Deadly Waters – Dot Hutchison

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

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

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.

 

#blogtour – Too Far by Jason Starr

One night. One date. What have you got to lose?

Jack Harper isn’t a bad man, but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a mediocre job just trying to keep sober. The only good thing in his life is his son. When an old college friend introduces him to a new extramarital dating website, he tentatively reaches out to find a distraction from his misery. But when he goes to meet up with his steamy online date, he quickly realises it was a dire choice.

Soon, Jack finds himself desperately trying to prove his innocence for crimes he did not commit, and the life he once had – unhappy as it was – is nothing but a dream. Now, he’s living his worst nightmare. . .

 

Why? Why? Why? Just Why?

OMG It’s been a long time since I’ve been so frustrated with a character that I’ve wanted to slam the book down,  and then immediately pick it back up again just to find out what they were going to do next. Between Jack Harper and Detective Barasco I don’t know which one I want to shout at more….

In this fabulous one sitting read (albeit for the slamming downs and picking ups) all I kept asking myself was Why?, not just the usual why is this happening? but also Why is he behaving like this? and reacting this way?  I couldn’t get my head round it…

To me that’s the sign of a great book,  I couldn’t figure anything out, no matter how much I tried, which is what every crime fiction reader I know wants.  Not to figure out the plot but to be surprised, intrigued and pulled along by the story.  Too Far does precisely that.

You’ll love it, and if you’ve read any of Starr’s previous books you’ll find a sneaky nod or two in them in this one.

JASON STARR

Jason Starr is the international bestselling author of many crime novels and thrillers and his books have been published in over a dozen languages. Many of his books are in development for film and TV. Starr’s bestselling crime novels include Cold Caller, Nothing Personal, Fake ID, Hard Feelings, Tough Luck and Twisted City, followed by Lights Out, The Follower, Panic Attack, Savage Lane and his latest novel, Too Far. He is one of only a handful of authors who have won the Anthony Award for mystery fiction multiple times. He was born in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan.

#blogtour – Trap By Lilja Sigurdardottir

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

I’m a big lover of Icelandic fiction, and yet this is my first read by Lilja Sigurdardóttir.  It’s a sequel to her previous book Snare which I’ll certainly be looking to read now.  I didn’t feel like I needed to have read it previously whilst I was reading Trap, but I’m thinking it might have been a good idea to have read that one first.

Caught in the “trap” of a drug smuggling ring Sonja is a mother desperately trying to get back her son, and save their future.  You get thrown into the story right from page one and feel pulled along all the way, as the tale wraps you up in its complexity leaving you eager to discover how it will unravel in the end.

With strong themes of drug smuggling, and abusive, controlling partners, all set against the backdrop of the financial crash and its fallout, (along with the remains of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption and the volcano’s fallout) it’s an intense read but well worth it.

 

 

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

#blogblitz Deception Wears Many Faces – Maggie James

When Lyddie takes her sister to Devon to recover after a recent suicide attempt, it starts a train of events that will put their lives in grave danger.

Ellie has been the victim of a professional con artist, one who stole her savings, then disappeared from her life. Driven by her own history of failed relationships, Lyddie vows revenge on the man who broke her sister’s heart.

Soon she assumes a false identity and begins her hunt for a man she knows to be cold, calculating and ruthless. But who is fooling whom? And can Lyddie find the justice she seeks and heal her damaged sister?

 

A super quick read, with some sneaky surprises…

Late to the party again I grabbed this to read a couple of days ago, and was almost immediately left cursing myself that I hadn’t picked it up sooner.

It’s a remarkable easy read that soon sweeps you up in it’s momentum, as Lyddie puts to good use internet dating sites, and female forums in order to try and help her sister find the con man who broke her sisters heart and left her once more struggling with thoughts of suicide.

However we soon find out that many of the assumptions we’ve been led to make are well and truly false, as the twists come quickly, keeping you frantically flipping through the book desperate to know what will happen next.

Lyddie, is well written, in the way she deals with what is happening, trying to tackle things head on, and making the occasional mistake or assumption that makes things worse, it’s all a very real possibility in today’s world.

In my opinion it’s certainly one to get.

 

 

 

Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!

The Camera Lies by A B Morgan

Konrad Neale is a television presenter. His waning career has been given a new lease of life since he took on a series of hard-hitting documentaries that investigate miscarriages of justice.

Matthew Hawley has been convicted of the brutal murder of his wealthy, attractive wife, Helena. However, he has no memory of the events and insists he is not responsible for willingly killing her.

