The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley – a review

At this year’s festival I was lucky enough to meet debut author Robin Morgan-Bentley who was promoting his novel The Wreckage which I have recently read.

wreckageThe Wreckage begins with Ben, a teacher who is on his way to work as normal. However this day Adam, in a last despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car succeeding in killing himself. In the aftermath Ben struggles to come to terms with what has happened, and to try and assuage his guilt he starts to develop a friendship with Alice, Adam’s widow, and her young son Max. However is this what Alice wants, and how will either of them manage to move on?

This was a fabulous book that seemed very accomplished for a debut novelist. I wouldn’t personally class this as a thriller in the traditional sense of a ‘grab you by the seat of your pants and hang on’ type of story, however it was absolutely gripping. From the dramatic start to the story that absolutely hooks you in, things slow down a little as both Alice and Ben come to terms with what has happened. The tension then starts to build back up as the relationship begins to grow and we find out more about the characters.

The story is told from the veiwpoints of both Alice and Ben. This is a really clever trick that means you see the same moment but from a different interpretation which adds to the tension in the novel. I found both characters equally likeable and annoying at times. Whilst clearly you have sympathy for them both having been through a horrific experience. You also want them to take a look at their actions and think of the consequences.

It’s tricky to say too much about the plot without giving away the twists but the story takes a darker turn towards the end and there are things I did not see coming. When I met Robin Morgan-Bentley I got his autograph and he asked me who my favourite author. I definitely enjoyed this novel as much as a Patricia Cornwall one!

You can buy your own copy of The Wreckage at Amazon.

 

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The Mother’s by Sarah J Naughton – a review

I find Christmas an odd break. I had two weeks off work, so therefore you’d think I’d have loads of time, yet it always disappears in a flash of seeing people, drinking and the constant round of ‘how was Christmas, what are you doing for new year’. Therefore although I’ve managed to fit in a bit of reading my reviewing has really gone done the pan. Despite being someone who refuses to make New Year’s resolutions, if I was going to make one it would be to review more in 2020. So I am kicking off 2020 with a great novel, The Mother’s by Sarah J Naughton.

The MothersI have had this on my TBR pile for ages, however to be honest the idea of four mothers in a novel put me off picking it up. I assumed it would be a lot of women moaning on about children and motherhood and how tired they are etc. However I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was a story of four women who had met because they were pregnant at the same time, and became friends. Skip to four years later and the friendship is still growing strong, until one of the husbands goes missing. The police are stumped as to where he has gone, and talking to the friends throws up more questions than answers. Are they really such good friends? Would they keep each others secrets?

I read this quickly in a couple of sittings as I found it really drew me in. The characters were an odd bunch of people. You knew that on paper they didn’t work as friends, but then you also know in real life often the most unlikely people form strong bonds for a ariety of reasons. I enjoyed the style of writing that seamlessly switched between then and now as the secrets were gradually unfolded.

I enjoyed all the characters, although I wasn’t too keen on the detective Iona. She didn’t seem very well rounded to me, and spent more time worrying about her love life than actually focusing on the crime. However that is only a minor criticism and actually the police investigation is a very small part of this story. They mystery unravels through the viewpoints of the women, and I found myself frequently changing my mind as to what was happening.

This was a very accomplished debut novel that I would very much recommend. The Mother’s is available on amazon

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Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond – a review BLOG TOUR

I have read a couple of Katerina Diamond’s novels previously and enjoyed them, so I was very pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest book Woman in the Water.

wiwWoman in the Water begins with the discovery of a woman, alive after being submerged in icy water. She is dragged out by Detective Adrian Miles but refuses to give her name or say what happened to her. When she then disappears from her hospital bed Adrian and his partner Imogen Grey start to investigate. When a second body is found, the Detectives’ investigations lead them to a local couple. The woman is eventually identified and it seems as if she is an abused woman who refuses to implicate her husband in any crime. However as Adrian delves deeper into the case, he soon starts to struggle as memories of his childhood start to surface and a horrific attack causes him to start questioning himself and his relationships.

