Once You Go This Far by Kristen Lepionka – Review.

About The Book

After the death of her cop father, PI Roxane Weary did everything she could to lose herself in her work – but she’s getting tired of the hangovers, of fighting with her ex-girlfriend, and of avoiding her mother. When she’s asked to investigate a suspicious death, she delves into the case with her usual stubborn determination.

Pulling her far from home, and into an insular and controlling evangelical community, the case might just be bigger than Roxane can handle alone. But is it too late, or too dangerous, to call on the people she needs?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. It seems to be a habit now that I arrive at a series late. But I’m starting to find it quite refreshing, picking up a book in an established series that many say is excellent. And I’m happy to say that on the strength of this book I will endeavour to read the earlier ones.

When Roxane nearly loses her car door to a dog walker, Rebecca, she is shocked to hear that very soon after their meeting her she is found dead after apparently falling on her walk. She is then hired by the Rebecca’s daughter to investigate. But she is unprepared for what she discovers in her past, the close knit religious community and the difficulty she has in getting answers from the family who have hired her. And she is definitely not expecting her own life and those close to her to be at danger from her digging. 

Well what a brilliant introduction this book is to another series I need to catch up on. Very little is revealed about the previous books, just a little of Roxane’s  personal life and that of her friends. She reminds me of Kinsey Milhone and Stephanie Plum, other P. I. books I have read in the past. She is brave, stubborn and doesn’t always make life easy for herself. She was a character I liked a lot and I have a feeling that when I’ve read the earlier books and got to know more about her friends and family I will like many more. Despite what they face they manage to keep their sense of humour whilst acknowledging that they do struggle, don’t always react the best way and consequently regret their actions. On the whole everybody felt real.

I found the case itself is a chilling one, there is something about a cult that I find very intimidating. Probably the controlling atmosphere but also the brainwashing that convinces so many that there is nothing wrong with what they do. There were times I felt on very on edge, thinking about the mayhem that could be caused by their actions.

I’m looking forward to reading the earlier books and for what may come next.

The Bramble And The Rose by Tom Bouman – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When Henry Farrell took a job policing Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, he was recently widowed and still trying to find his feet. Wild Thyme was going through its own changes, too, with fracking threatening the land, and the drug trade threatening its people. His first big cases put Officer Farrell face to face with Wild Thyme’s encroaching demons. Now, he’s got the lay of the land and he’s newly married to a local girl.

Then a body – headless and half eaten by a bear – is discovered in the woods. With the help of a local biologist, Henry tracks the bear, hoping to catch him before any more lives are lost, but when his nephew disappears into the same woods they realise they may be facing a far bigger and more sinister threat.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Bramble And The Rose is the third book in this series. Whilst I enjoyed it there were times when I think I would have benefited from knowing the back story.

I haven’t read much rural crime fiction and it was a refreshing change. Having a victim, who has been partially eaten by a bear is a little different to the usual crimes I read about. There was another investigation taking place, which was a little more ‘everyday’ but this was the one that I preferred.

Henry was a character I liked. Quieter than many, aware of his faults and he didn’t have many friends. I liked his names for his wife, Miss Julie, and the bear, Crabapple. I think it was his personal life where I would have benefited knowing more about his past. I wanted to understand his family relationship more and know what happened to his first wife.

It’s a short novel but wasn’t a quick book to read. It is slower paced, quaint, and full of atmosphere with some unique characters. I would definitely read the earlier books in this series.

A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward – Blog Tour Review.

A Patient Fury PB

About the Book

Three bodies discovered.

A family obliterated.

All evidence seems to point to one murderer: the mother.

DC Connie Childs, determined to discover the truth about the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane, realises that a fourth body – one they cannot find – must hold the key to the mystery. But what Connie fails to realise is that her determination to unmask the murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A Patient Fury is the third book in the series but only the first that I have read. It is also the first book that I have read that takes place in Derbyshire, an area I now want to visit. I do prefer to read a series in order but there are no plot spoilers and I plan to read the previous books soon.
Even having no knowledge of any of the characters I could tell immediately that Connie wasn’t one to back down and obey orders if she felt there was something to look closer at. She makes a lot of trouble for herself in doing so but is determined to carry on. Even if it did place her in danger. She looks for answers in the present but also looks closely at events from years earlier.
Some of the chapters reveal what happened then but most of the narrative concerns Connie and Julia who is a close relative of the victims.
Unusually for me I enjoyed both of their accounts equally. Connie was an interesting lead character whose career and private life were complicated. I wanted to know more about her and what made her the way she was. I understand dedication to a job but she seemed to be prepared to sacrifice it all for a personal opinion. Julia, coping with a sudden bereavement and memories from when she was young also had financial worries and a feeling of being watched. I liked her story and I also found both her career choices fascinating. I would love to do one of them, the other I am a bit more wary of.
The other police officers are represented well, Sadler especially is one I warmed to, and I wanted to shout at him for not realising what was happening with a certain individual sooner. For a police officer he seemed a little naive!
The ending was unexpected and sent the hairs up on the back of my neck. One of those where the reader is left gazing into space.
A brilliant read, I plan on catching up in time for book 4.

APF_PB_blog tour

Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds.



About the Book

Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late.

Rod Reynolds’ exceptional second novel picks up just a few months on from The Dark Inside, and once again displays the feel for place, period and atmosphere which marked out his acclaimed debut.

My Review

To enjoy this novel, I would recommend that you read The Dark Inside first. There are quite strong links between the two, both in the storyline and relationships between the characters.
When Charlie Yates receives a telephone call out of the blue from Jimmy Robinson he is surprised and skeptical. Mainly due to boredom he decides to do as asked and heads out to the town called Hot Springs. Unfortunately, he is too late but what he discovers is enough to encourage him to stay around. Hot Springs is not the nicest of places, most of its economy is made from the casinos and prostitution. The people who live there are being controlled by bribes and threats. Yates soon realises that the people who have the power don’t want him around but if he stays he can find answers to what was troubling Jimmy and to what happened in Texarkana.
It’s a dark and compelling read. Even though it is set in the 1940s and not modern day, politics still has an effect on how things are run and each side demonstrate that they are both capable of violence and lies to further their own cause. Its likened to Raymond Chandler but I found it much more intimidating. Neither of the novels have the humour that is present in the Philip Marlowe novels. America is still recovering after the war and Yates is still trying to come to terms with his own war. I think that one of the reasons he wouldn’t give up and leave was due his own war experience, that he wanted to make amends. One of the reasons I think the book works so well is because of its authenticity, everything about it felt like it was 1946. I am really interested and what Rod Reynolds will do next.
With thanks to Real Readers for the copy received.