Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Dean C Moore

This is the second of Dean's books that I've read. I know they won't be for everyone but they're pretty high-tech and they always give me a laugh. 


Setup: Android Assassins

Amazon.com link

My review -

What can I say? The Futurists of the FBI have a strange way of recruiting. Max Chase has been set up and is now a wanted man. Problem is, his wife and son are being pursued too. They are accompanied in their journey to foil an evil genius by another ‘family’ of three androids. These three are made to resemble Chinese domestic workers but have massively useful powers. It looks bad – but it could be worse.

Dean C Moore has a vivid imagination – I’d hate to be in one of his dreams! The story here is long but the action never lets up. It’s set in the near future and there’s the horrible suspicion in the reader’s mind that some of these things could really happen. Not too many, I hope! This is an exciting, action-packed romp with a huge body-count but seasoned with a great deal of humour. I’d love to see a film of this. It’s vivid and thrilling – and probably hugely expensive in special effects!

I received an advance review copy of this book.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Claire Douglas

Claire Douglas seems to home in on the theme of identity. Those of her books that I've read, I've loved.



Last Seen Alive

My review -

Libby and her husband Jamie are offered a house-swap for a week, exchanging their compact flat in Bath for a large, beautifully renovated mansion of a place in Cornwall. Libby deals with the owner only by telephone but an amicable agreement ensues and Libby and James seem to have fallen on their feet. Things don’t add up, though, and the place begins to get creepy. Jamie suffers from food poisoning and when he has to spend the night in hospital the dream holiday falls flat. The mysterious owner then tells them he’s going to stay in London so they can return to their own poky flat.

This is a superb story about identity. It seems to be a pet theme of the author’s and she handles it very deftly. The story develops, taking us away from the picture we had built up and replacing it with another. I found myself not knowing who to like or trust. Another great story from Claire Douglas.

Thanks to Netgalley for a review copy of this book.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sarah Waters

This wartime story is told in a kind of reverse order. It's not as complicated as it sounds!


The Night Watch

Amazon.com link

My review -

Duncan is in a dead-end job, having been in prison. His sister is seeing a married man. Kay lives a solitary aimless life. Julie and Helen’s relationship is rocky due to Helen’s jealousy. Little bits of their 1947 lives are dropped as hints that something in their past is relevant to their situations now. And then we go back, and a little further back, to see what happened.


This story looks at an existing situation and shows us how the characters got to where they now are. The war is an ever-present horror in the later sections and a haunting wraith in the first. Sarah Waters’ writing is always beautiful and the characters’ dialogue is spot on, bringing them to life. I really love this idea of going back in a story, rather than forward. We are often given hints of a back-story but here we live through those events as they happen – just in reverse order. This fills in a lot of things we didn’t know, but explains the situation in the earlier, 1947 section. It’s an unusual device but it worked very well for me.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Frank Westworth

This author has written novels I've never quite had time to read - but this series of short stories is a great way in to getting to grips with the characters.


First Contract

Amazon.com link

My review -

Meet JJ Stoner. He’s a killer. He’s in the Army. That’s what they do. But Stoner goes beyond… He’s removed from his role and offered another, if he’ll take it. It’s that of a contract killer. Initially things aren’t as straight forward as he might have hoped.


This is a short story but it’s not short on ideas or action. Stoner is a callous killer yet a curiously attractive character. The story is beautifully told and packed with characters and incident. This is the start of a new career for JJ and I enjoyed reading it.

***





My review -

Stretch is a navy man and he falls for the wife of an army man. Not a good mix. He appears to be a womaniser but this particular woman has really got to him. Then she is seriously injured. He meets Stoner, investigator and ruthless eliminator if need be, who gives him an opportunity to – to do what he feels he has to do.

This is the sort of story where you have to face that two wrongs don’t make a right and that you would hate to be in this situation. Really, what would you do? Stoner is an antihero and certainly isn’t a man to emulate – but in the context of the stories, he has his own code and follows it. It makes for very good reading, but not for characters you’d particularly like to meet!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Heather Burnside

A second Manchester-based series by Heather Burnside and it's off to a great start.


