Made to Be Broken by Rebecca Bradley

 

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A rising death toll.   A city in panic.

A young mother is found dead in her home with no obvious cause of death. As DI Hannah Robbins and her team investigate, it soon becomes clear that the woman is the first in a long line of murders by poison.

With the body count climbing, and the city of Nottingham in social meltdown, the team finds themselves in a deadly race against a serial killer determined to prove a point.

And Hannah finds herself targeting an individual with whom she has more in common than she could possibly know

 

My Review:

I was thrilled when Rebecca Bradley sent me a very early copy of Made to Be Broken, her follow up to Shallow Waters. I know that many authors have doubts over their second novel but in my opinion she has nothing to worry about. You could probably read the two books out of sequence but they are closely linked so I would advise reading them in order.

Hannah and her team are struggling to cope after events at the end of the first book and Hannah is still recovering from injuries received. But as well as coping with what happened they are also under pressure to quickly solve a series of sudden deaths that are occurring throughout Nottingham. The reader knows who the murderer is from the beginning but not the reasons.

When I was reading I was wondering how much of Rebecca is present in Hannah, if I hadn’t have known that she used to be in the police I would have suspected it due to the level of behind the scenes knowledge. She doesn’t just tell you what the police do to get a result but also how and why. Media also shows its ugly side, every time I read a novel where they feature I’m reminded of why I never read a newspaper.

With regard to the actual killings I found them very believable and found myself being very cautious carrying out what was a usually an everyday event. The reasons why were slightly different but worked and showed how a life changing event affects people in different ways.

One of the strongest points of the novel was how close the team were. They all were deeply affected by earlier events, some had secrets and issues but they all were very close and refused to give into pressure to give up on a friend who was struggling.

A follow up that doesn’t disappoint.

Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley

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A young girl goes missing after getting into a car with a mysterious man. Soon after, a second girl disappears, and her devastated father, Witness, sets out to seek revenge. As the trail goes cold, Samantha Khama – new recruit to
the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department – suspects the girl was killed for muti, the traditional African
medicine usually derived from plants, sometimes animals and, recently and most chillingly, human parts. When
the investigation gets personal, Samantha enlists opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendent David
‘Kubu’ Bengu to help her dig into the past. As they begin to discover a pattern to the disappearances, there is
another victim, and Kubu and Samantha are thrust into a harrowing race to stop a serial killer who has only one
thing in mind..

My Review:

Deadly Harvest is the fourth in the series that features ‘Kubu’. I’ve not read the earlier books but after reading this fabulous one I plan on doing so very soon.
There was so much about it that I enjoyed. The very first thing was the little sketch on the back of book of the hippo, the mammal which gives Kubu his nickname. And then there is his love of cookies, like him I don’t need much of an excuse to have an extra one! And I loved that each part of the novel takes its name from a quote from Macbeth which given the main subject matter was very fitting.
Witch Doctors and the muti is the main theme and how it is regarded by the people who feature in the novel. Even the ones who insist that they don’t believe still understandably fear it. Certain parts of it had me feel more than a little spooked, especially when there are unexplained noises around certain people.
It’s not all about superstition. Politics and the impact of AIDS are also a big part of the storyline. I never knew that deaths caused by AIDS was so high in Botswana and the novel demonstrates very well how so many families are affected.
I had a great sense of Botswana, I could hear the characters talk as I was reading, and experienced the atmosphere in the bars and at demonstrations.
It didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the previous books, I never noticed any spoilers or even mentions of previous cases or Kubu’s personal life. I’m looking forward to reading more about him and Botswana soon.

With thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received.

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Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus

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Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

A complex, page-turning psychological thriller, riddled with twists and turns, Epiphany Jones is also a superb dark comedy with a powerful emotional core. You’ll laugh when you know you shouldn’t, be moved when you least expect it and, most importantly, never look at Hollywood, celebrity or sex in the same way again. This is an extraordinary debut from a fresh, exceptional new talent.

