The Darkness – Ragnar Jonasson

Standard

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.

Advertisements

Bryant & May – Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler

Standard

The year is 1969 and ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall. But one amongst them is harbouring thoughts of murder. . .

The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May – undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen’s evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they’ve got a decent chap on the inside who can help them – the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel ‘Fruity’ Metcalf.

The scene is set for what could be the perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. For the good times are, it seems, coming to an end. The house’s owner – a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat – is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can’t solve the case. It’s when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems…
So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!

Man, oh man, oh man, I loved this. I even had to go against all my instincts and stretch out the reading, because I just didn’t want to get to the end and have to wait another year for the next one.  Just *love* Bryant & May.

The release of a new Bryant and May novel is always a big event at LifeOfCri.me Manor.  Each eagerly awaited edition is devoured, normally, and when the opportunity arises to get a chance of an early copy it’s one that I won’t miss.  As such I found myself getting to grips with John May and Arthur Bryant in full on throwback mode, with Hall of Mirrors being set in 1969, and trying desperately to slow down my reading and swallow up each and every delicious word.

It’s definitely my favourite of the series so far, mainly because it’s one of my favourite styles of tale.  Hall of Mirrors is what Fowler calls a ‘precinct’ novel (as was White Corridor).  Everything happens in a limited space and time.  In this case an old manor house, a flooded and a closed off village, alongside a small cast of vivid characters, and of course the requisite murder.

I adored meeting younger versions of Bryant and May, and seeing the beginnings of some of their well known idiosyncrasies.  It was also fun to meet some of the earlier generations of staff at the PCU, names you will be familiar with from earlier novels but have only met fleetingly.

All of this makes Hall of Mirrors as amazing a read to satisfy the most ardent of followers, whilst making the entire series completely accessible to anyone new to Bryant and May, because it can be read and enjoyed as a completely standalone novel.  If you are new to these pair, I’m sure you will be hooked, and more than pleased to know there are another 14 books you can catch up with!

Highly recommended by me.

He Said / She Said – Erin Kelly

Standard

Don’t be left in the dark.

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden . . . something she never could have guessed.

 

I must have a thing about eclipse stories at the moment, because this comes hot on the heels of Frances Brody’s eclipse set Death in the Stars.  Two novels, which could not however, be any more different.  After the cosiness of the 1920’s, I have been catapulted into the late nineties with a story the begins in Cornwall during the 1999 total eclipse, and continues on right until 2015 spanning the lives of Kit, Laura and Beth, along with the lives of the people surrounding them, affected over the years by their actions.

During the total eclipse of 1999  Laura witnesses an event that will follow her around from that moment on, one she struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of, the impact on the lives of all of those involved, and the ultimate unravelling of history.  As truths about those who share the ordeal become known, Laura struggles to come to terms with everything, hiding from the past seems her only option, striving to live a full life in the shadows, just as the sun hides behind the moon during an eclipse.

Switching back and forth between her current life and the unfolding memories of the past 15 years, He Said/She Said is told with all of the amazing ability I have come to expect from Kelly, ensuring that you are compelled to keep reading because you can’t wait to see how the tales intertwine, and slowly unwind all whilst combined with a reminder of how there are often many sides to every story…

Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough #WTFThatEnding

Standard

Don’t trust this book.

Don’t trust this story.

Don’t trust yourself.

And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…

Louise

Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…

David

Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…

Adele

Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?

 

#WTFThatEnding

 

If you only ever read one Sarah Pinborough book in your lifetime, make it this one, but after reading this I defy anyone to not seek out everything else she’s ever written.

At the beginning of a lazy Sunday, I thought I’d pick up my ARC of Behind Her Eyes, and read a few chapters before getting out of bed and beginning the weekend chores.  I never did get out of bed, and the chores never got done.  By mid afternoon I was finished, and sitting there stunned with one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve had for a long, long time.

It was brilliant.  Never has a hashtag been more appropriately coined to cover a book in so simple a way. I sat and said WTF out loud as I closed the final pages.  Expertly written, I defy anyone to see that ending coming.  I can spot the clues now, as I sit back and think back over everything I’ve read, but they were so skillfully interwoven into the story I just missed every single one.