Born Bad

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Adele and her brother Peter are like chalk and cheese. Peter turns to petty crime, which then becomes not so petty, while Adele works for her A levels. She’s hard pressed to do so. Her mother lives on tranquilisers and her alcoholic dad is physically abusive to his wife. The children learn to tread carefully. She can’t understand why her mother puts up with the abusive treatment and humiliation her father hands out.

This is the first of another series set in Manchester, my native city, and it has such a sense of place. It’s a long time since I heard one or two of the words or expressions used here and they nailed the story geographically for me. Heather Burnside is so good at getting into characters’ heads and leaving you understanding their predicament, but I confess, I didn’t expect the turn the story took. I found it very good indeed.


I received a review copy of this from the publisher.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Jean Gill

I asked to review this book because I have a left-handed granddaughter. It's easy to forget how the world is right-hand-centric.



Left Out

Amazon.com link

My review -

Jamie is picked on at school for her clumsiness, which she attributes to being left-handed as nothing she uses is suitable. The only real friend she has is Ryan. He encourages her to research left-handedness and she finds out how many famous people, present and past, have been southpaws. She writes for the school newspaper, as does Ryan, though using a pseudonym. To both their horror, Ryan’s mum takes him away from their school in Wales to her native America but Ryan has hopes of wangling his way back.


This is a great little book which takes issues of bullying and being different, and manages to celebrate some of those differences. It opens the eyes of left and right handers to just how difficult it can be to use ordinary items – a potato peeler, for example – but how many left handers turn out to be extraordinary people. It’s not just a preachy book, though. It’s got some dark themes running under it, and a real page-turning feel to the plot. A very good read.

Too much back-matter for me but that's a personal preference.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

V K McGivney

A great writer of science fiction - one to watch.


Inheritors of the New Kingdom

Amazon.com link

My review -

Richard, writing his doctoral thesis, looks out in the early hours and sees what he can only think is a UFO. An elderly nun has seen it too, as has a local man living rough. The old man’s beaten up, the nun disappears and Richard is determined to find her, feeling that he’s in danger too. His new girlfriend, an old school friend he’s not seen for ten years, becomes involved and reports him missing in his turn.


This story takes on several themes, the largest being First Contact. It also covers the End Times religious sect idea, spiritualism, a little budding romance, and much more. The story is as successful as it is because it has credibility. It’s all too believable which is what makes it such an exciting read. I found myself thinking of the Orson Welles radio adaptation of the HG Wells classic War of the Worlds in the 1930s which was believed by many to be a ‘breaking news’ story and caused widespread panic. This is a considered and well-paced story which evolves towards a very thought-provoking ending. If you enjoy science fiction, I can’t recommend this highly enough. It’s an absolute corker of a tale.


David Videcette

David's an ex Scotland Yard investigator and ex-terrorism specialist so this has an authentic ring.



The Detriment

Amazon.com link

My review -

Jake is faced with a number of crimes which don’t appear to be connected. He recklessly attempts to disarm a car bomb (which fails to detonate anyway). A spy is found in his own garden and it’s assumed he leapt from his window in the block of flats. Jake’s old girlfriend enlists his help in something suspicious. There’s a lot going on in this novel and all of it illegal, nasty and involving high-level corruption.


David Videcette knows how to crank up the tension. His protagonist, Jake, is often out on a limb but can’t let bad things happen. I was torn so many ways in this story, wanting bad people not to get away with it though I feared some of them would. Everything isn’t always black and white and Jake has to deal with the shades of grey and choose between the lesser of the evils. This is a very through-provoking book and the section at the end, taken from real documents, is a bit of a shocker. Really, this is a book not to miss.

Rowan Coleman

My first Rowan Coleman book - I can see it won't be my last!


