The Serpent’s Mark by S. W. Perry – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a sinister world of zealots, charlatans and dangerous fanatics…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Serpent’s Mark is the second book in this Tudor crime series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel quite easily.

It is a novel that combines real life characters as well as fictional. As always, some names I am familiar with, some I spend time on the internet trying to find out more information. Even though there are courtiers and titled people in the novel most of it concerns ‘normal’ people. 

Anybody who is familiar with Tudor history will be aware of the turmoil created by religious beliefs at the time. How, whoever was on the throne dictated whether you were Catholic or Protestant. When this novel takes place Elizabeth I was queen and her Faith  was Protestant. Anybody who practised Catholicism faced execution so did so discreetly. The author creates a terrifying insight into how this must have been, it was here that we get to know more about Bianca, her childhood and the betrayal she felt over the way her father was abandoned by the one she thought was a friend.

As well as the religious storyline, and like the previous book, he shows developing medical beliefs. I found it fascinating, reading about how knowledge and understanding regarding science has changed over the years.

All my favourite characters from the last book featured and I have to add another to my list, Rose. I loved her sense of humour, her loyalty and the way she handled the men in her life. Especially Ned.  Nicolas was also a character I appreciated more, how he was starting to move on and acknowledge his feelings towards Bianca without feeling guilt.

Arcampora, the doctor who Nicolas has been asked to investigate, is one of the most terrifying characters I have ever met in any novel. Everything about him had me unsettled. I cringed when he appeared but was also desperate to learn what he would do next. 

A great follow up from an author who is now a favourite. 


Night By Night by Jack Jordon – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book I have read by Jack Jordan and I’m certain it won’t be the last. If I have a bad nights sleep, I struggle throughout the day. I can’t imagine what it is like to have insomnia. Or how to cope with what happened to her family because of it. It was a book that had me feeling tense but not for the reasons I expected. The crimes committed were horrific, even though there wasn’t much detail about the killing, it is more about what each of the victims experienced in the events leading up to their deaths. The main reason I felt so tense was because of the level of hatred throughout. Not only towards Finn and the others but also towards Rose. I found it very difficult to understand why nobody had any sympathy for what happened to her.

Most of the novel focuses on Rose but there are also small parts that concerns others. Finn is the most common one, as the notes from his journal were revealed. But the others are as disturbing, one of them towards the end is more upsetting that the others.

I have never read anything like this book before. The level of hatred towards most of the characters is at times draining but equally fascinating. It is also sadly, believable with the society that we live in.  It is at times, emotional, reading about Rose’s life. she has nobody who she can turn to, everybody in the town knew what happened to her and she was increasingly isolated and mistrusted, especially by her own family.

An intriguing and heartbreaking novel that is different to most books I have read recently.

The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Sometimes friendship can be murder… 

It’s the weekend of Clarisse’s bridal party, a trip the girls have all been looking forward to. Then, on the day of their flight, Tamsyn, the maid of honour, suddenly backs out. Upset and confused, they try to make the most of the stunning, isolated seaside house they find themselves in. 

But, there is a surprise in store – Tamsyn has organised a murder mystery, a sinister game in which they must discover a killer in their midst. As tensions quickly boil over, it becomes clear to them all that there are some secrets that won’t stay buried…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Bridal Party is one of the creepiest books I have read for a long time. I hadn’t been reading it long when I decided that nothing would have made me stay in the house in Jersey. I had no idea what could have happened to Tamsyn or what the other members of the hen party would face.

It is only a short novel but the storyline contains everything. A spoilt hen, Clarisse, who everybody tried to keep happy despite the unease they all felt. The more successful combined with the ones who didn’t have the confidence, ability or wealth to help them be successful. Nada is the one I had most sympathy for and she is the character you got to know more.

With increasing amounts there are chapters that reveal what happened before and these explain why their weekend hasn’t gone the way they expected it to. You also get to see the fractures in the supposedly group of good friends. You see how high maintenance Clarisse is and the frustration it causes but how they still fell over themselves to make her happy.

