Deep Cover by Leigh Russell – a review BLOG TOUR

I was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for Leigh Russell’s new novel Deep Cover, book 16 in the Geraldine Steel series.

In Deep Cover Geraldine is still in York, whilst her partner Ian both in work and life has gone to London for a special assignment. When the body of a sex worker turns up Geraldine tries to put her turbulent personal life and worries about her ‘missing’ colleague behind her to track down the killer. However the trail soon goes cold and Geraldine and her new colleague Matthew are stuck hunting dead ends until the arrival of a second body. Meanwhile in London Ian has gone undercover to try and track down a group of drug dealers, but this is a personal quest too as the group are threatening Geraldine and Ian is determined to help her and her sister.

I enjoyed this novel, which was definitely a tale of two halves switching as it did between York and London. I must admit I preferred the York based story rather than the London one, but then I live in York so am probably a bit biased. I enjoyed the relationship between Geraldine and the new character Matthew and felt they bounced off each other well.

The narratives from Ian and Geraldine were interspersed with chapters told from Thomas’ point of view as the killer which I did enjoy. I felt these gave an interesting element to the story as you sensed how he was spiralling out of control. This is a fast paced novel and I found myself staying up late to finish ‘just one more chapter’

Deep Cover is the 16th novel to feature Geraldine and I think it would be difficult to read as a standalone as there is a lot of back story to cover, but also you are in for a treat if you have not yet read any of the Steel series so I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning.

Find out what others thought of Deep Cover at the other stops on the blog tour.

You can buy Deep Cover here from No Exit Press

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The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker – a review

Last month I was very pleasantly surprised when a copy of the latest James Patterson novel, The Noise dropped through my letterbox. This wasn’t a novel I’d heard of previously but was very excited to see that this novel was actually in collaboration with J.D. Barker. In case this is an author that has passed you by, J.D Barker wrote the 4MK trilogy of novels that I was a huge fan of, so I was looking forward to this. (See review of 4MK here)

The Noise begins with young ‘survivalist’ sisters Tennant and Sophia out trying to catch rabbits, when suddenly an explosion rips through their town.  Their father pushes them into an underground cellar but when they emerge the world has changed beyond recognition. Tennant seems largely unscathed but Sophia begins acting strangely. How they have survived is a mystery, and a team of elite government investigators are assembled to try and solve it. Dr Chan and Lieutentant Fraser are the two tasked with leading the government group but they have different ideas of how to go about this, one wants to study them, one just wants to contain them. However they are going to have to work together if they wish to save the lives of those at risk.

This novel started with a bang and I was quickly drawn in. The two sisters attempting to navigate their way through uncharted territory was heart rending . Despite her young age Tennant has to step up to try and protect her and her sister, and I felt for her as she tried to be there for her younger sister. This was very much an action led story with numerous characters flitting in and out but that just pushed the story forward at an incredible pace.

I must confess to getting a little disillusioned in the middle, I felt as though it just went on a bit too long without really moving the story on.  However that was only a minor gripe, and I suspect it was more my desire to find out how the story ended that led me to think this!

Overall I found this story quite intriguing. It wouldn’t be my usual choice but it sucked me in from the start and was incredibly compelling. It also reminded me of what a great author I think J.D Barker is and so I’ll be on the look out for more from him soon I hope.

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Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir – a review BLOG TOUR

When I received the email about this, the premise of sounded so good that despite it being the second in a series I jumped at the chance to be able to join the blog tour for Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir.

Girls Who Lie focusses on the disappearance of single mother Marianna. It is assumed that she has committed suicide until her body is discovered and it’s clearly murder. Her daughter Hekla is in foster care but seems to be coping well at least to start with. Police Officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case of Marianna and soon get drawn into what becomes an increasingly complex case. Meanwhile 15 years previously another single mother is struggling to bond with her new born child and to make a new life for herself.

Girls Who Lie was an excellent read that captivated me from the start. The story flits between the two timelines with ease as we uncover the truth about what happened to Marianne and Hekla, as well as the strange lonely girl in the past. The historical element first person chapters were especially chilling and created a interesting dimension to the police procedural element of the main story.

I enjoyed finding out about the main character Elma, and about her relationship with her own family which becomes more fraught as she puts her desire to find out the truth ahead of everything else. Like all good detectives Elma has a complicated background but I didn’t find this over powered the mystery which was still the main focus of the story.

The writing in this novel can only be described as beautiful, obviously it is translated but perfectly so. The descriptions of Iceland and the town this is set in are really intriguing and I found myself googling lots of places such as lava fields as I read on.

The story itself was compelling and it was littered with misdirection and red herrings that made it a complete page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s an excellent addition to my Nordic Noir collection and I have already ordered her first The Creak on the Stairs so I can catch up with Elma from the beginning.

To find out what others thought of Girls Who Lie you can visit the other stops on the blog tour:

Click here to buy your own copy of Girls Who Lie

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SHORTLIST REVEALED FOR THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2021

This year’s list recognises author Chris Whitaker who hopes to claim the trophy on his first ever nomination with We Begin at The End – a powerful story of crime, punishment, love and redemption set in coastal California.

Sunday Times bestselling author Rosamund Lupton’s thrilling story of gunmen opening fire on a Somerset School has clinched a coveted spot on the shortlist. Three Hours sets the clock ticking for the hostages in a nail-biting exploration of white supremacy and radicalisation.

The creator of Norfolk’s best loved forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway Elly Griffiths is hoping that her seventh prize nomination takes her one step further to take the title. The twelfth novel in the whodunnit series, The Lantern Men sees Galloway return to the fens to hunt down a serial killer.

Trevor Wood’s meteoric rise continues as the debut author goes from being selected for Val McDermid’s highly respected ‘New Blood’ panel at the 2020 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival to being shortlisted for the coveted trophy with his acclaimed novel The Man on the Street. As a former naval officer, Wood brings to bear remarkable insight in this story of a homeless Falklands veteran with severe PTSD turned criminal investigator.

Scottish-Bengali author Abir Mukherjee is vying for his latest Wyndham & Banerjee novel Death in the East – described by The Times as “the best so far of an unmissable series”. A mesmerising portrait of India, Assam and East End London, perhaps this third nomination for will prove lucky for the account-turned best-selling author?

The final title on this year’s shortlist is Northern Irish author Brian McGilloway’s second nomination for political thriller The Last Crossing which looks at The Troubles from the perspective of view of former operatives who like to think they have moved on.

The six shortlisted books for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021 is:

–          The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

–          Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton (Penguin Random House UK, Viking)

–          The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway (Little, Brown Book Group, Constable)

–          Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

–          We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre)

–          The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

The public are now invited to vote for the winner via www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com and the winner will be announced on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 22 July, and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said“This is it: the crème de la crème of crime. This shortlist really does showcase the breadth and depth of the genre. It’s going to be a fiercely fought prize this year so make sure you vote for your favourite. Until then, I look forward to raising a glass of Old Peculier at the winner’s announcement on 22 July!”

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 by UK and Irish authors. The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.

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