Blurb is the word #2 – Robert Bryndza

Standard

It took me a while to ‘warm up’ to ‘frosty Foster’ but she’s a cracking character and this is a brilliantly written thriller, that will keep you guessing right to the end.

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

 

Jeepers of all creepers! This one will have you double checking all your doors are locked at night.

Another twisting , turning, tale that will keep you enthralled from the moment you pick it up.

If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

My favourite of the series so far, and yet another step up in style, these books just keep getting better and better.  

This time round, it’s a cold case for feisty DCI Foster, who is doggedly determined to find the culprit, but just for once she might have bitten off more than she can chew…

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

I Know Your Secret – Graham Smith

Standard

When Father Peter Paterson is discovered crucified to the stone floor of his church, DI John Campbell leads the investigation in his first case in charge of the Cumbria Major crimes Team, while DI Harry Evans spends the last week of his police career attending the trial of his wife’s rapist.

With the Priest seemingly killed for no reason, the pressure on the team increases when a rape case and a con trick are added to their workload. Unknown to the police, members of the public are receiving blackmail demands.

Fearing more attacks on the clergy, Campbell does everything he can to solve the case, while Evans spends his evenings dispensing his own brand of supposedly helpful interference.

An absolute belter of a book…

Those of you who follow this blog will have seen me on the Matching The Evidence blog tour last month, celebrating the release of the novella that is literally crammed (timeline wise) between DI Harry Evans book one Snatched From Home and I Know Your Secret, the second novel in this increasingly addictive series.

As I said,  I Know Your Secret is the second book in this series and coming hot on the heels of earlier tales, it’s worth noting that whilst you can happily pick up and read this book as a standalone novel, your experience is greatly enhanced by reading the previous installments as it improves your understanding of the characters and the motivations of the members of the Major Crimes Team.

The opening pages of I Know Your Secret are gritty, as they describe the brutal murder of Father Peter Paterson.  while the method used to set up the scene, will not only leave its imprint on your mind, but ensure you are hooked into the story and keen to discover exactly whodunnit and why.

Easily read in one sitting thanks to its pacy, addictive and dare I say it “unputdownable” style, it’s an absolute belter of a book. With several interwoven plot lines to keep you on your toes, I know your secret is a fabulous story about a functional disfunctional team, interspersed with the just enough dark humour and not enough political correctness to ensure you engage fully with the story, and all of those involved.

I’m already excited to read more about Harry.

Melody Bittersweet & The Girls Ghostbusting Agency – Kitty French

Standard

Life’s tricky for Melody Bittersweet

She’s single, she’s addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers and … she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder? 
Waking up lonely on her twenty seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change. 

Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency – kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits. She’s also flirting with her ex Leo Dark, fraternising with her sexy enemy in alleyways, and she’s somehow ended up with a pug called Lestat. 

Life just went from dull to dynamite and it’s showing no sign of slowing up anytime soon. Melody’s been hired to clear Scarborough House of its incumbent ghosts, there’s the small matter of a murder to solve, and then there’s the two very handsome, totally inappropriate men hoping to distract her from the job… 

Welcome to Chapelwick, home of the brand new and hilarious Girls Ghostbusting Agency series, where things really do go bump in the night.

Take some Janet Evanovich, mix it up with some classic Scooby-Doo mysteries, throw in some Ghostbusters, some of M Knight Shyalaman’s Sixth Sense along with a pair of devilishly handsome but totally inappropriate suitors, and you’ve got your next funtastic read.  If anything can take a grey, miserable time and turn in on its head into one filled with smiles and laughter, this book can do it

Melody Bittersweet is a hilarious narrator, and absolutely adorable, you can’t help but fall for her charms as she converses with ghosts, translates their thoughts and words to the “I-don’t-see-dead-people” folks, and solves mysteries, all while caught between an outrageous ex-boyfriend and an all too desirable complete non-believer out to discredit her at all times.

Her sidekick’s are just as much fun, and I’m really struggling to decide who I like the most.  Feisty Italian descended Marina, loyal and innocent Artie, Melody’s interfering family or LeStat the pug, there’s so much to look forward to from this interesting bunch that I’m already keen to find out what’s next.

With an interesting and tragic family mystery to solve, there’s plenty in here to keep the cosy crime fanatic in you enthralled, just enough romance to spice it up, and some great wisecracks, and while you let yourself go in the company of Melody Bittersweet, I will be eagerly awaiting the next instalment…..

 

Blurb is the word

Standard

Welcome to my new feature Blurb is the Word.

Over the last two years I’ve read over 240 books many of which haven’t made it to the site for full reviews for many reasons, from time constraints to motivational issues or occasionally just because the book has been around for many years, and reviewed so much, I simply didn’t do it.

