of a woman in deep emotional pain.
A woman scorned…….

As Amy comes to terms with the mess, that is her life. We learn that Mel is an extremely vicious woman. Who will destroy anyone or anything, to get what she wants.
I took an immediate dislike to Mel and her selfish behaviour. I felt myself, become more and more drawn into the plot. Almost as if I was on Amy’s side cheering her on!

‘There is nothing left to salvage in either of these relationships. There’s nothing to mourn the loss of because they weren’t the real people I thought they were’

This isn’t just a story of revenge and the emotional damage of cheating. It also shows a woman, determined to pull her life back together.
To start again and in turn, become a new woman! 4*

Jane_Fallon_HP
Jane Fallon
Author links:
Website: http://www.janefallon.co.uk/
Twitter: @JaneFallon

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My favourite novels of 2017! Best 26 out of 230 books, read this year! by @annebonnybook

In no particular order, a list of my absolute favourite novels of 2017!
This only includes novels I read within 2017.

seas of snow
Seas Of Snow by Kerensa Jennings
Synopsis:
1950s England. Five-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy. An only child, she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behaviour begins.

As Gracie grows older, she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry and her enduring friendship with Billy. Together they escape into the poetic fairy-tale worlds of their imaginations.

But will fairy tales be enough to save Gracie from Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behaviour – and how far will it go?

Seas of Snow is a haunting, psychological domestic drama that probes the nature and the origins of evil.
#LiteraryFiction Beautifully written & an AMAZING debut novel! 
See review here
Q&A with Kerensa Jennings here

ararat
Ararat by Christopher Golden
Synopsis:
Meryam and Adam take risks for a living. But neither is prepared for what lies in the legendary heights of Mount Ararat, Turkey.

First to reach a massive cave revealed by an avalanche, they discover the hole in the mountain’s heart is really an ancient ship, buried in time. A relic that some fervently believe is Noah’s Ark.

Deep in its recesses stands a coffin inscribed with mysterious symbols that no one in their team of scholars, archaeologists and filmmakers can identify. Inside is a twisted, horned cadaver. Outside a storm threatens to break.

As terror begins to infiltrate their every thought, is it the raging blizzard that chases them down the mountain – or something far worse?
#Thriller set in the mountains! Couldn’t read it alone, in the dark!
See review here

Q&A with Christopher Golden Here

devils peak
Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer
Synopsis:
Soldiers never find it easy returning from war. So it is with Thobela Mpayipheli, former freedom fighter, trying to settle back into the new South Africa. But at least he has his boy, an adored companion who is a link to a happier past. Then the boy is taken from Thobela, one of a staggering number of children murdered or abused in South Africa, and Thobela knows only despair…and a cold desire for revenge. Thus is born the vigilante killer known as ‘Artemis’. The police respond by putting on the case a man who can’t afford to fail. Benny Griessel is on the brink of losing everything — his job, his family, his self-respect — and this could be his last chance to drag his life back out of the gutter. And then Benny meets Christine, a young mother working as a prostitute in Cape Town. And something happens that is so frightening, the world can never be the same again, for Benny, for Christine, or for Thobela.
#SouthAfricanNoir at its finest!
See review here

why did you lie
Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Synopsis:
A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide.
An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing.
Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea.
They have one thing in common: they all lied.
And someone is determined to punish them…
WHY DID YOU LIE is a terrifying tale of long-delayed retribution from Iceland’s Queen of Suspense.
#ScandiNoir A deep layered crime fiction feast!
See review here

maria in the moon
Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech
Synopsis:

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges… and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defenses we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
My Favourite #BlogTour of the year! It was great to read the other reviews for this emotional novel. I loved the united team work of bloggers on this tour. As we all wanted to read how the novel impacted each and everyone of us!
*Credit to Anne Cater for such a fantastic, well run #BlogTour

See review here

A rising man
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
Synopsis:

**SELECTED AS ONE OF WATERSTONES’ BEST CRIME BOOKS OF 2017**
**WINNER OF THE CWA ENDEAVOUR HISTORICAL DAGGER 2017**

India, 1919. Desperate for a fresh start, Captain Sam Wyndham arrives to take up an important post in Calcutta’s police force.