The Summer of Impossible Things

Amazon.com link

My review - 

After her mother’s death by suicide, Luna and her sister Pia journey from their British home to Brooklyn, their mother’s old home. She has left them a message about something which happened there in 1977 and badly impacted her life and future happiness. Strange things that happened in Luna’s childhood lead her to feel she is returning in time and to wonder if she can possibly alter her mother’s life.

This is a very well evoked time-slip story and brilliantly re-creates the year 1977, which I recall clearly. Luna has the opportunity to interfere in the timeline and save her mother from the disaster which befell her. It becomes obvious that if she is able to do this, she may damage or destroy her own future. The arguments for and against are well argued and the story is absolutely compelling. A real unputdowner!


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn is a journalist and this non-fiction book charts the changing attitudes of the public and the pressures upon LGBT people over the past thrity years. It's gripping.



Good As You

Amazon.com link

My review -

Paul Flynn is a journalist and has watched Britain evolve from largely homophobic to largely accepting, passing through the terrible AIDS years. During the thirty years he charts, the country has also been accepting of other minorities such as colour and religion – but not in every case. Things are so much improved, however, and this book follows our progress as a people. I’d like to think it brought more understanding to a wider audience.

I have to say that, as an ancient, straight woman, this book could be considered to hold no interest for me but that’s not true. I read it in a short time, and was totally fascinated with the story it told. The book works forward through the years but not in any strict way. It’s told through the words of many people and contains funny and heart-breaking stories, as well as much common sense and observational detail. I found myself constantly checking on Google as I’m no follower of popular culture but I suspect many people will know the celebrities involved or have followed the television shows. The style is conversational, easy to follow, and it’s like having a chat with a very knowledgeable and well-connected friend. I heartily recommend this book to everyone.


I received a review copy from Netgalley.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sam Kates

And now for something completely different, as the man said!


That Elusive Something

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Quirke (just call me Quirke) is aware that his relationship is in trouble and before long, things at work go pear-shaped too. His mate Dave is also living an unsatisfying life. After Quirke’s last session with Seff, a compelling, slightly mystical character, he decides to go off and find the community he speaks of. Dave, in it for a walking holiday, accompanies him.


I believe this book was begun seventeen years ago. I can only say it was worth the wait. I enjoy the author’s writing style, always easy without being simple. There’s a lot about human nature here, too. An idyllic life can be endangered not by the environment or outside forces, but from within, by our own flawed natures. I became very engrossed in the story and read it in two days. If I’d not had meals to eat, or a bed to call me, I’d have read it in a single session! Highly recommended if you want something out of the ordinary.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stuart Warner

A new author (to me) with a lovely style!


The Sound of Everything

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Jack has returned to the small town of his birth to take over the family accountancy firm. He discovers that a local man lodged a box with his late father twenty years ago. He and the family concerned assume it to contain something valuable. In between other work, Jack is trying to find it. Though unsure of his aims in life, he meets people from his father’s past and begins to build up a picture.


This is a gentle amble through small-town life with a deeper look at the spiritual side of our nature, though it in no way touches on formal religion. It explores why we’re here and whether out lives had a purpose. I found it a very easy book to read and devoured it in two days. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Jeff Vandermeer

A new author for me and a great imaginer of future worlds. If you love dystopian fiction, go for this one.


Borne

Amazon.com link

My review - 

This story takes place in an almost derelict city in the future. The Company, through experimentation and biotechnology, has produced monstrosities, including a huge bear which terrorises those still eking an existence there. Rachel, a scavenger, finds a plant-like creature in the bear’s fur and brings it home. She calls it Borne and as it grows and exhibits intelligence, she realises she loves it/him like a child of her own. Other powers are at work in the city but the existence of Borne changes the balance.

I found this book thoroughly gripping from the very first. It reminded me of science fiction stories of my younger days which were able to take me out of my own world and into one completely different, and usually far more horrific. The style was thoughtful, occasionally lyrical and always totally entertaining. Heartily recommended.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy of this book

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Tom Trott

A new author to me but I enjoyed his style.


You Can't Make Old Friends

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Joe is a private detective, currently out of favour with the police. He’s now getting so little work that he can’t pay his rent and an old client is suing him. Then his old schoolfriend’s body is found washed up on Brighton beach, badly disfigured. Joe recognises him.


