The Ugly Truth by L. C. North – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?

Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this novel but what I got was a stunning and chilling account of the levels of vitriol that exists daily on certain aspects of social media, in the gutter press and in an often sensationalist TV documentary.

The novel consisted of interviews with friends, family and those who gained from tormenting Mellie, newspaper reports and mostly vicious tweets. It made it quick to read initially but as the novel progressed and Mellie’s situation deteriorated I found it more difficult to read. 

Throughout the entire novel I wasn’t sure what to believe or even know if there were any of the characters I liked. I did however, have a lot of sympathy for Mellie, and it was obvious that she was damaged mentally when her modelling career took off. Forever in the public eye, under attack from those who envied what she had, including from her own father and sister, both damaged themselves.

As I said earlier, I found it more difficult to read as I read further. But I also found it increasingly difficult to put down. It is a long time since I have felt this way. I read the final 25% in one sitting, even though I felt often on edge as Mellie’s desperation increased. 

My feelings regarding most of them changed when I’d finished the book. The twitter trolls and media were the only ones I still loathed. The others, I could start to see how they were affected by the impact of the publicity on Mellie’s life.

I found this a brilliant, original and emotionally challenging novel, I’m sure I will be thinking about it for days to come.

The Close by Jane Casey – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together.

But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing.

It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before.

And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. There are quite a few crime fiction series that I’ve not been able to keep up with and to my deep regret this is one of them. From the moment I started to read I was absolutely hooked. Not just with the two crimes that had to be solved but also the relationship between the two main characters, Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent. I couldn’t get enough of them.

Maeve and Josh have to go undercover, Maeve is a lot less enthusiastic about it than Josh is but realises that she doesn’t really have an option. She can still supervise Georgia and guide her in the investigation through the case that they have to solve. However the undercover operation is really the most important one throughout this novel. There are though, other things occurring in this small community that are deeply unsettling, some of which neither of them are aware of at first. It was one of those situations where the reader suspects before the characters what could be happening.

I have to say that they made a very convincing couple, they certainly seemed a lot closer than any of the genuine couples on the close. Most of them weren’t particularly likeable, some of them were detestable and I had absolutely no idea who the unnamed male narrator who featured often throughout the novel could be. I must have changed my mind at every appearance. 

It didn’t matter that I hadn’t read every book, it was obvious that Maeve was struggling at times, the reasons why were made obvious. But I have no idea how prominent these events were in the earlier books and I didn’t feel put off by reading them later on, despite knowing what happened to her.  It also didn’t matter that I wasn’t familiar with any of their colleagues, Georgia was really the only one who I would like to know more about and I’m sure I would appreciate seeing what she was like as a rookie officer.

I was absolutely gutted when I finished this novel, I can’t wait to see what happens next in this wonderful series. 

The Next To Die by Elliot Sweeney – Review.

About The Book

Dylan Kasper is stuck. Living in self-imposed reclusion from his former life in the police, he’s been in a downward spiral since his daughter’s death five years ago.

All that changes when the son of an esteemed professor jumps under an inner-city train. His former colleagues call it suicide, but Kasper knows different. This has all happened before – to him, and his dead daughter.

Taking on the investigation himself, Kasper soon realises the terrible trouble young Tommy had found himself in. With nowhere to run, he thought suicide was the only way to keep his family safe.

But before long, Kasper’s investigation makes him target number one. Can he keep his demons in check and stay alive long enough to bring those responsible to justice?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I read a lot of crime fiction and after a point a lot of it feels formulaic. This book felt like a breath of fresh air, with a brilliant lead character, a fascinating storyline and a lot more empathy than many books I read.

Kasper has lost everything, his family, career and self respect. When he is approached by Tommy in the gym,  he initially doesn’t want to engage but after an altercation he gives in and ends up trying to help him. But when this goes disastrously wrong he wants to help Tommy’s family and try and understand why Tommy did what he did. Unfortunately he is unprepared for the impact on his own personal life, both from danger it brings to himself and his friends and the memories that Tommy’s situation brings to the surface.

It is far too easy to judge, initially I didn’t care for Harriet, Tommy’s sister, but as both of their stories were slowly revealed I had a lot more understanding of them both. She was visibly a lot stronger mentally than Tommy but it became easier to see the cracks and to see that she just handled the situation differently. 

Whilst there are some bad people in this novel there were a lot I liked a lot. Obviously Kasper, but also Diane, his ex partner romantically and professionally, his landlady and definitely Jazz. Hopefully these characters will appear in future novels in this series. 

Many themes are covered, in particular mental health and how it can affect an individual and their loved ones, showing how if people were given the option to talk, even for a few minutes how much help they could get.

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson – Review.

About The Book

There’s a serial killer on the loose.

When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can’t be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.

The race is on before more bodies are found.

She’d hoped she’d never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind . . .

Will it take a killer to catch the killer?

Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer?

My Review

I’ve had The Jigsaw Man on my kindle for a while and after seeing a flurry of social media posts about the second book in the series, The Binding Man, I decided it was time to read it. It is a long time since I read a book so gory. 

Henley is the lead character in the novel, a police officer whose life is a mess due to being injured in a previous case. Everything about that case was being relived during the current investigation because it looked like there is either a copycat killer or the wrong person was found guilty. The situation was made worse for her because she has a rookie officer shadowing her. Ramouter, relocated from Yorkshire, away from his family, feeling guilty due to his wife’s ill health and who realised pretty quickly how little support his new unit was given and how much he had to learn.

This was a traumatic case for the team of detectives to deal with, and it became evident very early that they didn’t have the support or respect that they needed. All of them struggled with the the level of violence shown towards the victims, the way people were manipulated into helping the murderer and the impact on their personal lives. The author demonstrated how the officer’s families also suffered during an investigation. I have read very few books that showed this and I appreciated seeing another viewpoint from someone who just wanted to keep their family safe and feeling  misunderstood.

This looks like a series that I’m going to like a lot. Whilst most of the focus is on Henley and Ramouter other members of the team are shown quite well and I would like to get to know them more. Esra, in particular, was one who intrigued me. 

I also liked a lot, the prominence of the handful of characters who were manipulated into doing things they knew were wrong. 

I found this to be a fascinating read, I will be reading The Binding Man very soon.

All You Ever Wanted by Susan Elliot Wright – Review.

About The Book

You are inside.
With your husband and baby. Your life warm and calm and untroubled.
I am outside.
Alone. Looking in. Watching you.
You have all I ever wanted. 
Now it’s time for you to share.

My Review

When I read the synopsis for this novel I expected it to be similar to my usual type of book but it was a little bit different. Yes there was a criminal element but this was more about the characters, the small family whose lives are disrupted by Anna. And their realisation that she wasn’t really who she said she was.

Most of the novel was told by Emily’s point of view. Her concerns over her job, made worse by her marriage to Simon, who worked in the same school. Her guilt about drinking too much whilst accepting that it helped her cope. She becomes increasingly reliant on Anna, not realising that little was as it seemed. I wasn’t that keen on her until I got to know more about Anna.

In the second part of the novel the narrative switches and the reader starts to realise exactly who Anna was and the lengths she was prepared to go to so she could get what she wanted. There wasn’t that much focus on her but I found it just enough. I could see her determination, but also her weakness and her loneliness.

Whilst this wasn’t a novel where I had strong feelings about the characters, with the exception of Simon who I detested almost immediately, I did have some sympathy for both Emily and Anna. I could see both points of view and understand to some degree why they reacted the way they did at certain points. I would definitely be interested in a sequel to this book, but in many ways it was the perfect ending. This novel was a slight departure from my comfort zone but it was one I enjoyed