The Husband Trap – N J Moss

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He’s just proposed to his girlfriend—but another woman has him in her sights.


Liam finally popped the question, and Emily said yes. But that very same night, Liam gets abducted . . . and wakes up to a nightmare.

On a large estate in the middle of nowhere, Liam finds himself the object of a woman’s twisted affections—and confined to a stone cell. A servant ignores him. A guard watches over him.

Meanwhile, Emily struggles to take care of their newborn child and tries to find the strength to move on. Can Liam ever escape and recover the life that was stolen from him—or will this bizarre prison be the last place he ever sees?

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill – C.S. Robertson

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Creepy, Disquieting, Subtle, Thought Provoking,  Addictive, 

Just some of the ways to sum up this absolutely phenomenal book which kept me up until the wee small hours to finish.  A mystery within a mystery, there are hundreds of thoughts and emotions that run through your mind as you are completely absorbed in the life of Grace McGill.


DEATH IS NOT THE END. FOR GRACE McGILL IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

When people die alone and undiscovered, it’s her job to clean up what’s left behind – whether it’s clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.

When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.

Criminally Crafty

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I’ve been reminiscing over those pre-lockdown days, when we were all able to attend bookish events around the country, by digging out my collection of goodie bags and t-shirts I picked up along the way. I had to dig around drawers and cupboards to find them all, and this got me thinking. Surely the point of mementos and keepsakes is to enjoy them, so in full on up cycling mode I cracked on and turned these

Into these for my wall

Deadly Waters – Dot Hutchison

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Florida journalism undergrad Rebecca Sorley is like any other college student. She tries to keep up with her studies, her friends, and her hot-tempered roommate, Ellie, who regularly courts trouble with the law.

When a male student’s remains are found in alligator-infested waters, the university warns students to stay away from the reptiles. But then a second body shows up, and the link is undeniable. Both men belonged to the same fraternity and had a reputation for preying on and hurting women.

Ellie has previously threatened to kill men who don’t take no for an answer. Rebecca and her friends thought Ellie was kidding. But now a vigilante killer is roaming campus—someone who knows how to dispose of rapists. Someone determined to save female students from horrible crimes.

With each passing day, those who know Ellie become more convinced she’s responsible. But if she is, stopping her might not be in everyone’s best interest…

I got this as part of my Amazon first reads line up for August, where I get to choose from a selection of reads a month before release. I selected this one after just a quick scan of the synopsis so I wasn’t sure exactly where the story was going to go, but I found it brilliant, a completely cracking read. I just sat down in the morning and didn’t stop until I finished.

Taking its theme from #metoo  it cuts through some of the hardest blockers to women looking for justice in a female shaming environment, and tackles some of those unrequired questions when it comes to who we should teach.  Women not to be themselves? or Men not to rape?

It’s an excellent story, with debate into both college culture and vigilantism.  I won’t say I enjoyed every word, some of it was close to uncomfortable, but it’s an amazingly true representation of the difficulties women face in the world today, at the same time as being a twisty thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the end.  I know I changed my mind half a dozen times until I got to there.

With that said, I will say only one more thing…

#MeToo

 

The Chalet – Catherine Cooper

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French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

 

I’ve only ever been skiing once in my life, a school trip when I was thirteen and I absolutely hated every single minute of it.  I also understood the guides disdain for the pretentious ‘richies’ that came along thinking they knew it all.  These two things for me meant a well written opening sequence had me already wanting to know what was going on…

I completely devoured this one sitting read, not being able to work out who the killer was and the truth behind the past despite a number of separate scenarios I came up with along the way.  Each one I was certain about until the next twist came along.  I couldn’t stop being intrigued about who was involved in this tale.

Totally loved it.

Cry Baby – Mark Billingham

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It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights.

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

17 books into the series and I’m still loving the ‘grumpy old sod’ Tom Thorne as a character, alongside his well established colleagues and annoying ‘brass’.  Once again Billingham has put a new spin on him though.  This time taking him back to 1996, to before the time of Thorne’s first appliance in Sleepyhead, where he was already a traumatised copper, but who now had to face all the emotional demons that helped send him on his path.

Being a prequel, it’s easy to pick up and read if you’ve never read Mark Billingham’s Thorne novels before, but that said knowing what I know about the characters later on in the series many of their actions and thoughts about each other did send a chuckle through my bones.

Give it a try, I certainly don’t think you’ll regret it.

 

Covid-19, Traditions and of course books…..