He is soon called to the scene of a horrifying murder. The victim was a senior official, and a note in his mouth warns the British to leave India – or else.

With the stability of the Empire under threat, Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee must solve the case quickly. But there are some who will do anything to stop them…
#Calcutta #India Historical crime fiction! This novel is an amazing debut novel!
I read it before it won the Dagger and was very pleased when it won. I immediately ordered the next in the series…….
See review and Q&A here

a necessary evil
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
Synopsis:
India, 1920. Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son.

The fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore is home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun. But when the heir to the throne is assassinated in the presence of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee, they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict. Prince Adhir was a moderniser whose attitudes – and romantic relationship – may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.

As Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination, they become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules and those who cross their paths pay with their lives. They must find a murderer, before the murderer finds them…
Perfect follow up to the award winning debut novel! Abir Mukherjee is getting better and better. I can not wait, to read the third novel in this phenomenal NOVEL!
See review and Q&A here

three
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Synopsis:

*****Coming soon to your screen as a major BBC adaptation by Golden Globe winner Peter Straughan*****

They’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to­­–
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning
Another novel that sits outside my usual comfort zone! But I completely and utterly LOVED every page!
see review here

my mothers shadow
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott
Synopsis:

Hartland House has always been a faithful keeper of secrets…

1958. Sent to beautiful Hartland to be sheltered from her mother’s illness, Liz spends the summer with the wealthy Shaw family. They treat Liz as one of their own, but their influence could be dangerous…

Now. Addie believes she knows everything about her mother Elizabeth and their difficult relationship until her recent death. When a stranger appears claiming to be Addie’s sister, she is stunned. Is everything she’s been told about her early life a lie?

How can you find the truth about the past if the one person who could tell you is gone? Addie must go back to that golden summer her mother never spoke of…and the one night that changed a young girl’s life for ever.
I cried buckets during reading this novel and it remains one of my favourite novels EVER! An outstanding debut novel!
See review and Q&A here

thirteen
Th1rtt3en by Steve Cavanagh
Synopsis:

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.
HE’S ON THE JURY…
‘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.
*Review scheduled for 25th January 2018* Sneak peak, it is pure GENIUS!

bluebird bluebird
Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke
Synopsis:
Southern fables usually go the other way around. A white woman is killed or harmed in some way, real or imagined, and then, like the moon follows the sun, a black man ends up dead.

But when it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark, where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman, and it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.
#AmericanNoir The novel deals with some tough issues in society. In the past and current political climate. It is an OUTSTANDING read!
See review and Q&A here

a patient fury
A Patient Fury by Sarah ward
Synopsis:
When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.
#DerbyshireNoir Brilliant crime fiction, with a cracking ending!
See review here
Q&A with Sarah ward here

IQ
IQ by Joe Ide
Synopsis:
WINNER of the ANTHONY AWARD for Best Debut, the SHAMUS AWARD for BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL. the MACAVITY AWARD for Best First Novel; SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 EDGAR AWARD and STRAND CRITICS AWARD.

East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, the elderly are being mugged, children go missing. But word has spread: if you’ve got a case the police can’t – or won’t – touch, Isaiah Quintabe will help you out.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. His clients pay him whatever they can afford, a new set of tyres or some homemade muffins. But now he needs a client who can pay. And the only way to that client is through a jive-talking, low-life drug dealer he thought he’d left behind. Then there’s the case itself. A drug-addled rap star surrounded by a crew of flunkies who believes his life is in danger; and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. If he solves this case, IQ can put right a mistake he made long ago. If not it won’t just be the hit man coming after him …
I think the WHOLE WORLD must know how much I LOVE this series!
IQ has won multiple awards and truly is deserving of all its praise and accolades!
Here is my review from 12th February 2017 here
Q&A with Joe Ide here

righteous
Righteous by Joe Ide
Synopsis:
In a way, the hate felt good. You were righteous, godlike, the dispenser of justice . .
Super-smart sleuth Isaiah Quintabe – IQ to his friends – has built a mostly respectable life for himself, helping out friends and neighbours when he can and taking the occasional case to make ends meet. But there is one mystery that still haunts him almost ten years later – did his brother really die in a hit-and-run or was there more to the story behind his death?

