The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke – Blog Tour Review.

 

The Tall Man Cover

About the Book

A SENSELESS MURDER. A TERRIFYING LEGEND. A FAMILY HAUNTED.

1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…

My Review

 

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I was lucky enough to receive a signed ‘Harrogate Exclusive’ copy of The Tall Man last year but then got sidetracked by all the other books I had to read. A small part of me wishes I had read it sooner but mainly I feel relief that I didn’t do,because now I can shout it about it for the blog tour. And now,of course, it is available for anybody who wants to read it.
This book is amazing. For one, it is completely different to a lot of books that are currently being published. The other reason is that Phoebe Locke has managed to mess with my head. I didn’t have a clue which way this novel was going to go, and when you read a lot of crime fiction it is sometimes easier to see the twist/ culprit earlier.
It is set across three time frames from various points of view. One of the characters does stand put as being a little suspect but I couldn’t tell you why. There are also the characters who aren’t scary or eerie, just rotten to the core. The type of people who give those who work in the media a bad name. As I got further through the novel I felt increasingly tense about what had happened and what was still to come. And what was being held back, because there were many secrets.
That this is a debut novel is astonishing. It is a long time since I read a novel that captivated me in this way. It was a book that I needed to finish whilst I still had a few fingernails left.
Dark, powerful and intense. Phoebe Locke is an author I will definitely be following in the future.

The Tall Man Blog Tour Poster

Letterbox by P. A. Davies -Blog Tour Review.

 

Letterbox - P.A. Davies - Book Cover

About the Book

At approximately 09.00hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; it contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive. At 11.15hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack. Based around actual events, LETTERBOX tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family. He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life! Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbors a dark historic secret, following a life a lot less ordinary … as a furtive, yet high-ranking soldier within the IRA. As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS. Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old! Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government! Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard … And listened to!!

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. LetterBox is a fictionalised account of a true event, that of the IRA bombing in Manchester in 1996. You are aware of who the bomber is straight away but then the novel goes back to his childhood and shows how he grows from a normal innocent child into a killing machine.
It is hard to review a book that justifies an act without judgement but the author does a great job of showing the more likeable side to Liam. He shows that he does have a conscience, he misses his father, wants to protect his mother and sister but has been brainwashed into blaming the English by family and friends.
I liked the friendship between Liam and Sean and the budding romances between the two boys and Louise and Jen.
Much of his back story is in part one, where the reader sees what happens to Liam whilst he is at school and his family, until the events happen that determines his future life. I can imagine that there were events like this. There were a few occasions where you could see the threat but not often.
Part two was completely different. There was guilt and regret but this was all about revenge and the cause.
I am a few years older than Liam was in the novel and I am English. I have memories of living near Irish families whilst I was growing up and them being treated like Liam was by a handful of people. But until the Brighton and Hyde Park bombings I had no knowledge of the IRA. I don’t know if the treatment they received was because of the IRA or just because they spoke differently to everybody else, nor do I remember it being as volatile.
I visited Manchester a week after the bombing. Nothing you see on television prepares you for who what it like in real life. I remember standing with my back to the Royal Exchange Theatre looking over shops with damaged frontages, and just grateful that nobody died. You could have heard a pin drop. It doesn’t seem like 22 years ago. The post box on the cover is probably one of the most famous landmarks in the city centre.

