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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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Bound by Vanda Symon – a review BLOG TOUR

Back in the days of old when we had face to face events I was lucky enough to attend the Antipodean Noir session at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2019 and heard Vanda Symon speak. I’ve been a big fan ever since and therefore was really excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel Bound, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Bound by Vanda Symon

Bound begins when a businessman is murdered in his home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch her husband die. Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, and soon discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.

The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas and in need a distraction from her personal life she launches her own investigation. When another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect.

This is the 4th in the series starring Detective Sam Shephard and I would go so far as to say that Sam is one of my most favourite Detective’s of the moment. She’s funny, confident and sassy, yet believable. In this book we see a more vulnerable side of her as she deals with her father’s cancer diagnosis, as well as within her relationship with partner Paul.

The story itself is a great twisty read that starts down one path and then keeps throwing you down other routes as it picks up pace to the final reveal. I liked the short chapters and each one kept me wanting to just read one more. Although the story itself focusses on some rather somber subjects there are light hearted moments and an element of comedy that really helps lift it throughout.

Set in New Zealand you get a real sense of the place, and I enjoyed learning about the city of Dunedin through the descriptions flawlessly written in the story. Yes the real focus throughout is Sam and how she navigates her way through her personally and professional life. Although this is the fourth in the series it could be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the others first as you’ll get to know Sam so much better and appreciate how she seems to have matured in this novel.

I would definitely recommend Bound and do hope that this isn’t the last in the series.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the Blog Tour to find out what they thought of Bound.

You can also revisit some of the highlights of the TOPCWF including Antipodean Noir here:

https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/hif-player/antipodean-noir/

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Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst – a review BLOG TOUR

I’ve been lucky enough to have a bit of a flurry of blog tours these past couple of weeks, with some excellent books, but I have to say this latest one is definitely in my top five so far!

Smoke Screen is a joint collaboration between authors Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst. Set in Oslo, the story begins with a suspected terror attack on New Year’s Eve. One of the injured is the mother of a young girl who went missing ten years before, and has never been found. Both Police Office Alexander Blix and journalist Emma Ramm are on the scene when the explosion happens, and therefore have a personal interest in the case. As the terror threat is increased it becomes clear that the missing girl case is not all it seems.

I’m a big fan of Nordic Noir and this one didn’t disappoint. Smoke Screen was a great story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I found both the main characters to be really engaging. Blix is almost a brother to Emma, and I liked the fact that there didn’t seem to be anything other than friendship between them. Emma has clearly been through a tough time, and sadly things don’t seem to be improving for her. She is used to reporting on tough cases but this time it is distinctly personal.

I found this story really gripping, it’s hard to review without giving too much away, but suffice to say it’s definitely worth a read. It was a fast paced novel, that flits between present day and ten years prior. Gradually the story of the attack and the missing girl unravel as both Blix and Ramm get caught up in their investigations, until the explosive finale.

Smoke Screen is actually the second in the series, although was the first book I’ve read by the pair. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone (as I did) but I loved it so much that as soon as I finished I ordered the first one.

Thanks to Orenda Books and Random Things Tours for inviting me ont this tour. To find out what others thought of the book visit the other stops on the tour:

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