Exquisite by Sarah Stovell – Blog Tour Review.


About the Book

A chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centering on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers…
Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.
Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.
When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?
Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My Review

In nearly every review I have seen for this book, the reviewer concerned has tried to avoid using the word ‘exquisite’ when describing the writing. I won’t even bother to attempt it, because the writing is exquisite. There is just no other word to describe it.
It is a tale of mutual obsession between two women Bo and Alice. Both have had problems with obsession before but not many details are revealed until further into the novel. Neither of the women are that likeable, in fact one of them made my toes curl almost immediately. The other I did have more empathy for.
The reader is aware that one of the women goes to prison but who it is isn’t made clear. I had my suspicions which were correct but I was mistaken in other matters.
Whilst I liked the story about obsession I also liked the part of the book very much that focused on how different a person can feel when experiencing nature.

A quote from the book says that ‘the cure was simple: Get outside. Walk. Breathe. Live’. In my opinion, this feeling can’t be beaten.
It’s a difficult book to review without spoilers but I think this book will be a very popular summer read.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
The book can be purchased at Amazon or Waterstones

Exquisite blog tour poster (1)

Hope To Die by David Jackson – Blog Tour Review.


About the Book

On a bitterly cold winter’s night, Liverpool is left stunned by a brutal murder in the grounds of the city’s Anglican Cathedral. A killer is on the loose, driven by a chilling rage.

Put on the case, DS Nathan Cody is quickly stumped. Wherever he digs, the victim seems to be almost angelic – no-one has a bad word to say, let alone a motive for such a violent murder.

And Cody has other things on his mind too. The ghosts of his past are coming ever closer, and – still bearing the physical and mental scars – it’s all he can do to hold onto his sanity.

And then the killer strikes again . .

My Review

A follow up to A Tapping At My Door, Hope To Die could be read as a standalone novel but you would get more enjoyment from it if you know and understand why Nathan Cody is hurting emotionally and physically.
The novel starts with a murder in one of my favourite areas of Liverpool, the gardens surrounding the Anglican Cathedral. I’ve always enjoyed reading a novel where I know the area and the Cathedral and the Georgian Quarter of Liverpool is one I know quite well. The footpath where the murder takes place is one where I wouldn’t dream of going when its dark. There is a lot of history and a lot of graves!
All the team are there, my favourite character Blunt, Webley and Ferguson and of course Cody. Cody is still struggling with his demons and doesn’t know to handle Webley. Most of the time it ends up being the wrong way, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Blunt. There is also a new  member of the team. One who I really didn’t know whether I should like her or fear her. This was a person I found a little disturbing and I feel there is plenty to discover in further novels.
The murders take place quickly and there doesn’t appear to be a connection. There are also flashbacks from the person who could be the killer. There is no identification or any clue to when the events took place. They are, however, very convincing and quite upsetting because of how real they felt.
This is a study of different personalities and how the past can affect the present and the future. Both the killer and Cody have suffered but both cope or otherwise in different ways. Cody senses that the persecutors from the past are getting closer but he doesn’t know how to deal with it. The ending of the book showed that there is much more to come with this series.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Dark Hollow by John Connolly – Review.


About the Book

Still raw from the brutal slayings of his wife and daughter, and the events surrounding the capture of their killer, The Travelling Man, Charlie Parker retreats to the wintry Maine landscape of his childhood. By following in the steps of his beloved grandfather, Parker hopes to heal his spirit and get through the bitter anniversary of Jennifer and Susan’s murder. But the echoes of the past that await him are not all benign. In a gruesome re-enactment of Parker’s own nightmares, another young woman is killed with her child and his brief involvement in their lives impels Parker to hunt their vicious murderer. As the death toll mounts, Parker comes to realise that the true answer to the puzzle lies thirty years in the past, in a tree with strange fruit, in his own grandfather’s history, and in the perverted desires of a monster incarnate – Caleb Kyle.