To that end I’ve decided to make these ‘unmentioned’ books into an occasional feature, with a handful of short, sharp reviews, or ‘blurbs’ , sometimes dedicated to a single author, sometimes a bit of a mix, all with the intention to intrigue you just enough to give some of them a try.

All books are worth reading.   All books deserve talking about.  Even if you don’t enjoy them, someone else will.  Lose yourself in a book.  There is NO BETTER escapism, enjoy worlds you will only know in your imagination.  Have fun, and I hope these blurbs pique your curiosity.

J x

The Sisters – A thrilling read that will grip you from the very beginning and make your head spin, as you slowly unravel the complex web of deceit that is the very heart of the story.

imageOne lied. One died.

When one sister dies, the other must go to desperate lengths to survive

After a tragic accident, still haunted by her twin sister’s death, Abi is making a fresh start in Bath. But when she meets siblings Bea and Ben, she is quickly drawn into their privileged and unsettling circle.

When one sister lies, she must protect her secret at all costs

As Abi tries to keep up with the demands of her fickle friends, strange things start to happen – precious letters go missing and threatening messages are left in her room. Is this the work of the beautiful and capricious Bea? Or is Abi willing to go to any lengths to get attention?

When the truth outs, will either sister survive?

The Girl With No Past – We all have something we want to keep to ourselves, but can a bad deed ever go unpunished? In this one sitting read you will find yourself enthralled trying to uncover what Leah doesn’t want you to know, but somebody else, who does know, really wants to tell…

screenshot_2016-05-14-01-52-53-1-1.png

Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.

Then, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.

But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?

Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.

No Coming Back – Confronting your past isn’t easy, discovering the truth isn’t easy, and sometimes there is No Coming Back.  Finding out what happened to the disappeared and the dead is harder than you may think. Old rivalries, resentments and tragedies unfold in this thrilling tale.

 

image

Eighteen years ago, Jenna Luckman disappeared, presumed murdered. Her boyfriend, Jake Olson, hasn’t been home since. Now he’s coming back to find her killer.

Since he last set foot in Harper, Minnesota, Jake’s whole life has changed beyond recognition, but the place seems just as he left it. Small-town politics and gossip rule, and his return is big news.

When a body is discovered at the frozen Hangman Falls, Jake is beset by a snowstorm of anger and revenge. Hounded by grudges and feared by the townsfolk, Jake is determined to uncover the truth behind his girlfriend’s disappearance. But he still has enemies in town and they have other plans for him.

Betrayed at every turn and unsure whom to trust, Jake’s quest for the truth rekindles old rivalries and rouses ghosts that should never have been disturbed. He wants above all to find the peace of mind that has so long eluded him. But no man can escape his past.

 

Lightening up, with cooking, craziness, chaos, cosiness, and con jobs…

Standard

I’ve had a tiring few weeks, with the last one being particularly exhausting, so I took some time off from the deep, dark, psychological thrillers I usually read and I went to my comfort corner, keeping with crime but going as wacky, crazy, and cosy as I could.

These were my choices…

CRAZY, CRACKPOT AND IMPOSSIBLE CONS…

All pulled off like the perfect A-Team plot.  Let go with an enjoyable read and challenge yourself to see how many of Lee’s TV references you can spot!

FBI agent Kate O’Hare’s covert partner has been kidnapped. But she is in hot pursuit…

Nicolas Fox, con man, thief, and one of the top ten fugitives on the most-wanted list, has been kidnapped from a retreat in Hawaii. The kidnapper doesn’t know that Nick Fox has been secretly working for the FBI and that his partner, Special Agent Kate O’Hare, is on their trail.

The pursuit leads to Belgium, France and Italy, and pits Nick and Kate against a deadly adversary: Dragan Kovic, an ex-military officer from Serbia. He’s plotting a crime that will net him billions… and cost thousands of lives.

Nick and Kate have to mount an audacious con to avert catastrophe. The pressure’s on for them to make this work – even if they have to lay their lives on the line…

GRANNY’S GOT A GHOSTLY NEW PARTNER IN CRIME! 

If you like Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur, you’ll love Agnes Barton

Ever since Agnes’ car accident, things have changed drastically for her. When she wakes up in the hospital, not only is her son Stuart there, who she hasn’t seen in years, but a ghostly apparition!

Instead of getting ready for the loony bin, Agnes and Eleanor help ready the Butler Mansion for a grand opening as a bed and breakfast on Halloween, except they find the body of Katherine Clark. It’s game on, as usual, for Agnes, except she now has a new partner, one who has remained silent and is—well—a ghost.