My Review:

Epiphany Jones is one of the most hard hitting novels that I have read. It’s one of a few that I have read lately that’s theme is sex crimes but this one is slightly different in the way that it comes together and the way everything is revealed.
The two main characters Jerry and Epiphany are both victims. Epiphany is a victim of sex trafficking and Jerry is suffering from tragic events that happened in his childhood. The way that he coped was unusual and in all honesty I found it very difficult to read. There is some black humour that I loved and the seedy side of Hollywood made a great storyline that was chillingly convincing. Whilst I didn’t particularly like either Jerry or Epiphany I had more sympathy for Epiphany. She was violent and unpredictable but she had her reasons.
It was a different type of novel for me. The more graphic parts of the novel I didn’t care for and I’m not sure if they contributed or detracted from the main storyline that was strong enough on its own.

 

Thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received, details of the blog tour are below.

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Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

 

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In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbour town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where 18 year old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted rollercoaster ride that builds to a stunning conclusion.

My Review:

I can’t remember the last time that I read a novel that had so many twists in it. Don’t You Cry takes place in Chicago in early winter. Quinn and Esther are housemates and when Esther disappears Quinn starts to realise that nothing is as it seems. At this time we meet Alex who lives on the outskirts of the city. He was forced to stay in his hometown to look after his alcoholic father when all his friends left to pursue their dreams. Life is mundane until the girl he names Pearl comes into his life.
The narrative switches back and forth between Quinn and Alex. Just when I thought I had it all worked out something else was revealed and proved me wrong. I think there was only one small part that I solved correctly.
I really liked Quinn, she was aware of her faults and still wanted to be there for Esther even though she was hurt by things that she was finding out. Alex as well, put his whole life on hold to care for his father and to help a girl that he knew nothing about. Reading this novel makes me want to add her previous ones to my already towering pile of books to read.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley and to Cara Thompson for the chance to appear in the blog tour.

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Quantrill Talks: The Dead Can’t Talk.

Today, I am delighted to start a series of blog posts about Nick Quantrill. He will be chatting to various bloggers all week about his work and Hull. I finished the novel last night and will review later this week.

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Starting a new series (by Nick Quantrill)

In many ways starting a new series feels like an act of madness. All that work building up a set of characters, building up their story and thinking what their futures might hold goes to one side. But after writing three books featuring Private Investigator Joe Geraghty, and making the decision to do just that, it’s something I’ve been thinking about.
I’m a huge fan of Ian Rankin’s Rebus series. It’s twenty or so books deep, but it still feels like there are layers of Rebus to be peeled back. Ditto with Michael Connelly’s exemplary Harry Bosch series. The list goes on, but these writers know when to pull back and recharge their batteries by writing a standalone. It’s all good, but George Pelecanos’s method of writing a mixture of trilogies, quartets and standalones really appeals and offers a different route forward.
Writing a character you know well is like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. You can place your protagonist into a situation and know how they will react. Joe Geraghty has rolled with the punches across three novels and just about come out on the other side. But how many times will he take on jobs, a regular northern man trying to make a living, knowing he’s opening himself up to a whole world of physical and mental pain? The end of the third novel, “The Crooked Beat”, leaves him in a place to reassess and start again. Maybe he just needs a break before he finds himself totally broken.
As a writer, freshness is undoubtedly good. It’s what keeps us at our laptops, telling more stories. My home city of Hull is undergoing major change and being 2017 UK City of Culture will put us out into the world like never before. It’ll bring money, profile and prestige, so I wanted characters that could walk through more doors than a Private Investigator could.
Anna Stone and Luke Carver are different, but also the same. They come from very different backgrounds, but share a commitment to justice. Stone is a Detective Constable with Humberside Police, but the start of “The Dead Can’t Talk” sees her on a sabbatical not of her choosing after the disappearance of her sister. Questioning her future, she’s brought back into contact with Luke Carver, a drifter she’d arrested some years previously. He’s fresh out of prison, but there’s more to his conviction that meets the eye. Carver has in his possession a videotapewhich might just give Stone the answers she craves about in relation to her sister.
How far will they go together? I have lots of ideas, but they feel like the right people to be exploring the city with as it changes further. Maybe even Joe Geraghty will feature in one of their novels. Change is always a risk, a gamble, but I hope readers will come along for the ride.

You can buy or read more about the novel here

Or visit his website

Or follow him on Twitter