Black Water by Cormac O’Keeffe – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

I killed the boy . . .
Jig loves football and his dog, hates school, misses his dead granda and knows to lie low when his ma’s blitzed on the vodka.

He’s just an ordinary boy on the brutal streets alongside Dublin’s Grand Canal. Streets that are ruled by Ghost and his crew. And now Ghost inked, vicious, unprincipled has a job for Jig.

A job that no one can afford to go wrong not the gangs, the police, the locals, and least of all not Jig.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.Slightly different to the type of fiction I usually read, Black Water is a convincing novel about gangland crime in Dublin. There is no doubt, the subject matter is a grim one. Gang hierarchy from the leader right down to the newest recruits, the children who are being recruited for their cause. The child in question in this book is Jig.
Jig is a ten-year old footballer who should be dreaming of playing for an English team, encouraged by Shay his football coach. Instead he is thrilled and excited to be recognised by Ghost, an important member of the gang. His older brother Maggot is already a member and is out of control. His family doesn’t care, the only one who can try to get him away from gang culture is Shay.
But Shay is not as he appears, he has a secret and is desperate to be away from the Grand Canal streets. I was completely wrong in my thoughts about what his secret was, it was much more complex than I thought.
A police officer, Tara Crowe, is determined not to back down in the fight against the gang, especially when the battle becomes more personal. I found her brave, loyal and a little naive but she was determined to get a positive result.
I found this novel fascinating, but at times difficult to read. The characterisation was among the best that I have read. There were many I wouldn’t like to know, especially Maggot and Jig’s Ma. A lot of it is grim, but in a believable way. Parts of it I had to skim over, parts I read in fear of what could happen. Fortunately not all of it did. But the grimness has some relief from some of the one-liners and the description of some minor characters everyday antics.
Black Water is a novel that opened my eyes and broke my heart.

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Binary Witness by Rosie Claverton – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

A young woman trapped by her fear, a young man pursued by his past, a murderer hunting the Cardiff streets by night. Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane employs ex-con Jason Carr as a cleaner. When the police `borrow’ Amy’s skills to help track down the killer, Amy and Jason become a crime-fighting team, Amy on her computer, Jason on the streets.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Binary Witness is a different type of crime novel. Police officers do feature, and they are looking for a serial killer but the people they get the most help from are not the police. Amy is an agoraphobic computer whizz who lives in squalor and forgets to eat. Jason is an ex-convict who gets a job as her cleaner/ housekeeper/cook. She also uses him to do the stuff that she can’t,which is basically anything that involves being outside or having any contact with people she doesn’t know. They have a great relationship, no sign of any romantic entanglement but they understand each other and have each other’s best interests at heart. Although I do have the feeling that Jason gets unsettled by Amy knowing everything about him.
It is completely unbelievable but I found it to be very entertaining. The crime they are investigating is no different to other crime novels, women abducted and killed who have no apparent connection to each other. But the way in which Amy and Jason have so much input in the investigation is what makes it fun and refreshing.
It is the first in a series, the second book is also part of this blog tour, so I have plenty of opportunity to get to know Amy and Jason. Amy especially is a character I want to know more about. I want to know what happened in her past, most of the focus in this novel was on Jason.
It was a novel that I read after a more harrowing one so it was perfect timing for me. Great entertainment and quick to read. Recommended.

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Body and Soul by John Harvey – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong.

Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her.

But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct.

The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.

And as Elder struggles to protect his daughter and prove her innocence, the terrors of the past threaten them both once more …

