The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. 

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life? 

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read a book by Jeffrey Deaver so when I found out that this book was the start of a new series it seemed a good one to start with. I was not disappointed, and I now have more books to read at some point in the future.

Colter was a character I liked instantly, I could tell that he was doing his job out of a desire to save a life, not just for the reward. I enjoyed the glimpses of his childhood and the survival techniques he was taught. And I liked his no mess attitude, the bravery, his use of percentages to assess a situation and his attitude when he was proven right or wrong. 

The gaming industry that is the theme in this book is one that baffles me. I don’t understand how people can sit for hours obsessed with online death or survival. And the thought of turning that online activity into reality is terrifying. I had also never given a thought to what else the gaming companies might be involved in. Something that made me more dubious about various gadgets that are in many homes.

A great start to a series, I will be looking forward to reading more about Colter in the future. 

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

‘Sara! Remember! Victoria and Albert. All I can say. They’re here. They’re-‘ 

These are the last words Sara Prior will ever hear from her husband. 

As DS Nathan Cody struggles to make sense of the enigmatic message and solve the brutal murder, it soon becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. Taking the investigation into her own hands, Sara is drawn into a world of violence that will lead her in a direction she would never have suspected. 

For Cody, meanwhile, things are about to get personal in the darkest and most twisted ways imaginable . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have read three out of the four books in the Nathan Cody series and I recommend that you at least read the first book before reading this one. 

This book is slightly different to the others that I have read. The opening murder scene is more gruesome than many and Cody is advised by his superior to stay away from the crime scene. His team are investigating the murder but unusually most of the investigation is carried out by the victim’s widow, Sara. 

Sara is more than capable of looking after herself. She is ex-military, afraid of nobody and determined to find out why her husband was murdered. I liked her a lot, even though I did find her a little scary. Despite the often violent scenes hers are the easiest to read. Cody’s problems could have given me sleepless nights. 

Cody’s role in the novel is more about his demons, the clowns. It is this part of the novel where you need to be aware of what happened to him previously. I wasn’t sure at first if it was all in his imagination but as the story progressed I realised it was actually happening. It made me dislike clowns more than I already did and it will be a while before I can be in the vicinity of Rodney Street without seeing them.

With reading a lot of crime fiction I sometimes identify a murderer, or see the reasons for the killing. I didn’t this time, it was complicated and a little bit sinister. At times, it felt like closure. I hope it isn’t. 

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Daisy Clayton’s killer was never caught. In over ten years, there has been no breakthrough in her murder case.

Detective Renée Ballard has faced everything the LAPD’s notorious dusk-till-dawn graveyard shift has thrown at her. But, until tonight, she’d never met Harry Bosch – an ex-homicide detective consumed by this case.

Soon, she too will become obsessed by the murder of Daisy Clayton.

Because Ballard and Bosch both know: every murder tells a story. And Daisy’s case file reads like the first chapter in an untold tragedy that is still being written – one that could end with Ballard herself, if she cannot bring the truth to light.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book I have read by Michael Connelly, there are quite a few to catch up on if I ever have a dent in my reading. From what I can gather the series featuring Bosch is a lot longer than the one featuring Ballard.

The cold case involving the murder of Daisy is the one that brings both of his characters together. Two different types of police officer, Bosch is now a reserve, and they are also from different generations, have different methods but they get on well and are working as a team.

Both of the characters narrate and it was Ballard’s story I preferred. If I had known more about Bosch’s character and previous cases my feelings could have differed. But Ballard intrigued me, obviously dedicated to her job, more than capable but banished to the ‘late show’.

Whilst they are intent on finding out what happened to Daisy they both had other investigations. Bosch was looking at gang related crimes and Ballard had a variety of call outs that she had to deal with. I found this really interesting and it’s not something I have come across before. It showed how the police officer’s shift changed constantly, how much they relied on their team and how many cases they had to deal with at the same time.

Towards the end I started to see a different side to Bosch, a more sinister one. Because I haven’t read any of the earlier books I’m not sure if it how he works or whether emotions were affecting his approach.

I will, one day, read the earlier books to find out.

Tell Me Where You Are – Moira Forsyth – Guest Post – Blog Tour.

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Moira Forsyth to my blog to talk about sisters in fiction. I will show the synopsis before handing you over to Moira.

About The Book

Maybe the worst thing hadn’t happened yet. You couldn’t know the awful things lined up in the future, looming.

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

Guest Post

SUCH DEVOTED SISTERS by Moira Forsyth, author of Tell Me Where You Are(Sandstone Press, 15 May 2019)

If your sister went missing, you’d want her found. 

Or maybe not.