Woman in the Water was a good read. I really enjoyed Katerina’s writing style. From the discovery of the body (which nearly made me jump out of my seat whilst reading) through the gripping build up of the case surrounding the mystery woman via the relationship between Adrian and Imogen this was a rollercoaster read. It is certainly not for the fainthearted. There were some quite graphic scenes and one particularly brutal episode was hard to read and changed the focus of the book. Covering domestic abuse, corruption, rape, murder this is a dark disturbing read, but is dealt with in a sensitive way and I don’t think these are issues that should be shied away from.

I like the main characters although as I haven’t read all of the previous novels by Katerina Diamond I would probably have had more empathy with Adrian and Imogen had I known their whole backstory. This would probably have helped understand a bit more as to why they acted the way they did, especially in their interactions with each other. However this story does still work as a standalone. It is a gripping read that is hard to put down.

I would recomend this novel, although I would suggest reading the series from beginning. The missing chunks of background intrigued me enough to want to go back and start the whole series from the beginning, which is exactly what I think I might do!

Woman in the Water is available here

 

 

 

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The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel – a review

I am a huge fan of reading as you know, and I do read a lot (if not as much as I would like) Therefore whilst I read some fantastic books, and the last couple I’ve read have been superb, it’s not often that something really sticks out as unusual. This, however, was exactly the case with The Recovery of Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel.

The Recovery of Rose Gold was one that I was given at last years festival and had been on my shelf for a while. It’s a proof copy so the blurb was sparse:

‘Once upon a time, they said, a wicked Mother gave birth to a Daughter’

The Recovery of Rose Gold is the story of a relationship between a Mother and Daughter. It starts with the release of Patty, the Mother. On the first page we find out she has been convicted of poisoning her daughter for years whilst she was a child. Rose Gold is her daughter and it is her testimony that sent Patty to prison. Now Patty is out and she wants to move back in with Rose Gold to help her care for her new grandson and to put the past behind them.

Well it is no exaggeration to say that this was truly a book that I could not put down once I had started. Luckily it was a weekend so other plans went out of the window.  This is a dark, and disturbing tale which completely drew me in. Yet despite the story matter, the writing gives it a light feel that almost has a humerous edge. The story is told from just two viewpoints – Patty and Rose Gold, Patty is the voice of the current day. Rose Gold’s story flits back to fill in the details of her life whilst Patty was in prison.

Throughout the book you have complete sympathy for Rose Gold as she suffered horrendously at the hands of her clearly disturbed mother. The after effects are obviously still being felt as Rose Gold struggles with normal relationships and life. Patty is also interesting as you end up with a degree of sympathy for her too as she also did not have a great upbringing.

This is a story of obsession and love and how the lines between the two are often blurred, in this case with terrible consequences. This is one of the best books I have read for a while and I’m sure will be huge hit next year. If you like unreliable narrators and stories that will keep you gripped from start to finish then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Unfortunately it isn’t available until March 2020 but it is definitely worth the wait!

You can pre-order your copy here

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Dead Inside by Noelle Holten – a review

As a blogger I am lucky to have virtually (and in some cases physically) met lots of fantastic bookie people. One of these was Noelle Holten, aka Crime Book Junkie. Therefore last week I was looking to stock up my kindle ahead of week of train journeys and her debut novel ‘Dead Inside’ was the first thing I searched for.
Denoellead Inside introduces us to DC Maggie Jamieson and her friend Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood. To the outside world Lucy has a great life. She has a good job, a doting husband and 2 happy step-children. Yet behind closed doors Lucy lives in fear of her abusive husband.  Maggie has recently moved to a new team, the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit. She is keen to make her mark with her new colleagues and her first case starts with  the murder of a known domestic abuser. As more bodies appear it seems there are links to Lucy but are things as they seem?

Dead Inside caught my interest from the start and didn’t let up. The story was intriguing, and it was clear that the knowledge Noelle must have gained from her years in the probation service added a great sense of authenticity to the novel. The story itself is quite brutal and in parts quite hard to read, which to me is exactly how it should be given the subject matter. 

