Category

Crime

Ashes to Ashes – Tami Hoag

Ashes to Ashes (Kovac and Liska Book #1)

Ashes to Ashes

4 Stars (4 / 5)

FINALLY!! Back to reviewing following a long absence due to a difficult pregnancy and a huge bout of newborn sleep deprivation. I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything except rock a screaming baby lately, so its so nice to be able to read a book. Or I should say, listen to an audiobook. Finding time to sit and read is still a little bit beyond me at the moment. But hopefully soon!

I had listened to another book by Tami Hoag last year, and I always wanted to read another. So when I wanted something that would hold my interest in the endless hours of feeding my baby, I immediately thought of her and randomly picked and downloaded Ashes to Ashes.

Ashes to Ashes is the story of a serial killer, and the joint effort to find him. “The Cremator” is what the media have dubbed this killer, because of the people that he is setting alight. But he gets sloppy, and there is a witness to one of his crimes. Kate, the crime victim advocate, attempts to look after the witness, Angie. Kate’s past comes back to haunt her when an FBI agent Quinn is called in to investigate the case. In the meantime, more of Kate’s clients begin to disappear, she thinks that the killer may have a vendetta against her.

This was a great audiobook. I really enjoyed the narrator and the exciting story. One thing I really enjoy about Hoag’s books (so far) is that she introduces different complex characters, and any of them could be the killer. It isn’t blatantly obvious like so many other books, and that is really important to me. I love the surprise aspect, and because I read so many thrillers, I’m getting really good at figuring who the killer is!

Enjoyed the cute love lost, love found again romance aspect of this book. And I enjoyed how it was set amongst the murder mystery, but didn’t take anything away from it.

Would I recommend Ashes to Ashes?

Absolutely! To any thriller fan! Really liked the audio version, and I am looking forward to reading more by Tami Hoag!

I listened to this audiobook through Audible, at my own expense.

Daisy in Chains – Sharon Bolton

Daisy In Chains – Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I am such a massive Sharon Bolton fan! Ever since I finished the last page of Now You See Me, I was hooked! Not only on the Lacey Flint series, but also all of her stand alone novels. I quickly devoured them and was left feeling sad that there weren’t any more. So I was SO EXCITED when I saw Daisy in Chains was being released!

Maggie Rose is a crime writer and lawyer, and is approached by the mother of a convicted serial killer Hamish Wolfe, to get her help to set her innocent son free. At first reluctant to take the case as she believes him guilty, Maggie soon becomes interested in the case and the charismatic killer, who has a legion of female fans. Soon she becomes swept up in the investigation. Did he really kill those women? What other secrets is he hiding?

Another 5 Stars to my favourite author of all time Sharon Bolton! I absolutely loved this book! I love the way that Bolton weaves the story together, using letters, emails, media reports and the actual events of the story. I thought it was fantastically clever and made it an extremely enjoyable and unique read.

As always, her characters are damaged, raw, and yet incredibly likeable. I loved having absolutely NO IDEA what the twist was or what the ending was going to be like! I think Bolton is the only author that keeps me guessing EVERY TIME! I have not figured out the twist in ANY of her books and that is so refreshing for me as I usually figure it out.

So yes, there are a few massive unexpected twists and turns, even when you think you have figured out what is going on, she slides in there with another one that BLOWS YOU AWAY!

I must admit Daisy in Chains didn’t quite grab me as much as Little Black Lies, which remains my favourite book of all time. But I still don’t have anything bad to say about it at all. I loved the games, the characters, the lies, the plot! Everything!

Would I recommend Daisy in Chains?

YES!! Thriller/mystery fans should read Daisy in Chains, and ALL of Sharon Bolton’s books! You won’t regret it!

HUGE thanks to author Sharon Bolton and the publisher via NetGalley for an advanced copy of Daisy in Chains in exchange for my honest review.

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AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Book Depository


If you enjoy Daisy in Chains, you may enjoy:

Little Black Lies    Now You See Me   Dead Scared    Like This, For Ever    A Dark and Twisted Tide

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The Dry – Jane Harper

The Dry – Jane Harper

The Dry

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this crime mystery by talented UK born, now Aussie author Jane Harper! I expect that this book will do very well and that The Dry wont be the last hit we see from her!

Police officer Aaron Falk comes back to Kiewarra, the town where he grew up as a teenager in Victoria for a funeral. His childhood best friend Luke has murdered his wife and son and then killed himself. As the drought suffering town mourns for the loss of the family and the devastation of the circumstances, Falk begins to think there is more to the story. Did Luke really kill his family? And was it linked to a secret from their youth?

