Lament the Common Bones by Jen J Danna with Ann Vanderlaan – Review.

51ZQa+3h-PL

About the Book

When death hides in plain sight, only the most discerning eye can see the truth.

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Matt Lowell and his team of grad students don’t go looking for death—it usually comes to them. But when one of Matt’s students suspects the skeleton hanging in a top competitor’s lab is actually from a murder victim, Matt has no choice but to sneak in to confirm a suspicious death. Once the case comes to Massachusetts State Police Trooper Leigh Abbott, the team is back together again.

While trying to handle the new murder case, Matt and Leigh also uncover new evidence behind the mysterious deliveries intended to smear the name of Leigh’s father, an honored cop, fallen in the line of duty four years before. When the person behind the deliveries is finally uncovered, it becomes clear that lives are in jeopardy if they attempt to thwart him. At the same time, as the murder case delves into underground societies and grows complicated when the killer himself becomes a victim, it will take all of Matt and Leigh’s teamwork to solve both cases and escape with their lives.

My Review

With thanks to the authors for the copy received.
Even though I have read a couple of books by the authors before, none of them have been from this series. I had been assured that it would be easy to read this novel as a standalone book and I did so quite easily. I would however like to read the earlier books now because I loved the relationship between Abbott and Lowell and I want to know more about them.
There are two investigations running throughout the novel. One concerning a suspicious skeleton found in a lab and the other which is very personal to Abbott and concerns her father who died during a police operation. It was this investigation I enjoyed more, and even though there appeared to be some back story I could follow it easily.
There are a few chapters that concern forensics that I did struggle with slightly, not being the slightest bit scientific but fortunately it soon reverted back to ‘cop speak’ which I did understand.
All the characters were strong, even the minor ones, the respect from most and the antagonism from some felt real. But I thought the relationship between Abbott and Lowell was special and  a delight to read.
I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys their detective fiction with a scientific slant, it was more convincing than some I have read and made me realise how much work goes into an investigation.

Blood Rites by David Stuart Davies – Blog Tour Review.

51Dz7PHZsRL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book

1980s Yorkshire. DI Paul Snow has a personal demon. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders in the town. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and appear to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, he is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Blood Rites is the first book that I have read by David Stuart Davies. Set in Yorkshire in 1985 the lead character and investigating officer has a secret. He is homosexual but attitudes were different in the 1980s and if it became public he would be hounded out of the force. He has to solve a series of murders that have a link but he is struggling to prove it to his superior officers. All of the victims have done things that they shouldn’t have. A couple of them you don’t get to know but the ones you do are very unpleasant and their crimes are horrific. I think my heart broke over a couple of the people who suffered because of them. Thankfully there wasn’t too much focus on their actions.
I did have a lot of sympathy for Snow, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the serving police force who had to keep their sexuality hidden. His pain, guilt and confusion over his private life was one of the stronger parts of the novel.
I couldn’t really tell that it was set in the 1980s. Apart from the attitudes and the mention of fixed telephone lines it could be set any time and any place. When the murderer was revealed it wasn’t a huge shock but the ending definitely was. Just a little different and very clever. I would be very interested to see what happens next.

BANNER blogtourBLOODRITES

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt – Blog Tour Review.

51juSb+hKbL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book

Just after 11am on 4th August 1892, the bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden are discovered. He’s found on the sitting room sofa, she upstairs on the bedroom floor, both murdered with an axe.
It is younger daughter Lizzie who is first on the scene, so it is Lizzie who the police first question, but there are others in the household with stories to tell: older sister Emma, Irish maid Bridget, the girls’ Uncle John, and a boy who knows more than anyone realises.
In a dazzlingly original and chilling reimagining of this most notorious of unsolved mysteries, Sarah Schmidt opens the door to the Borden home and leads us into its murkiest corners, where jealousies, slow-brewed rivalries and the darkest of thoughts reside.

My Review

See What I Have Done is a brilliant novel and is definitely one of the strangest ones that I have read. I had been aware of the rhyme about Lizzie Bordern but had never given any thought to its origin. Sarah Schmidt has given us an account of what could have happened in 1892 and it is a convincing one.
There are four narrators who tell us their version of events of what happened on the 3rd and 4th August. Lizzie, her older sister Emma, Bridget, their Irish maid and Benjamin an acquaintance of their uncle.
Bridget was the only one of the four who I had any liking for, she is certainly the only one who showed any sign of grief over the deaths. She had a fractious relationship with her employers, but also enjoyed some good times with Abby. Emma appeared to resent the preferential treatment that Lizzie received and tried to keep some distance from Lizzie. But like the other family members she is manipulated into letting Lizzie have her way. Benjamin is hired to do a job and is desperate for money. unlikable and untrustworthy and completely out of his depth. And then there is Lizzie. God-fearing, pigeon loving, spoilt and at times cruel. She wanted to possess Emma, have her as her puppet and is resentful that she wanted her own life away from her.
As well as the murders there is a suspicious mutton stew that made everybody who ate it ill. There is also a lot of focus on an abundance of pears which strangely managed to put me off eating them for the forseeable future. The violent deaths are not the main focus in the novel, the reader is aware of the aftermath with the description of the scene after the murders. There is an image of the murder scene, with blood splatter and bone fragments vividly described. Most of the novel assesses the different personalities and at times toxic relationships.
I feel that this novel would make a brilliant movie, it’s just amazing.