There are several strands going on here, with drug dealers, Joe’s old (only) friend and his family and a downright difficult female DCI, newly arrived from London. As one of the characters said to Joe, ‘You’re a good man, but not a nice one’. I really enjoyed this story which had an edginess which gave it flavour. I particularly liked some of the expressions used in the writing – cliché is isn’t. A great read.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Carol Wyer

The second in thje DI Robyn Carter stories and I think the author is really getting into her stride.


Secrets of the Dead

Amazon.com link

My review -

DI Robyn Carter and her team are investigating murders which may or may not be related. Their local newshound has decided that they are and reports on a serial killer, which makes the police’s work more difficult. The murders are occurring over a very short time and Robyn has to work out exactly who is in danger, before more lives are lost.


The case is difficult because Robyn is dealing with a damaged individual seeking revenge and his mind doesn’t work like a normal person’s. She has to second guess him and the resulting search and chase becomes very exciting. The story alternates between the police work and shorter sections from the point of view of the killer. I really enjoyed this story with its side plots which added greater depth to the main tale.

Jonathan Hill

This follow up to A Christmas Outing will please a lot of readers - me included!




This Crazy Thing I Call My Life

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Coming out to his parents was only the first hurdle for student David. He and Jamie decide to get both sets of parents together so they can get to know one another. It sounds nice. It wasn’t! You know the way you can say what you like about your own family but woe unto the one who criticises them in your hearing? That!


Jonathan Hill picks up on our tendency to fly to the family’s defence, even when we know the criticism to be true. The boys have their first row while defending the very attitudes they have complained about in the past. And that’s not even the worst that can happen. This is another very funny and well-observed slice of life from an author with a strong sense of the absurd.


Steve Roach

A short which will make you think, and maybe worry a little.


All that Will Be Lost

Amazon.com link

My review - 

This is a short story with a very thought-provoking message. Michael, aware that the war in the east is encroaching upon his life and his country, has bought a house and created an enlarged basement where he holds a party for friends and colleagues in the magazine he publishes. The war grows ever closer, while Michael and his friends attempt to save what will be lost if the fighters prevail.


Steve Roach has taken the premise that the desire to kill, to wipe out other ideologies, is a disease. It has resulted in a darkly futuristic tale and sadly, feels all too plausible. Let’s hope the spark of humanity is too strong to be quenched. A really good, short read.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Jim Webster

Tallis Steelyard, jobbing poet, again relates stories of his early life. Some wonderful observational humour here.


Tallis Steelyard, a harsh winter

Amazon.com link

My review -

This is a collection of stories about Tallis which go to show that it’s not all drinking afternoon tea or partaking of soirees for a jobbing poet. We discover some of his early life, some of the society feuds he became entangle with, and the story of how he met his wife and acquired the boat on which they live. Great little tales!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Joel Hames

A writer whose work I've previously loved has brought out a novella. I snapped it up!



Victims

Amazon.com link

My review -

Sam Williams is in the very early stages of a relationship with a new girl and learns she’s been abused by a previous partner. This man is still pulling her strings and Sam agrees to help. He has an enemy at work, too, and as the plot progresses, we find out that nothing is really as it seems.


This makes an excellent ‘amuse bouche’ for the longer and more complex story, The Art of Staying Dead, which takes place ten years later. The style is slick and clever and the characters feel well-rounded, not easy to do in a short work. Be aware that the last 30% is the first chapters in The Art of Staying Dead. I prefer a link, myself, as I never read teaser chapters out of context. Nevertheless, in its own right, Victims is a small but beautifully proportioned gem of a story.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Angie Smith

This has got to be a contender for the best title award (if there is one!)


The Spy Who Chipped the China Teacup

Amazon.com link

My review -

Taylor Hudson’s husband wants her dead. He’s paid someone to make sure she is. However, another someone offers to keep her safe. Why should she trust him? Her husband is swimming in very murky waters and she gradually finds out what he’s capable of. The Secret Intelligence Service are involved and there are good and bad within that organisation. We are pulled from side to side, not knowing who is trustworthy and who’s a villain.


