A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson

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A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She’s disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes.

DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird – and the victim’s missing eyes.

As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too.

And then the killer strikes again, and Cody realises the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all – it’s to the police.

Following the success and acclaim of the Callum Doyle novels, A Tapping at My Door is the first instalment of David Jackson’s new Nathan Cody series

My Review:

David Jackson’s previous novels were set in New York, I’ve read the first but have them all. And it was very good. This new series featuring Nathan Cody is set much close to home in my favourite UK city, Liverpool. I like to read a novel set somewhere that I am familiar with. When Cody first appeared I could picture exactly where he was and was laughing when he chased his prey through the shopping area. I could also picture another scene very clearly, but this wasn’t one that made me smile. It takes part in one of the more eerie parts of the city.

At times it’s quite intimidating, not just the parts that involved the killings but also when the police had to go into areas where they weren’t welcome, and it was very believable. But there is also some humour at times, especially Cody’s reaction to some that he deals with.
It’s one of the few novels that I have read where I felt some empathy towards the killer and revulsion towards a victim. I can’t really say more, to do so would be too much of a spoiler but if you have read it you will probably know what I mean.
Often when I’m reading I picture which actors should appear in lead roles if is ever televised. This is a novel that would definitely make great TV and I’m absolutely certain on who I would pick to play Stella. She would be perfect for the role.
It’s a fantastic novel, the first in a new series that has huge potential.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received, the e book version also arrived on my kindle this morning.

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor- cover reveal

Today, I am pleased to reveal to you the stunning cover for Laini Taylor’s new novel that will be published by Hodder and Stoughton in September 2016. We also get to see a glimpse of the prologue.

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Prologue
On the second sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
Her skin was blue, her blood was red.
She broke over an iron gate, crimping it on impact, and there she hung, impossibly arched, graceful as a temple dancer swooning on a lover’s arm. One slick finial anchored her in place. Its point, protruding from her sternum, glittered like a brooch. She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.
Later, they would say these had been hummingbird hearts and not blossoms at all.
They would say she hadn’t shed blood but wept it. That she was lewd, tonguing her teeth at them, upside down and dying, that she vomited a serpent that turned to smoke when it hit the ground. They would say a flock of moths had come, frantic, and tried to lift her away.
That was true. Only that.
They hadn’t a prayer, though. The moths were no bigger than the startled mouths of children, and even dozens together could only pluck at the strands of her darkening hair until their wings sagged, sodden with her blood. They were purled away with the blossoms as a grit-choked gust came blasting down the street. The earth heaved underfoot. The sky spun on its axis. A queer brilliance lanced through billowing smoke, and the people of Weep had to squint against it. Blowing grit and hot light and the stink of saltpeter. There had been an explosion. They might have died, all and easily, but only this girl had, shaken from some pocket of the sky.
Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.
She was also blue.
Blue as opals, pale blue. Blue as cornflowers, or dragonfly wings, or a spring—not summer—sky.
Someone screamed. The scream drew others. The others screamed, too, not because a girl was dead, but because the girl was blue, and this meant something in the city of Weep. Even after the sky stopped reeling, and the earth settled, and the last fume spluttered from the blast site and dispersed, the screams went on, feeding themselves from voice to voice, a virus of the air.
The blue girl’s ghost gathered itself and perched, bereft, upon the spearpoint-tip of the projecting finial, just an inch above her own still chest. Gasping in shock, she tilted back her invisible head and gazed, mournfully, up.
The screams went on and on.
And across the city, atop a monolithic wedge of seamless, mirror-smooth metal, a statue stirred, as though awakened by the tumult, and slowly lifted its great horned head.