SWIHD blog tour

Hades by Candice Fox – Review.

51P4BnOUPbL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book

THE KILLER IS IN SIGHT, BUT WHO IS BEHIND YOU?

Homicide detective Frank Bennett feels like the luckiest man on the force when he meets his new partner, the dark and beautiful Eden Archer. But there’s something strange about Eden and her brother, Eric. Something he can’t quite put his finger on.

At first, as they race to catch a very different kind of serial killer, his partner’s sharp instincts come in handy. But soon Frank’s wondering if she’s as dangerous as the man they hunt.

My Review

I’ve read a few Australian novels this year and every one I have read is a demonstration of how different they are to everything else that I read. The only word I can think of to describe the difference is refreshing.
When Frank meets his new partner Eden he is fascinated by her. Beautiful,enigmatic and at times unfriendly with Frank. She has a brother Eric who can only be described as a brute. He is also obsessed with Eden and watches everything Frank does. Which is even more unsettling due to Eric being in the same police team.
Franks’s first job in his new team is investigating a series of murders where all the victims are missing vital organs. Some of these victims are very young and they need answers quickly.
The investigation is broken up across the entire book by flashbacks to Eden’s childhood which explains how her and Eric became police officers and what they are capable of.
Out of all the characters in the novel the only one I really warmed to was Hades. Which was strange because he was a criminal. A dangerous man who also had a heart and tried to do the right thing for the children. But I think these are characters that the reader is meant to dislike. Frank was a wife abuser, and  he had problems with alcohol and drugs. Eden is cold and unapproachable, I feel that more will be revealed about her in later novels. Eric was a monster, I can’t think of anything nice to say about him.
At times I wasn’t sure what to believe. I don’t know if a police force would permit siblings to work together or if Frank would have been allowed to keep his job but it didn’t really matter. One of the parts of the novel that I have thought about often since finishing it, is a comment from Frank about how members of the police cope. And how coping mechanism starts to fail when they are no longer in the force.  I  enjoyed reading the novel and seeing the characters develop.
Candice Fox is an author that I am determined to keep up with and I am pleased that there are a few books available for me to read.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Before It’s Too Late by Sara Driscoll – Review.

51TFL69fOQL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book

In this powerful K-9 crime thriller, FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her trusted search-and-rescue Labrador, Hawk, must race against the clock before a diabolical killer strikes again . . .
Somewhere in the Washington, D.C., area, a woman lies helpless in a box. Beneath the earth. Barely breathing. Buried alive. In Quantico, the FBI receives a coded message from the woman’s abductor. He wants to play a game with them: decipher the clues, find the grave, save the girl. The FBI’s top cryptanalysts crack the code and Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, scramble to the scene of the crime. Cryptic clues lead them astray and by the time they solve the puzzle, it’s too late. But the killer’s game is far from over . . .
Soon another message arrives. Another victim is taken, and the deadly pattern is repeated–again and again. Each kidnapping triggers another desperate race against time, each with the possibility of another senseless death. That’s when Meg decides to try something drastic. Break the Bureau’s protocol. Bring in her brilliant sister, Cara, a genius at word games, to decipher the kidnapper’s twisted clues. Meg knows she’s risking her career to do it, but she’s determined not to let one more person die under her and Hawk’s watch. If the plan fails, it could bite them in the end. And if it leads to the killer, it could bury them forever . . .

My Review

WIth thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Before It’s Too Late is the second book in the series that features Meg and her canine partner Hawk. I have enjoyed both books, both involve serious crime but are from a completely different viewpoint. That of dog handler and dog.
In this book the crime is personal to Meg. Women are being abducted and left in dangerous situations. Meg and the rest of the team receive coded messages that will determine the location of the women who if they are not found in time will die. All of the women look like Meg and all the codes have a connection to her.

I have to say that the deciphering of the codes went way over my head and my knowledge of the American Civil War starts and ends with the novel and TV series North and South. But neither of these failings on my part stopped me loving this novel. All off the characters’ personalities were real including them of the numerous dogs. The Rescue dog, Blink, I just wanted to hug. I felt that all of the animals that featured were based on actual animals that the authors had. The human characters were just as good. Seeing the relationship between Meg, Cara, the firefighter and the journalist was nice to read. It isn’t often where the journalist in a novel is likeable and a hero.

Hopefully this will be a long running series. Murder, abduction and violence yes but there is also the contact with human and canine which makes it special. Fantastic and humbling.