I’ll admit that at the beginning I kept mixing Taylor up with another woman who has important scenes – Stephany Pascal. Once I’d got my brain in gear, the action flowed inexorably. Angie Smith can weave a multitude of threads into a single story and take you by surprise as you round each corner. She writes a really mean baddie! The book takes us to various parts of the world and the added detail makes the story come alive. A treat for espionage lovers and an exhilarating read.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

David Haynes

Another modern horror from a great storyteller.


The Church of Broken Pieces

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Frank Wilson makes his living finding and sourcing items, usually old and rare, for clients. His friend John Donovan works with him, and they are approached by a man who wants them to find something for him. His mother’s soul, which he believes someone has stolen. Initially they refuse – it’s too weird. Eventually they go to the run-down town of Hemlock Mill where the lady in question is in a facility where she suffers from Lock-in syndrome. The town is on its last legs and Frank and John meet the doctor and the reverend, both involved with the hospice.


This is a great modern-day horror story. The situation, in a ghost town, where the few authority figures are uneasy with one another, builds as we find out more about what is going on. Wilson begins to feel ill with a presumed heart complaint and this gets worse when he’s in the hospice. The reverend and his associates are not what they seem. I really enjoyed this story and it feels horribly real. Another great book from a really good writer.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Angela Marsons

Number six in the Kim Stone series. They get better!


Dead Souls

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Kim Stone is sharing a case with her ex-colleague Travis. It’s fair to say they don’t get on but the bones they are investigating were found on the boundary of the two police forces. There’s a strange relationship between the land owner and the lease-holder and Kim realises that they are all lying. The hate crimes of thirty years ago begin to find a horrifying echo in the present and one of Kim’s team is in danger.


I now feel I know these characters and yet in each book a little more background is revealed. We learn more about Travis and Stacey’s past lives and once again, understand them better. The dynamic of Kim’s own team is shifted slightly in her absence and it’s great to see how they grow without her constant influence. I love these characters and the cases they get tied up with. Long may this series continue!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Keith Dixon

I can't be the only person who jumps into a series midstream? A good series will take it and this book is a very good stand-alone.


One Punch

Amazon.com link

My review -


Paul Storey is an ex-copper, now working as a driver/security man and One Punch is the nickname of his new employer, Bran Doyle. Doyle made his money through boxing – not always legal fights, either – and now has a business as a property dealer and developer. He’s having money troubles, family troubles, old acquaintance troubles. In fact, none of the characters in this book seems to be who they appear to be superficially. Its great strength is the way it unfolds their individual stories.


This is the second in a series but is perfectly good as a stand-alone. I haven’t read anything else by this author but I can see that changing! The writing is very good, pulling you into the story. The characters are three-dimensional and complex. Unlike many a crime book these days, which seem to strive to find the most shocking twist, the power of this book is that it all feels extremely plausible. I enjoyed this a great deal and highly recommend it.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Andrew Barrett

This is a short story - actually, a novelette, and encapsulates everything we love about the Eddie Collins books. A great introduction.


The Note

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Eddie Collins, CSI, is at a crime scene and the weather’s vile, the locals as bad, and he’s being hindered by his colleagues. You could say that by then he wasn’t in a good mood. Back at the station, he finds a note left for him. A very personal and threatening note.


This story, though short, packs a punch. Eddie’s past comes up to bite him and he’s in a very difficult situation with a volatile person. Even in extremes, he can’t keep his tongue in check and there are some very scary but very funny moments in this. Eddie is a character who has grown on me. The older I get the more angry I get at idiocy – especially my own – so I feel for him in his predicaments. If you know Eddie Collins, you’ll enjoy meeting him again. If you don’t, this is an excellent place to start. I’m very happy to give this five stars. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Lexie Conyngham

Another Murray of Letho. I never tire of them!


