The Twisted Web By Rebecca Bradley – Review.


About the Book

A social media shaming. A killer with a message. A deadly combination.

When the body of a man is left in the city centre set up as a realistic police crime scene, DI Hannah Robbins is forced to enter a world that can break a person, a case and a reputation.

Social media platforms light up and Hannah is pitted against the raging online monster and a killer who has already lost everything.

Can she catch the killer and put him behind bars or will she become part of his sadistic game?

Buy The Twisted Web and step inside the game…

For fans of Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza

My Review

It’s always good to return to a series and the one that features Hannah Robbins and her team is a favourite one. In this new investigation they have to solve a crime that’s gone viral on twitter before they’ve had the chance to investigate. But as well as the crime that needs to be solved quickly because of the added pressure from social media there is also the return of Aaron, and Hannah’s attempts to protect him from Baxter, their superior officer.
There are many reasons I enjoy this series. The characters all feel real, they have personal issues that don’t take over the story, they eat junk food and the crimes that need to be solved are always topical and interesting. I have read novels that are centered around social media sites before but there is usually at least one site I’m unfamiliar with or it’s too technical. Here it is all described honestly and simply. Some of the team use it, some don’t and they are shocked how quickly things can escalate. Especially Baxter, whose shortcomings are increasingly evident.
Baxter is a character who I love to hate. I find him cold, unfriendly and given the opportunity a bit of a bully. Many times, when I read police procedural novels a superior officer is like this but can be as caricature portrayal. Here that isn’t the case. He is simply an officer who appears to have forgotten how to police and is just interested in paperwork and controlling people.
Everybody else I like. I see Pasha developing in later books and I hope Aaron’s health improves.
I would like to thank Rebecca for including me as part of her launch team and for the book received.

The Corset by Laura Purcell – Review.


About the Book

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea and Ruth.

Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless.

Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

My Review

The Corset is a book that contains everything I love in fiction. Historical crime with a gothic twist. It also is convincing portrayal of how difficult it was for those who lived in poverty and the attitudes towards women at the time.
The two women concerned, Dorothea who is a wealthy and single socialite is fascinated by phrenology. She engages in good deeds at the women’s prison and uses the women there to learn more about it. Ruth is one of the young women who she meets and she is the one who intrigues her the most. Because she has been accused of and admitted to murder. The method that Ruth describes is different to every type of murder and as you read her story more is revealed.
I preferred Ruth’s story by a long way. Her tragic childhood and then her experiences at the hands of her employers were eye-opening. More so, because I felt that this was an accurate account of what it would have been like for many. Some of the things that happened to her I had to research myself. I had heard of them but not by the names they were known in the book.
It took me longer to warm to Dorothea. I did have sympathy but at times I found her selfish and condescending. But with her family background and the way she was controlled by her father it got easier to understand her. At times she seemed cold and a little bitter but then I could see a softer side as well. If she was allowed to do what interested her and be with who she wanted she would probably have been completely different.
At times it was creepy but not as much as I expected. Most of the time I thought Ruth’s ‘talent’ was in her head apart from certain events that did happen. I did guess at some of the eventual outcome but there was one part I didn’t see coming and it was one of the better finales in books I have read this year. That much, I read the last chapter again.
I read this book as serialised fiction via pigeonhole so I would like to thank both them and the publisher for the copy received.

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham – Blog Tour Review.


About The Book

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I read a lot of crime fiction but I have never read a book where the crime is based around tattooing and it is something I know absolutely nothing about.
There are four points of view, Francis, or to his annoyance Frank, is a new DI who has to prove that he is capable to do the job to everybody. His family and his religion are as important to him as his career. Rory is his bitter and resentful colleague. In some ways he had more experience but he is disloyal and I didn’t trust him or like him that much. Marni, my favourite, is a tattoo artist and is a reluctant participant in the investigation into the murders. She has an intriguing back story and a very annoying ex husband. The final point of view is that of the Tattoo Thief, unidentified for much of the novel. This person is dangerous and very smug but not as clever as they think they are.
I had to feel sorry for Francis, he was aware of what Rory was doing but had no option but to work with him. Their relationship was a strange one and I was left wondering how it will be in further books, I have found out since finishing that there will be a series. I hope that they can become friends and stand up to their bullying superior officer.
I am a little unsure whether a member of the public would have as much knowledge and input as Marni And Thierry did in the novel but it made very entertaining reading. Even if I did work out who was the culprit.
It is quite graphic, with the descriptions of what the tattoo thief did and there was a part that didn’t involve a murder that left me feeling a little repulsed. It was explained and the action wasn’t carried out in the novel thankfully.
The world of tattooing is a fascinating one. It appeared to be very loyal with a lot of respect for each other. Not something I would ever fancy but I can understand why many do.