That’s the premise of Tell Me Where You Are, which is about three sisters, the middle one of whom has always caused trouble. All but one of my five published novels contain a set of sisters. In Tell Me Where You Are that relationship is toxic, the cause of unhappiness and conflict rather than mutual support and love.  Even in the closest of sisterly relationships there are areas of friction and dissent, and I’m far from the first author to explore that.

We could start with Dorothy Edwards’s series of children’s books: My Naughty Little Sisterwhere the younger girl is constantly getting into trouble and older sister (the unnamed narrator) must sort things out, avoid being blamed and save their mother from disruption. I wonder what they were like when they grew up? Did the older girl settle down with a steady local boy, marry and have children (one of whom was bound to be Naughty Little Brother)? Or did she tire of being responsible? Did she rebel and leave home to live with unsuitable men and play in a rock band and dye her hair pink? Did Naughty Little Sister subdue her instinct for chaos and pass her exams, getting into a good university and finding a job in public relations? (I feel publicity is her forte.) Time someone wrote the sequel.

Then there are the sisters in Ballet Shoes, who are not sisters at all, but three adoptees from widely different backgrounds, who all go on to wonderful careers. Their lives are constricted by lack of money but made glamorous by the mystery of their origins and the intensity of the ambitions they pursue. Yet Noel Streatfield created a family life around them that, however unusual, is still familiar – the rivalries and resentments of the three girls are completely credible.

I come from a small family, with one younger sister and one girl cousin. Because there were just the three of us, we were close as children, and are close now as women with grown-up children. We’ve had years in between of living far apart, pursuing different lives, and there have been small patches of coolness. What links us though is stronger than anything that might divide us. As an adult I’ve only once fallen out with my sister, at a time when we were each suffering severe stress. We were both utterly miserable until we sorted things out.

In Tell Me Where You Are Frances is the oldest sister, the sensible one, but there is a good reason she’s alienated from Susan. Susan went off with her husband when their children were tiny, and that’s something hard to forgive anyone, let alone your sister. Gillian, the youngest, has her own problems, but she has lost Susan too – what Susan did has ripped her out of the family altogether. 

One of my favourite novels when I was a child, was Little Women. There can’t be any girl who’s read it who doesn’t identify with one or other of the March sisters. I of course was Jo; my sister, Meg. She was the one content with home and family; I was the restless one, writing stories in cheap notebooks. I still can’t see why Jo should have been required (by saintly Marmee) to forgive Amy for destroying her manuscript. Just about as bad as going off with your husband (or worse….)

Jane Austen’s love for her sister Cassandra didn’t stop her from writing about sisters whose mutual understanding was less than perfect: Eleanor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility(another sensible older sister, note!) the self-centred and shallow Maria and Julia in Mansfield Park; the five sisters in Pride and Prejudice covering the spectrum from intelligent and thoughtful to downright silly. How brilliantly she depicts teenagers in that novel – man-mad Lydia and Kitty and priggish Mary.

Tell Me Where You Are is the one novel I’ve written which elicits the question from readers – are you planning a sequel? I never have. My focus is always on starting again, with a new set of characters and a different story. Each novel seems complete in itself. Yet, as I’ve begun talking about this novel again in the run up to its new publication date, I’ve started thinking about Susan’s story, and what her point of view might have been. Can you write fan fiction about your own work? Hm. Might try this one day.

Families are rich sources of conflict, high emotion and explosive secrets, and the special relationships between siblings is at the core of that. I planned to write about love and marriage in my last novel, A Message from the Other Side, but guess what? The principal characters are two sisters and two brothers. 

About The Author

Moira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 
Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.
DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late. 

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. If you haven’t read the Marnie Rome series by Sarah Hilary then you should do. And in order, mainly because the lead characters have ongoing personal problems that won’t mean as much if you are not aware of the back story.

This latest book differs slightly to the rest, with much of the storyline concerning Noah. He is trying and failing to accept the events that happened in the previous novel and it is affecting his judgment. And with the violent deaths which have devastated two families in their local area he is struggling. 

There is too much about this novel that is real life news. When I first started to read it the city I live in was on lockdown and curfew controlled due to gun and knife crime. Something that is happening everywhere but especially in London. There is Grenfell which is visible from the area in which the book is set, one part of the novel is a chilling reminder of what happened there. There are unscrupulous landlords, untrustworthy people and drugs and how children are recruited into the drug culture. But the hardest part to read was the racial hatred and how people make assumptions because of skin colour. The way Noah coped with it was revealing, showing that it must be common.

It’s riveting, very realistic, heartbreaking and eye opening. I enjoyed knowing more about what Noah was feeling and seeing his conversations with his brother but I wish he could have a break.

Marnie does still feature, she is active in the case but is also aware that Noah is noticing more than her. She is feeling responsible for him and feels guilty over not being able to help. But she also has personal problems and I have a strong feeling that her decision won’t go the way she wants it to.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series.