My Review

Dark Hollow is the second book in the series that features Charlie Parker. It is quite a while since I read the first one but it didn’t take me long to pick up on the ongoing personal story and the relationship between Charlie, and his wonderful friends Angel and Louis.
The book is quite dark, Charlie is obviously still mourning the death of his wife and daughter and is putting all his energy into making his Grandfather’s old home habitable. When he is asked to try and get child support from an old acquaintance he is placed yet again in danger.
I enjoy the supernatural elements in these novels. I just wish there more of them. They add a different slant to a storyline that some of which if fairly common. That of various gangs causing havoc for anybody who is unlucky enough to get too close. But there is also a less common storyline of a killer who has been in operation across generations. This was the story I was much more interested in and it was very sinister.
I love the relationship that Charlie has with Angel and Louis. The banter adds light heartedness to the creepy and often violent storylines. I hope that they continue to appear in subsequent novels.
This is a series that I need to catch up on. I’ve only read two of them, I think there are fifteen so I have a few to go. Many of them I don’t know the synopsis but the last two I have seen sound amazing. I have been reliably informed that they need to be read in order so I better get on with it.

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson – Blog Tour Review.


About the Book

Evil remembers…
Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?
Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.
Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

My Review

I had heard plenty about Block 46 prior to reading it. But nothing I had heard prepared me for what I would be reading. It is probably one of the most chilling and thought provoking books that I have ever read. One that can still make me feel edgy a week after finishing it.
It is mainly set in the modern day in England and Sweden where detectives from each country are joined by Alexis who was a close friend of the latest victim and Emily a profiler. They were all trying to find out who was responsible for murders in both countries.
But there are also parts of the novel that are set in Buchenwald in 1944/45. I have read a few novels that mention the Holocaust before but never before have I read anything that felt as personal and affected me as much as this. The cruelty and random acts of violence, the hunger, the stench, loneliness, and the desperation all had a huge impact on me. One section of the novel towards the end left me freezing cold and in tears. It also had me re-evaluating a section of the novel I had read earlier and how different events are when seen through another person’s eyes. As the novel progresses you see how the two stories connect but the author is very clever. At no point during the narration did I see or work out anything.
The relationship between Alexis and her parents was light relief during the novel even though they only appear briefly. I liked Alexis and Emily, at times they seemed to clash but I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses. I think there is a lot more to learn about Emily.
I found the story strong enough to work out well as a series but the Buchenwald storyline made this book so much more than a usual crime novel. This was an account that needed to be told and has catapulted it into my top ten list of books read. Not just in 2017 but my all-time top ten.
With thanks to the publisher for my copy received.

You can buy the book at Amazon and Waterstones


The Two O’Clock Boy by Mark Hill – Review.


About the Book

Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager.
Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.
Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it takes to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth.

My Review

The Two O’ Clock Boy is one of the brilliantly twisty novels that I have read for a long time. Flick Cowley is investigating the murder of a family and whilst investigating realises that there is a link with other murders. The victims all had a link with an old children’s home. Her superior officer Ray Drake is helping and guiding her through her first major case. But he is also manipulating evidence and discouraging her from looking into the past. Understandably she is annoyed and confused by his actions. In some ways they are similar, both have personal problems. Ray has recently lost his wife and his daughter in struggling with her grief has turned against him.
Some of the people who have been murdered spent time at Longacre, a children’s home that had serious issues. Part of the novel reveals what happened there in 1984 and was unfortunately believable. But the main storyline deals with the current investigation and trying to keep the remaining members of the home safe.
I have read many crime novels but I can honestly say that I have never read any like this. I often see twists coming and sometimes I am disappointed by them. Sometimes they have no seeable connection to the rest of the story. But in this novel, I had no idea what was going to happen, what had happened and who the murderer was. The twists were all very well hidden and they all worked. Not once was I left shaking my head in disbelief.
I don’t know if this is a standalone or the first in a series. Each would work perfectly well but I would love to see a follow up. This is a book that will definitely be one of my top ten books for 2017.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
You can buy the book at amazon or Waterstones
Mark Hill will be taking part in First Monday Crime on May 8th. This looks like it will be a fantastic evening. Details can be found here