I loved the way this story weaved together. Sometimes flashbacks in a novel will annoy me, but the ones in this story were easy to follow and slowly but cleverly put the whole story and past into perspective.

Harper did a great job of describing the atmosphere of the town, the depressing drought impacting everyone in its wake. It was almost palpable. Every character was affected.

The characters were interesting and engaging. Aaron was a great main character and it was great to see him slowly put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I prefer a little more romantic tension in a book, but romance was not the name of the game in this one, and there were brief moments to keep me satisfied.

I found it a tiny bit slow moving at times, however I loved how it would take you in one direction and you would suspect someone, and then there would be a twist and you were left at square one again. However I did figure out the twist quite early in the novel, it was still a really fun ride to get there!

Oh and the ending took me totally by surprise, I was not expecting that!

Would I recommend The Dry?

Absolutely! A great Aussie mystery, well written and engaging! Any fan of the genre will surely enjoy this one!

Many thanks to author Jane Harper via Pan Macmillan for an advanced copy of The Dry in exchange for my honest review.

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Pan Macmillan | AMAZON AU | AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jane Harper was born in Manchester in the UK, and moved to Australia with her family at age eight.

She spent six years in Boronia, Victoria, and during that time gained Australian citizenship.jane harper

Returning to the UK with her family as a teenager, she lived in Hampshire before studying English and History at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

On graduating, she completed a journalism entry qualification and got her first reporting job as a trainee on the Darlington & Stockton Timesin County Durham.

Jane worked for several years as a senior news journalist for the Hull Daily Mail, before moving back to Australia in 2008.

She worked first on the Geelong Advertiser, and in 2011 took up a role with the Herald Sun in Melbourne.

In 2014, Jane submitted a short story which was one of 12 chosen for the Big Issue‘s annual Fiction Edition.

That inspired her to pursue creative writing more seriously, and that year she applied for the Curtis Brown Creative online 12-week novel writing course.

She was accepted with a submission for the book that would become The Dry and wrote the first full draft during the three-month course.

Jane lives in St Kilda with her husband.

(From authors website)

Authors Website   Authors Twitter   Authors Goodreads   Authors Facebook


If you enjoy The Dry, you may enjoy:

   Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton   White Hot

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Shadow Man – Cody McFadyen

Shadow Man – Cody McFadyen

Shadow Man

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Shadow Man was recommended to me by a trusted GoodReads thriller fan friend (Thanks Christine), who gave it an easy 10 (YES 10) stars! How could I resist immediately getting this book and reading it! Although I don’t completely agree with her 10 star assessment, it was still an extremely entertaining, thrilling read!

Smokey Barrett was a top FBI agent hunting serial killers until one night her and her family were terrorised by one. Her husband and daughter were killed, leaving Smokey alone and dealing with a whole lot of grief. When her best friend is killed by someone claiming to be a direct descendent of Jack the Ripper, Smokey is thrust back in to help with the case. This killer is after her too, and will stop at nothing to get her.

I have read a lot of praise for McFadyen’s writing and I have to agree. The whole book was extremely well written. It flowed extremely well and the quality of the writing made up for any shortfalls in the novel.

The characters were all very deep and disturbed. Each had something going on. Smokey herself was obviously damaged. I didn’t think anyone could write a character who had suffered through such tragedy, but McFadyen does a good job of it. Not a fantastic job mind you, but he made Smokey likeable, and not too depressing. The story about what happened to her was the stuff of nightmares and did not skimp on the gory details. The secondary characters were all well established. Except maybe for her secret service friend who I found just to be an added love interest without real substance – hopefully in subsequent novels we will learn more about him. Not that I think there should have been a love interest in it at all really. I get what he was trying to do, but I didn’t find it believable. Her team are a great bunch of characters, and Bonnie also. Really well written. And man.. Confronting!

The action and violent scenes were thrilling. Non stop at times! Definitely a page turner.

So why haven’t I rated this higher? Its because even though it was written so masterfully, I knew who the killer was. The whole way through. I find it utterly disappointing when I pick it up, and I confidently picked it up quickly with this one. And it left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt quite ripped off to be honest.

However fabulous writing redeems. Looking forward to number 2!!

Would I recommend Shadow Man?

Yes, but for die hard thriller fans who don’t mind a LOT of graphic violence, blood, guts and gore. You have been warned!

