Halfhead – Stuart B MacBride

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There are worse things than the death penalty…

They call them halfheads: convicted criminals, surgically mutilated and lobotomized by the State, then sent out to do menial jobs in the community so everyone will know what happens when you break the law. There are no appeals, no reprieves, and no one ever comes back. Until now.

Dr Fiona Westfield, one of the most prolific serial killers Glasgow has ever seen, is waking up. Surrounded by blood and death and darkness.

William Hunter has risen through the ranks since putting Westfield away; now he’s Assistant Network Director, in charge of police actions. But a routine murder investigation is about to embroil him in an appalling conspiracy.

The vast connurb blocks on Glasgow’s deprived south side are ready to explode. Eleven years ago the VR riots killed millions – now someone wants to start them all over again. And Will is being dragged back into a past he desperately wants to forget…

Without the B, Stuart MacBride writes slick, gruesome thrillers featuring DS Logan McRae.

I’ve read all of these, so you’d think I’d be used to the level of blood, guts and gore that spout from each vein of violent prose, but oh no, this novel is far more disturbing.

The bleak future setting, with its inhumane justice system, combined with the fantastic plotting and fabulous writing, make this one novel that will certainly create a few sleepless nights.

Go. Get it. Then enjoy.

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The Last Winter of Dani Lancing – P D Viner

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Twenty years ago Dani Lancing was brutally raped and murdered.

Her death left more tragedy in its wake by tearing her family apart. Her Father has withdrawn from the world and lives with only a ghost for company. Her best friend, is now a Detective, a last hope for lost young girls, and her Mother, obsessed with the truth is about to find out what happened, all it takes, is for her to become a murderer.

This book took me completely by surprise. It was nothing at all like my expectations, it was much better, and another of my one sitting reads.

The narrative switches in turn between the three main characters, as they embark on the journey that will lead them to the truth of what happened to Dani, and captures well the devastation to a family caused by such a tragedy, the healing power of knowledge and understanding, and the dangers of hidden lives and secrets kept for the best of intentions.

Whether you like murder mysteries, love stories, ghost stories or all of the above, there’s something in this book for you

The Cry – Helen Fitzgerald

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A missing baby, two distraught parents and a media frenzy. What happened to baby Noah?

I picked this up early one evening and if it wasn’t for the annoying need for sleep, I would have finished it in a single sitting. I absolutely loved it. It is exquisitely written, heartrending in places, and as I have come to expect from her books, nothing is as it seems

Telling the story of Joanna & Alistair in the weeks following the disappearance of their son, The Cry brilliantly details the breakdown of relationships in the wake of such tragedy. It also displays the speed at which the global imagination is captured by such events, and how social media has begun to play a larger part in them, not only as a means of support, and a way of increasing public awareness, but also as a method of investigation, and a tool of judgement.

It is in turn a tale of broken families, controlling relationships, grief and murder. If you’re looking for a book that is guaranteed to generate some great discussions at your next book club coffee morning, then this one is definitely it.

The Missing Ink – Karen E Olson

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Murder leaves a mark

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of an elite tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. When a girl makes an appointment for a tattoo of the name of her fiancé embedded in a heart, Brett takes the job but the girl never shows. The next thing Brett knows, the police are looking for her client, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn’t her fiancé’s…

Sometimes when I need a break from heavy action and violent crime I turn american cosy crimes. They are like my guilty little pleasure. There are lots of great series out there, from coffee shop and tea shop mysteries, to bakery and vineyard mysteries, and everything you can think of in between.

The Missing Ink is the first in the Tattoo shop mysteries, and I was intrigued to see how it would work. I am pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised, it worked really well.

As is usual I read it in less than a day because it had enough going on to keep you curious and involved all the way through.

If you like the cosy crimes of MC Beaton, and haven’t tried any American cosy’s yet then this is as good a place to start as any.

Enjoy