I expected this to be a novel where the threat was from the supernatural but it wasn’t. Instead it is from something that was more real yet just as vicious. It would make brilliant TV, for its originality and it’s suspense.


Gallowstree Lane by Kate London – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Please don’t let me diePlease don’t

When a teenage boy steps out of the shadows of Gallowstree Lane and asks a passer-by for help, it’s already too late. His life is bleeding out on the London street. 

The murder threatens to derail Operation Perseus, a cover police investigation into the Eardsley Bluds, an organised criminal network. Detective Kieran Shaw can’t and won’t allow that to happen. But fifteen-year-old Ryan has other ideas. He’s witnessed the death of his best friend, and now he wants someone to pay…

As loyalties collide, a chain of events is triggered that threatens everyone with a connection to Gallowstree Lane. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Gallowstree Lane is the third book in the series, I haven’t read the previous two and apart from curiosity on my part I had no problem following the storyline.

I think the main reason was because whilst the recurring characters who are the police do feature much of the novel concerns Ryan, a young teen who is a drug runner for a local gang. It was Ryan’s story that captivated me but also upset me. At the start of the novel when he witnesses his co runner and best friend die after being attacked by a member of a rival gang he is distraught. He still feels loyal to the gang leader, Shakiel, but also for the first time feels guilt and fear.

His isn’t the only sad story. There is also Lexi, a drug addicted prostitute whose life is far from what she imagined it being. And Loretta, Ryan’s mother, who can see her son’s life being destroyed by the same thing that took her husband. All three you see far too often on the news.

I liked following the two police investigations. Both of them wanting the same results for different reasons. And both struggling to accept that one may be more important than the other. This part of the novel was more detailed than many others I have read. It was easy to follow, and I found it interesting and informative without being overpowering.

I hope to read the previous books soon, Lizzie especially is a character I want to know more about.

Into The Night by Sarah Bailey – Blog Tour Review.

 

INto the Night Cover

About The Book

Senior Detective Gemma Woodstock is a small-town policewoman working on the biggest homicide cases in Melbourne. When an up-and-coming movie star is stabbed to death while the cameras are rolling on his new blockbuster, Gemma, eager to prove herself, is assigned to the case.

With the whole thing caught from multiple angles, how hard can it be to catch the crazed culprit? And who would want to hurt Australia’s adored boy-next-door? As Gemma uncovers the deadly underside of fame, her investigation turns into a dangerous game against those with money, power and everything to lose…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.Into The Night is the second book to feature Gemma Woodstock. I hadn’t read the first but had no problem following the storyline. It was one of the more original crime fiction novels that I have read this year.
The initial murder investigation is a sad but fairly normal case, the stabbing of a homeless man who has nobody apart from an estranged daughter to mourn his loss. But when somebody more prominent is also murdered everything changes.
I enjoyed this book for so many reasons. Initially, because it was set in Melbourne, somewhere I have visited a few times and I knew the areas that were mentioned, albeit with different weather conditions. I can’t imagine Melbourne being cold, having only experienced an Australian summer.
There was the morbid fascination with the second murder. The way that the murder of the homeless man was suddenly a lot less important in the eyes of the slightly grotesque media. Not just social media but also journalists from the TV and the newspapers.
Gemma, who has some severe personal issues is initially difficult to like. She is partnered with Fleet who was a character whose issues were more elusive. At times they seemed at odds but their relationship changed slightly and left me wondering what could happen next. By the end of the novel though I had warmed to Gemma a lot more.
And finally the crime. I didn’t have a clue but seeing the murderer revealed was a fascinating read. The chapters covered a day and time from the start. At first, when interviews were taking place and lot of witness statements were being taken time seemed to go slowly. But the days got shorter as the evidence started to dry up. I thought this worked very well, just how I imagine a real life investigation to be. What also worked well was how the murder of an unimportant man in the eyes of society took a back seat to the murder of a younger, wealthier and more famous victim.
I hope that this book will be part of a long one series, it’s definitely one I would like to read more of.

Into The Night Blog Tour Poster