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If you enjoy Shadow Man, you may enjoy:

Little Black Lies   Now You See Me   Evil Games

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The Girl In The Ice – Robert Bryndza

The Girl In The Ice

The Girl In The Ice

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Bookoture have released some of my absolute favourite books over the past year. They really hit the mark when they picked the authors to publish lately! Kathryn Croft and Angela Marsons are two great ones, and I’m so pleased to add Robert Bryndza to the list! Fantastic book!

The Girl In the Ice is the first of what will be the DCI Erika Foster series. Erika is a Detective Inspector who comes back to work after time off following a fumbled drug raid, where her police officer husband was killed. Harbouring a lot of guilt and not the woman she once was, Erika has to step into the lead investigating role of a highly publicised murder investigation. Andrea, wealthy socialite and daughter of a prominent businessman, was found under the ice, brutally murdered. Erika has to find a killer, while weaving around some interesting police politics, and trying to pull her life back together.

I really enjoyed The Girl In The Ice. I love a good police procedural thriller. I really enjoy trying to figure out who the killer is before the climax. And I always add points to books who make me guess all the way to the end! I was forced to guess with this one! Had NO IDEA who did it until the very end and that is quite rare for me – I think because I read so many of them I’m quite good at picking it. Bryndza gave nothing away and I was as shocked as the characters were as to who did it!

The writing was fantastic! There were a few unbelievable elements of the story where I thought “They would never let her do that” or something similar, but it didn’t detract from the story at all. I also really liked the dark and dreary Southern London setting. The atmosphere at times reminded me of the Lacey Flint Series, which is my favourite series of all time.

I really enjoyed all the characters. Erika was a great character, as were Peterson, Moss, Marsh and Sparks! I think there is going to be more rivalry with Sparks in the next books! Thought the storyline was great and the large list of suspects was frustrating! In a good way! I suspected anyone and everyone to be the killer!

I tend to prefer my thrillers to have a dash of romance. That was obviously impossible in Erika’s case as she had only just lost her husband. But I am hoping that in future novels, Erika moves ahead with her life.

Overall I really enjoyed it! I devoured the whole thing. It had some creepy moments, thrilling moments and many moments that made me laugh. Absolutely an author to look out for! I will have to check out his other work, I have heard he is quite a good chick lit writer, believe it or not!! However I see more thrillers in the future!

Would I recommend The Girl In The Ice?

YES! For any crime/suspense/thriller fan! I can’t wait to read the next one! The Night Stalker is apparently coming soon!

Many thanks to Robert Bryndza and publisher Bookoture via NetGalley for a copy of The Girl In The Ice in exchange for my honest review.

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RELEASE DATE: 12th February, 2016

PURCHASE/PRE-ORDER HERE:

AMAZON AU | AMAZON | AMAZON UK


If you enjoy The Girl In The Ice, you may enjoy:

Now You See Me   The Girl You Lost   Evil Games   the girl with no past

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Lost Girls – Angela Marsons

Lost Girls

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Fast paced is right! The latest in the D.I. Kim Stone series starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up! From the first gripping page you are hooked! Lost Girls is a fantastic read!

Kim Stone is back again after two young girls are kidnapped. One of the mothers asks for Kim directly to get her daughter back. But why did she ask for Kim? What history do they have? And is Kim going to be able to find both the girls when she discovers that the kidnappers have previously taken two young girls, and only one was returned?

Totally gripping from the start to the end. Thought it was fantastic!

If you haven’t read the previous two Kim Stone novels, its not a necessity – however I feel that you will not grasp the entirety of Kim’s character, and why she is the way she is, if you don’t read the others. Especially Evil Games.

Kim, what can I say about her? I have totally warmed to her character in the last two novels. I really enjoy her escapades and the way she works. I love her team and love her lack of social skills! I think she is fantastic! I only wish for a touch of romance! That’s the only thing that I feel has been missing from the series. We had a glimmer in each book, but that was it.

Lost Girls is really well written. Easy and quick to read and its not easy to put down!

My ONLY criticism is something that is totally my fault… I guess I read so many thrillers and ‘who-done-it’s’ that I always guess who the bad guy is. And this one was a bit too predictable for me. I knew who the uber bad guy was straight away, and even in the parrallel storyline I guessed who the perpetrator was straight away. I must say I was disappointed that I was right. HOWEVER it didn’t take any of the fun away from the story. And hopefully others will be more surprised.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! It was a really enjoyable read!

