The Lost by Simon Beckett – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A MISSING CHILD

Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.

A GRUESOME DISCOVERY

A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay, and the discovery of four bodies. Brutally attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor.

A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH


Under suspicion himself, he uncovers a network of secrets and lies about the people he thought he knew – forcing him to question what really happened all those years ago…Read less

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I read a standalone novel by Simon Beckett a few years ago and told myself at the time I needed to read his series of books that featured David Hunter. As usual, I failed to do that but I’m happy that I have a new series to get stuck into. And going off this book it is a series I’m sure I will enjoy a lot. 

Jonah is a firearms officer, like many others he has a terrible personal life, but his is more tragic than most. Ten years ago, his four year old son disappeared when he took him to the local park, resulting in the breakdown of his marriage to Chrissie and losing touch with his best friend, Gavin. But after years of silence Gavin needs his help and after going against his better judgement he goes to his aid. As you would expect, this doesn’t go to plan and his personal situation deteriorates even other.

I thought this book would be like many other police procedurals that I read but it is completely different. You don’t get to see Jonah as a police officer, instead you see him as a father still grieving over the disappearance of his son and who is now a suspect in a murder investigation. There are some unlikeable characters, mainly his ex wife, and a few I want to know more about. Fletcher is definitely one who I hope will be a returning character, I want to know more about his past and for him to respect Jonah. 

Jonah was a character I liked a lot. His honesty, his self imposed isolation, his way of coping with danger, especially from a local gang, his determination to help despite what had occurred in the past and the pain he endured by doing so. I also smiled when reading a lesser character’s view of Chrissie (mine was similar)

I enjoyed this introduction to Jonah, I am looking forward to reading book two, just slightly intrigued over what way it will go with the ending. Hope I don’t have to wait long to find out.

Parabellum by Greg Hickey – Review.

About The Book

One devastating crime. Four troubled suspects. And a vibrant, powerful journey inside the mind of nameless, faceless evil.

A mass shooting at a Chicago beach leaves several dead and dozens injured. In the year before the crime, four individuals emerge as possible suspects.

An apathetic computer programmer.
An ex-college athlete with a history of head injuries.
An Army veteran turned Chicago cop.
A despondent high school student.

One of them is the shooter. Discover who and why.

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I read a lot of crime fiction and sometimes the theme seems common. I had a feeling that Parabellum would be different to anything I had read before  and I wasn’t disappointed, it was definitely original.

It concerns a mass murder and there are four suspects who the reader gets to know more about throughout the novel. You discover a lot, but the very last thing to be revealed is their name. All the way through they were described as the student, veteran, programmer or ex- athlete. Everybody they know is also described by their identity, whether it be therapist, classmate, partner or colleague. The only people whose identity was revealed immediately were the victims. This worked surprisingly well and I felt it was because the author wanted to show that so many people are invisible or forgettable.

All four suspects have different issues and I felt varying degrees of sympathy for them. One of them in particular I had a lot of sympathy for and I was desperately hoping that they wouldn’t be the killer.  The other three I struggled to connect with more, even though I could understand their issues. 

The final pages of the novel are chilling. The way the author describes all of  the victims and their lives in just a few pages showed the strength of the writing and I’m still thinking about them days after finishing. 

It certainly isn’t an easy or quick read, I found I needed silence to appreciate it. But, it is definitely a book I recommend. 

The Girl In The Maze by Cathy Hayward – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

‘I would caution you against delving into the past. The past is often best left exactly where it is.’

Emma Bowen has never had a close relationship with her mother, barely speaking with her in the last years of her life. But after her mother’s death, Emma finds something that might just explain the distance between them.

Discovering letters between her mother and grandmother, it seems to Emma that her mother has always been difficult.

As she searches for answers about her own childhood, Emma is drawn into the mystery of her mother’s enigmatic life. The more she finds, the more lost she feels, but Emma is determined to uncover her mother’s past, and the secrets held within it, whatever the cost.

An enthralling story of three women, generations apart, linked by one terrible tragedy.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy reading a dual time frame novel so was looking forward to reading this book. And it was also a pleasure to read a novel that takes place somewhere I have visited and could recognise, Morecambe. The whole theme of the novel concerns family  and how attitudes years earlier had an impact on Emma and her family in modern day.  It was a little upsetting at times to read how her mother and grandmother both suffered in their teens. Twenty years apart but nothing had improved.

