A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard -Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Child psychiatrist Kate Wolfe’s world comes crashing down when one of her young patients commits suicide, so when a troubled girl is left at the hospital ward, she doubts her ability to help. But the girl knows things about Kate’s past, things she shouldn’t know, forcing Kate to face the murky evidence surrounding her own sister s murder sixteen years before. A murder for which a man is about to be executed. Unearthing secrets about her own family, and forced to face both her difficult relationship with her distant father and the possibility that her mother might also have met a violent end, the shocking final twist brings Kate face to face with her deepest fear.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew it would be one I would enjoy. It is a psychological thriller that slowly builds up to the main story and I really appreciated knowing more about Kate and her work before learning more about the tragic events from her past.
I liked her a lot, her relationship with her partner James felt real, and you also learned about the pressures in his job. Her fractured relationship with her father,which made her feel guilty for not doing more all made a fictional character real.
The insight into her work helped a lot, I found it to be a very interesting perspective and different to a crime novel that is mainly from a policing point of view. There were a couple of chilling parts in the novel, one was her work and the danger it could put her in. The other was witnessing something that we don’t do in this country. I have read similar before but it was shown here with a lot more feeling.
I enjoyed this novel as a standalone but there were characters in it that I would enjoy meeting again.

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Dead Man’s Badge by Robert E. Dunn – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Career criminal Longview Moody, on the run from killers, assumes his dead, twin brother’s identity as the new Chief of Police of a Texas town that’s being terrorized by a Mexican drug cartel. To pull off the deadly deception, Longview desperately works to become the kind of cop and man that his brother was. But when the two lives he’s living converge, he’s forced to embrace the violence within him to get justice…and vengeance.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. At the beginning of this novel Longview isn’t having the best day, which is hardly surprising when he is digging his own grave at gunpoint. But he manages to escape and goes to meet his brother at his trailer. Things don’t go to plan and Longview ends up assuming his brother’s identity as chief of police in a town on the Mexican border. He makes plenty of enemies immediately but there are also a handful of people who he feels he can trust. These are also people who he can’t fool.
The book is full of violence and corruption and mistrust. Hardly anybody is who they say they are, including obviously Longview. He has to work out who can be trusted the most,and with his most likeable colleagues tries to make things better.
My thoughts changed throughout, I’m not that familiar with the different American agency and Government departments, or the politics between America and Mexico but what I did discover is that the family who ruled the town were capable of anything. This is demonstrated in the latter part of the novel when the reader realises exactly what type of people they are.
I had to admire Longview, the easiest option would have been to walk away but he was determined to be a better person whilst getting revenge for his own reasons. And even though he didn’t fool many, there were people willing to help. My favourite character by a long way was Hector, he was probably the only one who could show how his true feelings. I also liked the married couple who dealt with council matters, they added some welcome humour and compassion amongst the violence.

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Black Water by Cormac O’Keeffe – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

I killed the boy . . .
Jig loves football and his dog, hates school, misses his dead granda and knows to lie low when his ma’s blitzed on the vodka.

He’s just an ordinary boy on the brutal streets alongside Dublin’s Grand Canal. Streets that are ruled by Ghost and his crew. And now Ghost inked, vicious, unprincipled has a job for Jig.

A job that no one can afford to go wrong not the gangs, the police, the locals, and least of all not Jig.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.Slightly different to the type of fiction I usually read, Black Water is a convincing novel about gangland crime in Dublin. There is no doubt, the subject matter is a grim one. Gang hierarchy from the leader right down to the newest recruits, the children who are being recruited for their cause. The child in question in this book is Jig.
Jig is a ten-year old footballer who should be dreaming of playing for an English team, encouraged by Shay his football coach. Instead he is thrilled and excited to be recognised by Ghost, an important member of the gang. His older brother Maggot is already a member and is out of control. His family doesn’t care, the only one who can try to get him away from gang culture is Shay.
But Shay is not as he appears, he has a secret and is desperate to be away from the Grand Canal streets. I was completely wrong in my thoughts about what his secret was, it was much more complex than I thought.
A police officer, Tara Crowe, is determined not to back down in the fight against the gang, especially when the battle becomes more personal. I found her brave, loyal and a little naive but she was determined to get a positive result.
I found this novel fascinating, but at times difficult to read. The characterisation was among the best that I have read. There were many I wouldn’t like to know, especially Maggot and Jig’s Ma. A lot of it is grim, but in a believable way. Parts of it I had to skim over, parts I read in fear of what could happen. Fortunately not all of it did. But the grimness has some relief from some of the one-liners and the description of some minor characters everyday antics.
Black Water is a novel that opened my eyes and broke my heart.

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Binary Witness by Rosie Claverton – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

A young woman trapped by her fear, a young man pursued by his past, a murderer hunting the Cardiff streets by night. Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane employs ex-con Jason Carr as a cleaner. When the police `borrow’ Amy’s skills to help track down the killer, Amy and Jason become a crime-fighting team, Amy on her computer, Jason on the streets.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Binary Witness is a different type of crime novel. Police officers do feature, and they are looking for a serial killer but the people they get the most help from are not the police. Amy is an agoraphobic computer whizz who lives in squalor and forgets to eat. Jason is an ex-convict who gets a job as her cleaner/ housekeeper/cook. She also uses him to do the stuff that she can’t,which is basically anything that involves being outside or having any contact with people she doesn’t know. They have a great relationship, no sign of any romantic entanglement but they understand each other and have each other’s best interests at heart. Although I do have the feeling that Jason gets unsettled by Amy knowing everything about him.
It is completely unbelievable but I found it to be very entertaining. The crime they are investigating is no different to other crime novels, women abducted and killed who have no apparent connection to each other. But the way in which Amy and Jason have so much input in the investigation is what makes it fun and refreshing.
It is the first in a series, the second book is also part of this blog tour, so I have plenty of opportunity to get to know Amy and Jason. Amy especially is a character I want to know more about. I want to know what happened in her past, most of the focus in this novel was on Jason.
It was a novel that I read after a more harrowing one so it was perfect timing for me. Great entertainment and quick to read. Recommended.

Rosie Claverton Blog Tour Poster

Body and Soul by John Harvey – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong.

Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her.

But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct.

The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.

And as Elder struggles to protect his daughter and prove her innocence, the terrors of the past threaten them both once more …

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Body and Soul is the last book in the series that features Frank Elder. Despite being the first that I have read I could follow it very easily.
When a relationship between Frank’s daughter Katherine and an artist ends in murder Frank is determined to stand by his daughter even though that help isn’t really wanted. Their relationship is strained, most of Frank’s are, but he does try his best.
Whilst his role in the novel is important there is also a lot of focus on Katherine and the officer who is investigating the murder, Alex Hadley.Alex is under pressure, because of the victim’s fame, the mental state of Katherine and Frank, who has a very short fuse most of the time.
I had a lot of sympathy for Katherine, I don’t think I will be alone in this. What she experienced when she was younger was horrific and some of what takes place in this novel makes life very difficult. Frank was a strange character. A loner, who could be very aggressive and who never seemed to have any control in any situation. Katherine appeared to handle what was happening a lot better than he was. Maybe it was guilt, I’m not sure. Hadley could also be a little abrasive, a little cold without much empathy.
I enjoyed the art world setting, I could easily imagine the models posing for hours, experiencing cramp and nausea, and having to put any feelings of embarrassment or misgiving to one side.
I feel quite sad that this is the last book, but at least I can go and read the earlier books in the series. John Harvey is an author who I will happily read again.

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