Alice Teale Is Missing by H. A. Linskey – Review.

About The Book

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Alice Teale Is Missing is the first in a new series and also the first book I have read by this author. I’m happy to say that it is a book I really enjoyed and I am happy knowing that there is another series to read.  I have a feeling that this series is going to be a good one. 

One of the main reasons is that I liked the way the two main characters Beth and Lucas were together. Lucas could have been unlikeable and unfriendly with the disastrous case he was involved in but instead he was shown to suffer from it. A loner in the police force and a broken marriage he could have been shown as bitter and blaming everybody else but he doesn’t. Instead he has tried to move in, whilst acknowledging the gossip and mistrust from other colleagues.

Beth is the graduate officer, has a pass into her position but desperate to do a good job. She has been made aware of what happened to Lucas but wants to investigate Alice’s disappearance so tries to accept it.

I had no idea what happened with Alice. I couldn’t work out if she was dead or alive or the reasons why. I couldn’t work out if she was a nice person or if she wasn’t as popular as se seemed. I had no idea who could be trusted or relied on. I felt frustration at the lack of help from former employees and I loved the description of live in a rundown town with no chance of prospects. And I’m sure we’ve all been in a pub like The Dirty Donkey! 

I see huge potential for this series. A very likeable partnership and I want to see them succeed and prove their colleagues and superiors wrong.

The Bramble And The Rose by Tom Bouman – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When Henry Farrell took a job policing Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, he was recently widowed and still trying to find his feet. Wild Thyme was going through its own changes, too, with fracking threatening the land, and the drug trade threatening its people. His first big cases put Officer Farrell face to face with Wild Thyme’s encroaching demons. Now, he’s got the lay of the land and he’s newly married to a local girl.

Then a body – headless and half eaten by a bear – is discovered in the woods. With the help of a local biologist, Henry tracks the bear, hoping to catch him before any more lives are lost, but when his nephew disappears into the same woods they realise they may be facing a far bigger and more sinister threat.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Bramble And The Rose is the third book in this series. Whilst I enjoyed it there were times when I think I would have benefited from knowing the back story.

I haven’t read much rural crime fiction and it was a refreshing change. Having a victim, who has been partially eaten by a bear is a little different to the usual crimes I read about. There was another investigation taking place, which was a little more ‘everyday’ but this was the one that I preferred.

Henry was a character I liked. Quieter than many, aware of his faults and he didn’t have many friends. I liked his names for his wife, Miss Julie, and the bear, Crabapple. I think it was his personal life where I would have benefited knowing more about his past. I wanted to understand his family relationship more and know what happened to his first wife.

It’s a short novel but wasn’t a quick book to read. It is slower paced, quaint, and full of atmosphere with some unique characters. I would definitely read the earlier books in this series.

Keep Him Close by Emily Koch – Review

About The Book

ONE SON LIED. ONE SON DIED.

Alice’s son is dead. Indigo’s son is accused of murder.

Indigo is determined to prove her beloved Kane is innocent. Searching for evidence, she is helped by a kind stranger who takes an interest in her situation. Little does she know that her new friend has her own agenda.

Alice can’t tell Indigo who she really is. She wants to understand why her son was killed – and she needs to make sure that Indigo’s efforts to free Kane don’t put her remaining family at risk. But how long will it take for Indigo to discover her identity? And what other secrets will come out as she digs deeper?

No one knows a son like his mother. But neither Alice nor Indigo know the whole truth about their boys, and what happened between them on that fateful night.

Keep Him Close is a dark domestic drama from an award-winning writer.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The first thing that struck me whilst reading this fascinating novel is that you shouldn’t be too quick to judge people. For example, my first opinion of Alice was that she was cold and unapproachable. My first opinion of Lou was that he was a thug who had no respect. I was wrong about both, but it took a while, especially with Lou to see, what they were really like. My thoughts regarding Alice changed gradually as I saw her way of coping in secret and started to understand why she came across as so unfriendly.

 Most of the narrative switches between Alice and Indigo, you see how they both cope, or otherwise, with the way their lives have been destroyed by Lou’s death. But there are occasional chapters that concern the other characters and you start to see what happened on the night out. 

This is a crime novel but for me it was more a character study. How different people react to an impossible situation and how they try and improve it. It shows the strengths and the flaws in all of the characters and how important family and friends are. 

Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? 

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have been interested in reading this book for a few months so was thrilled to be asked to support its publication. I am aware of the play, Hamlet, but don’t know what it is about or that it was named after his son who died when he was a child. I have however, visited Stratford Upon Avon a few times and know the streets and the houses that are connected to Shakespeare.

Although the book concerns William Shakespeare and his family he isn’t named. He is known throughout as his son, her husband or their father. All of the other characters are named, even though his wife is known as Agnes not Anne. I liked the way this was done, showing that whilst he was living in London writing, there was another equally important life back in Stratford. And it was because of this life that he was able to do it instead of teaching Latin and selling gloves. And more importantly keeping him away from his father.

I adored Agnes. Her spirit, her strangely modern approach to life and her way of reading people. It is implied that she could see the future but she could also accurately see a person’s true character. Especially concerning her father in law and her stepmother, and I liked how she used that knowledge to help her family. And most of all I liked the way she ignored all who tried to ridicule or insult her. I also liked her brother Bartholomew, large and protective and wise.

I have never read anything like this before. It made me want to find out more about the plays and when I go back to Stratford I will be looking with new eyes.

Black River by Will Dean – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Black River is an electrifying return for relentless reporter Tuva Moodyson, from the author of DarkPinesand RedSnow.

FEAR 

Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim is missing.

SECRETS

Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?

LIES

Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Black River is book three in the series, if you are a reader who appreciates getting to know recurring characters I do recommend you read these books in order. Many are a little bizarre! 

Tuva has returned to Gavrik to try and help find her closest friend Tammy. She doesn’t want to be there, has settled into her new life in Malmo and anybody who has read these novels would admit that Gavrik is a little strange. But Tammy is all she has and she is determined to help. However,  she doesn’t have the support of everybody  and is upset that there is more interest in the disappearance of another local woman, one who is Swedish.

Gavrik with it’s inhabitants isn’t somewhere I would like to visit, Tuva does mention a few times that the best thing to do is avoid it. Especially during Midsommer where alcohol and the customs associated with the festival takeover the community. I had to look on YouTube at this festival because the description intrigued me so much. Think May Day with a slightly spooky feel to it. And combined with some extremely creepy locals it isn’t something I would like to attend.

This isn’t a novel where I could work out what had happened to Tammy or who was responsible. It is a novel where I was I intrigued by the intensity, the suspicion and the unfriendliness of the town, and forest. And of course, the mosquitoes and the snakes.

A great addition to the series,I’m interested to see what will happen next.