Many people will be familiar with the mother and baby homes or the laundries where a young woman had her child snatched away from her. The trauma suffered by Margaret in this novel was just how I would imagine it to be. A very difficult family life, abused and that abuse ignored by the one who could have done something to help. It would be easy to dislike her and her treatment of Emma and her young family but all I felt was sympathy. And she was a character who I only knew through the narrative of others. 

One of the strongest aspects of this novel were the letters. Most of what happened in the past was revealed by these and towards the end of the novel they became more remorseful and upsetting. It made me wonder how many families went through similar experiences and how many of those never found any answers. And it was also a stark reminder how important it is to talk, Emma and her own family could have had a completely different relationship with Margaret if they had been able to talk about the past. 

There was some detestable characters but most who featured felt normal and likeable. All of them had their life changed by some appalling acts that could have been avoided. 

The Wrecking Storm by Michael Ward – Review.

About The Book

1641. 

London. 

The poisonous dispute pushing King Charles and Parliament towards Civil War is reaching the point of no return. 

Law and order in the city are collapsing as Puritan radicals demand more concessions from the King. Bishops and lords are attacked in the streets as the Apprentice Boys run amok. Criminal gangs use the disorder to mask their activities while the people of London lock their doors and pray for deliverance. 

No one is immune from the contagion. Two Jesuit priests are discovered in hiding and brutally executed – and soon the family of spice merchant Thomas Tallant is drawn into the spiral of violence. Tallant’s home is ransacked, his warehouse raided and his sister seized by kidnappers. 

Thomas struggles to discover who is responsible, aided by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, a devotee of science, maths and tobacco in equal measure. Together they enter a murky world of court politics, street violence, secret codes and poisoned letters, and confront a vicious gang leader who will stop at nothing to satisfy his greed. 

Can Elizabeth use her skills to unpick the mass of contradictory evidence before the Tallants are ruined – both as a business and a family? 

And as the fight for London between King and Parliament hurtles to its dramatic conclusion, can the Tallants survive the personal and political maelstrom?

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I always enjoy historical fiction, especially when I read something that sends me looking for more information. The Wrecking Storm did just that, as did it’s prequel Rags of Time. This period in history is one that I know little about.

We join Thomas Tallant, his family and close friend Elizabeth again. The Tallant spice business is flourishing but this makes them unpopular with their business rivals who resent the family’s Dutch connections. This resentment brings danger to all of them who feel the threat from an enemy  they can’t identify.

London’s population is growing but there is a lack of housing and many people have no way of earning a living. There are an increasing number of gangs and this combined with the ongoing resentments between king and government make it an extremely dangerous place to live. The main threat comes from the Apprentice Boys who were gaining in power. It was this thread that was the strongest for me, their power and way of recruitment was very convincing.

As the danger levels increased it was Elizabeth who devised the best plan to keep the Tallant’s and their business safe. I was smiling as I read, visualising clearly the confusion and mayhem it caused. But there was also a feeling of sadness when it was revealed who was behind the threat and the consequences of the assault on the family.

Fictional characters combined with those from real life, this was a very interesting and entertaining novel. I hope there is more to come.

The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cooke – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.

A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms.

Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.

Coincidence? Or curse?

Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.

Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .

But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the witch trials that took place in the 1600’s but had never known that any occurred in Scotland. I couldn’t wait to read this novel and find out more.

It is told from three different members of the same family. A mother, who is trying to run away from illness and a relationship that has turned sour and two of her three children, Sapphire and Luna. Unusually it is also told from two different periods in time, 1998 and 2021 with the addition of excerpts from a grimoire. These excerpts quickly became one of my favourite parts of the novel, I found them absolutely fascinating. I felt I was there, seeing the terror of the women on trial, the devastation of their children and the manic fury of the those who had decided the women’s fate.

Superstition forms a huge part of this novel, many locals believed every word that had been passed down over the years. Some of these were probably descendants of those who were killed or the ones who passed the verdict many years earlier. All of this, combined with totally different opinions from visitors to the area contributed to me having know idea of which way the novel would go.

I read many novels where the story is told by different narrators. This is one of my favourites, nearly every time it switched I needed to know what happened next. I found this an amazing novel and I will definitely be reading more books by this author.