When Konrad interviews Matthew in prison, he explores the details of the murder and the possible motives behind it. But all is not as it seems. Did Matthew murder his wife? Soon the search is on to identify who else might be involved in the murder of Helena, and Konrad is about to learn that sometimes the camera lies.

Wow, wow, wow, Just wow…..

I’ve loved every book of A B Morgan’s that I’ve read to date, but this is definitely my favourite.

The Camera Lies begins with Konrad investigating the case of Matthew Hawley, who brutally killed his wife but can’t remember anything about it.  As Konrad and his team delve further into the crime they come across a person of interest. Someone who despite insisting that they don’t want to be found, ends up becoming the stalker from hell, who systematically begins to destroy Konrad’s life piece by piece.

With a completely twisted villain at its heart The Camera Lies is an exceptionally well put together twisted and dark thriller, that will keep you guessing all the way to the end.

The Darkness – Ragnar Jonasson

A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach.

She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave.

A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide . . .

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide . . . And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.

Jonasson delivers again, I absolutely bloody loved it.

A speedy read, with a great character in the about to be forcibly retired Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir.

I enjoyed her tenacity, and her inner reflections on her history in the police as she doggedly tries to uncover the killer before she finishes work.

With a whopper of an ending it’s highly recommended.

#BlogTour The Captives – Debra Jo Immergut

Convicted of murder, destined for life in prison, Miranda is desperate for an escape. She signs up for sessions with the prison psychologist, Frank Lundquist, so that she can access the drugs to end it all. But unknown to her, Frank remembers her from high school, where, forgettable and unseen, he had a crush on Miranda Greene. Now, captivated again, his feelings deepen to obsession. What led the daughter of a former Congressman to commit such a terrible crime? And how can he make her

A totally engrossing thrill ride!

Well that was a rush.  The Captives is an amazingly well written book, that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and pulls you along at break-neck speed as you find yourself consumed by the obsessions of and the relationship between Frank and Miranda.

Written in ideally sized chunks, and perfectly paced, you will be half way through the book before you even know it, every time you go to put it down, you’ll find yourself saying “just one more chapter”.  The chapters alternate between Frank’s first person narrative, and Miranda’s third, which I thought was a great way to help move the story along nicely.

Covering all the many ways a person can be held captive, by others and by themselves, and exploring the sacrifices we make, and the potential for good or bad in all of us, The Captives is a completely immersive debut.  I highly recommend it.

 

#Blogblitz Merciless – Heleyne Hammersley

Two murders. One missing girl.

DI Kate Fletcher is called out to a freezing canal where a woman’s body is found floating in a lock. With no identification, the police struggle to piece together the details of the woman’s life.

In Thorpe a daughter confesses to the murder of her father. She says she helped him escape a painful death from liver cancer, but was her role more active than she claims?

As Kate and her team investigate, the links between the two cases are inescapable and everything seems to lead back to the disappearance of a teenager years earlier.

Then the main suspect vanishes….

Can Kate connect the events of past and present to bring the culprit to justice?

A cracking one sitting read, Merciless is a book that moves along swiftly, with a deft skill and style ensuring you won’t want to put down.

Merciless is the second book to feature Hammersley’s protagonist DI Kate Fletcher, but don’t let that bother you, you can read it as a standalone with ease, I haven’t read the first book (although I will be downloading it now) and I didn’t have any issues at all with picking this book up.

It’s written in switching narratives between Fletcher and Caroline, the woman who confessed to assisting her father’s suicide, in slightly different time frames.  Fletcher in the present day, as she investigates both Caroline and the body in the canal, Caroline in the months leading up to the death of her father.

Fletcher is a compassionate character keenly attuned to her team members and eager to discover the truth behind the mysteries before her.  Caroline is awful, devious and manipulative.  She is a character you will automatically dislike, yet at the same time you won’t be able to help yourself from empathising with her situation, even though you won’t want too.

If you want an intriguing read, that will add a dash of thrilling suspense to your lazy Sunday afternoon, this is the book for you.

 


Heleyne Hammersley is a British writer based in Cumbria. She writes psychological suspense thrillers and crime novels.

Heleyne has been writing since junior school – her first work was a collection of poems called ‘Give Them the Works’ when she was ten years old. The poems were carefully handwritten on plain paper and tied together with knitting wool.

When she’s not writing, Heleyne can often be found wandering on the fells or in the local park with her dog.