Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan.

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About the Book

The body is found by the river, near a spot popular with runners.

With a serial rapist at work in the area, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are initially confused when the Hate Crimes Unit is summoned to the scene. Until they discover that the victim, Corinne Sawyer, was born Colin Sawyer.

Police records reveal there have been violent attacks on trans women in the local area. Was Corinne a victim of mistaken identity? Or has the person who has been targeting trans women stepped up their campaign of violence? With tensions running high, and the force coming under national scrutiny, this is a complex case and any mistake made could be fatal…

My Review

Watch Her Disappear is the fourth book in the series that features Zigic and Ferreira and is my favourite one so far. You can always rely on Eva Dolan to write something a bit different and in this book the hate crimes unit are looking into the murder of a transgender woman and other attacks that they suspect are linked. Corrine, the victim doesn’t come across as a very nice person, either as Corrine or in her previous life as Colin. In all honesty, I had more sympathy, if not liking for her family.
All the trans women who featured appeared more confident and happy when they could live their lives as women. Eva demonstrates how the trans community are regarded in society. Some people are supportive but many treat them with no respect and as an object of ridicule. Some of the terminology used by members of the police force excluding Zigic and Ferreira made me cringe slightly and it was believable. Even more believable was the storyline regarding the attitude of certain people on social media.
Alongside the investigation is another that is looking into rape. The two detectives who are involved in the case know who is responsible but it is impossible to prove it. Ferreira is also doing some work on this case and I loved how she could get under the suspect’s skin.
The last third of the novel, when I had figured out who was responsible if not why was impossible to put down. I felt upset for Ferreira who struggled with guilt and frustration at having to stand aside. She has been a favourite character since the first book, I just like everything about her.
I read a lot of series fiction and with all the books that I read I usually fall behind but this is one series that I have kept up to date with. I hope that it will continue.
With thanks to the publisher for my copy received.

Kill the Next One by Federico Axat.

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About the Book

Ted McKay had it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger.

Then the doorbell rings.

A stranger makes him a proposition: why not kill two deserving men before dying? The first target is a criminal, and the second is a man with terminal cancer who, like Ted, wants to die. After executing these kills, Ted will become someone else’s next target, like a kind of suicidal daisy chain.

Ted understands the stranger’s logic: it’s easier for a victim’s family to deal with a murder than with a suicide. However, after killing his targets, Ted’s reality begins to unravel. KILL THE NEXT ONE is an immersive psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.

My Review

I thought that this would be an unusual thriller but I was utterly unprepared for how bizarre it would be. I thought that it would be just as the blurb suggested, that of a ‘suicide by chain letter’ but the more I read further layers were exposed. This was one book where you couldn’t assume to know what would happen next. It was only during part four that I started to relax slightly and think that I had grasped it but yet again I was proved wrong.
I think it worked, despite all the layers and very strange twists it made sense. There were a few pages towards the end that I wasn’t keen on but I am aware that there are some people who do the things described. It didn’t make easy reading though.
Probably a book that not everybody would enjoy but I liked it and the translation was excellent.
With thanks to Sophie Goodfellow for the copy received.

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb.

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About the Book

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

Breathtakingly fast-paced, both hard-boiled and heart-breaking, Deep Down Dead is a simply stunning debut from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My Review

Deep Down Dead is a brilliant fast-paced novel. Lori has no other option than to take her daughter Dakota with her on her latest job. It’s one that she would prefer not to do but she is desperate to pay for Dakota’s medical treatment. The man she has to bring in she knows very well.
I loved this novel. I have to admit I had felt slightly dubious about reading it. I don’t really like reading novels that have a sick child in but I had no need to worry. There were no details other than the financial situation that she needed to resolve.
Lori is everything I like in a heroine, she is sassy, independent and very loyal. I had a feeling that Dakota would be just like her. JT is a loner with a heart. This becomes more evident when he reveals why he ended up being a fugitive.
The storyline could have  been quite harrowing, but one of the reasons I like this novel so much is that it isn’t gratuitous. You are aware what has been happening at the theme parks and there are some violent scenes but nothing that I felt uncomfortable reading. I was smiling to myself reading the description of the theme park. It is something I have never been to and if they are anything like portrayed I won’t be visiting anytime soon.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received for review.

 

Steph Broadribb will be appearing at February First Monday at Goldsboro Books on Feb 6th. detail can be found here

Rupture by Ragnar Jónasson

 

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About the Book

1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…

In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.

My Review

Rupture is the latest book in The Dark Icelandic series and takes place immediately after Blackout. This series is now firmly established as one of my favourites. Ari Thór is more settled now in Siglufjörður despite the enforced quarantine in the town due to the death of a tourist. Because it is a quiet time with everybody staying in their homes he starts to look at a case from the 50s as a favour. Not a cold case as such, more of trying to identify a young man who was in a family photograph. One of the other people in the photo committed suicide shortly after the photo was taken.Ísrún also reappears, looking into a hit and run and the disappearance of a young boy. It was good to see her back, she is like a dog with a bone and stands up to Ivor when he attempts to bully her.
What I love about this series is there is no sense of urgency. Ari is not involved in the current cases, he is just concerned with the cold case. This thread of the story is the one that appealed to me the most. I love looking at old photos and if there was one person I didn’t recognize in a group photo I would get obsessed with who they were. Ari is rebuilding his relationship with Kristin and for the first time I started to like her. She came across as a warmer person than in the earlier novels.
Hedinsfjörður sounds beautifully isolated, the type of place that would be lovely to visit but would quickly feel intimidating by its remoteness. It felt spooky and this combined with certain scenes with Robert convinced me that Ragnar would make a great ghost story writer.
As I said earlier this is a series that I enjoy very much and I’m eagerly waiting for the signed copy of this book to arrive to add to my collection of signed first editions.
With thanks to Karen Sullivan for the early copy received for review.

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Painkiller by N. J. Fountain

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About the Book

I cannot go on like this. I feel such a burden to you. You are young and can start again. You deserve that chance. By the time you read this I will be dead. Do not grieve for me, for I am now without pain.

Yours truly for ever,
Monica
Monica suffers from chronic neuropathic pain. Every second of her life is spent in agony, and she is coping with it the best she can. However, there are whole years of her life which are a blur to her.
But when she finds a suicide note, written in her handwriting, she begins to question everything. She has no memory of writing it – so who did? And if someone tried to kill her once, what’s to say they won’t try again . . .

My Review

The blurb on the cover states that this book is likened to Before I Go To Sleep and for once it is accurate. Monica, the main character is a very unreliable narrator. She is in constant pain and takes a cocktail of drugs to try and ease it. The side effects from the drugs cause memory problems, mood swings, depression and hallucinations. All these make it difficult to work out if she is believable. By her own admission, she wasn’t a very nice person before the accident, she could be cruel to her husband and even after she was critical about his appearance and career. But he seemed to accept it and at times they did seem close. I liked the conversations she had with him when each encouraged the other to hang up first.
Her husband, a friend and a detective also tell their version of events. These make you doubt more about what is happening. All views differed and I had no idea who could be believed.
I found it a quick and easy read, despite reading about Monica’s constant pain which was a little draining at times. I wouldn’t have liked her before her accident but I found her to be determined person who was desperate to beat the pain. Each chapter was short and intriguing enough to read another. I had no idea which way was going to go and even though the culprit wasn’t a surprise the ending was a bit of a shock.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.