Thicker than Water

Amazon.com link

My review -

Charles Murray, Laird of Letho, is in St Andrews and visits his old tutor, who is taking the education of young Walter in hand. Walter makes a better student than he ever did junior servant. While Murray is there, a young man is found dead in the garden, apparently deliberately drowned in the fish pond. Murray and the constable try to discover who was responsible. It seems that many of their apparently respectable social circle have something to hide.


This, the tenth Murray of Letho novel, is, for anyone who has followed the series and its early nineteenth century setting, like spending time with old friends. Many of the characters are new but the old Letho crowd didn’t let me down. These stories, though filled with solid and believable characters, are nevertheless driven by plots as complex as the people who inhabit them. It’s not at all clear who has done the deed but as the story unfolds, we discover that so many people had a motive. Trust Murray to sort it out, even at danger to himself. Another addition to a fantastic and well-written series, though it would stand alone very well. 

Steve Robinson

The latest Jefferson Tayte story and this time it's personal!



Dying Games

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Jefferson Tayte is summoned home to DC because the FBI want his help. Someone well up in genealogy and its research methods is killing people in a manner to echo the death of one of their ancestors. Tayte is involved because they are all related to past clients of his. The killer is leaving clues – it’s a sick game and if Tayte doesn’t play it, they die. If he’s clever, he might get there before the deadline and save the victim.

Because of the structure of the story – the fact that there are several families and puzzles to sort out from Tayte’s old files, the story builds in excitement. Will he solve it? Imagine failing to solve a puzzle in time to save a person’s life. You’d feel terrible about yourself. At least he’s happy that Jean is safe in England. Tayte has more than a suspicion he knows who’s behind it but the FBI think differently. This story touches on JT’s personal life and previous contacts more than any other and I found it exciting and terrifying in equal measure. It’s a dead sure winner and I enjoyed it immensely.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Angela Marsons

Another cracker in a great series.


Blood Lines

Amazon.com link

My review - 

DI Kim Stone and her team investigate a murder involving a single, unhesitating knife thrust. When more deaths occur with the same method of killing, the investigators are desperate to find what connects the dead. It takes Kim Stone to work out what’s really going on – but that’s only half the battle. Her chain is being yanked from inside prison by the sociopathic psychologist Dr Alexandra Thorne, who knows Kim well enough to understand what her weaknesses are.


I’m really growing to like the characters in this series. They all have their strengths and their faults, just like the rest of us. Whatever else, though, her team trust and have faith in Detective Kim Stone. Angela Marson’s stories are a little different from the run-of-the-mill detective stories which are out there in seemingly huge numbers. I enjoy the threads which run throughout, the stories within the story, and the way they are unravelled for us. A very good read indeed.

Anita Shreve

An old favourite author of mine, I know I'll enjoy her style right from the start.


The Stars are Fire

Amazon.com link

My review - 

This story is based in a true event which took place in Maine seventy years ago. After an unusually hot and dry season, Grace’s home is destroyed in a wildfire and she and her children narrowly escape with their lives. Her husband, Gene, with whom she had a deteriorating relationship, is missing, presumed dead. Grace takes a job at the local doctor’s and moves into the home of her late mother-in-law. Her life settles down with her mother and a lodger – a brilliant pianist. Things are not at all as settled as she hopes.


As with a previous novel, Sea Glass, Anita Shreve uses the New England coast to set her scenes and its wild storms for a backdrop to the personal tales of the family. Grace feels like a captive. She’s tied to her children, tied to her husband and very much a product of the age in which she was raised. Anita Shreve’s style of cool and considered prose follows Grace’s self-discovery without making it over-dramatic it. It’s a great display of inner strength and I found it an encouraging story. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Erik Therme

I came across this author in a review group. I love his style.


Roam

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Sarah and her boyfriend Matt have a fight on her birthday when her car breaks down. She finds him threatening and frightening and decides to walk off to find help. She’s offered a lift by two younger boys, which she isn’t keen to accept. One of them, Kevin, the car owner, offers to take her home but she wants to go to see her childhood friend. The night seems to stagger from one disaster to another.