The two main characters were a great pairing. I personally found the character of Maggie a little annoying. During the briefing her eagerness to please and jump in with questions was frustrating to read, yet it gave a good insight into her character. Lucy on the other hand I had huge sympathy for, her character was clearly in turmoil. Having to deal with horrendous criminals during the day, and having to deal with her husband at home, the pressure that she was under just poured off the page. There were quite a lot of peripheral characters that were hard to keep track of at times, but that says more about my memory than anything about the writing. Towards the end of the novel, as all the strands start to come together you realise that all the characters have their own part to play in creating the story.

Dead Inside was an incredibly accomplished novel, and I can’t wait to read Noelle’s next one and to find out what is next for Maggie and Lucy.

You can find Dead Inside and the follow up Dead Wrong here. 

 

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Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace – spotlight

Today it’s my spot on the blog tour for author Lorraine Mace, and her debut novel Retriever of Souls.

Author Lorraine Mace was born and raised in South East London, Lorraine lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.

Her debut novel is ‘Retriever of Souls’ and it introduces us to DI Paolo Sterling. This novel is described as the start of a dark and gritty crime series, which is a pretty good description as this is certainly a rather grim story. The book is written from both the point of view of the Detective and the killer. The killer believes that sex is the devil’s work and is trying to save his victims souls. This is a good story that certainly isn’t for the feint hearted.

When not working on the D.I. Sterling series of crime novels, Lorraine is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions.

1. Retriever of SoulsIf you would like to try Retriever of Souls for yourself you can buy one here:
Amazon UK

Book Blurb:

The first title in a dark and gritty crime series.

Brought up believing that sex is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim’s souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

To find out more about Lorraine Mace visit her social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mace_lorraine/

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The Sixth Wicked Child by JD Barker – a review

I read the Fourth Monkey by JD Barker a while ago and loved it. I then got sent the Fifth to Die which sat on my bookshelf for a while forgotten, until the Sixth Wicked Child landed loudly through the letterbox. The problem with these novels is that they are pretty hefty tomes. As someone who does most of my reading whilst travelling, large books tend to get overlooked in favour of the handy kindle type. So on my recent week off I decided to treat myself by reading Fifth to Die, swiftly followed by Sixth Wicked Child, and what a treat!

6thThe Sixth Wicked Child is the final novel in the 4MK trilogy. The story takes off immediately following Fifth to Die, the hospital is in lock down due to the threat of a virus outbreak, and Detective Sam Porter is on the run. The body count is increasing, and the only link is the words ‘Father Forgive me’ written near them.  Porter is still hoping that he can catch Anson Bishop, the main suspect in the killings. Yet when Bishop hands himself in Porter realises that actually in this deadly game of cat and mouse he is not necessarily the cat.

The Sixth Wicked Child is a novel I literally couldn’t put down (luckily I was on holiday!) This is definitely a story where you need to have read the first two before you get to the final one, but they are a treat in themselves. I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of these novels and honestly feel that they are one of the best series I have read for a long time. The crimes are gruesome but the pace of the novels meant that you don’t dwell on that bit. The characters are all well rounded, yet the twists just keep coming, and the final reveal is just not something I saw coming at all.

All the stories are told with the inclusion of diary entries, none of which I  have been keen on. Certainly in the Sixth Wicked Child I didn’t feel they worked as diary entries, to me personally they didn’t sound like they were actually written like someone would write a diary. However forget the diary part and read them as ‘flashbacks’ and they add an extra layer to the story.

This is one of those stories where you feel you get to know the characters and can separate good from bad. Then something happens and suddenly you feel like you don’t know who to trust after all. Although this is meant to be a review of The Sixth Wicked Child it is impossible to review it as a stand alone. I am actually really pleased that I had waited to read Fifth to Die because it meant that when I got to the end of it I didn’t have to wait to start the next one. These are a gripping, gruesome, superb novels that I would highly recommend. Just beware that once you start you won’t to stop.

The Sixth Child is available here.

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