Thursday, 12 July 2018

Killing Pace by Douglas Schofield

In Big Cypress National Reserve, Florida Lisa Green is in a road traffic 'accident' that leaves her, battered, broken and suffering with amnesia. As she and her fiancee lay up in a cabin while she recovers Lisa starts to feel something here isn't right.

As her memories are gradually returned she regains training and skills she was unaware of and, as well as realising she is actually a prisoner of the man she thought was her fiancee, she also finds she is really Laura Pace, U.S. Border Protection officer - and a very good one at that.

At this point the story flashes back to Sicily and how she eventually ended up in the here and now.

As Laura (as she is now) escapes from the hut that has been her prison she must assemble a rather dodgy 'team' in the hopes of clearing her name and serving justice.

It's no big secret that I am a massive fan of the Jason Bourne films (not the original books though, never those) so the idea of what could possibly be seen as a female Bourne character left me in two minds. It could be a cheap rip off of an original idea or it could be marvellous. Thankfully Killing Pace fell firmly into the second camp. LP is a formidable creation with some very good skill sets that will hopefully be back for future adventures (and hey, maybe a big screen outing too - I feel this would translate well as a movie)

The only downside (and it's only minor) was that the flashbacks threw me slightly out of the story at times, but as the Pace picked up (ha, ha, see what I did there😂) I found myself tearing through this book to get to the resolution.

 Laura Pace stands on her own two feet as a series lead character and I am certainly looking forward to her further adventures.

4/5*

Monday, 9 July 2018

Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

Wow! What a surprise this was. Obviously I expected to enjoy it, that's why I opted to review it, but just how good it was was a revelation.

The story revolves around 3 main characters, told from their own perspectives and really, although it is about a murder, it is much more about the lives of the 3 and the small Colorado town they live in.

Cameron is a troubled teen who takes to sneaking out at night and staring through windows at people's lives.

Jade doesn't 'conform' to the teen girl image and is a bit of an outsider but also an observer of people in her own way.

Russ is a police officer, who used to work with Cameron's dad, who has secrets of his own.

When a local girl is found murdered most fingers seem to point at Cameron, who was quite obsessed with her, although Russ also thinks it may be his ex jailbird brother-in-law. To be honest, Cameron looked like the best suspect to me for a large part of the story too.

On the way to catching the killer we learn a lot about the past of all 3 and it is to the author's credit that each had a strong air of authenticity. Throughout the story they all come across as varying shades of 'broken' but by the end they just might all have a chance of some kind of redemption.

A cracking novel, and an author I will certainly be keeping an eye on.

This kept me hooked deep into the night

4.5/5 *

Friday, 22 June 2018

The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride




The Blood Road is the latest in Stuart MacBride's latest Scottish Crime series featuring his detective Logan McRae. As such it probably helps to have read at least some of the previous volumes as that will help you with the who's who of secondary characters.

The story itself I rather enjoyed. It starts with a dead body in a car - straightforward enough until the body turns out to be that of a high ranking police officer who died and was buried 2 years previously. Add to this another dead pc (which may or may not be suicide) and a crime ring that is kidnapping small children for saleand it's, all in all, a fairly gripping story.

Where it fell down, for me, was the characters. McRae himself was portrayed quite well but his fellow officers just didn't work for me. He has several fellow officers who seem too much like attempts to make comic sidekicks, but actually come across as stupidly irritating and for me spoilt the pace of the story. The worst of the worst was PC Stewart Quirrel (aka Tufty), the most childish and needy of people. Probably meant to be humorous but I just felt like giving him a slap.

That said though, I would certainly consider reading more in the series

3/5*

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Gate 76 by Andrew Diamond - A Review

I'll be honest with you, Private Eye thrillers can go either way with me. If the lead doesn't have a good 'voice' the story has no life.

Thankfully, with Freddy Ferguson, author Andrew Diamond has got it very right indeed.

The story starts when Freddy spots a woman being forcefully escorted to a boarding gate at the airport. Once through she disappears, reappears with a change of image and boards a different plane. Not long after, the plane she should have been on explodes mid flight with loss of all life on board.

Back home Freddy and his fellow PI team are employed to find out what happened, who is behind the bombing etc. The search for the missing passenger is Freddy's own mission, as is finding out where she ties into the ever deepening mystery of missing drug money and possible police corruption.

I got through this in two days thanks to both the pacing and the intrigue levels.

