He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly – Review

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About the Book

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.
She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.
And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden… something she never could have guessed.

My Review

He Said, She Said is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Told by two different people over a period of fifteen years it focuses on Laura and Kit who are witnesses to an attack at a festival to celebrate the eclipse. When Laura makes an error of judgement at the trial she is afraid of the consequences. But she doesn’t expect to be still living in fear years later. Beth, the young woman who was attacked is very much a part of their lives but they are not comfortable with her being so close to them. Laura’s story covers the way she has suffered since the trial and how she has kept it secret but Kit’s shows a more selfish side and how he has done things that places them in more danger.
I love a book with more than one narrator that also covers more than one period in time and I should imagine that it is difficult to do. Erin Kelly though has done it very well. There is a lot of drama and tension all the way through the book and both Laura and Kit have really suffered since the eclipse. At times, I felt very tense while reading and when it switched narrator I couldn’t wait to return to see what happened next.
The court scenes were the most convincing that I have read. A very convincing villain who maintained his innocence, a ruthless lawyer who had no sympathy at all for a victim. It was also, just as terrifying as I imagine it to be on a witness stand.
This is only the second book I have read by this author and I’m looking forward to reading more by her.
Erin Kelly will be appearing at First Monday Crime on the 6th March. This looks like a very interesting evening and details can be found here

With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole – Review

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About the Book

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My Review

I have been reading a lot of publicity mentions, followed by reviews praising Ragdoll over the last few months but I managed to save my copy to read until nearer publication.
After a high-profile court case goes against Wolf and his team his life changes dramatically. His marriage is over and he has been demoted at work after being forced to take a long leave of absence. But he is regarded as a celebrity cult figure by the media and the public, when a later event proved that the verdict of the court was the wrong one. The ‘ragdoll’ is a body that has been assembled from various other body parts. All the team need to identify the victims and try and prevent further people dying. They are not entirely successful in this matter.
Some of the murders in the book are the strangest and most brutal that I have come across and I read a lot of crime fiction. If they had all been bizarre I think it would have been too much but the balance was right. There was a lot of humour. Not just a little smile, this book had me laughing out loud a few times. Mostly at the expense of Wolf.
Wolf had to be one of the most mixed up detectives that I have come across but he wasn’t the only member of the team that had their issues. Baxter’s problems were the most believable but Edmunds was the one I had the most sympathy for. He never stood  a chance. The only one who seemed grounded was Finley. The media team were as usual, horrendous. Its nearly always a side of a novel that I struggle with and the ones that feature in this novel are the worst you can get.
An unexpected ending, that left me wanting a sequel. There has to be a future for Wolf and Baxter.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.

Daniel Cole will be one of the authors participating in First Monday Crime in March. Details can be found here

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

First Monday Crime with Mark Billingham.

On Monday Mark Billingham will be taking part in one of the two panels at the December First Monday – Christmas Special that is being held in Browns – The Judges Court. The event is sold out but you can read all about it here
It looks fantastic, it would be great to be able to go one of these events one day.

About the Author

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Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His standalone thriller IN THE DARK was chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Times and his debut novel, SLEEPYHEAD was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.

A television series based on the Thorne novels was screened in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne and series based on the standalone thrillers IN THE DARK and RUSH OF BLOOD are currently in development with the BBC.

About the Book

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Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about addiction. There they share their deepest secrets: stories of lies, regret, and above all, shame.

Then one of them is killed – and it’s clear one of the circle was responsible.

Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner quickly finds her investigation hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these people and their therapist together. So what could be shameful enough to cost someone their life?

My Review:

It’s a while since I read a Mark Billingham novel and Die of Shame was a welcome reminder of how good they are and a slap on the wrist for falling behind. It’s a stand-alone novel that concentrates on a group of people who all suffer from an addiction. Most of the novel focuses on the group instead of the detectives who are investigating the case.
All of the group had different addictions and there were times when I had sympathy for all of them but this feeling diminished the further I read, when I knew them better. There was one exception though. I’m not saying who they were, you will have to make up your own mind.
The surprises started straight away. The identity of the victim isn’t revealed immediately and it wasn’t who I expected it to be. You are given no clue why the individual was killed and I couldn’t work out who had killed them. Each chapter focused on a different person, their problems and the relationship that they had with each other and the victim. Every time I finished a chapter there was something to convince me that they were the murderer.
At first I was a little unsure about the ending but a couple of days after finishing it I decided it worked and I liked it a lot. It’s a great novel, one that somebody new to his work would enjoy, but I can certainly recommend his previous novels. I now need to work out which of the Inspector Thorne books I’ve not read.

With thanks to the publisher for a copy received.

First Monday Crime- Sophie Hannah

 

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Today it is my pleasure to welcome to my blog Sophie Hannah who has  published two novels featuring Hercule Poirot. First was The Monogram Murders and more recently The Closed Casket. Sophie will be appearing at First Monday Crime on September 5th. The details can be found here

Had Poirot interested you as a character before it came about that you got to recreate him?

I’ve always loved Poirot because he’s a brilliant detective. The way he solves the most complex and challenging mysteries has always seemed like magic to me! Underneath the quirks and foibles, he’s a sensitive, loyal and lovely man. Like a lot of people, I grew up with Agatha Christie and her books have had a profound influence on me and my writing.


Did you have any worries or concerns about taking on such a classic character?

Not as many as you might think, because I knew Poirot so well by the time I was asked to write about him. It’s a bit like writing about a very old friend whom you know inside out. He has always been a huge presence in my life and, via writing about him, I’ve got to know and like him even more. The main thing is making sure that everything I write him into is up to his very high standards – so I had to make certain that the cases I created for him to solve were fiendishly puzzling enough for the great man!


Which other detectives from that era could be recreated and indeed which ones might you be interested in writing?

I’d feel slightly disloyal turning my hand to any other character, even one created by Agatha Christie, while I’m writing Poirot. I feel I have enough on my plate providing cases for Poirot as well as my own detectives, Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer. I don’t think I’d be able to work on more than one series character that I didn’t create at a time.