Many thanks to Angela Marsons and the publisher Bookoutre via NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

If you enjoy this book you may enjoy:

Evil Games    little black lies    the girl with no past

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Evil Games – Angela Marsons

Evil Games

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Evil Games is the second book in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons. Admittedly the first in the series was not my favourite book. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it – I read it before I started blogging my reviews so I actually can’t remember what it was about it that didn’t totally grab me. It seemed to grab the majority of my reading buddies who rated it extremely highly.  I wasn’t against reading the sequel, but it wasn’t on my list of priorities. However when I kept seeing phenomenal reviews for this and the third instalment “Lost Girls”, it sparked my interest again. When a few trusted book friends suggested that I give Kim Stone another shot, they convinced me. And I’m extremely glad they did!

Detective Inspector Kim Stone is back in this fabulous psychological thriller. Stone investigates the murder of a convicted rapist. Something doesn’t quite add up when they find the perpetrator, and trusting her instincts, Kim investigates deeper and gets more than she bargained for when she is faced with an extremely intelligent and difficult adversary, who is manipulating mentally vulnerable people to do their bidding.

I am really enjoying the depth of Kim’s character. Gradually we are learning more and more about why she is the way she is. Her childhood is explained in a lot of detail in this book and we begin to understand the horrors of her past. I’m extremely glad I read the second book before the third one, even though I have heard it is great as a stand alone. I also enjoy her interactions with other characters. I remember one of the things I didn’t like about the first book was the lack of… I was going to say “romance” but that’s not the word I am looking for, I guess tension or chemistry with Kim. There was a female teacher in the first one and someone else if I remember correctly, and in this one there was a glimmer of attraction with David, but I just felt it wasn’t enough. I understand why though. Her character is MAJORLY damaged… Sorting out her life comes before a roll in the hay – I understand that, but still I am hoping that the third book will focus a bit on her attempting a not so platonic relationship with another human being. I always enjoy a bit of chemistry/tension in thrillers, even if it doesn’t end well.

I really enjoyed the psychological aspect of this book. What a character Alex was! Loved to loathe her! It was refreshing and original to read of events from her perspective… Her skewed view of the world. And I really enjoyed the mind games and the extent that she would go to, to get her way. I have read characters like hers before, in other books by other authors, but I didn’t enjoy them half as much as I enjoyed Alex.

There is some subject matter that is disturbing, but there are no overly graphic scenes. So this book will appeal to any thriller fans, even the ones who don’t like too much violence and just enjoy a good story!

 As like the first one, Marsons writing is impeccable. Easy and so much fun to read. There are not too many characters, but there are just enough to make it difficult to guess who the bad guy is at the end. I was glued to this book from beginning to end and I am really looking forward to the next one! I have Lost Girls on my kindle ready to go! 🙂

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! Marsons is emerging as one hell of a thriller writer!

If you like this book you may enjoy:

the girl with no past    Baby Please Don't Go    imperfect strangers    Now you see me   Pretty Baby    little black lies

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The Lesson Plan – G J Prager (Audio Version)

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3 Stars (3 / 5)

I enjoyed the audio version of The Lesson Plan, a debut by G J Prager.

Robert Klayton is a substitute high school teacher by day and a trainee private detective by night. When he meets Sheila, a fellow substitute teacher who is in need of a private eye, he gets excited at the prospect of having enough money to actually pay his rent. However getting involved with Sheila inevitably gets him into trouble… A LOT of trouble. He has to try and find a killer while keeping a bunch of bad guys and the cops off his tail.

Overall I found it to be quite well written, the story was engaging and it held my interest quite well.

However, the characters were a bit of a let down for me. In particular Robert, the main character. I just had a hard time reading (or listening in this case) about a character who made such absolutely stupid decisions at every point and had such minimal personal growth. Just when I thought I was gaining a little bit of respect for him, off he goes again and does something even more stupid and It frustrated me a lot. I understand that this was the way he was supposed to be, it was his personality, he isn’t a typical “good guy”. But it just didn’t work for me. I didn’t find his character very likeable. The female characters that Robert was associated with were all pretty shady also. As were his interactions with them. I hope that substitute teachers are not all like that!

I felt the plot opened with a bang, and then moved quite slowly until about half way when it picked up again. There was a lot of intricate description of non significant aspects of the story, which was not necessarily a bad thing, but I felt at times it was slightly overdone. I loved the old school ‘Rockford files’ type vibe going on. It was engaging and I wanted to know how the story developed and what happened to Robert and if he ever sorted himself out.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the places in the novel. Las Vegas, the desert, Los Angeles… All places I have never been but were well described in the novel.