IQ has been approached by his brother’s former girlfriend Sarita, whose younger sister, an erratic DJ and gambling addict, has gone missing in Las Vegas – with a frightening loan shark, Chinese Triad gangsters, and her own deadbeat boyfriend hot on her tail. Accompanied once more by his fast-talking, don’t-call-me-a-sidekick partner Dodson, IQ heads off for the casinos and massage parlours of Las Vegas. His quest takes an unexpected turn when he meets a criminal mastermind who knows something about the murky circumstances that surrounded his brother’s death. But when Isaiah learns the truth, what will he do with it?
For me, this novel made IQ one of my ALL TIME favourite protagonists! A great follow-up to debut novel IQ and I look forward to the release of IQ 3!
See review here

the mountain between us
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Synopsis:
Now a film starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet

What if your life depended on a stranger?

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled because of a storm, Ben charters a small plane that can fly around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more passenger, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness. Ben, who has broken ribs, and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with a battle to survive. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, will they ever be the same again?
Originally picked this novel, as it had Idris Elba on the cover (won’t even lie!).
The novel has exceptional emotional depth!
*Review scheduled for 4th January 2018*

The Last Time We Spoke
The Last Time We Spoke by Fiona Sussman
Synopsis:

Winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel

‘A gripping story about grief and redemption’ Sunday Mirror

Carla and Kevin Reid are celebrating their wedding anniversary with their son Jack. The family together, some good food, a perfect night.

On a murderous collision course with this joyous yet fragile gathering, is Ben Toroa, an unexpected and unwanted visitor.

As Carla struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of the appalling events of the night, and Ben faces the consequences in prison, their stories will be for ever entwined.
*Review scheduled for 3rd January 2018*

The Unquiet Dead
The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Synopsis:
One man is dead.

But thousands were his victims.

Can a single murder avenge that of many?

Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel
An incredibly thought provoking novel. A brutally honest depiction of the Bosnian war, with a narrative that reflects deep into the past and the modern day.
See review and Q&A here

the year of the gun lottie armstrong
The Year Of The Gun by Chris Nickson
Synopsis:

1944: Twenty years after WPC Lottie Armstrong was dismissed from the Leeds police force, she’s back, now a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps.

Detective Chief Superintendent McMillan is now head of CID, trying to keep order with a depleted force as many of the male officers have enlisted. This hasn’t stopped the criminals, however, and as the Second World War rages around them, can they stop a blackout killer with a taste for murder?
HUGE fan of ALL this author’s various series! Especially Tom Harper and Lottie Armstrong! Chris Nickson writes female characters incredibly well and I look forward to his next release in March 2018!
See review and Q&A here

little boy lost
Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford
Synopsis:
An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A broken city, a missing young man, and a lawyer searching for truth when nobody else cares.

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.
This novel takes you on a journey across the US, its legal systems and modern racial tensions. OUTSTANDING!
See review and Q&A here 

vaseem khan #1
The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
Synopsis:
Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovers that he has inherited an elephant: an unlikely gift that could not be more inconvenient. For Chopra has one last case to solve…
But as his murder investigation leads him across Mumbai – from its richest mansions to its murky underworld – he quickly discovers that a baby elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs.
So begins the start of a quite unexpected partnership, and an utterly delightful new series.
#Mumbai #India Modern day crime fiction, with a baby elephant! LOVE this series!
Rich in culture, diversity and very well written!
See review and Q&A here

vaseem khan #2
The Perplexing Theft Of The Jewel In The Crown by Vaseem Khan
Synopsis:
The second book in the heartwarming and charming Baby Ganesh series.

