The Scribe by A. A. Chaudhuri – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Making it as a lawyer has always been a cutthroat business.

A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law. The victims – all female – are gruesomely butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus. Even more disconcerting are riddles sent by the killer to investigating officer, Chief Inspector Jake Carver, offering clues as to who is next and where they will die.

Up-and-coming lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of a number of the slain, soon finds her life turned upside down by the savagery. And when she decides to help Carver track down the killer, she places herself in mortal danger. Can Maddy and Carver unscramble the complex riddles and save the lives of those destined to die?

A. A. Chaudhuri’s Ripper-like mystery, The Scribe, throws down a challenge even hardened crime thriller fans will be unable to resist. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Scribe is the first in a new series of books that features a police officer and a lawyer. They start to work together when women that Maddy knows are found dead with differing messages carved onto their bodies.

It was a fascinating and gripping novel to read. I certainly read a lot of crime fiction but I can’t remember reading one where you get to know the victim just before their death. I found it created empathy and gave me a connection with them. Rather than just seeing them after their death. The flashbacks are also interesting, they don’t always work but they do so here. They gave a brief insight into the victims and their tutor. As they progress you do see the more unlikeable side to a few of them.

Carver and Maddy are strong characters and I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop. You see glimpses of their family lives but it doesn’t overpower the main storyline. I liked both of them and the other officer, Drake a lot. James and  Elizabeth Stirling I absolutely detested, and I always admire an author who makes me feel that way about a character. They were amongst many that I suspected of being the killer. 

This is a series I will definitely follow in the future. I want to know what happens next for both of them.

The Reunion by Guillaume Musso – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Welcome to a school reunion you won’t forget

On a freezing night, as her high school campus is engulfed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell runs away with Alexis, her philosophy teacher.

No one will ever see them again.

Formerly inseparable, Thomas, Maxime and Fanny – Vinca’s best friends – have not spoken in twenty-five years. But when they receive an invitation to their school reunion, they know they must go back one final time.

Because there is a body buried in that school… 

…and they’re the ones who put it there. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Reunion starts with something that many will hate, the school reunion. Thomas has more reasons than many to hate the idea. He is estranged from his parents who worked at the same school and still live in the area. But more of a problem for him are threatening letters that claim to know what happened to him. These could damage his career as a novelist and take away his freedom. 

Much of the novel takes place in modern day and is told from Thomas’s point of view but you also learn what happened from his friends and family. You also hear all of their views about what happened at the time that had an effect on all of them.

It’s a tale of unrequited love, misunderstandings, a failure to talk to each other and a fear of being found out. It did take me a while to get into it but once I did I couldn’t put it down. 

Call Me A Liar by Colette McBeth – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

A new standalone psychological thriller from Colette McBeth, whose dark, twisty and hugely compelling novels are beloved of writers like Paula Hawkins, Clare Mackintosh and Marian Keyes.

You could say it started with vanity. We believed we were special. But the truth is we were simply vulnerable. 

Months after landing their dream job, five brilliant young minds are sent on a remote retreat. 

But when one of them disappears, they’re forced to question why they were brought there in the first place.

And for the first time in their lives, they realise too much knowledge can be deadly . . .

One of them is lying.
One of them is guilty.
No one is safe.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Call Me A Liar is a wonderfully twisted novel that really kept me on my toes. Libby, is in relationship with Joe and they have both just graduated from university. She is thrilled, when Joe helps her get a position with a new firm alongside him and three others. One of these is Tess, who Libby has a fractured relationship with straight away. As the pressure increases at work, and Libby struggles with Tess more it isn’t long before things start to fall apart.

And it is here where the twists start. With multiple narrators, particularly in part two, my thoughts changed constantly. I had no idea who, if any, could be trusted. There were times that I wasn’t sure who I liked, had any sympathy for or whether they all deserved everything that was coming to them.

Some of the technology went over my head but I didn’t care. All I needed to know was who was behind everything and would I be at any stage correct in my analysis of the characters. There were some I liked, some I hated as soon as they appeared but I can’t say who. This is a novel where everybody will have a different opinion about each of the characters and I have no doubt that there will be others like me. Who liked, loathed, seethed, and cheered at the finale. Brilliantly done.

What You Did by Claire McGowan – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I am familiar with Claire McGowan’s books having read a few from her Paula Maguire series. This is a stand-alone novel and she has proved that she can do both perfectly well.

When the six ex Oxford University friends had a reunion years after their graduation none of them had any idea that things would go so tragically wrong. The way each of them handled it revealed how their friendship wasn’t as strong or genuine as they thought.

Most of it is modern day and concerns Ali, wife of the charged man and ‘best friend’ of the victim. She was a character who baffled and annoyed me the more I read. Her obsession with image, her snobbery and especially her noticing that her daughter Cassie had chipped nail varnish on her toes when she had a lot more to think about. 

But there are flashbacks to 1993, when they finished university and differing accounts of what happened on the night of the dinner. In each of these more dubious aspects of each character is revealed.

Cassie, her brother Benji and Jake, Karen’s son, were the only characters I really liked. They were the only ones who could see how tragic the events of the night and the few days after were and they were not thinking about the consequences for themselves. 

This is a great novel that made me question everything I was reading. I missed a lot, I suspected the wrong people and I seethed occasionally at the elitist attitudes. It is probably one of the most character driven novels that I have read recently. 

The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

‘He said he didn’t remember killing them…’

As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…

To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.

Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of The Sleepwalker.

But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…

Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.

Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A few years ago I read and enjoyed Sirens, the first book in the Aidan Watts series. I was intrigued with the Manchester setting but wasn’t prepared for how dark the storyline was, how corrupt the police were and mainly how flawed Aidan was.

By book three much is the same, the darkness and corruption is still evident but I started to see a different side to Aidan. He seemed to accept, without resentment, the way his life had gone and I started to see a more compassionate side to him. I first noticed it when he met Adam in Strangeways prison. I felt that he was genuinely concerned for him and that he wanted to make his life more bearable. This feeling continued throughout the novel and on finishing it, I think it was because he was aware of what lay in his own future. A few days after reading it I feel that this was the first book I liked him in.

It was a nice change to have a police officer who wasn’t corrupt. Naomi, who became Aidan’s new partner early in the novel when Sutty was injured whilst on duty. I could sense her loyalty, despite the frustration she felt towards Aidan at times. Even when he hurt her feelings she didn’t abandon him. She was the only member of the force who I didn’t feel had a different agenda. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of her.