Audio Version: The author narrated the book himself and I love that! Who better than to emphasise key points and phrases than the person who wrote it originally. I wish more authors would narrate their own books! G J Prager has a lovely accent and I really enjoyed listening to him narrate as Robert. However, at times I got a little confused about who was who and who was saying what because it was hard to differentiate between characters. Every character sounded the same, even the females. I think more of an emphasised change of key or roughness to his voice would have made a world of difference to the listener. However it was by no means a bad narration, I quite enjoyed it.

Overall thoughts:

It was a good mystery, and I enjoyed the audio version. I would be interested to read other books by this author.

Thanks to the author via Word Slinger Publicity for a copy of this audio book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Right Wrong Thing – Ellen Kirschman

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3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

The Right Wrong Thing is an extremely interesting and entertaining thriller told from a very different perspective.

The story is told through the eyes of Dr Dot Meyerhoff, a psychological consultant with the police department. After recommending that Randy Spelling is psychologically fit to begin working as a police officer, the young officer gets involved in two major incidents, one involving the accidental killing of an innocent pregnant teenager. When Randy attempts to apologise to the distraught family, it has dire consequences. Dr Meyerhoff, then gets herself involved in the investigation and finds herself trying to catch a killer.

What really interested me about this book is the psychological viewpoint. I don’t think I have ever read a book where the narrator is a psychologist and is dealing with complex psychological problems of their patients. Having completed half a psychology degree and having an interest in all this mind stuff, I was fascinated with the obviously extensive knowledge of the author. She knows her stuff and it was fascinating.

It was fascinating, it was well written, exciting and thrilling in places, and had interesting twists and turns.

What I didn’t like about this book was the stupidity of the main character. Dot got herself in many situations that wouldn’t take a clinical psychologist to know, were IDIOTIC. I just found it a bit too unbelievable that she would do some of the things that she did.

The other characters were great. Loved all the police officers and the chief was extremely damaged and a really interesting character. Even Dot was a great character, she just made STUPID decisions!

I really enjoyed that the narrator was an older woman. A refreshing change from the common young characters that I have read in most novels recently. She had life experience, and a head on her shoulders… Which just made her decisions even more unbelievable.

Would I recommend it?

Yes! Despite the things I didn’t like, it was still a very enjoyable and fascinating read. I wouldn’t mind reading her other stuff, especially the non fiction books!

thanks to Oceanview Publishing via NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my review.

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The Black Echo – Michael Connelly

the black echo

4 Stars (4 / 5)

This is the first instalment in the extensive Harry Bosch series, and also happens to be the first one that I have read (or heard in this case). I really enjoyed it.

Harry Bosch is a detective in the LAPD homicide division in Hollywood. While investigating a body found in an old tunnel, he recognises it as a fellow ex marine Meadows who served with him in the Vietnamese war. They were both “tunnel rats” who fought below Vietnam in the extensive tunnels. After recognising him, and realising it wasn’t a simple drug overdose that it looked like, Harry gets pulled into a bigger investigation. His bosses want him out of the force at any cost, and his enemies want him dead. The hunt is on for the killer before he finds himself the next victim.

This book pretty much had everything I enjoy in a novel. Bit of violence, a mystery, romance, sex, and lots of twists and turns. I enjoyed the audio version narrated by Dick Hill. He played Harry really well and I got totally wrapped up in it. However his female voices left a lot to be desired (not his fault, he is a man after all) and I struggled to listen to his impersonation of women. Especially the lead female character Eleanor.

Harry is an awesome character. I will be very interested to see how he develops in the later novels, when I get there. I also enjoyed that it was written in the early 90’s. No smart phones or internet… Everything took much longer, and the characters were constantly having to find payphones to contact other people. Not sure how we all survived back then!

I enjoyed the different storylines within the novel. Loved how everyone was out to get poor Harry, even though he was totally innocent. Sure, he didn’t go exactly by the book but he wasn’t crooked. Loved the tension and romance between him and Eleanor. Loved his ex partner. Thought all the characters were great in their own right. Even Lewis and Clarke!

The only thing I didn’t like about The Black Echo was the TOTALLY PREDICTABLE twist at the end. I must have figured it out about a quarter of the way into the book and it frustrated me that Bosch didn’t pick it up until the end. I think this was the main reason why I dropped a star.

I have the second in the series “The Black Ice”, also narrated by Dick Hill, ready to go on my iPhone. Looking forward to it.

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