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Body and Soul is the last book in the series that features Frank Elder. Despite being the first that I have read I could follow it very easily.
When a relationship between Frank’s daughter Katherine and an artist ends in murder Frank is determined to stand by his daughter even though that help isn’t really wanted. Their relationship is strained, most of Frank’s are, but he does try his best.
Whilst his role in the novel is important there is also a lot of focus on Katherine and the officer who is investigating the murder, Alex Hadley.Alex is under pressure, because of the victim’s fame, the mental state of Katherine and Frank, who has a very short fuse most of the time.
I had a lot of sympathy for Katherine, I don’t think I will be alone in this. What she experienced when she was younger was horrific and some of what takes place in this novel makes life very difficult. Frank was a strange character. A loner, who could be very aggressive and who never seemed to have any control in any situation. Katherine appeared to handle what was happening a lot better than he was. Maybe it was guilt, I’m not sure. Hadley could also be a little abrasive, a little cold without much empathy.
I enjoyed the art world setting, I could easily imagine the models posing for hours, experiencing cramp and nausea, and having to put any feelings of embarrassment or misgiving to one side.
I feel quite sad that this is the last book, but at least I can go and read the earlier books in the series. John Harvey is an author who I will happily read again.

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Keeper by Johana Gustawsson- Translated by Maxim Jakubowski – Blog Tour Review.

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About The Book

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

My Review

I couldn’t wait to see what Johana Gustawsson would write after the marvellous Block 46, so as soon as it landed on my kindle I started to read. I purposely didn’t read the blurb, I didn’t want to know too much about what I would be reading.

It takes place in London and Sweden in 2015 and also in 1888. This account is one that follows the same family into modern-day. The first few years of this was quite sad, reading how the events that occurred changed circumstances so much for Freda.

Anybody who is familiar with Jack the Ripper, the killer who terrified women, particularly prostitutes, in the late 1900s will enjoy this. Reading about the murders from the point of view of a woman who knew the victims was chilling. Johana has done a great job of humanising the victims, and the people who lived in the vicinity. Most of what I have read is from a policeman’s point of view or those from the upper classes, and they have never moved away from the view that the woman deserved to die because of their profession. That it didn’t matter, because it would never touch somebody like them. This is proved in the way that Freda is almost gleefully questioned by her employer.

I was pleased to see Emily and Alexis both reappear, they are very strong characters who have both suffered trauma in the past. More is revealed about what happened to Alexis, how it still affected her and how she tried to move on. Emily’s past is still hinted at but there are no real details. Other characters from the previous books also reappear. Some I was glad to see, some not, but I liked a newcomer Alienor very much.

I don’t think I have ever read a book that shows evil people in the way that Johana does. They are people who make you cold and at times nauseous. I couldn’t even begin to think what else that might be capable of. Each time I thought I had solved it I was proven wrong and the ending was one of the bigger surprises I have had when reading a crime novel.

A great follow-up, I was wondering how she would follow Block 46, because that book had a brilliant storyline but I wasn’t disappointed. Unique, compelling and it took over my life until I had finished it. First class crime fiction.

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Beautiful Liars by Isabel Ashdown – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Eighteen years ago Martha said goodbye to best friend Juliet on a moonlit London towpath.
The next morning Juliet’s bike was found abandoned at the waterside.
She was never seen again.

Nearly two decades later Martha is a TV celebrity, preparing to host a new crime show… and the first case will be that of missing student Juliet Sherman. After all these years Martha must reach out to old friends and try to piece together the final moments of Juliet’s life.

But what happens when your perfect friends turn out to be perfect strangers…?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via Netgalley.
Beautiful Liars is the first book that I have read by Isabel Ashdown and after finding this book impossible to put down it won’t be the last.
Apart from a chilling prologue, which had me wondering just how it could be linked, the rest of the novel had two narrators. Martha is a successful TV presenter who is researching a cold case for her new TV show. This cold case is very close to her heart. Juliet was a very close friend when she was a teenager and both her and another friend Liv have always felt guilty over her disappearance. The other narrator is Casey, she bought Liv’s house and when she receives a letter addressed to Liv from Martha she assumes her identity.
Casey was one of the most compelling characters that I have come across. I have never felt a combination of fear, a little revulsion and a lot of sympathy for one character before. I had to look past her actions to understand the reasons why she was behaving the way that she did and gradually the feelings of revulsion faded.
I find cold cases fascinating. The determination of a handful of people, whether they are police or media to solve a murder and bring peace to friends and family is humbling and is shown brilliantly here. Especially with regards to Juliet’s father and the guilt shown by both Martha and Liv. Some of it I guessed correctly, but only a small part. I was duped very convincingly.
Recommended.

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