Anne Bonny #BookReview & #Extract Halfway by @bevjoneswriting 4* #Psychological #SerialKiller #Thriller #WinterReads

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Halfway by B.E. Jones
Review Copy
Synopsis:

If everyone is lying, who can you trust?

The Halfway Inn is closed to customers, side-lined by a bypass and hidden deep in inhospitable countryside. One winter’s night, two women end up knocking on the door, seeking refuge as a blizzard takes hold.

But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father trying so hard to tell them?

At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd is holding the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a brutal murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run – but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she’s stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the local district nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to investigate her disappearance.

The strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, but soon realise they might have been safer on the road. It seems not all the travellers will make it home for Christmas . . .

My Review:

The prologue opens on 22nd December 2017, we are aware of an armed and frightened female. Then the novel cuts away to the present moment, of a hitchhiker stranded in a snowy isolated Welsh scene…

‘There will be noise and fury. There will be damage. There will be casualties’

The novel spans around various characters and their current circumstances. Which includes the local law enforcement. We become aware there is a crime scene at a farmhouse and the majority of the police have dispatched there. Leaving PC Lisa Lloyd (6 months out of probation) and soon to be retired Jim Price.

There are little snippets of information cleverly woven into the plot. Such as, we know the hitchhiker is making their way home and to a farmhouse. We also get the scene of an old man caring for his son Brian and bed bound wife Rose. The three main perspectives are from the old man, local cops and the hitchhiker, who has now been picked up by a district nurse.

As the plot develops, I never felt I could trust any of the individual characters. But when all the characters collide at a closed pub The Star, nicknamed Halfway… ALL will be revealed!!!! This title is a psychological thriller, perfect for the winter months! 4*

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B.E. Jones
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halfway

Extract:

Excerpt 1 – Prologue

When she sees the hatchet in his hand she knows it’s going to happen, right here, right now. It’s been coming for hours, longer probably, since before the storm howling and keening around the eaves began its slow creep across the countryside, before the car was abandoned at the side of the snowbound road.
This moment was waiting even before she raised her hand and knocked on the door of this godforsaken place, squatting below its slipping slates and bowing brickwork, beneath the low iron sky, under the weight of winter.
So here they are.
She’s glad now that she’d had the foresight to arm herself, downstairs, when the unpleasant ticking started in her chest, when she’d finally realized the answers to the questions plaguing her since her arrival: Who are these people? And why are they lying?
She’d been sure that something was very wrong for hours. She just hadn’t been able to gather the quiet nudges in the back of her brain into a single, clearly defined thought until now, now it’s punching itself to the fore, bullying her into the realization she’d have been safer out in the storm.
But it’s too late to leave, now that there are only three of them left alive, assembled under the twinkly Christmas star: a hitchhiker, a nurse, a landlord, , everyone, everything, bending itself into this moment, before the weight of what has been and what is to come. How could she have imagined for even one moment that she was the only one with anything to hide?
She knows it’s her own fault for allowing herself to be caught off guard, first back on the road and then over and over again until she stepped into this room. It happened so easily because this is the sort of place that’s supposed to be safe and steady, a quiet, nothing-ever-happens-kind of village where people look out for each other, still leave their doors unlocked and never, ever try to kill you.
Trouble is, you should never read only the surface signs and signals of anywhere or anyone, she knows that. There’s a lesson here, never assume you’re the biggest, baddest thing in the woods unless you’re prepared to prove it.
So this is it.
That bloody balding donkey understands, his red and white trimmed Santa leaning at a jaunty angle as he gives her that look again, as if he’s thinking what she’s thinking, knows what she knows – not all of them will leave this room alive. He may be happy to wait passively for the outcome but she isn’t, so she readies herself, plants her feet firmly apart on the floorboards, aware of every inch of her body, every twitch of muscle fibre and sinew, careful not to show that her hands are waiting and ready to move.
The ticking in her chest tells her it’s too late to stop the countdown, there’s no way back, the explosion is overdue. There will be noise and fury. There will be damage. There will be casualties.
So here they go!

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My #Review of, Thirteen by @SSCav @orionbooks @orion_crime #Th1rt3en #CrimeFiction 5* GENIUS by @annebonnybook

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Thirteen 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.

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

steve
Steve Cavanagh
Authors Links:
Website
Twitter

***The novel is released today! Happy publication day to the author!***

For signed copies check out No Alibis Bookstore They also have FREE P&P to the UK
The novel is also available on order from Waterstones & Easons. 

Review: Scarecrow by Matthew Pritchard 5*

I recently discovered the author Matthew Pritchard when I read his post WW2 novel Werewolf for review via netgalley. It ended up on my list of favourites of the year. From a staggering 242 novels I picked just 20 fiction novels as favourites. When I am this impressed by an author I immediately go & seek out their other work. This led me to Sacrecrow!

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Scarecrow by Matthew Pritchard 5/5*

The blurb:

Follow the road to murder…

Investigative reporter, Danny Sanchez, has lived eight years in Almeria, southern Spain, working for the British expat paper, Sureste News.

