#BlogBlitz #Review : Dark is the Day by Tana Collins. @Bloodhoundbook @TanaCollins7

Blurb:

DI Jim Carruthers has to put his personal feelings for newly- appointed DCI Sandra McTavish aside when a young student is brutally attacked and left for dead.

Meanwhile, when a university lecturer is stalked by one of her own students, Carruthers is horrified to discover that the academic is none other than his ex-wife, Mairi. Are the attacker and stalker one and the same, and if so, will Carruthers’ ex-wife be next?

When a second then a third victim is discovered, not only dead but mutilated, Carruthers and his team are tasked with searching for a murderer. A murderer who takes great pleasure from killing.

What is the victims’ connection to a cult in North America, which seems to be getting a stranglehold in a Scottish university? Why have these women been targeted? And who is doing the killing?

It looks like there might be a serial killer on the loose in Castletown but can DI Jim Carruthers stop this depraved murderer before they strike again?

My Review: I hate to admit that this is the first Tana Collins book I’ve read but unfortunately it is, however it won’t be the last. I really enjoyed this story. We follow the police and a newly demoted DI Jim Carruthers as they investigate a series of attacks and murders in a Scottish seaside university town.

I love police procedural’s which I would class this as but it also has a bit of insight into the personal lives of the detectives which makes them feel more realistic than if they were just focused on work alone. It was interesting to see from their viewpoint how work, particularly murder cases, impacted on their lives.

One thing that came across really well, in my opinion, was the emotions of everyone from the friends and relatives of those attacked to the police themselves who were investigating.

I’ve said before that when I read I also see the books as films in my head. The better written the book the more smoothly the film flows and in this instance it was like a millpond. Everytime I picked up the book I was instantly transported to where I had left off which is exactly what I want to happen when I’m reading. The fact that the story flowed so smoothly is one of a number of reasons as to why I’ll be reading the previous books in this series and looking out for the next ones.

So, if like me you’ve not discovered these fabulous books yet, there’s no time like the present. This book works well without prior knowledge of the characters so get a copy and get stuck in!

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#BlogTour #Review : The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon. @OrendaBooks @vandasymon

Today I’m reviewing The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon, the second in the Sam Shephard series. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for letting me have a copy of the book to review.

Blurb: Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand…

Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the deaths are linked to a visiting circus…

Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…

My Review: At the end of the previous book (Overkill) we left Sam as she decided to move to Dunedin and make a new life there for herself. As this book is set in Dunedin it can be read as a stand alone as any links to the previous book are explained during the story.

Sam goes from essentially being in charge to bring at the bottom rung of the ladder as a detective and with a boss who appears to hate her and want to hinder her progress. When a body is discovered she gets frustrated at being sidelined in the investigation and does what she can to be more involved.

I love police procedurals, always have, and it was interesting in this book to read from the perspective of someone lower down in the investigation, rather than the leading officer. Sam is clearly frustrated at not being more involved and that comes through quite clearly. I can understand her frustration, given she was in charge in the previous book but she did annoy me at times when she appeared to expect to be able to jump a few rungs on the ladder, rather than learning her job the same way as everyone else. Having said that, it was good to see how she dealt with her frustration and also nice to see that being so normal, and something different from the usual alcoholic, damaged detectives that are in so many other books.

It’s the characters that drive this story, even that of the person found dead in the Botanic Gardens. Their character and how they impacted those around them is clearly shown during the investigation. There are quite a few characters in the book, not all human, but all of them are distinct and well-written. You get a clear sense of them from the writing which is something that I like. For a story to work well, especially a crime story, you need to care about the characters, otherwise, if there are times of danger (which in crime there usually are!) there is no concern for the character, for whether they will survive or not.

This book is a good, solid read. It works well as a stand alone so you don’t have to read Overkill first if you just want to jump straight in. If you like crime stories and want to expand your reading to new countries then this book is definitely worth picking up. There’s enough that will be familiar to UK readers that it won’t seem like too much of a culture shock but it will give you a new country to explore and that could add more books to your to-read pile which is never a bad thing.

About the author:

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

#BlogTour #Review : Mummy’s Favourite by Sarah Flint @Aria_Fiction

Blurb:

Buried in a woodland grave are a mother and her child.

One is alive. One is dead.

It is one of the most harrowing cases to hit D.C. Charlie Stafford’s department in years. Then more pairs of mothers and children go missing – and it’s Charlie’s job to find them.

Soon, Charlie is hunting down a brutal serial killer with a twisted mind. But as she closes in on the culprit, she realises she’s in more danger than she thought…

He’s watching. He’s waiting. Who’s next?

My Review: I love police procedurals and crime thrillers but don’t tend to read many with a main character who is a female and I don’t think that is going to be changing anytime soon. Overall I enjoyed this book but I found it hard to warm to Charlie, she just didn’t come across as realistic to me.

There’s a very diverse cast of characters in the story but the focus was on Charlie and her boss Hunter. They appeared to be the only one’s really investigating the abductions and disappearances of mothers and children. The story really came to life when it was dealing with the scenes involving the murderer and those being kidnapped, the detail and description in those scenes made up for the slower parts of the story.

The last part of the book was, in my opinion, by far the best part, the tension was there, there were red herrings and genuine fear and danger for many including Charlie. I didn’t suspect the ending or guess the killer prior to the reveal. The resolution of the case was cleverly done and the endings were tied up neatly so I wasn’t left wondering what happened to certain people.