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I’ve had for as far back as I can remember, a reading related habit. Every time I was in an airport, I had to buy a book. In my early years it was whenever I went with my Mum to say goodbye to my Uncle, who lives in Canada, and had been over for a visit. When I began travelling myself I kept up the tradition. Every time I went on holiday I would buy a book. When I went to Florida I bought a Jack Higgins novel which my Dad said he we like to borrow once I had finished reading it. I passed it over to him at the end of the flight. Another time I bought the latest Lee Child, and again ended up leaving it behind at the hotel for someone else to read, as I had finished it. The time that sticks in my mind the most though, resonates more than ever at the moment.

I was going on holiday with my family, and true to form I bought myself a book to read on the plane and while I was away. The book I bought was Airframe by Michael Crichton, an author I had long enjoyed, and was about a mid air incident on a flight. My Mom, couldn’t understand why I would want to buy such a book when I was hours away from getting on a plane. I never thought about it at the time, it was just a book I fancied reading by an author that I liked.

I’ve recently revisited this line of thought however, with my current choice of reading. The first book, was Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, a story around a massive plane crash and the impact it had on those who had to regularly climb a mountain to the crash site, and of those who had the report the news every day. It was a book I picked at random because again I like the author.

Then, I decided I needed to re-read Day Four by Sarah Lotz. On Day four of a luxury cruise, the ship becomes stranded in the middle of nowhere, with everything on board from the lights to the toilets systematically shutting down. After all the stories of stranded cruise ships due to Covid-19 it felt, well…

That was when I remembered how much I love the dark writing of Sarah Lotz, so next up was her book The White Road, where an adrenaline junkie has a close call whilst caving, and when his video of the tragedy goes viral, ends up trying to beat the ratings by climbing Mt Everest, where, well let’s face it, it all goes a bit pear shaped. It’s quite the unnerving tale, and as fascinating it is to read it has also peaked my interest in the real life adventures and mysteries that surround the mountain and those risking it all to get to the top, which has given me something else to investigate during the lockdown.

Finally, staying with the mountain climbing theme, I re-read Michelle Paver’s Thin Air. Another ghostly tale of how things can go badly wrong when climbing. This one I have on audio book rather than physical, and I can only say one thing. Don’t listen to it on your own, late at night. You will not be able to sleep afterward.

Now I’m off to read Sarah Lotz The Three, about four simultaneous plane crashes and their four survivors, because, you know, I’m sensing a bit of a theme here…

The Last Act by Brad Parks #ExclusiveExtract

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Former Broadway star Tommy Jump isn’t getting the roles he once did. As his final run as Sancho Ponza draws to a close, Tommy is getting ready to give up the stage, find a steady paycheck, and settle down with his fiancée.

Cue Special Agent Danny Ruiz. An old school friend of Tommy’s, now with the FBI, Ruiz makes Tommy an offer that sounds too good to refuse. All Tommy has to do is spend six months in prison, acting as failed bank robber ’Pete Goodrich’.

Inside, he must find and befriend Mitchell Dupree, who has hidden a secret cache of documents incriminating enough to take down New Colima, one of Mexico’s largest drug cartels. If Tommy can get Dupree and reveal where the documents are hidden, the FBI will give him $300,000, more than enough to jumpstart a new life. But does he have what it takes to pull off this one final role?

 

For at least the tenth time in the last twenty minutes, Amanda Porter looked at the clock that hung on the wall of the kitchen—which was also the living room, her studio, and the only room in this shabby, stifling, non- air- conditioned second- floor apartment that wasn’t a bedroom or a bathroom.

Five fifty- two. Were this an ordinary matinee, Tommy would have been back by now. He was obviously still saying his good- byes. The ceiling fan took another spin through the same hot air it had been futilely recycling all afternoon. She sighed, appraising the painting
she had been halfheartedly jabbing at, knowing she was too distracted to give it the kind of attention it demanded.

Was this one headed for the trash? She tossed way more than she kept. For months now she had been sending photos of her completed work to Hudson van Buren, the proprietor of the Van Buren Gallery and one of the most influential voices in the business. He didn’t need
to see the bottom ninety- eight percent of her work. Only the top two, thank you very much.

When people met Amanda Porter, they immediately underestimated her, because she had this cute southern twang; because she was five foot two, blue- eyed, and adorable, with her wavy strawberry- blond hair, her button nose, her freckles; because she was twenty-seven but could get carded buying a lottery ticket.

Those looks belied the fierceness with which she attacked her work. No one looked at her and thought scrappy, but that’s how she thought of herself. She was the scrappy girl who had made it from this little nowhere town in Mississippi to a scholarship at Cooper Union and now to the brink of artistic stardom by outworking everyone and refusing to compromise. She poured her drive for perfection into her art. It was excellence or nothing.

#blogblitz Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen

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Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

When you are found asleep on the sofa after being up all night reading you know it’s a goodie.

A stark story, written excellently. Highlighting how women are treated, even in our modern age.