Scorched Earth by David Mark – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

The police think Crystal Heathers isn’t missing.
The trainee detective assigned to the case isn’t so sure.
McAvoy thinks someone was being held at the derelict building where they just found a body pinned to the wall…and that all the signs point to it being a little girl.
But why would anyone not report a kidnapping?
And how far would someone go to get revenge?
The case will test McAvoy to breaking point – as the crimes of the present lead him to a final violent confrontation with an enemy from his own past.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Scorched Earth was a reminder that I am rubbish at keeping up to date with a series. I bought a few of the others in the series after enjoying book one but then fell behind. However I could follow this latest, book seven, storyline very well. There were a few characters that appeared to have some history to them but I managed to pick up the threads as I read.
The prologue’s storyline was lead news a few years ago and whilst it has been replaced by other events, there are still people living in similar conditions across Europe. I knew I was going to like this book a lot because what happens in the prologue was something I have never really seen before. It would be easy to blame the impoverished, like the ones in the book who suffered appalling conditions in the countries they came from. The image of what some of the characters were forced to do was heartbreaking. But there is much more going on here. Evil is also evident in the greed, ignorance and lies from powerful people. And it’s because of their actions that innocent people also suffer.
I liked Aector and Trish a lot. I need to make a determined effort to catch up with this series so I can get to know more about their working relationship. But it is Roisin, Aector’s wife, who I liked the most. She is a brilliant, loyal and fun-loving character. I could easily read a full novel with her as the main character.

You can purchase the book here

Sleeping in the Ground by Peter Robinson – Review.

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About the Book

A shocking mass murder occurs at a wedding in a small Dales church and a huge manhunt follows. Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course.
But Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why. Struggling with the death of his first serious girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life, Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders, and as he does so, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for.
When the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.

My Review

Whilst I have not read all of the Inspector Banks series I have read enough of them to know the characters well as well as any back story. You could probably read this quite well as a standalone.
This new investigation is one that you only hear about in this country occasionally. That of a mass shooting. Understandably there is a huge media frenzy, the team are under pressure to act quickly, the weather isn’t helping the situation and one of their own team is one of the injured. They think they have got who is responsible quickly but when they start to look closer they question whether they were too quick to react.
I’ve always found this series to be quite contemplative. There is always a crime but it almost seems peaceful. Of course a mass shooting is far from peaceful but there is no big city approach to the investigation. Instead, when they start to dig deeper there doesn’t appear to be any urgency. It is all done quietly, without the media picking up on what is happening. It isn’t all about Banks, Annie and Gerry also feature strongly and show how different policing is with the younger officers.
Music features strongly as ever, regular readers will be aware that Banks loves his music and his choice of music reflects his mood. In this novel he is melancholic, an old flame had died and his own health is questionable.
I enjoy this series, if you have seen the TV series it doesn’t do the books any justice. They are so much better.

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah – Review.

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About the Book

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.
A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

My Review

Did You See Melody? has a convincing start with Cara arriving at a luxury resort in Arizona exhausted and emotional. After she is allocated a room that is already occupied she is upgraded to a fantastic suite that she feels will go along way to helping her relax and make decisions about her future. But when she starts to listen to other guests she starts to question what she did see in the room.
Cara starts to look at the internet to find out about what happened to Melody, her parents trial and the media frenzy that surrounded the investigation. Along with another guest in the hotel, Tarin, she is convinced that Melody is still alive and somewhere on the complex.
I loved the cynical approach that Sophie Hannah showed with regards to the hotel, where guests could not be relied on to have a good holiday without their intrusion and towards the chat show ‘trial’. I am so thankful that our chat shows are not as bad as the one shown in this novel.
I was slightly unconvinced by some of the characters, but my favourite was Tarin who refused to be bullied by the police or the team who worked on the chat show. I would have liked to have more information at times, a few threads felt unfinished but I still enjoyed the novel.
I had to read the ending twice. I’m still not sure that I’ve understood it correctly but I liked it more on the second read. For this reason, Did You See Melody? would make a great book club read, there would be a lot to discuss.

Did You See Melody? completes my #20booksofsummerchallenge.

 

Dark Hollow by John Connolly – Review.

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About the Book

Still raw from the brutal slayings of his wife and daughter, and the events surrounding the capture of their killer, The Travelling Man, Charlie Parker retreats to the wintry Maine landscape of his childhood. By following in the steps of his beloved grandfather, Parker hopes to heal his spirit and get through the bitter anniversary of Jennifer and Susan’s murder. But the echoes of the past that await him are not all benign. In a gruesome re-enactment of Parker’s own nightmares, another young woman is killed with her child and his brief involvement in their lives impels Parker to hunt their vicious murderer. As the death toll mounts, Parker comes to realise that the true answer to the puzzle lies thirty years in the past, in a tree with strange fruit, in his own grandfather’s history, and in the perverted desires of a monster incarnate – Caleb Kyle.

My Review

Dark Hollow is the second book in the series that features Charlie Parker. It is quite a while since I read the first one but it didn’t take me long to pick up on the ongoing personal story and the relationship between Charlie, and his wonderful friends Angel and Louis.
The book is quite dark, Charlie is obviously still mourning the death of his wife and daughter and is putting all his energy into making his Grandfather’s old home habitable. When he is asked to try and get child support from an old acquaintance he is placed yet again in danger.
I enjoy the supernatural elements in these novels. I just wish there more of them. They add a different slant to a storyline that some of which if fairly common. That of various gangs causing havoc for anybody who is unlucky enough to get too close. But there is also a less common storyline of a killer who has been in operation across generations. This was the story I was much more interested in and it was very sinister.
I love the relationship that Charlie has with Angel and Louis. The banter adds light heartedness to the creepy and often violent storylines. I hope that they continue to appear in subsequent novels.
This is a series that I need to catch up on. I’ve only read two of them, I think there are fifteen so I have a few to go. Many of them I don’t know the synopsis but the last two I have seen sound amazing. I have been reliably informed that they need to be read in order so I better get on with it.

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.