Letterbox - P.A. Davies - Book Blog Tour Poster

Shores of Death by Peter Ritchie – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Unsure of her future in serious crime investigation, Grace Macallan is tasked with taking over an enquiry that will test her to the limit and threatens to run out of control. An undercover officer is missing, and a young woman is washed up barely alive on the Berwickshire coast. Details of an operation trafficking women from Eastern Europe begin to emerge, and as a dangerous career criminal realises his team has been infiltrated, he begins to clean the trail of evidence leading to him… A complex alliance of cold-blooded criminals from Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh begins to unravel, and some of the most ruthless criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland begin to turn on one another. As Superintendent Macallan races against time, uncovering high-level police corruption along the way, can she take control of the situation before it becomes a test too far?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I enjoyed reading Evidence of Death, book two in the Grace Macallan series a few months ago so was looking forward to reading this next book on the series. I do advise that you read these books in order. Some of the storyline and many of the characters do appear in both books. And there are a lot of characters.
The start of the novel is harrowing when the crew of an incoming fishing boat have to change their plans. The rest of the novel deals with the consequences of what happened.
Much of it is gang related and shows who is the most powerful in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle. It’s grim, violent but also has the same type of humour that was evident in the earlier book. The glossary that shows Scottish slang at the beginning of the novel did come in handy for some of this.
Grace is a character I really like. The personal battle she went through when trying to choose between family life in Ireland or her career in Scotland was realistic but she showed that it could be done if both in the relationship was willing. The same could be said for her friend and colleague Jimmy McGovern whose wife also appeared at intervals. It was refreshing to read that marriages could work alongside a career in the police.
With a few threads being resolved in this novel I would be interested in seeing what will happen next. I’m aware that there are at least two more books to come.

Shores of Death BLOG TOUR

After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

You think you know him. Until he’s dead.

When Cameron Swift is gunned down outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer: a dual role that requires her to support the family, and also investigate them.

As the case unfolds and the body count climbs, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets.

Even the dead…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received.I have read and enjoyed all of Jane Isaac’s previous books so was looking forward to reading this book, the first in new series.
Beth has been assigned as a FLO to help the family of Cameron Swift. But this case is different to what the team expected it to be and there are others who’re affected by his death. Beth isn’t the type of officer who just accepts what people say as face value and digs deeper.
One of the reasons I like the author’s books so much is because all of her lead characters in her three series are all likeable and if you could have them as friends you would do. They are not to good to be true nor do they have a dubious past. They are just normal hard-working people who have had hardships but don’t let them effect their judgement or take over their lives. It’s not something I experience often.
I read a lot of crime fiction but I can’t think of any where the lead character is a FLO and I found it very refreshing. It was interesting to see and showed how hard it must be to work closely with a family who have suffered loss and seeing them cope in different ways and how hard to was to do everyday things.
The case is a fascinating one and totally unexpected.It made me wonder how common it was, not the murder but the situation that various people found themselves in.
I had felt a little sad towards the end but there is hope and I’m looking forward to reading book two.

The book can be purchased here

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Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

When PI Varg Veum is approached to find a missing girl, by a half-sister he barely knew, his investigation takes him deep into the dark web, and some personal history he’d rather forget…

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Big Sister is the latest in the long running series to feature Varg Veum and is set in 2003. The case he has to solve is often chilling and a harsh reminder that some of the more murky side to society was an issue then as well. Many of the people he has to see don’t want to talk or are simply unable to. And some of them you really wouldn’t want to meet.
With this novel I felt like I got to know Varg more. There is the case he is trying to solve, which he does in his usual way. Mainly by annoying people and putting himself in danger. But the case has been brought to him by his older half sister who he had never met. With the arrival of Norma, Varg discovers more about himself and his family and whilst apprehensive he feels an instant connection to her. Much of this side of the story really touched me, how common is it to know nothing at all about loved ones?

for an instant a thought struck me: how many siblings are out there who never meet? Who don’t even know about each other…? ‘

I think this is book twenty in the series but with the way it is written a reader can pick any of the books up and follow them easily. This one was the third that I have read and they are all later in the series. I haven’t noticed any spoilers and Varg is the type of character who you feel like you would want to always have around. Quiet, determined, and even though at times he appears to be a loner there are always people there who he can turn to.
I have enjoyed all the books that I have read so far but this is my favourite. This is the one where the poetry comes through. How many authors are there who can make rain sound so enticing?

In Bergen, November is the month of the grey monk. The snow comes later. The sun makes a guest appearance or two. Most days are grey and more often than not it rains. Not summer’s short bursts; not October’s long downpours, which flood the streets and cellars because the relevant authorities haven’t cleared the autumn leaves this year, either; nor spring’s refreshing rain, which washes away the remnants of winter and makes the town clean again. In November, rain is the personification of gloom, as though really it wants to be snow, like a teenage girl with her head in the clouds, dreaming about becoming a prima ballerina one day.

I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Big Sister blog poster 2018