The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech – Blog Tour Review.



About the Book

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have now read and thoroughly enjoyed all four of Louise Beech’s novels. She is the only author who doesn’t write crime fiction who I follow avidly. Her writing is exquisite.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story. Most of the novel concerns both Ben and Andrew, the reader sees both sides of their story. You first meet Ben when he is in Zimbabwe. You know that it is a life long dream but don’t know why he chose to be there at this time in his life. He is struggling with his emotions though, wanting to ring home, or write but not being able to do so. But he is somebody who struggles to admit to those close to him his true feelings. More is revealed as you read. It is a different setting for me, but I could visualise it through the writing. The weather, the magical sunrises, the lions with their beauty but also the knowledge that they could be a threat. And the vile coffee.
Andrew is a completely different character. Much more open in some ways, he has no problems with his sexuality, but in other ways he struggles. Health issues, a lonely childhood and the unfulfilled dream of becoming an author.
When reading this novel I felt like everything else that was happening in the world vanished. It was impossible to be distracted whilst reading. This is rare for me, I’m best reading with nothing happening in the background but with this book it didn’t matter. It took over everything. There is so much to love. Bob Fracklehurst ( a character who regular readers will know), the humour that is present in a relationship with a soul mate, the wrong words, the excerpts from Andrew’s book at the top of each chapter. I could go on and on.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. More than once. I cried at the relationship between Ben and Andrew a few times and I also cried over Will. The man who knew he had made mistakes, and regretted them.
An absolutely brilliant novel, told as always from the heart.

The Lion Tamer Blog Tour Poster Final

The Cold Summer by Gianrico Carofiglio – Blog Tour Review.

The Cold Summer Cover

About The Book

The summer of 1992 had been exceptionally cold in southern Italy. But that’s not the reason why it is still remembered.

On May 23, 1992, a roadside explosion killed the Palermo judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three police officers. A few weeks later judge Paolo Borsellino and five police officers were killed in the center of Palermo. These anti-mafia judges became heroes but the violence spread to the region of Bari in Puglia, where we meet a new, memorable character, Maresciallo Pietro Fenoglio, an officer of the Italian Carabinieri. Fenoglio, recently abandoned by his wife, must simultaneously deal with his personal crisis and the new gang wars raging around Bari. The police are stymied until a gang member, accused of killing a child, decides to collaborate, revealing the inner workings and the rules governing organised crime in the area.

The story is narrated through the actual testimony of the informant, a trope reminiscent of verbatim theatre which Carofiglio, an ex-anti-mafia judge himself, uses to great effect. The gangs are stopped but the mystery of the boy’s murder must still be solved, leading Fenoglio into a world of deep moral ambiguity, where the prosecutors are hard to distinguish from the prosecuted.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Cold Summer is based on a true story that took place in Italy in 1992. I’m uncertain how much, apart from the assassinations of the two judges, but it all felt believable.
I know nothing at all about the activities of the mafia in Italy nor their relationship with the police. It appeared that they had more power and were feared more than anybody else. The levels of corruption were staggering.
There are two sides to the novel. The investigation by the Carabinieri, in particular Fenoglio and Pellechia and an account by an informant who has been accused of having a hand in the kidnap and killing of Grimaldi’s son. This account is chilling, he goes into detail about his levels of progression through the hierarchy in the Mafia and also because it appears that to torture and kill is an everyday occurrence where remorse isn’t necessary. I have never read anything like this before and it did make me feel on edge.
I liked both Fenoglio and Pellechia, their relationship worked even though they were completely different. Fenoglio is above-board, not one to use violence or accept bribes. He has personal problems but has to put them to one side to deal with work. Pellechia is not as honest but he does acknowledge that he doesn’t always do the right thing. In some ways I preferred him, he was a lot easier to understand.
It was fascinating to read. It is one that I had to read slower than usual so I could absorb what was happening in the different layers, especially in the police investigation. Power and control and a total lack of disregard for anybody who worked on the side of law were basically ignored and not even the family of the kidnapped child would cooperate. I found it interesting that there was more focus on the ones who were on the periphery, the ones who knew how their lives could alter if they fell from favour.
This is the first book that I have read about the mafia and the first I have read by this author. I do plan on reading more of both soon.

The Cold Summer Blog Tour Poster