While working on his latest story – Kafkaesque bureaucracy leading to the demolition of an elderly couples’ home – a startling discovery is made: as the diggers begin to tear down the house, a decomposed body is revealed dangling between two walls, its head swathed in Gaffa Tape.

From this sinister beginning, Danny follows a trail of bodies that takes him back and forth between Spain and England, as he is led to revisit the first story he ever covered, the trial and conviction of the serial killer known as The Scarecrow.

But with that man behind bars, how can bodies bearing the same distinctive pattern of mutilation be turning up in Spain?

The Spanish police insist there is no connection – but then times are hard in Almeria and no one wants to admit a murderer is on the loose, and Danny finds himself struggling against corrupt bureaucracy, cowboy builders and a monstrous killer whose motives are so perverse as to defy description…

My Review:

This novel is not for the faint hearted, I repeat definitely, not for the faint hearted! The novel is of the crime genre but it is extremely dark & edgy. It reminded me in a way of The Poet by Michael Connelly but the author gives it his own unique stamp!

The novel opens & we are instantly transported to Almeria Spain; investigative journalist Danny Sanchez is covering the unjust demolition of an elderly retired ex-pat couple’s villa. I liked that the author had featured something we do hear about occurring to ex-pat’s living abroad and found this added authenticity to the story. Danny is well known in the ex-pat community & we learn how such a community exists and operates in Spain. When the dust settles from the demolition a body is discovered amongst the rubbles and not just any body this one is wearing a gimp mask! The body is clearly that of a murder victim. But how did it get there? Why has someone been murdered in such a way? When the builder of the property is attacked with a hammer, Danny & his photographer Paco decide to dig a little deeper.

The builder Hacker & his 3 sons are by no means nice people. They are nasty, violent bullies whom have been terrorising the people of Spain for some time. They’re ex-pat’s themselves but with Rottweilers named Yorkshire & Ripper have done nothing to improve the image of the British. Danny & Paco discover that Alan Reade’s (Hacker’s plumber) villa is also rumoured to have a perfuse scent of death. Cue a little unethical detective work & another body is discovered. The body is covered in perverse clown make-up and appears to have experienced torture/humiliation prior to death. Who is sealing murder victims into walls? Is this the work of a serial killer? Why are the victims being tortured & humiliated in this way? Who is stalking the local community?

This reminds Danny of a previous case he has worked in England & quickly we are brought up to speed on the ‘Scarecrow killer’. Ishmael Vertaness is incarcerated in a high secure psychiatric facility in the UK after his spate of 5 murders. The Scarecrow humiliated, tortured, raped and emasculated his victims. He is rumoured to be on the autism spectrum but due to his failing mental health and abusive childhood, no-one can know with absolute certainty what made him do it. Four of the Scarecrow’s victims were known to be heterosexual men and not linked to the gay community. The Spanish authorities refuse to link the recent victims or have any belief in a link to a UK case. They do this in part to protect the image of Spain & prevent widespread possible international hysteria in relation to the crimes. Danny continues to gather information & evidence. This novel is heavily layered and thoroughly gripping reading! Danny decides that in order to gather more information he must return to the UK and work with old contacts. Did the Scarecrow have an accomplice? Will he agree to see Danny? Is he really autistic & how did this impact his criminal behaviour? With Danny’s return to the Uk we learn a more in-depth scope of the Scarecrow murders & the cross border murders. We learn more about the victim and hear the surviving family’s story’s. As stated before this novel covers the crimes of a violent, dominant & sadist serial killer. It covers a wide-range of issues from cocaine use to rent boys & even gay men who experience self-hatred. How do wealthy boys go from privilege to charging 20 euros a trick? What makes men vulnerable to rape?

But what it also covers without really trying to, is the real life modern day media reporting of covering stories with a possibly theme of gay sex or male rape. In the UK in August 2016 a man named Nigel Wilkinson was arrested & sentenced. Nigel was a serial rapist, whom posed as a male fitness photographer to allow him the trust & access to drug and rape many male victims. What is also frightening about Nigel is he was known to specifically target straight men. Even stating he liked to ‘take their masculinity’. Nigel was able to get away with his crimes for so long, that when finally caught he had amassed far too many victims. I think this novel highlights an area where the media fail & I applaud the author for covering such a crime, despite its dark nature. The issues/themes are covered with sensitivity.

The case builds and builds, with the Scarecrow & one of Hacker’s sons making threats, Paco’s daughter being kidnapped. Danny needs to uncover the killer & fast! The novel has a huge twist, that even I didn’t spot coming! It is one that will shock most readers & also reveals a dark theme not explored earlier. I read this in 24hrs & can’t praise it enough. If you seek a crime novel that breaks the mould, then this is the one for you! Scarecrow is available free for members of Kindle unlimited or available for the bargain price of £2.99 on Kindle E-book. It will scare you……………..You have been warned! 5/5*