Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly – Review – First Monday.

 

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Erin Kelly will be one of the authors who are appearing at First Monday Crime in December. This event always looks interesting,  sadly something I will probably never be able to go to with the distance involved but for those who can the details are
https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/december-panelists

About The Book

You can’t keep the secret.
You can’t tell the truth.
You can’t escape the past…

Marianne was seventeen when she fled her home, her family, her boyfriend Jesse and the body they buried.

Now, forced to return, she can feel the past closing around her. And Jesse, who never forgave her for leaving, is finally threatening to expose the truth.

Marianne will do anything to protect the life she’s built; the husband and daughter who must never know. Even if it means turning to her worst enemy…

But Marianne may not know the whole story – and she isn’t the only one with secrets they’d kill to keep.

Moving back through time to reveal twists you’ll never see coming, STONE MOTHERS is the gripping new suspense novel from the bestselling author of HE SAID/SHE SAID.

My Review

When I started Stone Mothers I wasn’t sure what to expect. Erin Kelly always manages to give the reader something different. What I got was a novel based around an asylum in Suffolk. It was one of those books that could have been set anywhere. The old asylums/hospitals were in many towns and their closures would have had the same impact that the closure of Nazareth had on the local community.
It takes a while to get to the horror of what happened in the asylum. The novel was one I struggled to put down at times but this part I was incapable of tearing myself away. Even the name is enough to send shivers down your spine. More so, because I had strong feelings that much of it was based on the truth. This is hard reading, it makes your blood go cold but it’s mesmerising. It’s something that I will be thinking about for some time.And, when you think about it, it’s not that long ago that people were treated this way.
It’s only a small part, other parts renew your trust in family and loved ones. It shows you not to be critical without knowing all the facts. Like I did, I admit that I was quick to pass judgement on certain characters and acts committed.
There is something that should stop me having a book from 2019 in my top ten books from 2018 but it’s hard to miss this one out. It is a book I need to buy for family members, because they told me tales from what they saw from working in a hospital that used to be an asylum.
I can not recommend this book enough. It’s a fantastic story but there is also so much to learn from it.

Before I Find You by Ali Knight – Blog Tour Review.

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About The Book

Maggie is a husband watcher. A snooper, a marriage doctor, a killer of happy-ever-afters. She runs her own private detective agency specialising in catching out those who cheat. And she’s very good at it. Until Helene walks through her door.

Helene is a husband catcher. A beautiful wife, a doting stepmother, a dazzling presence at parties. She counts herself lucky to have married one of the most eligible men in town – Gabe Moreau. Until she sees something that threatens her little family of three.

Alice is a perfect daughter. Apple of her father’s eye, a kind stepchild to Helene, a tragic daughter of a dead mother. She lives a sheltered but happy life. Until she finds a handwritten note on her father’s desk: ‘You owe me. I’m not going away.’

All three women suspect Gabe Moreau of keeping secrets and telling lies. But not one of them suspects that the truth could result in murder . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.  Although I do have books by Ali Knight on my kindle I haven’t managed to read them yet. So I was totally unprepared for how intense her writing was and how impossible it would be to put this book down.
You know from the prologue that there are injuries and death but it is only towards the end that it is revealed what happened. The rest of the book concerns events leading towards that day, all told by either Maggie’s, Helene’s or Alice’s point of view. I do read novels that are similar but this is different in a few ways. None of the three women are easy to understand, they all have secrets and all have something that made them easy to dislike.
It is a tense read, quite dark, with a venomous and spiteful thread. There are games being played. On reflection after finishing, it is a novel where you learn more from what remains unsaid. One where you feel that you are not seeing what really happened.
The storyline concerning social housing was original, it was quite refreshing to see wealthy characters considerate of others.
The last section of the novel, when you do become aware of what has occurred was bit of a shock. I had expected it to end when you realised what had happened in the prologue but there was more to come. And my feelings regarding each of the women changed. When I realised that I had misread most of what I had read.
A brilliant novel, one that made me change my thoughts constantly.

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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.