There’s a theme here, it seem to me, about our evaluation of people. Are they who they want us to think they are, or who we remember them as? Do we ever really know? With a small cast of well-drawn characters, this plot reeled me in and I cared about what would happened to Sarah, Matt and Kevin. A very good, engaging and enjoyable story.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Shalini Boland

This is an author whose work I've thoroughly enjoyed each time.


The Millionaire's Wife

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Anna, an ordinary girl, met and married Will, a rich man, though she didn’t know that at the time. She’d been involved with Fin, a boy she met at school and they eventually moved in together. Eventually, things fell apart, as they do, and her best friend Sian saw her through the worst of it. Now she has the relationship she’s always wanted – and the money doesn’t hurt! A single text message throws it all up in the air.

This is just the sort of book I love. Characters I can believe in, a plot which pulls me in and makes me care about those characters. Suspense and intrigue all the way through, and the last quarter was so exciting, I could feel my heart rate climbing. Since I read my first Shalini Boland novel I’ve enjoyed her style of writing. It’s comfortable to read and never trips me up. She’s excelled herself here. Highly recommended.


I received an advance copy of this book.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

B Fleetwood

New to me but this is the first in a trilogy which I know I'll follow up.


Imogen's Secret (Chroma Book 1)

Amazon.com link

My review -

We all think we’re different from others when we’re young. In this book, Imogen is totally correct, but she doesn’t yet know how different. She is able to read people’s ‘chroma’, the colours of their aura, so she can see if they’re telling the truth, afraid, angry or in love. She’s also able to mute her own so that anyone else (very few) who can read the chroma can’t tell what she’s thinking.


There’s much more to this book but without spoiling the story I can only encourage you to read it. It’s marketed as for young adults but as with all good stories in this genre it has plenty to offer the older adults too. By the end we know Imogen’s secret but what she intends to do about it will carry us over into another book. I’ll be delighted to read it! The story was fast and in parts, quite exciting, and, like Imogen, I wasn’t sure who could be trusted. I still have my doubts about some and look forward to seeing if I’m right in the next book of this proposed trilogy. A great read in the fantasy genre.



Monday, 17 April 2017

Kelly Clayton

Book 2 of the Jack Le Claire crime/mysteries. Can't wait for Book 3!


Blood Ties

Amazon.com link

My review - 

This is the second of the Jack Le Claire novels and I read it almost straight after the first. In this book, a wealthy man is found dead in a swimming pool after a party. He’s found by his cousin who works for Jack’s family. Blood ties are explored here with estranged families, family businesses, and a bit of their recent personal history all thrown into the mix. Add to that drugs, prostitution and blackmail and you have a potent brew.


Once again, Kelly Clayton has combined several plot strands with a selection of truly believable characters. They are no two dimensional cut-outs, each having enough background detail, light and shade, to make you feel you know them. The author writes cleanly and elegantly and I look forward to more. I long to find out more about Le Claire’s enigmatic side-kick, Emily Dewar. I hope there’s more about her personal journey in Book Three, which I eagerly await!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Kelly Clayton

I've only just got around to reading this book, though I've had it on my radar for ages. Should have read it sooner!



Blood in the Sand

Amazon.com link

My review - 



A rich widow apparently overdoses on her insulin and falls to her death from her balcony. Things are just too perfect, though. Can it really have been an accident? This is just the beginning of an increasing body-count for DCI Jack Le Claire. The holiday island of Jersey suddenly has a surfeit of ‘blood on the sand’

This author and her books have been on my radar for some time but I’ve not had a break in my reading schedule until now. I bought this and read it – devoured it – in two days. The story is complex, interesting, plausible and exciting. It’s peopled with three-dimensional characters who are so real, so human, that you can’t immediately say who is the perpetrator. Everyone has some financial need or some family feud and it’s only right at the end that the tangle is sorted out. I enjoyed it immensely and I’m going to do what I very rarely do and immediately buy Book 2 in this series.


Highly recommended.