Buy it.  Buy it NOW.  It’s going to be one of the biggest books of the year and you don’t want ANYONE to spoil that ending…

 

The Thrillers That Inspired ‘Lies’ by T M Logan #blogtour

Standard

tm-loganThrillers that inspired LIES

Who can say where stories come from? For me, they start with a tiny core, a single idea. Maybe a character or a single situation, a point of crisis or a relationship I want to know more about. Wrap a few more ideas around the core, then a few more, check its pulse to make sure it’s starting to live and breathe. Then sit down and start writing.

The core idea of LIES came to me while we were driving to Brittany for our summer holiday. I was supposed to be navigating but got so caught up with the idea – and scribbling it down in my notebook before it disappeared – that we got lost. We had to go on a bit of a magical mystery tour to pick up our route again, but the story of LIES was already starting to live and breathe (in my head, at least).

Like everyone else, though, I’ve been inspired and influenced over the years by thrillers that I’ve loved and the people who have written them. My favourite authors include Michael Connolly, Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay, Tana French, Lee Child, Sophie Hannah, Bernard Cornwell, Peter Swanson, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn and Ken Follett. I’ve missed lots out, but that might give you an idea of the kind of stories that I love to read – and write.

In no particular order, here are a few of the stories that inspired LIES:

I remember being bowled over by Harlan Coben’s Tell No One. It was the first time that I’d read one of his thrillers and it featured his trademark combination of a cracking story, great dialogue, compelling bad guys and a protagonist you’re rooting for from page one. Coben is also adept at bringing in technology and making it a turning point in his story, as when the hero sees an image of his wife – supposedly dead for eight years – on his computer screen.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was one of many great recommendations from my wife, Sally. I loved this book. The slow unravelling of the truth about Amy Dunne takes the story in ways you can’t predict. Is she alive or dead? Is her husband involved in her disappearance? Is the truth simply what we believe it to be? The blurring of fact and fiction, the creation of different versions of the truth, feature strongly in LIES.

I have lots of favourites by Stephen King but Misery is at the top. It’s so simple, basically two characters in a house for 95 per cent of the story, and yet he manages to make it utterly gripping and terrifying. Stephen King is the master at that sense of ‘creeping doom’, at building the tension slowly, as Paul Sheldon comes to realise that there is something very, very wrong with the situation in which he finds himself.

A Simple Plan by Scott Smith grabbed hold of me in such a way that it became like an addiction. A real high concept premise – three guys find a bag full of money in the woods – but so many twists and turns that it was impossible to put down. At its heart it’s about the terrible things people will do in pursuit of what they think is right, and the crimes they will justify on the way.

Last but definitely not least (and not a book, either), I tip my hat to Les Diaboliques, a French film about betrayal, obsession, and murder. Check it out if you ever get the chance. It has a killer twist – when it was shown in cinemas, a title screen appeared at the end of the movie asking the audience not to reveal it to others, so they wouldn’t spoil the surprise. I hope the twist at the end of LIES has a similar impact!

What are your favourite thrillers? Let me know @TMLoganAuthor

lies

 

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins

Standard

image

 

“To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.

Just goes to show.”

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’ she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

Then she sees something shocking. It’s only for a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives show only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train.

First things first, I’m simply going to say this….

Go Away and order this book now…

I guarantee when this book hits the shelves in January it is one that will be talked about just about everywhere. It’s simply that awesome. I can’t remember the last time I read a debut novel as original, gripping, and well written. I already know that I’m not going to shut up about this book for some time, and even with the wait for its release, it is one I am going to be recommending to anyone who asks me what I think they should be reading.

Published on the 15th January 2015, The Girl On The Train is epically timed for a cold, snow filled Saturday in front of the fire with some hot chocolate.  It’s dark, disturbing and totally addictive so put your feet up, get yourself comfortable and settle in for a good few hours because you will not be able to put this book down until you have finished.

I really don’t want to say too much about the plot of the book as much of its greatness is down to the magnificent way all the twists and turns unravel before your eyes as the pages pass by.

The Girl On The Train is written in one of my favourite ‘journal type’ styles, in the main from the perspectives of Rachel and Megan, although there is another point of view to be discovered, and covers the months leading up to Megan’s disappearance and those of Rachel’s search for the truth. As the narrative switches between the two timelines, what is revealed is a fabulous tale full of all of the mixed up emotions of many suburban household couples, those that often come with second marriages, divorces, affairs, unrequited loves, job loss, boredom, and motherhood.  It also has some of the most believable characters I’ve read in some time, and I felt it easy to identify with all the women involved at some point during the book.