Agnes now struggles to keep her wits, keeping her ghostly companion a secret from Eleanor, not such an easy feat since Eleanor is sharp as a tack. Not only that, but where has Stuart been all of these years and what is he up to?

HERCULE POIROT MEETS AGATHA RAISIN…..

“They say one should never trust a thin chef. By this measure, Chef Maurice was very trustworthy indeed.”

Take one sleepy Cotswold village, mix in one Poirot-esque murder mystery, add a larger-than-life French chef with an appetite for solving crime, and season with clues and red herrings galore . . .

It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion. Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village.

Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out. Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings?

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Crime Writing by G J Minett

Standard

The Hidden LegacyGJ Minett is the author of The Hidden Legacy & Lie In Wait, as part of his blog tour to celebrate today’s paperback release of The Hidden Legacy, he’s taken time from his busy schedule to talk to LifeOfCri.me about his personal Dos and Don’ts of writing crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

Dos and Don’ts of Crime Writing

 

GrahamSo … let’s get all the self-effacing disclaimers out of the way first, shall we?

I’m not entirely sure that a body of work comprising two eBooks and one paperback qualifies me as an expert on how best to go about producing a crime novel. I’m sure I would bristle at the idea of having to conform to someone else’s notions as to what constitutes good practice, so I’m not about to pontificate here. Feel free, as they say, to try this at home but please don’t feel under any obligation to wear the strait jacket. The right way is what best suits you.

I’ll share with you three examples of what works for me, with no significance at all attached to the order in which they appear.

Treat your readers with a bit of respect

I’m a reader. Part of the fun for me, in reading a crime novel, is working things out for myself, following clues, weeding out red herrings and trying to anticipate where the author is trying to take me. I don’t need to have my hand held. I certainly don’t want an idiot guide thrust into my hand. But equally, if I’m going to invest a great deal of time and mental energy into reading a 400 page novel, I expect to be able to believe the outcome. I may not see a twist coming, I may miss one or two crucial clues and shake my head when I think back, wondering how I didn’t pick up on them. What I do NOT want though is to be defeated by some startling coincidence or miraculous intervention I could never have foreseen in a million years that leaps out of nowhere and changes everything. Whenever this happens, it’s difficult to avoid the impression that the author has backed her/himself into a corner and not had a clue how to get out of it without resorting to desperate measures. Keep it real. Avoid shortcuts. Work the plot through beforehand and don’t short change the reader by settling for the mediocre.

Show don’t tell

OK … I know. Very MA in Creative Writing. But there’s a reason why this particular mantra is chanted at every writing course you’ll ever attend. It ties in neatly with the previous section because most readers are quite capable of working out for themselves how a character is feeling if they’re given the right visual clues. It is after all how we operate in real life. If I see someone wiping away a tear, I don’t need to be told “I’m feeling sad”. If someone is twisting the cord of a blind around a finger while gazing out of the window or slamming a glass down on the table so that the liquid slops over the side, I can tell what sort of mood we’re dealing with here without any need for some disembodied voice to tell me she’s sad or he’s angry. Why should these visual clues be any less effective in a novel? Some writers are so gifted in the way they allow feelings to seep through without any need for explanation that they add an extra layer of enjoyment to the whole reading experience. Try it next time you feel the urge to have one of your characters explain how she/he is feeling.

Listen to your dialogue

If you wrote a song, you’d probably want to play it and hear what it sounded like. I wonder sometimes how often writers apply the same principle to dialogue because all too often it clunks, for want of a better word. I read a novel recently that was excellent in many respects but whenever the police officers decided to go to the pub for a drink my heart sank because I knew what to expect. What was supposed to pass for male banter sounded more like  cheeky chappie dialogue from 1920s Music Hall minus the boom boom and it simply didn’t ring true.

Dialogue is very important in most novels as a device for ‘nailing’ a character, making sure that she or he comes across as an authentic person you might encounter next time you walk into a bar. If it isn’t quite right, the reader will quickly pick up on any inauthenticity and the spell can be broken just like that.

Try recording your extended passages of dialogue and playing them back or maybe getting friends to read them out to you. Also try recording others when they’re speaking so that you can pick up on any nuances. Not many people string together whole sentences without digression, hesitation, repetition, sudden changes of subject. If you can work some of these subtle differences into the speech patterns of your characters, they will appear more authentic.

As I said at the outset, these three examples matter greatly to me and have helped me enormously. I hope they will be of some use to you too.

And I just know someone is already trawling through my novels right now in search of instances where I haven’t managed to practise what I’ve preached. I’m sure they’ll find them!