Really enjoyable 4/5*

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

One thing you can say of Sarah Pinborough, she doesn't make reviewing her books am easy job. 

Last year her 'Behind Her Eyes' came with the accompanying tag #WTFThatEnding, imploring all to not discuss the final twist. It worked! That Ending was kept out of reviews (for the most part) and people who had read it only discussed it with those who had done the same.

So, this year we get 'Cross Her Heart' another multi-lead thriller with another twist (although it comes a bit sooner this time.)  The leads are Lisa, a mother who sometimes seems to be trying a little bit hard to be a part of her daughter's life, Ava, the aforementioned daughter, and Marilyn, Lisa's work colleague.

As the story starts all 3 ladies tell their part of the story, they all have their little secrets and, if I'm being honest, it did tend to just pootle along at first. Things happen and you have an idea of where things are going then...

 BANG!!

Sarah blindsides the reader and the story takes on a whole new dimension, becomes a whole different thing and, to be fair that is all I can tell you without spoiling things (and you know I wouldn't do that to you)

What I will say is that this went from 'a couple of pages before bedtime' to 'it is now the early hours of the morning and I don't care, must read a few more chapters' The twist, when it came, was right out of the blue (for me) and then the 'reveal' at the end did it again... twice.

I really enjoyed Behind Her Eyes and thought Pinborough would struggle to surpass it - I guess I was wrong. I'm going to stick my neck out and say Cross Her Heart is a better book. BHE was a thriller with a supernatural leaning whereas CHH is a straight up thriller.

5/5

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Two books from Otter-Barry Books

Two books arrived in the post this week from Otter-Barry Books, a publisher I have not heard from before, and not my usual thing but, hey, they took the time to send it so I took the time to have a look.

First up then is Riding A Donkey Backwards (Wise and Foolish Tales of Mulla Nasruddin). This is a collection of 21 tales (all short, between 1 and 2 pages long) about Mulla Nasruddin, the wisest and most foolish man in the village. He manages to get himself in all sorts of silly situations and always thinks he's doing the right thing however silly it makes him love.

With lovely illustrations this is one that I think children will really enjoy.


Secondly (and if I'm being honest, my favourite of the two) is Is It A Mermaid by Candy Gourlay. In this tale Benji and Bel find a creature on the beach. They know it is a Dugong but the creature is convinced she is a mermaid. As they play together on the beach the Dugong shows them why she is a mermaid but the children aren't convinced - until it is time for her to go back into the sea.
The story here is a lovely one but when you add the illustrations (by Francesca Chessa) it becomes even more special.

As I said earlier I have never heard of Otter-Barry Books before but if these two gems are anything to go by I look forward to seeing many more of their books.

I think kiddies will love these books and I will be passing these two on to my niece.

Monday, 21 May 2018

It Was Her by Mark Hill

Hello and welcome to the first stop on the blog tour for Mark Hill's second novel 'It Was Her'. 

The First thing you need to know is that this is the second story featuring DI Ray Drake, a rather dark and, I guess, complicated character, so reading the first in the series, 'His First Lie' (previously known as The Two O'clock Boy*) will make events at the beginning of IWH a lot clearer.

Anyway, to the book in hand.

 IWH begins in flashback with a tragedy which may or may not have been an accident and is cut back to at various points in the narrative as the mystery of just what happened unravels.

In the present day Drake and his colleague, DS Flick Crowley, have their own mystery to solve - homes in supposedly safe neighbourhoods are being broken into and lived in while the owners are elsewhere and more often than not of late, people are ending up dead. How this ties to the events in the other story strand certainly makes for an interesting and intriguing read (I got through it in 2 1/2 days) that will have you changing your mind as to 'whodunnit'. Even after finishing the book I still find myself unsure - and that, for me, is a sign of a good tale and a good author.

Where Mark Hill really excels, in my opinion, is with his lead characters. With what happened at the end that 'His First Lie' things are a little edgy between Drake and Crowley. In that book Drake had a dark secret but now Crowley is a party to that secret and what she knows could ruin both their careers. The early tension is really ratcheted up and even though you sort of know they'll sort things out (that's not really a spoiler, it is a series after all) Hill still manages to leave you wondering and turning page after page.

As with his previous novel Hill leads you down dark and dangerous paths but you know what? You're glad he does and I hope he will continue to do so for a long time to come. He's only two books into his crime writing career but he's already up there with the big players

5/5 stars

Below are the rest of the dates and sites for this blog tour, please pop in and have a look
*also reviewed on this blog site