For centuries the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king.

Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem is a prize that many have killed to possess.

So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.

The heist was daring and seemingly impossible. The hunt is on for the culprits. But it soon becomes clear that only one man – and his elephant – can possibly crack this case…
Rather embarrassingly this is the only one of my favourite reads; that I do not have a review for, or a pending blog post.
So let me explain, I read this novel whilst in hospital in October 2017. I was admitted with severe DVT from the heart to the right knee. I was in complete AGONY! Then I noticed my husband had packed Vaseem Khan’s second novel into my hospital bag.
For a few hours in a noisy hospital ward. I was able to escape to Mumbai India and it was pure HEAVEN! I can not thank the author enough for that small piece of respite from the pain. It is without a doubt, a novel I will not forget!

dead lands
Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis
Synopsis:

The stunning debut from thriller writer Lloyd Otis.

When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen.

When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge – and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy.
A multifaceted complex novel, with themes of violence, past secrets, lies, police corruption, betrayals, racial tension and civil unrest. 5* Genius
See review here

streets of darkness
Streets Of Darkness by A.A. Dhand
 Synopsis:
The sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be – this morning a body has been found. And it’s not just any body.

Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about but he’s been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can’t keep himself away.

Determined to restore his reputation, Harry is obliged to take to the shadows in search of notorious ex-convict and prime suspect, Lucas Dwight. But as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head as he discovers what it’s like to be on the other side of the law…
This novel has themes of corruption, politics, racial tension, Bradford villains, grudges, BNP politics, dirty cops, revenge and redemption. All rolled into one hell of a read! It is most definitely one not to be missed.
See review and Q&A here

dear martin
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Synopsis:
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League–but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up–way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
A compelling read by a very talented writer, who has a bright future ahead of her!
See review here
Q&A with Nic Stone here

you don't know me
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
Synopsis:
In London a young man stands accused of murder. All the evidence points to him; the police see an open and shut case.

But at his trial, this man, who has tried to stay out of trouble all his life, tells an extraordinary story. It is about a young woman who tried to protect her brother and got into terrible trouble. It’s about a young man who, in order to save her, entered a dark, violent world he’d avoided for so long.

He now stands in the dock and wants to tell you the truth. He needs you to believe him. Will you?
I absolutely loved this novel. I found it to be raw, urban and edgy! Like nothing on the UK book market currently. It depicts life lessons and a different perspective. Essentially you can engage with a novel where people may not look like you or live like you, yet you fully embrace their character.
See review and Q&A here

lightening men
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Synopsis:

Lightning Men follows the multi-award-nominated, highly acclaimed crime debut Darktown into a city on the brink of huge and violent change – and full of secrets.

Atlanta, 1950. In a divided city, crime comes home.

White officer Denny Rakestraw joins Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith from Atlanta’s Negro Officer precinct to face the Klan, gangs and family warfare in their rapidly changing city.

Black families – including Smith’s sister and brother-in-law – are moving into Rake’s formerly all-white neighbourhood, leading Rake’s brother-in-law, a proud Klansman, to launch a scheme to ‘save’ their streets. When those efforts leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family or the law.

Meanwhile, Boggs has outraged his preacher father by courting a domestic, whose dangerous ex-boyfriend is then released from prison. As Boggs, Smith, and their all-black precinct contend with violent drug dealers fighting for turf in new territory, their personal dramas draw them closer to the fires that threaten to consume Atlanta once again.
Boggs and Smith make for perfect reading and their bond is firmly cemented in this case. Fantastic historical crime fiction!
See review here

That’s it folks! Time to get started on a list for 2018!
As January is my blogs first anniversary. I will be running various #Giveaways in relation to the novel’s on this list throughout the month!
So keep your eyes peeled for chances to WIN copies!

Thank you for reading & happy new year!