For a debut novel it’s a good one, though I hope the characters gain more depth and realism in future books. Despite my comments above I did find it an easy read, I read it in 2 days which is the sign of a good book for me. The story was easy to follow, the number of characters, both police and civilian, never got confusing which was a huge plus given how much happened in the book.

Definitely worth a go if you like police procedurals and serial killers.

About the author:


With a Metropolitan Police career spanning 35 years Sarah has spent her adulthood surrounded by victims, criminals and police officers. She continues to work and lives in London with her partner and has three older daughters.

#Re-Post #Review : Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan. #TooClosetoBreathe @QuercusBooks @LivKiernan @MillsReid11

I’m thrilled to be re-posting my review of Too Close to Breathe today to coincide with the paperback publication of this fabulous book. The next in the series is out in April and I can’t wait to read it.

Untitled design-2

 

Blurb:  Detective Frankie Sheehan is recovering from a violent knife attack and dealing with the first awakenings of post-traumatic stress disorder when she’s called back to work. At first, Eleanor Costello’s death looks like suicide but soon the perfect pieces of Eleanor’s life begin to fracture, sending Sheehan and her team into a complex murder investigation for Dublin’s deadliest killer. The case deepens as does the body count and Frankie is forced to confront her own demons as the lines between victim and killer become increasingly blurred.

 

Too Close to Breathe: A heart-stopping thriller, new for 2018 by [Kiernan, Olivia]

 

My Review:  Where to start with this book! I really enjoyed this story and I’m not a big reader of police procedural’s where a woman is the lead detective. I have nothing against them, I’ve just never read very many of them. From the very beginning the story began drawing me in. We start with something that looks like a suicide but Frankie Sheehan is not convinced, and it doesn’t take much for her to question the suicide determination. It soon becomes clear that it was definitely murder, but then this raises the obvious questions of who and why.

At this point the investigation really begins and it’s clear that a lot of research has got into this story. The detail and depth that the investigation goes into was something else that drew me in, I wanted to know the results straight away, what was happening and what the detectives were going to do next. I’ve never thought police work was a 9-5 job but in this story the fact that it was almost 24 hours especially in the first few days came across really clearly and I began to wonder if anyone was getting any sleep at all.

The investigation becomes quite intense at times and with Frankie being the main character the reader obviously spends a lot of time with her. We get to see how she copes under pressure, and how she doesn’t. I particularly liked the little parts away from the investigation like Frankie tending her bonsai tree. Those small scenes were almost an oasis of tranquillity and calm in the depth of mystery and unanswered questions that was the police investigation.

The only thing that didn’t sit well with me was the ending, I found it a little rushed but the rest of the book was strong and definitely a gripping read.

I’m not sure how many books are planned for this series but I know the second one is out in 2019 and I, for one, am really looking forward to reading it.

 

 

 

About the author:  Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK and author of crime thriller, Too Close to Breathe. She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex. Olivia’s second book, The Killer In Me, will publish in April 2019.
http://www.oliviakiernan.com
Follow Olivia on twitter @LivKiernan

 

#BlogTour #Review : Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan. @LivKiernan @annecater @riverrunbooks #TooCloseToBreathe #RandomThingsTours

Today I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for the first book in the Frankie Sheehan series, Too Close To Breathe. 

FINAL Too Close To Breath Poster

Blurb:  Detective Frankie Sheehan is recovering from a violent knife attack and dealing with the first awakenings of post-traumatic stress disorder when she’s called back to work. At first, Eleanor Costello’s death looks like suicide but soon the perfect pieces of Eleanor’s life begin to fracture, sending Sheehan and her team into a complex murder investigation for Dublin’s deadliest killer. The case deepens as does the body count and Frankie is forced to confront her own demons as the lines between victim and killer become increasingly blurred.

 

Too Close to Breathe: A heart-stopping thriller, new for 2018 by [Kiernan, Olivia]

My Review:  Where to start with this book! I really enjoyed this story and I’m not a big reader of police procedurals where a woman is the lead detective. I have nothing against them, I’ve just never read very many of them. From the very beginning the story began drawing me in. We start with something that looks like a suicide but Frankie Sheehan is not convinced, and it doesn’t take much for her to question the suicide determination. It soon becomes clear that it was definitely murder, but then this raises the obvious questions of who and why.  

At this point the investigation really begins and it’s clear that a lot of research has got into this story. The detail and depth that the investigation goes into was something else that drew me in, I wanted to know the results straight away, what was happening and what the detectives were going to do next. I’ve never thought police work was a 9-5 job but in this story the fact that it was almost 24 hours especially in the first few days came across really clearly and I began to wonder if anyone was getting any sleep at all. 

The investigation becomes quite intense at times and with Frankie being the main character the reader obviously spends a lot of time with her. We get to see how she copes under pressure, and how she doesn’t. I particularly liked the little parts away from the investigation like Frankie tending her bonsai tree. Those small scenes were almost an oasis on tranquility and calm in the depth of mystery and unanswered questions that was the police investigation.  

The only thing that didn’t sit well wtih me was the ending, I found it a little rushed but the rest of the book was strong and definitely a gripping read. 

I’m not sure how many books are planned for this series but I know the second one is out in 2019 and I, for one, am really looking forward to reading it.  

 

 

 

About the author:  Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK and author of crime thriller, Too Close to Breathe. She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex. Olivia’s second book, The Killer In Me, will publish in April 2019.
http://www.oliviakiernan.com
Follow Olivia on twitter @LivKiernan