 

Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

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The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.
He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

My Review:

I have followed Sarah Hilary’s excellent series since receiving the first novel at Theakston’s Crime festival a few years ago. I really enjoyed that book, which later won crime novel of the year in 2015. In my opinion the books have got better with each one and this third in the series is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Both Marnie and Noah are keen to solve the disappearances of teenage girls, they had been looking for one girl, May, for a few months. When another girl causes a fatal car accident and then disappears they become involved. Marnie recognises much of herself in May’s sister. She can see the anger and the hurt that Loz is feeling but it is Noah who feels more able to help her.
There is much of our society that features in the novel, vulnerable elderly women, teenage girl gangs terrorising estates and the invisible homeless. But there is more to it than I initially thought. I never saw any of the surprises/ shocks and there was at least one occasion when ‘my heart was in my mouth’.
Marnie, Noah and the other members of the team are all very strong and believable characters. I like the way that they interact with each other. You also get glimpses of their lives away from the job as well. Marnie’s relationship with Steven is one that I expect to see get very interesting.

Tastes Like Fear will be published on 7th April. With thanks to Headline and Sarah Hilary for the copy received for review.

Wicked Game by Matt Johnson

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Age is catching up with Robert Finlay, a police officer on the Royalty Protection team based in London. He’s looking forward to returning to uniform policing and a less stressful life with his new family. But fate has other plans. Finlay’s deeply traumatic, carefully concealed past is about to return to haunt him. A policeman is killed by a bomb blast, and a second is gunned down in his own driveway. Both of the murdered men were former Army colleagues from Finlay’s own SAS regiment, and in a series of explosive events, it becomes clear that he is not the ordinary man that his colleagues, friends and new family think he is. And so begins a game of cat and mouse a wicked game in which Finlay is the target, forced to test his long-buried skills in a fight against a determined and unidentified enemy.

My Review:

Today is my turn on the blog tour for another amazing novel brought to us by Orenda.
Even though I’ve read many crime novels, I’ve never read any that are also SAS or military. By the end of the first chapter of this book I was hooked. Terrorism is a major factor throughout the novel, I can remember the events surrounding the siege at the Iranian Embassy and many of the events involving the IRA, but I have never thought about what it must have been like for the military or the police. Matt Johnson shows us what the people who had to be involved would have experienced.
When ex army colleagues are murdered Robert and Kevin are recruited by their old boss to find the people responsible and take the appropriate action. Robert is very reluctant to get involved, he is a family man but Kevin is more compliant. Robert is in a very difficult position, he is in a new job and his superiors suspect that he knows more than what he is saying.
I liked Robert and Kevin very much, both trying to cope with their past in order to deal with the present. The feelings they experienced, who to trust and how much they could reveal. The level of trust, or mistrust, is just the way I imagined it between the army and the police. I hope that in future novels we get to see the relationships build.
I had completely forgotten that the novel wasn’t set in present time, sadly terrorism is everyday news and I found at least one part of this novel very upsetting. It is quite graphic, especially at the beginning when he is describing events in Ireland. But there is also some humour and a great feeling of loyalty and friendship.
I found Wicked Game a great book to read, one that shows how rewarding it is to read something a little different.

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Pimp by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

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DEALING… PRODUCING…ALL IN A DAY’S WORK FOR A DRUGLORD. OR IN HOLLYWOOD. Ruined and on the lam, former drug kingpin Max Fisher stumbles upon the biggest discovery of his crooked life: a designer drug called PIMP that could put him back on top. Meanwhile, a certain femme fatale from his past is pursuing a comeback dream of her own, setting herself up in Hollywood as producer of a series based on her and Max’s life story. But even in La-La Land, happy endings are hard to come by, especially with both the cops and your enemies in the drug trade coming after you…

My Review:

Pimp is a very violent and at times extremely funny swipe at the entertainment industry that many people are fascinated by.
Max Fisher is living under a new identity right across from the police station and making a fortune with the drug PIMP. Some of the funniest moments of the novel involved Max, especially the delusions that he had about his looks. Most of the other characters who featured were trying to get his story on TV.
All of the characters were unlikeable, it’s a long time since I read a novel where so many people were self obsessed. Stand out scenes involved Paula with her attitude towards most of the people that she dealt with.
It was a slightly different novel for me, but it was very entertaining book to read. It is violent, and some of the more violent scenes were unexpected. I had the feeling throughout the book that the celebrities who were mentioned in the book would have loved it. Even if they were ridiculed to some degree. I had never heard of either author and need to have a close look at their other novels.

With thanks to Titan Books for the copy received.