The Snakes by Sadie Jones – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.

When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping. 

Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its rotten core, and now neither Bea nor Alex can escape…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Snakes was one of those books where I was mesmerised but also horrified by the characters. There wasn’t that many, the five members of the family, the police and the lawyers were the main ones but there was only one who I had any empathy for. That character was Alex, broken and struggling with events from his childhood and addiction. Bea was one I had mixed feelings about. I had sympathy for her but I think she could have done a lot more. She let Alex down and she wasn’t honest about her family life with Dan, her husband. Most of the others made me cringe.

I found this novel difficult to put down but strangely a long time to read. I think it was because the characters were so horrible and I felt I had to absorb every description of them. I struggle to pick out one phrase but every time Griff ‘spoke’ I felt sickened. Rude, a critic and a bully doesn’t even begin to describe him.

I loved the descriptions of the setting, the dilapidated hotel in a remote French village. The peace and quiet that was tarred by the arrival of a family that could only be described as venomous as the snakes in the title. I could understand why Alex would choose to live there rather in the huge mansion with his parents. 

The ending wasn’t what I expected and I have read differing opinions on it. It is one that I will be thinking about for a few days.

Bury Them Deep by James Oswald – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.

Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?

McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here… 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The DCI McLean series is one of my favourites so I was looking forward to reading this new one, book ten. I was lucky enough to read the first chapter some months ago that left me wondering what the young woman was doing. I was totally wrong with my theory. What she was doing was something I had never even thought of.

McLean has little interest in the anti corruption operation but he does want to find his missing colleague. Not just because of his fears for her safety, he wants to clear her name. And it as a way of avoiding the teetering pile of paperwork in his office even though it frustrates his senior officers. I read many crime novels and I have yet to find one where a senior officer prefers dealing with paperwork rather than getting involved in an investigation.

There are many reasons I enjoy this series. All the investigations you would expect are there, but there is always a slightly sinister slant to them. In this novel it is Scottish folklore. The legend concerned is one I was unfamiliar with and I was reading more about it as I read this novel. I would be one who would believe every word!

Another reason is all of the characters. Who would not look forward to the returning ones like Grumpy Bob and the reporter Dalgleish? I always enjoy reading about them. But there are many others, especially the female characters and in particular Grace Ramsey. Still a tyrant years after retirement.

I am now looking forward to what happens next, meanwhile I can try and improve my Scottish pronunciation by reading the books I have missed.

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb – Review.

About The Book

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…
Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.
And that’s just the beginning…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. After the events in the preceding book, Deep Dirty Truth I couldn’t wait to read this follow up. It would help if you knew what happened there but you could still enjoy this book by reading it as a stand-alone. 

From the opening chapters Lori is in danger despite J.T’s attempts to keep her safe. He  has health issues however and they do slow him down. But she is more than capable of looking after herself. Apart from having to learn poker. 

I have to admit that this is a game I know absolutely nothing about. I was a little concerned it would impact on my enjoyment of the novel but it only covers a couple of chapters. And those chapters were easy to follow, I just smiled at  Lori’s methods at convincing the experts she knew what she was doing.

 When the game came to an abrupt halt the tension increased dramatically. Because it is very short chapters which switch constantly between Lori and J.T’s predicament I struggled to put the book down. Each time one narrative ended I was desperate to find out what happened next. The author certainly knows how to keep a reader hooked. I liked both accounts equally but really appreciated getting to know more about J.T. 

It is a long time since I have felt so on edge reading a book. Wondering what would happen next and to whom. Wondering who was somebody who could be trusted and who fit the description by the  unknown electronic voice. And definitely who would be Herron. 

This has been my favourite book in the series, I hope we don’t have to wait too long to see what will happen next to Lori and J.T. 

The Burning Men by Will Shindler – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When a development in South London catches fire mid-construction, a close-knit team of fire fighters runs in to save a man spotted at the window.

They come out without a body. They quit the service. They plan never to speak to each other again.

Five years later one of them is set alight at his own wedding. Soon after, a second is found, nothing but a smoking corpse. It appears that someone knows what they did that night. What they chose over their duty. And there are still three men left to burn . . .

DI Alex Finn and his new partner DC Mattie Paulsen are an unlikely pairing, but they need to discover who is behind these killings before the next man faces the fire.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Burning Men is a new crime thriller series and I don’t think I will be the only one who will be pleased that Finn, Paulsen and the rest of the team will be returning. This a partnership which has plenty of potential. Not only are they dedicated officers who are determined to solve a case they also have personal lives and problems that I am interested in. 

They do seem an unlikely pair but are forced to work together when the team that they are part of is struggling with other cases. They don’t connect immediately, there are issues and I think there will be many more as the series progresses. I expect clashes but also friendship that will include colleagues Ojo and Skegman.

The case itself was an intriguing one. Fire fighters who made a spur of the moment decision that whilst it brought benefits also brought danger. There were quite graphic scenes of what a body looks like after a fire, I’m only glad that I couldn’t smell the scenes as well as visualise them. 

A brilliant debut with an ending that I definitely didn’t expect.

A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanet Khan – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

IN A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS, WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

In the aftermath of a mass shooting in a mosque, small town tensions run high. Clashes between the Muslim community and a local faction of radical white nationalists are escalating, but who would have motive and opportunity to commit such a devastating act of violence?

Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty from Canada’s Community Policing Unit are assigned to this high-profile case and tasked to ensure the extremely volatile situation doesn’t worsen. But when leaked CCTV footage exposes a shocking piece of evidence, both sides of the divide are enraged.

As Khattak and Getty work through a mounting list of suspects, they realise there’s far more going on in this small town than anyone first thought…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I don’t think that I will be the only reader who finds books that concern hate crime difficult to read. What this author does so well is make it so real without baffling the reader with the politics, which is something I have struggled with in books by other authors. It is evident that a lot of research has taken place, it’s not propaganda or make believe. This is something you see too often in the media, in many, if not all parts of the world. 

The case itself is only a small part of the novel. There is the trouble brewing on campus, the radio shows, the online chat where I spent a lot of time trying to see the true identity behind their usernames. There is the attitudes of the politicians and the police, many of who could do with some lessons on how to deal with other faiths. 

But there are also the characters, both returning and new. The ones I was routing for, the ones who I was hesitant to form an opinion on and the ones I detested as soon as they made an appearance. I won’t say who these are, if you read this book you will find them soon enough. I really hope I never meet anybody similar to at least one of them!

This is a wonderful series, a different country to my own but sadly some of the views are similar. It is an educational but also intriguing crime series with likeable lead characters who deserve an easier life. I’m looking forward to what happens next.